On arrival in Delhi you will be met by a World Expeditions representative and transferred to your hotel. Should you arrive earlier in the day we are happy to assist with any optional sightseeing. Overnight group hotel.
Note: If you are arriving in Delhi on a late night flight, you may like to arrive the day before the trip commences. Please talk to your World Expeditions reservations consultant or travel agent for pretour accommodation options.
We take the early flight from Delhi to Leh in the Indus Valley. If the conditions are clear you will be rewarded with grand views across the Great Himalaya and Zanskar ranges before landing at the capital of Ladakh. On our first day in Ladakh we spend time wandering the bazaar and imposing Leh Palace. We have the opportunity to climb to the Victory Fort (above the Palace) built in the 17th century to commemorate Ladakh's independence from the invading armies from Baltistan and Kashmir. From the Palace we can also appreciate the alleyways that comprise the old town of Leh, located to the east of the main bazaar.
Among other options is a visit to the Shanti Stupa at Chanspa, just up the road from our hotel that affords fine views up the Indus Valley. It is also recommended to visit the Ladakh Ecological Centre to appreciate how the Ladakhi people have been able to incorporate new technology into their traditional lifestyles.On the second day we include a trip to Shey Palace and Tikse monastery. Shey Palace originally housed the Ladakh royal family before they moved to Leh in the 17th century. A few km up the Indus valley is the spectacular setting of Tikse monastery perched on the summit of a sugarloaf mountain. Our guides will show you around this ancient monastery and provide you with insights as to how the monks conduct their life and their day to day monastic routine.On the third day in Leh we head to Stok Palace due south of Leh where we undertake short hike up the gorges leading into the Stok Range. An invaluable day to assist with our acclimatization before we commence our trek.
We drive via Stakna village and alongside the Indus River to reach the tiny settlement of Zinchen (3380m). It will not take long for our packhorses to be loaded before commence our trek that gradually ascends a spectacular gorge to the village of Rumbak (3960m). Our camp (3850m) is located just below the village.
A further opportunity to acclimatise. We undertake day walks to Rumbak village and up side valleys leading to the base of the Stok La that afford spectacular views of the Trans Himalaya.
From Rumbak we ascend to the settlement of Yurutse. The peak of Stok Kangri looms above the stark mountainscape. Our campsite (4350m) is well located in a tiny meadow within striking distance of the Ganda La. That afternoon we undertake a short walk to further assist with acclimatisation and to also gain striking views across the upper Rumbak Valley.
Above our camp we gain views of the snow-capped Stok Range. After gradually ascending a series of switchbacks we make the final gradual ascent to the Ganda La (4950m). From the pass there a views south across the endless folds of the Zanskar Range and the snow capped summits of the main Himalaya Range before completing the gradual descent to the village of Shingo (4150m).
Below Shogdo the trail enters a narrow gorge where willow, poplar and rose bushes provide a natural canopy alongside the river course. The Skui monastery (3435m) marks the confluence of the stream coming from Shogdo and the Markha Valley. We then head up the Markha Valley to Narding (3530m) and a comfortable, grassy campsite.
The trail gradually ascends the Markha Valley passing a few small settlements en route to Markha (3770m) the largest village in the valley where we will visit the derelict fort above the village and the gompa that has recently been renovated by funds from trekkers and Hemis monastery. From Markha we continue up valley (with one river crossing) just before the village of Umlung. A few km beyond the village the valley widens and the imposing peak of Kangyaze (6400m) can be appreciated before reaching Hankar (3980m), the highest village in the Markha Valley. visit the derelict fort above the village and the gompa that has recently been renovated by funds from trekkers and Hemis monastery.
From Hanker we divert from the main trail and commence our ascent across yak herders pastures to our camp at the base of the Zalung La (4650 metres).
From camp it is a gradual haul to the summit of the Zalung La (5190 metres). It is a windswept pass that affords impressive views of the peaks and jagged ridges of the Zanskar Range. From the pass it takes about three hours to reach a delightful grassy camp near to the abandoned encampment known as Tsorka (4200 metres).
From Sorro we trek to the head of a nearby gorge. Anticipate a cold start to the day as this section necessitates two or three river crossings. We then enter a side gorge that we follow for three hours to the settlement of Dat. (4340 metres). During the summer the settlement is practically deserted as most of the villagers are grazing their yaks and goats on remote grazing pastures. The shepherds are known as Chang pa and follow lifestyles similar to their counterparts in nearby western Tibet.
From Dat we drive along a dirt road across a vast grazing area populated by the Changpa shepherds for two hours until we reach the Manali to Leh 'highway'. We ascend to the Taglang La (5328m) - the second highest motorable road crossing in the world - before descending to the Indus Valley with time to visit the ancient Hemis monastery before completing our drive back to Leh.
We board the early morning flight to Delhi, on arrival trip concludes. If you are departing India today please don't book a flight out until mid afternoon in case there are delays on the Leh-Delhi flight.