Tso Moriri is one of two lakes that can definitely be called the crown jewel of Ladakh; the other is Pangong Tso, of course. For anyone visiting Ladakh, make Tso Moriri part of your itinerary; and taking a few days to visit here is a must. It is not just Tso Moriri that is a vision to be contemplated; but the entire journey from Leh to Karzok is an experience in itself. Until a few years ago, the best and probably the only way to get to Karzok from Leh was to hire a private taxi; or a motorcycle, if the taxi was out of budget. Unfortunately, the frequency of the bus service from Leh to Tso Moriri has not yet improved, but with the recent increase in tourism in Ladakh, several other options have emerged to reach Moriri which I will address in this article.
One of the frequently asked questions is whether it is worth visiting Tso Moriri. People often compare Pangong and Tso Moriri and decide which one to visit. Let me tell you this in terms of scenic beauty; Lago Tso Moriri is an equal match for Pangong. The fact, however, is that it has always been overshadowed as it is now. Pangong has always been considered the most beautiful lake of the two; and even the connectivity between Leh and Pangong is better than with Karzok.
That, however, is the biggest reason why you should visit Tso Moriri. In the high tourist season, Pangong Tso really started to get crowded because of all the recent fame he received. Everyone who comes to Ladakh definitely goes to Pangong and is getting too commercialized to be honest. Tso Moriri, on the other hand, remains one of the least visited and almost crowded. If you want to witness the same beauty as Pangong, but with a smaller number of people, you must go straight to Karzok.
Bus from Leh to Tso Moriri
There are a total of 3 buses in a month from Leh to Tso Moriri; on the 10th, 20th and 30th of each month. All of these buses leave at 6:30 am in Leh and arrive in Karzok in the afternoon.
Leh to Tso Moriri Bus
The fare per person to travel from Leh to Tso Moriri by bus is Rs. 370
Tso Moriri to Leh Bus
The bus arriving from Leh travels back to Leh the next day. Therefore, a total of 3 buses are available from Tso Moriri to Leh; on the 11th, 21st and 31st or 1st of each month. The fare for this trip is also Rs. 370 per person.
I don’t know why, even after all the recent tourism boom in Ladakh, the frequency of this bus service has not improved. It is clear that these three dates do not fit everyone’s schedule, which makes traveling to Karzok difficult for those traveling by public transport. Fortunately, there are other ways in which you can travel.
Taxi to Tso Moriri
There are two types of taxi services available between Leh and Karzok; private and shared taxis. A private taxi is clear when you have the entire taxi just for you and can travel according to your own itinerary and convenience. What is a private taxi, however, is that it can be very expensive and cannot be called an option for budget travelers.
The second option is to travel with shared taxis. They are available at the main Leh bus stop every morning and it is a great budget option for traveling to Karzok.
Taxi fare Leh to Tso Moriri
A private taxi to Tso Moriri from Leh will cost around Rs. 10,000 for a two-day trip. A shared taxi, however, will only cost around Rs. 400 per person for a return to Karzok from the city of Leh.
This is another great option if you know how to ride a bike in mountainous areas. Depending on the bike you choose, a motorcycle rented in Ladakh will cost around Rs. 1200 to Rs. 2000 a day. Nowadays, there are many rental agencies and mechanics that offer bicycle rentals. Just take a walk around the city, test some bikes and rent the one that looks most reliable.