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 breath-taking 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 dotted 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 complete 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 complete 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 Chokdo through a narrow 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 rain shadow of the Himalayas, it is the best season 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.
Arrive in Leh.
Overnight: Leh hotel (3500m)
Acclimatisation days. Half day sightseeing of Stok Palace Museum, Shey and Thiksey. Walk in the outskirts of Leh town to the Old Palace.
Overnight: Leh hotel (3500m)
Drive to Rumbak Lato. Trek to Nimaling via Gandala pass (4900m).
Overnight: Tent at Rumbak (3700m), Gandala (4300m), Skiu (3250m), Markha (3800m), Thachungtse (4200m), Nimaling (4700m)
Cross Kongmaru La (5100m) and descend to Chokdo (4021m). Drive to Leh.
Overnight: Leh hotel (3500m)
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Group size: 8 – 12 people
Package prices for less than 8 people:
2 people: $1,280 (SGD) / person
3-5 people: $1,200 (SGD) / person
5-7 people: $1,120 (SGD) / person
Option to extend to run the Ladakh Marathon for 28 Aug-7 Sep 2019
You can also form a private group for this trek. For enquiry, send an email to us at email@example.com
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.
A visa to enter into India is required for all foreign nationals except Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan. An e-Visa can be applied online at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in. The e-Visa is valid for 30-60 days depending on nationality and type.
For latest updates and details of visa application, please visit https://www.mha.gov.in/MHA1/TourVisa.html.
In Leh, money changing services can be found at the banks and moneychangers in the main town area around Main Bazaar. They accept USD, EUR, GBP and most major currencies. Do not accept dirty and torn notes as they may not be accepted at the shops. Double count your money before leaving the moneychangers to make sure the accurate amount is given.
ATMs are widespread and cards operating the international network of Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus and Maestro would work with most.
Credit cards are gaining useability and may be accepted in most hotels, major retail outlets and mid-range to top-end restaurants/cafes. Small local retail or food stalls are highly unlikely to take credit cards. So, it is useful to keep a moderate amount of cash on hand.
In India the standard voltage is 230V. The standard frequency is 50Hz. The power sockets that are used are either the two narrow round pins (Type C) commonly used in Europe, or the three-pronged thick round pins (Type D).
The official language of India is Hindi and English, amongst 21 other dialects of the country. Hindi is the most spoken language while English is commonly used for national, political and commercial communication. Hotel and tourist service staff would be conversant in English.
It is strictly not recommended to drink water straight from the tap. Bottles of mineral water can be easily purchased in hotels, restaurants and supermarkets. Many hotels also provide a small bottle of complimentary mineral water upon check in.
Tipping is common practice in India. In hotels, the bellman or porter can be given a token Rps10-20. Full service restaurants typically impose a service charge and that is usually considered to be sufficient. Tipping is not expected in taxis but good to tip if drivers are honest about the fare. Trekking guides and porters should be tipped as this is a major contribution to their income.
With evolving world situations that may occur unexpectedly due to natural disasters, pandemics/epidemics, conflicts and unrests, it is best to read up and keep tabs on news and developments at your destination country and region before the trip. Check on the country’s official website and/or your own foreign ministry website for any travel advisory or safety precautions to be taken while abroad.
As with traveling in anywhere in the world, regardless of the local crime rate, stay vigilant and take care of personal safety. Good to read up on any possible exposure in the country prior to departure.
It is a good practice to register with your respective foreign ministry if there is such a service provided to citizens, to contact you in order to make sure that you are safe and, if need be, assist you should an emergency (e.g. natural disasters, civil unrest, etc.) occur when you are overseas.
For Singaporeans, this is the link to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ eRegister:
It is highly recommended to purchase comprehensive travel insurance(s), upon payment of your trip, to cover adverse situations that may occur while you are overseas or even before departure. Ensure that the coverage is suitable for your destination and the activities that you are participating in. Be familiar with the terms and conditions before purchasing and travelling abroad.
There is no compulsory vaccine to be taken to enter India. You should, however, be up to date on routine vaccinations, especially vaccines against water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (examples: hepatitis, typhoid and tuberculosis) while traveling to any destination. You are encouraged to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition.
Recommended routine vaccinations for travellers in general:
Spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor.
Spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for those at occupational risk, long stays or frequent travel, children (exposed through cuts and scratches) and individuals who may need, or request, surgical procedures abroad.
Spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite, scratch or lick on broken skin. Particularly dogs and related species, but also bats. Risk is higher for those going to remote areas (who may not be able to promptly access appropriate treatment in the event of a bite), long stays, those at higher risk of contact with animals and bats, and children. Even when pre-exposure vaccine has been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.
Spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A primary series of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine is recommended for life. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.
Spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.
A vaccine specific for a given year to protect against the highly variable influenza virus.
For more information and professional advice on travel vaccinations, please consult your doctor or travel clinic.
For people residing in Singapore, you may visit The Travellers’ Health and Vaccination Clinic (THVC) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital:
Travellers’ Health & Vaccination Clinic
Address: Level 4, Clinic 4B, Tan Tock Seng Hospital Medical Centre
Contact number: 6357 2222
Website : https://www.ttsh.com.sg/Patients-and-Visitors/Medical-Services/Travellers-Health-and-Vaccination-Clinic/Pages/default.aspx.