Markha Valley Trek - A Ladakh Classic

    6001 Meters (Max. Elevation)
    13-14 Days


Knowing Himalayas beyond the mountain walls Trek leads through the most varied landscape in Ladakh, barren and rugged yet inexpensively decorated with multi hued colors of high mountain desert. Over the high passes with fluttering prayer flags, deep gorges with giant rocks in contrast with infinite blue of the sky. The area homes some of the best wildlife in Ladakh. in the right timings of the day there are Great chances spotting Himalayan Blue Sheep, Ibex and, if you are lucky, the rare snow leopard. Extraordinary scenery towards the final leg of the trek.

Trek starts from Jigchan gorge, which too is the beginning of Hemis National Park, chances of spotting herds of bharal (blue sheep). The trek further passes through the beautiful villages with long mane walls and prayer flags. As the trail climbs towards Ganda La (4850 Mts.), the Stok Kangri dominates the skyline here. The top of the pass offers an enchanting view of Zanskar Range to the west and beyond the east lays Stok Mountains. The next part of the journey is through a spectacular gorge and after that lot of stream crossing is involved. As one approaches Markha, the glimpse of Kang Yatse (6400 mts) starts appearing. This magnificent mountain commands the view for next two days.

The trail now winds along the riverbed passing the Umlung Monastery to first Hankar with its beautiful campsite and then to the lovely Valley of Tahugste. Through Nimaling with its wide open pastures and semi – permanent population of Villagers who come up from Markha Valley to graze their live stock on the summer pastures. The last part of the Journey is over 5150 Mts. high Kongmaru La to Shang Sumdo a beautiful camp in grooves and a monastery. The trek eventually ends at Hemis, the biggest monastery of Ladakh.

Detailed Itinenary

Day 1

Early arrival at the international Airport (option of taking a rest room instead of going for the hotel as lot of time is wasted in travelling to and fro and hardly any time for rest). Take the morning flight for Leh.

Day 2

at Leh and Transfer to Hotel. Complete rest in order to Acclimatize and bit of Exploring around (optional). Overnight in a Hotel.

Day 3

Around Leh: - Visit to the town and Market and walk up to Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace and Monastery. Visit to the monastery of Spituk and Phyang. Overnight in a guest house.

Day 4

Drive up to Khardung La (5602m / 18380ft). The world’s highest motor able pass (39 kms) .This Drive takes one over one of the highest motor able roads across Khardung La (5,600 mts) into spectacular deep, sheer sided valleys, massive glaciers and high mountains such as Saser Kangri (7670 Mts). Return to Leh. Overnight in Guest House.

Day 5

Leh to Zingchen Drive and trek to Rumbak (4-5 hours) After an early start from Leh, we will travel by jeep to Spituk, where horses will be waiting to carry our equipment. The trek will begin along an old jeep road into a parched and exposed region, so water and sunscreen are absolutely vital! After plodding through the shattered land for 3-hours, we will enter the lush Zingchen Valley, where the Rumbak River flows into the mighty Indus. Overnight at Rumbak Camp.

Day 6

Rumbak to Ganda La base (05 hours) Trek to the hamlet of Zingchen (meaning ‘big field’). Today we will enter Hemis National Park, where we may be fortunate enough to glimpse wildlife as diverse as the snow leopard, lynx, Ladakhi Urial (a type of goat), arghali (great Tibetan sheep), blue sheep, red fox, Tibetan wolf, dhole (wild dog), marmot and mountain hare. After paying the entrance fee, we will climb gradually through a beautiful gorge that will unveil the imposing Stok Range from time to time. Before reaching Rumbak, we will stop at a teahouse run by women from the village. After a warm cup of tea, we will continue through Rumbak, and pass by the house of Yuruche, before reaching camp at the base of Ganda La (4545m). From our campsite, we can see a spectacular view of Stok Kangri and the whole of the Stok range. Overnight in Camp

Day 7

Ganda La base to Ganda La to Skiu (6-7 hours) After a light breakfast, we will begin our 2-hour ascent of Ganda La (4900m); views of the lofty Zanskar and Stok Ranges will leave you breathless. The usual chorten and prayer flags mark the top of the pass, where one may see blue sheep, marmots and arghali roaming the hills. After a short rest, we will make a gradual hour-long descent to Shingo and break for lunch. We will finish the day by hiking for 2-hours through a spectacular gorge before making camp at Skiu (3300m). Within this idyllic village lies an old monastery and ruins of an old castle (once a rest stop for the Royal family on their way to Srinagar). Overnight in Camp/Home stay.

Day 8

Skiu to Markha (7-8 hours) Following the Markha River, we will hike through the lovely valley on a fairly level path. The trail crosses the river at various points, and passes winter settlements that contain Lhatos (religious shrines for local deities) and Mani walls (stones inscribed with Buddhist prayers). During peak season, a number of tented teahouses will be open for refreshment. Once we cross the river for the final time, we will arrive in Markha, the largest village in the valley, consisting of around 20 houses, an old monastery and a ruined fort. Overnight in Camp/ Home stay. Note: Water and sunscreen are essential, since the valley is quite exposed.

Day 9

Markha to Thachungtse (5-6 hours) The Markha valley trail continues passed old stone-mills, a ruined castle and the auspicious monastery of Techa, which proudly perches upon a towering cliff that looms above Markha, but is well worth visiting, if we have the energy! The path then intersects the river several times before cutting through the last hamlets in the valley. After leaving the village of Umlung, we will be afforded our first view of mighty Kang Yatse (6400m), which will stay in sight until we cross Kongmaru La. After we break for lunch in the village of Hangkar (the last in the valley), we will press onward to the lovely green pasture of Thachungste. Overnight in camp

Day 10

Thachungtse to Nimaling (4 hours) Today the trail will lead us up to the beautiful plateau of Nimaling, where the people of the Markha Valley bring their herds to graze during the summer months. At 4700m, Nimaling is the highest camp on the trek, giving us spectacular views of Kang Yatse to the right, the Zangskar Range and the Markha Valley below. Overnight in camp.

Day 11

Rest day at Nimaling Explore the beautiful surroundings. Overnight in camp.

Day 12

Thachungtse to Nimaling (4 hours) After a hearty breakfast, we will cross Kongmaru La (5200m), the highest pass on the trek and from here we have a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The 2-hour descent is quite steep, but will gradually level as we enter Shang Gorge, with its strange and otherworldly rock formations. More river crossings bar our way before we arrive at the sour-spring of Chuskurmo (used in traditional medicine by the Amchi doctors). After a break, we will cut through a couple of villages before reaching Shang Sumdo, where vehicles would pick us up and then drive to Leh via Hemis and Shey. Overnight in Hotel.

Day 13

Thachungtse to Nimaling (4 hours) Arrival at Del Airport and transfer to Hotel. Option of Agra Sightseeing with overnight at Agra and next day drive back to Delhi by Fatehpur Sikri. Or around Delhi

Day 14

Around Del or drive back from Agra in case clients take the Agra Sightseeing. Transfer to the International Airport and take the flight for onward destination.

Services Included - All airport transfers included, Hotel in Del with breakfast, all the sightseeing around Leh including Khardung La, Hotel in Leh with breakfast and dinner.

During the Trek: - Accommodation: In spacious 3 men alpine tents on DBL and Single supplement basis with battery lanterns, heavy Foam padded mattresses, sleeping bags & liners (if needed), camping pillows, all the camping equipment. Kitchen tent, Dining tent (table and camping chairs), toilet tent etc. all meals included, hot lunch will be served during the treks.

Transportations during the Trek.

Team: Qualified mountain guide (two guides for group exceeding more then10), Kitchen team (cook and assistants) Meals: - vegetarian or non vegetarian (Indian Chinese and continental depending upon the choice). Ponies or horses with team to carry the logistics.

Emergency back up: - Adequate medical kit and oxygen container.


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