- Duration : 8 days
- Season : July to August
- Region : Leh - Markha Valley - King Yatse
Detailed itinerary :
Day: 1 Spituk to Zingchen (4-5 hours)
In the early morning hours, drive to Spituk, wherefrom the equipments will be carried by the horses. Do not forget to take water and sunscreen as the trek will begin along an old jeep road and continue to a parched and exposed region. After plodding through the shattered land one arrives at the beautiful and lush green Zingchen Valley, where the Rumbak River flows into the mighty Indus. Further into the valley lies the campsite, in the two-house hamlet of Zingchen.
Day: 2 Zingchen to Ganda La base (3-4 hours)
Enter Hemis National Park where one may be fortunate to encounter the untamed 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. One starts climbing gradually through a beautiful gorge before reaching the valley leading to the village of Rumbak after paying the entrance fees. Stop at a tented teahouse run by women from the village. After a cup of warm tea, continue past the house of Yuruche before reaching camp at the base of Ganda La (4545m).
Witness nature’s most magnificent views of Stok Kangri and the whole Stok range from the campsite.
Day: 3 Ganda La base to Skiu via Gandala 4900 m (6-7 hours)
Begin the 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. 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 and break for lunch. Call it a day after hiking for 2-hours through a spectacular gorge before making camp at 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.
Day: 4 Skiu to Markha (7-8 hours)
Travel through the Markha River and 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). During peak season a number of tented teahouses will be open for refreshments. Markha (3800m) is the largest village in the valley, consisting of around 20 houses, an old monastery and a ruined fort.
Day: 5 Markha to Thachungtse (5-6 hours)
The Markha valley trail continues past old stone-mills, a ruined castle and the auspicious monastery of Techa, which 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 get to view mighty Mt. Kang Yatse (6400m) which will stay in sight until one crosses Kongmaru La. After the lunch break in the village of Hangkar (the last one in the valley) continue onward to the lovely green pasture of Thachungste (4100m) and camp overnight.
Day: 6 Thachungtse to Nimaling (4 hours)
The first destination is 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 spectacular views of the huge peak of Kang Yatse to the right.
Day: 7 Nimaling to Shangsumdo via Kongmarula 5200 m (7 hours)
After a hearty breakfast, cross Kongmaru La (5200m), the highest pass on the trek, and from here we will have a wonderful view of the Indus Valley and LadakhRange. The descent is quite steep, but gradually levels out as one enters Shang Gorge, with its fascinating rock formations. More river crossings obstruct the way before one arrives at the sour-spring of Chuskurmo (used in traditional medicine by the Amchi doctors). Overnight camp is at Shang Sumdo.
Day: 8 Shangsumdo to Leh via Martselang (2 hours trek, 1 hour drive) Enjoy a pleasant 2-hour walk along a jeep road to Martselang, where the jeep will pick us up to drive our way back to Leh.