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Markha Valley Trek

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September 29, 2024
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Why Book With Us?

  • Safety
  • Small groups - (6-12)
  • Experience nature
  • Sustainable experiences

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  • 8 Days/7 Nights
  • Moderate
  • 17100 ft./5212 m
  • 12 Participants
  • August-September
  • Ladakh

Markha Valley Trek Overview

Beyond the commercial lanes of Leh City lies a remote Himalayan escape, an offbeat trail of Markha Valley. Markha Valley trek is one of the most popular trekking routes in Ladakh. Tucked inside the Hemis National Park, the trek is renowned for dynamic sceneries, quaint villages dotted with colourful monasteries and rich Ladakhi culture. 

An adventurous and less explored trek in Ladakh, Markha Valley offers picturesque landscapes, a thrilling climb to Kongmaru La Pass and the panoramic beauty of Mt. Kang Yatse. The hamlets along the trail have tiny houses of mud and brick. The fluttering colorful prayer flags keep you company and the Buddhist monasteries in these villages enhance the serenity of these remote villages. 

The trek in the cold desert of Ladakh is a hit among adventure lovers. On this river valley trek, trekkers discover the majestic view of Mt Kang Yatse, Stok Kangri peaks, Ladakh, and Zanskar ranges. The highlight of the Markha Valley trek is witnessing the pristine Kang Yatse peak (6,400) atop the Kongmorula Pass at 17,000 ft. 

As the trek is inside the Hemis National Park, you can encounter plenty of wildlife sightings on the trail. You will come across wild sheep and yaks grazing high on the steep mountain slopes. 

Markha Valley is one of the few Indian treks where you can enjoy the comfort of tea houses. Rich Ladakhi culture, desolately beautiful landscapes, and exotic Himalayan wildlife perfectly define the Markha Valley trek. This journey of an immersive escape reveals the untouched beauty of Ladakh’s interior, providing a different perspective on life and the diverse experiences the place has to offer. 

Markha Valley is a perfect getaway if solitude is what you seek. Stunning landscapes, Himalayan wildlife and enriching culture await on this off-beat trail in Ladakh.

Markha Valley trek brochure

Inclusions 

  • Meals 
    • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners (Day 1 Dinner to Day 7 Breakfast)
  • Accommodation 
    • Tents, Homestays/Dorms
    • Cloakroom Charges 
  • Highly Experienced Leaders and Guides 
    • Trained and Qualified Guides
    • Certified Outdoor Leaders
  • Permits
    • National Parks and Sanctuaries
    • Forest Permits and Entry fees 
  • Camping Equipment
    • Kitchen Tent
    •  Toilet Tent
    • Dome Tents 
    • Sleeping Bags
    • Mattresses
  • Technical Equipment
    • Wilderness Medical Kit
    • Climbing Rope 
    • Climbing Accessories
    • Ice Axe
    • Microspikes
    • Oxygen Cylinder
    • BP Meter
    •  Oximeter, Thermometer etc.

Exclusions 

  • Airport Pickup and Drop – Note you have to manage your travel yourself (The address of your stay in Leh will be shared 3 days before your trek starts.
  • Stay of Day 8 in Leh.
  • Transit meals (Day 1 and Day 8)
  • Personal expenses 
  • Offloading charges 
  • Cost incurred due to change in the itinerary 
  • Additional services  (including mules, assistance, health-related support etc.)
  • Anything not mentioned in the inclusions list. 

Markha Valley Trek Itinerary

Day 1 : Reach Leh (11,500 ft.)

We reach Leh and acclimatize in Leh as the town is located at an altitude above ten thousand. We go for a small hike to Shanti Stupa and stay in a Home Stay. the day is for resting and letting your body get adjusted to the condition outside.

Day 2 : Acclimatisation Day at Leh. Morning walk to Shanti Stupa and sunset climb to Tsemo Namgyal.

As Leh is an altitude of 11,500 ft, it is essential to stay here for one more night and let your body acclimatized to the weather. It is important to let your body adjust to the weather and altitude of the place. You can go for an exploration around the city, and witness the charm of Leh city. However, avoid doing any activity that can stress your body and hamper the acclimatization process. Drink enough water, and hot soup and keep hydrated.

Day 3 : Drive to Chilling (10,500 ft.) and trek to Skiu (11,150 ft.)

We reach Chilling, the confluence of Indus and Zanskar. Chilling is also the place from where the Chadar trek starts. It takes around 2 hrs to reach Chilling through picturesque rocky mountains. You will drive through the pretty landscapes of Ladakh to reach Chilling.

After you get down at Chilling you will start climbing to Skiu. The trail to Skiu is barren and without any settlements on the way. On the way, you will witness rocks of different colors on the way to Skiu. The stream flows by in the village.

Skiu is a small village with very few houses. We reach Skiu in the afternoon and have lunch there. We will camp here for the night on the outskirts of the village

Day 4 : Skiu (11,150 ft.) to Sara (11,800 ft.)

The trail today is on level ground, and you will reach Sara after a gradual walk for about 5 to 6 hours. You will walk on the riverbed, and Markha river gives you company almost throughout the trail. Sara is a beautiful village covered with green paddy and barley fields. The scenery of this quaint village is picture-perfect. The village is the only place where you will see some greenery. The village has green barley fields, and the charm of old stone and mud houses. You cannot help but soak in the beauty of nature. Our team spends time in indulging outdoor activities while the solitude of the village

Day 5 : Sara (11,800 ft.) to Markha (12,200 ft.)

Today, the starts early and you will cross a small hamlet of Chalak on the way. You will walk along the Markha river. You will be crossing the river today and the water will be icy cold. After Chalak, the trail climbs gradually. After walking for another few hours on an undulated trail, you will reach Markha village. Markha village is the biggest village on the entire trail and has the maximum number of houses. You will also find tea houses and homestays here.

Day 6 : Markha (12,200 ft.) to Hankar (13,400 ft.)

The day is comparatively comfortable today. You will start from Markha village and head for the next stop in Hankar. After walking on an undulated trail, crossing some icy cold streams, you will reach a small settlement of a few houses, Umlung. Umlung offers a spectacular view of Mt Kang Yatse.

Day 7 : Hankar (13,400 ft.) to Nimaling (15,800 ft.)

You will have to cross icy cold rivers today. The view continues to get better. You will see a monastery on the way to Namling. The trail is a mix of steep climbs and comfortable walk. After walking for a while you will reach the campsite at Thochuntse and have your lunch here. During the trekking season, you will find a few tea houses here.

You will also cross lakes on the way today. If you walk towards the right then you will reach the base camp, and the left route takes you to the campsite of Nimaling. From here, you will head towards Nimaling. After walking for another few hours the pasture of Nimaling opens up. Nimaling is a huge flat ground, and you can witness plenty of wildlife here. Himalayan Sheep, Yaks, and goats are grazing in the green pasture.

Day 8 : Nimaling (15,800 ft.) to Chokdo (12,100 ft.) via Kongmaru La (17,100 ft.) and Drive back to Leh

Today we will start around 7:00 AM and reach by 10-11 AM. Today is the summit day and you will be on the top of Kongmaru La Pass situated at 17,100 ft. While the view today is going to be beautiful the climb to the top is going to be challenging. The walk up to Kongmarula is a steep ascent, and an arduous one. Once you reach the top, you will get a network for the first time. You can call your loved ones while standing at 17000 ft. above sea level. Kang Yatse I, II, and III stand out prominently.

After spending some time at the Pass. You will descend from Kongmaru La through a narrow valley. As you continue to descend, on the other side of the pass, you will witness beautiful and colorful rocky mountains, a sight your eyes take time to believe. By the time you reach Chokdo, it will be around 5:00 PM in the evening. From Chokdo you will be picked up by a cab and you will drive back to Leh.

How to reach the basecamp of Markha Valley trek?

✈️ Nearest Airport – Leh Airport, Ladakh

Markha Valley trek starts from a place called Chilling. The distance between Chilling and Leh is around 60km and is covered in 2 hours. To begin the Markha Valley trek, one must first reach Leh, which is conveniently connected by air to major cities. You can fly directly to Leh or travel by road from Srinagar/Manali. 

The other option to reach Leh is by road. Manali – Leh highway and Srinagar – Leh highway are the two options to reach Leh by road. 

You can travel on shared cabs or buses from Srinagar to reach Leh. It is suggested to halt on the way. The distance of 437 km is covered in 11-14 hrs. You can opt for a night halt in the major towns of Sonmarg, Drass and Kargil. 

If you travel from Manali to Leh by road, you can opt for shared cabs or bus services. The other option is to travel by private and HRTC buses from Manali to Leh. The distance between Manali and Leh is around 454 km and is covered in a 15- 16 hour drive.

Markha Valley Trek Map

Markha Valley Trek FAQ

How long is Markha Valley trek?

The total distance of the Markha Valley trek is 78 km. You walk an average of 5 – 7 hours daily. 

Is Markha Valley Trek suitable for beginners?

Markha Valley is a challenging trek. We suggest the trek to people with prior experience of high altitude trek. If you are a beginner with good physical fitness, you can consider the trek after consulting our Outdoor Leader. 

How difficult is Markha Valley Trek?

The trek can be categorized as difficult considering the duration and altitude of Markha Valley.

What will be the temperature in Markha Valley trek?

Markha Valley’s temperature hovers around a minimum of – 5°C to 4°C during the summer season.  The maximum temperature during the trekking season is 25°C. 

Read more about Markha Valley temperature here

What is the best time to visit Markha Valley Trek?

The best time to visit Markha Valley trek is from June to September. The trek is off-limit during winter due to harsh weather conditions. 

Read more about Markha Valley’s best time here. 

Will there be snow on the trek?

Yes. Markha Valley trek is accessible in summer. You will find the remnants of winter snow at Kong Marula Pass.

What is the cost of Markha Valley trek?

 The Markha Valley  trek cost is Rs 21500/-

 The trek cost covers your experience from basecamp to basecamp. 

Will there be a network in Markha Valley Trek?

The last place with a mobile network will be the base camp in Chilling. You will receive a scanty network on the last day of your trek at Kong Moru La Pass, then in Leh city. 

Where is Markha Valley Trek located?

Markha Valley Trek is in Ladakh. The trek starts from a place called Chilling.

Where is the base camp of Markha Valley trek?

Chilling is the starting point of the Markha Valley trek. Chilling is at a distance of 68 km, around 2 hours from Leh City.

What is the duration of the Markha Valley Trek?

It takes 8 days to complete the Markha Valley trek, including travel to and from the base camp.

What is the altitude of Markha Valley trek?

Markha Valley trek takes you to an altitude of 17,100ft. Markha Valley starts at an altitude of 10,490ft from Chilling.

FAQ

How should I prepare to avoid AMS?

Drink more water than your daily intake to avoid AMS on the trek. Additionally, it’s crucial to have nutritious meals during the trek. In case, you are still concerned about getting AMS, we recommend carrying Diamox tablets with you. However, your outdoor leader will advise you on whether or not to take it.

I have a medical condition. Can I join the trek?

We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to trek, regardless of any medical conditions they may have. At OWLS, we have our doctor on hand to discuss any medical concerns you may have.  We can provide the necessary support and preparation for your trekking experience.

What document do I need to carry?

Please keep the following documents ready before filling out this form

  1. ID proof
  2. Health form (for all participants of Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh treks) and (for all participants <15 and > 60 years of age)
  3. RTPCR for children <15 years/Vaccination certificate for adults (for Nepal treks)

Should I bring snacks to eat on the trek?

Although we provide filling breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with morning tea and evening snacks, you can carry some light snacks for munching on the trail. You can carry protein bars, dry fruits, and homemade snacks like Shakkarpara to help you give that extra energy on the trek. 

Who will be leading my trek?

Our Outdoor Leaders are a team of experienced and well-trained individuals. They have completed the Basic Mountaineering Course and possess first-aid knowledge. In addition to this, they are certified Wilderness First Responders and have been trained to act responsibly in case of any unforeseen accidents.

Do I need to get my medical kit for the trek?

You don’t need to carry your medical kit. If you have your prescribed medications, you need to carry them on the trek

What kind of arrangement is available for accommodation on the trek?

The accommodation will be on twin sharing basis. One tent will be shared by two trekkers. 

Is there any arrangement for offloading on the trek?

Yes. Communicate your requirement to the trek leaders beforehand, as it will be difficult to arrange to offload at the last minute. The offloading charges will be Rs 350 per bag, and your bag should not weigh more than 9 kg. 

Note: At OWLs, we suggest our participants carry their backpacks and avoid offloading. However, in case of pressing circumstances, you can opt for offloading.

Is there any option to keep our luggage at the base camp?

Yes, you can leave the extra luggage at the base camp. However, do not leave valuables like laptops, jewellery, or any other expensive items in the base camp. 

What will be the toilet facilities on the trek?

The OWLS team will set up a toilet tent near the campsites. The toilets will be dry toilets and you will have to use toilet paper. There will be a pit dug by the team and you will have to cover your nature’s call with dry soil. Avoid using wet wipes, as they are not biodegradable. At OWLS, we thrive to leave no trace in the mountains. 

At the base camp, you will have regular concrete toilets.

What will be the food arrangement on the trek?

The food offered will be as per the nutritional requirements. As you will be walking every day for 4-6 hours, you will be burning a good amount of calories. The team makes sure that the food you will be offered is healthy and helps you sustain through the day. The regular meal comprises eggs, locally grown vegetables, rice, roti, and pulses. The menu changes from day to day. 

What will be the status of the mobile network on the trek?

You will have access to mobile networks in Leh. We suggest our participants call their friends and family from the base camp. There will be no signals throughout the trek. 

 

Are there any ATMs at the base camp?

The last ATM will be in Leh city. 

Carry a sufficient amount of cash with them. Since the base camp is situated away from the cities and lacks basic facilities like ATMs and digital payment options, it is always better to be prepared. 

You can carry the cash for cab fare and food to and from the base camp. We suggest carrying a minimum of 5-6k to ensure you have enough funds for your journey.

Will there be hot water facilities?

It is recommended to drink water from natural sources when acclimatizing to the temperature of the mountains. Since resources are limited at high altitudes, we do not provide hot water. However, during the winter months, when natural water sources freeze, we do provide water to our participants. Another reason for avoiding hot water on our trek is to prevent health issues such as diarrhoea.