Markha Valley Trek
Ladakh, J & K | 9D/8N | 17,060 Ft.
May to October
(Above mentioned cost is for a fixed departure)
- Reviews 258 Reviews4.9/5
- Vacation Style High Altitude Trek
- Activity Level Moderate
- Group Size Medium Group
The Markha Valley trek is one that graces the bucket lists of every trekker, and for good reason. It is a panoramic window to the stunning views of the Ladakh and Zanskar ranges. The lofty peaks of Stok Kangri and Kang Yissay accompany you through most of the trek, while the striking landscape of the valley leaves you awestruck. The trail to Markha Valley stems from Hemis National Park, and coils through the incredible, high altitude Gandala La Pass and Kongmaru La Pass. Graced by quite a few rivers and streams that you cross, the trek also exposes you to the beautiful Ladakhi villages and cultures. The rocky terrain of the trek trails several Buddhist villages, and eventually dips into stunning, arid canyons, adding to the thrill. Wading through waist-deep river also adds to the appeal of the trek.
Also famous for the tea houses and parachute tents that the trails run past, the Markha Valley trek is nicknamed as a ‘tea house trek’. Although the trek falls into the difficult category of Himalayan treks, it is not difficult to justify the fame it enjoys amongst trekkers. It is really no wonder that this is one of the most sought-after treks in Ladakh, thanks to the unique diversity of terrains trekkers see throughout. Every day of the trek has something new in store, a compilation of surprises. The trails are lined with beautiful, colorful rock formations, while the brilliant landscape drains all the negativity from life. The rustic villages of Ladakh also give trekkers an insight into the fascinating Ladakhi culture and way of life. Trek in Markha Valley to escape the city life and drudgery that it entails.
That said, the importance of acclimatization for the Markha Valley trek cannot be overstated. Make sure you’re hydrating yourself well before as well as throughout the trek for a seamless journey.
Book your Markha Valley trek package soon! Give us a chance to delight you with the best Markha Valley trek cost and extraordinary services.
Best Time To Visit
The window of May to September is the most ideal time for the Markha Valley trek. During this season, the weather is relatively pleasant and sunny with cool nights. The roads are also accessible, and easy to navigate. Anytime after September and before May, it is very cold, and snow covers the entire area. Camping at high altitudes becomes dangerous, almost impossible. Roads become difficult to navigate, and might also shut down if snow is heavy.
How To Reach
You can take a direct flight to Leh from Delhi, Mumbai, and Srinagar. Take a cab to the base camp from Leh Airport.
You can reach Leh by road either from Srinagar or from Manali, although the Srinagar route is widely preferred over the Manali route.
Jammu Tawi is the nearest railways station to Leh and is well connected to most major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai.
- Revel in the engulfing beauty of the passes of Ganda La and Kongmaru La.
- Drink in the unmatched views of the sprawling Zanskar and Stok ranges.
- Fuel the adrenaline by trekking through multiple rivers and streams, along with steep ascents, riverbeds, and stunning canyons.
Day 1 Arrive in Leh and Rest for the day.
Arrive in Leh and rest to acclimatize in the thin air of Leh.
Day 2 Trek from Leh to Zingchen (11,090 ft.) via Spituk (10,500 ft.)
Drive from Leh to Spituk early in the morning, as the way to Zingchen tends to get quite hot during the day. We start our trek from Spituk, from where a dirt road flanked by the beautiful Indus river leads to Zingchen about 2 hours away. The trail beings from the first Gelukpa Gompa in Ladakh, and snakes past a beautiful little village, leading you over the flowing beauty of Indus via a bridge. Post crossing that, the famous Hemis National Park flags the trail that winds through a dirt road. After about 2 km, the trail branches out into two, and we stick to the lower, relatively shorter trail. After a few minutes into the trek, the splendour of the Indus Gorge unveils, from where we continue trekking towards Zinchen gorge and Zinchen village.
Distance: 15 km
Trekking time: 4-5 hours
Day 3 Trek from Zinchen (11,090 ft.) to Yurutse (13,520 ft.)
An hour’s trek brings us to the check post of Hemis National Park and brings up tp Sumdzom. Post registration and payment of fees, the trail meanders over a stream gushing through a gorge called Zingchen Nala. Crossing the stream, the trail leads to Rumbak, which takes about 3 hours to reach. Leaving behind the gorge, we venture forth into a narrowing valley and move up to Rumbak Village by walking over a stunning riverbed. This can get quite taxing as the trail requires treading over rocks. Crossing another stream, the trail opens up to the village of Rumbak along with stunning vistas of the snowy Stok Ranges. Overnight stay in Yurutse.
Distance: 5 km
Trekking time: 3 hours
Day 4 Trek from Yurutse (13,520 ft.) to Skiu (11,160 ft.) via Ganda La Pass (15,748 ft.)
We begin trekking early the in the morning towards the Ganda La Base camp, which means an hour of a steep climb. Enroute the base camp, the towering Stok Kangri peak rises behind us. From atop the Ganda La Col, the view of Zinchen gorge, shadowed by the Stok Ranges will take your breath away. We embark on the clearly marked, twisting trail towards Skiu. The pass crossing might be strenuous, especially given the drastic gain and loss of altitude. Make sure you maintain a slow pace, as speeding up might increase the chances of AMS. A 2-3 hours’ descent will lead us to Shingo, at 13,615 ft.. From Shingo, we take the trail that coils through a narrow gorge which blooms with vibrant wild roses. Enroute Skiu, we cross Shingo Nallah nearly 4 times. The trail descends through a stream. Once we reach the end of the gorge and leave behind the stream, the Markha Valley begins, graced by the incredible Markha river, marking the merging of Stok valley and Markha valley. We camp overnight at Skiu.
Distance: 25 km
Trekking time: 8-9 hours
Day 5 Trek from Skiu to Markha (12,369 ft.)
A long day. From Skiu, we follow the trail heading towards Markha Valley, alongside the flowing Markha river, flanked by lofty peaks on both sides. Stick to this trail for 2 km, and move along the trail towards Chalak village through a bridge. Once we cross the bridge, another 2 km of trekking will open up to the clearing called Narding, followed by another 4 km till we reach yet another bridge to cross. This brings us to the right flank of the river. We rest at Chalak village and have lunch. Post lunch, the trail weaves uphill and is marked by Bharal horns. We reach Markha Valley after another icy river crossing, which needs another 2-3 km of trekking. Followed by this, a final crossing will bring you to the village of Markha, where we camp for the night.
Distance: 20 km
Trekking time: 6-7 hours
Day 6 Trek from Markha to Thochuntse (13,165 ft.)
A relatively shorter day, we begin trekking along the Markha river for 2 km, after which we come to the point where the path leading to Zanskar can be seen. We cross the Markha river more than once as we head towards Umlung. Crossing the base to Umlung Gompa will lead you to Umlung, while the magnificent My. Kang Yissay looms into view. 2 hours later, the village of Hankar greets us, beyond which, the trail forks into two different routes. We continue further along the one leading to Thochuntse, which is about 1 km away, and includes another bridge crossing. Camp overnight at Thochuntse.
Distance: 13 km
Trekking time: 5-6 hours
Day 7 Trek from Thochuntse to Nimaling (15,518 ft.)
We begin the short trek to Nimaling. Once again, the trail splits into two, and we set out on the left one. A scenic little pond greets us about 2 hour in the trek, where you can fill up your bottles. Soon a grassy, verdant meadow gives way to the campsite of Nimaling, which is a great vantage point to the majestic Kang Yatse peak and glacier! A handful of trickling streams nearby act as the cherry on top. The campsite bears cold, strong winds that the mountains send our way. Camp overnight at Nimaling.
Distance: 7 km
Trekking time: 3 hours
Day 8 Trek from Nimaling to Shang Sumdo (12,237 ft.) via Kongmaru La Pass (17,060 ft.)
Perhaps the most difficult day of the trek, we make for Kongmaru La over a steep terrain. The high altitude and thinness of air increase the challenge twofold. A gushing stream cuts through a gorge, following the first 500 meters of steep descent. The stream needs to be crossed a few times, post which another steep descent to a riverbed trail meets Sumdo. The trail to Sumdo is treacherous, steep and rocky, which demands that you tread with extra caution. Soon, the trail enters a beautiful, narrow canyon which is the quintessential terrain of Ladakh. From Sumdo, it takes about 2-3 hours to reach Leh.
Distance: 17-18 km
Trekking time: 7 hours
Day 9 Depart from leh
You can go on with your onward travel plans.
- All accommodation during the trek on sharing basis in tents/homestays
- All meals during the trek – Vegetarian
- Tents, Sleeping bags and all other Camping Gear (Dining Tent, Tiolet Tent etc)
- Safety Equipment (Medical kit, Oxygen Cylinders, Oximeter etc.)
- Services of our expert Trek Leader
- Services of an Expert Trekking Team (Guides, Cooks, Helpers, Porters/Mules)
- Trekking Permits and Forest Camping Charges (For Indians Only)
- A Life Changing Experience
- GST and Other Taxes (As applicable, Subjected to change according to Govt. Rules)
- Food in Leh
- Trekking Permits and Forest Camping charges for Foreigner’s (If extra compared for Indian Citizens)
- Backpack Offloading Charges (Portage of Personal Bags)
- Personal Trekking Gear
- Travel Expenses to and fro Leh from home city
- Tips for local team
- Expenses of personal nature like Laundry, Phone Calls, Alcohol, Cigarettes, Camera Fee, Bottled Water etc
- Any Requirement for Single Room/Single Tent Accommodation
- Travel Insurance and other Emergency Expenses
- Any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, landslides, road conditions and any other circumstances beyond our control
- Anything which is not mentioned in Inclusions
Whom is the trek for?
The level of this trek leans towards difficult, which naturally demands exceptional physical fitness, stamina and cardiovascular endurance. It is strongly advisable to have prior trekking experience of scaling at least 3,500 meters before you approach this trek, which means beginners should stay away. Also, proper acclimatization is key here, which helps you better adjust to the high altitude and lower oxygen levels during the trek.
What is the best season for the trek?
Mid May to September is the ideal season for the trek, as the weather conditions are not very extreme.
How to reach Leh?
By Air You can take a direct flight to Leh from Delhi, Mumbai, and Srinagar. Take a cab to the base camp from Leh Airport. By Road You can reach Leh by road either from Srinagar or from Manali, although the Srinagar route is widely preferred over the Manali route. By Rail Jammu Tawi is the nearest railways station to Leh and is well connected to most major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai.
What things are needed to be carried?
Rucksack, high ankle trekking shoes, one fleece jacket, one down feather / hollofil jacket, 3 pairs of quick dry T-shirts and trek pants, 5-6 pairs of socks, balaclava, a daypack, sunscreen SPF 50+, scarf, towel, lip balm, headlamp / torch, 2 water bottles of 1 litre, and personal medicines. For a complete checklist, go to Trekmunk Checklist.