Trek to Markha Valley (with homestay)

This 10 day adventure trek in Markha Valley gives you the chance to immerse yourself in the culture and nature of the magical kingdom of Ladakh. You'll spend days trekking through stark landscape, and at night, you'll sleep in cosy homestays where you can live like locals. You'll ascend to high altitude passes like Ganda-La at 16,339 ft and Kongmaru-La at 17,304 ft, to get spectacular views of the landscape around. You'll also trek along the Markha river that brings life and greenery to the valley, see herds of yak grazing peacefully on the slopes around, and meet the tough, friendly people who live in this extreme terrain.

This Markha Valley trek itinerary includes two days in Leh to allow you to acclimatize, as well as visits to Leh's most famous landmarks: Thiksey and Hemis monasteries, the Shey Palace, and the Stok Palace and museum.

NOTE: This is a custom trip and requires a minimum of 4 participants.

IMPORTANT: The Markha Valley trek involves some long days of trekking (7-8 hours on some days) at high altitude, and is suitable for seasoned Himalayan and high-altitude trekkers.

Destination

The Markha Valley trek begins in Hemis National Park, which with its stark landscape and sparse shrubbery, is very unique. This is also home to the snow leopard, and is popular as a snow trek in winter. With very little tree cover, the days can get warm, but the temperature drops at night in this high altitude desert. You'll find yourself stopping to admire picturesque villages, pastures of grazing yak, sheep and goats at the lower altitudes. As you climb higher towards the passes, you'll find the air getting thinner and the land becoming more barren.

Destination highlights

Ascend the high mountain passes of Ganda-La and Kongmaru-La on this Markha Valley trek. | Cross mountain rivers on foot or pulleys. | Earn boasting rights to the beautiful Markha Valley trek.

14000

20000

10000

56 kms

44 hrs

6 hrs

Leh Airport

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Leh Airport

Shared private vehicles

Zingchen

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07:00

18:30

You'll land in Leh and will be met by the operator and taken to your hotel/guesthouse. Once you check in, you can freshen up and relax. You'll need today to acclimatize to the altitude, so make sure you stay dehydrated and keep warm. You'll be served tea/coffee in the morning, and can rest till lunch time. After lunch, the guide will take you to visit the majestic Leh Palace, modeled after the Dalai Lama’s residence in Tibet, and Shanti Stupa, which holds the relics of the Buddha at its base. Both these spots are in Leh, and will give you some gentle exercise. You'll return to the hotel for the night.

Overnight in hotel/guesthouse in Leh.

You'll be met at the airtport and transferred by shared private vehicle to the hotel/guesthouse. You'll be served hot tea/coffee upon check-in at the hotel/guesthouse. You'll spend the rest of the day resting and acclimatizing in your room and at the hotel. Eat a hot dinner and head to bed early.

Food

Dinner

Veg

Day 1 Milestone

Leh

Leh

05:30 AM

The day begins with a hot breakfast in the hotel, and then you set off in a vehicle to visit some of the historic landmarks around Leh. You get a tour of the Shey Palace, Thiksey and Hemis monastery, and the Stok Palace museum. While you'll feel more comfortable with the thin air pressure today, your body is still acclimatizing, so do avoid any heavy exertion. By evening you return to the hotel in time for a hot dinner. Turn in early tonight so you're prepared for tomorrow.

Overnight in hotel/guesthouse in Leh.

Wake up and eat a delicious breakfast at the hotel/guesthouse. You'll spend the day sightseeing in Leh, getting used to walking at this high altitude. Today's package includes breakfast and dinner at the hotel in Leh, but you can choose and pay for your own lunch. Overnight in hotel in Leh.

Food

Breakfast | Dinner

Veg

Day 2 Milestone

Leh

Leh

05:30 AM

After an early breakfast in the hotel, you are driven to the start point of the Markha Valley trek at Zingchen village. The trek starts in the beautiful Hemis National Park, and you'll come to appreciate its immense size as you walk through it. You'll only be trekking for 4-5 hours today, just enough to warm up those trekking muscles. You'll traverse a narrow trail which widens out to reveal a dramatic valley and the village of Rumbak. From Rumbak you trek to the nearby village of Yurutse where you’ll stay in a homestay, close to the foot of the Ganda-La pass.

Overnight in homestay.

After breakfast at the hotel, you're transported to the start point of the Markha Valley trek in private shared vehicles. Lunch is provided enroute, and you'll stop at a homestay for the night. You'll be given sleeping bags here. Today's package includes all meals.

Food

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Veg

Day 3 Milestone

Zingchen

Yurutse

07:00 AM

Wake up early to a hearty breakfast and get ready to ascend to Ganda-La. You'll wind your way along steep mountains, cross a valley, and zigzag up to the pass, which stands high at 14,370 feet. From the top, you'll get spectacular views of the surrounding region of Ladakh and of Markha Valley, where you’ll be camping for the night. You'll have some time to explore the pass and the views, and then will proceed onwards to the village of Skyu, in the Markha Valley. You'll stay in a homestay and enjoy a hot dinner with the locals.

Overnight in homestay.

Start the day with a bracing breakfast, to fuel you through the trek. Lunch is served mid-trek at a suitable location. Today's package includes all meals. At the end of the day, you eat a hearty dinner at your next homestay.

Food

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Veg

Day 4 Milestone

Yurutse

Skyu

07:00 AM

Wake up to a cup of hot tea or coffee and a big breakfast. Today's going to be a long trek of about 7 hours, but it'll be fun, because you'll be crossing the Markha river twice during your trek. During this time of the year, the river is shallow, but the current is strong and the riverbed is slippery, so watch your step. You'll pass through Chaluk, where you rest and recover before continuing along the banks of the Markha river to the climb that leads you to Markha village. You'll be staying in a homestay here for the night.

Overnight in homestay.

Start the day with a bracing breakfast, to fuel you through the trek. Today's package includes all meals. Lunch is served mid-trek at a suitable location. At the end of the day you have a hearty dinner at the homestay.

Food

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Veg

Day 5 Milestone

Skyu

Markha Village

07:00 AM

You'll wake up and enjoy a big breakfast and a lazy morning, before it's time to set off on your next adventure. The trek continues through the valley, with barren mountains framing the blue skies and the occasional grassy plain. You take a break at Hankar village, where you get a chance to rest your feet and refuel with some food and drink. After that, you'll trek onwards till you reach Thachungtse, where you'll be staying in a homestay.

Overnight in homestay.

Start the day with a bracing breakfast, to fuel you through the trek. Today's package includes all meals. Lunch is served mid-trek, with dramatic views all around. At the end of the day you have a hearty dinner at your homestay.

Food

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Veg

Day 6 Milestone

Markha Village

Thachungtse

07:00 AM

Today you'll ascend from the plateau from Thachungtse to an altitude of 16,000 feet. The ascent is a steep one but the alpine grasslands in Nimaling are worth the effort. In these vibrant pastures, you’ll find shepherds minding herds of grazing yak, goat, and sheep. Also, in the background is the Kang Yatse peak with its two summits. You'll be staying at a homestay here for the night.

Overnight in homestay.

Start the day with a bracing breakfast, to fuel you through the trek. Today's package includes all meals. Lunch is served mid-trek at a suitable location. At the end of the day you have a hearty dinner at your homestay.

Food

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Veg

Day 7 Milestone

Thachungtse

Nimaling

07:00 AM

After breakfast at your homestay, you say goodbye and set off to conquer Kongmaru-La pass. The trek to the pass is a thrilling one, with deep gorges and narrow trails leading to dramatic reveals of hidden valleys. The Kongmaru-La pass is one of the higher mountain passes, situated at 16,700 feet, and offers sweeping views of the Indus valley, dotted with quaint villages and patches of grassland. After you’ve had your fill of the summit, you continue onward to Shang Sumdo, which is situated at a height of 12,000 feet. This will be your last night on the Markha Valley trek, so make sure you make the most of it.

Overnight in homestay.

Start the day with a bracing breakfast, to fuel you through the trek. Today's package includes all meals. Lunch is served mid-trek at a suitable location. At the end of the day you have a hearty dinner at your next homestay.

Food

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Veg

Day 8 Milestone

Nimaling

Shang Sumdo

07:00 AM

Start your last day of trekking on the Markha Valley trek with a hearty breakfast. You'll descend to Hemis Monastery, one of the oldest in the region. You’ll have time to explore the monastery before you board vehicles to be driven back to a hotel in Leh. Along the way, you'll also stop at Thiksey Monastery, Stok Museum, and Shey Palace. Once in Leh, you can freshen up and can spend the rest of the day as you please. Overnight in hotel.

Overnight in a hotel in Leh.

Start the day with a bracing breakfast, to fuel you through the trek. Today's package includes all meals. In Leh you are transported to the hotel/guesthouse in shared private vehicles, where you can enjoy a hot dinner and memories from the trip.

Food

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Veg

Day 9 Milestone

Shang Sumdo

Leh

07:00 AM

Today you bid farewell to the desert kingdom and the Markha Valley trek. You'll be transferred to the airport and are free to proceed homewards. Trip ends here.

Your trip ends after breakfast.

You'll eat breakfast, and then pack up and check out. You'll be dropped off at the airport,in shared private vehicles, to proceed on your homeward journey. Your Markha Valley trek ends here.

Food

Breakfast

Veg

Day 10 Milestone

Leh

Leh airport

07:00 AM

Includes / Excludes

Includes

  • Transport in shared private vehicles as per itinerary
  • Accomodation in Leh at hotel/guesthouse
  • Accommodation in homestays during trek
  • Horses/ponies for carrying common gear
  • Protected inner line permit
  • Wildlife permit
  • Sleeping bag
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Oxygen cylinder
  • Breakfast and dinner in the hotel in Leh
  • All veg meals on the trek (Jain meals available for all-Jain groups)
  • An English speaking guide with a cook and helper
  • All applicable taxes

Excludes

  • Insurance
  • Personal porters (can be arranged for INR 1000 per bag, per day)
  • Any personal expenses
  • Any drinks, tips, laundry or phone calls
  • Any charges for cameras or phones
  • Any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances like landslides, road blocks, bad weather, etc.

What to Wear

What to Wear

  • Trekking pants (insulated and waterproof)
  • Down jacket
  • Thermals (top and bottom)
  • Inner fleece gloves
  • Outer waterproof gloves
  • Sturdy trekking shoes
  • Woollen socks for camp (optional)
  • Thick socks for trekking
  • Scarf
  • Woollen hat
  • Not to wear - Expensive clothes or jewellery
  • Suitcases or strolley bags

What not to Wear

  • Loose clothing that will tangle around you while swimming
  • Restrictive clothing
  • Flip-flops

Equipment / Gear

We Provide

  • Transfers as per itinerary in private shared vehicle
  • 2 person alpine tent
  • Sleeping bags
  • Horses or ponies for carrying luggage
  • All necessary technical equipment
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Oxygen cylinder

You need to get

  • 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
  • Sunhat or cap
  • Sunglasses with UV protection and ability to cut out glare (important for snow)
  • Sturdy walking stick/trekking pole
  • Personal toiletries
  • Extra cash

Medical Kit

  • Please carry any specific personal or prescribed medication, with a personal first-aid kit.

Cancellation policy

For cancellations made on the Markha Valley trek 45 days or more before departure: 80% of the cost will be refunded.

For cancellations made on the Markha Valley trek 44-30 days before departure: 70% of the cost will be refunded.

For cancellations made on the Markha Valley trek 29-14 days before departure: 40% of the cost will be refunded.

For cancellations made on the Markha Valley trek 13 days or less before departure: No refund will be provided.

No show: No refund.

All refunds will be paid after deducting any transaction charges.

Rules on trip

The decisions of the guide are final and binding on the Markha Valley trek.

Please be mindful of your surroundings and avoid littering.

Alcohol and narcotics are not allowed on the trip.

You will be visiting sacred places and small indigienous communities. Please be respectful of the sentiments and property of the people and the land.

Additional instructions, booking policies, terms and conditions

The operator reserves the right to modify or cancel the trek if required.

If the Markha Valley trek is cancelled due to bad weather, the operator is not liable to make any refunds.

Please be completely sure of your commitment to the Markha Valley trek as you'll be trekking for 4-8 hrs a day in remote locations. Turning back will be extremely difficult, if at all possible.

If the Marka Valley trek is cancelled by the operator due to flight cancellations, civil or political unrest, or acts of god (excluding the weather), the operator will reimburse any retrievable charges, minus any transaction fees.