Duration: 6 Days/ 5Nights
Max Altitude: 17,060ft
Duration: 6 Days/ 5Nights
Max Altitude: 17,060ft
Placed in the magnificent landscape, Markha Valley Trek is the finest ever trek of Ladakh. Set in the picturesque river valley called Markha, this trek gives you the best feel of the mighty Himalayas in its 7-day duration. The trek goes over the majestic cold, arid deserts of Markha which is part of the famous Hemis National Prak.
The trek is a bundle of high-altitude passes, river crossings, rocky canyons, and vast wildlife. While on this trek you get a magnificent view of Mt Kang Yatse on the third day of the trek. This near pyramid peak has an altitude of 21300 ft. It also goes to the high mountain pass of Kongmaru La which has an altitude of 17060ft.
You will get a lifetime view from this pass of the wide range of the Indus Valley and Ladakh mountain ranges.
Markha Valley Trek India is a grand trek of Ladakh and Kashmir region. You get an amazing view on the trail amid barren mountains for which Ladakh is famous. The trek exposes you to the villages of Markha Valley.
The modest mud houses are set on the beautiful trail of this trek. There are local houses and traditional Buddhist religious motifs that you will see on and off during this trek. The culture and architecture of the valley will mesmerize you.
The best part of this trek which is quite different from other treks is the stay in homes. On this trek, you can lodge in one of the local houses. This makes the Markha valley one of the rare tea-house treks in the Indian Himalayas.
Highlights of Markha Valley Trek
- Markha Valley: Markha Valley is the biggest attraction of this trek. It is the otherworldly location with the remotest of villages. It has scenic panoramas and gives a wide view and an exciting look at the Himalayas. This valley is also famous for its Buddhist monasteries. The valley holds villages that have mud houses and the ancient tribes of Ladakh.
- Mountain Views: This trek has the contrasting landscape of Ladakh and Zanskar Valley. It gives the best view of Kang Yatse Mountain and Stok Kangri peaks.
- Hemis National Park: The trek goes way deep into the Hemis National Park. This national park is quite huge. It holds varied Himalayan wildlife and you get mesmerized by the flora in fauna.
- River Crossings: Markha Valley has exciting and soothing river crossings. The waist-deep river crossings are a thrill in themselves. You will have to ford many river streams. Another fantastic feature of this trek is the trail that goes via rocky canyons. This makes the trek quite experiential.
Itinerary of Markha Valley Trek
Day 1: Leh to Chilling to Skiu
- Altitude: 11,560 ft – 10,490 ft – 11,160 ft
- Distance: 60 km drive, 7 km trek
- Duration: 2 hours drive, 2-3 hours trek
This is the first day of the trek. The day starts with a drive from Leh for about 2 hours until you reach Chilling. Chilling is the base of the trek. Gear yourself in the trekking wear and start your trek. The Cliffhangers trek leader will brief you for the day and give you the overall trek details. The Trek leader will give you dos and don’ts of the trek and will explain in detail about the trail.
You will have a short walk over the road and a trolley bridge. The trail takes a right turn and you will have the proper trail. It is a steep ascent. However, the steepness is for a short distance and then the trail opens out and flattens. This day is a flat walk above the Markha River until you reach Skiu.
The gradient of the day is easy. The distance of the 7km trek is a flat and easy one. You will be passing the beautiful village of Kaya where you can stop for a break and refreshments. From Kaya, 3km ahead is your night stay in Skiu. The homestays in this village are decent and quite a relief in the middle of the rocky landscape.
Day 2: Skiu to Markha
- Altitude: 11,150 ft – 12,370 ft
- Distance: 20 km
- Duration: 7 hours
Today the trek starts along the river. This is a beautiful walk along the gushing stream. The trail as it diverges from the river exposes you to the rough and non-definite trail. You will have to maneuver the trail quite carefully as some portion of the trail is washed away. You will reach after this portion a valley called Sara. It is also a beautiful camping location. However, this is not our campsite.
We will have to walk further until we reach Chalak. It takes around 6 hours to reach Chalak from Skiu. The trail gets a bit challenging as it gradually takes an ascent. Just a few kilometers ahead you will enter Markha Valley. The Markha Valley has deep river crossings. You will have to take off your shoes or be in shorts to ford the stream. Shortly after this fording, you will reach the Markha village which is our night stay.
Day 3: Markha to Hankar
- Altitude: 12,370 ft – 13,000 ft
- Distance: 11 km
- Duration: 5 hours
The gradient of the day is easy. This day is very rewarding as you go to the upper reaches of Markha Valley. The valley starts to open up as you trek for some time. You get to see the magnificent view of Kang Yatse today. This peak is the major attraction of the day.
The trail runs parallel today to the river stream. You will be crossing the Markha River twice on your trail. Shortly you will reach Umlung. It’s a bit away from Umlung when you behold the eternal Mt. Kang Yatse. Once you have crossed Umlung and got the view of the peak, a trek of around an hour will take you to the village of Hankar. This is a gorgeous village with mud houses and homestays to spend the night at.
Day 4: Hankar to Nimaling
- Altitude: 13,100 ft – 15,400 ft
- Distance: 10 km
- Duration: 6 hours
The gradient of the day is moderate. You will be trekking mostly on the flat trail with a beautiful landscape surrounding you.
From Hankar, start trekking after your breakfast. The trail starts with a steep ascent and then reaches the Thochuntse campsite. Here you will find beautiful treehouse tents. A short-distance trek will take you to the base camp of Kang Yatse. The trail gains steepness and you will have to trek in steep ascent for around 70 minutes and then the ascent turns gradual.
The gradual ascent gives a perfect stop for rest as you will reach a river pond that has Kang Yatse in its background. From here you will have to gradually descend to reach Nimaling. Nimaling has a contrasting landscape to what you have seen so far. There is greenery and it is a grazing area of Ladakh. This is the campsite for the night.
Day 5: Nimaling – Kongmaru La – Chokdo
- Altitude: 15,400 ft – 17,060 ft – 12,810 ft
- Distance: 12 km
- Duration: 6 hours
The gradient of the day is difficult. This is the day you will be ascending the steep Kongmaru La and then have a long descent down to Chokdo. Brace yourself in the morning and be prepared for the tough trek day.
The day starts with a river crossing and trekking towards Kongmaru La pass. The trail of the day is definite and it takes around 2.5 hours of moderate-paced walking to reach the top of the pass. But reaching the pass is rewarding. Once you are at the pass, you will get a fantastic panoramic view of the Indus and Ladakh ranges.
It is essential to take some rest here at the top. From the top will start a long tiring descent. The descent is very sharp and steep with the trail going over rocky terrain which is quite heavy on your legs, particularly on your knees and ankles. It is suggested to carry your kneecaps with you. The trail is over canyons. This long descent will end in Chokdo where you will take a sigh of relief.
Chokdo is a small village for your night’s stay. The best thing is you will have your phone network here.
Day 6: Chokdo – Shang Sumdo – Leh
- Altitude: 12,810 ft – 12,140 ft – 11,560 ft
- Distance: 5 km trek, 50 km drive
- Duration: 2 hours trek, 2 hours drive
This is the last day of the trek and the gradient of the day is easy. The day has a short trek day of around 5km only. The walk is along the river and is a flat walk. You will reach Shang Sundo in about 1.5 hours. From Sumdo take a cab to Leh. This finishes your eternally beautiful Markha Trek.
- All veg meals during the trek. Breakfast, lunch, evening snacks, dinner.
- Camp accommodation on all nights in high-quality tents on a twin-sharing basis. Sleeping bags, sleeping mattresses, dining tents, and cutlery are included.
- Helpers to pitch the tents, wash the dishes, serve the food, and assist while on the camp.
- Mountaineering qualified and experienced trek leaders, guides, and experienced cooks.
- All the necessary mountain medicine includes first aid, oxygen cylinder, etc.
- Passes and Permits.
Meal plan: In every meal plan, we try to provide different varieties, trying not to repeat the dishes, particularly at dinner and lunch. Here is the list of dishes and items from which we serve the clients.
- Breakfast: eggs, paratha, chana, poha, dalia, upma, cornflakes, bread toast, butter, jam, roti, coffee, tea, kehwa, etc.
- Lunch and dinner: we make a variety of dishes and try to serve the varied dishes. On all trek days, there will be different dishes served. We try not to repeat our dishes unless the clients say otherwise.
- We serve veg dishes like veg biryani, veg pulaw, muttar paneer, palak paneer, aloo gobi, rajma chawal, rajma kadhai, mix veg, chana masala, kadhi chawal, dal makhni, bhindi masala, dal fry, veg korma, Kashmiri nadru, Kashmiri haakh, aloo matar, bhaingan ka bharta, dam aloo, andaburji, etc. We have both roti and rice available for dinner and lunch. We serve them with different pickles and salad.
- For evening snacks we have tea, pakoda, soup, noodles, maggie, veg rolls, biscuits, etc.
- For dessert we serve gulab jamun, phirni, halwa, custard, sewaya, fruit chaat, fruit cake, almond cake, etc.
- Lunch on the first day.
- Personal expenses.
- Anything not specifically mentioned in the inclusion list.
If you wish to avail of our transportation service, then the extra cost will be 4500 per person. The transportation cost is to and fro. The pickup and drop place will be Leh.
Offloading charges: Markha Valley Trek has mandatory offloading. The cost per bag is Rs 4000/ per bag. The maximum weight allowed is 10kg. Please note that only a proper trekking backpack will be allowed to offload. No trolly or suitcase will be allowed to offload. We strictly follow the rule of adequately placing the load on our ponies.
Markha Valley Trek Packages and Cost
Markha Valley Trek’s cost is 19000/ which includes the basic trekking essentials. You will have a combination of homestays and camping on this trek. However, the complete Markha Valley Trek Package includes your transportation, offloading/porter service, and insurance as well. Cliffhangers has the complete package for this trek. From the airport to the airport, you will get the entire services along with eh sightseeing options of Ladakh.
You can get in touch with our trek experts to give the best of the packages for this trek. We also have private customized packages for Markha Valley. From budget to premium, we have all the required services.
Best Time for Markha Valley Trek
Ladakh is a cold desert. In winter the region is extremely cold, which makes the summers the best time for trekking here. Hence, the best time for Markha Valley Trek is from July to September. This is the time when the sun is out, temperatures are ideal for trekking in the high altitude.
Markha Valley in Winter
Markha Valley trek in winter is not doable. This trek is purely a summer trek and is done from July to September end. Owing to the cold temperature and snow, this trek gets closed during the winter and is not accessible and recommended to undertake.
October: Often frequently asked, it must be noted that Markha Valley in October is not the ideal time. This time the trek closes and as the autumn sets in Ladakh, the higher passes have a high chance of snowfall.
December: In December Markha Valley receives plenty of snowfall. Hence Markha Valley trek is not done in December.
Markha Valley Trek in Summer
Markha Valley Trek in summer is the most beautiful and recommended one. Summer is the only season in which the trek can be done. You will get the accessibility and the best services and landscape of this region in summer only.
Why should you do Markha Valley Trek?
There are plenty of reasons to do Markha Valley Trek. It has the best delightful landscape along with other attractions that lure trekkers from across the world. Here are some of the reasons to do this trek.
- Ladakh: Since this trek is in Ladakh, what better attraction than Ladakh itself? On this trek, you get to see the real authentic Ladakh. Not only the trek trail, but the sightseeing of Ladakh is part of this trek. You will be driven through a breathtakingly beautiful road to reach the base camp of this trek. You will have to arrive at Leh for this trek, so Leh sightseeing will be part of it.
- The Pristine Village: You will get to see the stunning villages of Markha and Hankar. These villages are right from the old times, spending their lifestyle in the most simple ways with the real cultural ethos of the people still intact. These two villages have a green landscape in the middle of the typical barren landscape of Ladakh.
- Behold Kang Yatse: On your third day, you will behold the amazing peak of Kang Yatse. The pyramid shape of Kang Yatse from the Umlung pass is a fantastic feature of this trek.
How Difficult is Markha Valley Trek
You must be aware of the gradient of any trek before you book it. It must be clearly understood that Markha Valley is a moderate to difficult trek. It is doable by all. It is recommended for fit beginners and experienced trekkers. The trek goes over the high altitude passes above 15000 ft. Hence it must be borne in mind that you will have the sharp ascends while going over to the passes.
Further, there are days when the trek is quite mild and gives you enough time to enjoy the walk in the middle of the stunning landscape of Ladakh. The longest distance is on the second day which is around 20km. However, the altitude gain is fairly low which makes the walk not that strenuous on your legs.
How to Reach Markha Valley
Markha Valley Trek is located in the Markha Valley of the Ladakh region. This is most easily accessible from Leh. The base of the trek is just 60km from main Leh. The entire trail is in Markha Valley and the vicinity of Markha River.
By Air: Leh airport is the nearest airport to the Chilling where the trek starts. Once you reach Leh, Cliffhangers has a shared cab facility that you can avail of to reach the base camp.
By Train: There are no railways in Ladakh. The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi. From there take a shared cab or bus to Ladakh. It is a long drive.
By Road: Ladakh is connected to all the places across India by road. You either can enter Ladakh via Kashmir or Himachal. The roads are in good condition. However, the distances are long.
Things to Carry for the Markha Valley Trek
Markha Valley is an offbeat trek that is situated in a far-off region. You must have to carry the essentials before you join for this trek. You won’t find much of the trekking stuff in the base camp of this trek. You either have to get these things from your place or from Leh itself.
Backpack: You must carry at least one backpack of 60 liters.
Shoes: You need to have trekking shoes necessarily. The shoes must be sturdy and high-ankle.
Three T-shirts: Carry one full sleeve dry-fit T-shirt, and at least two other T-shirts.
Three insulation layers: Carry at least 3 insulation layers – 2 light fleece and one full-sleeve sweater.
One Outer layer: You need at least one padded jacket/down jacket
Two trek pants: You need to carry two pairs of pants and that will be sufficient for your entire trek.
Trekking poles. Two trekking poles are always better than a single trekking pole.
Raingear: A poncho is a good choice over jacket-type raingear, as the poncho covers your entire body till the knees down and you can keep your daypack bag inside it too.
Rain cover for your backpack: Buy a good rain cover for your backpack to keep it dry and safe. It also helps to keep your backpack from wear and tear.
Daypack: A small bag of around 20 to 30 ltrs to carry your essentials like water bottle, rainwear, headlamp, snacks, etc
Sunglasses: Carry one to protect your eyes from glare and UV radiation.
Suncap: You can either get the normal suncap or a suncap with flaps which is preferred by most trekkers and is advisable by the experts.
Synthetic hand gloves: You can wear them during the evenings and mornings.
Woolen cap or Balaclava: The cap covers your ears, neck, and some parts of your face.
Three pairs of Socks: Take two pairs of sports socks and one pair of woolen socks.
Headlamp: You might want to go to the loo during the night, or just sit and relax outside the camps, you need the headlamp
A toilet kit: It should include things like a toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturizer, lip balm, deodorant, etc. Women should carry their sanitary pads.
Water bottle: carrying a water bottle is a must.
Plastic covers: Carry a plastic bag to keep the wet or used clothes in it.
Personal medical kit: If you are on any medicine, don’t skip that during the trek unless your doctor advises. Always consult your doctor if you have any diseases that can worsen in the mountains or by altitude gain.
Mandatory Documents: Carry your original Aadhar card Passport or Driver’s license.
Lunch Box: Every day you will reach the campsite only in the afternoon, so there will be no hot lunch but a packed lunch. You must buy and carry one small lunch box.
How long is Markha Valley Trek?
The Markha Trek is 65km long. This is the trekking distance apart from the distance you will be converting to reach to Chilling base camp from where the trek starts. You will have to reach to leh first and then from there, the cab will ferry you to the base camp.
What is the altitude of the Markha Valley Trek?
The highest altitude of the Markha Valley is 17060ft which is the altitude of Kongmaru La Pass. This is the toughest day of the trek and takes you to the highest altitude of the trek. The lowest altitude of the trek is 11560ft which is from where you start and end the trek.
Where is Markha Valley Trek located?
Markha Valley Trek is located in Ladakh. It falls 60km away from Leh. This is an offbeat and far-off place, so make sure you are well-prepared for this trek. We recommend not to do this trek solo, as it involves some risks of straying in the barren mountains of Ladakh.
What is the distance of the Markha Valley?
The distance of the Markha Valley trek is around 65km. The distance of each day is different with some days short and some days long. The longest day of the Markha Valley trek is from Skiu to Markha. This is a long tiring day. The shortest duration day is the last day which is about 5kms of the trek.
What is the best time to do the Markha Valley trek?
Markha Trek is best done from July to September. These are the summer months which are the only months in which this trek is recommended. On rest month the accumulation of snow and the rough weather makes this trek quite impassable. As this trek is a high-altitude trek, one must not do it in other months of the year for safety concerns.
What is the difficulty level of the Markha Valley trek?
The difficulty of Markha Valley Trek is moderate. It is quite doable for both fit beginners and experienced trekkers. There are some high-altitude ascents that you will have to cross while on this trek. Most days you will be walking short distances, however on days like the second day, you will be walking the long distance of 20 km.
Is Markha Trek safe?
The Markha Valley Trek is completely safe. It has the best of the trails which are definite and well-marked. However one has to finish this trek with some care. Cliffhanger guides will ensure your safety by guiding you about the trail and accompanying you on every step of this trek.
Can a beginner do the Markha Valley Trek?
Yes, a beginner can do Markha Valley Trek. The only condition is you will have to prepare for this trek. You will have to build the stamina and endurance to make this trek quite easier on you. The trek puts some challenges for a beginner if he/she is not fit enough.
What is the starting point of the Markha Valley Trek?
The Markha Valley trek starts from Chilling. This is the base camp of the trek – a village situated in the far-off region of Ladakh. There is a drive of 2 hours covering a 60km distance from Leh to reach the starting point of Markha Trek.
How many days is the Markha Valley Trek?
The total days for Markha Valley trek is 6 days. This includes the time driving from Leh and going to Leh. The 6 days are leh to leh. One can increase the days depending on your preference, you can add one rest day in between the trekking days, to make this trek more relaxing. However, a 6-day duration is ideal for Markha Valley.
Do you need a permit for Markha Valley?
Yes, you will have to get permission for Markha Valley Trek. Cliffhangers will arrange all the permissions required for this trek. This is included in the basic package of this trek.
Markha Valley from Leh?
The total distance from Leh to Markha Valley is 60km. This makes you reach the base of this trek. From there, no transports go ahead, you will have to trek to reach Markha Valley.