markha VALLEY TREK - ITINERARY

NOTE: This trek is at high altitude and needs sufficient acclimatisation time before starting the trek.  Please ask us for options before and after the trek.

DAY 1

Leh to Zingchen to Yurutse /Ganda La base:  After breakfast drive approximately one hour to Zingchen, and the start of your trek After entering the Hemis National Park, where you may be lucky enough to get a glimpse of some wildlife, we climb gradually through a beautiful gorge that will give us glimpses of the imposing Stok Range.  Stop at a local teahouse run by Ladakhi woman, for a warm cup of tea before reaching Rumbak.  Pass through the one-house village of Yurutse before reaching camp at the base of Ganda La.  From our campsite we have spectacular views of Stok Kangri and the whole of the Stok Range
Overnight:  Camp  
Camp altitude:  4,545 m
Walking time: 4-5 hours

DAY 2

Ganda La base to Skiu via Ganda La:   After a light breakfast, we will begin our 2 hour ascent to Ganda La (4,900 m) with breaktaking views of the imposing Zanskar and Stok Ranges. The usual chorten and prayer flags mark the top of the pass, where one may see blue sheep and marmots roaming the hills. After a short rest, we will make a gradual hour-long descent to Shingo for a lunch stop. We will finish the day by trekking through a spectacular gorge before pitching camp at Skiu (3,300m). Within this idyllic village lies an old monastery and ruins of an old castle (once a rest stop for the Royal family on their way to Srinagar).
Overnight: Camp
Camp altitude: 3,300 m
Walking time: 6-7 hours

DAY 3

Skiu to Markha:   Following the Markha River, we will trek through a lovely valley on a fairly flat path. The trail crosses the river at various points, and passes through winter settlements that contain Lhatos (religious shrines for local deities) and Mani walls (stones inscribed with Buddhist prayers). During peak season, a number of tented tea-houses will be open, providing hearty refreshment. After crossing the river for the last time, we will arrive in Markha, the largest village in the valley, consisting of around 20 houses, an old monastery and a ruined fort. 
Overnight: Camp
Camp altitude:  3,760 m
Walking time: 7-8 hours

DAY 4

Markha to Hankar:  The Markha valley trail continues past old stone-mills, a ruined castle and the auspicious monastery of Techa, which is proudly perched on a towering cliff that looms above Markha.   The path then intersects the river several times before cutting through the last hamlets in the valley. After leaving the village of Umlung, we will get our first view of Kang Yatse (6,400m), which will stay in sight until we cross Kongmaru La. After a lunch break in the village of Hangkar (the last in the valley), we will continue on to the lovely green pasture of Thachungste.
Overnight: Camp
Camp altitude: 4,100 m
Walking time: 5-6 hours

DAY 5

Thachungtse to Nimaling:  Today the trail will lead us up to the beautiful plateau of Nimaling, where the people of the Markha Valley brings their herds to graze during the summer months. At 4,700 m, Nimaling is one of the highest camps on the trek, giving us spectacular views of Kang Yatse to the right, the Zangskar Range and the Markha Valley below.
Overnight:  Camp
Camp altitude: 4,700 m  
Walking time: 5-6 hours 

day 6

Nimaling to Chokdo/Chuskurmo via Kongmarula:   
After a hearty breakfast, we will cross Kongmaru La, the highest pass on the trek at 5,200 m with wonderful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The 2-hour descent is quite steep, but will gradually level as we enter Shang Gorge, with its strange and otherworldly rock formations. More river crossings bar our way before we arrive at the sour-spring of Chuskurmo (used in traditional medicine by the Amchi doctors). After a break, we will reach the small village of Chokdo  and camp nearby.
Overnight:  Camp
Camp altitude:  3,985 m
Walking time: 6-7 hours
 

day 7 

Chuskurmo to Shang Sumdo:  Trek for a couple of hours, before driving back to Leh, visiting Shey palace along the way.  Arrive back in Leh by late afternoon.  
Walking time:  2-3 hours
Driving time:  2 hours