About Markha Valley Trek
The Ladakh region is famous for its myriad of treks of varying difficulty. Markha Valley is one of the most popular treks in this region. Spanning dry mountains and the amazing Markha stream, this trek features a host of different natural terrain. You’ll be walking with small towns such as Stok, Matho, and Zanskar at your side. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a blue sheep or an Ibex on the rocky slopes. The Markha Valley trek is moderately difficult and generally takes around 8 days. You’ll be trekking along high towns with lush fields of wheat, barley and mustard serenely swaying with the wind.
Markha Valley is also known as little Tibet or land of the Lamas. Ancient Buddhist monasteries and small villages with lush green fields adorn the area. From the edges of the valley, you can catch absolutely stunning views of the surrounding snow-capped mountain peaks, including K2.
The Kang Yatse (6400 m) and the Stok Kangri (6150 m) are mountains in the vicinity of this region. The Nun Kun peak at 7135 m is also close by. You’ll also be passing through Hemis national park, which is home to several rare flora and fauna. The Markha Valley trek is a unique Himalayan adventure that offers a natural and cultural experience to be found nowhere else on the planet.
The main highlights of the trek are Grand La Pass at 4972 m and Grand La basecamp, Kangyatse La, and various remote villages. Of course, the Markha Valley itself is a grand sight.
The Tibetan culture you’ll experience during this trek has remained unchanged for centuries. This region is a portal into the Himalayan lifestyle of Ladakh, in all its glory. The unique religion, society and people will leave you a sense of awe.
Generally done between either September to December or March to June, the trek to Markha valley involves longs walks in the Zanskar and Ladakh regions in the Indian Himalayas. The trial was once a trading route, along which people of different religions and culture mingled with each other. There are Buddists, Muslims and Hindus living in compelte harmony in this region. During the trek, you’ll mainly spend your nights in tents. Your porters and guides will help you find good places to camp. You can also stay at the homes of locals here to experience their daily lives firsthand. They are hospitable folks, and staying with them will be the highlight of your journey. If you’re lucky, you might even be just in the right time for their festival celebrations.
You also have the option to extend your trek for a few days and add the Stok Kangri peak to your Markha Valley adventure. The peak stretches to 4900 meters and is only recommended to experienced climbers and mountaineers. Although not as popular as the normal Markha Valley route, this peak is full of adventure for those capable enough to seek it.
All in all, Markha valley offers a combination of natural beauty and cultural experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
The below is a sample itinerary. It may vary slightly depending on the final trekking agency you choose to go with:
- Day 1: Drive from Leh to Chilling and hike to Skyu.)
- Day 2: Hike from Skyu to Sara (4-5 hours)
- Day 3: Sara to Markha
- Day 4: Hike from Markha to Hangkar
- Day 5: Hike from Markha to Hankar
- Day 7: Rest day in Nimaling for acclimatization
- Day 8: Hike from Nimaling to Shang Sumdo.
- Day 9: Drive to Leh via Hemis Gompa or 3 hours walk to Hemis Gompa then drive back to Leh.