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A classic, the Markha valley trek epotomizes trekking in Ladakh, and a must introduction to the region.
Fly into Leh via one of the most picturesque flights over the high Himalayas. Acclimatize yourself to the high altitude town of Leh, located at 3500m above sea level.
A day of sightseeing is on the cards. Visit the Shey Palace, the erstwhile residence of the royal family of Ladakh. Continue onto the Thiksey monastery complex, very reminiscent of the Potala in its structure. In the afternoon, you may want to explore the bustling bylanes of the local market, where ladies in traditional attire still sell homegrown organic vegetables.
Drive to the road head at Chiling, which is the starting point of your trek. Chiling is known for the copper work of its artisans, and it is worthwhile visiting the small museum here. Cross over the river via a suspended basket pulley cable system to start your trek. Hike a short way to Skiu (3290m), a picturesque village where you camp for the night.
Trek time - 3/4 hrs.
Trek to Markha (3750m) on one of the longer days of the trek, crossing a river on the way. Once you reach Markha village, you may want to visit the ruins of the old palace here.
Trek time - 6/7 hrs
Trek eastwards and upwards to Hangkar (3900m), and the relatively greener landscapes give way to a more austere landscape. Camp at Thungchungtse.
Trek time - 6/7 hrs
Trek upwards to Nimaling (4720m), a pastoral land sloping upwards to the base of the Kang Yatse mountain. The pastures here provide sustenance to an abundant number of yaks, sheep, goats, Dzos and and horses.
Trek time - 8 hrs
Rest day at Nimaling. The more adventurous can attempt a climb to the base of the Kang Yatse, else relax in the meadows of Nimaling and interact with the locals.
Cross over the highest point of the trek, the Kongmaru La (5216m) on this day. From the top, you get fabulous views of snow capped peaks, and on a clear day, the K2 on the north western horizon. Descend sharply to the Martselang valley, crossing the sulphur springs of Chuskyurmo(4133m). Camp at Chuskyurmo.
Trek time - 6 hrs
End your trek by trekking down a shorter distance to Sumdo(3880m). Your vehicle will arrive here to drive you back to Leh, which is at a distance of 2 hours from here.
Trek time - 3 hrs
Assisted transfer to the airport for departure.
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