The Markha Valley trek is one of the most fascinating treks in Ladakh. The trek takes you on a beautiful journey in the land of fluttering colorful prayer flags, mane walls, high passes, exotic wildlife, and unusual shear canyons. Not to forget the authentic villages you walk past, bringing you closer to the Ladakhi culture. The colourful rock formations found on the trail, along with the views of Stok and Zanskar mountains often leave people awe-struck. The best time to do Markha Valley trek is between the months of June and September. It is a challenging trek, with loads of stream crossings, steep ascents, and descents from two high passes and long day walk and is recommended for experienced trekkers. Gear up for a beautiful and culturally rich experience, and let the serenity of the Markha Valley's landscapes knock the stress out of your life. Scroll till the end for all information on Markha Valley Trek like - Markha Valley Route Map, Weather and temperature charts, photos, videos, and some amazing blogs.
Arrive in Leh. Rest & Acclimatization.
Arrive in Leh by 12 PM. Today is for rest & acclimatization. Being outdoors is recommended as it helps in the acclimatization process. Explore the local market of Leh. Have the local cuisine and enjoy shopping for dry fruits and local handicrafts.
Acclimatization in Leh
Explore the cultural and natural beauty of Leh. This will make you familiar with the town and also help in acclimatize to the weather. Leh is the center point of Ladakh and also a major town from where all expeditions begin. It is also a culturally rich place. There are dozens of monasteries and ancient temples that you can go around. They are located in and around the town. Enjoy the local cuisines which are a major attraction for travellers.
Drive to Zingchen. (1 Hour). Trek to Ganda La base (3-4 hours)
In the early morning hours, we will go by jeep to Zingchen. The drive will begin along an old jeep road into a parched and exposed region, so water and sunscreen are absolutely vital! After plodding through the shattered land we will enter the lush Zingchen Valley, where the Rumbak River flows into the mighty Indus. Today we will enter Hemis National Park where we may be fortunate to glimpse wildlife. The National park homes Snow Leopard, Lynx, Ladakhi Urial (a type of goat), Arghali (great Tibetan sheep), Bharal (blue sheep), Red Fox, Tibetan Wolf, Dhole (wild dog), Marmot and Mountain Hare. After paying the entrance fee, we will climb gradually through a beautiful gorge before reaching the valley leading to the village of Rumbak. Here we will stop at a tented teahouse run by women from the village. After a cup of warm tea, we will continue past the house of Yuruche before reaching camp at the base of Ganda La (4545m). From the campsite, there are spectacular views of Stok Kangri and the whole Stok range.
Ganda La base - Shingo via Ganda La 6-7 hours
After a light breakfast, we will begin our 2-hour ascent towards Ganda La (4900m). The usual chorten and prayer flags mark the top of the pass, where one may see Blue Sheep, Marmots and Arghali roaming the hills around. Views of the lofty Zanskar Range and the distant Himalaya Range are great as well. After a short rest, we will make a gradual descent to Shingo, where we will set camp for tonight
Shingo – Sara (5 hours)
Today, we will start by descending through a spectacular gorge to Skiu (3300m). 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. Following the Markha River, we will hike through the lovely valley on a fairly level path. The trail crosses the river at various points and passes winter settlements that contain Lhatos (religious shrines for local deities) and Mani walls (stones inscribed with Buddhist prayers). We arrive at our campsite by the afternoon.
Sara – Markha (4 hours)
During peak season a number of tented teahouses will be open for refreshment. Markha (3800m) is the largest village in the valley, consisting of around 20 houses, an old monastery, and a ruined fort. We arrive out campsite by afternoon.
Markha - Thachungtse (5-6 hours)
The Markha valley trail continues pass old stone-mills, a ruined castle and the auspicious monastery of Techa, which proudly perches upon a 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 be afforded our first view of mighty Mt. Kang Yatse (6400m), which will stay in sight until we cross Kongmaru La. After we break for lunch in the village of Hangkar (the last one in the valley), we will continue onward to the lovely green pasture of Thachungste (4100m), where we will make camp.
Thachungtse - Nimaling (4 hours)
Today the trail will lead us up to the beautiful plateau of Nimaling, where the people of the Markha Valley bring their herds to graze during the summer months. At 4700m, Nimaling is the highest camp (4600m) on the trek, giving us spectacular views of the huge peak of Kang Yatse to the right.
Nimaling - Shangsumdo via Kongmaru La (7 hours). Drive to Leh
After a hearty breakfast, we will cross Kongmaru La (5200m), 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 formations. More river crossings bar our way before we arrive at the sour-spring of Chuskurmo (used in traditional medicine by the Amchi doctors). Camp overnight in Shang Sumdo. Drive from Sumdo to Leh takes about 2 hours. Reach Leh by evening. The trip ends here.
Departure from Leh
You will be required to check out from the Hotel at 10:00 AM.
Markha Valley Trek is a moderate level trek i.e. it requires more strength than easy level treks. It is a high altitude trek in Ladakh region which requires climbing to the height of 5,200 metres. You also need to make sure that your body is well acclimated before the start. Therefore, it is recommended that you first gain an experience of trekking to altitudes of 3000 metres, and then move up a notch with Markha Valley Trek. For details on trek difficulty level, please read on Bikat Rating Scale
You must have done a small trek of 3-5 days before and hiked to an altitude of more than 3000 metres
1. Know campsite basics like how to use a sleeping bag, sleeping tet, toilet tent.
2. Ascending & Descending technique for mountain trails.
3. Basic mountain mannerisms.
1. Jog/Run for 4 Kms in 35-40 mins or walk continuously for 8 Kms (with 3-4 small breaks) on plain terrain (slight incline is better).
2. Hold your breath for 25-30 seconds.
If you are not meeting these benchmarks, please use the preparation schedule to improve your fitness till you achieve the above benchmarks.
The trek begins from Leh region in Ladakh. The best travel option around Leh is by air.
By air: Jet Airways, GoAir, and Air India provide daily flights from New Delhi to Leh. It is recommended that you make your flight bookings well in advance not only to save on the price but also for a confirmed seat.
You can also take an alternate flight route to Srinagar. Fly to srinagar from Delhi and then drive to Leh from Srinagar. The 10-hour road journey from Srinagar to Leh can be covered by hiring a shared taxi which will cost you around INR 3000-4000. The drive route from Srinagar to Leh is scenic.
For coming back, you can either take a direct flight from Leh to New Delhi. Or take the same route via Srinagar. Flights from Srinagar to Delhi are cheaper than Leh-Delhi.
By road: You can take the route from Manali to Leh.
There is a bus from New Delhi to Leh (Via Manali) with one side fare of INR 1365. The bus journey begins at 2:30 pm from Delhi ISBT reaching Keylong next day at 1:30 pm. After an overnight halt at Keylong, it reaches Leh the next day.
Another route to Leh can be taken through Srinagar. There are shared taxis from Srinagar to Leh available at cost of INR 3000-4000.
If you are an ardent biker, you wouldn’t mind taking a bike trip from Delhi to Leh and back.
BSNL has the best connectivity in Leh-Ladakh region followed by Airtel. However, all the mobile networks like Idea and Vodafone also work in Leh. Please note that only postpaid numbers work in J&K state, prepaid connections will cease to work as soon as you enter Ladakh region
There are so many enchanting places to visit in Leh-Ladakh. During your acclimatization period, you can roam around the town and visit the monasteries; Diskit Gompa, and Lamayuru Monastery. Drive up to the Magnetic Hill and experience the crazy magnetic phenomenon on the hill. The picturesque Nubra Valley will take your breath away. The green oasis villages, the monasteries, the ruined palaces- Turtuk and Bordang; there is a whole different culture in this place. It is 150 km away from Leh. You can take a shared taxi to this route. How can you leave Ladakh without seeing Pangong Lake, the sapphire blue lake? Also, visit Gurdwara Pathar Sahib and Leh Royal Palace.
Click here for packing list.
Before going for Markha Valley trek you should have at least 7-10 trek days in the Himalayas in their kitty. For the trek’s achieving more than 5000 meters, a person must have prior experience of trekking at altitudes of 3700 meters.
If you are not meeting these benchmarks, please use the preparation schedule to improve your fitness till you achieve the above benchmarks.
The best season to do the Markha valley trek is from the months of June to early September.
Click here for packing list.
The start point of the Markha Valley trek is Leh.
By Road: By Bus - The Delhi to Leh has many stops. There are direct HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation) state run buses from Delhi to Ladakh via Manali. The distance is covered in a span of 35 hours. The bus departs in the afternoon from Delhi, passes Chandigarh in the late evening, crosses Kullu early in the morning and Keylong a little later. After an overnight stay at Keylong the bus starts early from Keylong to reach Leh by the evening. By Car/Cab – Delhi to Leh by road is considered as an adventure. The road trip to Leh by motorcycle, bikes, Jeep and SUV is a lifetime experience for the travellers. The distance of Delhi to Leh Ladakh by road via Leh Manali Highway is around 1011 km and the total travel time is approximately 24 hours.
By Rail: There is no direct train from Delhi to Leh, as Leh does not have a railway station. Travellers can either catch a train to Tawi, Jammu or Chandigarh and board a bus or take a cab to Leh.
By Air: Leh has a military airport and there are regular flights from Delhi to Leh. It is also connected to a few other major cities in India. Early flight booking can be economical.
The options for the return journey remain the same.
Only postpaid connections work in Ladakh region. BSNL and Airtel get the best network. You get full network at the base and end point of the trek.
Markha Valley is in Ladakh region. Leh-Ladakh holds within themselves some soul-stirring attractions which are accessible through shared or privates taxis. The blue saphire famous Pangong Lake is a jaw dropping beauty which one can visit. Nubra Valley which is an alluring landscape carpeted with vibrant flowers. Magnetic Hills which have magnetic property offers breathtaking view. Hemis Monastery, Leh Royal Palace, Khardung La Pass, Tso Moriri Lake are few places that you cannot miss.
The minimum age limit is 13 years. However, minors aged between 13 to 17 should be accompanied with their parents or guardians. If you are above the age of 60, kindly carry a medical certificate from your doctor that deem you fit for adventure activities like trekking.
When you arrive in Leh, your stay will be made at local hotel/guest house stay. The rooms will be provided on twin or triple sharing basis. You will receive the details of your accommodation through email few days prior the trek. On trekking days, all the trekkers will be accommodated in twin or triple sharing tents. Along with this, there will be also be a toilet tent and a dining tent installed at every campsite as we roll.
We provide 4 seasons tents by Gipfel for higher altitudes which can easily withstand heavy snowfall and storms. They are spacious enough to accomodate 3 people at once with a vestibule to place the backpacks. Our sleeping bags are made up of Heatseeker Pro synthetic insulation that can provide you comfort in -10 degrees celsius. We also use additional fleece liners to have thermal efficiency even in the extreme temperatures of -17 degrees Celsius. If you carry your own sleeping bag, you will get a cashback reward provided that you inform us as soon as you have booked your trek.
Toilet tents will be provided to you on the trek.These are portable toilets tents where a deep pit will be dug. A shovel will be provided inside the tent to cover the waste after you have made your business. You can take a toilet roll inside. Make sure you dig used toilet paper along with the waste. Though water is recommended in place of toilet paper. Please refrain from using wet wipes as they are non-biodegradable. There will be no facility for bathing on the trek. Go through our blog section for tips on how to maintain personal hygiene on treks.
You will be provided with good quality of gaiters and microspikes from us depending upon the situation of the snow. Our trek leaders will also be carrying ropes and ice axe.
Vegetarian food will be served throughout the trek. The only non-vegetarian item served on our treks are eggs. Our kitchen staff follows a proper menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner which has been designed in order to fulfil the nutritional requirements of the participants. There will be milk, poha, eggs, muesli/corn flakes, bread and butter served for breakfast. Rice or simple roti sabzi will be packed for lunch. In dinner, you will have dal, egg curry or any other vegetarian dish along with rice, roti, and a dessert item. Packed lunch will be provided to you on the days you are trekking. You are requested to carry your own tiffin box and a mug to consume food. The meals consumed on journey and arrival day are not included in our cost.
You can rent following items from us- Trekking Pole, Trekking Shoes, Fleece Jacket
During the day, the temperature will range from 24-31 degrees celsius. The nights will get cold dropping the temperature to 11-20 degrees celsius. Higher the altitude you gain, the colder it gets.
The Markha Valley trek opens in the month of June and extends upto September. You will find no snow during this period.
If you want to offload your rucksack, you will have to make a request for offloading a few days prior the trek through an email so that arrangement can be made in advance. You will be charged per day for offloading your rucksack. In case you decide to offload on the spot, you may have to pay a higher price than usual. However offloading your rucksack is not recommended since it is not a safe practice.
A team of participant will be led by a course certified trek leader and a local guide. All participants are requested to abide by what their leader says. There will also be a team of kitchen staff and porters on the trek. We maintain 1:8 ratio of trek leader and participants. All our trek leaders and staff have a certified training in first-aid and rescue operation.
Yes, trekking pole is necessary. If you don’t want to buy one, you can rent it from us on minimal daily basis charges. You can request the renting link from us.
Yes, there are stores and shops in Leh from where you can buy necessary stuff. Though it is recommended that you come prepared with all the stuff. Please do not leave anything for last minute buying.
Yes, it is absolutely safe for solo woman to travel in fix departures. Women on the trek will be sharing tent with each other. In case you are the only woman on the trek, you will be given a separate tent.
Yes, e-certificates will be given at the end of each trek provided that you completed it. It will bear your name, the trek, and the maximum altitude you achieved on the trek.
The hotel at Leh is the pick up point from which we drive to Zingchen in a jeep. The drop point remain the same.
Expect to reach Leh late in the evening, post 1700 - 1800 Hrs. Make sure your bookings from this point to your respective destinations are late in the night or for the next day.
Markha Valley Trek is a difficult trek. It is a high altitude trek in Ladakh region which requires climbing to the height of 5,200 meters. You also need to make sure that your body is well acclimated before the start. Therefore, it is recommended that you first gain experience of trekking to altitudes of 4000 meters, and then move up a notch with Markha Valley Trek. On Bikat rating scale Markha Valley trek difficulty level is 5. For details on trek difficulty level, please read on Bikat Rating Scale
ID Proof (Soft Copy to be sent to us in Advance & original to be carried), Medical Certificate (Soft Copy to be sent to us & original to be carried) and Photocopy of ID Proof are the mandatory documents required for the expedition.
Cancellations up to 30 days prior to departure date
Between 30 days to 15 days prior to departure
Less than 15 days of departure
No Cash Refund
Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date
Cancellations less than 5 days prior to departure