A classic trek in 'Little Tibet', combining stunning mountain panoramas and barren hillsides with pretty villages and lush meadows
Isolated for many months of the year by snow, Ladakh remains one of the best places to experience the unique culture of the High Himalaya.
Crossing the Ganda La we follow the Markha River, climbing through gorges, barley and mustard fields and picturesque Ladakhi villages. We hope to spot blue sheep and Ibex scrambling over the rocky slopes, with the stark peaks of the Stok, Matho and Zanskar ranges towering above.
From the high-altitude yak pastures we have time to explore some of the surrounding peaks, and from the top of the highest pass, the Gongmaru La (5200m) we can enjoy incredible views of the Karakorum, the Himalaya and into Tibet.
We end the trek with a spectacular walk down a gorge to Hemis, the largest and most famous of the Ladakhi monasteries.
What makes this trip responsible?
We ask that you use environmentally sound practices whilst in Ladakh such as not buying mineral water. You will be provided with boiled drinking water on and we recommend you bring purification tablets/liquid to treat any non-boiled water. Burnable rubbish will be burnt on trek and we ask each trekker to keep a rubbish bag for non-burnable rubbish that is taken back to Delhi or UK.
Please note that many Indians are still traditional in the way they dress. Out of respect for the country we ask you to dress conservatively – no sleeveless tops. Although shorts are acceptable on trek only they should be very modest and reach the knees and for women a skirt or trousers are preferable. Monasteries are places of worship so be respectful when visiting and whilst taking photographs. Please bring bio degradable soaps and shampoos and when washing near a river use a washing bowl provided by the camp staff - do not pollute the rivers.
Exodus started supporting this area in the Markha Valley in 2007, after the heavy rains in 2006 caused flooding throughout Ladakh, which destroyed many houses and caused loss of life and livelihood to many families. We rebuilt two houses and provided wire for the school in Hankar so they could build themselves a flood barrier. When Ladakh was hit by worse flash floods and mudslides in 2010, we set up a flood relief appeal to help support these communities.
Since 2011 we have been working with the Youth Association for Conservation and Development in the Hemis High Altitude National Park (YAFCAD) and a Niyamdru Dro, a French NGO, to provide the people of the Markha Valley with safe drinking water which they can sell to foreign trekkers instead of mineral water. We aim to sponsor as many water filters as possible and ask those villages without to boil water rather than selling bottled mineral water. The plan is eventually to ban the sale of plastic mineral water bottles along the popular Markha Valley trekking route.
Please see our project page for more information.
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Campsite in Markha Valley