Pangong Tso Lake Tibet
Pangong Tso, which means 'the long, narrow enchanting lake' in Tibetan, is located about 8km of Rutok county which is 132km from Ali. It is also known as the 'swan lake' of the border (it is the place where China borders the Indian Kashmir). It is a lake in the western part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, located on the border between Tibet and Kashmir. China and India dispute the ownership of the lake. China now controls about two-thirds of the east of the lake and India controls about one-third of the west.
Pangong Tso Lake has an altitude of 4,241m, with a total length of 150 km from west to east and it is narrower from south to north, with the narrowest point being 40 meters. Approximately the lake has an area of 604 sq. km. The deepest point of the lake is 41.3 meters. The eastern part of the lake belongs to China, while the western part belongs to Indian Kashmir. The ice period of the lake is 6 months every year.
The most peculiarity of Pangong-Tso Lake is that it is a lake with different salt content from east to west. The east part is a freshwater lake, the middle is a brackish water lake, and the west is a saltwater lake.
The scenery around Pangong-Tso Lake is very beautiful, surrounded by mountains and little snowy mountains in the distance; the lake water is very clear with 3-5 meters visibility. Due to factors such as light, depth, and brightness, the lake appears dark green, light green, or dark blue at different times.
There are more than ten islands with various sizes in the lake. There are more than 20 kinds of birds on the island, and the maximum number can reach tens of thousands. When spring comes and warm winds from the bay of Bengal blow into the Ngari region, the birds flew from the highlands to South Asia to escape the cold from the previous winter and fly back to lay eggs and reproduce here. Besides, tens of thousands of Mediterranean gulls come to breed in the summer. Schizothorax fish are abundant in this lake.
Pangong-Tso Lake is located in the westernmost part of China, with high mountains, long roads, inconvenient transportation, and relatively blocked information. Tourists seldom visit it, and the natural environment is well protected and almost in a primitive state. Therefore, the island has become a paradise for birds. With a world of birds on the "roof of the world", it can be regarded as a miracle. It adds a special scenery to the far western Tibet/Ngari area with its beautiful scenery and numerous historical monuments.
The Birds' Islet is located in the lake, where thousands of gulls inhabit. The islet is small, about 300 meters in length and 200 meters in width, with red willows clustering along the lake bank, forming a beautiful view. Gulls and their eggs can be seen everywhere, between rocks, in the grass, on the lake, and on the bank. There are also a small number of other birds and fowls, such as gray ducks that live on fish in the lake. When spring comes and warm air from the Bay of Bengal blows into the Ngari Plateau, groups of birds that have migrated from the cold plateau to the warm Southern Asian Continent the previous winter fly back to the islet. The months of May through September are the best season for observing birds. Herdsmen living on the lakefront often tell the story of dragons and monsters in the lake, which adds to the mysterious color of the lake.
Useful Travel Tips
- The admission is 30 RMB Per Person, and the operation time is 08:00 am to 16:00 pm.
- The sightseeing time is about 3-4 hours. It takes 30 to 40 minutes to get to the bird island from the shore by boat, and costs 80RMB Per Person.
- There are inns and restaurants on the lakeshore, but the facilities are quite basic. Camping here can be a good choice in the summertime.
- Please note that bird eggs on the island are protected and not allowed to take away.
- The best season for traveling is from May to July. And the best season for bird watching is from May to September every year. Bird watching in Pangong-Tso Lake is very famous in the Ngari prefecture and even all over Tibet.