Famed for its route through the barren beauty of Ladakh’s high altitude deserts, the Markha Valley Trek is the region’s most popular. And it’s not without good reason. Traverse through rocky canyons, mountain villages, Buddhist monasteries, indigenous-nomadic communities, as well as the protected Hemis National Park, where you will have a chance to spot Baharal, marmots and Ibex. Surrounded by two high altitude passes, the Ganda La Pass and the Kongmaru La Pass, the Markha Valley Trek provides some of the most impressive panoramic views in the world, the most epic (and most taxing) being Stok La. The Markha Valley Trek is the perfect blend of physically challenging whilst being culturally interesting. How many treks can you say offer that?
Maximum Altitude: 17,000 feet
Best time to do: May to October
Duration: Nine Nights/Ten Days
Day 01: Leh
Arrive in Leh (11,480 feet). Orientation and briefing, including training on any technical knowledge required for the trek. Spend the day acclimatising at your leisure.
Overnight at hotel, Leh
Day 2: Leh to Stok
Today is another important day for acclimatization and without exerting much we will have a short drive from Leh to this small village, Stok (11,473 feet) which is situated at a distance of just 15 km. Spend the day at your leisure and explore this ancient high altitude Himalayan village.
Overnight at Guesthouse, Stok Village.
Day 03: Stok to Rumbak
After an early breakfast, we make the long steep ascent to Stok-La (16,076 feet). As this is our first major trekking day and is quite strenuous, and will take around seven hours. We recommend that you walk at a steady pace in order to establish an even rhythm. The challenging day’s walk is rewarded by the amazing rock formations on the approach to the pass and also by the stunning views of the Indus Valley and distant mountain ranges from the top of Stok La. From Stok La, we descend into the picturesque and agriculturally rich valley of Rumba, with its beautifully decorated houses, monasteries and schools.
Overnight at camp, Rumbak
Day 04: Rumbak to Shingo
Early morning start. The trail to Shingo goes via Yurutse and over the Ganda-La (16,076 feet) and will take up to six hours.. Along the way, you will have beautiful views of the Zanskar and Karakorum ranges. Long, but easy downhill to Shingo, where we set up camp for the night.
Overnight at camp, Shingo
Day 05: Shingo to Skiu
A fairly easy walk, just a few hours, in the shade of trees and bushes, along with a deep gorge. The trail crosses the stream several times before arriving in Skiu. We camp for the night in a beautiful spot on the banks of the river, overlooking a derelict fortress on the cliff. Afternoon free to explore the village.
Overnight at camp, Skiu
Day 06: Skiu to Markha
A long day’s walk, of around seven hours, crossing back and forward over the Markha Stream, to Markha village (3800 m). There are bridges at many of the more difficult crossing places. The lush vegetation along the river-side is in stark contrast to the dry and barren upper valley slopes.
Overnight at c amp, Markha
Day 07: Markha to Tchatchutse
The trail continues above Markha village, taking us eastwards, deeper into the Markha valley to our campsite at Tchatchutse. Along the way, we pass some impressive monasteries, some ruined and some intact. In this area, we are likely to see small herds of blue sheep (bharal) which often come right down to the river to graze.
Overnight at camp, Tch atchutse
Day 08: Tchatchutse to Nimaling
Today’s walk brings us to the head of the valley, which offers good views of the prominent peak of Kang Yatze (6,400 m) Crossing the Markha stream on the last bridge, we start a steeper climb towards the high plains, known as Nimaling. As well as blue sheep, golden marmots and large hares, Nimaling is also home to an impressive range of birds of prey, including lammergeiers and golden eagles.
Overnight at camp, Nimaling
Day 09: Nimaling-Kongmaru La-Shang Sumdo
Early morning trek to Kongmaru-La (5100 m).
The trail from the pass offers fabulous views to the north of the hills of eastern Karakoram and China. On our way down, we walk along a narrow gorge and by afternoon, arrive in Shang, our stopping place for the rest, at Shang a jeep will be waiting for you, from where we will drive towards to Hemis viaMartsylang.
Overnight at camp,
Continuing our descent, we pass some of the highest located houses in the valley before descending into another section of the rocky gorge. Along the way, we pass through the village of Martsylang, before arriving in Hemis for lunchtime. This village, nestled in a gorge, is surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery. After lunch and rest, explore Hemis Monastery, the biggest and wealthiest in Ladakh.
Overnight at hotel, Leh
Your White Peaks Adventure ends here
The itinerary is a guideline and standard pattern which we provide you. This trekking can be modified according to your time and requirements. What we offer here is a combination of the tea house and camping trekking which can be modified as well. E-mail us for any customisation or special services required.
Nearest Airport is Kushok Bakula Rimpoche Airport is 5 Kms. leh, which is the nearest airport. Taxi services are available from the airport to Leh, costing between Rs.400 - Rs.1,000. Leh is well connected to Delhi
by air. However, if you plan a trip to this area of the country, do book your tickets well in advance as prices can skyrocket! A beautiful flight, try and get a seat on the left-hand side of the plane for the very best views.
The road from Manali to Leh is only open in the summers, with a journey time ranging between two and four days. You should also make sure that you carry at least two spare tires. A good advice would be to carry a
sleeping bag with you well, as the bus may stop in the middle of nowhere for the overnight stay.
Another route to Leh via Srinagar, also takes around two days. On this route, you would pass through famous spots like Kargil and Khalsi.
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