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I am avid trekkers and did 4-5 Himalayan treks earlier but never been to Ladakh for trekking. I hear about Markha valley trek a lot from my trekker fri...
I was looking for some adventure trekking packages in Himalayas when my friend from Bangalore suggested me this package. I contacted with the guys and ...
About the Destination:
The Markha Valley trek is fondly called as tea house trek since the trekkers coming here would get parachute tented accommodation in almost all the villages. Markha offers trekking through an arid cold desert that belongs to Ladakh only where people from all over the world come to indulge in adventure every time.
For the hard core nature lover, the Zanskar and Ladakh ranges are the best option. You will come to see the 21000 feet Kang Yissay and 20086 feet Stok Kangri peaks as you gain the altitudes. Hemis National Park, Gandala La and Kongmaru La are the promising attractions one gets while taking Markha Valley trek route.
There will be something most exciting awaiting your arrival and that is the waist deep river crossing across the beautiful Markha River to reach the trails to Buddhist villages and rock structures. Markha Valley is situated very close to Leh and it is the highlight of this trek too.
Markha Valley trek gives you enough days to get acclimatized in Leh since the higher altitude may offer you drastic changes in the body. Get amused by the centuries old Buddhist culture, the remnants of old royal buildings and the perfect scenery that could be absorbed from the cliff tops while you are wandering around the influential town of Leh.
The greatest adventures include crossing the mighty Ganda La (4800 m) to reach the winsome Markha Village that is laced with green fields and willow trees and has barren mountains in the backdrop. It will be in your heart forever with more memories created at the campsites near gushing streams, with the unimaginably beautiful views of Kangyatze Peak and so on.
About the Trek:
A Markha Valley trekking package extending up to nine days will be a valuable time you get to spend amidst serenity without fail. When you arrive in Leh, you officially kick start the trek. Spend one or two days to get familiarized with the climatic conditions there before you begin the actual trek. Enjoy one or two days of sightseeing in Leh which would enable you observe the different culture of the town and get chances to meet the locals as well.
The trek starts with a journey to Yurutse, the first camping destination and Markha becomes closer. Catch the impressive glimpses on your way from Yurutse to Ganda La filled with steep ascents and it offers the magnanimous visuals of Zanskar Range and the distant summits arrayed on the Himalayas. A confluence of rivers at Skiu has everything to steal everyone’s heart in no time.
From Skiu, it is just a 6 to 7 hours trek until Markha after moderate climbing through the long unwinding trails. Several hindrances are to be crossed including streams and boulders but the treasure trove situated in the middle of the cold arid region, Markha is worth shedding tears and sweat. Green fields, willow trees and quaint villages are seen from the top of Markha Valley, more beautifully. Grab the opportunity to catch the established views of Kangyatze Peak from the top along with the views of Markha. Nimaling, Kongmaru La, Sumdo and finally Leh- this would be the route you take to return to the vibrant Leh to conclude the trek.
Markha Valley Trek Highlights:
- Markha Valley is one of the most alluring region located in Ladakh with the support of pure greenery and streams. Make use of this appropriate chance to wander around the secluded place and dive into the comforts offered by the valley.
- Markha Valley trek takes you to enjoy the unexplored beauty of Hemis National Park as well as the two most important passes named Gandala la and Kongmaru La located at a height of about 15748 feet and 17060 feet respectively.
Trekking Distance: 75km
Maximum Altitude: 16,830ft
Difficulty Level: Difficult
Airport: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh
Base Camp: Spituk
Today meet at Leh and check in to the hotel.
This day is reserved for relaxation and acclimatization as it is vital for a healthy trip ahead.
Overnight will be spent in hotel.
Spend one more day at Leh.
Visit the ancient monasteries, palaces, and museums that the place is famous for.
Visit Shey and Thiksey Gompa and also Stok Gompa. Being in the same destination will assist in getting acclimatised well for high altitude.
Towards the evening, enjoy a hike to Leh palace. The remaining evening will be spent at leisure.
Overnight will be spent in a hotel.
Today you will start your trek to Markha Valley with an early breakfast and drive through Spikut Village to reach Zingchen.
This is where your hike of short stage and moderate gradient begins.
Enjoy the trail through Rumbak Village to reach Yurutse and come across several stream crossings.
Pass the village before setting up camp.
The site is a winsome one with barley fields all around.
Overnight stay at the camps.
Today after your breakfast start the initial stretch of the trek, ascend to Ganda La (4900 m). You will find it a steep climb and strong winds towards the latter half.
From the pass, enjoy views of valleys on both side, Zanskar range and some distant summits of the Himalayan range.
Commence descending to Shingo Village, after which, the trail makes its way into a narrow gorge leading towards Skiu, where a confluence of the rivers come from Markha Valley and Shingo.
Overnight will be spent in tents.
Today you will enjoy a moderate trek to the charming Markha Village. Cross several streams along the way.
Reach the hamlet that is a trove in the middle of this cold and arid desert. The place is laced with green fields, willow trees, and a deserted palace.
Camp beside a gurgling stream.
Overnight will be spent in camps.
Today lap up fetching views all around and come across many stream and river crossings.
Make way for settlements and grazing ground today. Take in the stunning view of Kangyatze Peak (6400m) when walking towards Hankar.
Set up your camps after choosing your tent grounds.
Overnight will be spent in tents.
Take a short walk to arrive at the Nimalaing campsite which is beguiling one with wide open valley with unbridled grazing grounds, and the backdrop of Kangyatze Peak.
Do note that there is constant wind blowing in the area making situation slightly uncomfortable.
If you wish, you can also avail of a side trip today towards the base camp of Kangyatse.
Overnight will be spent in tents.
Dig into an early breakfast and take on a steep climb to reach the top of the highest pass on the trail - Kongmaru La (5200m).
Marvel in the great sights of Nun Kun in the West and Saser Kangri to the North.
Cherish some moments here before climbing down to Sukarmo, from where your trail is a flat walk along the river till you come to the road head at Sumdo.
From here, hop on to a vehicle to drive back to Leh.
Overnight will be spent at a hotel.
Departure from Leh
The charm and allurement of the Markha Valley trekking end here as you go ahead with your onward journey or stay back in Ladakh.
Depart for home.
Tour ends here.
Write Your Story
Rated : 5.0
I am avid trekkers and did 4-5 Himalayan treks earlier but never been to Ladakh for trekking. I hear about Markha valley trek a lot from my trekker friends. So this time I decided to for this trek along with my friend whom I meet during Hampta Pass trek last year. The entire trek from reaching Gandala La and Kongmaru La pass to interacting with the Markha village people was really amazing. For me the best part was when we were trekking to Nimalaing campsite where there was an open grazing ground. The views were really great. There is just one suggestion which I would like to add from the whole trip. Please add better vehicles for transportation other than that the trip was an awesome one. And also thanks to Liveladakh for making our trip a memorable one.
Rated : 5.0
I was looking for some adventure trekking packages in Himalayas when my friend from Bangalore suggested me this package. I contacted with the guys and inquired about the availability of the package. After confirming the dates they helped me to book the package. It was quite a decent package and the price of is totally reasonable. We took a flight from Delhi to Leh (Air India) which took around 1 hours. It was a very beautiful day in Leh and the sun was shining bright, we visited some of the famous monasteries Shey and Thiksey Gompa and also Stok Gompa. During our trek to Markha valley we pass through Spikut Village and Rumbak Village. The trek was moderate not very difficult. You will also find a lot of small streams and a variety of species of birds and butterflies here. The rooms provided during our stay were neat and clean. We also had an amazing guide with us who was helping us all the time and was very informative. He was very experienced and was helping us cope with the environment as well. It was much needed adventurous break from my work. Now I am planning a bike trip to Ladakh next year which is due in my bucket list since long time.
What level of fitness is required for the Markha Vally Trek?
As the Markha Valley trek is graded hard level, trekkers have to work towards optimum fitness level with strong lungs. The trek starts from Spituk which itself is at an altitude of 10500 feet and the trail is across rough rocky terrain so it requires strong endurance levels along. The best way to practice for this trek is to jog 4 km within 20 minutes or indulge in swimming and cycling for the same period and also strengthen legs with 20-25 squats each day.
Are there any specific guidelines that you adhere to?
Yes, we adhere to specific guidelines about causing minimum impact on the environment through “leave no trace – tread light” policies. These simple policies refer to understanding the impact of trekking and camping on the pristine mountainside and keeping it as light as possible with proper water disposal and being sensitive towards local culture and wildlife.
What is the best time to go to Markha Vally Trek?
The ideal period for Markha Valley Trek is between mid-May to early September as the days are warm and nights are relatively calm. From mid-September the region usually faces rain and blizzard that could make the nights very cold and even cause landslides making the region difficult to trek.
What is the level of fitness expected from the participants?
You need to be in good physical condition before the start of the trek. You should be able to jog 4.5 kms in 30 minutes to make your lungs strong to bear the high altitudes. Minimum age for this trek is 12 years.
Will there be snow during the trek?
The region faces snowfall between November to February which is the official winter season at Markha Valley and night temperatures fall below -30° C. During this period the region usually remains deserted and desolate under the snow. During the trek you may see snow clad peaks in the distance on mountain peaks but not on the trekking trail.
What clothing or equipment do we need to carry from our side?
Besides comfortable trekking shoes and adequate pairs of woolen socks, trekkers would be required to carry two pairs of sweaters and several pairs of track pants and full sleeved shirts with high collars. Essential clothing include windproof jacket, raincoat, sunhat, helmet with headlamp and tinted sunglasses along with woolen gloves and synthetic gloves. Personal toiletries and medication along with several waterproof covers and plastic bags are essential to carry back non-biodegradable waste down from the mountain to the plains.
How much weight will I have to carry? Will there be porters?
Every trekker is expected to carry around 7-10 kg in the daypack though there are porters and mules to carry the weight at high altitudes when it becomes tough to breath due to scarcity of oxygen.
What kind of food will be provided during the Markha Vally Trek? What about safe drinking water?
Vegetarian meals with egg and cheese will be provided along with boiled water during the trip. As every trekker has to carry two liters of insulated water bottles during the trek it is advisable to refill the bottles with fresh water at every stop.
How many people will be in a group?
Usually there are 10-12 people in each trekking group to Markha Valley. Small groups of people are easy to manage and also cause a smaller impact on the environment.
Will there be mobile connectivity on trek to Markha Valley?
BSNL is the only mobile network which is available at base camp and some pit stops during the trek depending on the weather. But there are large gaps in the coverage at high altitudes where no network is reachable and trekking teams keep in touch through walkie-talkie.
Can I have liquor or smoke while we're on the trek?
Smoking and consumption of liquor on this high altitude trek is not allowed as it would have an adverse effect on the health of trekkers. Though people have this misconception that liquor can keep them warm it can lead to dehydration and shortness of breath at high altitude location like Markha Valley.
What is the difficulty level of Markha Valley trek?
The Markha Valley Trek is graded as hard as there are two high peaks of Kang Yatse at 6400 meters and Kongmaru La at 5247 meters. On this 75 km long trek trekkers also have to cross waist deep waters of Markha River a couple of times so are advised to carry extra pairs of warm and dry clothing.
Is Diamox is advisable on the Markha Vally Trek?
Though the trek organization team usually carries its adequate supply of Diamox on the trip as participants sometimes are unable to handle the drastic change in altitude and climate, it is always better to carry one’s own personal supply of the medication. This helps in managing the uneasiness and discomfort that accompanies mountain sickness while climbing the peaks or making a sudden decent into the hillside. Include a packet of 10-12 tablets of Diamox in the personal medical kit along with medicines for cold, fever and dehydration.
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