Shanti Travel > Walking the Trails: Trekking in Ladakh for all grades

Walking the Trails: Trekking in Ladakh for all grades

trekking in ladakh
This year it is time to usher the spirit of adventure! And what better way to do it than trekking in Ladakh? Ladakh the land of azure lakes with crystal clear waters, inhabited plateaus, beautifully dangerous passes and the breathtaking view of the snow-capped mountains is every traveller’s dream destination.

It is a fascination carefully nurtured by even those travellers who have a bagful of experience, because when it comes to Ladakh the unexpected becomes the expected, the challenges become the norm.
The topographical diversity is probably one of the much-talked about phenomena of Ladakh; and because of this character, Ladakh has become every trekker’s dream destination. If you go by the books, some trails are simply too beautiful to resist. And those who go by the guts will find the unexplored destinations sheer intoxicating. It is probably the combination of the exotic and the uncommon that triggers the curiosity of the travellers. Going by the ‘danger meter’, the trails in Ladakh are carefully divided into three groups. Let’s take a walk and decide for ourselves the choice of our destinations.

Trekking in Ladakh

Grade 1: Easy

The moments at Markha: Travelling between Ladakh and Zanskar

trekking in ladakh to markha valley
Image Credit: Manojit Rakshit |

It is the diversity of the landscape which is considered the highlight of this trek. The green expanse of Markha protected by the Kang Yatse in the eastern part and the Zanskar range in the south-west is a beauty to look at. Markha and the Indus valley will appear in its full glory during this trek.

The monasteries, the tiny hamlets with their idyllic life and the snow-capped peaks all add to the beauty of the region. You begin your adventure treks of Ladakh with this trail; because it will be easy on your feet, but will be a breather for the mind.  As you follow the trail, you will be blessed with the majestic views of Karakoram Saser Kangri Peak, Kang Yatse, Stok Kangri, and Nun Kun peaks. There are steep ascents, and it will be a zesty experience as you cut through waist-deep waters in Spituk, Skiu and Zingchen. The best thing about this trek is the experience. Travelling through the tiny Buddhist hamlets and getting to experience their lifestyle as you feast your eyes on the landscape is one of the most amazing ways to experience Ladakh. It takes about 6 to 7 days to complete this trekking in Ladakh.

Sham Valley – The Track of Caravans

Follow the age-old caravan roads from Kashmir to Tibet and explore the richness of the Indus Valley. The Indus Valley is considered as the main axis of Ladakh which provides the opportunity to investigate the vibrant colours of Ladakh. To add to the quotient of interest, you can visit some of the famous Tibetan monasteries like Spituk, Likir, Lamayuru and Alchi.

The apricot orchards in the region add to the charm of the entire trek. Sham which is also known for its architectural splendours is also one of the richest areas of Ladakh and because of its average altitude it is much easier to live in and around Sham. This trek is also known as ‘the baby trek’ and can be completed within 5 days. Apart from the natural beauty, it is a great privilege to visit some of the beautiful monasteries on the road.

As you traverse through this caravan route, you also become a part of the mythical ‘Silk Route’ which traders have charted during the early trading days. As you discover Ladakh in the course of your Ladakh holidays, you realize that with every trail, every hamlet, and every landscape, you are discovering the essence of this place.

Grade 2: Moderate

indus valley trek

Exploring the Indus and Travelling to Changtang

A little stamina and a dash of willpower and you are ready for one of the fairly moderate treks of Ladakh. Exploring the beautiful landscape of Indus Valley and the Sham Valley one moves on to meet the nomadic tribes of Changtang.

This is a well-organized trekking tour as your body slowly acclimatizes with the natural surroundings. After exploring the beautiful monasteries of Ladakh, one hikes to Sham and has a glimpse of the desert plains, the apricot orchards, lovely houses of the Buddhist Tibetans and vast fields of barley. Changtang is located in one of the remote areas of Ladakh and stretches from western Tibet to eastern Ladakh. Known as the land of nomads or ‘Changpas’, this place gives you the perfect opportunity to discover the rustic connection of Ladakh. It is a real treat for the eyes as you watch the Changpas travelling with their herds of sheep, goats, yaks and the massive Tibetan mastiff dogs.

One of the highlights of the region is the spectacular lakes like Pengong, Yaya and Tsomoriri. Take your time to complete this trek, because with each day you will experience a different essence of Ladakh; the trip can be completed within 8 to 9 days. And when it comes to trekking in Ladakh, you have to add this to your list.

Grade 3: Difficult

trekking in ladakh at lamayuru

Exploring the Zanskar: from Lamayuru to Padum

It takes a brave soul to be part of this trek which lasts for 8 days; because you will cross three-mountain passes in your way. Being in the heart of the Zanskar valley is no mean task and this trek is not for the faint-hearted.

You start your journey from the beautiful Lamayuru Monastery. As you proceed further you can feast your eyes on the panoramic Zanskar Himalayas. Most of the camps are located close to the river, so you can enjoy the serenity after a long day. Check out some of the most beautiful monasteries like of Alchi and Regzong during your trek. These monasteries convey an important aspect of the Ladakhi lifestyle, and it will be a sin to miss them during your Leh-Ladakh tours.

A different Zanskar

If you truly want to experience isolation, then Zanskar is the place to be. Zanskar is enclosed by the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain range and offers a view of the unspoiled beauty of the region.

The challenging climate makes the trek even more interesting. The remote Zanskar trek offers something exceptional in every turn. For almost days you will not see a single soul, or village or any sign of habitation. You will have cross 60 gushing brooks on your way. But it is the steep altitude which literally takes your breath away! The beautiful gorges, the spellbinding fords and some of the beautiful yet challenging passes add to the charm of the Zanskar valley trek. Your Ladakh tours will be complete until you experience Zanskar, because even dangerous can be beautiful.

Knowing the nomads in the Changtang regionnomads of changtang

Those who want to describe Changtang in two words will spell out its highlights: lakes and nomads. Positioned close to the Chinese border, this place is known as one of the most difficult regions of Ladakh. And if you are planning to trek, then you should be prepared for quite a journey.

The Tso Moriri Lake for instance is positioned on 14,000 feet close to Korzok. You will also get to see the nomadic tribes close to this lake. A larger portion of Tso Moriri Lake is in China, but nevertheless the beauty of the lake which falls in the Indian continent is hard to describe. The colour of the water changes with light, and while in the evening it takes the form of rich blue, the early morning shows a lighter hue.

The beauty of Zanskar

trekking in zanskar

Those who have already has some experience in trekking and are looking forward for trekking in Ladakh cannot simply miss the opportunity to cross the entire Zanskar region from north to south.

Even the most avid trekker will think twice before starting the trek, but it is the beacon of the impossible which drives them forward. Stamina will be your friend, as you cross the valley which remains cut off from the rest of the world for 8 long months. It almost takes 18 days to complete the trek, because the landscape is absolutely unexpected. The blend of bare mountains with green pastures can be quite a revelation.

Once you start thinking about Ladakh, you cannot stop until you have visited the place. There is magnetism about Ladakh which is hard to resist, and if you are trekking, with each step, with each grasp you are breathing Ladakh. And then on one lonely night in the city, you remember the place where you have discovered the meaning of ‘isolation’.

To make you dream about Ladakh, here is a beautiful video of this mesmerizing region in the lapse of the Himalayas.

You can contact our travel experts for trekking in Ladakh over here:


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