This trek in between Ladakh and Zanskar range of Himalayas offers a large diversity of landscapes, from the jagged Kongmaru La pass (5,000m) to the green oasis of the Markha Valley with awesome views of the Karakorum snow-capped peaks. Many scattered villages like oasis each with irrigated fields of barley and potatoes, add color to this otherwise quite barren environment, and provide the chance to meet the Ladakh peasants in the simplicity of their daily life. The trek provides to visit the old monastery, famous for its paintings.

Ladakh-Markha Trek

head-tripfacts

  • Total Duration: 15 Days
  • Max Elevation: 4,000 Meters
  • Trek Grading: Moderate
  • Best Months: June to November
  • Journey Starts/Ends: Srinagar/Delhi, India
  • Accommodation: Hotels, houseboats and tents during the trek.

Trek Highlights

  • Houseboat with dinner in Srinagar
  • Thiksey & Hemis Monasteries of Shey Palace
  • Visit Lamayuru, the heart of Ladakh
  • Explore Leh Palace

Dates & Prices

Dates: Although this trip is currently unscheduled, contact us about organizing this destination for you or your group. The best months are between June to November.

Prices: Contact us with your group size and needs and we’ll work out the best possible price for you.

Outline Itinerary

Trek Days

  • Day 01: Arrival Srinagar (1,585m)
    One of our representatives will meet at the airport upon your arrival and he will arrange immediate transfer to the boat house, where our trek leader will deliver a detailed pre-departure briefing on trek and other arrangements. There will be a short afternoon Shikara ride on Dal/Nigeen Lake. Overnight in a houseboat with dinner.
  • Day 2: Drive to Kargil
    4-5 hours drive, 205km driving distance
    The journey from Srinagar to Kargil takes you through some of the magnificent vistas for which Kashmir is renowned. The journey is pretty straight forward and you will be in Sonamarg in couple of hours; take a breather here and marvel at the beauty of Sonamarg i.e. meadows of gold.  From Sonamarg the landscape starts changing dramatically all the way till the famous Zojila La pass (3,548m). Within an hour of crossing Zojila La, you would be at Drass.  From here it is a straight run to Kargil and you will be there in less than an hour. Overnight in a tourist standard hotel at Kargil.
  • Day 3: Drive to Leh
    5-6 hours drive, 235 driving distance
    After driving 40 odd Kms down the road is the town of Mulbek, a sleepy town which many would pass through without knowing the fact that next to the road is a statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha. It is believed that the 9 meter high statue carved out of solid rock was built in 7th or 8th century. Although one is not allowed to take photographs of the statue, the statue itself is a must see for any one passing through Mulbek. A short ride from Mulbek will take you to 3,718m high Namkila La, a windy yet scenic pass. Roughly 40kms Namkila La is Fotu La, the highest point on the Srinagar – Leh highway, (4,109m).

    After short yet scenic ride/drive, you will reach the village of Lamayuru, Ladakh, the most famous and one of the oldest Gompas. Take some timeout here for a quick photo shoot and a visit to Gompa, else plan a dedicated day for it and move on. Few Kms down the road from Lamayuru are the Hangro Loops; the 18 loops are fast yet sharp loops with steep gorges, drive/ride carefully here. Next major attraction comes in the form of Gurudwara Patthar Sahib located in the town of Nimmu (55kms from Leh), beyond which it is fast and straight forward drive/ride to Leh. Overnight in a hotel.

  • Day 4: Explore major attractions of Leh
    After having breakfast, we will visit the spectacular eight-storied Leh Palace looming above the town. It was built in the 16th century. It is believed that Leh Palace resembles with Palace Potala Palace of Lhasa. Then, we will stroll down to the Leh Market, a fascinating labyrinth of winding streets and quaint bazaars. The main street is open and airy, with rows of shops on either side. On either side of the market are seen a long line of Ladakhi women in traditional dress and colourful jewelry of coral and turquoise, seated behind enormous baskets, selling vegetables.

    The stroll through the town is followed by a visit to Shankar Gompa, about 2 km from the market. It has a number of pure gold icons and richly painted walls, its pictures depicting different stories, including some from the Panchtantra. We will return to hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

  • Day 5: Sightseeing to visit Shey Palace, Thiksey & Hemis Monasteries
    After breakfast, we will start exploring major attractions of Leh. We will begin with Shey Palace, the first capital of Ladakh, where we will see copper and gold statues of Shakya Muni Buddha, which date back to 1633 AD. Later, we will visit Thiksey Monastery belonging to the Geluk Pa sect of Buddhism and then, we will visit Hemis Monastery, the biggest monastery in Ladakh. Hemis was built in the 17th century with the help of Lama Tsagsang Raspa & the King Singey Namgyal. Today, we also have the opportunity to visit a couple of unusual places, such as the world’s highest golf course or the village of Choglamsar (the home of Tibetan refugees and resident of His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, when he visits Ladakh).
  • Day 6: Drive to trailhead and trek to Khilchay (4,118 m)
    30 minutes drive, 5-6 hours walk
    After breakfast, we will drive to our trek trailhead. After 30 minutes drive we will reach to our trailhead where we will meet our trek support crew and horses.

    The trail contours behind the higher section of the village, keeping to the true left bank of the Stok Nala, heading steadily towards the apex of the flood plain of the Stok valley as the trail enters the gorge of the Stok Nala, and then climbs past the ruins of Styang La Khar fort with an extensive willow grove at its base and then turns to the right along a subsidiary valley, climbing a little more steeply to enter a cirque which shelters the summer shepherd settlement of Khilchay. We will spend overnight in tents at Khilchay with all meals included.

  • Day 7: Trek to Yurutse (3,490 m)
    6 to 7 hours walk
    The initial climb to Stok La (4,848 m) is steep and from the top the trail does not drop but instead winds through a complicated knot of ridges, keeping near the crest. The descent into the Rumbak Valley is steep and dusty but can be exhilarating for anyone who wishes to indulge in downhill scree running. The trail, keeping to the true right bank of the Rumbak Nala, passes through the village of Rumbak and then crossing to the true left bank, climbs up the valley of a subsidiary stream to the tiny settlement of Yurutse. Camp is set a little beyond at the foot of the Ganda La. Overnight in tents with all meals included.
  • Day 8: Trek to Skiu (3000 m)
    7 to 8 hours walk
    A gradual climb to the Ganda La (4,878 m) is much longer but is not as steep as that of the previous day’s to Stok La. Gandla offer a spectacular panorama of white fringed mountains, merging into the distant ranges of the Karakoram.. The trail descends steadily to the head of the Skiu Valley where a number of rivulets join to form a small stream. The broad grassy shoulders of the upper valley narrow sharply to the pinched waist at Sumdo with its few houses and fields at the junction of a small stream with the Skiu Nala. From here the river swoops exuberantly down a tight, narrow gorge choked with willow and wild rose with the trail leaping from bank to bank all the way to the village of Skiu on the banks of the lower Markha and the campsite. Since Skiu is only at about (3,000 m) and the Markha Valley is quite narrow, the temperature is higher here.

    At dusk just as the evening shadows begin to envelop the valley it is worth walking back along the trail where the Skiu Nala meets the Markha, to visit a small monastery cared for by an old nun who comes every morning and evening the light the butter lamps at the altar of Chamba – the Future Buddha. Overnight in tents with all meals included.

  • Day 9: Rest day at Skiu (3000 m)
    7 to 8 hours return journey
    The energetic may like to follow the trail from Skiu along the true right bank of the Markha to its confluence with the Zanskar. However, it is a long walk each way. Overnight in tents with all meals included.
  • Day 10: Trek to Thinlespa (3,538m)
    5 to 6 hours walk
    A very pleasant walk up one of the loveliest sections of the Markha Valley. Woody bushes grow thickly along the river which is a spanned by several bridges over which the trail marches to Thinlespa. The camp is beyond this small charming village on the true right bank of the river. Overnight in tents with all meals included.
  • Day 11: Trek to Hankar (3,970m)
    5 to 6 hours walk
    The trail continues eastwards climbing steadily up the valley through the picturesque village of Markha and its interesting monastery, which is a well worth visiting. Coming in from the south is the trail from Rubering La, one of the routes to Zangla. From Markha the country changes and the warm, relatively heavily wooded section of the lower Markha is left behind. The camp below the twin villages of Lower and Upper Hankar is distinctly cooler than at Thinlespa. There is a ruined fort in between two villages. It is a worthwhile of visiting the fort. Overnight in tents with all meals included.
  • Day 12: Trek to Nimaling (4,880 m)
    5 to 6 hour walk
    From Hankar the trail climbs steadily up the now narrow valley, past villages smaller and seemingly poorer than those of the lower areas. The Nimaling plain is a broad undulating meadow which slopes upwards to the base of the ice-clad Kang Yurze which dominates the area. Nimaling with tiny ponds and rivulets flowing all over its meadows provides pasturage in the summer for an astonishing number of animals – yaks, dzos, sheep, goats, horses – not only from the Markha but also from villages all around. Himalayan marmots and white tailed hare are seen in plenty and it is not unusual to sight an occasional blue- sheep or wolf. Camp is set by the river. Overnight in tents with all meals included.
  • Day 13: Trek to Sumdo (3,987m)
    7-8 hours walk
    After crossing to the north of the Markha, the trail begins climbing up to the highest of the three passes – Kangmaru La (5,274m) with its wonderful views from the top. The trail descends steeply to the head of the Martselang Valley past the sulphur springs of Chyushkarmo and follows the Martselang stream to the village of Shang-Sumdo, at the confluence of the Shang and the Martselang. Overnight in tents with all meals included.
  • Day 14: Drive to Leh (3,500 m) and fly to Delhi
    2 hours drive
    We will drive to Leh after having breakfast. It takes only 2 hours to reach Leh by a private vehicle. After having lunch at Leh, we will drive to airport for our flight to Delhi. Overnight in a tourist standard hotel on b/b.

Depart for Onward Journey

  • Day 15: Depart for onward journey
    We will provide a private vehicle for your transfer to international airport.

Trip Extensions

Do you wish to extend your trip to include more time, additional destinations, or both? Let us know and we’ll help you plan it out.

(These trips can also be extended or modified to fit your schedule.)

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