Tso Moriri is located at a staggering altitude of 14,836 feet. It takes about 8-9 hours to get to Tso Moriri from Leh depending upon your speed and breaks. The total distance between Leh and Tso Moriri is around 240 to 260 km. depending on the route you choose. As it is considered a part of the inner line, you will have to get an ILP- Inner Line Permit to visit the lake. If you are a foreign national, you will need to acquire a Protected Area Permit.
Here is how you can reach Tso Moriri Lake from Leh:
A lot of people travelling to Tso Moriri Lake are now opting for public transport. It helps reduce the overall budget of the trip. In fact, not only does it save cost but also adds to the experience of travelling in Ladakh. However, these buses do not stop for any sightseeing on the way.
Three JKSRTC buses have routes from Leh to Tso Moriri. However, they only operate on 10th, 20th and 30th of every month. It departs from Leh bus stand at 6.30 a.m. The bus station you need to mention while buying the ticket is Korzok village. It is the nearest village to the lake that is set at a distance of a 15-minute walk from its shores. You can buy the ticket for the bus from Leh bus stand itself. The one-way bus fare from Leh to Tso Moriri is approximately Rs. 370 per person.
By Private Vehicle
There are three different routes that you can opt for to get to Tso Moriri. The biggest advantage of travelling in a private vehicle is that you can take halts and admire the beauty of the areas.
Route 1: via Chumathang (Leh – Shey – Upshi – Kumdok – Kere – Chumathang – Mahe –Namashang La – Karzok or Tso Moriri)
This is the shortest route that runs through Chumathang Valley. Start from Leh as early as possible and take the highway till you reach Upshi and take the diversion towards Mahe. You will have to register yourself at the check-post at Mahe. Then take the bridge and go up to Sumdo where the ascent for Namashang La starts. A few kilometers ahead an old dirt track starts that will take you to Karzok.
Route 2: via Tso Kar and More Plains (Leh – Shey – Karu – Upshi –Tanglang La –Tso Kar – Polo Kongka La – Sumdo – Namashang La – Karzok or Tso Moriri)
The route is the same from Leh to Upshi as explained above. From Upshi you will have to continue on Manali Leh highway and get to Rumtse instead of Chumathang. The ascent for Tanglang La starts once you cross Rumtse and you will notice the More plains. Leave the Manali Leh Highway and take the road towards your left. The first lake is the Tso Kar after which the roads disappear and dirt tracks start. A few kilometers after the ascent for Polo Kongka La commences and you reach Sumdo. From there, take the turn towards Karzok.
Route 3: via Pangong Tso and Chushul (Leh – Chang La – Tangtse – Pangong Tso – Merak – Chushul – Tsaga La – Mahe – Sumdo – Karzok or Tso Moriri)
From Leh, this route will take you first to Shey after which you head on to the Manali-Leh highway and get to Chang La. You will find only dirt roads beyond this point till you come across the major town of Tangtse. From there, a small drive on the narrow roads takes you to Spangmik (Pangong Tso), after which you keep driving to reach Chushul. Your next destination is the village of Mahe for which you will cross the high altitude pass of Tsaga La. Continue to Loma where you will again be registering yourself at the Army check post. take the turn on your right after that and head to Sumdo. the ascent for Namashang La starts from there and you will travel on dirt tracks until Karzok.
Travelling on a bike is an ultimate experience where you ride across the Indus river with high cliffs soaring over your head. You will pass through the picturesque rural settlement of Chumathang which is home to natural hot springs. Take the Namshang La at 16,000 feet, get to Mahe and continue to Sumdo. The roads are steep and mud-covered. Then coast down the buttery-smooth roads towards Karzok. Make sure to fill fuel at Leh itself and also carry extra fuel since there are no petrol pumps anywhere after Leh.