Duration: 19 days, 10 days trekking
Accomodations: Camping on trek
Best time: May-October
The Markha to Kharnak Nomad Trek is a wonderful, high altitude trek that crosses a few of the mountain passes offering spectacular views of the Ladakh and Zanskar Ranges. It begins from Chilling and proceeds up the Markha Valley just past Hankar, where the trail turns south towards the Zalung Karpo La and the Kharnak Valley. After crossing the Yar La, we enter the "Changtang” plateau where nomads move from place to place with their yaks and sheep in search of pasture. The trek ends at the beautiful salt Lake of TsoKar where we might be able to view bar-headed geese, brahminy ducks, and rare, black-necked cranes. On the drive back to Leh we cross the Tanglang La. another spectacualr pass.
The itinerary allows for us to visit a couple of nomad camps and get an impression of the Markha Valley and the more remote valleys of the Nomads.
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DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
DAY 1: ARRIVE DELHI. Our Local representative will greet you at the international airport and help you Transfer to the hotel.
DAY 2: FLY TO LEH. You will have an early morning transfer to the domestic airport for the flight up to Leh. This surely is one of the most sensational scheduled flights in the world, taking you right over the top of the Greater Himalaya before dropping down in a series of steep turns, to land at the small military airport at Leh. Flight time is about 1 hour. You will be met on arrival and driven through Leh to check into your Hotel. Leh is at an altitude of 11,500 ft and therefore we recommend that the rest of the day is spent resting to help adjust to the altitude.
DAY 3: AT LEISURE IN LEH. Again we will take it easy today and your guide can show you around town. Leh is very Tibetan in many respects; the national dress, 'stove-pipe' hats and felt boots with turned-up toes are much in evidence. The Royal Palace which dominates the town is very reminiscent of the Potala in Lhasa and Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, large chortens, prayer flags and mud brick houses with flat roofs are a dramatic culture change from the hot, teeming frenetic rush of Delhi. Don't try to do too much on this first day! Visit the palace, poke around the bazaars, and if you're feeling really keen and strong, walk out to one of the villages just to the north.
DAY 4: SIGHTSEEING OF ALCHI MONASTERY. We drive to Alchi to see the most beautiful murals and paintings in Ladakh. Alchi was built in the 11th century by Lotsava Rinchen Zangpo. Drive back to Leh and prepare for trekking the next day.
DAY 5: DRIVE TO CHILLING, TREK TO SKIU. (3369m/11,050ft). After an exciting ride across the Zanskar River in a cable car, we trek (3 hrs) to the village of Skiu. The Markha Valley here is narrow, so the temperatures can soar. We camp at Skiu, and at dusk it is worth climbing back up the valley to where the Skiu Nala meets the Markha river. Here there is a small monastery cared for by an old nun who comes every evening to light the candles at the altar of 'Chamba', the future Buddha.
DAY 6: TREK TO MARKHA. (3764m/12,350ft). (8-9 hrs) A very pleasant walk up one of the loveliest sections of the Markha valley. Woody bushes grow thickly along the river which is spanned by several bridges over which the trail marches to Thinlespa. The camp is beyond this small village on the right bank of the river, just before the village of Markha.
DAY 7: TREK TO LANGTANGCHAN. (4139m/13,078ft). (7 hrs) The trail continues eastwards climbing steadily up the valley through the picturesque village of Markha, which has a fascinating monastery well worth a visit. Coming in from the south is the trail from Rubering La, one of the routes from Zangla. From Markha the country changes and the warm, relatively heavily wooded section of the lower Markha is left behind. Between the twin villages of Lower and Upper Hankar is a ruined fort, the walls of which climb sharply up a crag to an aerie of a lookout tower - worth visiting for those with a good head for heights. Follow the Langtang river up the narrow valley to the camp at Langtangchan. It will be considerably cooler here.
Day 8: TREK TO YAKRUPAL. (4569m/14,990ft) (6 hrs) This day we follow the valley up towards the base of the Zalung Karpo La. Don’t forget to look for wolves. Camp at Yakrupal.
DAY 9: YAKRUPAL TO TSOKRA. (4289m/14070ft) (8 hrs) This morning, you will climb up, up, up, finally reaching the fabulous Zalungkarpo La after several hours. After a short break (bring prayer flags!) on the pass, you will descend into the wilderness of Kharnak, finally camping at Tsokra. Your horses will be happy with the abundant grass, and you will have the opportunity to see both ancient ruins and one of the most beautiful cliff faces in Ladakh.
DAY 10: TSOKRA TO DAT. (4332/14212ft) (7 hrs) Today’s walk is one of the most beautiful on the trek, and there is no climbing –– so you can really enjoy it! Your path will wind through willow groves and around rivers that flow into Zanskar. Check for snow leopard prints on the sandy banks! You will camp in Dat, the winter site for the Kharnak nomads.
DAY 11: REST DAY AT DAT. (4332/14212ft) Relax in a pleasant meadow. Visit the Gompa. Walk through the empty nomad village.
DAY 12: DAT TO LUNGMOCHE. (4642/15230ft) via Yar La (4950 m/ 16335 ft) (6 hrs) This morning, you will walk on flat ground for several hours, appreciating the vastness of the fairly bleak Dat valley. Towards lunchtime, you will take a turn at a natural spring, and begin your approach to the Yar La. From this pass, you will see a great change in landscape. You are now arriving in the Changthang plains. A one-hour descent from the pass will bring you to Lungmoche, a windy but beautiful campsite.
DAY 13: LUNGMOCHE TO ZARA. (4609m/15,120ft) via the nomad settlement at Yagang. (7 hours) Today’s walking is fairly gentle, and after several hours you should reach the nomad headquarters of the Kharnak people at Yagang. Here you can interact with the nomads and enjoy some lunch. Several more hours of walking will bring you to the settlement of the Rupshu nomads at Zara, where you will spend the night.
DAY 14: ZARA TO PANGUNAGU. (4430m/13290 ft) (4 hrs) Leaving the nomad camp after breakfast, you should arrive on the Manali road after a pleasant walk. From here, an opening into the Tsokar basin lies in front of you, and it is a short 2 hour walk to your camp at Pangunagu. For the rest of the day, you can explore the TsoKar basin. An afternoon walk to the shore of the lake (45 min) should be considered a must.
DAY 15: REST DAY AND CLEAN UP THE CAMPING SITE. Afternoon The taxi will meet you and drive to Leh via Tanglang La (5328m/17,582ft) the second highest road in the world.
DAY 16: RELAX IN LEH. You will have a chance to relax in the relative luxury of Leh, and do any last sightseeing and exploring. There will no doubt be a chance to have a final celebration with your guide and crew before the flight tomorrow. In the summer there are often polo matches on a Sunday. Overnight in the hotel.
DAY 17: FLY TO DELHI. Our representative will meet you and transfer you to your hotel.
DAY 18: RELAX IN DELHI. International flights usually leave after midnight, so sleep in and relax. Leave for the airport about 10 pm.
DAY 19: FLY HOME.
LAND COST: on request
- All accommodation in Delhi and Leh with breakfast.
- Camping accommodations as per the program with all meals during the treks.
- Mule drivers and mules during the trekking.
- All monastery entrance fees, wild life fees and camping fees.
- English-speaking guide in monasteries and while trekking.
- Service of cook and attendants during the trekking.
- All camping equipment including North Face sleeping tent, foam mattresses, mess tents, dining tent & toilet tent
- All transportation from pick up from the Delhi Airport to Airport.
What’s not included:
- Medical and evacuation insurance
- Miscellaneous expenses and tipping to the staff
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and food in Leh and Delhi.
- International Air ticket to and from Delhi.
- A single supplement.
- Laundry and other services not mentioned in the package. If you need any arrangement Please let us know.
IMPORTANT TREK NOTES
Whilst every effort is made to keep to the above itinerary, clients will hopefully appreciate that this is Adventure Travel in a remote mountain region. There will quite likely be changes to the itinerary in terms of anything from on-the-spot choice of campsite to when a rest day is taken. Weather conditions, road conditions, vehicle breakdowns off the beaten track, local availability of, horses or yaks, can contribute to the need for changes. The Trek guide will do everything in his power to see that you are inconvenienced as little as possible in such circumstances. Timings are approximate.
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