4 March, 2021 | Reccy Guide
Trekking alongside the Markha river will take you through a magnificent Valley with incredible views over the surrounding mountain ranges, all the while meeting and sharing experiences with locals and fellow trekkers. The Markha valley trek is one of the most popular expeditions starting from Leh, so read on to see if this is the one you’re looking for.
The first step of your adventure will be to get to the city of Leh, the adventure hotspot from which the trek will start. The easiest way to get there is by flying from Delhi as several flights leave daily; however, as you will most likely be completing the trek in the summer months, you also have the possibility to reach Leh by land. Be aware that buses and trains might take much longer than initially planned, but both are an adventure on their own. Once in Leh, you will want to spend a couple of days exploring the local market and monasteries in order to let your body acclimatize to the altitude. Don’t worry, the city is a destination on its own and we can promise that you won’t get bored!
Once you are acclimatized and ready to hike, you can finally start trekking the Markha Valley. From Leh, two main routes are possible, and your choice will depend on how long you want to spend on the trail and your overall fitness condition.
Route 1: starting from Spitok.
The Markha Valley trek starting from Spitok will take you between 6 and 9 days to complete and is the longer option. It is physically challenging as you will have to walk through rougher terrain and cross a 4970m pass. A day to day itinerary will look similar to this:
Route 2: starting from Chilling.
The route starting from Chilling will take you further with the jeep and offers a much shorter trekking time of approximately 4 days.
Rest assured, only the first 5km of this day’s trail are challenging as you will need to climb for a bit. Afterwards, the Valley is flat until the town of Sara – your stop for the night.
What else can I expect?
You will be trekking in wild areas, so it is important to know that you will only have access to very basic necessities. Regarding sleeping, you can expect to be camping in breathtaking valleys or stay in a heartwarming homestay with a Tibetan family. To power you through your trek, you will be eating copious amounts of rice and dhal (lentils); and when it comes to water, you can either buy it from the locals (boiled river water) or purify it yourself with purifying water tablets. In addition to giving you drinking water, the river will also give you a place to clean yourself as there are no showers available on the trek.
If you are looking for breathtaking sceneries and a glimpse into the local life and don’t mind giving up on a few luxuries (such as showers) for the time of the expedition, the Markha Valley trek is for you. Strap on your hiking boots and head to Leh for an unforgettable experience.
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