- This article is an itinerary.
The Marka Valley is in Ladakh. Markha Valley is one of the most famous treks of Ladakh Region. It is an amazing trip to get introduced with remote Buddhist Kingdom of Ladakh. While trekking on through this trek tourists passes through beautiful Buddhist monasteries, Mountain Villages, High altitude pastures of Nimaling and High altitude peak Kangyatse.
- Duration: 5 to 8 days depending upon where you start and where you end your trek. The shortest way of doing this trek is to start from Chilling Village and end the trek at Shang Sumdo village.
- Season: Mid-June to mid-October
A deservedly popular trek, that follows the beautiful Markha valley. It is almost always done in the direction described, as in the reverse direction the approach to the Gongmaru La is very steep and unpleasant. This means you get an impression of there being fewer trekkers on this route than there in fact are. It is a reasonably straight-forward trek, with many villages on the way, and even the odd tea "house" tent, it is possible avoid camping out except for the night before crossing the Gongmaru La, which necessitates a tent, and good sleeping bag as it gets very cold here even in summer.
Markha Valley trek is located between the Zanskar and Ladakh, in the Himalaya region. This valley runs parallel to the Himalayan range. Markha Valley trek has beautiful, wild and barren landscapes. These landscapes are linked with the Ladakh also known as “Little Tibet”. These landscapes are very dramatic and enticing.
Flora and fauna
Markha valley remains cold in the month of November to February and minimum temperature goes down to 4 °C during the month of January and February. March to Early may, sun shine remains abundant. Summer remains from May to August. From Mid of July till October is the rainy season, when this area is wet due to heavy rain fall which can continue for days.
Best time to go for this trek is from March to June and from September to December.
Take one of the frequent buses to Spitok village, with its monastery that's a popular tourists destination.
Fees and permits
Cross the bridge over the Indus, follow the jeep road across the empty uninteresting flats. It gets hot here, so try to be threw before the sun gets high in the sky. After about 7 km turn up the Zhimgchan valley, with scattered trees, to Zhingchan village a small settlement of a few houses, and a few campsites. Keep going a few km to Rumbak village, a good place to spend the first night. (approx. 6-7 hours from Spitok) Yurutse village, is the first village you come to. Lartsa campsite, with beautiful views, is further on, and makes a good place to set up your tent. (approx 4-5 hours from Rumbak) An hour or so from here is Kanda La (4870m). Looking south west you can see Shingo village(with camping area) , a few km further on. Spend the night in the area around the villages of Skyu Yokma, and Skyu Gongma. (approx. 6-7 hours from Lartsa) It’s 17km from here to Markha village, far but not a difficult walk up the Markha valley. You’ll first pass Pentse campsite , then the settlements of Nakdi village , Sara village , and Chalak village, before coming to Lhatho campsite Shortly before Markha village with it’s plentiful campsites, (approx. 7-8 hours from Skyu) Continue past Tetsa village, Umlung, Da-amo campsite, the highest permanent settlement in the Markha valley: Hangkar village(4000m) . From here the trail goes up to the Nyimaling Plains, a high and remote area, route finding becomes more difficult. The normal campsites are Tsigu campsite and Nyimaling campsite (approx 7-8 hours from Markha), but there are lots of options on the high plains, From here is the most difficult stage of the trek, take your time and be aware of the possibility of altitude sickness. Follow the clear trail up the Gongmaru La (5130m) (approx 2 hours form Nyimaling camp). On descending from the pass you come to Lhartsa campsite and Chuskyurmo campsite just outside, Chokdo village (6 hours from Nyimaling campsite) From this point it’s an easy descent past Ozang village to Hemis village, with it's famous Monastery (approx 4 to 5 hours), restaurant, and shops. You can camp here or take the bus back to Leh.
Markha Valley is very near Tibet, so you can feel the touch of Tibet culture in the lifestyle of people living here. Markha valley gets heavy snow fall during winter and because of that it remains isolated for most of the months in a year.
Kang Yatse trekking
Kang Yatse is situated in Markha Valley in the south east side of the Leh. This valley is located on the top of the Nimaling Plateau. This is one of the most popular treks of Markha Valley.
Markha Valley is very beautiful valley on there many types of animal leave on there.
Prepare for hard haggling. A 8-day trek including guide, cook, mules, horsemen, tents, sleeping bags, and vegetarian dishes, can cost as low as ₹1000 per day per person, up to ₹2000. If you have time, do not go through an agency and hire your equipment from stores in Leh, and your guide, cook, mule, and horsemen from the Tibetan Refugee Camp. It will be much cheaper.
Foreigners are usually given a foreigner price and it is extremely hard to get the "Indian price" (i.e. ₹1000 per day per head) as quoted above. But with the number of agencies in Leh offering this trek, it is worth a try.
Choose your agency carefully. Some agencies do not hesitate to leave trash behind - find an agency which will bring back the trash.
It is possible to do this trek entirely on your own without any equipment, ponies, etc., by staying in homestays on the way however it is not recommended to do it solo. If you are alone, you can hire a "guide" by contacting any of the trekking agencies in Leh. These guides are mostly students who work as part time guides during tourist season for extra money. These guides charge ₹800 per day (June 2012). The cost of stay in homestay is ₹500 (June 2012) per night per trekker. It includes one night stay, dinner, breakfast next morning and a packed lunch for next day. You need not pay for guide's accommodation or food as homestay for guides is free.