The drive from Tso Kar to Tsomoriri was nothing to write home about – we had such high expectations! Only a small geyser was a surprise and the last stretch of the road that leads down to the lake is kind of scenic. The highlight was a large herd of yaks that passed, some gigantic.
Finally Tso Moriri! The lake is quite a sight although we must confess that we preferred small Tso Kar. Large parts of the lake are fenced in because it is a Conservation Area. The most scenic part is around the small village of Korzok, where a large area of green provides a pleasant contrast to the multicolored rock formation and the blue lake. This fertile bit of land is fed by a stream coming down the mountain entering the lake at Korzok. This is where the villagers grown their food, mainly cereal.
At the checkpoint entering the village, an Indian army officer interrogates us, his semi-automatic weapon resting across his lap. “Do you have a map with you?” A satellite phone? A GPS? “Of course not!”, we answered… Just in case it was an offence, driving through unknown territory with a map.
An extended walk through the marshy area and further down along the lake revealed more beautiful landscape reflected in the lake. Despite having Ann and Yann with us, two experienced birdwatchers, the 34 different species of birds simply avoided us. Even after spending two weeks at such a high altitude, simply being there and slowly moving on flat terrain was strenuous.
This is why we felt sorry for those people who rush to Tso Moriri on a two day trip. Many of them arrive after sunset and leave early the next morning. Why spend two days in a car, if you don’t get to see the very place you came to visit? Therefore, we strongly recommend allowing a minimum of three days for this trip. One night at Tso Kar and another one at Tsomo Riri give you some times to enjoy this spectacular landscape.
Once more, starting with Tso Kar via the Manali-Leh Road (which was not what we had planned) turned out to be a great advantage. That’s the most scenic stretch and we were still full of energy to stop at every photo opportunity there was. While going back to Leh along the main road is not that exciting, except that the road follows the river. So it doesn’t matter if you are tired and keep nodding off. When you open your eyes, the river is still there, sometimes narrow, sometimes wider…