Trek through dramatic, wild, and barren landscapes of Markha Valley, the most famous trekking route in the remote Ladakh. This scenic trek passes through an arid dessert, rocky canyons, wide-open pastures, timeless nomadic villages, and small Buddhist monasteries. You can hire a guide, join an expedition-style group, or with a good map, a tent, and a sleeping bag do the trekking all by yourself. Markha Valley is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our , custom trip planner Edition.
Tours to Markha Valley
$737 BOOK WITH VIATOR Mountain Homestays – Farming in Ladakh Mountain Homestays – Farming in Ladakh
Duration: 7 days
Markha Valley reviews
Great experience, really recommend the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company I booked the trekking with! They made sure I had an authentic experience (staying in the homestays and translating instead of...
Great experience, really recommend the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company I booked the trekking with! They made sure I had an authentic experience (staying in the homestays and translating instead of... more »
Without doubt, this is a premium trekking place and the best region to walk during the northern summer months. I did this trek on my own and I want to share some of my experience, adding a little...
Without doubt, this is a premium trekking place and the best region to walk during the northern summer months. I did this trek on my own and I want to share some of my experience, adding a little... more »
We did winter trek of the Markha valley, starting from Kaya/Skiu and ending at Chokdo. Our route was the traditional route starting from Chilling and going through Kaya, Skiu, Sara, Markha, Umlung, Hankar, Thachungtse, Nimaling, Kongmaru La, Chokdo and exiting in Shang Sumdo. In between we stayed in homestays at Kaya, Sara, Umlung and Hankar. Since we did the trek in winter we didn't stay/camp at Nimaling before crossing Kongmaru La. The landscape of Markha is of course spellbinding with remains of ancient structures, frozen river crossing, quaint villages with dry barley fields, rustic but beautiful village houses, Mani walls and monasteries. Don't miss the spire just before the Tacha Monastery on the right while going upstream and don't miss the Tacha Monastery too if lungs and feet don't give up :-) Hankar fort ruins are also intriguing. Word of caution! We crossed the Kongmaru La over heaps of snow and frozen sections of the stream that will put the Chadar trek to shame. The frozen sections were nothing less than death trap with slippery and sloped undulations (not flat or plain) and the path was buried under feets of snow. If in Sara give love to the three cats in the homestay and don't forget to try Chhutagi and Skyu soupy concoction.
Whilst a beautiful destination itself - there are some aspects that make it less pleasant. We had to turn back before we got to the pass because we ran out of money, which is completely our fault. We didn't plan properly as I was using outdated information about the prices of the homestays involved. I had read somewhere that a homestay is 500 rupee - in 2022 that price has jumped to 1,200 rupee per person, so as a couple we were spending 2,400 rupee a night to sleep on a mattress on the floor and it included dinner, breakfast and a packed lunch the next day. The food included just... wasn't good. It was way too heavy on wheat flour and not nutritious enough for the hiking involved to get there. Dinner was handmade pasta with vegetables, breakfast was chapati and tea, the packed lunch was a boiled potato, boiled egg, a juice box and more chapati. For us, that just isn't good enough value for the price asked of us. I am not a picky traveller or eater, but I expect a certain service depending on what I'm paying. I have hiked many hikes in both India and Nepal and a lot of them included homestays of varying quality - the quality of the homestays in the Markha Valley was amongst the very worst for me and it ended up spoiling what could've been an amazing trip. We also had somewhat of a bad feeling at the very beginning - the bridge that crosses the Zanskar River just after Chilling is now a tent-laden slum camp for the men that are building the roads here. The camp is quite an eyesore but wouldn't be a problem otherwise. Our issue is that we had a man following us from there that seemed to be on drugs, after 10 minutes of walking we had to hide behind a rock in order to get away from him. It was a weird experience as there was nobody else around and it was unpredictable. I don't want this review to be all negative. If you have the money and motivation to hike through here then I definitely recommend it. It is a special place and the villages you pass feel as if they are lost in time. If you go in this hike with the right expectations you'll come out a more fulfilled person!
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