Markha Valley

No of Days

07 Days

Higest Point

Kongmaru La Pass At 5100 Metres




Markha Village And Kang Yatse Peak

Markha Valley is famous for its natural beauty and has a small, charming hamlet that lies across the Markha River. It is between the picturesque Zanskar and Ladakh ranges. Markha Valley is one of the most famous and accessible regions in Ladakh and hence well-known among tourists. The village of Markha is the largest village in the valley. To journey to Markha Valley, you can begin from Stok or Spituk village which are half an hour of drive away from Leh. The route of trekking will take you through stunning landscapes and lofty mountain passes, such as Gandala, Stokla, and Kongamarula. You will also see villages with lush greenery, refreshing oasis, rivers and nomadic houses complete with horses, yaks, and other domestic animals.

Even if you are looking for a spiritual journey, the prayer flags gently blowing in the wind and the soft chants of prayers will offer you that. You will meet friendly locals on your trail and they will greet you with Juley or Hello in Ladakhi. You will always remember the smiles and warmth of the Ladakhi people. The villages you will come across while trekking are - Skyu, Shingo, Hanker, Markha, Chakdo, and Shang Sumdo. In Markha, you will get to see the remains of castles and ancient meditation spots that are a part of its rich history. To trek to Markha Valley is every adventurer’s dream and will impress you if you are in love with nature. Also, you will get a chance to escape the dullness of daily life and find peace, enlightenment and spiritual richness.

Trekking Map of Markha Valley

Markha Valley - Trip Detail
  • 01


    Zingchen to Gandala Base Camp (4380 metres)
    • Early in the morning of day 1, you will have to drive to Jingchen village from Leh. This village is at 3380 metres. The trekking team complete with horses, horsemen and the cook will be there already. Your trekking begins from here and you will need to walk for 6 hours. But remember to not push yourself too much as this is your first day. Now, once you cross the river, you have to continue on the trail till you arrive at the Rumbak village at 3800 metres. Next, you have to ascend slowly from here and go on till you reach the Gandala base camp at 4120 metres. From the camp, soak in the beautiful views of Stokla and rest.

  • 02


    Ganda La base camp (4120 metres) to Skyu (3400 metres) via Ganda la (4900 metres)
    • On day 2, continue ascending from the base camp till you reach the Ganda la Pass at 4900 metres. From the summit, admire the majestic Stok Mountains, Zanskar range, and the trekking route that passes through Shingo Village. Remember to click photos of the gently rustling prayers flags on the top of pass. The descent from the top is simple yet long, and it will follow into a gorge that leads to the Markha Valley. You might catch glimpses of marmots if luck favours you. When the gorge ends, you will arrive at the Skyu village and the Markha Valley will be right in front of you. There is a small monastery in this village which you can reach by walking 6 hours.

  • 03


    Skyu (3400 metres) to Markha (3700 metres)
    • You will start day 3 with an easy walk along the right bank of the river from Skyu. On your way, you will see a lot of greenery, especially sea buckthorn plants that have important medicinal values. Once you cross the river, you will arrive at the Chaluk and Tunespa Village. The landscape that will greet your eyes is breathtaking and you will have a great time admiring it till you reach Markha finally. The Markha Valley has been named after this village. You have to walk for 8 hours till you reach the village.

  • 04


    Markha (3700 metres) to Thuchengtse (4150 metres)
    • On day 4, there will be many rivers to cross before you arrive at Umlung Village. The monastery in this village is never open since the monks spend all their time visiting the Markha Valley villages to perform prayers. To reach the next village, Hanker, you can take an easy walk. The snow clad Kang Yaste at 6400 metres stands majestically in the background of this village. The village’s castle is perched on top of a hill but it is in a rundown state. After walking for 5 hours from this village, you have to camp for the night at Tastungte. It is 4150 metres high.

  • 05


    Thuchengtse (4150 metres) to Nimaling (4720 metres)
    • On day 5, you have to start ascending from your camp till you come across a small lake. Beautiful views of the Markha Valley and Kang Yaste will greet you on the way up. Then you will camp at Nimaling, which is popular as an animal grazing spot in Markha Valley. Some villagers even settle here during summer to let their Pashmina goats and yaks graze. In the background of Nimaling lies Kang Yaste. And the expedition to Kang Yaste also starts from here. Remember that it will be very cold and the weather might keep changing due to high altitude and the topography. A popular proverb describing the weather condition here is - Nimaling, Chharling, Khaling. It means that within a second, the weather can be cloudy, sunny, or snowy. To reach Kang Yaste, you have to walk for 3 hours.

  • 06


    Nimaling (4720 metres) to Shang Sumdo (3360 metres) via Kongmaru la (5100 metres)
    • You have to walk for 7 hours on day 6. The climb to the highest pass in this trek is quite long. The trail that will lead you to the Kongmaru la Pass at 5100 metres is zigzag in nature. And from the summit, you will get to enjoy amazing views of the Ladakh Range as well as the Zanskar Range. When you cross the pass, your descent to Chuskurmo will begin. At the end of the descent, the charming village of Shang Sumdo will greet you at 3660 metres.

  • 07


    Shang Sumdo (3660 metres) to Hemis (3500 metres) to Leh
    • From Shang Sumdo, you will need to cross the river many times to arrive at the Hemis Village at 3500 metres. You have to walk along the riverbed at times. The monastery in Hemis is not only one of the most renowned in Ladakh, it is one of the most-visited monasteries as well. Then, you will drive back to Leh from here. A taxi will pick you up from Hemis. The trek culminates here.

Things To Know Before You Start The Trek

  • Before starting the trek, it is best to take it slow and get accustomed to the climate and altitude. This will prevent unfortunate incidents or accidents.
  • Warm clothes, good trekking shoes with grip, slippers for crossing rivers and a robust walking stick are mandatory.
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen should be carried along everywhere to protect you from UV rays.
  • To stay hydrated on your trek, carry water bottle and water filter.

What happens on a usual day of trekking?

After having bed tea in your tent, early in the morning, you should start to pack all your belongings for the trek. Then you can enjoy breakfast in the dining tent. After finishing breakfast, you are all set for the day’s activities. Your guide will lead you on the trail, while you follow with a light backpack containing your essentials. This means, you should carry things like your camera, sunglasses, water bottle, lunch and so on with you. The heavier things will follow on horseback. Then, at noon, you will stop at a pleasing location for lunch and rest. The trek will continue once again after that, with the kitchen staff and horsemen leading the way to the campsite. Even before you reach your camp, your tent, snacks, tea, and juice will be ready so that you can get refreshed. After you arrive at the camp, you are free to relax the way you want. Dinner will be served at about 7 in the evening. After that, your guide will share the itinerary of the next day with you and decide on the different timings as well.

You can expect delicacies ranging from Indian and Tibetan to Ladakhi, Continental, Italian or Chinese for your breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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