Chang La

Chang La: The Ultimate Road Trip Guide

Chang La is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 5.374m (17,631ft) above the sea level, located in the Leh district of Union territory of Ladakh in Indian Jammu and Kashmir. It’s one of the highest roads of the country. Altitude sickness is a common phenomenon here, so you are suggested not to stay there for more than 20 minutes.

Is the road to Chang La paved?

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

Is Chang La open?

Tucked away in northern India, the pass, guarded and maintained by the Indian Army (due its proximity to Chinese border), is covered with snow throughout the year. The best season to drive the pass is summer: the pass remains open for tourists from mid May to October, but the most pleasant months are May and June. There are certain precautions necessary while visiting this place due the cold and chill climate and less of oxygen due to the altitude. 15 -20 minutes would be the ideal time one can spend on the Changla pass and enjoy the snow along with the views of the snowcapped mountains as many visitors experience breathlessness. Fully warm clothing with ears covered and appropriate footwear is a must and it is best to have warm water frequently to bear the extreme cold climate. It is best to carry a medical kit containing medicines for altitude sickness, headaches, nausea etc. as a precautionary measure.

How long is Chang La pass?

The road is 71.1km (44.20 miles) long, running from Karu to Durbuk. It’s a pretty steep drive, hitting a 14% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Some of the places to see around Chang La pass are the Pangong lake, Nubra valley, Tso Moriri lake and Hermis Gompa. Though the Changla Pass has extreme cold and chilly winds that can blow you away, the breathtaking views from this region leave any visitor speechless and will be a memorable adventure trip.
Pic: Cyril Poirier