Markha Valley Trek
The Markha Valley Trek is the most serene and one of the famous treks of the Ladakh Region. It is an amazing trip to get introduced to the magical and remote Buddhist Kingdom of Ladakh. While trekking on through this trek, we visit beautiful Buddhist Monasteries, remote Mountain Villages, and High altitude pastures like Nimaling. there are the ruins of many forts and castles, some built-in some pretty unlikely places!
It is a fairly long trek, crossing Kongmaru La at 5200m and has the fine objective of visiting the base camp of the highest peak in the Zanskar range, Mt Kang Yatse, 6400m.
WHILE PLANNING YOUR TREK, AS A BEGINNER KEEP THE FOLLOWING POINTS IN CONSIDERATION:-
- you feel fit enough to trek for hours.
- you walk two or three kilometers daily.
- you don’t have any breathing problems.
- you are not scared of heights.
All road transport by private ac cars
For Day 1 and 10 – Airport transfers, from Leh to Zingchen base camp on Day 2 and back to Leh on Day 9 from Martselang.
7 nights of tented accommodation
Twin sharing; 2 persons in a 3-man-tent
(before and after the trek) Deluxe Hotel accommodation
All trekking gear included
Tents (twin sharing), dining and kitchen tent, toilet tents, sleeping bags and mats. Trekking poles (1 per person) also included.
Local Guides and Cooking staff
Languages; English, Urdu, Hindi and Kashmiri
All cooking utensils
Horses to carry your backpack throughout the trek (offloading) (except day sack)
Meal plan- Vegetarian meals including eggs and cheese, unless specified
Trek-4 meals per day (Breakfast, Lunch, Tea snacks, Dinner). Hotel or Houseboat – 2 Meals (Dinner and Breakfast)
Packed bottled mineral drinking water (2 ltrs per person) on first day of the trek. Boiled drinking water for the rest trek-days
First Aid Kit
What’s not included
International or domestic flights
Personal clothing and equipment
Any medical costs
Costs associated with a medical incident, such as your evacuation from the mountain and/ or hospitalization (for which you should have travel insurance)
Optional trips or excursions
Tips for local staff and guides.
Day 1 - Arrival Leh
On arrival at Leh airport, you will be met by our representative who will transfer you to the hotel. Overnight stay.
Day 2 - Leh- Zingchen (drive) and Rumbak (trek)
We drive from Leh to Spituk and continue on a dirt jeep road into a parched and exposed region. After about an hour’s drive, we will enter the Zingchen Valley where the Rumbak River flows into the Indus which makes its way down a mighty canyon. Further into the valley lies a beautiful village of Rumbak, inhabited by 15 families.
Day 3 - Rumbak to Ganda La Base
From Rumbak it’s a short walk to our next camp, but a very important one in terms of acclimatization, as we will camp very high tonight and cross the high pass the next day. So, we will not hurry and take our time to reach the camp at the base of Ganda La. After a short walk from the camp, we will come across the village of Yuruche, inhabited by only 1 family. From our campsite, there are spectacular views of Stok Kangri and the whole Stok range.
Day 4 - Ganda La base to Skiu via Ganda La
After a light breakfast, we will begin our 2-hour ascent towards Ganda La (4900m). The usual Chorten and prayer flags mark the top of the pass, where one may see blue sheep, marmots and argali roaming the hills around. Views of the lofty Zanskar Range and the distant Himalaya Range are great as well. After a short rest, we will make a gradual 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.
Day 5 - Skiu to Markha
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 several tented teahouses will be open for refreshment. Markha (3800m) is the largest village in the valley, consisting of around 20 houses, an old monastery, and a ruined fort.
Day 6 - Markha to Thachungtse
The Markha valley trail continues past old stone-mills, a ruined castle, and the auspicious monastery of Techa, which proudly perches upon a cliff that looms above Markha. 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 Mt. 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 one in the valley), we will continue onward to the lovely green pasture of Thachungste (4100m), where we will make camp.
Day 7 - Thachungtse to Nimaling
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 (4600m) on the trek, giving us spectacular views of the huge peak of Kang Yatse to the right.
Day 8 - Nimaling to Shangsumdo via Kongmaru La
After a hearty breakfast, we will cross Kongmaru La (5200m), the highest pass on the trek, and from here we will have a wonderful view of the Indus Valley and Ladakh Range. The descent is quite steep, but will gradually level out as we enter Shang Gorge, with its fascinating 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). Camp overnight in Shang Sumdo.
Day 9 - Shangsumdo to Martselang trek, Drive to Le
We will enjoy a pleasant 2-hour walk along a jeep road to Martselang, where the jeep will pick us up. On the way to Leh, it will be possible to visit some of the great monasteries of Ladakh such as Thikse, Hemis, and Shey.
Day 10 - Leh Airport drop
Drop at the airport. Our representative will drop you at Leh airport for departure.
What To Carry?
The trek is supported by horses. You will need to carry only a light sack, weighing about 4-6kg for your items like passport, money, and camera gear. The following is a list of the items you should carry on the trek. If you have items that can not be used on the trek, you can store them at our houseboat or our office and take them back after returning from the trek.
- Please note that only postpaid Indian mobile sim cards (Jio, Airtel and BSNL) work in Ladakh. There’s no cellular connectivity from Day 2 to Day 8 of the trek.
- Please double check your passport or Aadhar numbers before submitting through booking form. These numbers are required for preparation of trek permits.
- Passport or a valid ID card
- Duffel Bag 60 liters
- One Pair Trekking Shoes
- One Pair Trail Approach Shoes
- Trekking Pants
- Hooded Rain Jacket
- Shade Hat
- One Pair Sunglasses
- One Pair Liner Gloves
- Small Size Day-Pack
- Two Pair Trekking Socks
- One Pair Sandals
- Extra Warm Clothes
- Warm Hooded Down Jacket
- Sunscreen Cream
- Lip Balm
- Any Personal Medication
Kashmir Treks are achievable by anyone with a healthy lifestyle and a good level of general fitness. Team members should be willing to be part of a team working together to achieve the goal of the expedition. As a team member, you should have an adventurous and robust spirit. The biggest challenge on this expedition is the first part of the trek across alpine terrain, much of which at altitudes of above 3000m.
MINIMUM FITNESS REQUIREMENTS
- Trek: up to 10km per day.
- Daily activity: up to 5 hours’ trekking per day.
- Carry: up to 5kg in a day sack.
- Terrain: remote, uneven, snowy, icy, rocky, sometimes exposed terrain at up to 3600m.
- Climate: Can be sunny in valleys and cold and windy at Gangabal. Averages are 3000m, 5 to 25C.
- Swim: not required though there will be river crossings to make.