• Ladakh
    • Trekking
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    Markha Valley Trek TripsDone

  • Markha Valley Trek

    About Markha valley

    The Markha Valley trek is one of the most popular treks in Ladakh. The arid terrain of Ladakh consists of remote gorges, craggy peaks, high altitude deserts, and dry plains. In the midst of this, the gushing Markha River creates an emerald-green oasis, with fruit orchards, small farms, and Tibetan settlements along its banks. The trek takes you through this contrasting backdrop, offering you a chance to experience the magic of the mountains and the lifestyle of those who live here.

    The Markha Valley route goes through the beautiful Hemis National Park, where one can enjoy walking alongside patches of wild roses and through canyons decorated with multi-coloured Tibetan prayer flags rising and falling in the breeze.

    The Markha Valley trek – What to see and do

    Markha village has only about 25-30 houses, where the hardy locals live year-round, grazing their herds and growing their own food. You’ll see deserted palaces, traditional stone mills, ancient monasteries perched on hilltops, and even an old castle.

    As you trek, you’ll be able to see some of the highest peaks in the country, including the impressive Kang Yatze peak which stands at 21,000 feet altitude. You’ll also be able to admire the Zanskar and Markha rivers as you go deeper into the terrain.

    If you’re planning a visit to Ladakh, you should check out Rafting in the Zanskar River. It’s a must-do for adventure seekers!

    Markha Valley trek itinerary

    This trek can be completed in 5 days or could be extended as long as 11-12 days. The longer version lets you trek shorter distances each day, so you have time to explore small villages like Spituk, Rumbak, Hankar, and more.

    The trek begins in Leh, where you’ll spend a day or two to acclimatize. After that, you’ll head towards Zingchen village, where you’ll start your trek. The first day of trekking is usually not too long – only about 4-5 hours – and you’ll end the evening at Yurutse, which lies just under the Ganda La Pass. The next day, you’ll go over the pass and descend to Skiu, and then onwards to Markha Valley. You’ll stop at Nimaling, one of the highest inhabited plateaus in the world. You’ll cross over Kongmaru La, and descend to Sumdo, from where you’ll be driven to Leh.

    If you’re planning your Markha Valley trek, our blog post on How to Prepare for High Altitude Trekking will give you some valuable tips.

    Markha Valley Trek Summary

    • State: Ladakh
    • Nearest city: Leh
    • Total days: 9 to 10 days
    • Grade: Moderate to difficult
    • Max altitude: 20,000 ft
    • Total trekking distance: 56 km
    • Season: May to September
    • Avg temperature: 25 to 8 degrees Celsius
  • Markha Valley Trek – 9 days

    Sketch Itinerary:

    Day 1: Arrival at Leh – rest and gear up for the upcoming trek

    • Start point: Leh
    • Endpoint: Leh
    • Day start time: 07:00 AM

    Day 2: Acclimatization day at Leh – explore local bazaars, last-minute shopping

    • Start point: Leh
    • Endpoint: Leh
    • Day start time: 07:00 AM

    Day 3: Leh to Yurutse – 4-5 hour hike, overnight stay at Yurutse.

    • Start point: Leh
    • Endpoint: Yurutse
    • Day start time: 07:00 AM
    • Trekking distance: 6 km
    • Trekking time: 4 hours

    Day 4: Yurutse to Skiu – pass through buckthorn berry farms to reach Skiu, overnight camping at alpine tents.

    • Start point: Yurutse
    • Endpoint: Skiu
    • Day start time: 07:00 AM
    • Trekking distance: 12 km
    • Trekking time: 8 hours

    Day 5: Skiu to Markha – 7-hour trek to Markha village, mix and mingle with locals

    • Start point: Skiu
    • Endpoint: Markha
    • Day start time: 07:00 AM
    • Trekking distance: 11 km
    • Trekking time: 7 hours

    Day 6: Markha to Thochuntse – walk through local communities, explore beautiful mountain ranges.

    • Start point: Markha
    • Endpoint: Thochuntse
    • Day start time:07:00 AM
    • Trekking distance: 7 km
    • Trekking time: 5 hours

    Day 7: Thochuntse to Nimaling – reach Nimaling after passing through Markha valley.

    • Start point: Thochuntse
    • Endpoint: Nimaling
    • Day start time: 07:00 AM
    • Trekking distance: 6 km
    • Trekking time: 4 hours

    Day 8: Nimaling to Leh – 7-hour trek, descend to the village of Sundo.

    • Start point: Nimaling
    • Endpoint: Leh
    • Day start time: 07:00 AM
    • Trekking distance: 14 km
    • Trekking time: 7 hours

    Day 9: Departure from Leh

    • Start point: Leh
    • Endpoint: Leh
    • Day start time: 07:00 AM
    Detailed itinerary:

    Day 1: Arrival at Leh

    Once you arrive in Leh, head to your assigned hotel and check-in. You will meet your fellow trekkers here. Today and tomorrow is reserved for acclimatisation, i.e. getting your body adapted to the high altitude environment.

    You must keep yourself active and spend the day doing short walks around the place. Eat regularly, drink plenty of water and keep yourself well hydrated to avoid developing AMS - Acute Mountain Sickness. Rest well in the evening and get a good night’s sleep. You will spend the night at the hotel in Leh.

    Day 2: Acclimatization day at Leh

    Wake up fresh and spend another day getting your body acclimated to the altitude. After a hearty breakfast, explore the Leh markets, visit the local monasteries and other interesting sites in Leh. Meet your trek leader and your fellow trekkers and get to know everyone a bit better. You will receive your trek orientation where you will be briefed about the trek and all the essential information regarding high altitude trekking. In case you have missed out on any essentials, you could do your last minute shopping at the Leh markets. Eat regularly, hydrate well and get another good night’s rest. Overnight at a hotel in Leh.

    Day 3: Leh to Yurutse

    Today is the first day of your trek. Post a hearty breakfast, you will set off with your group towards Zingchen. You will be driven in private vehicles such as a Tempo Traveller or an SUV for about 41 km to reach Zingchen. Your trek begins from here.

    Your first campsite is at Yurutse which is about a 4-hour hike from Zingchen. It is a small mountain village with just one house. Once you reach the campsite, you can spend the rest of the evening exploring the campsite. Overnight in a homestay or in tents.

    Day 4: Yurutse to Skiu

    Wake up early to begin your trek from Yurutse and head towards your next campsite at the beautiful village of Skiu. Your first milestone is a steep climb upwards to reach the Ganda La pass at 14,300 ft. Rest briefly after the arduous climb and enjoy the views. Soon, your trail gets easier you head downhill passing through farms of buckthorn berry to reach the village of Skiu. Overnight in tents.

    Day 5: Skiu to Markha

    Bright and early begin your 7-hour long trek and head higher towards the village of Markha. Your trek gets gradually more difficult as you begin to pass multiple small streams and rocky trails. You will reach the Markha, a quaint village of about 30 houses and a monastery. The Markha Valley gets its name from this village. For city dwellers, this is a rare opportunity to sit back and spend some thoughtful time with the locals amidst the beautiful mountains. Overnight in alpine tents.

    Day 6: Markha to Thochuntse

    Today you will continue to climb higher from Markha Village and pass through the village of Hankar to reach Thochuntse. Hankar is the highest village in the Markha Valley and can be reached after several river crossings along the way. You will walk through local communities with impressive views of the Kang Yatze mountain peak in the background and reach Thochuntse by evening. Overnight in tents

    Day 7: Thochuntse to Nimaling

    Today’s destination is the Nimaling plateau which lies at an altitude of 16,000 ft, the highest trekking campsite in the Markha Valley. The trail begins with a few moderately steep inclines. In a few hours, you will reach Nimaling, where the locals bring their herds in large numbers to graze during the summer months. Overnight in tents.

    Day 8: Nimaling to Leh

    With an early morning start, you will begin trekking from the campsite at Nimaling and climb higher to reach the Kongmaru La Pass. At an altitude of 16,800 feet, this Pass will be the highest point of your trek. This is easily the best part of the trek as you get to spend some time appreciating the photogenic views of snow-capped mountain

    Your trail will become considerably easier after the Pass as you descend to the village of Sumdo. After an adventurous 7-hour trek, you will get into an SUV/Tempo Traveller and drive back to Leh. Overnight in Leh hotels.

    Day 9: Departure from Leh

    After a good night's sleep at a hotel in Leh, you will wake up and check out. Trip ends here.


    Transport as per itinerary in SUV/Tempo Traveller. Accommodation will be provided in standard twin-sharing rooms at a hotel in Leh and tents on a twin-sharing basis during the trek, sleeping bag and mattresses will be provided by the operator. Kitchen tent, toilet tents will be provided. All meals from lunch on day 3 to lunch on day 8, mules/porters to carry common camping equipment will be included. Forest entry charges, permits (up to INR 500) and camping fees (if any) are inclusive. The services of an experienced trekking guide and camping crew and cook, first aid kit and all applicable taxes are included in the package costs.


    Transportation cost from base city to Leh, airport transfers from Leh and airport to the hotel are not included but can be arranged with additional costs. Meals in Leh are not included. Any additional costs due to weather/unforeseen situations or personal expenses such as tips, laundry, phone calls etc. will be additional.

    Porter/mule to carry personal luggage are not included and can be hired for additional costs. Any entry to sightseeing spots in Leh will be additional. Any expenses not mentioned in inclusions will be additional.

    Markha Valley Trek (with homestay) – 10 days

  • Best time to go/Weather

    The best season for the Markha Valley trek is from May to September. This is the best time for most adventures in Ladakh. During these months, the skies are blue and sunny, and you’ll have clear views of the mountains extending all around you and into the horizon. The days are pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 20-25 degrees Celsius, and dropping to 8 degrees Celsius at night.

  • Markha Valley Trek - Route Map / Altitude Map

    • Check the trekking route map for the Markha Valley trek.

    • Check maximum and minimum altitudes for every day of the Markha Valley trek.

  • Markha Valley Trek - Frequently Asked Questions

    Is it dangerous to go trekking in Ladakh?

    The biggest risk in Ladakh is altitude-related illnesses, but there are ways to combat this. Leh stands at an altitude of just over 12,000 feet, so it is imperative that you acclimatize completely here, before proceeding onwards to higher altitudes.

    Take it easy during your stay in Leh, and make sure you stay hydrated and eat well. Take short naps, and don’t exert yourself. This should help your body to adjust to the thin air and altitude. When you’re on the trek, make sure you follow the instructions of your guide.

    Do I need permits to go for the Markha Valley trek?

    What is the best season for the Markha Valley trek?

    What should I pack for high-altitude trekking?

    Can beginners do the Markha Valley trek?

  • Markha Valley Trek Reviews

  • Leh is a small town in Ladakh from where people embark on the famous Chadar trek, also known as the frozen Zanskar trek. But during winter, Leh is inaccessible by road from both Manali and Srinagar due to thick snow at the high passes.

    The only way to reach Leh, then, is by flight. There are several airlines which operate flights from the major cities of India, especially from Delhi where the frequency is high. The tickets too can be booked for cheap is they are booked well in advance.

    Every trek brings with it, a fair share of difficulty and excitement at the same time. It’s important not to lose sight of the essentials so that you can enjoy your trek and remain safe at the same time. For all you travellers wanting to explore the Markha Valley Trek, here is what you should carry in your backpack

    Trekking pants (insulated and waterproof), down jacket, thermals (top and bottom), inner fleece gloves, outer water proof gloves, sturdy trekking shoes, woollen socks for camp (optional), thick socks for trekking, scarf, woollen hat. for any trek and especially this, here’s what you should avoid: expensive clothes or jewellery, suitcases or trolley bags.

    Every trek brings forth a unique set of challenges and hence, you should be well-prepared to ensure you don’t have to look over your shoulder at every step. The Markha Valley trek is a fairly difficult and long trek which means you can’t compromise on the below items that you need to carry

    Rucksack (75-80 litres minimum), day pack/small bag for daily essentials, small lightweight towel, insulated water bottle and hydration pack, flashlight with extra batteries, woollen socks for using at night only, lip balm, cold cream, sunscreen, sun hat or cap, sunglasses with UV protection and ability to cut out glare (important for snow), sturdy walking stick/trekking pole, personal toiletries, extra cash.

    The Markha Valley trek takes you to an elevation of 17,000 feet. You’ll climb two very high passes, Ganda La (15,748 ft) and Kongmaru La, (17,060 ft) and negotiate some steep ascents. In addition, most days have long hours of trekking, almost 7-8 hours each day. It is not a technical trek, but it is best suited for those with prior trekking experience. Fit beginners may attempt this, but should be prepared for high altitude and extreme temperatures.