Chang La: The Ultimate Road Trip Guide

Chang La is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 5,374m (17,631ft) above sea level, located in Indian Jammu and Kashmir. Altitude sickness is a common phenomenon here, so it is suggested not to stay for more than 20 minutes. It’s one of the highest roads in the country.

Chang La

Where is Chang La?

The pass is located in the Leh district of the Union Territory of Ladakh, in the northern part of the country, within the Himalaya mountain range.

Is the road to Chang La paved?

The road to the summit, also known as Changla, is mostly paved with some loose dirt sections. It’s called the Leh to Pangong Lake road. The pass is the main gateway to the Changthang Plateau. It is drivable by all kinds of vehicles.

Is Chang La open?

The pass, guarded and maintained by the Indian Army (due to its proximity to the Chinese border), is covered with snow throughout the year. The best season to drive the pass is summer: it remains open for tourists from mid-May to October, but the most pleasant months are May and June.

How to prepare for driving through Chang La?

While visiting this place, certain precautions are necessary due to the cold, chilly climate, and lack of oxygen at high altitudes. Fully warm clothing with ears covered and appropriate footwear are a must. It is best to have warm water frequently to bear the extreme cold climate. 15-20 minutes would be the ideal time to spend on the Changla pass and enjoy the snow along with the views of the snowcapped mountains, as many visitors experience breathlessness. It is best to carry a medical kit containing medicines for altitude sickness, headaches, nausea, etc., as a precautionary measure.

How long is the Chang La pass?

The road is 71.1km (44.20 miles) long, running from Karu to Durbuk. It’s a pretty steep drive, with gradients reaching up to 14% through some of the ramps.

Is Chang La pass really worth visiting?

Some of the places to see around Chang La pass are Pangong Lake, Nubra Valley, Tso Moriri Lake, and Hermis Gompa. Though Changla Pass experiences extreme cold and chilly winds that can be overwhelming, the breathtaking views from this region leave any visitor speechless, making it a memorable adventure trip.
Pic: Cyril Poirier