It was such a relaxing night at Hanle and with more people in the room it was quite warm too. This day was something special and we had to explore couple of lakes, Kyon Tso 1 and Kyon Tso 2, mostly unknown to many, today.

Video – Kyon Tso Lakes – Chiling Tso Lake – Ryul Tso Lake

The Teaser… The Aqua Colored Kyon Tso 2 or Chiling Tso
The Teaser... The Aqua Colored Kyon Tso 2 or Chiling Tso

The Journey so far…

Day 7 | 1st Half | Hanle – Kyon Tso 1 – Kyon Tso 2 – Thit Zarbo La

In all excitement, we were up and ready for the breakfast. It was the day when a lot of people would get separated from the group. Both XUVs were requested to return as the route we were going to take today might cause issue to XUVs lower front which can get hit badly on the route towards Kyon Tso Twin Lakes and then ahead of Thit Zarbo La Pass So, Tapan ji and his friends along with Lokesh and Shekhar would take our leave. Even Anees and his friends in Innova will leave us and fly out of Leh after visiting Tso Moriri Lokesh and Shekhar too will fly out of Leh after visiting Tso Moriri BUT Tapan ji will join us while return from Tso Moriri as we would be running one day behind them in exploration of Kyon Tso 1, Kyon Tso 2 and Yaye Tso lakes. So, after settling the bills and taking some final group pictures, thanking each other, we all dispersed in different directions with mixed emotions 🙂 …

Rooms at Padma Homestay at Hanle
Rooms at Padma Homestay at Hanle

Padma Guest House / Padma Homestay – Hanle
Padma Guest House / Padma Homestay - Hanle

In our group now we had one Scorpio, one Xylo and Nabeel on bike, in all 10 people group. We were all set to explore more hidden gems of Ladakh We took the road backside of the hill of Hanle Observatory. The same road leads you to Tso Moriri via Salsal La – Charchagn La and route to Chumur However, we were more interested to explore another hidden jewels of this route that was taking the right just before Salsal La from Kyon Tso 1, also known as Ryul Tso by locals and then Kyon Tso 2, also known as Chiling Tso, then further to Thit Zarbo La – Nidar and finally meeting, just ahead of Nyoma on Nyoma – Mahe route.

As we started, first there came a small village and the road cuts through the village which was marked with fencing and a gate. Gate was closed, but then Rigzin went out in full confidence, opened the chains and then door and off we went. At the end of the village came another gate, again same thing. We opened the gate passed through and then closed the gate. I feel the gate is kept to keep stray animals away from the village, though just a wild guess 😀 :D… In between, met couple of kids from the village, distributed some candies to them, clicked pics and enjoyed few minutes.

Forbidden Terrain of Changthang
Forbidden Terrain of Changthang, Hanle to Nidar

Leading you into Forbidden Terrain
Leading you into Forbidden Terrain, Hanle to Nidar

Children of Changthang
Children of Changthang

Children of Changthang

Boundaries are broken, all set for a drive into the wild
Boundaries are broken, all set for a drive into the wild, Hanle to Nidar

Soon the tarred roads left us and we came back on the dirt track again. The multi-coloured vistas came back with lovely mountains kissed with snow at the top in the background and almost empty river bed running besides us. Then we realized a mad mistake, we forgot to refill the water at Hanle, Homestay. So, we were left with no choice but to search for some running water stream in the wild. Of course, there was no reason to be any one around but nature. So, after a while we got near a running stream and almost everyone of us was thirsty enough as no one stopped to see anything but started drinking water from the stream immediately 😀 😀

Snaky Roads leading to Kyon Tso from Hanle
Snaky Roads leading to Kyon Tso from Hanle

Yeah, thats the road for Kyon Tso from Hanle
Yeah, thats the road for Kyon Tso from Hanle

Yeah, thats the road for Kyon Tso from Hanle

The Multi Colored Vistas on the route to Kyon Tso from Hanle
The Multi Colored Vistas on the route to Kyon Tso from Hanle

Shakti, could not resist the thirst after seeing this water stream
A water stream the route to Kyon Tso from Hanle

Our gang at the Water Strem on the route to Kyon Tso from Hanle
Our gang at the Water Strem on the route to Kyon Tso from Hanle

We thanked god and that little passage of time while having water from the stream was enthralling. We stocked enough in all bottles because we knew that there will be no houses around till Nidar to offer us water or food 😉 😉 … Hence, the lunch will be dry fruits today and water needs to be kept up filled from the streams in both cars. Soon came a stretch where we had to cross the river bed with sharp decline and proceed towards the other shore. I could barely figure out the road on other side, had to get down and see if there is actually a road there or we need to drive on river bed only. And yeah, that was correct it was almost a kind of a river bed only 😯 😯

There came a noise in our car while dodging one of the big boulder while crossing there but when inspected there was nothing that we could figure out. The beauty on every other corner was changing, getting more and more majestic. The nature was all with us along with wild life in the form of Kiangs and marmots 🙂 … We came across the sections where the Nomads of Changthang use to live, the black soil and boundaries we apparent and one can figure out the signs of their presence with it. It was a bit dis-heartening to see trashes of some packed cans left by them there 🙁 🙁 … But believe me, the whole journey in this desolated part of barren landscape is truly amazing and so far for me the best time of the trip !!

The Road Ahead towards Kyon Tso from Hanle
The Road Ahead towards Kyon Tso from Hanle

The Road Behind Towards Hanle from Kyon Tso
The Road Behind Towards Hanle from Kyon Tso

DoW, in the middle of nowhere in Changthang
DoW, in the middle of nowhere in Changthang

The Lonely Roads, yes the roads to Kyon Tso 😉
The Lonely Roads, yes the roads to Kyon Tso

That’s the Rider from Kerala
That's the Rider from Kerala

The Gaddi’s or Nomads Abode
The Gaddi's or Nomads Abode in Changthang

Feel the lonliness of Nature towards Kyon Tso
Feel the lonliness of Nature towards Kyon Tso

Feel the lonliness of Nature towards Kyon Tso

We moved on slowly and soon reached the sixth lake of our trip, Kyon Tso 1 or locally called Ryul Tso too. It was a bit far from the track and we had to walk a lot to reach there. With limited water on hand, I resisted BUT then that is what we were there to see 😀 😀 … So, we started the long walk to the shores of the lake. Well, there was nothing but a complete feeling of freedom from the world, freedom from the tensions, freedom from everything but mother nature surrounding us !! This lake though was not that amazingly beautiful like other lakes in Ladakh but guess due to the presence of algae below, it had green colors emitting from it. Nevertheless, we enjoyed there fully before starting our long walk back to the parked cars. Sourabh was not all that well, so Nabeel offered the ride to him, envy of a biker 😉 😉 …

Finally, the first sight… Kyon Tso 1 or Ryul Tso
Finally, the first sight... Kyon Tso 1 or Ryul Tso

The Long Walk to Kyon Tso 1 or Ryul Tso
The Long Walk to Kyon Tso 1 or Ryul Tso

The Colors of Kyon Tso 1 or Ryul Tso
The Colors of Kyon Tso 1 or Ryul Tso

The Colors of Kyon Tso 1 or Ryul Tso
The Colors of Kyon Tso 1 or Ryul Tso

The Long Walk back from Kyon Tso 1 or Ryul Tso
The Long Walk back from Kyon Tso 1 or Ryul Tso

The Long Walk back from Kyon Tso 1 or Ryul Tso

We resumed the journey over dirt track again and after 15-20 minutes reached a spot from where the other Kyon Tso 2 lake could be seen, the seventh lake of our trip :)… This is also named Chiling Tso by locals and there is one direct route to this lake from behind the red coloured mountain in the back drop. This route connects the route from Loma to Hanle. Next time will try to explore this one 😀 😀 … Anyways, there are marshes before the lake and in case you get stuck in there off the track, it becomes difficult to get any help whatsoever there and all you will have to do is to walk back to Hanle 😯 😯 !! Hence, be 100% sure in case you want to explore this route and do not under estimate these marshes. We were cautious enough, so parked the cars away from the lake and went towards the lake on foot.

Man, it was one amazing sight to see !! The red coloured mountains in the back, the aqua colors emitted by the lake… I just could not help myself but to get lost or loose my soul again in the serene beauty of this magical lake or place !! God is so great to create such marvellous beauties of nature… Spent good 30 minutes on the shores of the lake. In between, Rigzin tried to ride Nabeel’s bike through the marshes only to get it stuck 😀 😀 … It took good 20 minutes for 3 guys to pull it back through those marshes 😀 😀 … As they returned to the cars, we offered them good bunch of dry fruits and water to regain their lost energy ;)… And we were all set to venture up towards Thit Zarbo La and further towards Nidar…

The First Sight… Kyon Tso 2 or Chiling Tso
The First Sight... Kyon Tso 2 or Chiling Tso

The Colors of Kyon Tso 2 or Chiling Tso
The Colors of Kyon Tso 2 or Chiling Tso

Getting Stuck in Marshes can be Troublesome at Kyon Tso 2 or Chiling Tso
Getting Stuck in Marshes can be Troublesome at Kyon Tso 2 or Chiling Tso

DoW (That’s me)… Wondering about the Magical Aura around Kyon Tso 2 or Chiling Tso
Dheeraj Sharma, Wondering about the Magical Aura around Kyon Tso 2 or Chiling Tso

That’s Our Rides resting at Kyon Tso 2 or Chiling Tso
That's Our Rides resting at Kyon Tso 2 or Chiling Tso

Road Leading to Thit Zarbo La Pass
Road Leading to Thit Zarbo La Pass

Did you get a chance to explore these hidden gems of Ladakh – Changthang? Have you ever experienced such a feeling of freedom in the lap of mother nature? If yes, if will be great if you can share the experience with me too, how did you like the journey and what was the best part of it… If you have any queries making a journey there, feel free to post your queries too 🙂 🙂

The Journey ahead…


I am Dheeraj Sharma - a traveler, techie, and Himalayan lover. Since 2009, I have been helping thousands of travelers every year plan memorable & budget-friendly trips to the Himalayas - Smartly, Safely, and responsibly.


  1. Comments section gets closed in 90 days. To ask your travel questions, you can follow my YouTube Channel for a faster reply or for a much slower reply follow me on Instagram. :)

  2. Hi Dheeraj,
    Thanks for completing the post of Leh 2013 trip, I intend to follow the similar trail after reading through your blog.
    Can you take a look at the below schedule and comment.
    WE will be a group of 9/10 bikers with couple of pillion riders starting from Delhi on 21st June and would liketo be back by 6th July.

    Let me know if below schedule is achivable or we should streach it further.
    Feel free to suggest any good spots I have missed, as I have planned a schedule of 13 days though we have 3 days extra in hand.
    Just a though can Zanskar or Lahul-Spiti be included in this Itienary or is it a long shot.
    Any other suggestions feel free to add…

    Hoping to hear from you soon…

    Day 1-Delhi to Jammu 600KM 12 hrs

    Day 2-Jammu to Srinagar 300Km (8hrs)

    Day 3-Srinagar to Kargil 200 (8 hrs)
    Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zozi La – Drass – Kargil
    Enjoy the vistas en-route especially the lush green Minamarg Meadows
    late drunch meal at Drass.

    Day 4-Kargil to Leh 210 (8 hrs)
    Hit the roads by 6.30 AM
    Cover Mulbekh Maitrey, Lamayuru Moanstery, Lunar Landscapes or Moonland and Fotu La Pass
    On the way to Leh you can also see Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu
    Overnight at Leh
    About 9-10 Hrs drive

    Day 5-Leh sightseeings + Permits – Rest day
    Visit Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace, Main Market
    Arrange for Inner Line Permits for Leh – Ladakh
    Overnight at Leh

    Day 6-Leh-Khardungla Diskit + Hunder(Nubra valley) -130 Km 6hours
    Break at khardungla for photos
    Diskit has monasteries with tallest lord Buddha statue
    Hunder has sand dunes and double humped bacterian camel safari

    Day 7-Hunder-Khalsar-Agham-Shyok-Durbuk-Tangste-Lukung-Pangong(181 Km)-Very bad road from Agham to Durbuk(62Km) 5 hours preffered
    DAY 7 Hunder-Khalsar-Agham-WariLa-Sakti-ChangLa-Lukung-Pangong(260KM) 10 hours <<>>

    Day 8- Spangmik (Pangong Tso) – Man (9 KMs) – Merak (12 KMs)– Kakstet (4 KMs) – Chusul (24 KMs) – Tsaga La (33 KMs) – Tsaga Village (20 KMs) – Loma (23 KMs) – Hanle(51 KMs) = 176 KMs

    DAY 9 Hanle-Ryul Tso-Chilling Tso-Thit zarbola/Kyun La-Nidar-Nyoma-Mahe-Yaye Tso-Chumathang(preffered) 140 KMs- 7 hours
    DAY 9 Hanle – Salsal La (62 KMs) – Charchagan La (23 KMs) – Tso Moriri / Korzok (60 KMs) = 145 KMs
    DAY 9 Hanle – Loma (51 KMs) – Nyoma (22 KMs) – Mahe (25 KMs) – Sumdo (10 KMs) – Tso Moriri / Korzok (53 KMs) = 161 KMs
    Day 9-Hanle – Ryul Tso-Chulling Tso-Salsal La (62 KMs) –Chumur(25)-Lam Tso- Charchagan La (23 KMs) – Tso Moriri / Korzok (50 KMs) = 160 KMs

    Day 10-Tso Moriri / Korzok -KiagarTso-Namshang La-Sumdo(51)-Mahe(10)-Holrla-YayeTso(10)-Mahe(10)-Sumdo(10)-Startsapuk Tso(22)-PolokungLa-Tso Kar(22)-Pang = 193

    Day 11-Tso Moriri Tso Kar-Sarchu-234Km(8 hours)

    Day 12-Jispa-Losar-Kumzum Pass-Chandratal Lake-Rohtang pass-Manali(140Km) 4-5 hours

    Day 13-Manali-Delhi(550Km) 12hours
    Home sweet home 🙂

    • Hi Sunil,

      A lot of things will depend upon the permits and if you will be allowed to pass through the Chusul Check post or not. Hence, whole itinerary will be depending on it. Also, you are bikers and these are remote routes, any breakdown in the middle of it will leave you in trouble. So, try and carry backup. Regarding Itinerary, it looks fine to me except you should leave Yaye Tso as it does not fit in perfectly while coming back from Tso Moriri.

      Dheeraj Sharma

  3. Ladakh is one of the most beautiful holiday destination I have ever visited. I can really relate to the fun you guys had during the trip. We had a similar last year. Dheeraj, you have explained the entire journey in very detailed manner. Great work.

  4. Dear Dheeraj,
    Greetings to you and your team for making all valuable information about Ladak available here.

    I have a few queries. I request for your kind suggestions.
    My Ladak Itinerary, as prepared by me, as follows. I will go to Ladak after my Yatra to Holy Cave.
    Day-1 8-Jul-14 From Jammu to Chandanwari, Stay at Camp
    Day-2 9-Jul-14 Sheshnag Stay at Camp
    Day-3 10-Jul-14 Panchtarani Stay at Camp
    Day-4 11-Jul-14 Holy Cave and to Baltal Camp
    Day-5 12-Jul-14 Extra Day For Amarnath/ Sonmarg
    Day-6 13-Jul-14 Baltal to Ule (To See : Kargil war Peak -Tiger Peak & Tololing Peak, Vijay War Memorial Hall, Confluence of zanskar river and indus river, Basgo, Mulbek, Giant Living Buddha Sculpture on Rock Mountain, Lamayuru Monastery & View of Moon Landscape Ule)
    Day-7 14-Jul-14 Ule to Leh (To see: Alchi Monastery, Lirik Monastery, Magnetic Hill, Pathar Sahib Gurudwara, Hall of Fame Museum, Spituk)
    Day-8 15-Jul-14 Leh to Pangong Lake Through Changla Pass- Stay at Camp at   Pangong Lake
    Day-9 16-Jul-14 Pangong to Leh (Enroute: Hemis, Thikse Monastery & Shey Palace, Stock Palace Museum)
    Day-10 17-Jul-14 Leh to Nubra Valley via Khardongla Pass. Stay at Nubra, Arried at Hunder. Explore Deskit, Hunder Vill. And Camel Safari in sand dunes between Deskit and Hunder Vill., Pamanik Hot Spring
    Day-11 18-Jul-14 Nubra to Leh (Enroute: Deskit Monastery, Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace)
    Day-12 19-Jul-14 Depart Leh by Flight

    Now my questions is, if I am getting less time in Leh to get inner line permit? If I am missing anything? Can I hire Taxi (from the list of drivers given in your site) after arriving Leh? or advance booking is required? How can I hire Taxi from Baltal? We are two friends taking up this journey.Will be kind to suggest or modify my plan, if required. My time frame is fixed.

      • Thanks for your suggestions, Dheeraj. I have made necessary corrections in my itinerary and now will visit Nubra Valley first.
        Will I get Taxi from Baltal for Leh? Shall I contact any Taxi Leh Driver from the list here, for our journey from Baltal to Leh? Or a driver from Kashmir to drop at Leh?

        Best Wishes.


        • Yeah, you will be able to get taxi from there but only till Leh. IN Leh you need to again hire Ladakh taxi for Ladakh sightseeing. Taxi driver from Leh might charge more for pick and drop.

  5. Thanks for your responce Dheeraj.
    I remeber there are petrol pumps in kargil/Leh/Nubra Valley.But can you comment about the route from Pangong-Hanle-Tso Moriri-Sarchu-Jispa-Manali route as well, or is it black fuel throughout this route.

  6. Eagerly awaiting your next post of this epic journey.
    Next time you plan something for Ladakh you should take camera crew with you to get a documentary ready for Discovery, your inputs and knowledge about the place is amazing.
    By far the best and exhaustive site I have come across Leh travel.

    • Ha ha , yeah sure Sunny will try and do so 🙂 … Thank you for the praising words and glad that you enjoyed the log. Will publish the next part by tomorrow eod.

  7. One more question while coming from Pangong Tso to Hanle which route would be recommended in terms of road condition, time taken and vistas to observe and enjoy.
    I could see two in the maps you have on the website.
    Also if you can share approximate time taken in covering above stretches it would help me in my panning.
    If possible also mention any place where we can get food etc. in while travelling these places or you would suggest us to get food ready in the morning and eat it along the way.

    • Sunny,

      1. Route one is not allowed for civilians
      2. Route two is generally people take subject to two conditions, (a) you get the permits for the route, (b) army allows you to pass through that route.

      It will take about 7 Hrs to reach Hanle from Pangong Tso. You can get food at Chusul and then directly after reach Hanle at the home stays. Best is to carry your own food too just in case there is nothing around at Chusul.


  8. Hi Deeraj,
    Can you confirm where did you ended up taking a night halt on the way from Ryol Tso to Nyoma. Also I am wondering what happened to next days schedule, can you share the points you covered following day to Tso Moriri and particularly night stay.

    • Sunny, had been busy with other articles so could not write up the next part after Chiling Tso. It will be up by tomorrow evening. We actually went ahead towards Mahe, then to Yaye Tso and then came back from there towards Chumathang for night stay. I will wrap the travel tale by end of next week and now dedicatedly working on to complete it 😀

  9. dear Dhiraj,
    really a nice write up..all your posts and visits are really TEASERS for us on western side of India like Maharashtra.
    i have made up my itinerary for the visit to ladkh. as per your suggestion i have planned for July 2nd week instead of August. give me couple of days and will post the same on DoW..
    Its bad luck for me as i am not able to add up any more days to my already 25 days itinerary.
    will get back to you asap.

    • Kedar, thank you bro !! Glad to know that my posts provokes people to visit such beautiful places up in Himalayas 🙂 🙂 … That’s the return of time investment I see there and measure success with such numbers only 🙂 … Feel free to post it brother anytime you like. If possible, you can start a thread at below link for your itinerary advice and complete planning of Ladakh trip in more structured way and this way more people will get benefit from the replies by reading existing topics/queries. Here is the link: 🙂 DoW – Himalayan Travel Community | Ladakh Itinerary Advice