Ladakh: The Markha Valley

14 days
from
$2,325 USD
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Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 21 reviews >
Challenging
Learn more
Trip code: 
TGR
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Point-to-point Walking
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

A classic trek crossing high passes, fertile valleys and visiting remote villages

Ladakh remains one of the best places to experience the unique culture of the High Himalaya. As our trek follows the Markha River, we discover a landscape where lofty peaks of the Stok, Matho and Zanskar Ranges tower above picturesque Ladakhi villages and verdant valleys below. From the highest pass, the Gongmaru La (5200m), we enjoy incredible views extending as far as Tibet, before descending to Hemis, Ladakh’s largest and most famous monastery.

Highlights

  • Visit remote villages on a classic Himalayan trek
  • Explore colourful Buddhist monasteries in the Indus Valley
  • Discover multi-coloured rock formations of the Ladakh Range
  • Cross wild, barren mountain passes and trek through spectacular gorges
  • Enjoy a sensational flight over the Himalaya

Key information

  • 6 nights hotels, all en suite, 7 nights full-service camping
  • 7 days point-to-point walking
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader and staff. Min age 18 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 5200m, average 3900m
  • Travel by jeep, on foot and 2 internal flights
  • Full porterage throughout the trek
  • 8th July 2017 departure to be led by Valerie Parkinson

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

7

Pace:

Approximately 4-6 hours walking per day; some longer days

Terrain:

High altitude; including steep, rocky terrain and river crossings

Day by day breakdown
Day 57.0km/4.0miles
Day 66.0km/3.0miles
Day 718.0km/11.0miles
Day 821.0km/13.0miles
Day 915.0km/9.0miles
Day 107.0km/4.0miles
Day 1118.0km/11.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Delhi
to
Delhi
  • Day 1

    Start Delhi.

    The tour starts in Delhi today. The group flights usually arrive in the morning. There will be a welcome briefing but otherwise, today is free to relax and recover from the flight or for individual exploration of Delhi. Rooms in the hotel are usually available after mid day. 
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Fly to Leh (3500m); rest of the day free.

    A very early start today for the flight to Leh. We usually leave the hotel at around 2am and drive to the airport for the very early morning but highly spectacular flight over the Himalaya to Leh. If the weather is good and the flight goes on time we should be in Leh early. The rest of the day is free to relax and acclimatise to the altitude (3,500m). In the morning we rest and catch up on some sleep and in the afternoon there will be a gentle orientation walk of Leh and its bazaars.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Exploring in and around Leh, visiting the town, palace and monasteries at Shey and Thikse.

    Today there is a sightseeing tour to two of the major gompas in the area. We first drive to Shey, a former Royal Palace of the Ladakh kings. Inside is a small temple containing a 350 year old copper and gold statue of the Buddha. From Shey we drive (or we can walk across the fields) to Tikse, where we visit the monastery - perched on top of a hill - its red and white buildings can be seen for miles. A recently built temple contains a magnificent image of the Future Buddha. We return to Leh and the rest of the afternoon is free to explore.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Acclimatisation walk in Leh Valley; optional jeep drive to the Khardung La (which at 5602m, is the highest motorable road in the world).

    Today we will have an acclimatisation walk round the Leh Valley. Set above Leh on the Namgyal Hill, are the ruins of the Old Royal Palace. From here a winding path takes us to Tsemo Monastery, from where we are rewarded for our efforts by magnificent views of the whole of Leh and its surrounding villages. Descending round the back of the palace we walk via Sankar to the recently built Japanese Peace Pagoda. This huge stupa overlooks Leh and we have stunning views of the town and the Stok range of mountains across the valley. (There is the chance today to make an optional jeep safari to the Khardung Pass; at 5,602m, one of the highest motorable roads in the world.The journey to the top of the pass and back takes roughly 4/5 hours in total and can be booked and paid for locally. Your leader will have details. (If you do the jeep safari this will be in the morning and you can do a walk in the afternoon).
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Short drive to Jinchen; trek to Rumbak.

    By now we should be well acclimatised, and we take a short drive from Leh to Jinchen. We drive past Spituk, the site of the first Gelugpa monastery in Ladakh. There should be time to visit the monastery with its commanding views over the Indus Valley. From here a new road takes us across the Indus towards Jinchen. We will drive as far as the road conditions allow and to where our ponies will be waiting. After they are loaded up we start our trek into the Jinchen Gorge at the foot of the Stok Mountains. The trail is straightforward as we follow the Jinchen Nala upstream. The valley closes in around us and spectacular rock formations tower above us. An ever-changing panorama of fantastic coloured mountains surrounds us as we ascend the valley. We may have to cross the river as the stream forces the path closer to the side of the valley. Suddenly the valley widens and reveals the snow-topped peaks of the Stok mountains. Prayer flags on a wide pasture mark the junction with the trail leading to Rumbak village. Tonight's camp is below Rumbak village with stunning views all around - looking left towards Rumbak a fantastic multi-coloured toothy skyline ridge appears in the distance. We can visit the village this afternoon and maybe sample the local delicacy, salty yak buttered tea, in one of the many home stays.

    Rumbak Sumdo is the site of one of the UV lamps donated by Exodus and installed by Niyamdro Dro (the French NGO we are working with on the safe drinking water project in the Markha Valley) and there will be the chance to see the UV lamp used for purifying water. For more details on this project see the Responsible Tourism section below.

    Approximate walk profile: Jinchen to Rumbak Sumdo, 4-5hrs, 6.4km (4 miles).
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Pass Yurutse village to reach the base of the Ganda La.

    A short day today for acclimatisation. We head up the main valley to a watermill and a bridge, which we cross. The trail ascends the valley gradually and when the valley splits we take the right hand fork up past the one house village of Yurutse. Leaving the fields behind we ascend towards the Ganda La and camp tonight by a small stream below the pass. In the afternoon there will be an acclimatisation walk on the hills around camp.

    Approximate walk profile: Rumbak Sumdo to base of Ganda La Pass, 4hrs, 5.5km (3.4 miles).
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Cross the Ganda La (4970m) to Skiu in the Markha Valley.

    A long day today as we cross our first pass. The trail is clear as it zig zags towards the pass. As we climb the views become more and more spectacular. Behind us Stok Kangri dominates the skyline. Finally we reach the top of the Ganda La (4,970m) decked with colourful prayer flags and the views are worth all the effort. Ahead is the Zanskar Range and behind are the Stok Mountains. Far below in the valley are the fields of Shingo. As we descend keep an eye open for marmots and blue sheep, both of which seem to thrive in these desolate, high altitude spots. The trail to Shingo is easy and in the main season there is usually a tea tent here, which may sell cold drinks. From Shingo the trail takes us through a spectacular gorge with beautifully coloured and eroded rocks. We continue down the gorge all the way to the small hamlet of Skiu. We usually camp about 20 minutes beyond the village by the river.

    Approximate walk profile: base of Ganda La Pass to Skiu, 8hrs, 17.3km (10.7 miles).
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Follow the river to Markha (3753m).

    A fairly long, but easy walk today, as we trek along the valley to Markha. The terrain along the valley is not demanding so there is plenty of opportunity to admire the magnificent scenery. The colours of the barren mountains of Ladakh are truly spectacular, pastel pinks, blues and greens shine in the brilliant sunshine and change colour dramatically as the sun rises and sets.

    We follow the river all day today and will have to cross the river a few times and although bridges have been built in some places there will be some river crossings today. We will have lunch in Sara, where there is usually some welcome shade in a tea tent. Beyond the settlement of Chalak there is an impressive line of chortens and a huge mound of goat horns, which are placed on the chortens to ward off any evil spirits trying to enter the valley. Climbing up to a small col we descend again to the river and a mediaeval fort silhouetted on the hillside tells us that we have almost reached Markha. Just before Markha we will need to don our river crossing sandals for at least 2 river crossings.

    Markha is only a small village and there will be time to explore the small monastery in the afternoon. Our camp will be on grazing flats near the village.

    Approximate walk profile: Skiu to Markha, 8hrs, 20.3km (12.6 miles).
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Trek to Thachungste, visiting Tache gompa perched above us en route.

    Just beyond Markha the trail meets the Chacham Valley. We will have one or two river crossings this morning. Just after the river crossings is Tache gompa, set way above us on the cliff face. There is time to visit the monastery, which is the most important in the valley and is affiliated to Hemis. Continuing up the valley we walk through Umlung village to Hankar where there are more impressive fort ruins and a small gompa. We have lunch in Hankar at the Eco Cafe that we have helped set up and support as part of our Himalayan Community Support Projects. From Hankar the trail turns off from the main valley and now follows the Nimaling stream to Thachungtse where we camp. We may be lucky and see Blue Sheep (a type of wild goat) high up on the grazing areas above the campsite.

    Approximate walk profile: Markha to Thachungste, 7hrs, 15.2km (9.4 miles).
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Climb to the high plateau at Nimaling.

    A short but quite tough walk today to Nimaling. The trail climbs steeply to the plateau where the valley opens out. Ahead are spectacular views of Kang Yangtse, at 6400m, the highest peak in the valley. In this area there is no permanent habitation but during the summer months the shepherds bring their flocks of sheep, goats and dzos (cow-yak cross breeds) to graze on the high altitude pasture. The shepherds stay in stone shelters close to the grazing area for the whole summer and we can often buy yoghurt or local cheese from them. In the evenings the animals are brought down from the hills and it is quite usual to have hundreds of them wandering through the campsite. Look after your edibles! We should get to Nimaling by lunchtime and in the afternoon there is an optional walk up behind camp towards Kang Yangtse. This is well worth doing and highly recommended for the impressive close up views of Kang Yangste, which at 6,400m is the highest peak in the Markha Valley.

    Approximate walk profile: Thachungste to Nimaling, 4-5hrs, 7.2km (4.4 miles).
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Cross the Gongmaru La (5200m) with views of the high Ladakh Range.

    A long day as we cross our second, and highest, pass of the trek. Our trail begins today by climbing to the Gongmaru La. It is a fairly long, steep ascent zig zagging to the top of the pass at 5,286m, but the views from the top are worth the effort. Looking back we see Kang Yangtse, Dzo Jongo East and West and Regoni Malari. Ahead there are views across the Stok Range and down to the Indus valley. The descent is steep at first and we then enter a spectacular gorge and descend more gradually now with a few small river crossings. High up on the barren cliffs we may spot the elusive Blue Sheep which inhabit this area. Passing through Chuskurmo and Chokdo we continue our long descent to the village of Shang Sumdo. Today is a hard day due to the crossing of the high pass and the long descent.

    Approximate walk profile: Nimaling to Shang Sumdo, 8-10hrs, 18km (11.2 miles).
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Finish the trek near Hemis; visit the monastery and drive to Leh.

    Our transport should arrive this morning and we drive to Hemis Monastery. (Occasionally the road gets blocked in which case we walk down the jeep track to Hemis). Hemis was once the largest and richest of all the Ladakhi monasteries. A wander round the dimly lit temples containing grotesque yet beautiful masks and statues, will take us back hundreds of years in time. We then drive back to Leh and the comforts of a hot shower at our hotel. We should get to Leh for lunch and the rest of the day is free for last minute sightseeing or shopping in the bazaars.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Fly to Delhi.

    We fly from Leh to Delhi. The rest of the day is free for individual sightseeing in Delhi.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End Delhi.

    The tour ends after breakfast today. 



    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Extend Your Trip

Golden Triangle extension

Code: XBS

A visit to the incredible Taj Mahal and other great Moghul cities close to Delhi is an excellent way to begin or end a visit to Northern India. The five-day Golden Triangle extension can be booked before or after your main itinerary. The Taj Mahal in Agra was built by the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631, and is one of the most beautiful sights on earth. Close by is the imposing Red Fort of Akbar with its beautiful courtyards and palaces and let's not forget the deserted royal city of Fatehpur Sikri. The extension also visits the Pink City of Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan, which is one of the most attractive and colourful cities in India.

Essential Info

Visas

India 

Visas are required if you are British and for most other nationalities. Visa information changes regularly for India; for the latest information on applying for a visa please follow this link: http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/travelink/India-visa-information.pdf

If your trip visits Ladakh, in the very north of India, or Sikkim in the north east, do not mention this on your Indian visa application. This can sometimes slow down or even cause the embassy to reject your visa.

If your flight arrives into Delhi Airport and you have an e-visa, please follow the overhead signs to the e-visa booth at the back of the immigration hall. You will need to fill out an additional form at the booth. Please make sure that you have the details of your start hotel ready. These details can be found on your Final Joining Instructions.

Vaccinations

India

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approx. 2000m, there is low to no risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips going to altitudes of over 3000m there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please see the TRIP NOTES for further information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners are included.

All meals except for main meals in Delhi and Leh are included; please allow about GBP70 (approx. USD115) for these.

Whilst camping, the staff will bring a hot drink (usually tea) to your tent each morning. Breakfasts typically include cereal, toast and jam, eggs and porridge. Lunch on trek is usually served as a picnic en route (except on shorter days when it is in camp). Lunch and dinner typically include soup to start, followed by a variety of hot dishes (both local and western) such as potatoes/chips, vegetables, curry, pasta, rice, dhal and paneer (cottage cheese). Please note that although some meals will include meat, it is not as readily available whilst camping.

During the trek the camp staff will collect and boil drinking water from the mountain streams and fill up your water bottles for you, but you may wish to use your own water purification treatment as well.

Weather

The above weather chart for Leh shows average temperatures only - it does not reflect extremes of heat and cold. Please refer to the paragraph below for further details of the temperature range. Generally the weather is good in Ladakh during the summer time, with warm to very hot sunny days (up to 30ºC/35ºC+) with cooler nights depending on the altitude (it can reach freezing at Nimaling in September). There is, however, the possibility of rain, and you should be prepared for this. The sun is very strong at these altitudes and some of the days on trek can be extremely hot.

Ladakh, though technically part of the Tibetan plateau and classified as a high altitude desert, can and does occasionally experience the effects of the Indian monsoon. Although the departures are timed to coincide when the weather is normally good, you should remember that in any mountain area the weather is never wholly predictable and you should be prepared and equipped to deal with any differences in weather beyond the conditions described above.

Delhi in the summer it is very hot and humid.

Leh

Is this trip for you?

This is a reasonably strenuous trek involving seven days point-to-point walking at quite high altitudes; maximum altitude 5,286m, average 3,900m. As such is has been graded as ‘challenging’ (activity level 5). Most days involve 4-6 hours walking, although there are a few longer days, and there are two passes over 4,900m.

Most of the trails are well made on sandy paths. There are a few river crossings. Daytime temperatures can be very hot, especially in the middle of the day as at these altitudes the sun is very strong. Nights will be cooler and cold at Nimaling.

This trek is for those who are willing to put in the necessary fitness preparation and like a good walk for around 6 hours a day. This is a fully supported camping trek with full porterage (mules and ponies) throughout; you need only carry your day pack. You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference: https://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

The transfer journeys at the start and end of the trek are both very short (less than an hour’s drive).

As this trip spends considerable time at altitude, we ask you to refer to the altitude warning within the Trip Notes. We spend 3 days in Leh (3500m) before the trek to allow you to acclimatise before starting the trek.

Walking distances and hours are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Camping

In Delhi, we use a comfortable hotel, which has air-conditioned rooms, all en suite. In Leh we stay in a simple hotel but all rooms have en suite facilities. There is intermittent Wi-Fi available in Leh however there is no mobile coverage for international phones in Ladakh. 

The trek itself is on a full-service camping basis, meaning that our camp staff will erect and dismantle the tents for you, cook, and do all of the camp chores for you. You need only carry your day pack. Most of the camping on this trek is wild camping. We stay in two-person tents which have enough room inside for your kitbags. We also have a dining tent complete with table and folding chairs, and at least one toilet tent (usually two) for use during the evenings. No running water is available whilst camping. You will be camping close to a river or stream and the camp staff will provide bowls of warm water (to wash with) whilst trekking.

Single rooms and tents can be requested for a supplement from GBP275 (subject to availability). Please enquire at the time of booking.

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

The mountains will always draw us back to this majestic country: and now, with the return of a very special trip, the

  • Reviewed September 2017
    Franciska Pouw

    Wonderful Ladakh!

    I booked this trip through Sawadee (Dutch partner of Exodus) and I would do it again. The trip was very well organised and lead by Valerie Parkinson. Our local trekking guide Wangail also did a really good job in helping us beating the paths and crossing wild rivers and moutain passes. And my fellow travellers were really nice. This trip was amazing! A 'hot' start in Delhi, early morning amazing flight to Leh when you see the Himalaya mountain range when the weather is good. We had really good views! Leh is very pleasant, kind people, beautiful colours, wonderful monasteries in and around Leh. We even visited the highest motorable road in the world (5600); excellent for acclimatization! The trekking was everything I hoped for. Really colourful mountains, interesting villages and people. We even saw baby eagle owles, pica's (mouse hare), a red fox and loads of blue sheep! The camping was very well organized, food was excellent! I would strongly recommend this trip when you love mountains, trekking and other cultures.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I found it all very memorable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Valerie Parkinson is a very experienced and pleasant tourleader. She really knows all about Ladakh and buddhism, has good humor, knows how to 'handle' a group, gives you plenty of good tips. After trekking days she encouraged us to go for extra acclimitization walks.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take enough batteries and powerbanks with you on the trek when you like to take a lot of photos!
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Tony Wright

    Magic Markha Valley

    The Markha Valley Trek was a truly memorable experience. The landscape, wildlife and vegetation, the light, the culture and peaceful atmosphere of Ladakh are unforgettable and we were fortunate to experience it 'up close'. The trek was superbly organised, with expert and supportive leadership from Valerie Parkinson. The camping experience was great and the local team was full of joy and very competent. We were very well looked after! I enjoyed the excellent company of my fellow trekkers and appreciated the way in which some of the more challenging sections of the trek were paced and supported. As well as the trek, there were excellent visits to monasteries, and good accommodation in Leh and Delhi. 2 weeks felt like 2 months - it was an intense and very satisfying experience all round. Thanks for everything.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Many! Getting up to the top of the GandaLa Pass after struggling a bit with the altitude, and seeing the incredible view from the crest. Contrasts between summer crops and the utter barrenness of the mountains. Watching the sunset from the Old village at Markha. Visiting Thikse Monastery. All the opportunities to experience the culture and religion. Walking the final few kilometres down the valley to Shang Sudmdo in golden light surrounded by mountains of other-worldly colours.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Valerie is a truly superb group leader. She brings calm authority, care, respect, humour, a vast depth of expertise and local knowledge, and a calm that is both reassuring and authoritative. She has a great knowledge of group psychology too! I feel very fortunate to have been on a trek led by Valerie.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Carry boiled sweets or peppermints to suck on - helps to handle the dry air. If you want to take a lot of photos, take a power bank with plenty of capacity for recharging your camera, as well as a couple of extra batteries. I ran out on the last day of the trek despite having 3 batteries and a 6000 ma power bank!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    All aspects of Exodus planning and organisation were excellent. I will recommend the trip to friends and am looking at my next trip already. Exodus will be my go-to company.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Danny Bell

    Memorable Markha Valley

    Stunning scenery and great camping adventure.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being able to enjoy spectacular landscape ranging from the different valleys, canyons, with a multitude of colour changing rock formations.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide Rajeev was extremely organised and took great care of the group. Both him, his assistant Wangail and the team were also very social which is always nice.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do prepare for any weather conditions as with this being the end of the season we did wake up to Snow one morning. Also with is being hot during the day do not pack too much in your day bag.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Michelle Madrigga

    Spectacular Scenery!

    A great trek through an amazingly beautiful area with an enormous array of colours and landscapes. Great acclimatization time in Leh before the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking in relatively isolation through the amazing landscapes. Crossing the two passes were an achievement.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both the group leader and the trekking guide were excellent, friendly and competent. Very well organized and no issues with communication.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for cool or cold night temperatures. Some of the parts of the trail are on narrow (sometimes crumbling) ledges above the river so people with vertigo issues or unsteady feet may want to come prepared. There are also some sections where you are walking along rocky riverbeds so you may want to ensure you have boots with adequate ankle support. Definitely bring a wide brim hat, sunscreen and lip balm with sunscreen as well as the sun was particularly strong during the day and there was often little shaded areas. Bring extra camera batteries and memory cards if you like taking photos as this trek is full of photo opportunities!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Great trip and would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in beautiful scenery and relatively isolated environments.
  • Reviewed August 2016
    Stephen Taylor

    The Markha Valley

    A great trek to remote locations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Crossing the Gongmaru La pass-stunning views in every direction, and worth all the effort. Seeing the Dalai Lama in Leh.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lakpa was a great leader. Always on the ball, checking everybody was OK, and making sure everything worked like clockwork-great job! Wongel, the assistant guide was also a star.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take big memory cards-the scenery is breathtaking. It can be very hot and dusty, so be prepared.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Worth the cost, the overnight flights, not showering, being caked in dust, and generally feeling privileged to have been there.
  • Reviewed August 2016
    Kirit Garala

    TGR

    Very good

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Fellow trekkers. Scenery. Guide and Ladaki people

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. No other words to explain him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do it!! Weather a little hotter than I expected
  • Reviewed September 2015
    Irene Neilson

    Beautiful Wilderness - Ladakh: The Markha Valley

    An outstanding trek in a wonderful arid, mountainous environment where rocks gleam a wide variety iridescent colours, where lammergeiers and golden eagles circle above as marmots sit sunning themselves on the rocks below and where blue sheep have you gasping in amazement at their sure footedness on craggy rocky slopes. The isolation of the trek is special with just a few sparsely inhabited villages being passed. The range of temperatures from very warm during the day to very cold at night combined with the altitude of the passes and the rough stony ground of the riverbeds hemmed in by large rockfaces creates a wonderful feeling of challenge and exploration. The timelessness of the Buddhist monasteries encountered further enhances the experience. An amazing trip!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walk to Nimaling was special as the views really open up as you approach the plateau and the light on the snow topped slopes of Kang Yatse shifted to reveal huge cracks in its cornices. Cows and horses grazed at the camp and huge flocks of sheep and goats (including Kashmir goats) passed by the tents to gather in summer corals on the opposite side of the river. The crossing of the Gongmaru La Pass in perfect weather with vivid blue skies enabling us to see a perfect panorama of mountain tops including a 7000m+ peak belonging to the Karakorum range in Pakistan. It was very special seeing somewhere you would love to visit but are unlikely to be able to. The descent through the gorge was spectacular.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lakpa Lama was brilliant as a leader - kind, considerate, patient, good fun, competent. He had a great manner - at ease with everyone and quietly making sure that any problems were attended to and resolved as best as circumstances would permit.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    On our trip we had real extremes of temperature almost every day - 35 daytime, below freezing at night- so pack for both extremes. I regretted not bringing a very lightweight windproof long sleeved top - my summer base-layer was too warm. A flannel for the morning basin of water is useful. We found canoe shoes good for river crossing leaving sandals dry for the evening. The dry air can cause throat/chest issues so Strepsils, cough sweets etc useful. Unlike Nepal you can't just pick up things like that at a local teahouse though there are tea parachute tents en route where you can buy soft drinks and some local community handicrafts made from wool. The stuffed snow leopards are best at Rumbak village tent. Mobile phones are blocked in Ladakh though there is erratic wifi at Glacier View Hotel. Safe water shop in Leh is great- try the Apricot or Sea buckthorn juice though I found the latter too bitter.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Excellent acclimatisation schedule. The river does change course and you do sometimes end up on narrow cliff passes but the sand on these is 'sticky' and gives a good grip. The food is excellent and quality of tents - including toilet tent- is good. Easy to change money at the hotel in Delhi which has a swimming pool - great after the flight. Nearby Mughal Mahal restaurant good. We did the Golden Triangle Extension with Wellcome Travel and enjoyed it.
  • Reviewed September 2015
    Frank Porter

    Makrha Valley

    This was a great experience the Markha Valley is truly unique part of the world. We arrived a in Leh a week after heavy rains and closed the track due to flooding and some land slides. The Exodus team worked extremely hard to plan an alternate route if we could not do the Markha trek. Luckily the Markha valley track was reopened and we were able to do the planned walk. The views the landscape the local people all well and truly exceeded my expectations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Standing at the top of Gongmaru Pass with fantastic views in all directions was truly inspiring.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The Group leader Ngima could not have been better nothing was too hard for him he was committed tot he group 24/7. his commitment an happy smiling face help to make the trek the wonderful experienced that it was.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The river crossing can be a bit tough on two days we spent several hours following the river bed crossing and recrossing the river jumping from stone to stone, I personally found this a bit challenging due to problems with a dodgy ankle.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Simon Barber

    Simon Barber's Markha Valley review

    A trip of a lifetime! My first time in Asia - a difficult place to get around in. I was attracted by the terrain and the altitude: I'd done over 4000 m last year in Morocco (Mt. Toubkal), this year I fancied a go at 5000 m. I made it, but not with much breath to spare. An excellently organised trip but not for the faint-hearted or those with any vertigo/balance problems. The Markha valley trail is up a flash-flood prone canyon that several times a year wipes out all vestige of the old trail, and the locals valiantly hack a new one out of the loose, crumbling cliffs above the gorge. In places the track is a foot wide and the drop a hundred feet and more. Not pleasant.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting over the 2 high cols. The first one I managed on zero sleep - although the schedule tries hard to acclimatise the trekkers, it doesn't always work on schedule. The second high camp I was unable to sleep at all - rather like a night of being waterboarded by all accounts, But I still made it over the col the next day, feeling like death. The second, high col (5200 m) I was a bit better acclimatised for, managed 2 hours sleep. Makes all the difference!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ngima was the one who really kept us going; I can't speak too highly of him. Whether organising the first and last nights meal in Delhi or keeping us on the trail, his leadership skills were superb.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be sure you don't get vertigo or any balance problems, if you want to take this trip. There's a lot of rock-hopping and stream crossing. Equipment; I wore a pair of almost knee-length Meindl boots, and recommend them or similar.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food and camp organisation was excellent. The porters and horsemen deserve every rupee of what they got, and more!
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Nathan Crofts

    TGR Ladakh: The Markha Valley

    An outstanding trip offering a wide range of experiences and inspirational moments. As always, the trip was well led, well organised and offered excellent value for money. Some of the trekking was quite strenuous and tricky under foot but overall it more than lived up to our expectations as all the effort was rewarded with spectacular views.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Arriving at the top of the first high pass (GandaLa Pass - 4960m) and seeing the jaw-dropping view the other side: mountains upon mountains stretching away into the distance. Also being able to watch the monks chanting their prayers at the Thikse Monastery was pretty special. We were treated to a huge herd of blue sheep not far away above us on the mountainside too!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ngima was an exceptionally good leader. Absolutely nothing was too much trouble for him. He was upbeat, cheerful and good humoured throughout the trip and dealt with all our (minor) aliments and illnesses efficiently. The local guides were also fantastic, particularly Ongel, and together the whole team made us feel safe, relaxed and able to fully enjoy the whole experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Days 2 and 6 of the trekking (when you cross the high passes and descend) are particularly long and tiring. Although the notes say 7-8 hours it took our group 10-11 hours on both these days. There is LOTS of jumping from rock to rock over streams and wading through rivers so be prepared for this with sandals and a towel in your daypack. Follow the advice of the guides in terms of keeping hydrated (4 litres a day) to combat the altitude. Nigma carried excellent medicines for all sorts of ailments ~ you don't need much from home.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were blown away by the beauty, serenity and diversity of this region. This is not the Himalayas you would expect if you only think of the Everest region. It is green and lush, rocky and arid with ever changing colours and vistas. We would highly recommend it but respect its grading (5 - challenging): it is not to be underestimated!

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Trip Extension: If you would like to visit India’s Golden Triangleit is possible to extend your trip. For more details please refer to the Trip Notes or call our Sales team, who will be happy to assist you.

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