Best For: Solo Travelers, Couples, Group of Friends & Families
Best Season: June to September
As you reach Leh, head towards your pre-arranged lodging and enjoy the overnight stay there. Encompassed by three parallel ranges of the Himalayas – Ladakh, Karakoram and Zanskar, Leh is precariously positioned at an altitude ranging from 7545 to 16404 feet. Located in Jammu and Kashmir, it is the second largest district in India after Kutch, Gujarat. Being a popular tourist destination, this place boasts several attractions, which include Nubra Valley, Shanti Stupa, Pangong Lake and Stok Monastery.
Day two is for you to continue gathering energy for the ensuing Stok Kangri trek, and acclimatise to the cold weather, high altitude and diminishing oxygen levels. You can also utilise your free time to stroll through the town, and learn about its culture. You may see the raw beauty of the Ladakh plateau, shop at local markets or pay visits to numerous Buddhist stupas and monasteries nearby. In the evening, return to your lodging for another overnight stay in the town.
Freshen up in the morning and pack your bags for commencing Markha Valley trekking. The trek will begin with a drive to the village of Spituk, which is a long stretch of barren desert. From here, you have to hike at a short and moderate gradient to reach Zingchen. Amid rocky and sandy mountainous terrains, Zingchen is a beautiful, green valley, and it is here where the Rumbak River mixes with the Indus River. After witnessing the contrasted regions of Spituk and Zingchen, start trekking to Yurutse .On your way to Yurutse, you will see beautiful barley fieldsand. Stay there overnight.
On this day, get ready for continuing your onward journey on Markha Valley trek. Explore the beauty of Hemis National Park today, where you can see rare species of wildlife like snow leopard, Ladakhi urial (a type of goat), blue sheep, argali (a Tibetan sheep) and red fox. Continue walking till you reach the base of Ganda La After ascending for about 2 hours, you will reach to the top of Ganda La (16076 feet), which is usually marked by prayer flags. After a breathless ascent, take a short break, and then continue your Markha Valley trekking tour. A gradual descent to Shingo followed by a short walk through a gorge will take you to Skiu. After the sightseeing tour of Skiu, get back to your lodging and stay overnight.
Today, you have to follow an easy path along the banks of the Markha River, which is on the route of Markha Valley trekking. On your way to the Markha village, visit the religious shrines at Lhatos and stone inscriptions at Mani Walls. After crossing this beautiful river, you will arrive in the village of Markha. With around 20 houses, a fort and monastery, it is the largest village of the valley. As the sun is about to set, proceed towards your lodging and stay overnight over there.
Past old stone-mills, a fort and monastery, the Markha Valley trek intersects the river several times before passing through the last villages of this valley. After crossing Umlung, Kang Yatse and Hangskar (the last hamlet in the valley), you will finally reach Thachungtse. On your arrival in Thachungtse, head towards your lodging and rest overnight.
Get ready in the morning for your journey to the wonderful plateau of Nimaling, which is the easiest route during Markha Valley trekking. A gradual ascent through the lush green meadows will take you to Nimaling. As you reach there, proceed towards your lodging and stay overnight.
On this last day of your Markha Valley trekking tour, you will be crossing the highest pass along the entire trek. Initially, the descent is a bit steep but will be levelled out as you reach the Shang gorge. From here, an easy walk of a few hours will take you to Shang Sumdo, where you have to board the vehicle for your return journey to Leh.
Today, depart for your onwards journey.
Starts at INR 19500 Per Person
Flights to Leh are available for booking all year round, even in winters. The Leh Airport is a military airport and security checks are a little more stringent than usual. Please carry a printout of your e-ticket before entering, failing which you might be denied entry. From the airport, you can easily get taxis that will take you to your hotel/resort.
From Jammu and Kashmir or from Manali, if you’re planning to approach Leh in a bus, get ready for an adventurous bumpy ride. It’s got what it takes to become the ride of a lifetime and will take at least 4 days (starting at New Delhi).
Pathankot and Chandigarh are the closest railway stations to Leh, still a three-day bus ride away. This is one route that most travellers to Leh avoid.
For adventure lovers around the world, hitting the road to Leh is a dream they look forward to living at all times. They may pick up a motorbike, a jeep, an SUV or try to tackle this journey on a bicycle, but driving to Leh is certainly an adventure. You can either take the (lower) road from Jammu and Kashmir or the (higher) road from Rohtang La via Keylong and Sarchu.