Ladhak Trek 1 – A high altitude but easily manageable 9 to 10 day trek through the beautiful Markha Valley (total 15 days in Ladhak and up to 23 in India), a chance to view two great mountain rivers and for a fun mountain rafting outing apart from a study visit to Ladhak’s famed Buddhist monasteries and see its well preserved ancient culture. The adventure is basic yet exciting due to high mountain terrain.  Start can be either from Zingchen or Rumbak or Chilling and we end the trek at the very special Hemis Gompa (L 1)

Note: As per the interests of the group the trek can start from Zingchen opposite Spituk, or from Stok where there is an immediate ascent to Stok La and so requiring  better initial acclimitisation, or we can start from Chilling Village, an unique village on the Zanskar River.

Note : Register early for hassle free air reservations. The land route is beautiful but tiring, needs an extra 5 to 7 days and is feasible only from end June to mid October.  

1. Intention.To trek in the high altitude mountains of Zanskar and Ladhak Ranges and spend great moments studying the culture and people in the heartland of Ladhak Buddhism.

2. Duration. 23 or more  adventure filled days in India of which  up to 10   days are spent on the superb Ladhak and Buddhist region trek and additionally on rafting and  visits to Ladhak’s famous monasteries and cultural centres. A chance exists to see the beautiful  Taj Mahal and  Delhi and while in Ladhak to undertake some  other road safaris.  The pre – trek period in Ladhak is inescapable as we have to acclimatise. Yet we use each day to its best.

3. Modes of Transportation. By road in cars/jeeps or a suitable coach as per the itinerary below.  A flight to Leh and then the trek follows from Leh and we finally return by air to Delhi.
4. Best time. End April to end October though April and October are a bit cold.

5. Age Profile. 18 years upwards, as per fitness.

6. Broad Itinerary.(Refer Map)

(a) Arrive at Delhi, received, halt over at hotel to rest and recoup. A days sightseeing in Delhi. Next morning move to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and night over at Agra. Note that in summers it can be really hot outdoors at Delhi and even more so at Agra. The next evening return to Delhi and next day take the flight to Leh (3522 m). (4 days – can be reduced if stay in Delhi or Agra is curtailed,  if desired please specify) (4 to 6 months advance planning recommended to get confirmed flight tickets) (Land route through Manali and Keylong option exists but needs an additional five to seven days and is feasible only from end June to mid October)

(b) A day of complete rest at Leh. (Avoid even easy walking today)

(c) (c) An Essay into Ladhak Buddhism. We now spend 3 days, the first of which being kept relatively easy, in travelling within Ladhak visiting its monasteries and villages. This acquaints us with the area and its people and helps us acclimatise better. The monasteries, mostly along the Indus Valley, include Thiksay, Stok, Spituk, Likir, Alchi and Lamayuru. (3 days). (Total 8 days so far since arriving at Delhi).

(d) Rafting down the Indus. This fun day is to enjoy some easy rafting from Leh to Nimmu where the Zanskar flows into the Indus and in case the main trek is not starting from Chilling then the afternoon can be spent visiting this special village about 30 km up the Zanskar from Nimmu. If the trek starts from Chilling we will camp here. (9 days since arriving at Delhi).

(e) Days 1 to 5 of the trek. We now  start the main trek.  An early morning drive to Spituk and from across the Indus we trek this day to Zingchen (3700 m). The trek is easy, about 4 to 5 hours, and ideal for slow acclimatisation. (Note : Starting from Stok requires better acclimatisation and so two extra days before the main trek can be used for visiting Pangong Tso Lake and return to Leh. The link up with the Zingchen start is at Rumbak after crossing Stok La – 4900 m, a Pass that offers great views of the Indus Valley).  On Day 2 after the Zingchen start we trek to Rumbak (3900 m) which we reach in about 4 hours, leaving us enough time to visit the village and the Gompa. For the night halt we will however trek another hour or so to camp near Yurutse (3950 m). Day 3 of the trek is perhaps the hardest of all as we cross Ganda La (4900 m). Descending the pass after enjoying the brilliant views it offers we trek beyond its southern base to Shingo (4150 m) where we halt for the night.  On Day 4 we descend further by about 6 to 7 hours to Skiu village (3400 m) on the Markha River and halt after visiting the small village and its Gompa, passed earlier. (A start from Chilling would have got us here in three easier days). Days 5 and 6 are the best of the trip, the experience that you so much wanted to have. We trek along the beautiful valley, criss crossing the Markha River a few times and fording numerous other streams. The summer greenery along the river is amazing. At the end of Day 5 after a 7 to 8 hour trek we halt at Markha (3700 m) and at the end of Day 6 again after another great  6 to 8 hour trek we halt at Tchatchungtse (4100 m).
(f) Days 7 to 10 of the trekDay 7 is a day to rest, to enjoy the Valley and to look out for wild life. An alternative place to take a break is Nimaling (4900 m), a shorter trek for the rest day. Either way at the end of Day 8 we are at Nimaling and on Day 9 we have an early start to cross the  5150 m steep Kongmaru La from the top of which there are amazing views. The descent takes us into a better inhabited belt with  the day’s descent ending at Shang Sumdo (3760 m). On Day 10 we descend further to the beautiful Martselang (3 hours) and in two more hours we are at the renowned Hemis Gompa where the trek ends. We visit this historic monastery and in a short road move of an hour or so are back at Leh to rest our weary limbs but to exult in our achievement. (19 days since arriving in India).
(g) We visit the beautiful Pangong Tso next. A very early start and we head into a long winding drive over the rather high Chang La Pass (5358 m). This beautiful Lake is part in China’s Tibet and part (1/3rd) is in India. This is the apex point of the trip and by late evening we are back at Leh. The last day we do a half day safari to the very High Khardung La pass (5606 m) that towers over Leh and spend the afternoon and evening roaming around Leh or visiting any other area that you like.

(h) On the 21st day we are back at Delhi. However it is essential to plan the return flight to home a clear 48 hours or more later so that a cushion is kept in case bad weather delays our flying out of Leh. These two days can be used to further explore Delhi, for shopping and to recoup.

(i) After spending 22 or 23 great days in India we take the night flight back home, but with plans for other adventure trips to Ladhak, or elsewhere in India, already taking shape in the mind.

Note: The 4 day extension referred to in (g) above is a beautiful trek from Malana village to the meadows at Chota Grahan, the area of the Dudion Glacier below Animalís Pass near Kiksa Thach, and from there to Nagruni Thach. From there we head for Chanderkhani Pass and the trek then links with the above main trek ending below Rumsu.
7. Accommodation and Cuisine. This will be a mix of hotels, rest houses/inspection bungalows, camps in tents, the odd home stay where viable. Changes can be made to suit specific participant requirements. Cuisine. A variety of  Indian, Continental, Chinese or Tibetan with due care and regard to sensitivity to spices.
8. Cost of Basic Itinerary above (Delhi airport back to Delhi airport).

(a) Our plans are all inclusive in India and based on  a  groups of  preferably about 10 or so pax. This includes airport transfers, hotel and basic sightseeing costs at Delhi,  Agra, Delhi – Leh – Delhi air fare and all halts in Ladhak, tips, accommodation (twin sharing), water and all meals. It also includes all costs of treks/rafts  including costs of English speaking trek leaders, guides and rafting boat-masters,   equipment, porters and ponies, entry fees at various places/parks, road transport in exclusive jeeps, government royalties, and the costs of any special clothing that you want us to arrange for the duration of the trip which can be indicated to us when registering. However international air-fares,  airport taxes, visa charges, duty on any items and personal expenditure such as drinks, laundry, tobacco, phone calls, camera charges where applicable and individual expenses incurred away from the plan for the group are excluded
(b) Registration. As this is the peak tourist period it is essential that Registration be done at least four to five months prior to arrival. Half the determined costs are to be paid on registration and the balance to be paid six weeks prior to arrival.

9. Changes in the itinerary, if requested, can be worked out and costs evaluated separately. Or, any other specified itinerary can be developed to match your interests.