Markha Valley Trek in Ladakh

Mercury Himalayan Explorations
  • 11 days
  • Moderate
  • 4.9
  • Hilly

Markha Valley Trek in Ladakh by Mercury Himalayan Explorations


What’s in store for you here? Stunning views, quaint hamlets – which are like an oasis in this cold semi-arid region, remote gorges and vast undulating grazing grounds. You cross over several gushing streams, and get a close-up view of the Ladakhi culture and way of life.

You will be crossing over two high passes – Kongmaru-la at 5,500 m and Kanda-la 4,800 m.


  • Day 1:

    ARRIVE IN LEH. ALT 3,540 M. Land in Leh. You will be met at the airport by an MHE representative. Spend the day...doing pretty much nothing. You've flown in directly to an altitude of 11,562 feet (3,504 m). Acclimatization is key. Drink a lot of water, take short walks, but otherwise, just chill. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 2:

    SIGHTSEEING IN LEH. ALT 3,540 M. After breakfast drive up along the scenic Indus valley. Enroute, you stop over to visit the famous Shey Palace, and the Thiksey and Hemis monasteries. Packed lunch will be organized on the way.

    SHEY PALACE AND MONASTERY: This summer palace of the erstwhile King of Leh is set upon a hill. The monastery itself has a 7.5 meter high, copper statue of a sitting Buddha, wrought in gold. This is the largest of its kind in the world.

    THIKSEY MONASTERY: Thiksey Monastery is one of the largest and most impressive Gompas of Ladakh. The Thiksey monastery provides a panoramic view of the green Indus Valley from its vantage point atop a hill. It has chambers full of statues, Stupas and colourful Thankas.

    HEMIS MONASTERY: Situated just off the Manali-Leh Highway, this is Ladakh’s biggest and wealthiest monastery. The annual festival held here in summer is a spectacular and stunning experience. The festival coincides with the Buddha’s birthday and falls on June 26th and 27th this year. Even if you miss this spectacle, the visit to Hemis will still be worth it! Overnight will be back in Leh.

  • Day 3:

    DRIVE LEH - ZINCHEN. ALT 3,200 M DRIVE 2-3 HRS. Leave Leh early morning by Innova and reach Spituk (1 hr). Visit the Spituk Gompa, built about 500 years ago. Continue the drive to Zinchen and camp near the tiny village of Zinchen, which has only 4 or 5 houses.

  • Day 4:

    TREK ZINCHEN - YURUTSE. ALT 3,900 M. TREK 5-6 HRS. It's a gradual climb from Zinchen to Rumbak. From here one gets fabulous views of the snow capped Stok Mountains. From here we move along the Rumbak Nala towards Yurutse. At Yurutse village you will find fields of barley and potatoes. Near the village are some impressive purple and green rock formations. Overnight at camp.

  • Day 5:

    TREK YURUTSE - GANDA LA (ALT 4,985M) - SHINGO. ALT 4,180 M. TREK 6-7 HRS. A gradual ascent followed by a steep climb gets one to the Ganda la (4,985 m). On the way up you will be able to spot the nests of Golden Eagles high in the cliffs. From the top views extend south to the Zanskar range and distant summits of the Himalayan range. This is followed by a long descent to Shingo village. Overnight at camp.

  • Day 6:

    TREK SHINGO - SKIU. ALT 3,660 M. TREK 6-7 HRS. Immediately after you leave Shingo, the trail descends steadily to the head of the Skiu Valley, through narrow gorges filled with wild roses and willow trees. You enter the village proper confronted by huge rock faces. At Skiu there is a confluence of the rivers coming from Markha valley and Shingo. Sunset by the river is a photographer's delight. Overnight at camp.

  • Day 7:

    TREK SKIU - MARKHA. ALT 3,450 M. TREK 6-7 HRS. Cross the river and trek up to Markha village, through a beautiful long valley, with terraced green fields and irrigation streams. Several monasteries and ruins are scattered along the trail to Markha and on to Skiu. At dusk it's lovely to walk to where the Skiu Nala meets the Markha, and visit the small monastery which is cared for by an old nun who comes twice a day to light the butter lamps at the altar of Chamba - the Future Buddha. Overnight at camp.

  • Day 8:

    TREK MARKHA - THACHUNGTSE. ALT 4,100 M. TREK 4-5 HRS. From Markha the country changes and the warm, relatively heavily wooded sections of the lower Markha are left behind. You will be required to cross the river several times as there are no bridges here. Hankar, en route, is the highest village in the Markha valley. From here you will get great views of Gyalpo Ri. Overnight at camp.

  • Day 9:

    TREK THACHUNGTSE - NIMALING. ALT 4,800M. TREK 3-4 HRS. Trek starts on a good path with several small inclines and grassy ridges. There are a series of mani walls (walls carved with Buddhist prayers) and chortens en route. This is one of the most beautiful high valleys in Ladakh and is dominated by the Kang Yatse peak. The green meadows and rivulets provide pasturage for many animals from Markha and beyond: yak, sheep, goats, dzo and horses. You may also see marmots, white tailed hares, wolves and Blue Sheep. Overnight at camp.

  • Day 10:

    TREK NIMALING - KANGMARA LA (ALT 4,800M) - SHANG, DRIVE TO LEH. ALT 3,504M. TREK 7-8 HRS. DRIVE 2-3 HRS. Today you will cross to the north of the Markha, climbing to the top of the highest of the three passes, the 5,306 M Kongmaru La, with its wonderful views from the top. There are snow peaks in every direction and on a clear day the giants of Karakoram, including K2, can be seen on the north-western horizon. The trail descends to the Martselang valley, following the Martselang stream to the village of Shang where the car will be waiting for you to drive back to Leh and a hot shower! Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 11:

    DEPART LEH Today after breakfast take your flight back to Delhi.


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