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LADAKH – Markha Valley Camping Trekking

Ladakh Ladakh

Trekking Map

This is one of the most famous and varied hikes that Ladakh offers in the very popular area of the Hemis National Park.
With a view of some 6,000-meter peaks, including Stok Kangri, you hike through green and colorful valleys. On the way you are surrounded by barren mountain landscapes and wild rivers. You cross the high passes Ganda La (4,980 m) and Kongmaru La (5,280 m).
The trip begins with a good acclimatization in Leh and the surrounding area. During the days there you will get to know the rich culture of Ladakh. You start the trek with a light foot until you reach the first pass Ganda La (4,980 m). River crossings characterize the hike until you reach the village of Markha (3,750 m) and then Nimaling (4,800 m). The tour ends with the crossing of Kongmaru La (5,280 m), the highest point of the hike. There you will be rewarded with a wonderful view of the mountains of the Zanskar Range in the south and the Karakoram in the north.

Although this trekking tour is suitable for beginners, it requires altitude tolerance, very good fitness and health as well as excellent surefootedness.

Trip Details

Day 01: Arrival in Delhi
Upon arrival in Delhi, you will be met in the arrival hall at the airport and then transferred to the hotel. Overnight at the Hotel Ashok Country Resort.

Day 02: Flight to Leh (3,500m) – most of the day relaxation in the hotel, welcome lunch and evening stroll in the bazaar
You will be driven to the airport early in the morning. After an impressive one-hour flight over the high Himalayan peaks, you will arrive in Leh at 3,500 m. You will be brought to the hotel and spend the rest of the morning resting and acclimatizing for the first time. On this day you have to expect physical reactions (e.g. headache, shortness of breath) to the unfamiliar altitude. After a welcome lunch, we take a short walk to the Leh bazaar in the afternoon. This will be a leisurely stroll, during which we can get used to the special atmosphere of this city. Overnight at the Hotel Glacier View or similar category, (B|D).

Day 03: Morning visit to Shey & Thiksay monasteries, afternoon free time
After breakfast we will be driven to the ruins of Shey. It used to be a former palace of the Ladakh dynasty before it moved to other places like Leh and Stok. There is the possibility to hike from here to the next place, the Thiksay Monastery. The hike takes about an hour and a half in almost flat terrain, but at a demanding altitude. Thiksay is also known as ‘Mini-Potala’ because the complex is very similar to the famous monastery palace in Lhasa. In one of the halls of the monastery you can admire the 15-meter-high statue of the future Buddha – Maitreya. From the roof of the monastery you have a very nice view of the whole valley. Overnight at Hotel Glacier View or similar category, (B|D).

Day 04: Sightseeing and hiking in and around Leh, to promote acclimatization – preparation for the trek
Visit of Shankar Gompa & Shanti Stupa, evening walk to Tsemo Gompa above the Leh Palace. Later that day, your trekking guide will give you information about the trek at a meeting. Overnight at Hotel Glacier View or similar category, (B|D).

Day 05: From Leh to Zingchen and trek to Rumbak (3,900 m) – 1 hour drive and 3 hours hike
We will be driven to Spituk, which is only 7 km away from Leh. It is the area of the first Gelugpa monastery in Ladakh, with an impressive view over the Indus valley. After a short detour to the monastery, we continue the journey to the village of Zingchen (approx. 40 minutes), where we meet the rest of our accompanying crew. Our equipment and luggage are loaded onto horses and our trek begins. We are now entering the Hemis National Park and with a bit of luck we will gain an insight into a diverse animal world, including the snow leopard, the lynx, the Ladakh Urial (a type of goat), the Argali (large Tibetan sheep), the blue sheep (actually a Goat species), the red fox, the Tibetan wolf, the dhole (Asian wild dog), the marmot and the mountain hare. We follow the Rumbak River and step by step we climb a beautiful gorge. The village of Rumbak is one of the best places in the Himalayas to observe the extremely shy snow leopard. Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 06: Rumbak to Ganda La Base Camp (4,500m) – 4 hours of trekking
After a first night in the tent and a good night’s sleep, our cook has already prepared an invigorating breakfast. The path gradually goes up the valley, and where another valley opens, we take the right fork behind the village of Yurutse. We set up camp on the camping meadow at the foot of Ganda La (4,500 m) and enjoy a spectacular view of the Stok Kangri mountain range from here. Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 07: Gandala base to Shingo via Gandala La (4,980 m) – 6 hours of trekking
Today we have to cross the first pass. When we have reached Ganda La at 4,980m, we will have a first breathtaking view of the towering Zanskar Himalayan mountains and the summit of Stok Kangri. The usual chorten and prayer flags mark the highest point of the pass. This is an ideal place to see yaks, blue sheep and marmots roaming the surrounding mountain slopes. After a short rest, we descend step by step and reach the village of Shingo. Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 08: Shingo to Skiu (3,400m) – 3 hours of trekking
This morning we will continue to descend. In many places we will have to cross the stream. At the end of the day we will hike through a spectacular gorge and set up our camp in the village of Skiu (3,400 m), which marks the confluence of rivers from the Markha Valley and the Shingo River. In this picturesque village there is an old monastery and the ruins of an old castle. After lunch, we will stroll around the village and possibly we will receive a warm cup of tea from a local family. A good opportunity to get to know the way of life of the locals and to further adapt our bodies to the altitude. Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 09: Skiu to Markha (3,750m) – 5 hours of trekking
We start with a hike along the Markha River and come through some beautiful valleys on a fairly flat path. The lush green along the river is in stark contrast to the dry and barren surrounding high valleys. Finally, in a wide, open valley, we reach the Sara campsite with a house and a tea room. We continue our way and pass winter settlements, Lhatos (‘stone men’) and Mani walls. At the border of the village of Markha we see some wolf traps that are set up by the villagers to protect their cattle from attacks by hungry wolves and snow leopards in winter. We cross the river on bridges in most places, but just before we reach the village there is no bridge so we have to wade through the cold river water before we reach our campsite. Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 10: Markha to Thachungtse (4,250 m) – 6 hours of trekking
Today we will leave our ‘altitude comfort zones’ and move back to altitudes above 4,000 m. Some river and stream crossings are necessary until we can see the Techa monastery at the foot of a mountain, which was built high above us on a rock. There is an option to climb up to the cliff to visit the monastery, or to hike further to Humalaung village for refreshment at the local tea house. On our way we have a first view of the breathtaking summit of Kang Yatze (6,400 m), the view of which will accompany us in the background for the next few days. We continue to hike to Hankar – the last village in the valley, and have lunch here. From here it is about a two-hour walk to our campsite in Thachungtse. Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 11: Thachungtse to Nimaling (4,800 m) – 2 to 3 hours of trekking
We start the day with an easy ascent that takes us to the quiet high pastures of Nimaling, where the nomads from the Markha Valley graze their cattle during the summer months. It will be the highest and probably coldest place to spend the night on the hike, but it will also reward us with a wonderful view of the summit of Kang Yatze, the Zanskar mountain range and the Markha valley. In the afternoon we explore the area on short hikes. Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 12: Nimaling to Shang Sumdo (3,800 m) over the Kongmaru La pass (5,280 m) – 7 hours of trekking
Today the second and last major pass of the hike awaits us. We leave Nimaling and continue to climb towards Kongmaru La (5,280 m). At the highest point we enjoy an impressive view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Its snow-capped peaks can be seen all around, and on a clear day the highest peaks of the Karakorum mountain range, including K2, can be seen on the horizon. On a steep path down, we need about 2 hours along the Martselang River before it gradually flattens out and reaches the Shang Gorge. Many river crossings and constant ups and downs mark our way before we arrive at the acidic spring of “Chuskurmo” (medicinal water used in traditional Tibetan medicine by the local doctors, who are called Amchi here). Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 13: Drive to Leh, rest of the day free, farewell dinner
Time to return to civilization. We will be picked up by our vehicles in the morning and on the trip we will visit Hemis Monastery, once the largest and richest monastery in Ladakh. Located off the main road, tucked away in a side valley, it is home to a large number of magnificent statues, gem-studded chortens, and rare holy books gathered from many places, including Tibet. After visiting the monastery, we continue to Leh. Overnight at the Hotel Glacier View, (B|D).

Day 14: Flight to Delhi, in the afternoon short sightseeing in Delhi
You will be transferred to the airport for an early flight to Delhi. Depending on your arrival time in Delhi, you can get your first impressions by visiting the center with a visit to the Indian Gate and past other buildings that are symbolic of colonial architecture. Overnight at the Hotel Jay Pee Siddharth, (B).

Day 15: Optional day trip to Agra by train or free for individual activities – In the evening transfer to the airport for the return flight
Depending on your flight schedule, there is an option to visit the Taj Mahal before flying home. We take the train to Agra and take a short trip to the famous Taj Mahal, the 17th century mausoleum of Mumtaz, which was built by her husband, the then Mughal King Shah Jehan. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also one of the seven new wonders of the world due to its extraordinary beauty and perfect architecture. After returning to Delhi and after dinner you will be driven to the international airport to say goodbye, (B).

We reserve the right to make program changes due to special events, force majeure or weather reasons.

F = Breakfast | M = Lunch | A = Dinner

German guided tour
English guided tour

This trekking tour can also be booked for your individual group at an additional cost at dates other than shown here.

Duration: 15 days
Costs: € 2.090 per person
Group size: min. 2 Persons (all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of two persons)
€ 360 for single room/single tent supplement

What’s included:

  • Airport transfers in India / Ladakh
  • All relevant surface transfer
  • All internal flights Delhi – Leh – Delhi (with Go Air oder Air India), inclusive Airport Taxes and 22kg free luggage (15kg luggage+7 kg hand luggage)
  • All hotel accommodation with breakfast and dinner
  • All meals on trek (B,L,D)
  • Sightseeing with entrance fees, guide and vehicle
  • Permit, National Park Entrance/Conservation Fees
  • Guide, cook, ponies and supporting staff on tented trek
  • Two-Man-Tent, mattresses and kitchen utensils
  • 12 kg free luggage on trekking tours, carried by ponies
  • Quality service
  • Oxygen set for emergency cases
  • Oxymeter

Not Included:

  • International flights
  • Drive Delhi – Agra and back, entrance fees Taj Mahal
  • Additional tours and meals that are not mentioned
  • Beverages
  • Personal bills
  • Visa India approx. 62€
  • Excess baggage charge (beyond 22 Kg each)
  • Insurance (for cancellation, accident, health, emergency evacuation and loss, theft of or damage to baggage and personal effects)
  • Tips

About Ladakh
Ladakh is one of the highest regions in the world. When you land in the capital of the region, Leh, you will already be at an altitude of 3,500 m. We spend the first few days of our Ladakh trips sightseeing in order to ensure that you adapt to the change in altitude. You will see Leh’s old town as well as the most beautiful Buddhist monasteries and villages in the Indus valley. Here, there are numerous opportunities for meditation in the monasteries and meditation schools. Please contact us if you are interested. All our tours are conducted by local trained and licensed guides. At the end of our tours, we offer the opportunity for you to travel to Agra in order to admire the world-famous Taj Mahal. We also offer the option of extending your trip to Kashmir/Srinanagar on request. The houseboats on Dal Lake are the perfect way to relax after the tour.

Visa
A visa is always required for entry to India. Since November 2014, under certain conditions, you can apply for an electronic tourist visa (e-Tourist Visa – e-Tv). You can find a list of the requirements for an electronic visa at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html. You can also apply for a visa under the link. Please note that the tourist visa must be applied for in good time (at least 28 days before the start of your visit) so that no travel complications occur. If you have any questions, we will be happy to help you.

Vaccinations
No specific vaccinations are required for travelling to Ladakh (India). However, vaccinations against hepatitis, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and typhoid are recommended. We advise you to speak your family doctor approx. 3 months before your trip and in the case of physical weaknesses, a health check should be carried out beforehand.

Insurance
Travel health insurance (with recovery costs) is essential for your own safety and a precondition for participation in our trips. In the event of an accident in the mountains which requires a helicopter rescue, the helicopter will not take off before the responsibility for the cost is clarified. The conclusion of travel cancellation insurance is highly recommended. In the case of bargain price flights in particular, changes or cancellations generally can’t be made free of charge. In Nepal complications with the weather or with your health could make it necessary to break off your journey. We have requested ERGO (Reiseversicherung) to create various service packages for you. You can book travel health insurance at https://www.reiseversicherung.de/vrv/partner/ep-Assistent.html?/data/agent/hagtnr=027256&/data/agent/nagtnr=000000.

Please note: ERGO insurance can be booked by residents of Germany and Austria. Those living in other countries are requested to book their travel insurance through an insurance provider in their own country. It should be noted that geoDiscovery Tours advises its customers to book their travel insurance via ERGO as a recommendation only, and accepts no responsibility for the contractual content between the customer and the travel insurance provider. Customers can book their travel insurance via ERGO or another provider at their own discretion.

Money
You should bring with you a debit card with a PIN (international), a credit card and cash in either Euros or dollars. In cities like Delhi and Leh you can withdraw money at ATMs or change money using your debit card or credit card. The local currency is the Indian Rupee (INR). One EUR is equivalent to approx. 75 INR.

The hotels booked by us
In Delhi and Ladakh hotels we book are good and correspond to medium-level Western standards. Sanitary facilities are clean and functional; the hotel cuisine is adapted to Western eating habits and the food is safe to enjoy. There may sometimes be power cuts, or no hot water may be available for a while. The hotel staff is generally very friendly and looks after the welfare of guests. The hotels booked by us are as follows:
Delhi: Hotel Ashok Country Resort (3*) and Hotel Jay Pee Siddharth (4*)
Leh: Hotel Glacier View (3*)
Hunder: Karma Inn (2*)

Flying in India (Ladakh)
The domestic flights booked by us are with Go Air or Air India

General information regarding our trips
The tour program for all of our recommended tours is carefully planned. However, it can be that roads must be closed or become impassable without prior warning due to climatic events in the destination country. Delays of several hours are also possible due to traffic congestion or fuel shortages. This means that access to attractions may also be hindered. Nevertheless, our guides are used to such situations and will endeavour to fulfil all items on the programme to the satisfaction of all our participants. Therefore, the inconvenience can normally be kept to a minimum. Nevertheless, it should be noted at this point that the above-mentioned reasons can result in changes being made to the programme at any time. These changes fall outside of the responsibility of the organiser. The resulting costs are borne by the traveller. We apologise for any inconvenience.

 


Trip Details

  • Duration: 15 Days
  • Holiday Type: Camping Trekking /Hotel Accommodation
  • Best trekking period: Jun/Jul/Aug/Sep
  • Difficulty: Demanding
  • Max Altitude: Kongmaru La 5.280m
  • Group size: Min 2 persons (all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of only two persons)
  • Tour guide: English speaking, trained Indian mountain guide
  • Difficulty:
  • Fitness:
  • Price: 2.090,00 
  • Single room supplement: 360,00 €
    single room/single tent supplement