Since 1974, when Ladakh first became accessible to foreign visitors, this high and arid region has captured the imagination of adventure travelers. This itinerary between Ladakh and Zanskar offers a large diversity of landscapes, from the jagged Kongmaru La pass (5000m) to the green oasis of the Markha valley with breath-taking views of the Korakoram snow-capped peaks. Many scattered high villages, each with irrigated fields of barley and potatoes, add color to this otherwise quite barren environment, and provide the chance to meet the Ladakhi peasants in the simplicity of their daily life. Markha will be an opportunity to visit the old monastery, famous for its paintings.
Itinerary 13 Days 12 Nights
Day 1: Journey to Leh
Take the flight to Leh. Overnight stay and leisure in the hotel.
Day 2: Free day in Leh
Afternoon at leisure in Leh, where we can take a walk to the colorful bazaar. Overnight at Leh in the Hotel.
Day 3: Drive Leh – Marteslang by car/bus – Chokdo (4050m)
We leave the Indus valley and head south. We progress along the river whose banks are punctuated with ochre rocks.
Day 4: Chokdo – Latza Kongmaru (4800m)
After crossing narrow gorges, we start our ascension towards the Kongmaru La.
Day 5: Latza Kongmaru - Kongmaru La (5030m) – Nimaling (4650m)
From the pass, there are great views north towards eastern Korakoram and China, whilst the southern view is dominated by the shapely Kang Yatze (6400m) and the Ladakhi range. We take a ridge trail and descend zigzagging across scree. Afterwards, the path meets the Nimaling summer pastures, used by Hankar and Markha shepherds.
Day 6: Nimaling – Hankar (4000m)
We steadily descend through meadows to Thachutse and cross the Nimaling river. The trail follows the Markha river now, and will do so for the next few days.
Day 7: Trek Hankar – Markha (3850m)
Several monasteries and ruins are scattered along the trail to Markha. After Umlung the valley narrows and becomes a gorge just before Markha. This large village has a fort and a monastery perched on the northern hill. The gompa is reputed to be one of the oldest in Ladakh.
Day 8: Trek Devthach to Bhadaka (1815m)
Long walk down to the campsite of Bheduka. We walk all along the river till we get to Bhedaka just short of Taluka, the road head.
Day 9: Markha – Chalok (3450m)
The trail passes through quite lush riverside vegetation. En route, we come across more derelict monasteries, some well maintained shortens and at least one good example of a wolf traps. Wolves become a nuisance during the winter as hunger forces them into the villages.
Day 10: Chalok – Shingo (4150m)
TWe criss-cross the Markha river and cross it on bridges set at many of the most difficult crossing places. From a tiny group of stupas, we leave the valley and continue upwards along a river bounded by willows and wild rosebushes.
Day 11: Shingo – Ganda La (4920m) – Rumbak (3750m)
At the pass, colorful prayer flags flap in the wind, with the Zanskari range in the background. Afterwards, we descend steadily along the Jingchan river. We get great views towards the Stock summit and the Stock Kangri (6121m).
Day 12: Rumbak – Namlung La (4570m) - Stok (3700m)
Descending from the pass, we enjoy excellent views towards the Indus valley. Eventually, we reach Stock, which is famous for its palace and museum.
Day 12: Take the flight from Leh to Delhi