Markha Valley Trek: Enjoy culture and local life at high altitudes
In Ladakh, the Markha Valley trek is among the most sought-after treks of Jammu and Kashmir. The Markha Valley is among amazing treks of India, situated in the Ladakh Region. Travelling all the way to Leh and Ladakh for this trek gives you a unique experience of witnessing the most beautiful and magical and remote Buddhist Kingdom of Ladakh.
While covering the trek, you will come across a variety of landmarks and astonishing palaces, ancient monasteries. This trek will walk you through culture and local life of Markha and Ladakh. The valley and trek will give you a glimpse into the life of Mountain Villages, tucked above in the high altitude areas, view of the beautiful pastures of Nimaling and stupendous peaks.
Markha Valley trek is famously called the ‘tea house trek’ with an optional stay in parachute tent.
The biggest draw is that you get to trek in the cold desert valley that is no short of grazing grounds. Moreover, you get to enjoy views of Ladakh and Zanskar ranges, the 21,000 ft tall Kang Yissay peak parallel to 20,086 ft high Stok Kangri peak.
Markha Valley Trek takes you inside the beautiful Hemis National Park. Here you will witness the breathtaking Gandala La (15748 ft) and Kongmaru La, (17,060 ft). There are trails across the Markha River that will take you to some astonishing Buddhist villages and daunting rocky canyons.
Located close to Leh, Markha Valley Trek is easily reachable and a simple trek that anyone can do.
Markha Valley Trek: Your simple eight-day long trek itinerary
Day 1 :
Your first day includes arriving in Leh and making check-ins for a pocket-friendly accommodation. Consider your first day as your rest day since your body will need to be ready for the hills. Take some time off for acclimatization and get used to the temperature. Enjoy local foods and star gazing at night.
Day 2 :
Day two is all about exploring Leh which is no short of alluring monasteries, picturesque mountains, and lofty peaks. You will find everything in Leh, from palaces to museums. Enjoy your visit at the Shey, Thiksey Gompa, and Stok Gompa and hike away from the commercial commotion of Leh with a nice hike to Leh Palace in the evening. Prepare for day three with a sweet sleep under the starry sky of Leh at the hotel.
Day 3 :
Day three will take you to Yurutse (4150m) through Zingchen (3400m) from Leh via a four-hour long trek. Your trek starts with a drive through Spikut Village for destination Zingchen. Zingcheck is where the hiking part starts and takes you through Rumbak Village to reach Yurutse. Enjoy the numerous stream crossings and steal some glimpses of life from the villages before making way to the campsite amidst barley fields.
Day 4 :
Your day four trek starts from Yurutse (4150m) and takes you all the way to Skiu (3400m) via Ganda La (4800m) through 7-8 hours long trek. You will be climbing up the Ganda La (4900 m) during the first stretch of the trek. Don’t forget to enjoy the views from Zanskar range and distant summits of the Himalayan range. The second part will need you to climb down to Shingo Village and further take you to a narrow gorge for destination Skiu to see the beautiful confluence of the rivers flowing through the Markha Valley and Shingo.
Day 5 :
After a beautiful cold night at Skiu, you will reach Markha (3800m) from Skiu (3400m) through 7-8 hours long trek. It is a moderate level hike so don’t worry too much about the altitude. In fact, enjoy the beautiful village of Markha and the artistic streams surrounding it. Once there, you will be setting up camp next to a gurgling stream, lush green fields, and a desolate palace.
Day 6 :
On day six, you trek from Markha (3800m) to Thochuntse (4150m) with a 4-5 hour long trek. What’s extraordinary about this day’s trek is that you will come across so many streams and river crossings that you’ll wonder you are moving through a paradisiacal stream way. You will pass settlements, and the Kangyatze Peak (6400m) on your way to Hankar so soak up the views and enjoy this unforgettable trek.
Day 7 :
For day seven, you move from Thochuntse (4150m) to Nimaling (4700 m) after trekking for 4 hours. Enjoy a short walk to the Nimalaing campsite and let nature revive your energy with its broad open valley, rampant grazing grounds, and Kangyatze Peak in the background. Spend the night in tents like before but make sure you take home some fantastic snaps of the peak and extended grazing grounds.
Day 8 :
From Nimaling (4700m), you will be trekking to Kongmaru La (5150m) then Sumdo (3800m) and finally driving back to Leh 3500m. Overall, it will take you 9 hours to reach Leh, the destination from where you started the trek. Have delicious early breakfast at the campsite and then roam around the highest pass on the Markha Valley Trek trail Kongmaru La (5200m). Pass the Nun Kun in West and Saser Kangri in the north and make some beautiful memories climbing down to Sukarmo. It is where your flat walk trek starts and takes you along the river, all the way to Sumdo.
Appreciate your overnight stay surrounded by mountains. Don’t forget to enjoy your stay with mouth-watering, local food. You can also enjoy better than five-star service and spa massages at the local hotels.
You can decide to travel to Ladakh and then further to other destinations, or you can drive/fly back home once you have completed Markha Valley Trek which ends on this day.
The best time to travel to Markha Valley is mid-June and Mid October. Prepare well for this trek with sufficient clothes that ward off the winds and winter and equipment that is durable so you can set up camps during the trek. So, plan and stay safe while enjoying this god-gifted trek.
Place | Markha Valley
Starting point | Spikut village
Trek length | Approx 80 kilometres
Time of trek | 8-9 days.
Mode | foot with wooden stick support.
Essentials | Power bank, poncho, move/voilini, toiletries.
Terrain | Snow, rocky path and riverside.
To see | River, local life, and culture.
Definitely, Do’s | Night star gazing and enjoying local food
Don’ts | Take easy steps and don’t rush to cover the distance in hurry.
Note | Please don’t litter.
Another recommended challenging trek: Chadar Trek