Dry yet inviting, arid yet rich, cold yet very warm, Ladakh is the land of contradictions! Even the average photographer can gain serious Pic Credits here because the grand brown mountains look literally unreal and are extremely picturesque. The best way to explore Ladakh is by entering in the remoteness and feeling it on your own. Markha valley trek is one such trail that offers you the real Ladakh, be it in term of Flora, Fauna, Culture, Traditions, or Serenity (may also be read as remoteness).Bikat Adventures has now crafted an all new, extremely exciting itinerary to explore Ladakh. This one not just take you through the amazingly serene and picturesque landscapes of Ladakh through the Markha Valley but also indulges you in the thrills of White water rafting on Zanskar. Rafting on Zanskar is a completely unique experience. The river is mostly muddy and has a strong flow. One of the few rivers in India to have its roots in Karakoram Range and the gorge through which it flows, is almost dramatic. Huge walls on either side would escort you, as you raft over the rapids one by one on the river till it merges existence with Indus in Nimmu.
Arrive and rest in Leh
Arrive in Leh and today is for rest & acclimatization. Explore the local market of Leh.
Acclimatization in Leh
Stay active and visit one or two monasteries. This should be the second day in Leh for those reaching by flight. The greatest thing about monasteries is that they are always high! You can practice the High Altitude climb and the climb also helps immensely in acclimatizing. Climbing higher and staying lower is the best way to acclimatize. Test your body for the trek that starts tomorrow.
Leh to Zingchen (3734 M) - 28 Kms drive; Trek to Ganda La lower base (4363 M) via Yurutse (4172 M) - 10 Kms, 6 to 8 hours
Start the drive early morning and reach Zingchen. The trek starts from a barrier made by forest department to mark the end of road for vehicles. One can see the confluence of Stok and Rumbek Nallas. The trail has very gradual incline giving enough opportunity to pick up the breath. One starts on the left of Nalla and continues to walk on the dirt road for around 1 hour. Through this route, one can only see towering brown mountains on either side that have no vegetation whatsoever. After walking for another 1 hour, one can see Bon Buddhist shrine along the trail. The trail inclines a bit from here. Another 30 - 40 mins walk would take you to the Rumbek camping site, where the view opens up significantly. After walking for around 50 - 60 mins, we reach at a confluence of two streams coming from Stok. From here, one can start seeing the Gompas that mark the beginning of the village, Yurutse. Keep walking on the trail for another hour to reach the Ganda La lower Base camp. The camp site is in the middle of a large valley with mountains on 3 sides marking its boundaries. Overnight in tents.
Ganda La lower base to Shingo Campsite (4376 M) via Ganda La (4971 M) - 8 km
We start early morning today to cross the pass soon in the morning. Start walking westwards on the clearly demarcated trail towards the Upper Ganda La base. Continuous and steady incline for an hour takes us to the Ganda La Upper base. Continue moving upward from here into the narrow valley in the south west direction. One can see Stok Kangri through most of the climb today. Walk towards the spur on the south west for around 10 mins to get the first glimpse of Ganda La. An hour walk from here will take you to the top of Ganda La with views of Zanskar range in the South (front) and Stok Kangri at the back. The pass joins Rumbak with Markha Valley. While coming down from the pass, the trail is smooth and straight down the gorge into the Markha valley. Walk to Shingo campsite is all downhill and easy. It should take around 1.5 hours to reach Shingo camping site. Overnight in tents.
Shingo Campsite to Chilling (3189 Mts) using Ropeway/Zipline - 16 km
The day is mostly downhill and easy. As we start in the morning, we walk along the same gorge as yesterday that takes us to Shingo village. From the village, start walking alongside the Shingo Nalla. The trail is mostly closed on either side with large brown mountains. The stream would ask you to cross itself multiple times, jumping over the small or big boulders. The trail hardly moves away from the river. As the village Skiu approaches, you can feel the presence of civilization marked by some fields with properly laid boundaries. The walk from Shingo to Skiu should take around 2.5 to 3 hrs. Shingo Nalla meets its big brother Markha Nalla here that flows from east to west. From Kaya, walk for another 6 Kms to reach the ropeway, on the half paved road. After walking for about 2 hours, one can see the confluence of Markha Nalla and Zanskar River. A short hike from here, would take you to the Ropeway point. Crossing the ropeway would sure be a thrilling experience that Cross the Zanskar and move on the other side of the river to Chilling. Overnight in Chilling.
Rafting from Chilling (3189 Mts) to Nimmu (3140 Mts) - 28 km; Drive to Leh - 38 km
Today we will be rafting for 28 Kms from Chilling to the confluence of Indus and Zanskar, near Nimmu and then drive to Leh. It is 28km of rafting for around 3 hours that includes a range of rapids including a Class III + rapid, at a point where the river converges to a large extent. Your guide will provide you a rafting helmet, wetsuit and booties before giving you a brief set of instructions on how to oar and safety procedures if you are thrown overboard. The water is cold and silty coming from the glaciers upstream. If you are considering taking a camera its best to bring something waterproof or bring a small dry sack you can stick in your life preserver and make sure its well attached in case you are thrown overboard. The most exciting stretch of rapids is close to the end of the trip just before the bridge that crosses the river. From here we drive to Leh (around 45 - 50 mins) and stay in hotel.
Departure from Leh
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 start point of the Markha Valley trek & Rafting in Zanskar 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.
Click here for packing list.
The best season to do the Markha valley trek is from the months of June to early September.
Markha Valley Trek is a moderate trek. It is a high altitude trek in Ladakh region which requires climbing to the height of 5000 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 4. For details on trek difficulty level, please read on Bikat Rating Scale
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.
Our community is an integral part of us and we take pride in our trekkers and climbers. When you complete at least three days on any trek or expedition with us, you become eligible for our membership and referral programs.
For us, a successful summit is not about reaching the highest point of a mountain but about making it safely back to base.
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