Markha Valley Trekking Tour in Ladakh

  • Set along the ancient Silk Route, the monasteries and palaces of Leh are striking with the Himalayan peaks and the alpine desert as their backdrop
  • Your tête-à-tête with 6,153 m/20,182 ft high Stok Kangri peak, nestled amidst the Himalayan and Zanskar mountain ranges
  • Spotting Yaks, Marmots, Himalayan Blue Sheep enroute especially near Ganda La and Kongmaru La alpine crossings
  • Views of 6,400m/20,997ft high Mt. Kang Yatze from the grassy meadows of Nimaling
  • Local produce including organic vegetables, dairy products and specialities such as butter tea, roasted barley flour ‘tsampa’ and ‘chhang’ beer

Come experience Tibetan culture in and around Leh in India where enigmatic ‘Gompas’ stand witness in dramatic landscapes where the forested valleys give way to the stark, dizzying desert like conditions of the high mountains.

The Markha Valley trek is best suited for active and pro hikers. This hike involves crossing two high altitude passes – Ganda La at 4,950 m/16,240 ft and Kongmaru La at 5,150 m/16,896 ft in exchange for an audience with the 6,121m/20,082ft high Stok Kangri peak and the 6,400m/20,997ft high Kang Yatze summit.

This remote trek in Ladakh is arguably one of the best in the region as you will slowly leave Leh, its monasteries behind to explore dramatic forests, ridges and valleys of Ladakh.

Quick Facts

  • Duration

    12 days / 11 nights

  • Start / End

    Leh, Ladakh / Leh, Ladakh

  • Price

    From $1,695 pp dbl. occ.

  • Hotels

    Camping / Tea Lodge

  • Activity Level

    Active to Pro

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Brief Itinerary

* with shuttle
1 – 2Leh (3,524m)2
3Zinchen (3,380m)1
4Ganda La (3,960m)1
5Skiu (3,435m)1
6Markha (3,770m)1
7Thochuntse (4,150m)1
8 – 9Nimaling (4,730m)2
10Shang Sumdo (5,150m)1
11Leh (3,524m)1

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 & 2: Leh

Irrespective of whether you arrive at Leh by air or by road via Srinagar/Manali, you will be welcomed by mountains all around here in the heart of Ladakh. Then, your Trip Leader will meet you at your hotel, and introduce you to some of what makes this part of the world so extraordinary. Your Trip Leader will take you out for a short walk around Leh past the Bazaar and its cafes and restaurants through to Leh’s Buddhist monasteries a.k.a ‘Gompas’ so that you can see how these people have lived for centuries at the altitude of 3,524 m/11,562 ft.

The following day, a visit to Leh Palace is on the agenda. This mansion from the 17th century is precariously perched on top of a hill giving you bird’s eye views of Leh and the region around. Acclimatisation is key in these kinds of altitudes, so a trek up the steps to the Japanese Shanti Stupa is the perfect precursor before you begin the Markha Valley Trek the next day.

Meals: Dinner

Altitude: 3,524m/11,562ft

Day 3: Zinchen

We will leave early from Leh on this morning and head to Spitok on the banks of the Indus River to cover as much distance as possible before temperatures rise high. We follow the dirt road here today along the river to Zinchen where we can ease up, rest, set-up camp for the night and explore without backpacks if we reach early enough. This is just the start and it is all about getting acclimatised appropriately so as to prevent issues later on.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance: ~ 15 km/9 miles over 4-5 hours

Altitude: 3,380m/11,089ft

Day 4: Ganda La

The real fun now begins as you climb up and cross the river a few times over with mountain peaks and prayer flags in the scope of your view until you get to the little Ladakhi village of Rumbak. From Rumbak, the trail ascends up to the first pass of the Markha Valley Trek, the Ganda La pass, before which is your campsite for the day.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance: ~ 14 km/9 miles over 5-6 hours

Altitude: 3,960 m/12,992 ft

Day 5: Skiu

Today, the goal is to start early and conquer a Himalayan pass, the Ganda La. The views of 6,153 m/20,182 ft high Stok Kangri peak and the mountain range that surrounds it will get better and better as you slowly leave civilisation behind and walk into the Himalayas of the Ladakh and Zanskar ranges.

And if you and your group relish silence more than words, you might be able to spot some of the inhabitants from these parts as you are now likely to be in the company of Yaks, Marmots and Himalayan Blue Sheep(locally known as Bharal) besides which you might also want to keep a constant eye out for elusive snow leopards.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance: ~ 14 km/9 miles over 5-6 hours

Altitude: 3,435m/11,269ft

Day 6: Markha

This will be a long day’s walk. The journey starts with a climb followed by a hike through temperate deciduous forests with undergrowth. There are several river crossings, so wet shoes are likely. It can all be tiring and time-consuming but the atmosphere will make up for it as you will pass through forests and some small settlements while the valleys are sprawled out in front of you until you reach Markha village, the largest settlement along the Markha Valley trekking route.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance: ~ 20 km/12 miles over 6-7 hours

Altitude: 3,770m/12,368ft

Day 7: Thochuntse

The route from Markha to Thochuntse is likely to be one of the most awe-inspiring bits of your trek thanks to your tete-a-tete with the towering 6,400m/20,997ft high Mt. Kang Yatze. In this section, you will hike along the river and cross it several times at first before climbing past the village of Hankar through to your camp at Thochuntse.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance: ~ 13km/8 miles over 4-5 hours

Altitude: 4,150m/13,616ft

Day 8: Nimaling

Today’s route will take you up the ridge to the plains of Nimaling. Its an easy walk up after which you will have time to explore and wander around the settlement with the impressive Kang Yatze right in front of you all along.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance: ~ 7 km/4 miles over 2-3 hours

Altitude: 4,730m/15,518 ft

Day 9: Nimaling

We take a break to rest our weary legs at Nimaling. Enjoy the magnificent environs of this alpine Ladakhi village where you might be able to chat with locals who grow their own food and also herd yaks during Summer. If you feel like a hiking even on your rest day, a 4-5 hour long side trip to the base of Kang Yatze might be the option you are looking for.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Altitude: 4,730m/15,518 ft

Day 10: Shang Sumdo

At this stage, we will cross Kongmaru La, the highest pass of the Markha Valley trek. In return, you will earn vista views of Mt. Kang Yatze along with that of the Zanskar, Ladakh and Indus Valley mountain ranges. Himalayan Blue Sheep might accompany you on some of those ridges just as colorful prayer flags bid you well in these river-run hills.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance: ~ 18 km/11 miles over 6-7 hours

Altitude: 5,150 m/16,896 ft

Day 11: Leh

We drive to Leh through Hemis.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12: Leh Airport

Your Trek Leader will make arrangements for your journey back to Leh from where you can fly out and get home or continue onwards. An early start might be necessary.

Meals: Breakfast