Day 1 of the Markha Valley trek: Arrival in Leh
You'll land in Leh and will be met by the operator and taken to your hotel/guesthouse. Once you check in, you can freshen up and relax. You'll need today to acclimatize to the altitude, so make sure you stay dehydrated and keep warm. You'll be served tea/coffee in the morning, and can rest till lunch time. After lunch, the guide will take you to visit the majestic Leh Palace, modeled after the Dalai Lama’s residence in Tibet, and Shanti Stupa, which holds the relics of the Buddha at its base. Both these spots are in Leh, and will give you some gentle exercise. You'll return to the hotel for the night.
Day 2 of the Markha Valley trek: Leh exploration
The day begins with a hot breakfast in the hotel, and then you set off in a vehicle to visit some of the historic landmarks around Leh. You get a tour of the Shey Palace, Thiksey and Hemis monastery, and the Stok Palace museum. While you'll feel more comfortable with the thin air pressure today, your body is still acclimatizing, so do avoid any heavy exertion. By evening you return to the hotel in time for a hot dinner. Turn in early tonight so you're prepared for tomorrow.
Day 3 of the Markha Valley trek: Trek from Zingchen to Yurutse
After an early breakfast in the hotel, you are driven to the start point of the Markha Valley trek at Zingchen village. The trek starts in the beautiful Hemis National Park, and you'll come to appreciate its immense size as you walk through it. You'll only be trekking for 4-5 hours today, just enough to warm up those trekking muscles. You'll traverse a narrow trail which widens out to reveal a dramatic valley and the village of Rumbak. From Rumbak you trek to the nearby village of Yurutse where you’ll stay in a homestay, close to the foot of the Ganda-La pass.
Day 4 of the Markha Valley trek: Trek from Yurutse to Ganda-La pass and Skyu
Wake up early to a hearty breakfast and get ready to ascend to Ganda-La. You'll wind your way along steep mountains, cross a valley, and zigzag up to the pass, which stands high at 14,370 feet. From the top, you'll get spectacular views of the surrounding region of Ladakh and of Markha Valley, where you’ll be camping for the night. You'll have some time to explore the pass and the views, and then will proceed onwards to the village of Skyu, in the Markha Valley. You'll stay in a homestay and enjoy a hot dinner with the locals.
Day 5 of the Markha Valley trek: Trek from Skyu to Markha Village
Wake up to a cup of hot tea or coffee and a big breakfast. Today's going to be a long trek of about 7 hours, but it'll be fun, because you'll be crossing the Markha river twice during your trek. During this time of the year, the river is shallow, but the current is strong and the riverbed is slippery, so watch your step. You'll pass through Chaluk, where you rest and recover before continuing along the banks of the Markha river to the climb that leads you to Markha village. You'll be staying in a homestay here for the night.
Day 6 of the Markha Valley trek: Trek from Markha Village to Thachungtse
You'll wake up and enjoy a big breakfast and a lazy morning, before it's time to set off on your next adventure. The trek continues through the valley, with barren mountains framing the blue skies and the occasional grassy plain. You take a break at Hankar village, where you get a chance to rest your feet and refuel with some food and drink. After that, you'll trek onwards till you reach Thachungtse, where you'll be staying in a homestay.
Day 7 of the Markha Valley trek: Trek from Thachungtse to Nimaling
Today you'll ascend from the plateau from Thachungtse to an altitude of 16,000 feet. The ascent is a steep one but the alpine grasslands in Nimaling are worth the effort. In these vibrant pastures, you’ll find shepherds minding herds of grazing yak, goat, and sheep. Also, in the background is the Kang Yatse peak with its two summits. You'll be staying at a homestay here for the night.
Day 8 of the Markha Valley trek: Trek from Nimaling to Kongmaru-La pass and Shang Sumdo
After breakfast at your homestay, you say goodbye and set off to conquer Kongmaru-La pass. The trek to the pass is a thrilling one, with deep gorges and narrow trails leading to dramatic reveals of hidden valleys. The Kongmaru-La pass is one of the higher mountain passes, situated at 16,700 feet, and offers sweeping views of the Indus valley, dotted with quaint villages and patches of grassland. After you’ve had your fill of the summit, you continue onward to Shang Sumdo, which is situated at a height of 12,000 feet. This will be your last night on the Markha Valley trek, so make sure you make the most of it.
Day 9 of the Markha Valley trek: Trek to Hemis Monastery then Drive to Leh
Start your last day of trekking on the Markha Valley trek with a hearty breakfast. You'll descend to Hemis Monastery, one of the oldest in the region. You’ll have time to explore the monastery before you board vehicles to be driven back to a hotel in Leh. Along the way, you'll also stop at Thiksey Monastery, Stok Museum, and Shey Palace. Once in Leh, you can freshen up and can spend the rest of the day as you please. Overnight in hotel.
Day 10 of the Markha Valley trek: Leaving Leh
Today you bid farewell to the desert kingdom and the Markha Valley trek. You'll be transferred to the airport and are free to proceed homewards. Trip ends here.