Markha Valley Trek



9 days

Tour Type


Area: Ladakh Himalayas
Max. Altitude: 5150 mts/16895 ft)
Grade: Moderate
Season: Mid-June – Oct
Walking: 15-20 kms a day


The Markha Valley Trek is certainly one of the most varied and beautiful treks in the world. It ventures high into the Himalayas crossing two passes over 15,000 ft (4575 m) as it circles from the edges of the Indus Valley, down into parts of Zanskar, and passes through terrain that changes from incredibly narrow valleys to wide-open vast expanses! It is made all the more interesting by the ancient form of Buddhism that flourishes in the many monasteries that dot the landscape perched high atop hills.

The trails are decorated by elaborate “chortens”(shrines) and “Mani”(prayer) walls that further exemplify the region’s total immersion in Buddhist culture. As we trek to the upper end of the Markha Valley we are rewarded with spectacular views of jagged snow-capped peaks before crossing the 5150m Kongmaru La (Pass) and descending to the famous Hemis Monastery, where we end our trek. There are also a few days to explore the fascinating town of Leh and raft the Indus River.


Day 1: Delhi – Leh

We arrive in Delhi and are transferred to the regional airport for our flight to Leh. We are met at the airport and taken to the hotel. We spend the day acclimatising. Overnight at hotel.


Day 2: Leh

Visit the most beautiful monasteries in Leh surroundings – Shey, Thiksey and Hemis. Shey monastery is situated 15km away from Leh. It was once an ancient summer palace for the Kings of Ladakh, and there are many Stupas and Temples (Gompas) built around it. The Shey Gompa was built by Deldan Namgyal in the 17th century. Its biggest attraction is the 12m high statue of Shakyamuni Buddha, which is inside the Dresthang Gompa. Close to here lies the Thiksey Gompa, which is 17km away from Leh and is thought of as one of the most beautiful monasteries in Ladakh. We then visit the Hemis monastery, 45km south of Leh. This is one of the most well-known and is amongst the biggest monasteries of Ladakh. It was founded at the beginning of the 17th century for the Drukpa order. The countryside is amazing as the monastery is located in a valley, surrounded by streams, and the façade is decorated in stone tablets that are engraved with prayers. We return to Leh overnight.


Day 3: Leh – Chilling – Skiu

We start our day by taking the 40km road to Srinagar, passing by the Markha Valley where the cold waters of the Zanskar River burst into the Indus. We cross over the Indus by Bridge to continue along the left bank of the Zanskar River, passing through the Chilling Gorge. Chilling is a well-known village in Zanskar and Ladakh for its goldsmiths, but equally for being the departure point for the Markha Valley trek. After we cross the Zanskar, we meet with our team and pack-horses. The next part of our trek follows the narrow path on the right bank of the Zanskar River. Red-painted Chortens (Buddhist buildings) are all along our way, showing us the existence of their communication channels. Our path forks off towards the South-East, heading towards the Markha Valley, and we continue trekking until the irrigated fields of the hamlets of Skays and Skiu, where we set up camp for the night. We walk to a monastery and the ruins of a fortress on a cliff above our camp.


Day 4: Skiu – Markha

Today, we trek for 7hrs through lush plant-life on the valley floor, although the slopes are invariably arid and dry. On the hill in the north of the Valley, we visit a Buddhist temple, which is one of the oldest in Ladakh. Overnight in camp.


Day 5: Markha – Hangkar

We continue trekking further into the valley, until we reach Hangkar, where we set up camp. During this 4-5hrs walk, we will see some beautiful monasteries, some of which are ruins, but others that are a testimony to the valley’s past.


Day 6: Hangkar – Nimaling

As we leave Hangkar, we admire an amazing view of the snow-capped summit of Kang Yatze (6400m). A steep climb leads us to the high plains of Nimaling and we continue gaining altitude until we reach our campsite at 4600m. Passing by the north side of the Kang Yatze, we can admire the panoramic view of the surrounding landscapes.


Day 7: Nimaling- Shang Sumdo via Kongmaru LA (7hours).

After a hearty breakfast, we will cross Kongmaru La(5200mt), 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 formation, More river crossing bar our way before we arrive at the sour- spring of Chuskirma (use in traditional medicine by the Amchi doctors). camp overnight in Shang Sumdo


Day 8: Shang Sumdo – Leh Via Martselang

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 Thiksey, Hemis and Shey. Overnight stay in hotel.


Day 9: Leh Depart

Transfer to airport according to your flight schedule.

Trip & services ends here.


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