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Duration : 12 Days
Grade : Moderate
A classic trek crossing high passes, fertile valleys and visiting remote villages. Ladakh remains one of the best places to experience the unique culture of the Time Out Ladakh. As our trek follows the Markha River, the long climb up the Ganda La (4950m) is rewarded with truly breathtaking views across the Zanskar and Stok ranges and the snowcapped Karakoram. From the highest pass, the kongmaru La (5240m) we enjoy incredible views extending as far as Tibet and offers spectacular views of the Kang Yatze peaks , before descending to Hemis, Ladakh’s largest and most famous monastery. Cross wild, barren mountain passes and trek through spectacular gorges . Drive to Spituk then drive to Zingchen and start trekking to Yurutse, staying in homestay gives an excellent opportunity to discover the everyday life of the villagers and their unique Buddhist culture. The Markha valley is part of the Hemis National Park so there is a high chance of spotting wild animals
NOTE:- All the itineraries can be customized to suit your own special interests, preferences, abilities, extension and reduction of numbers of days.
Our services start with your arrival at Leh airport. Meet & greet and transfer to the Hotel. Welcome drink on arrival. We recommend you completely relax for the rest of the day to enable yourselves to acclimatize to the rarefied air at the high altitudeanda successful trek in Ladakh requires you to acclimatize well with high altitude, tourist can explore the Leh market and shanti stupa in the evening only if you feel fine. O/N hotel
After breakfast take a full day excursion to renowned monasteries and palaces of Ladakh region. Founded in 1433 by Palden Sherab, Thiksey monastery the beautiful village of Thiksey, dominated by an imposing Gelugpa monastery. This Thiksey monastery majestically overlooks the valley, a magnificent group of about 80 monks; discovery of the beautiful inner courtyard which distributes access to the various temples. The most amazing is certainly the temple of Maitreya with its gigantic interior statue which covers all floors of the building. To join the next site, we will take the path of school children.
Founded in 1632 by Lama Staktsang Raspa, Visit Hemis Monastery, it is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Drukpa Lineage. The monastery houses an amazing collection of the age-old relics such as the idol of Lord Buddha made up of copper gilt, gold and silver stupas It holds the distinction of being the biggest as well as the wealthiest monastery of Ladakh. The annual Hemis festival honoring Padmasambhava is held here in June.
On the way back to Leh visit Shey (Built in 17th century by king Deldan Namgyal) capital of ancient Ladakh, is an interesting complex whose importance is still measured by the quality of the paintings and the astonishing quantity of chortens or other votive monuments that surround it, especially the copper gilt statue of lord Buddha. The Rock-carved statue of five Buddha can be seen below the palace on the roadside, which was probably carved during the reign of Singay Namgyal.
And the Stok Palace built in 1825th by king Tsespal Tundup Namgyal , residence of the present kings of Ladakh. Transformed into a museum, the collections presented evoke a recent past where the royal family ruled over this valley. O/N hotel.
We leave Leh to Chilling by taxi in the morning on the rugged barren field of Taru. En-route we see the confluence of Indus and Zanskar River, where we cross the bridge on the Indus River and follow the Zanskar River on rough road for 2-3 hrs. Crossing bridge of mighty Zanskar River . On the other side of the river, we will meet our pony man with the horses.
Elevation gain +375m / elevation loss -19m
This day a short transfer to Spituk from Leh, reach Spituk where we can visit Spituk Monastery. From the monastery one can have the panoramic view of the mountains and the valley. From here a new road takes us across the Indus towards Zingchen. We will drive as far as the road conditions allow , we start our trek into the Zingchen Gorge at the foot of the Stok Mountains. The trail is straightforward as we follow the Zingchen canal upstream. An ever-changing panorama of fantastic colored mountains surrounds us as we ascend the valley. We may have to cross the river as the stream forces the path, closer to the side of the valley. Suddenly the valley widens and reveals the snowcapped peaks of the Stok Mountains. Prayer flags on a wide pasture mark the junction, on our left side one can have the stunning view of Rumbak Village and Stok range, walking continue toward Yurutse. O/N camp or homestay
Elevation gain +814m / elevation loss -1593m
This morning after breakfast we continue the trek towards Sku from Yurutse village, the trail gets steeper with every step. We ascend towards the Ganda La (4900m) (‘La’ means pass in Tibetan) leaving the fields behind, the trail is clear as it zigzags towards the pass. As we climb up the views become more and more spectacular. After crossing the pass we descend towards Shingo village. From Shingo the trail heads into a narrow gorge leading towards Skiu. Then we will reach the Markha River at the village of Skiu. Here wheat and vegetables are cultivated by villagers, who also harvest wild seabuckthorn berries. There is a monastery in Skiu which was constructed in the 11th century. O/N camp or homestay
Elevation gain +450m /elevation loss -57m
Today the trek is long but it is an easy walk along the valley towards Markha. The terrain along the valley is not demanding, so there is plenty of opportunity to admire the magnificent scenery. The colors of the barren mountains of Ladakh are truly spectacular and the mountains change colors dramatically as the sun rises and sets. We follow the river and will have to cross the river sometimes. We can have lunch in Sara, where there is usually some welcome shade in a tea tent. Beyond the settlement of Chalak there is an impressive line of chortens and a huge mound of goat horns, which are placed on the chortens . Climbing up to a small pass, we descend again to the river and a mediaeval fort, silhouetted on the hillside, tells us that we have almost reached Markha. Markha is the largest village and there will be time to explore the small monastery in the afternoon. O/N camp or homestay
Elevation gain +304m / elevation loss -35m
Morning after breakfast we visit the Markha Monastery and start trekking towards our next campsite. Just beyond Markha valley the trail meets the Chacham Valley. Here is the Umlung Gompa, set away above us on the cliff. We will visit the monastery, which is the most important in the valley and is affiliated to Hemis Monastery. We continue up to the valley and walk through Umlung Village to Hankar which has more impressive fort ruins and a small gompa. O/N camp or homestay
Elevation gain +700m / elevation loss -22m
From Hankar the trail turns off from the main valley and now follows the Nimaling stream to Thachungtse . We may be blessed with luck to watch wild sheep grazing on the high up areas. Walking continues to reach Nimaling. Ahead on the trail one can have the spectacular views of Kang Yatze peak (6400m), the highest peak in the valley. In this area, there is no permanent habitation but during the summer months the shepherds bring their flocks of sheep, goats and dzos to graze on the high altitude pasture. The shepherds stay in stone shelters close to the grazing area for the whole summer and we can often buy yoghurt or local cheese from them. We should get to Nimaling by lunch time and in the afternoon there is an optional walk behind camp towards Kang Yatze. This is worth doing and highly recommended for an impressive close up view of Kang Yatze, which at 6400m is the highest peak in Markha Valley. O/N camp
Elevation gain +700m / elevation loss -900m
Trek from Nimaling to chokdou en-route crossing Kongmaru La (5200m). We will start our day by climbing up to the Kongmaru La. The ascent to reach the top of the pass at 5200m is zigzag, long and steep, but the view from the top is worth the effort. Ahead there are views across the Stok Range and down to the Indus valley. The descent is steep at first and then we enter into a spectacular gorge and follow a gradual descend toward Chokdou. O/N camp or homestay
Elevation gain +280m / elevation loss -283m
Today we continue our descent to the village of Shang Sumdo and then toward Hemis, which is easy walk to reach there. Visit Hemis Monastery, it is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Drukpa Lineage. The monastery houses an amazing collection of the age-old relics such as the idol of Lord Buddha made up of copper gilt, gold and silver stupas It holds the distinction of being the biggest as well as the wealthiest monastery of Ladakh. The annual Hemis festival honoring Padmasambhava is held here in June. We can also drive from Shang Sumdo or Martselang to Hemis by taxi. O/N hotel
Free time for personal activities. O/N hotel
Early morning transfer to Leh airport to board flight back to destination. Journey Ends with sweets memories.
For the more adventurous a drive to either Manali or Srinagar can also be arranged on request. The road journey is covered in two or more days with an overnight halt at either Sarchu or Jispa, which lies on the Leh-Manali highway, or Kargil, which lies on the Leh-Srinagar highway.
Pay heed to the guidelines given by trek leader or instructor in order to enjoy a safe and sound trekking experience.
Avoid trekking during the nights. Single rooms and tents can be requested for a supplement (subject to availability). Please enquire at the time of booking.
Ladakh is very safe, tourist friendly and cheering place, but still you need to take care of some preparations which can make your tour even better and memorable: Carry headache, stomachache, anti-vomiting tablets with you. Please respect the culture of Ladakh. We are providing world class services in the secluded place, which is similar to an oasis, is very difficult and challenging. Still we try our best to bring cheer on your faces.
Code of Ethics for tourists visiting Ladakh
a. As a Guest – Respect local traditions- protect local cultural- maintain local prides.
b. While taking Photographs- Respect privacy-ask permission and restraint use of flashlight for photography and filming inside National Monuments and smoking and alcohol drinking is strictly prohibited
c. Respect Holy Place- preserve what you have come to see- never touch or remove religious objects- purchase and sale of antiques which is more than 100 years old is against the law and it attracts punishment under rules.
d. Keep stream water clean and avoid using pollutants such as detergents in stream and springs- if no toilets facilities are available- make sure are at least 30 Meter away from water source and Bury or cover waste.
e. Giving to Children encourages begin- a donation to project like Health Centre or School is a more constructive way to help.
f. Visitors who value local traditions encourage local prides and maintain local cultures-please help them to gain a realistic view of life in other parts of the World.
g. The beauty of the place and loving kinds of the people may change you but please do not change them.
Eating and Drinking
Whilst camping, the staff will bring a hot drink (usually tea) to your tent each morning. When you reach camp in the afternoon tea and biscuits will be served. At breakfast, dinner and in the afternoons, there is a choice of hot drinks. Breakfasts typically include cereal, toast and jam, eggs and porridge. Lunch on trek is usually served as a picnic en route (except on shorter days when it is in camp). Lunch and dinner typically include soup to start, followed by a variety of hot dishes (both local and western) such as potatoes/chips, vegetables, curry, pasta, rice, dal and paneer (cottage cheese). At dinner time a dessert such as tinned fruit and custard, fritters or cake is also be served.
Note:- that although some meals will include meat, it is not as readily available while camping.
Staying hydrated is important when undertaking any physical activity but particularly so at altitude where it is generally recommended to drink at least 3-4 litres per person per day.
We strongly encourage you not to buy bottled water as this contributes to the growing problem of plastic pollution in Ladakh. In Leh there is a shop called Dzomsa which sells safe drinking water. Your leader will show you where this is on your first day in Leh.
During the trek the cooks will collect and boil drinking water from the mountain streams and fill up your water bottles for you, but you may need to collect water during the day and may wish to use your own water purification treatment as well.
We also suggest that you may like to bring a reusable bottle with a wide opening (Nalgene or similar)
The above weather chart for Leh shows average temperatures only – it does not reflect extremes of heat and cold. Generally the weather is good in Ladakh during the summer time, with warm to very hot sunny days (up to 30ºC/35ºC+) with cooler nights depending on the altitude (it can reach freezing point at some higher places in September). There is, however, the possibility of rain, and you should be prepared for this. The sun is very strong at these altitudes and some of the days on trek can be extremely hot.
Ladakh, though technically part of the Tibetan plateau and classified as a high altitude desert, can and does occasionally experience the effects of the Indian monsoon. Although the departures are timed to coincide when the weather is normally good, you should remember that in any mountain area the weather is never wholly predictable and you should be prepared and equipped to deal with any differences in weather beyond the conditions described above.
Note:- While on a trek or expedition in a remote area if any client suffers from altitude sickness or any other serious injury, the sirdar/guide sends a runner to the nearest telephone/army post/road head to ask for help. Emergency evacuation becomes necessary in the following cases:High Altitude Sickness – If the client suffers from High Altitude Sickness, he/she needs to descend immediately. Injury – In case the client is badly injured – broken bones/fractures or sickness like thrombolysis (blood clotting), paralysis, loss of eyesight – in these cases as well he/she needs to be evacuated/descend immediately.
What to bring
Hiking trousers and shirts, warm jackets, pullovers and raincoat Good hiking shoes Flash light Sun hat/baseball cap Sunglasses, Lip balm Sun lotion cream and toiletries