- "We enjoyed most getting close to the Ladakhi culture."- John Hall
Magazine cover scenery and eye-popping views of some of the world's tallest mountain ranges and peaks.
A high elevation trekking experience.
A chance to wander through villages that still remain untouched by the modern world.
Delicious food and comfortable accommodation provided by a peace-loving people who pride themselves on mountain hospitality.
Journey to the summit of the world, Ladakh, India-—the Himalaya’s last frontier. Unlike its neighbors, Ladakh has a long history of peace and prosperity. Its Monasteries, temples, villages and customs remain intact, and await and invite our exploration.
Ladakh translates into “Land of High Passes”, and the region is part of the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is comprised of four mountain ranges: Great Himalaya, Zanskar, Ladakh, and Karakoram. It is a maze of enormous snowcapped peaks and home to the largest glacier outside of the polar regions, the Siachen. Valley heights range between 8,000 and 15,000 feet above sea level, while the neighboring summits rise above 25,000 feet.
During our twelve-day exploration of the range we experience elegant hotels in Delhi and the finest accommodations in Leh, the capital of Ladakh, and a vibrant, bustling village with fascinating bazaars, temples and shrines.
Visit the world-famous Thiksey Monastery, located at an elevation of 11,800 feet (3,600 m). It is a 12-story complex filled with Buddhist art, such as stupas, statues, thangkas, and beautiful wall paintings. One of the main points of interest is the Maitreya (future Buddha) Temple, which is installed to commemorate the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to this monastery in 1970.
Try local delicacies, such as “momos”, dumplings filled with meat or vegetables, or the famous butter tea. In stark contrast to other Indian foods, Ladakhi cuisine is usually mildly spiced, yet very flavorful, and suitable for foreigners.
While on the trek proper, we enjoy five-star camping with cutting edge outdoor equipment. The trek is supported by a large ground support staff and ponies. while Ryder-Walker guides attend to your every need on and off the trail. The cuisine enjoyed on the trek is only one of many highlights with expert local chefs using local ingredients.
The Markha Valley Trek is one of the most fascinating in the world, and our itinerary allows for appropriate acclimatization before ascending the higher reaches of this magical land. Enjoy eye-watering views of the tallest mountains in the world, visit villages untouched by the modern world, and immerse yourself in the Himalayan culture and cuisine.
Arrive in the magical city of Delhi. The home to nearly 17 million people, Delhi will enchant you with its many museums, monuments, medieval bazaars, Mughal mausoleums and ancient fortifications, not to mention the crazy mix of ancient and modern life. Delhi is one of the few cities in the world where a person can surf the internet while watching elephants walk down the street. Meet your guides and transfer to your five-star hotel. Meet the rest of the group for a welcome orientation and dinner.
Begin the day with a beautiful flight over the Himalaya to Leh, the capital of Ladakh. Private transport will deliver us to our comfortable hotel where a traditional Himalayan welcome at 11,000 feet awaits. Spend the day sightseeing and acclimatizing in our comfortable mountain home. The small village of Leh offers a variety of sightseeing opportunites, shops and restaurants.
We enjoy a full day of sightseeing in Leh, including a visit to the Stok Palace Museum & Shey Palace. The Stok palace is home to Ladakh’s former royal family; stripped of their power in 1846. The palace displays the family’s treasures and jewels which are on display. An afternoon visit to the Thiksey monastery finishes the day. Thiksey is the largest Bhuddist monastery in central Ladakh and houses an abundance of Bhuddist art, including paintings, stupas, thangkas, statues and swords. Return to Leh to rest, sightsee, and continue acclimatization.
Take a Jeep transfer to today’s trailhead. A pleasant walk along the mountainside takes us to the Ganda La Pass (16,339 ft). Continue to Shingo village. Following an easy walk, camp at Skiu and visit the Skiu monastery.
Approximate hiking time: 5 hours. Sleeping elevation: 11,200 ft.
A long, but gentle day takes us along the Markha River to the village of Markha, one of the few permanent settlements in the valley. Enjoy an evening of exploring the village and share a cup of tea with locals.
Approximate hiking time: 7 hours. Sleeping elevation: 12,200 ft.
Visit Hankar Yokma village and the hilltop Umlung Monastery. Enjoy spectacular views from the monastery. Camp at Thachungtse tonight.
Approximate hiking time: 5 hours. Sleeping elevation: 14,150 ft.
Climb into a high, narrow valley above Thachungtse. Cross pastures to reach Nimaling, one of the most beautiful high valleys of Ladakh, sitting at an elevation of 15,420 ft. There, enjoy views of Kangyatse Peak (21,000 ft). Settle in for your first of two nights at the highest camp during this trek.
Approximate hiking time: 5 – 6 hours. Sleeping elevation: 15,000 ft.
A rest day is spent in this good and high alpine campsite with superb views of the surrounding high peaks of the Kang Yatze massif. These are the highest peaks in the region and we have a few hiking options available for those who wish (including an ascent to the Kang Yatze Base Camp). Return to Nimaling camp.
Enjoy a long climb along the mountainside before zigzagging up to the Kongmaru La (16,896 ft). This is the highest point of the trek. Several easy stream crossings add value to this spectacular hike. Descend to camp at Chogdo.
Approximate hiking time: 7 hours. Sleeping elevation: 13,560 ft.
A gentle half a day of descent takes us to Shang Sumdo. As we descend back into civilization, we pass a traditional Himalayan school and farms. Here we meet our Jeep for a 1.5-hour transfer to Leh. On the way we stop and visit the Hemis monastery. Return to our lovely hotel.
This is the perfect day to explore Leh, now that we understand to finer elements of the Ladakh culture and high country. For those who can’t get enough hiking, there are lovely short hikes up to a local Chorten with excellent views of the high peaks and the circuit we have just trekked.
Transfer to Delhi on an early morning flight.