Markha Valley Trek

India

Culture | Activity

Set foot in Ladakh's hidden Himalayan valleys

Dates & Prices

Intro


Discover Tibetan culture in the remote reaches of India's Himalayas. Wander around Ladakh's markets and the impressive Buddhist monasteries. After acclimatising, set forth on your 9-day trek through Markha Valley, climbing to over 5000m, taking in dramatic mountain scenery.

On this trip you will encounter smiling villagers, fluttering Tibetan prayer flags, snow-capped mountains and meandering glacial streams. Enjoy the hospitality of a traditional homestay and let our experienced guides and sturdy mountain horses show you a side of the Himalayas very few have ever seen.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Wander Ladakhi & Buddhist markets
  • Visit Buddhist monasteries
  • Homestay with villagers
  • Trek to altitude of over 5000m
  • Experienced guides and mountain horses

Places Visited

Delhi - Leh - Hankar - Zingchan - Skiu - Markha Valley - Martselang

What's Included

Airport transfers
Domestic flights
Ground transport with driver
Accommodation
Tents & sleeping bags
Mountain horses to carry luggage
Permits
Activities as per itinerary
Most meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
English-speaking guides
Itinerary
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Day 1 : Delhi

Pick-up from Delhi airport. Transfer to guesthouse. Rest of day/night free. Overnight in Delhi.

Meal plan: n/a

India’s capital and a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines the ancient with the modern. Amidst the vast spiraling skyscrapers, the remnants of a bygone era in the form of its many monuments, stand as silent reminders of the region’s ancient legacy. The first impression for any visitor travelling in from the airport is of a specious, garden city, tree-lined with a number of beautiful parks.

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Day 2 : Delhi - Leh

Transfer to airport for early morning flight to Leh. The flight to Leh is truly breathtaking. Sit on the left handside of the aircraft for spectacular views of the snowcapped Himalayan mountain range. The plane touches down in what must be one of the most dramatic runways in the world. Your driver will greet you at the airport for transfer to hotel. Leh is at an elevation of 3500m above sea level, so complete rest is advised for this day to get acclimatised. Enjoy a light lunch at the hotel. Late afternoon, visit Leh Palace, modelled on the Tibetan Potala Palace in Lhasa. From there we move on to Shanti Stupa which enjoys stunning views of Leh valley. Sit on the edge of the cliff-face and watch the valley change colour under the setting sun. On the way back your driver will drop you off at Leh Market. Wander through the bazaar and back to the hotel by foot. Feast on the excellent buffet dinner.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Leh is at an elevation of 3500m above sea level, situated in the Ladakh province. The stunning Leh Palace is modelled on the Tibetan Palace in Lhasa. some of Ladakh’s most famous and spectacular religious sites, including Sindhu Ghat where you can take a stroll by the bank of the River Indus. From there we move on to Thiksey Monastery, one of Leh’s most architecturally impressive structures clinging to the cliff-face and containing numerous stupas and murals of Lord Buddha.  The former home of the Ladakhi royal family, Shey Palace and Museum is situated on a hillock and houses an impressive 7.5 metre gold statue of Lord Buddha.  Hemis National Park is India’s largest national park, and the only park found in the northern Himalayas. It is home to a number of endangered species and the 400-year old Hemis Monastery.

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Day 3 : Leh

After breakfast, set off for full-day sightseeing visiting some of the ancient monasteries in this area: Shey Gompa, Thiksey Gompa and Hemis Gompa. These monasteries are typically cradled in the scenic Ladakh valley. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight in Leh.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Shey Gompa is about 15kms from Leh. It used to be the summer palace of the kings of Ladakh. There are lots of Stupas and Gompas built around the palace. Shey palace was built by Deldan Namgyal in the beginning of 17th century. The main attraction in Shey is the 12m Shakyamuni Buddha statue inside the Dresthang Gompa. 

Thiksey Gompa, close to Shey is about 17kms from Leh. The monastery is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Ladakh and belongs to the Gelukspa order. 

Hemis Gompa, about 45kms south of Leh it is one of the most famous and largest monastery in Ladakh. It belongs to the Drukpa order and was founded in the early 17th century. The setting is perfect with the monastery cradled in a scenic valley, surrounded by streams and fronted by long Mani walls.
 

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Day 4 : Leh - Spitok - Zingchan

Leave Leh early morning by Jeeps and reach Spituk. Visit Spituk Gompa, built over 500 years ago. Start the trek from here by crossing a bridge and walking south-west of the river Indus. The gorge section leads to the confluence of the Indus and Zingchan rivers. Camp near the village of Zingchan. Overnight in tents.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Spituk is a small village just outside Leh. It is best known for Spituk Gompa – an important Buddhist monastery. It was founded by Od-de, the elder brother of Lha Lama Changchub Od in the 11th Century. Founded as a Red Hat institution, the monastery was taken over by the Yellow Hat sect in the 15th century.The monastery contains 100 monks and a giant statue of Kali (unveiled during the annual Spitok festival). Spituk has an average elevation of 3,307 metres (10,852 feet).



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Day 5 : Zingchan - Rumbak - Yurutse

Gradual climb from Zingchan to Rumbak. From here one gets fabulous views of the snow-capped Stok Mountains. From here we move along the Rumbak Nala towards Yurutse. At Yurutse village you will find fields of barley and potatoes. Overnight in tents.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner



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Day 6 : Yurutse - Ganada La - Skiu

After a gradual ascent followed by a steep climb, arrive at Ganda La (4900m). From here views extend south to the Zanskar Range and distant summits of the Himalayan range. This is followed by a long descent to Shingo village. From Shingo the trail heads into a narrow gorge leading towards Skiu. At Skiu there is a confluence of the rivers coming from Markha valley and Shingo. Overnight in tents.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Ganda La is a high mountain pass located at around 4980 metres above sea level in Ladakh, 23 km south-west of Leh, in the Himalayas in India. It connects the Markha valley villages to Leh, and is regularly used by local people.

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Day 7 : Skiu - Markha

A very pleasant hike up the Markha Valley with the trail crossing numerous streams. Markha is a quaint village with a deserted fort. Interact with some of the local villagers. Overnight in tents.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

The Markha Valley is one of the best areas to trek in Ladkah. The trail is very scenic, filled with numerous streams and allows you to discover the lost Buddhist kingdom of Ladakh, lined with beautiful Buddhist monasteries. Matha itself is a quaint village with a deserted fort, which still maintains a traditional way of life. On the trek you will pass through many villages and traditional tea houses. Hankar is the highest village in the Martha valley.

Skiu (also Sku) and Kaya (elev. 3500 m) are adjacent villages in the Markha River valley. The villages contain 9 and 12 households, respectively; the boundary between the villages is not clearly defined. Wheat and vegetables are cultivated by villagers, who also harvest wild seabuckthorn berries.Skiu and Kaya each have a Buddhist monastery (gompa). The monastery at Skiu was constructed in the 11th century; Rinchen Zangpo laid its foundation.

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Day 8 : Markha Valley

From Markha the country changes and the warm, relatively heavily wooded sections of the lower Markha is left behind. You will be required to cross the river several times as there are no bridges here. Hankar, enroute, is the highest village in the Markha valley. Overnight in tents.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 9 : Markha - Thuchuntse - Nimaling

Trek starts on a good path with several small inclines and a series of grassy ridges. There are a series of Mani walls (walls carved with Buddhist prayers) and stupas en-route. This is one of the most beautiful high valleys in Ladakh and is dominated by the Kangyaze Peak. Overnight in tents.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Nimaling is one of the most beautiful high valleys in Ladakh which is dominated by the gorgeous peak Kangyatse (6,400 meters). Nimaling has a extensive grazing land where thousands of sheep, goats & yaks graze during the summer months.

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Day 10 : Nimaling - Sumdo

Cross to the north of the Markha valley, climbing to the top of the highest of the three passes, the 5,306m Kongmaru La, with its wonderful views from the top. There are snow peaks in every direction and on a clear day the giants of Karakoram, including K2, can be seen on the north-western horizon. The trail descends to the Martselang valley, following the Martselang stream to the village of Sumdo. Overnight in tents.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner



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Day 11 : Sumdo - Hemis - Leh

Make a relatively easy descent along the Martselang to where it broadens into the valley of the Indus at Martselang village. Board the awaiting jeep. Return to Leh and enjoy a delicious buffet dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Leh.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 12 : Departure

Drop off at airport for early flight back to Delhi. Connecting flight back home.

 

Meal plan: Breakfast

India’s capital and a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines the ancient with the modern. Amidst the vast spiraling skyscrapers, the remnants of a bygone era in the form of its many monuments, stand as silent reminders of the region’s ancient legacy. The first impression for any visitor travelling in from the airport is of a specious, garden city, tree-lined with a number of beautiful parks.

Read more
Accommodation

Accommodation

All accommodation subject to availability. Final accommodation choices will be confirmed after booking.

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Spic-n-Span

Constructed with traditional Ladakhi architecture, Hotel Spic-n-Span is located in the heart of Leh. One of the top-end hotels in the region, it boasts most modern amenities. The hotel provides well-furnished double rooms together with attached bath with hot and cold shower. All rooms have direct telephone services, heating system and cable television.

Visit hotel's site
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Reviews

I would highly recommend Travel the Unknown to anyone visiting India. The service we received both prior to, during and following our travels was always timely and excellent. We were able to customize our trip to our liking and to enjoy a wide variety of activities. The guides in every location were outstanding! Honestly. Having travelled through much of the world I can truly say that we have never been more impressed with the quality of the guides arranged for us in each location, as well as the service we received. Similarly, the hotels were excellent and allowed us to live very comfortably while, at the same time, enjoy an authentic Indian experience. If you haven`t already booked your trip with Travel the Unknown, then either do so now....or at least give them a chance to show you what they can offer.

Tracey & Gary , Tailormade India

A wonderful trip! Great nature, stunning landscapes and very interesting itinerary. Recommended to anyone looking for spirituality and breathtaking experiences! A big Thank You to our excellent guide who was able to make a huge difference to our trip.

Annalisa & Chiara , Kashmir & Ladakh Explorer, India

I have been on 3 tailor made trips with Travel The Unknown and have found them to be knowledgeable and reliable. We`ve stayed in some wonderful places and have had some unusual and satisfying experiences that go beyond the standard tours.

Joan Edmunds (USA) , Tailormade India

We have been on many treks around the world, but nothing so far comes close to the beauty of Ladakh. Our guide always made sure I was doing ok and the horses helped carry the luggage. The family we spent the night with were the warmest I`ve ever met and the experience was humbling. Thank you Travel The Unknown for organising this for us

Adam , Markha Valley Trek, India

What an excellent service! Rahul adapted, extended and improved our trip so many times without a qualm and we ended up with the trip of a lifetime. The destinations are unusual and interesting but everything has been checked out by the team and works brilliantly. I can`t wait to do another trip.

Penelope Smith , Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival, India

I thoroughly enjoyed my tailor made tour of northwestern and central India. Guides and accommodations were excellent and we saw as much of the area as could be packed into two weeks. I look forward to another tour with Travel the Unknown.

Mary Trubek (USA) , Tailormade India

Another fantastic trip with this company. WE really managed to get off the beaten track and have seen some amazing sights. Well put together. We will travel again with Travel the Unknown

Hazel & James Frost , Tailormade India

This is our second fabulous trip with Travel The Unknown and we were not disappointed. Rajasthan's vibrant colours of turbans and saris, the noise, the spicy aromas, the silence in the hot air balloon over rural Jaipur, the majestic forts and palaces of ancient times, sighting leopards in the wild, all far exceeded our expectations and the heritage homes and hotels we stayed in, whilst being of high standard in every way, still had a friendly family touch. Thanks so much to Rahul and the team for such a memorable trip. Six weeks on and we still can't stop talking about it. I can't wait for the next one!

John & Christine Gregory , Tailormade India

Travel the Unknown put together an Itinerary in North East India - Living Root Bridges for me and a travelling companion. The accommodations, transportation, promptness of drivers, and knowledge of our guide was excellent. Easy booking from office and good pre trip information. Thanks TTU!

Christina Taft , Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India

The Living Root Bridges trip was our first time with Travel the Unknown and we would have no hesitation from booking with them again.

Andria & John Palmer , Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India

Gotta say thanks to Travel The Unknown for organising my fascinating trip to a little-known area of the world. The scenery was fantastic, food was amazing, the guide was great and the living bridges were inspiring. An India not many get to see. Thanks again.

Stephen , Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India

As always Travel The Unknown were exceptional in organising my trip to India. The guides for Meghalaya and the Golden Triangle were friendly, extremely helpful and very informative. The tour was busy but never felt rushed; the combination of Meghalaya and Golden Triangle giving quite a varied perspective of India.

Terry Cooper , Living Bridges of Meghalaya
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