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|Drive From Jispa to Pang or Tso Kar
This is easily the most scenic section of the drive. So we highly recommend to start as early as possible ( 6 AM is a good time but certainly not later then 7 AM ) and enjoy the magnificence of nature on the way. There were many sections & spots which will take your breath away, so drive slow, enjoy the nature and have fun. It will be a good idea to carry a packed lunch or some tea & drinks with some snacks to have it at a spot of your choice. There are those temporary Dhabha shacks available but then if you like a spot to have your favorite drink, there is no other experience which can beat this.
Total Distance : ~ 158 km
Total Drive time : ~ 7-9 hrs ( Depending on stoppages & road conditions, it varies every year )
Important towns on the way : none, there is no town on the way
Beautiful Spots on the way : Deepak Tal, Suraj Tal, Baralacha La, Bharatpur, Sarchu, Gata Loops, Nakee La, Lachung La & finally Pang ( The gorge as you descend from Lachung La is simply breathtaking )
If have time on your hand, break this journey in two days ( stay or camp at a place of your choice & enjoy the nature ). Just remember, driving is the holiday, destination is not.
A Stream that originates from Suraj Tal ... source of Bhaga river
Shortly after you cross Jispa, you reach Darcha which has few Dhabha tents and once you cross the bridge which is crossed by one vehicle at a time, you start your ascend towards the Baralacha La. The roads are in absolutely beautiful conditions and you would love driving here. ( The conditions vary every year, so do not be surprised, if the stretch is no longer tarred beautifully). The final ascend to Baralacha La, begins from Zing Zing Bar.
Deepak Tal should be your first stop where you can take a break and then Suraj Tal, before stopping at the Baralacha La, Who am I dictate this, there are just so many beautiful spots here and you will stop more frequently then this.
Baralacha La is by far the most scenic of the high passes, it surely is a breath taking experience to witness the beauty of Baralacha La. If you have kept your plans flexible then it is a good idea to witness the sunrise or the sunset here.
In order to do that, one should not camp here but camp at a lower altitude, Deepak Tal is a better option to camp, to know why
If you camp at Deepak Tal, then you can visit Baralacha La for the sunrise or the sunset or even both.
The views on the other side of Baralacha La are equally spectacular. Really really wide open valleys with numerous streams, the hues & colors of the mountains there is simply awesome.
Few Dhabha tents will indicate that you have reached Bharatpur, another beautiful spot to spend some time
This section keeps throwing up wonderful surprises, even the start of the Sarchu plains where you can really zip past, you would be still going really slow, there are no surprises for guessing this. The nature will hold you back from driving without overlooking the views around.
One thing, I have admit here that there is just no place to hide, just in case you have a nature call. Which I believe is quite a possibility. If you tried finding for a rock or something, even that is so difficult to find.
After you cross Sarchu Plains, your next exciting part of the journey is the famous Gata Loops, a series of hair pin bend which will lead you upto Nakee La.
But the best is yet to come, you will encounter many driving challenges, crossing streams on the road, tricky soft ground and carefully maneuvering your vehicle through it and then the art work of nature will begin. As you start descending from Lachung La, the beautiful gorge and the numerous art work displayed by nature will surely mesmerize you. This time it will be patterns on the mountains like you have never seen, its like an artist carefully carving its master piece.
There are only Dhabha tents which are really really basic, with poor hygiene. Carry your own camping equipment for enjoying your night stay. Or else, manage for a night. After all, the nature will make it up for other shortcomings.
Recommend Night Halt at Tso Kar
One could also drive an hour and a half extra on this day through the moreh plains and head to Tso Kar for the night halt. Tso Kar is a beautiful spot and is highly recommended instead of staying at the shabby Dhabha tents