"Your chance to get off the beaten track and truly explore some of the best that Indian trekking has to offer, from unique tea lodges to mountainous views"
Hidden away in a mountainous and remote part of northern India, Ladakh is the perfect trekking holiday destination. Discover breath-taking panoramic vistas, traditional villages, elusive wildlife and captivating scenery as you journey through a high-altitude world of wonders. Visit secluded monasteries and trek to high passes strewn with colourful prayer flags fluttering in the wind, learning about Buddhist culture on this authentic and experiential tour. To provide an interesting context for your trek, you’ll begin with a few days in the region’s capital, Leh, where you’ll visit bazaars and several spectacular monasteries.
The Indus, a lively river that snakes through the region, provides the backdrop for the start of your trek, which is graded moderately difficult. Beginning at the picturesque village of Spituk, you’ll ascend to the top of Ganda La (4,970m) where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views across the Zanskar and Stok ranges and the snow-capped Karakoram. Descending into a beautiful wild rose-filled gorge, you’ll enter the Markha Valley before following the Markha River through green farmlands and quaint villages. Admire the imposing glaciated Kang Yangtse peak from your viewpoint at the Kongmaru La pass, the trek’s highest point. As your tour concludes, you’ll return to Leh to enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation, as well as some time to reflect on your unforgettable experience.
We understand that tourism often helps to alleviate poverty and develop communities and, as part of the global tourism industry, acknowledge that they too have a crucial role to play in providing commercial benefits and financial impetus in local communities. The company is conscious of both the negative and positive impacts its operations potentially have within sensitive environments and communities, particularly in the Himalayas where most of our trekking and adventure operations are conducted.
To ensure that they operate in as responsible a way as possible, we train all of its tour leaders and support staff on sustainability practices. One example is their ‘Leave no Trace’ policy, which ensures that campsites and trails are left free from any waste. The company even extends this policy to include the waste left by travellers who have come before them, collecting and disposing of any extra rubbish in a safe manner.
Arriving at Delhi’s international airport in the evening, you’ll receive a traditional welcome by an Active India representative before boarding an early morning flight to Leh.
The early morning flight to Leh takes you over the Himalayan Range, providing fantastic views of majestic peaks and huge glaciers. Landing in Leh, a fertile valley north of the Indus River, you’ll transfer to your hotel before spending the rest of the day acclimatising to the altitude (3,500m). Later in the afternoon, enjoy a gentle orientation walk of Leh and its bazaars. Leh was formerly an important trading centre along the legendary Old Silk Road from China. Today, the town is dominated by the nine-story Namgyal Palace which has been likened to Lhasa’s Potala Palace.
Today begins with a visit to Sankar Gompa followed by the recently constructed Shanti Stupa. Built by a Japanese Buddhist organisation and inaugurated by The Dalai Lama, the white domed structure offers fantastic views over the Stok Kangri Range and Leh bazaar. Today ends with a visit to the majestic Leh Palace on the Namgyal Hill. The palace was originally built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century, but was abandoned in the mid-19th century when Dogra forces took control of the region.
A short drive from Leh takes you to Spituk, Ladakh region’s first Gelugpa Monastery. After a visit to the monastery, you’ll drive across the Indus towards Zingchen where your trek begins. While the ponies are loaded up, you’ll start your walk into the Zingchen Gorge at the foot of the Stok Mountains. The trail is relatively straightforward, following the Zingchen Nala upstream, and you’ll be able to enjoy the ever-changing scenery of coloured mountains as you ascent the valley. As the valley widens, the snow-capped peaks of the Stok Mountains are suddenly revealed. Prayer flags mark the junction where the trail leads to your campsite at Rumbak Village.
To allow you to continue to acclimatise, today is relatively short. You’ll head up the main valley to a watermill, before crossing a bridge. The trail then gradually ascends until the route forks up past the strange one-house village of Yurutse.
Follow the path up the mountain-side to reach the top of Ganda La (4,970m), and enjoy more and more beautiful views the higher you climb. The top of the pass is decorated with colourful prayer flags, and the views of the Zanskar Range and Stok Mountains make the effort totally worthwhile. A long but not arduous descent takes you to the hamlet of Shingo. Further on, the trail passes through a beautiful gorge before leading you to the Markha River at the village of Skiu.
Today’s walk is quite long but not too difficult. Trekking along the valley to Markha, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to admire the magnificent scenery, with pastel-coloured mountains that change colour with the rising and setting of the sun. You’ll follow, and cross, the river for the most part of the day, stopping in Sara for lunch in a tea tent. Beyond the settlement of Chalak, you’ll see an impressive line of chortens along with a mound of goat horns, which are placed by the chortens to ward off evil spirits. The silhouette of a medieval hillside fort in the distance indicates that you’ve nearly reached the village of Markha. Explore the village’s small monastery before settling down to camp for the night.
Just outside of Markha, the trail meets the Chacham Valley. Here, you’ll see the Umlung Gompa perched high on the cliff face. Continuing up the valley, you’ll journey through Umlung Village to Hankar, passing fort ruins and a small gompa en route. From Hankar, the trail turns off to follow the Nimaling stream to Thachungtse where you’ll spend the night. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot wild sheep grazing high up in the surrounding areas.
On today’s short walk to Nimaling, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the valley’s highest peak – Kang Yangtse (6,400m). Nobody permanently lives in this area, but during the summer shepherds bring their sheep, goats and dzos (a hybrid cross between cow and yak) to graze on the high-altitude pasture. Purchase yoghurt or local cheese from the shepherds, who live in stone shelters during these summer months. You’ll reach Nimaling at around lunchtime, and can take an optional walk to get close-up views of Kang Yangste in the afternoon.
Today’s walk begins with a long and steep ascent to the top of the Kongmaru La pass (5,265m). Reaching the top, the views of Kang Yangtse, Dzo Jongo and Regoni Marali behind you and the Stok Range ahead make it worth the effort. Next, you’ll descend steeply, and then more gradually, into a spectacular gorge. High on the barren cliffs you might spot elusive Blue Sheep. Passing through Chuskurmo and Chokdo your long descent continues until you reach the village of Shang Sumdo.
Visit Hemis Monastery, the largest and wealthiest of all the monasteries in the region. Travel back in time hundreds of years as you walk through dimly lit temples and admire beautifully grotesque masks and statues. At the end of your visit, drive back to Leh and check in to your hotel. The afternoon is free for you to do some last-minute sightseeing or shopping in the bazaars.
Take an early morning transfer to Leh airport where you’ll board a flight to Delhi. Check in to your hotel before enjoying a free evening in which to explore. An optional overnight visit to Agra can be included to see the iconic Taj Mahal.
Transfer to the airport for you onward flight.
- The rate shown is a 'from' price per person (on a double sharing basis)
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- Refunds: 80% refund available until 30 days prior to check-in; 50% refund available 15 days prior to check-in; 25% refund available 6 days prior to check-in; within 5 days of check-in there will be no refund.
- Breakfasts while staying at hotels
- Full board meals during camping
- Full trekking service including food and equipment (apart from personal equipment)
- English speaking monument sightseeing guides at cities
- All land transport
- Government service tax as applicable
- Travel insurance
- Indian visa fees
- Any monument entrance fees
- Flights (domestic/international)
- Any optional activities or services not mentioned in inclusions
- Services of any professional English speaking tour leader/escort during the tour
- Miscellaneous expenses for tips, laundry, drinks, any medical emergencies and souvenirs etc.