Destination Covered: Markha |Changthang | Zanskar

Duration: 12 Days

Level: Difficult

Day 01: Leh - Shang Sumdo (3700m) (55km)

Early in the morning we drive from Leh to Shang Sumdo which is 55km away from Leh. While driving to Shang we will visit Shey Palace followed by a visit to the famous Yellow Sect monastery of Thiksay, which houses one of the biggest statues of Maitreya Buddha. We will then visit Hemis, the biggest and the most famous Drukpa monastery of Ladakh, built in the early 17th century. After the visits we drive to Shang Sumdo. Once we reache Shang we will rest till evening and in the evening visit the village at 3700m. Shang Sumdo is the entry point into the Hemis National Park where you have the opportunity to see endangered high altitude animals like Snow leopard, Tibetan Wolves, the great Tibetan Sheep and Golden Eagle. Overnight in Camp.

Day 02: Shang-Lartsa (4600m) (6-7 hours trek)

Today will be the first day of the trek and it will start from Shang Sumdo. We take a path along the slope through the gorge of Shang, ascending gradually and enjoying the magnificent colors, shapes and rock formations of the gorge. We will pass by the small village of Chogdo before arriving at Lartsa (4600m). Camp at Lartsa. Zanskar

Day 03: Lartsa - Thachungtse (4000m) (4-5 hours trek)

A steep ascent leads us up to Kongmaru La (5200m). The pass gives us a breath-taking view of Kangyatse (6400m), the Zanskar range and the Karakoram ranges. We then descend gradually to the summer pasture of Nimaling, where the villagers of Marka valley stay during the summer season with their sheep, goats and yaks. The campsite of Thachungtse (4000m) is further down the valley on the bank of the Markha River.

Day 04: Thachungtse - Yakrupal (4200m) (5 hours trek)

Today is easier as we walk through the remote Langthang valley, where few other tourists go. Only the villagers from Markha, who use this valley as a pasture ground for their sheep, donkeys, yaks and horses. From Thachungtse, we follow the valley down until it divides, cross the river and follow the valley to the left along the Langthang Chu River. The Langthang River has the tendency of rising during the day due to snow melting in the mountains and by noon it becomes a dangerous river to cross. An early start in the morning is therefore essential, as one has to cross the river several times. Yakrupal (4200 m) is a nice, green campsite where both the horses and we will have a good meal. Overnight at Yakrupal.

Day 05: Yakrupal - Base camp (5100m) (5-6hours trek)

We will continue up the valley towards the pass of ZalungKarpo(5200m). From the top of the pass there is a spectacular view of the Zanskar range on the one side, while on the other, the highest plateau in the world appears, the Changthang plateau stretching far into Tibet. The only inhabitants of the Changtang are a nomadic and semi-nomadic people, living in tiny settlements with their animals and a small harvest of barley on which to survive. Descending down from the pass, several river crossings will follow and lead us to the right bank of the Changchu River. At the crossroads of TiladSumdo, it's worth exploring some of the secluded gorges nearby. If fortune strikes there are chances of seeing wildlife around, including blue sheep's and the rare snow leopard.Overnight at Base camp

Day 06: Base camp - Shang Gongma (5-6hours trek)

Today we'll have more river crossings than any other day. The day starts with crossing the icy cold river of Changchu and entering into a beautiful narrow valley until a canyon. After several river crossings, the valleys narrows and crossing the river becomes much easier. Walking further leads us to a plate with stones opposite a cluster of spectacular rocky needles where two cold streams intersect. Camp at Shang Gongma.

Day 07: Shang Gongma - Chumchak(4240m)(5-6 hours trek)

Following the stream will reveal several impressive gorges. After the third narrowing gorge, leavingthe stream towards the left we finally ascend gradually to the top of Charchar la (4950m). From the pass we will have a fine view of the main Himalaya beyond Padum. Overnight in Chumchak.

Day 08: Chumchak - Zanskar Sumdo (3790m) (7-8 hours trek)

We descend steeply along glacial steps to the base of the pass. After crossing a magnificent canyon towards the left as far as the intersection along the stream to the large river at the campsite of Zangla Sumdo, we have a very beautiful campsite to relax for the night.

Day 09: Zangla Sumdo - Zangla(5 hours trek)

With many river crossings downstream into the Zulung valley, we sight the first Zanskari village amidst the greenery of barley fields. The trail goes gradually up as far as Zangla castle and then down for half an hour beyond the chortens (stupas), bringing us to the village of Zangla (3370 m). Until 1989, Zangla had its own ruler with control over the nearby villages of Honia, Tsazar, Hanumil, Pidmo and Pishu on the far side of the valley. Zangla monastery has its legacy with the monastery of the Gelugpa sect. Overnight in Camp.

Day 10: Sightseeing (Stongdey, Karsha, Padum)

Today we'll see the stunning monasteries of Stongdey and Karsha. Stongday Monastery is the second largest and the oldest monasteries in the Zanskar region. Its beauty captivates the beholder with sprawling whitewashed complex soaring above the Rocky Mountains. This 11th-century old monastery is a must visit attraction located about 20 kilometres away from Padum. Karsha monastery is one of largest monasteries of Gelugpa sect. It is on the hillside with imposing view of the entire valley. Most of the monks are from the surrounding villages. It is believed that the monastic site was founded probably around 10th century A.D. It is recommended to visit the monastery to get blessing. Overnight in camp at Padum

Day 11: Padum to Kargil (225 kms)(8-9 hours by car )

Today a long driver back to Leh for two days. While driving to Kargil you will visit Mulbeak monastery. After that we rest at Kargil. Overnight at Kargil Guest House.

Day 12: Kargil - Leh

After breakfast we drive to Leh via visiting Lamayuru, Belongs to Dripung Kagyu (Red Hat) like Phyang. The oldest structure in Lamayuru is the Singey Lhakhang built by the founder of Alchi Lotsava Rinchen Bzangpo in 11th century. After visiting Lamayuru we will visit Ridzong Gompa, known as the paradise for Meditation. After that we will back to Leh. Overnight in Hotel.


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