Table of Content
- Overview to Markha Valley Trek
- Where is the Markha Valley Trek?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Overview to Markha Valley Trek
No doubt Kashmir is the paradise on earth, therefore, it is the most desired tourist place. But very few of us are aware of the drier and barren side of this heavenly place. The most desired adventure center, Leh, popular for its natural and arid thrills, is a gateway to the burned-out trails. With one of the most popular treks of the Ladakh region, i.e, the Markha Valley trek you will get to rediscover the parched region of mighty Kashmir.
It is a trek that allures adventurists across the world and passes through places with different enchanting landscapes. I am sure that the mysterious trek ride of 11 days, exhibiting lush green to yellow parched landscapes, passing alongside the great Indus river will be borne in your mind forever.
The Markha Valley Trek when winds onto the Hemis National Park and Rumbak Valley, will give you a rare opportunity to witness some animal species of the Himalayan belt and if you are lucky enough you might encounter a Snow Leopard. Nonetheless, the valley is the home of several fauna species like the lynx, Ladakhi Urial (a type of goat), Arghali (great Tibetan sheep), Blue sheep, Red fox, Tibetan wolf, Dhole (wild dog), Marmot and Mountain hare. Also, this trail offers bird-watching opportunities.
Moreover, this Trek covers some human settlements like Rumbak village followed by Yurutse and Markha that leave you to contemplate over the rich indigenous culture of the Indo-Tibetans. You may also get a chance to enjoy a homestay in one of these remote villages. Further, the trekking trail will also lead your way up to the shrines like Lhatos and Mani before entering the Markha village. The journey winds and trails up to the Kongmaru La at 5130 m, from where you can capture the breath-taking view of the hulking high Kang Yatze Peak and the Tibetan border.
The conventional trek trail commences from Spituk and heads up to Ganda La en route Zingchen and thereafter to Skiu, which is an isolated village and houses an old monastery and ruins of an old castle. From Skiu, the tracks lead to Markha and then to Shang Sumdo via Kongmaru La.
|Duration||11 Days (3 days travel/8 days trekking)|
|Best Season||Mid June – September|
|Trek Length||85 km Gradual|
Where is the Markha Valley Trek?
Markha Valley is located between the Zanskar and Leh region of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. This valley runs parallel to the Himalayan range and is located at a short distance from Leh. Markha Valley trek has captivating, wild and barren landscapes and therefore, it is often called Little Tibet.
Strategically located, the valley offers the stunning views of the Ladakh and Zanskar ranges and also, the 21,000 ft Kang Yissay and the 20,086 ft Stok Kangri peaks.
Best Time to Visit Markha Valley Trek
The ideal time to visit Markha Valley is between June and mid-October. During this time, the weather is Ladakh is cool and pleasant and the average temperature ranges between 20 and 30°C in the daytime. Also, the highways leading to Ladakh are open for civilian traffic.
This is the time when Ladakh receives the bulk of its tourists. Most highways open up at the end of April or the first week of May. The weather clears up and one can enjoy their trip to Ladakh.
Read more: Hidden Hill Stations In India/
However, July and August are the best months for Markha Valley trek as during these months Manali-Leh and Srinagar-Leh highways are open for private vehicles.
Markha Valley Trek Highlights
- Get the opportunity to explore the motley Tibetan markets and historically rich Buddhist monasteries
- Witness some of the most magnificent Himalayan sceneries throughout the picturesque trek
- Get the opportunity to home-stay at remote mountain villages and interact with its sweet and simple inhabitants
- Camp at scenic locations under the sparkling sky
Markha Valley Trek Location
Sham Valley Trek is located in Ladakh and is a little ahead of Likir village, towards Khaltsey village. You may arrive at Likir monastery, where the track to Likir monastery meets in between Suspool – Bazgo. The trek is hardly an hour’s walk from the road.
How to Reach Markha Valley Trek?
Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is the main airport in Leh City. It has a number of flights that connect Leh with Delhi as well as few major cities in India. You can opt for air travel and have a very unique and heart-throbbing experience of flying over the mountains.
I would recommend you opt for road travel for reaching Markha Valley as road travel will make your trip much more interesting and enjoyable. You can also eat delicious food in dhabas located on the highways. Also, if possible take your own vehicle or else you can rent a self-drive vehicle of your choice.
If you do not have a car with you then it is better for you to hire a private taxi in Leh instead of hiring a shared taxi or depending upon public transport because shared taxi and bus would not be the correct decision as there are multiple places to be covered and you may not find a public transport towards these remote villages at all.
Read more: Sham Valley Trek Ladakh
Now coming to the route, Leh is connected to the rest of India by two major highways: (NH 1D) Srinagar-Leh Highway) and (NH-3) Manali-Leh Highway. The Srinagar-Leh Highway passes through Kargil and Zoji-La and the Leh-Manali Highway passes through famed Rohtang Pass and Tanglang La. It also passes through the upland desert plateau of Rupshu whose altitude ranges from 4,500 m to 5,500 m.
Markha Valley Trek Itinerary
Day 01 ( Arrival at Leh ):
Take a flight from Delhi to Leh. I would suggest a morning flight. On arrival, take a taxi to reach the hotel. Then you can visit the local markets of Leh like the Tibetan market(for clothes) and the Moti market in the evening. Try to return early from the markets and take proper rest in the hotel.
Day 02: ( Leh – Shey – Thiksey – Hemis )
Today, you will be heading on a sightseeing tour to some of the important monasteries in the area. We will be visiting Shey Gompa, which was once the summer capital of Ladakhi kings; Thiksey Gompa, which is considered as one of the most beautiful structures in Ladakh and the famous Hemis Monastery belonging to Drukpa Order. Then, you may stay at the guest house.
Day 03: Leh – Spituk (drive) – Trek to Zingchan (3200 mts/10,496 ft)
Try to wake up today by around 6-7 am. I know it is quite difficult to wake up so early when you are on holiday. Yet, to make your trek trip special try to follow some tips. Then get fresh and eat a proper, light and healthy breakfast. Also remember to carry some biscuits, fruits, water bottles, and napkins along with you.
Then, you need to drive to Spituk, which is an hour’s journey away. We shall explore Spituk Gompa, which is believed to be over 500 years old. After visiting Spituk, we will start our trek and after passing a bridge and strolling southwest of Indus River, we will reach Zingchan Village. Then you stay overnight in the camp.
Day 04: Zingchan – Yurutse (3900 mts/12792 ft) via Rumbak
Post breakfast, you shall ascend to Rumbak from Zingchan and then trek along the Rumbak Nala via Yurutse Village, which has vast fields of barley and potatoes. Then, overnight stay in tents.
Day 05: Yurutse – Skiu (3100 mts/10168 ft) via Ganda La
Your trek today will end at Skiu, which can be reached by crossing Reach Ganda La (4900 meters). The pass offers a breath-taking view of the Zanskar Range and other hulking high peaks of the Himalayas. From Ganda La, there is a long descent to the village of Shingo.
The trek trail then leads to a gorge from Shingo Village, which is at a short distance from Skiu. At Skiu, you will see the confluence of the river from Markha Valley. Again, overnight stay in tents.
Day 06: Skiu – Markha (3800 mts/12464 ft)
An easy climb today from Skiu will lead us to Markha Valley and you will also witness several streams while trekking. Overnight rest in the tents.
Day 07: Markha – Thochuntse
Your today’s trek will be from Markha to Thochuntse. Also, to be noted that at Markha, there is a change in landscape and from now onwards the view of heavily forested sections will not be seen rather barren and rugged landscape will follow. Then, you will have to cross a river and come across Hankar en route to Thochuntse. Overnight take rest in the tents.
Day 08: Thochuntse – Nimaling (4700 mts/15416 ft)
Today morning, you will begin your trek to Nimaling. You will be crossing a number of gentle slopes and a chain of ridges. Also, there is a sequence of Mani Walls and chortens on the route. This is counted among the most impressive high valleys in Ladakh and is separated by Kangyatse Peak. Overnight rest in the tents.
Day 09: Nimaling – Kongmaru La (5150 mts/16892 ft) – Sumdo
After the breakfast, you will have to cross to the north of Markha and then ascend to Kongmaru La (5130 m), which is one of the highest pass in the region. After taking a good view of the surrounding snowy peaks and the Karakoram range, you will descend to the Martselang Valley leading Martselang Stream to the Sumdo Village. Overnight rest in the tents.
Day 10: Sumdo – Hemis (4 hrs trek) – Leh
Your trek today will be from Sumdo Village to Martselang. At Martselang Valley, the trek trail broadens into the Indus Valley. Then you shall take a jeep from Martselang Village. Moreover, you will also be exploring Hemis Monastery and then drive to Leh via Thiksey and Shey Gompas. Overnight take rest in the hotel.
Day 11: Back to home
Now your trip is has still not got over. You still have to reach your home. So, reach the airport in time to catch the flight to Delhi and also, for those who have come by road, I wish you a safe journey ahead. Do not forget to capture some photos and videos while driving through the hills, forests and then the plains.
I know you must be feeling quite tired and also sad at the same time because your trip has now come to an end. But I hope you enjoyed your trip to Markha Valley. Till then, keep on trying new trekking activities. We will meet soon with a new trek.
Ask us anything!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. When do I book Markha Valley Trek?
You should book Markha Valley trek two to three months in advance so that you get ample amount of time to prepare for the trek.
What kind of shoes are required for the trek?
Trekking shoes with good ankle support are a must for any trek in the Himalayas. Quechua Forlclaz 500, Hi-Tec Colman and Salomon are some ideal shoes with value for money.
How long does it take to get acclimatize?
Suddenly going to a height of 3500 m or more, one naturally feels a difference. Your body reacts and behaves differently in cleaner air at high altitudes.
What you need to do is just take it easy and give some time to your body to adjust into less oxygenated air by a slow physiological process called Acclimatization.
Time taken for acclimatization varies from person to person; usually, you require at least 2-3 days in order get well acclimatized and you need to take complete rest for the 1st day even if you are feeling absolutely fine. Drink plenty of fluids at least 3-4 liters a day. Diet should be rich in carbohydrates, less oily and predominantly vegetarian. Avoid excess of alcoholic drinks and tobacco in any form.
What is the minimum temperature during Markha Valley Trek?
Between the months of June and mid-October, the temperature during the trek can go as low as 8 Degree Celsius during the night time and during the day time it fluctuates between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius.