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The Markha valley trek has been the most popular trek in Ladakh for many years now, and rightly so.
Region : Ladakh
Altitude : 5150 mts / 16882 ft
Duration : 8-9 Days
Season : June to Oct
Trekking Routes : Spituk - Zingchen - Yurutse - Skiu - Markha
Some of the reasons that contribute to its popularity are (a) one gets to climb on top of two very high passes, Gandala la (4800 m) & Kongmaru La (5150 m) offering stunning views from the top (b) the quaint hamlet of Markha which is nothing less than an oasis in this cold semi arid terrain of Ladakh (c) One gets to hike through remote gorges and vast undulating grazing grounds, cross several streams & rivers and (d) get a very up close and personal experience of the Ladakhi culture and way of life. This trek is easily accessible from Leh and offers a large diversity of landscapes. The green oasis of the Markha Valley guarded by Kang Yatse (6400mts) from east and Zanskar range from the south west. From any of the high points you can have breath-taking views of the Korakoram Saser Kangri peak (7670mts) Stok Kangri (6150mts) Kang Yatse (6400mts).and Nun Kun (7135mts.) During this trek you will go through many scattered high villages, each with irrigated fields of barley, wheat and mustard which adds brilliance to the landscape of this broken moon land, and Markha valley trek is a part of Hemis National Park, where there is always an opportunity of spotting wild animals.
ARRIVE IN LEH (3500M) We will all meet in Leh today. One can reach Leh by road via Manali or Srinagar or reach directly by air (1 hour) from Delhi. Today we will check into the hotel and relax. We will not exert ourselves in anyway and try to get acclimatized fast. This is paramount for this trip. Overnight at the hotel.
LEH SIGHTSEEING/ACCLIMATIZATION (3500M) We will spend another day in Leh as this will give us the opportunity to visit the ancient monasteries, palaces and museums and also help us acclimatize well to high altitude. Today we will visit Shey & Thiksey gompa and also visit Stok gompa & palace. Towards the evening we will hike up to Leh palace. Evening at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
LEH (3500M) – ZINGCHEN (3400M) DRIVE – YURUTSE (4150 M) TREK/4 HRS We will depart for Zingchen after an early breakfast we drive till Zingchen driving past the Spikut village. From zingchen we start our hike for the day. It's a short stage with moderate gradient. We will hike through Rumbak village to reach our destination for the day, Yurutse. We cross the village before setting up our camp for the day. There are very pretty barley fields all around. It's a good warm up hike today and you are sure to like the several stream crossings along the way. Overnight in tents.
YURUTSE (4150M) – GANDA LA (4800 M) - SKIU (3400 M, TREK 7/8 HRS) In the first stage of the trek we climb up to the Ganda La (4900 m). It's a steep climb towards the latter part and strong winds around the pass add to the difficulty. From the pass there are great views of unserlying valleys on both side and the Zanskar range also visible are many distant summits of the Himalayan range. From the pass we start descending and walk down to Shingo village after a long descent. From Shingo the trail heads into a narrow gorge leading towards Skiu. At Skiu there is a confluence of the rivers coming from Markha valley and Shingo. Overnight in tents
SKIU (3400 M) – MARKHA (3800 M, TREK 6/7 HRS) It's a long but moderate hike today till the scenic village of Markha. You are sure to love the hike today as you walk along and cross several streams. Markha village is a true oasis in the middle of this cold/arid desert. There are about 25-30 families/houses here and plenty of green fields and popular & willow trees. There is a deserted palace too. To best enjoy the village catch hold of a local and get to know more of the way of life is this beautiful part of the world. We will camp along the side of a beautiful stream. Overnight in tents.
MARKHA (3800 M) – THOCHUNTSE (4150M, TREK /4-5 HRS) Another stage of moderate hiking with pleasant views all around. There are yet again several interesting stream/river crossings. Also highlight of the day would be views of the impressive Kangyatze peak (6400m) when walking towards Hankar. We also cross a few settlements/grazing grounds today. There are plenty of good camping sites and we select one to spend the night here. Overnight in tents
THOCHUNTSE (4150 M) – NIMALING (4700 M, TREK/ 4 HRS) It's a short walk today to reach the campsite at Nimalaing. Nimaling is a vast open valley with unending grazing grounds and Kangyatze peak in the background. Almost always there is constant wind blowing in this region which makes conditions slightly uncomfortable. One can do a side trip today towards the base camp of Kangyatse. Overnight in tents
NIMALING (4700 M) – KONGMARU LA (5150M)- SUMDO (3800M, TREK 7 HRS) – LEH (3500 M, DRIVE 2 HRS) After an early breakfast we set out on a steep climb to reach the top of the highest pass on the trail - Kongmaru La (5200m). From the pass one can see Nun Kun in the west and Saser kangri to the north. We spend some time at the pass to soak in and capture the fabulous views all around before descending to Sukarmo from where it's a flat walk along the river to reach the road head at Sumdo. Here we board the waiting vehicles and drive back to Leh. Overnight at the hotel
DEPARTURE FROM LEH Today you can proceed with the onward journey or stay back in ladakh. Trip ends here