Markha Valley Trek in Ladakh

  • Duration12 Days
  • DestinationIndia
  • Difficulty LevelModerate
  • Max Altitude5200m

About Trip

Namaste from Ashmita Trek & Tours! Join us in discovering the otherworldly territory of the Markha Valley! The Markha Valley Trek is the most sought after trek in Ladakh. Follow the trail through remote villages and Buddhist monasteries up to breathtaking high passes with expansive views of the pure, barren land below. The high-altitude, seemingly endless pastures are truly a sight to behold. If it weren’t for the small settlements every now and then, you would feel as if you are on another planet. The one-of-a-kind trail cross two high passes, the Ganda La (4800 meters/15,748 feet) and the Kongmaru La (5200 meters/17,060 feet).

The adventure starts with a day of exploration and sightseeing in Leh, Ladakh’s capital. Begin to unravel the mysterious of this incredible place as you move from monastery to palace to museum, learning about Ladakh’s history and culture. Wander around the bazaar, an intersection of traders of Tibet, Kashmir, Punjab, and other parts of India. After spending a day in awe at the dated temples, stupas, and gompas, begin the Markha Valley Trek full of excitement!

Hike from village to village through waist-deep waters and high canyons. Right away, you get sensation views of the nearby Stok-Kangri and Zanskar peaks throughout the journey. As you descend from the Ganda La Pass on the third day of the trek, you see a Mars-like landscape of red, yellow, green, and brown rocks. Entering the Markha Valley, the trail crisscrosses past ancient stone monasteries, beautiful villages, and lush agricultural fields. By the end of the trek, you will have seen landscapes that you never knew could exist! 

The Markha Valley Trek is difficult, and one should have some previous trekking experience before taking on the adventure. the biggest challenge is overcoming the change in altitude. The trail is easily accessible from Leh. It combines high mountain passes, authentic village life, and a range of unique sceneries to make an unforgettable adventure. The Markha Valley Trek is the best all-around trek in Ladakh, so come check it out soon!

The best time to do the Markha Valley Trek is during the rainy (monsoon) season. From mid-May to early September, the skies are the clearest and the temperature is most suitable for trekking. During the winter, the passes are impassable due to the amount of snowfall that the area gets. Ashmita Trek and Tours arranges the trek with full management, including transportation, meals, etc. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions!

Highlights

  • Traverse two high mountain passes Ganda La (4800 meters/15,748 feet) and the Kongmaru La (5200 meters/17,060 feet)
  • Exploration day in Leh, packed with majestic ancient temples, palaces, and monasteries
  • Spending days hiking through remote corners of Hemis National Park
  • Diverse trail – raging rivers, barren meadows, lush fields, alpine grasslands, and mountain peaks
  • Unique culture found in villages, deeply rooted in Buddhism

Itinerary

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Upon arrival to Delhi, a representative of Ashmita Trek & Tours receives you at the Airport and transfers you to your hotel. We brief you on the upcoming trek. Spend the rest of the day sightseeing and preparing for the adventure! Overnight in hotel. 

    After breakfast at the hotel, take a flight to Leh. After the short, scenic flight, we check in at the hotel and begin the exploration. Check out the busy bazaar, where amazing handicrafts from Punjab, Kashmir, and Tibet are sold and traded. We enjoy the rest of the day wandering the streets of Leh and letting our bodies become accustomed to the change in altitude. Overnight in hotel. 

      Because of the drastic change in altitude from your country (and Delhi) to Ladakh, we take another day to let our bodies adjust. There is less oxygen in our blood and this can cause problems on the trail so it is better to prevent those issues. During the day, visit Shey Gompa, Stok Gompa, and Thiksey Gompa. In the afternoon, we can take a hike up to Leh palace. There is plenty to explore in this wonderful city! Overnight in hotel.

        Our first day of the Markha Valley Trek starts with a 7-kilometer drive to Spituk. From Spituk, hike along the dirt road along the Indus River. Not long after the green pastures of Spituk and it’s marvelous gompa, the trail splits. We take the lower one and continue to Zinchen. It is possible to go another 5km to Yarutse, but it’s another 800 meters higher, so it’s best to let our bodies rest and stay in Spituk. Overnight in parachute tent.

          It’s a relaxing, easy hike today as we move further into the backcountry. The trail zigzags across a stream that leads us through the gorge. Cross a wooden bridge and keep following the trail, which eventually leads to Rumbak. From here, it is a short distance to Yarutse. Stay in a parachute tent nearby the fields of cultivated barley and other crops. Or, there are two comfortable homestays to stay. Overnight in Yarutse.  

            It’s a long day today, one of the most difficult of the trek. However, with the challenge comes great rewards. Get an early start and ascend for an hour to Ganda La Base Camp. From here, it’s a two and a half hour uphill to the pass itself. The wind-torn prayer flags let you know that you have arrived. Take some photos and enjoy the view. Then, begin to descent towards Skiu. Soon, the valley opens to emptyyellow and green fields. Stop for a meal/rest 3 hours later in Shingo. Follow the Shringri Nala until where it meets Markha River. Here, lies the village of Skiu. Overnight in Skiu. 

              We have another long, but awesome day ahead of ourselves. The scenery of the Markha Valley Trek never ceases to amaze. Trek along the Markha River, passing the settlements of Narding, Zara, and Chalak. After Chalak, there is a river crossing. There is no bridge, so it gets exciting crossing the river on foot! 30 minutes later, we reach the scenic village of Markha. The stark contrast of bright green agricultural fields against the brown and grey mountains is an amazing sight. Overnight here. 

                Wake up with an amazing view of lush terraced hills and stone buildings, with rugged terrain looming in the distance. It’s a moderate day today as we climb through upper Markha Valley and further to Thochuntse. Stop for some photos and exploration at the monastery above the small settlement. The path stays alongside the bank of Markha River, slowly ascending. The majestic Kang Yisay peak overlooks us. Over the day, we pass Tacha and Hankar. The view of Tacha Gompa is one of the most incredible sights in Ladakh. Have a rest here and trek 2 more hours to Hankar. Then, a steep, rocky ascent takes you to Thochuntse. Overnight in Thochuntse. 

                  It’s a short, sweet trek today as we move further into what feels like the middle of nowhere, in the best way possible. 15 minutes from Thochuntse, the trail splits and we take the left-hand one. An hour and a half later, we reach a small alpine pond, beautifully placed around a meadow. Continue walking in the meadow nearby rushing streams, with mountain peaks towering above us. Soon, we arrive to Nimaling. Overnight in Nimaling. 

                    It is our last day of the trek, and the mesmerizing views do not disappoint! After breakfast, we begin the 2 hour strenuous climb to Kongmaru La Pass (5,200 meters). Again, you are greeted with fluttering prayer flags and jaw-dropping views. The beautiful mountains and hills seem to go on forever. From here, trek down via streams, canyons, and gorges to Sukarmo. Have a rest here before continuing to Sumdo, while walking on the mellow trail. We catch our vehicle back to Leh, about two hours away. Overnight in hotel.

                      After breakfast, we bid farewell to the awe-inspiring terrain of Ladakh and the culturally fascinating city of Leh. Take a flight back to Delhi and spend the rest of the day sightseeing or resting. It has been a pleasure trekking with you! Overnight in hotel. 

                        After breakfast, our team transfers you to Indira Gandhi International Airport for your next destination. Thank you for taking the Markha Valley Trek with Ashmita Trek & Tours! We look forward to seeing you again.

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                          What's Included

                          • Accommodation
                          • 2-3 star hotel accommodation with breakfast in hotel in Delhi before and after trek 
                          • Hotel accommodation in Leh
                          • Teahouse/parachute tent accommodation during the trek
                          • All meals (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner) during the trek
                          • Transportation 
                          • Airport pickup and drop service with private vehicle
                          • All government fees and local taxes
                          • Services of helpers at airport and hotels
                          • During the trek 
                          • All necessary mountain permits
                          • All expenses for guide and porters (not including tips)
                          • 3 meals a day (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
                          • Accommodation in teahouse/parachute tent
                          • Local English-speaking licensed mountain guide
                          • Some amount of personal gear to be carried by porter or yak 
                          • Warm sleeping bag with inner-line
                          • Group medical kit box 
                          • Some equipment carried by mule or yak
                          • International Airfare
                          • Domestic Airfare (flights Delhi – Leh – Delhi)
                          • Indian visa fee
                          • Lunch and dinner in Delhi and Leh
                          • Alcoholic drinks, chocolates, snacks, telephone calls, etc.
                          • Tips for trekking staff and driver (tipping is expected, but not mandatory).
                          • Costs from unexpected occurrences (i.e. cancellations, weather problems, damages of property, illness, etc.)
                          • Extra accommodation and meals outside of itinerary
                          • Your travel, medical, and any other forms of insurance
                          • Personal gear and expenses for the trek.
                          • Any other expenses not mention above as included in the price

                          Note

                          Ashmita Trek and Tours does not take responsibility for any problems incurred by weather, damages to personal property, etc. We will do our best to prevent/handle any problems that happen. There is a chance that transportation to and from the trailhead may be delayed due to road and weather conditions. Therefore, it is recommended to book your international flight with several days margin.