Ladakh: The Markha Valley

Start: Delhi Finish: Delhi

Visiting: Ladakh, Delhi


Duration: 13 Nights

Physical rating: Challenging

Special diets catered: Please inform Exodus of specific dietary requirements

Tour Operator: Exodus

Group size: 4 - 16

Age range: 16 to 99

Tour operated in: English


Prices From:

Tour Overview

Ladakh remains one of the best places to experience the unique culture of the High Himalaya. As our trek follows the Markha River, we discover a landscape where lofty peaks of the Stok, Matho and Zanskar Ranges tower above picturesque Ladakhi villages and verdant valleys below. From the highest pass, the Gongmaru La (5200m), we enjoy incredible views extending as far as Tibet, before descending to Hemis, Ladakh’s largest and most famous monastery.

Highlights

  • iconVisit remote villages on this classic Himalayan trek
  • iconEnjoy a sensational flight over the Himalaya
  • iconExplore colourful Buddhist monasteries in the Indus Valley
  • iconDiscover multi-coloured rock formations of the Ladakh Range
  • iconVisit Hankar and Skiu Women's Eco-cafe's - a community project for which Exodus won the 'Giving Back' Adventure Travel Award in 2017 
  • iconCross wild, barren mountain passes and trek through spectacular gorges

Places You'll See

Cities & Attractions:

Itinerary

Map Image
icon Day 1 : Start Delhi.

The tour starts in Delhi today. The group flights usually arrive in the morning. There will be a welcome briefing but otherwise, today is free to relax and recover from the flight or for individual exploration of Delhi. Rooms in the hotel are usually available after mid day.  *Comfortable Hotel*

icon Day 2 : Fly to Leh (3500m); rest of the day free.

Meals: breakfast

A very early start today for the flight to Leh. We often have to leave the hotel at around 2 am and drive to the airport for the very early morning but highly spectacular flight over the Himalaya to Leh. If the weather is good and the flight goes on time we should be in Leh early. The rest of the day is free to relax and acclimatise to the altitude (3,500m). In the morning we rest and catch up on some sleep and in the afternoon there will be a gentle orientation walk of Leh and its bazaars. *Standard Hotel*

icon Day 3 : Exploring in and around Leh, visiting the town, palace and monasteries at Shey and Thikse.

Meals: breakfast

Today there is a sightseeing tour to two of the major gompas in the area. We first drive to Shey, a former Royal Palace of the Ladakh kings. Inside is a small temple containing a 350 year old copper and gold statue of the Buddha. From Shey we drive (or we can walk across the fields) to Tikse, where we visit the monastery - perched on top of a hill - its red and white buildings can be seen for miles. A recently built temple contains a magnificent image of the Future Buddha. We return to Leh and the rest of the afternoon is free to explore. *Standard Hotel*

icon Day 4 : Acclimatisation walk in Leh Valley; optional jeep drive to the Khardung La (which at 5602m, is the highest motorable road in the world).

Meals: breakfast

Today we will have an acclimatisation walk round the Leh Valley. Set above Leh on the Namgyal Hill, are the ruins of the Old Royal Palace. From here a winding path takes us to Tsemo Monastery, from where we are rewarded for our efforts by magnificent views of the whole of Leh and its surrounding villages. Descending round the back of the palace we walk via Sankar to the recently built Japanese Peace Pagoda. This huge stupa overlooks Leh and we have stunning views of the town and the Stok range of mountains across the valley. (There is the chance today to make an optional jeep safari to the Khardung Pass; at 5,602m, one of the highest motorable roads in the world.The journey to the top of the pass and back takes roughly 4/5 hours in total and can be booked and paid for locally. Your leader will have details. (If you do the jeep safari this will be in the morning and you can do a walk in the afternoon). *Standard Hotel*

icon Day 5 : Short drive to Jinchen; trek to Rumbak.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

By now we should be well acclimatised, and we take a short drive from Leh to Jinchen. We drive past Spituk, the site of the first Gelugpa Monastery in Ladakh. There should be time to visit the monastery with its commanding views over the Indus Valley. From here a new road takes us across the Indus towards Jinchen. We will drive as far as the road conditions allow and to where our ponies will be waiting. After they are loaded up we start our trek into the Jinchen Gorge at the foot of the Stok Mountains. The trail is straightforward as we follow the Jinchen Nala upstream. The valley closes in around us and spectacular rock formations tower above us. An ever-changing panorama of fantastic coloured mountains surrounds us as we ascend the valley. We may have to cross the river as the stream forces the path closer to the side of the valley. Suddenly the valley widens and reveals the snow-topped peaks of the Stok mountains. Prayer flags on a wide pasture mark the junction with the trail leading to Rumbak village. Tonight's camp is below Rumbak village with stunning views all around - looking left towards Rumbak a fantastic multi-coloured toothy skyline ridge appears in the distance. We can visit the village this afternoon and maybe sample the local delicacy, salty yak buttered tea, in one of the many home stays. *Full-service Camping *(sleeping altitude 3,880m)

icon Day 6 : Pass Yurutse village to reach the base of the Ganda La.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

A short day today for acclimatisation. We head up the main valley past a watermill and to a bridge, which we cross. The trail ascends the valley gradually and when the valley splits we take the right-hand fork up past the one house village of Yurutse. Leaving the fields behind we ascend towards the Ganda La and camp tonight by a small stream below the pass. In the afternoon there will be an acclimatisation walk on the hills around camp. *Full-service Camping *(sleeping altitude 4,539m)

icon Day 7 : Cross the Ganda La (4970m) to Skiu in the Markha Valley.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

A long day today as we cross our first pass. The trail is clear as it zigzags towards the pass. As we climb the views become more and more spectacular. Behind us, Stok Kangri dominates the skyline. Finally, we reach the top of the Ganda La (4,970m) decked with colourful prayer flags and the views are worth all the effort. Ahead is the Zanskar Range and behind are the Stok Mountains. Far below in the valley are the fields of Shingo. As we descend keep an eye open for marmots and blue sheep, both of which seem to thrive in these desolate, high altitude spots. The trail to Shingo is easy and in the main season, there is usually a tea tent here, which may sell cold drinks. From Shingo, the trail takes us through a spectacular gorge with beautifully coloured and eroded rocks. We continue down the gorge all the way to the small hamlet of Skiu. As we pass through Skiu we can stop and have a look at a Women’s Eco Café that Exodus helped renovate as part of our Himalayan Community Support. We camp either in Skiu itself or about 20 minutes beyond the village by the river. *Full-service Camping *(sleeping altitude 3,360m)

icon Day 8 : Follow the river to Markha (3750m).

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

A fairly long, but easier walk today, as we trek along the valley to Markha. The terrain along the valley is not demanding so there are plenty of opportunities to admire the magnificent scenery. The colours of the barren mountains of Ladakh are truly spectacular, pastel pinks, blues and greens shine in the brilliant sunshine and change colour dramatically as the sun rises and sets. We follow the river all day today and will have to cross the river a few times and although bridges have been built in some places there will be some river crossings today. We will have lunch in Sara, where there is usually some welcome shade in a tea tent. Beyond the settlement of Chalak, there is an impressive line of chortens and a huge mound of goat horns, which are placed on the chortens to ward off any evil spirits trying to enter the valley. Climbing up to a small col we descend again to the river and a mediaeval fort silhouetted on the hillside tells us that we have almost reached Markha. Just before Markha, we will need to don our river crossing sandals for at least 2 river crossings. Markha is only a small village and there will be time to explore the small monastery in the afternoon. Our camp will be on grazing flats near the village. *Full-service Camping *(sleeping altitude 3,750m)

icon Day 9 : Trek to Thachungste, visiting Tache Gompa perched above us en route.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Just beyond Markha, the trail meets the Chacham Valley. We will have one or two river crossings this morning. Just after the river crossings is Tache gompa, set way above us on the cliff face. There is time to visit the monastery, which is the most important in the valley and is affiliated to Hemis. It is a steep 10-minute climb up to the small temple but the stunning views from the top are well worth the effort. Continuing up the valley we walk through Umlung village to Hankar where there are more impressive fort ruins and a small gompa. We have lunch in Hankar at the Eco Cafe that Exodus has helped set up and support as part of our Himalayan Community Support Projects. From Hankar the trail turns off from the main valley, climbs up a small side valley past the ruins of Hankar Fort before dropping down to Upper Hankar. Climbing more we now follow the Nimaling stream to Thachungtse where we camp. We may be lucky and see Blue Sheep (a type of wild goat) high up on the grazing areas above the campsite. *Full-service Camping *(sleeping altitude 4,250m)

icon Day 10 : Climb to the high plateau at Nimaling.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

A short but quite tough walk today to Nimaling. The trail climbs steeply to a plateau where the valley opens out. Ahead are spectacular views of Kang Yangtse, at 6,400m, the highest peak in the valley. In this area, there is no permanent habitation but during the summer months, the shepherds bring their flocks of sheep, goats and dzos (cow-yak cross breeds) to graze on the high altitude pasture. The shepherds stay in stone shelters close to the grazing area for the whole summer and we can often buy yoghurt or local cheese from them. In the evenings, the animals are brought down from the hills and it is quite usual to have hundreds of them wandering through the campsite. Look after your edibles! We should get to Nimaling by lunchtime and in the afternoon, there is an optional walk up behind camp towards Kang Yangtse. This is well worth doing and highly recommended for the impressive close-up views of Kang Yangste.  *Full-service Camping *(sleeping altitude 4,854m)

icon Day 11 : Cross the Gongmaru La (5286m) with views of the high Ladakh Range.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

A long day as we cross our second, and highest, pass of the trek. Our trail begins today by climbing to the Gongmaru La. It is a fairly long, steep ascent zigzagging to the top of the pass at 5,286m, but the views from the top are worth the effort. Looking back we see Kang Yangtse, Dzo Jongo East and West and Regoni Malari. Ahead there are views of the Stok Range and down to the Indus valley. The descent is steep at first and we then enter a spectacular gorge and descend more gradually with many small river crossings. High up on the barren cliffs we may spot the elusive Blue Sheep which inhabit this area. Passing through Chuskurmo we continue our long descent crossing the river several times to the village of Chokodo. Today is a tough one due to crossing the high pass and the long descent. *Full-service Camping *(sleeping altitude 3,980m)

icon Day 12 : Finish the trek near Hemis; visit the monastery and drive to Leh.

Meals: breakfast

This morning we drive to Hemis Monastery though very occasionally the road gets blocked and our transport cannot make it so we will then need to walk down the jeep track to Hemis.  Hemis was once the largest and richest of all the Ladakhi monasteries. A wander round the dimly lit temples containing grotesque yet beautiful masks and statues will take us back hundreds of years in time. We then drive back to Leh and the comforts of a hot shower at our hotel. We should get to Leh for lunch and the rest of the day is free for last minute sightseeing or shopping in the bazaars. *Standard Hotel*

icon Day 13 : Fly to Delhi.

Meals: breakfast

We fly from Leh to Delhi. The rest of the day is free for individual sightseeing in Delhi. *Comfortable Hotel*

icon Day 14 : End Delhi.

Meals: breakfast

The tour ends after breakfast today. 

What's Included

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    Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

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    Tour leader throughout

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    All transport and listed activities

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    All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners

  • icon
    All accommodation 

  • icon
    Arrival and departure transfers

What's Not Included

  • icon
    Travel insurance

  • icon
    Single accommodation (available on request)

  • icon
    Visas or vaccinations

Food

All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners are included. All meals except for main meals in Delhi and Leh are included; please allow about GBP70 (approx. USD115) for these. Whilst camping, the staff will bring a hot drink (usually tea) to your tent each morning. When you reach camp in the afternoon tea and biscuits will be served. At breakfast, dinner and in the afternoons, there is a choice of hot drinks. Breakfasts typically include cereal, toast and jam, eggs and porridge. Lunch on trek is usually served as a picnic en route (except on shorter days when it is in camp). Lunch and dinner typically include soup to start, followed by a variety of hot dishes (both local and western) such as potatoes/chips, vegetables, curry, pasta, rice, dhal and paneer (cottage cheese). At dinner time a dessert such as tinned fruit and custard, fritters or cake is also be served.  Please note that although some meals will include meat, it is not as readily available whilst camping. *Drinking Water* Staying hydrated is important when undertaking any physical activity but particularly so at altitude where it is generally recommended to drink at least 3-4 litres per person per day. We strongly encourage you not to buy bottled water as this contributes to the growing problem of plastic pollution in Ladakh. In Leh there is a shop called Dzomsa which sells safe drinking water. Your leader will show you where this is on your first day in Leh. During the trek the cooks will collect and boil drinking water from the mountain streams and fill up your water bottles for you, but you may need to collect water during the day and may wish to use your own water purification treatment as well. We also suggest that you may like to bring a reusable bottle with a wide opening (Nalgene or similar) with you and use a SteriPEN to treat any non-boiled water. A SteriPEN is a handheld UV water purifier – small, lightweight and battery powered so easy to pack for a trek. It’s quick to use, far more effective than purification tablets, and the water is ready immediately. It’s fine to use a SteriPEN on non-boiled water so long as it isn’t cloudy or full of sediment (which is uncommon in these regions). SteriPENs are widely stocked on Amazon, outdoor shops and other online retailers; look for the latest models but avoid USB charging ones. Using a SteriPEN means you won’t leave behind a single plastic bottle – and you can keep it for future trips.

Your Peace of Mind Options

  • icon
    Low Deposit

    Exodus requires a deposit of 20% to secure a place on this tour, and the final balance is not due till 70 days before departure..

  • icon
    Secure payments

    All payments to TourHub are deposited into an externally regulated Trust account.


Reviews

Read all 21 reviews
Makrha Valley
This was a great experience the Markha Valley is truly unique part of the world. We arrived a in Leh a week after heavy rains and closed the track due ....more This was a great experience the Markha Valley is truly unique part of the world.

We arrived a in Leh a week after heavy rains and closed the track due to flooding and some land slides.

The Exodus team worked extremely hard to plan an alternate route if we could not do the Markha trek.

Luckily the Markha valley track was reopened and we were able to do the planned walk.

The views the landscape the local people all well and truly exceeded my expectations.

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LADAKH: THE MARKHA VALLEY
Great trek combining awesome high-altitude mountain scenery (a must for any geology nuts!) with beautiful valleys and fascinating remote Ladakhi villages in green oases round the water courses. Camping at ....more Great trek combining awesome high-altitude mountain scenery (a must for any geology nuts!) with beautiful valleys and fascinating remote Ladakhi villages in green oases round the water courses.

Camping at high altitudes (4500m+) looking out over mountain ranges with marmots, blue sheep & dzos nearby was unforgettable.

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Simon Barber's Markha Valley review
A trip of a lifetime! My first time in Asia - a difficult place to get around in. I was attracted by the terrain and the altitude: I'd done over ....more A trip of a lifetime! My first time in Asia - a difficult place to get around in.

I was attracted by the terrain and the altitude: I'd done over 4000 m last year in Morocco (Mt.

Toubkal), this year I fancied a go at 5000 m.

I made it, but not with much breath to spare.

An excellently organised trip but not for the faint-hearted or those with any vertigo/balance problems.

The Markha valley trail is up a flash-flood prone canyon that several times a year wipes out all vestige of the old trail, and the locals valiantly hack a new one out of the loose, crumbling cliffs above the gorge.

In places the track is a foot wide and the drop a hundred feet and more.

Not pleasant.

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LADAKH: THE MARKHA VALLEY
Stunning scenery in a very interesting part of India. Our group leader, Valerie, was fantastic and really helped make the holiday as good as it was. Stunning scenery in a very interesting part of India.

 Our group leader, Valerie, was fantastic and really helped make the holiday as good as it was.

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Memorable Markha Valley
Stunning scenery and great camping adventure. Stunning scenery and great camping adventure.

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Himalaya experience
Wonderful, inspiring and active trip full of challenges. Beautiful scenery, great people, lovely staff. Truly one of the best experiences in my life. Wonderful, inspiring and active trip full of challenges.

Beautiful scenery, great people, lovely staff.

Truly one of the best experiences in my life.

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LADAKH: THE MARKHA VALLEY
A fantastic area and great walking with views changing all the time . The colours have to be seen to be believed . Be prepared to wade across rivers ( ....more A fantastic area and great walking with views changing all the time .

The colours have to be seen to be believed .

Be prepared to wade across rivers ( with plenty of support )Great support staff nothing too much trouble .

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LADAKH: THE MARKHA VALLEY
Awesome landscape, fantatsic leader, great group - Loved every minute! Awesome landscape, fantatsic leader, great group - Loved every minute!;
Magic Markha Valley
The Markha Valley Trek was a truly memorable experience. The landscape, wildlife and vegetation, the light, the culture and peaceful atmosphere of Ladakh are unforgettable and we were fortunate to ....more The Markha Valley Trek was a truly memorable experience.

The landscape, wildlife and vegetation, the light, the culture and peaceful atmosphere of Ladakh are unforgettable and we were fortunate to experience it 'up close'.

The trek was superbly organised, with expert and supportive leadership from Valerie Parkinson.

The camping experience was great and the local team was full of joy and very competent.

We were very well looked after! I enjoyed the excellent company of my fellow trekkers and appreciated the way in which some of the more challenging sections of the trek were paced and supported.

As well as the trek, there were excellent visits to monasteries, and good accommodation in Leh and Delhi.

2 weeks felt like 2 months - it was an intense and very satisfying experience all round.

Thanks for everything.

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Wonderful Ladakh!
I booked this trip through Sawadee (Dutch partner of Exodus) and I would do it again. The trip was very well organised and lead by Valerie Parkinson. Our local trekking ....more I booked this trip through Sawadee (Dutch partner of Exodus) and I would do it again.

The trip was very well organised and lead by Valerie Parkinson.

Our local trekking guide Wangail also did a really good job in helping us beating the paths and crossing wild rivers and moutain passes.

And my fellow travellers were really nice.

This trip was amazing! A 'hot' start in Delhi, early morning amazing flight to Leh when you see the Himalaya mountain range when the weather is good.

We had really good views! Leh is very pleasant, kind people, beautiful colours, wonderful monasteries in and around Leh.

We even visited the highest motorable road in the world (5600); excellent for acclimatization!The trekking was everything I hoped for.

Really colourful mountains, interesting villages and people.

We even saw baby eagle owles, pica's (mouse hare), a red fox and loads of blue sheep! The camping was very well organized, food was excellent!I would strongly recommend this trip when you love mountains, trekking and other cultures.

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Dates & Availability

Select departure month

Sunday Jul 04, 2021

Nights

13

Available

7

Sunday Aug 22, 2021

Nights

13

Available

8

Sunday, Jul 04, 2021

13Nights

7Available

Sunday, Aug 22, 2021

13Nights

8Available