The 'Greater Himalayan Treks'

The 'Greater Himalayan Treks'

These treks allow you to visit other Himalayan areas outside of Nepal, in Ladakh, Sikkim, Bhutan and further afield.


Markha Valley itinerary is included in this section

Markha Valley Trek


Duration: 12 days | Max Elevation: 5306m | Style of Trek: Camping | Trek Grade: Streneous/hard

The Markha Valley trek is probably the most popular trek in Ladakh. However, it can be a serious undertaking as the route crosses a high pass to enter the Valley and then another high pass to leave the trail. Ley, the access point for the trek is at 3524m so it is import to spend a few days in here to acclimatize before you set off on your trek.

The scenery though out the trek is very diversified with the colorful shear canyon walls of the lower Markha Valley to the alpine grass lands of Nimaling at 4700m.  From Nimaling the trail climbs over the 5150 m Gongmaru La before descending to the town of Hemis. 

There are several options for completing this trek that vary in the number of days and the route taken. The easiest approach is from near Chiling at the confluence of the Markha and Zanskar rivers but the closest start from Leh is at Spituk, however this route requires crossing the Kanda La at 4870m before you can descend into the Markha Valley.  The toughest but most rewarding route is from the village of Stok crossing the 4800m Stok La.


Day 01: Delhi – Leh
Take the morning flight to Leh and transfer to your hotel. It is essential that the rest of the day is spent relaxing. Ley is at 3524m so the effects of altitude will be felt immediately.

Day 02: Spend a second day in Ley with option visits to the local monastery or possible drive the highest motorable road in the world to ...

Day 03: Leh – Shey – Thiksey - Hemis
Today, still being an aid to acclimatization you will go on a sightseeing trip to some ancient monasteries in this area.

Day 04: Leh - Spituk (drive) – Trek To Zinchen 3200m
Leave Leh early morning by jeeps and drive to Spituk (approx 1 r). Visit the Spituk Gompa, then, following the gorge section of the river that leads to the confluence of Indus and Zinchen. Camp will be near the village of Zinchen.

Day 05: Zinchen to Yurutse 3900m via Rumbak
The trail climbs gradually from Zinchen to Rumbak with fantastic views of the Stok Mountains. From the Rumbak Nala you continue towards Yurutse where you will spend the night.

Day 06: Yurutse - Skiu 3100m crossing the Ganda La 4900m
A gradual ascent followed by a steep climb gets you to the Ganda la 4900m with views of the Zanskar range and distant summits of the Himalaya. From the top of the La there is a long descent to Shingo village where the trail leads into a narrow gorge towards Skiu. Skiu is a small community at the confluence of Markha and Shingo rivers. The high cliffs that form the walls of the gorge add to the majestic feel to the area. Camp will be a little way up the Markha Valley from Skiu.

Day 07: Skiu - Markha 3800m
Today you will have a gentle trek that leads up the Markha River crossing several small tributaries that feed into the Markha from the surrounding hills. Markha village is a quaint village with a deserted fort near to which you will camp.

Day 08: Markha – Thochuntse
Today you will notice the contrasts that make the Markha trek so appealing, the landscape changes and the warm, relatively heavily wooded sections of the lower Markha are left behind. It might be necessary to cross several small streams today so it is advisable to take sandles on this section in your day sack. Hankar is the highest village in the Markha valley and will be passed just before Thochuntse where you will spend the night.

Day 09: Thochuntse - Nimaling 4700m
Today’s trek starts on a good path with several mani walls and chortens on route. This is one of the most photographic high valleys in Ladakh and the views are dominated by Kangyaze peak. Camp near Nimaling

Day 10: Nimaling – Kongmaru La 5150m – Sumdo
Today you will cross to the northern side of the Markha, climbing to the top of the highest of the three passes, the Kongmaru La 5,306m, with its wonderful views of snow capped peaks in every direction. On a clear day the giants of Karakoram, including K2, can be seen on the north-western horizon. The trail then descends to the Martselang valley, following the Martselang stream to the village of Sumdo. Camp near Sumdo.

Day 11: Sumdo - Hemis (4 Hrs Trek) – Leh
Today is the final trekking day and an easy descent along the Martselang to Martselang village completes the tour. On the way back to Ley there will be the option to visit Hemis, Shey and Thiksey monastery. Overnight back in the hotel

Day 12: Leh – Delhi
Transfer to the airport for the spectacular flight across the main chain of the Himalaya to Delhi


Ian and Sarita's help and knowledge was invaluable, they really smoothed the way, and Ian was fantastic company and a great guide on my first trip to Nepal and trek through the simply beautiful Helambu region. Unforgettable!


In 2010 I planned a trip to Nepal and through mutual friends I met Ian and Sarita. I was going over to run the Everest Ultra Marathon but found out 2 days before I left home that the race had been canceled. I decided to continue with my visit as Ian and Sarita had planned a 24 day trek in the Everest region for our group. Once in Nepal Ian and Sarita met with us in person, they explained how everything would work and what to expect and they introduced us to our guide and porter. Ian also went over all the safety stuff and what gear to take. The airline lost my luggage so Sarita took me to a local place to buy all new gear including running shoes; she brokered a deal and set me up. It was incredible how far they went to help us out and make us happy. Once we were on the Everest Trek and we did every- thing one could do in the Everest region... three passes, Kala Pattar, Everest base camp, Gokyo Ri, it was amazing. We met other organized trekking groups, but we had way more fun and did way more stuff. Ian...


Ian and Sarita provided full logistical support for our exploratory expedition to Jobo Rinjang in 2011, everything ran really smoothly and the clients who accompanied our team to base camp with Sarita had a brilliant time. The experience and support Ian and Sarita provide always exceeded my expectations. Their flexibility and organisational skills overcome even the most complex of problems which allowed my team and clients to get the best experience out of their expedition and trek.


I have known Ian as a friend for many years and now that he lives in Nepal I have found him to be a really good source for peak information. This helps inspire me to do more interesting routes, usually solo, but knowing both Ian and Sarita are there with all their skills, connections and ability to deal with logistics is very reassuring. Ian has an excellent knowledge, and an eye for the mountains that few other agents have; he actually goes into the hills!Ian and Sarita are good friends and always provide a welcoming haven after what is often a long and arduous trip in Nepal.


I visited Nepal as a solo trekker and enlisted the expertise of Ian and Sarita to help me plan my trip.  Ian gave me lots of practical advice regarding the different treks that I wanted to do and helped me to decide on the perfect itinerary.  Ian and Sarita's assistance was invaluable - they organised everything from my airport transfer and guesthouse in Kathmandu when I first arrived to my guide and porter on the trek, my flights, insurance, permits, the lot.  Sarita's help in getting my trekking permits was particularly useful as it meant I didn't have to travel all the way across town to the permit office and queue for hours! Ian and Sarita continued to look after me throughout my trip and it was great to have someone always looking out for me.  It ended up being the trip of a lifetime and I could not have done it without them.


While leading an expedition on Kyajo Ri, Nepal in 2011 it was good to know that Ian and Sarita were backing us up in Kathmandu when things got difficult due to bad weather.


Ian and Sarita arrange a trek in the Helambu area of Nepal for us in 2009, we had a great time on trek and were particularly well looked after by their guide Pemba.