India – Markha Valley
Markha Valley, which runs parallel to the Himalayas, is located between the Zanskar River and Ladakh. The valley is also in close proximity to Leh, the region's capital and commercial centre. It is this close proximity to Leh and its dramatically breathtaking landscapes that make Markha Valley one of Ladakh's most popular treks and a favourite for trekkers around the world.
The trek ventures high into the Himalayas, through meadows and shepherds settlements and crossing a few high passes. The terrain is varied and changes from incredibly narrow valleys to wide-open vast expanses. The trek is made all the more interesting by the ancient form of Buddhism that flourishes in the many monasteries that dot the landscape perched high atop hills and the elaborated “chortens”(shrines) and “mani”(prayer) walls that decorated the trails. Ladakh total immersion in Buddhist culture has earned it the name of "Little Tibet". Add on the spectacular views of snow capped peaks, in particular Kang Yatze (6400m), to the hills of the Eastern Karakoram and China, it is no wonder that the Markha Valley Trek is one of the most varied and beautiful trek in the world.
About The Trek
Our trek is a full Markha Valley trek. It is possible to do a shorter Markha Valley trek. The shorter trek focuses only on the lower part of Markha Valley and starts and ends at the same place. The full Markha Valley trek is definitely a better and more scenic option.
We start our trek with a drive to the road head village of Rumbak where the trek will bring you to the village of Skiu on the banks of the Markha River. Like every village in Ladakh, Skiu has a monastery and is surrounded by verdant fields of barley, peas and mustard - a dramatic contrast to the arid mountain landscape around it. From Skiu, we go higher up the valley for the next few days, through different villages, crossing the Markha River several times and Gandala Pass (4900m) to reach our highest campsite at Nimaling (4700m). After Nimaling, we will cross another high pass - Kongmaru La (5100m) - before starting our ascend to Shang Village through a stony gorge.
This trek offers you a glimpse of the rural countryside Ladakhi lives. You will cross several glacier streams and 2 high passes, camp in or near villages in camping grounds run by local villagers. You will also most likely encounter wildlife such as Blue Sheep and Marmots and meet shepherds grazing their animals.
Ladakh is brutally cold in the winter months from November to February. The temperature often dips to minus 30 degree celsius, especially in the month of January and February. Though summer, from late May to mid September, brings rain because Ladakh is in rainshadow of the Himalayas, it is the best season for for trekking & mountain climbing. The summer months are the warmest and when the valleys are filled with summer flowers.
Best time for Markha Valley Trek : June to mid September
Good to have some high altitude trekking experiences. You will be trekking at above 3500m in undulating mountain terrain with a personal backpack load of 5-6kg for up to 8 days on the entire trek. There are 2 high passes crossing - Nimaling (4700m) and Kongmaru La (5100m) and some river crossings.
Equipment and Gear
You will need thermal base layers, a fleece jacket and an outer shell jacket. When at the campsites and after sundown, a down jacket will help keep you warm. A good down sleeping bag is also needed and can be rented at Leh.
A packing list will be provided to all our participants. Please refer to our Resource Centre page to learn about the layering system and choose the right gear/equipment for your trek.
- Price based on group size: 5 - 12 people
- 2 people: $1250 per person / 3-5 people: $1150 per person
- You can also form a private group or join an international open group for this trek. For enquiry, send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Day||Itinerary||Meals||Altitude At Rest Point|
|Day 1||Arrive Leh||-/-/-||3500m|
|Day 2||Acclimatization day. Half day sightseeing of Stok Palace Museum, Shey and Thiksey. ||B/-/-||3500m|
|Day 3||Acclimatization day. A walk in the outskirts of Leh town to the Old Palace||B/-/-||3500m|
|Day 4-7||Drive to Rumbak Lato. Start trek to Rumbak. For the next few days, trek to Markha Village through Skiu Village and Gandala pass (4900m).||B/L/D||Rumbak - 3700m
Markha Village - 3800m
Skiu Village - 3500m
|Day 8-9||Trek to Thachungtse and Nimaling||B/L/D||Thachungtse - 4200m Nimaling - 4700m|
|Day 10-11||Cross Kongmaru La (5100m) and descend to Shang. Drive to Leh on Day 12||B/L/D (except dinner in Leh)||Shang Village - 3700m
Leh - 3500m
|Day 12||Depart Leh||B/-/-|
- Return airport transfer in Leh
- All land transfer as indicated in itinerary
- Meals as indicated in itinerary (vegetarian meals only during trek)
- Twin/Trip sharing accommodation in guesthouse in Leh and in tent during trek
- Sight-seeing tour as indicated in itinerary with English-speaking guide, except places of interest entry fee.
- Camping equipment: Sleeping mat, toilet tent, kitchen tent, dinning tent with table and chairs
- Trek support: Climbing guide, assistant climbing guide,cook and helpers. Ponies for porterage support
- Boiled drinking water on trek
- International air tickets, airline taxes and fuel surcharge
- Visa Fee (if any)
- Single Supplement
- Meals not indicated in itinerary
- All tipping
- Personal porters
- Personal travel insurance (mandatory to cover travel agent insolvency and trekking up to 6000m)
- Personal expenses like shopping, laundry etc
- Personal travel & trekking gear – warm clothing, trekking boots, backpacks etc
- Emergency evacuation and medical expenses
- Compensation for damaged or lost of personal items (eg: climbing/trekking gear and equipment, cameras and any valuable items etc)
- Any expenses including accommodation, meals & transfer outside the stipulated trek/climb itinerary – i.e. any person leaving the group for personal travel, illness/injury or any form of extension of stay
Support from Ace Adventure Expeditions
We provide pre-trip support to prepare you for the climb:
1. Trip briefing and information kit
2. Gear list and gear discount from selected Singapore outdoor outfitters
3. Training guideline kit
4. Rope skill workshop (For climbs that require rope up and/or fixed rope skill)
We carefully select and establish strong working relationship with our local trek operator to ensure safe participation by everyone. Our local climbing guides have extensive experience in guiding treks in Ladakh, possess intimate knowledge of the local surroundings, conditions and culture and are trained in emergency rescue.
Training: Regardless of your level of fitness and physical conditions, it is advisable to train prior to embarking on a trekking or mountain climbing trip.
Pure cardiovascular fitness is NOT enough.
Focus your training effort in the following areas, assuming that you are in good health and injury-free:
- Climbing conditioning – stairs and load training.
- Cardio training - Jogging/running and interval training like CrossFit or HIIT.
- Strength training for the lower body, shoulder, back and core
- Flexibility training - eg: Yoga and stretching exercises
A good five to six months of training would be a good preparation for this trek.
A recommended training guide specific to the trek or climb will be given to you upon signing up.
Refer to our Grading chart for an overview on the technical difficulty and fitness required for this trek.
Refer to our Training Guide for tips on trekking and mountain climbing training.