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The Markha Valley is the largest valley in the region. The starting point for this trek is Leh, which also allows you to visit Buddhist monasteries.
This trek takes you through villages in a deep valley surrounded by tall mountains. Until the 19th century, these villages were cut off from society.
The Kang Yatse peaks can be seen from the high pass of Kongmaru La. You can stay in homestays for the duration of the trek, which is a great way to learn about local culture. The trek passes through dry terrain but you will still see many different streams like Markha, Indus and other glacial streams.
The trail goes through the Hemis National park. It has lots of animals like mountain sheep, argali, rabbits, and snow leopards. The Markha Valley trek is good for anyone who wants to see beautiful scenery up close and learn about Tibetan culture. Every day new views show up from the shadows of the mountains.
Your adventure begins the moment you board the flight to Leh. If you’re lucky enough to find a window seat, you are sure to be mesmerized. You can see the views of snow-capped mountains from thousands of feet up in the air. Ladakh is a haven.
You’ll be flying over long stretches of snow-covered Himalayan mountains. In the summer season, you can even take a road trip from Srinagar or Manali to Leh. You will see the changing landscape as you make your way to Ladakh.
You will be transferred to the designated hotel once you arrive in Leh. The first day will be spent getting acclimatized to the high altitude so spend your day outdoors but don’t exhaust yourself. Drink plenty of water to naturally acclimatize your body. This is critical in the days ahead.
Keeping in mind that some trekkers may feel the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), Ladakh Government has implemented new regulations that require all the trekkers going on any trek in the Ladakh region to spend at least two days in Leh to fully acclimatize to the high altitude.
It is mandatory for every trekker to adhere to these guidelines. It will be easier and more comfortable for you to stay in your hotel room but it is very important that you go out and explore. Your trek leader will be taking you for an acclimatization walk today and will brief you about the details, do’s, and don’ts of the trek. The Leh market is also a great place to spend the day shopping and remain active. You can do last-minute shopping for your trek.
Distance: 23 km (Drive to Jingchen) & 3 Km Trek
Time Taken: 1 Hour (Drive) & 4 Hours Trek
Altitude: 4,360 m (14,304 ft)
In the early morning, We will set out on a drive to Jingchen. The drive will begin on an old jeep road, where it sticks close to the cliffs of the mountainous region. Sunscreen is absolutely necessary as it’s exposed to the heat of the sun.
After passing over barren land, we’ll enter the lush green Jingchen Valley where the Rumbak River flows into the mighty Indus.
Today, we’ll head into Hemis National Park which houses Snow Leopard, Lynx, Ladakhi Urial (a type of goat), Arghali (great Tibetan sheep), Bharal (Blue Sheep), Red Fox, Tibetan Wolf, Dhole (wild dog), and Marmot.
After paying the entrance fee, we’ll begin to climb gradually through a beautiful gorge until we reach the valley leading to the village of Rumbak. Here, we’ll stop at a women-run teahouse for a warm cup of tea.
Then, we’ll continue past the house of Yuruche before reaching our campsite at the base of Ganda La. The view from the campsite is spectacular, with Stok Kangri and the whole Stok range in sight.
Distance: 9 km
Time Taken: 7 Hours
Altitude: 4,130 m (13,550 ft) via 4,960 m (16,273 ft)
We will be crossing the Ganda La today. As we make our way uphill through the zig-zag trail, the views get more and more impressive- Stok Kangri is in sight behind us, and in front lies the Zanskar Range.
After a 2 hour long ascent, we reach the top of the Ganda La (4,960 m) where colorful prayer flags flutter in the breeze. The views from here are absolutely breathtaking.
We trek down to the Zanskar Valley. As we descend into the valley below, keep an eye out for marmots and blue sheep. The trail to Shingo is easy and should take no more than three hours to reach.
Distance: 15 km
Time Taken: 7 Hours
Altitude: 3,570 m (11,713 ft)
The trail today takes us through a gorge filled with beautiful colors and eroded rocks, all the way to Skiu. Skiu is nestled in a picturesque valley, this village is home to an old monastery and the ruins of an old castle.
Markha valley will provide you with a chance to see all sorts of wildlife. You can see Magpie birds around you and so much more if you keep an eye out. The trail is well paved and easy to follow so you shouldn’t have any trouble making your way through.
The Markha river will stay on your right as you walk and eventually you’ll come to the Women Cafe, a great place to take a break. From here, it’s another hour trek to the Zanpa Yoakma bridge.
This bridge marks a halfway point for today’s trek. You might also spot black sheep, deer, and mountain goats on these slopes. Continue walking straight for another 40 minutes until you reach Nagding village.
After 1 hour from Nagding village, the entrance to Sara Village appears. Skeletons of wild animals are hung at the entryway. Sara, unlike Skiu, appears to be an open area. The homestay has traditional circular seating outside that adds a distinctive look to the place. After eating and drinking some hot beverages, curl up in a comfortable bed at the homestay for the night.
Distance: 9 km
Time Taken: 6 Hours
Altitude: 3,760 m (12,335 ft)
Start your day today with an early morning hike from Sara. You’ll find the trail very similar to the one you took yesterday, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see anything new. This mysterious valley has plenty of surprises in store for you. After only thirty minutes, you’ll reach Chalak village, where the first tea houses are located.
The village is made up of houses perched on small hills, with stone shelters for domestic animals at their base. If you talk to any of the villagers, they’ll welcome you with tea, and stories of their life. Take a break and recharge with some hot drinks and affectionate conversation. The destination is only two hours away from here.
As you walk along the trail, do not miss the ruins of the palace that you see at every turn in the valley. You can also see the Mani stones around stupas. It is said that these stones are protected by some powerful force. To make sure no harm comes to it, please be humble and do not touch the stones.
Markha village is a beautiful, sprawling settlement in the heart of the Markha Valley. You can find numerous houses scattered away, and in order to reach it, you’ll have to walk through the rushing stream of the Markha River. As you make your way to the village, you’ll be invigorated by the cold water. In just 20 minutes, you’ll see the hamlet. We’ll find our homestay and rest for the night.
Distance: 15 km
Time Taken: 8 Hours
Altitude: 4,247 m (13,934 ft)
As we trek further into the Markha Valley, we’ll soon come across some river crossings. Once we’ve crossed, we’ll be greeted by the Tache gompa monastery – a stunning sight perched high on the cliff face. If you’ve got the time, make the short climb up to the temple and enjoy the amazing views from up top.
The village of Umlung is a small, peaceful place that will serve as the last teahouse on your trek. Here, you’ll find another serene monastery that will provide a welcome sight. After leaving Umlung, you’ll be able to catch your first glimpse of Mt. Kang Yatse.
This majestic peak seems to be calling to you, so follow its voice and cross the river several times until you reach the village of Hankar. Tacha monastery is magically placed on a mountaintop.
After lunch in Hankar, we will make our way to Thachungste, where we will set up camp.
Distance: 7 km
Time Taken: 5 Hours
Altitude: 4,840 m (15,879 ft)
After a short but tough hike to Nimaling today, the trail begins to quickly climb up to a plateau where you can see breathtaking views of Kang Yangtse (6,400 meters) the highest peak in the valley.
Beyond this area, there is no permanent habitation, but during the summer months when shepherds bring their flocks of sheep, goats, and dzos (cow-yak crossbreed), they stop to graze on the high altitude pasture.
We can buy yogurt or local cheese from the shepherds, who stay in stone shelters near the grazing area for the entire summer. In the evenings, animals are brought down from the hills and it is quite usual to have hundreds of them wandering through campsites. Be careful of your edibles!
We get to Nimaling by lunchtime and in the afternoon, we take a small walk closer to Kang Yangtse. This is well worth doing for the impressive close-up views of Kang Yangtse.
Distance: 12 km
Time Taken: 7 Hours
Altitude: 3,500 m (11,483 ft) via 5,260 m (17,257 ft)
On this day, you can expect to be feeling nostalgic and excited as you trek up to the highest pass of the trek. Expect to see a lot of surprises in store for you, too. After a strenuous 2-hour climb to Kongmaru La pass, keep your eyes peeled for the Karakoram range Mountains and an incredible array of peaks.
Hold your breath when you see K2 Mountain – the second highest peak in the world! There are prayer flags moving along the wind here, and there’s an excellent network connection from this high vantage point too.
The trail gradually descends as you pass by villages and say goodbye. The immediate trail from the pass is steep and narrow but it later opens up to the village of Chikirmo. Throughout the route, you can enjoy the scenery of the Indus Valley and the Ladakh Range.
After a gradual climb down and a rocky terrain, you will reach Chokdo. This is the last stop of the trek, and there are many homestays there.
The last stop on your journey will be Leh. The mountains are looming in the distance, and you can see this monastery town of Hemis Gompa. Take a deep breath, let it fill your lungs, then take one final look at everything before you move on to your next adventure!
You’ll be saying goodbye to us today and making your way back to the comfort of your home. You’ll once again be flying over the magnificent Himalayas!
If you wish to continue your travels and explore Ladakh, you can ask for suggestions and discuss your plans with anyone from our team.
The best time and season to do the Markha Valley Trek is in July and August months.
All participants are expected to be confident that they are physically and mentally fit and able to complete the itinerary of their chosen event as defined in the itinerary.
Any minors between 10 and 17 years of age must accompany their parent or guardian who assumes full responsibility for them to participate in the adventure activity or event. Any unaccompanied, underage minor will not be allowed to participate in the adventure activity.
You must be at least 18 years old to make a booking with us. After the booking, our team will send you a confirmation of the booking.
We understand that you may have to change your travel plans due to the Covid-19 situation, so considering this we have introduced a Book Now, Pay Later facility for all the participants. However, you will be required to pay the full amount at least 15 days prior to the departure date.
If you wish to cancel/modify your existing booking, you can do so by logging in to www.advenchar.com, and pay through the dashboard or you can drop us a mail at email@example.com with all the details of your booking, and we’ll cancel it for you.
You can claim a 100% refund if you choose to cancel your booking before 15 days. The refund will primarily be in the form of a voucher valid for 12 months. You can also opt for a cash refund provided the booking is not part of a promotional offer or a coupon code provided by Advenchar.