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Overview

 Highlights


  • Explore trails linking whitewashed settlements and tiny monasteries to the vast pastures of Rupshu
  • Head off the beaten track to the Zalung Karpo La and remote Tibetan borderlands
  • Traverse passes fluttering with prayer flags that reflect the deep Buddhist heritage
  • Visit ancient monasteries and forts in the upper Indus Valley
  • Enjoy a fully supported crew lead trek staying in beautifully situated campsites
  • Experience traditional hospitality in our hotel in Leh
  • Attend the celebrated Hemis masked dance festival

On this private adventure experience we explore the remote and rugged trans Himalaya of Ladakh. We include an exhilarating trek leading through whitewashed settlements against a backdrop of 6000m peaks before traversing the Zalung la to the region of Rupshu and the borderlands of Tibet. We combine this with visiting ancient monasteries and forts in the upper Indus valley as well as attending the famous Hemis masked dance festival reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Ladakh. A truly wonderful adventure!

Countries:

Start and Finishing Point:

Melbourne

Activities:

Grading:Moderate   


After all the planning and preparation the wait is finally over. On arrival in Delhi late this afternoon you will be met by World Expeditions and transferred to your hotel. Due to the late flight arrival and the early morning departure to Leh the following morning the initial briefing will be on ‘a need to know basis’ such as what to pack, ordering a packed breakfast, what time for departure from the hotel, arrangements for leaving gear in Delhi etc. Your World Expeditions kit bag will also be distributed after the briefing. Overnight Delhi The Lalit Hotel or similar Note: the main briefing will be on arrival in Leh and sleeping bags, liners, insulated mattress and down jackets will be distributed.

Meals:  Nil

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. After resting that morning we spend time wandering the main markets and the 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. Overnight: Hotel Omasila or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

We have the opportunity to visit some of the outlying forts and monasteries. These include the 15th century Tikse monastery where we gain insights as to how the monks conduct their daily life. We also visit the Shey Palace, the seat of the Ladakh Royal family before they moved to Leh in the 17th century. In the afternoon we rest with an option to ascend to the nearby Chanti Peace stupa or visit the Ladakh Ecological Centre. An invaluable day to assist with our acclimatization before we commence our trek. Overnight: Hotel Omasila or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

The festival at Hemis commemorates the Indian sage Padmasambhava who introduced Tantric Buddhism to this region of the Himalaya in the 8th century. The festival consists of an elaborate series of masked dances depicting the life of Padmasambhava and the moral victory of knowledge over ignorance etc. Several hundred Ladakhi villagers from throughout the Indus Valley attend the festival. Besides its religious significance it is a time to renew acquaintances, visit the many stands and drink large quantities of butter tea and barley beer. In essence it is more of a medieval fair than a religious festival that reflects much of the contemporary cultural life of Ladakh.

Meals:  B,L,D

From Leh we drive down the Indus Valley to the confluence of the Zanskar River. We gradually ascend alongside the Zanskar River to the confluence of the Markha River. It’s a further one hour drive to Skiu (3435m) where we meet our crew and mule attendants. After lunch we slowly ascend alongside the course of the Markha River and our comfortable, grassy campsite at Narding (3530m).

Meals:  B,L,D

Our trail winds up the Markha valley passing a few small settlements to Markha (3770m) the largest village in the valley. That afternoon we visit the tiny monastery that has been recently renovated with funds from trekkers and Hemis monastery. We also have time to consider what the future holds for Markha and the nearby villages with most of the younger generation leaving the valley to gain employment in Leh and elsewhere in northern India.

Meals:  B,L,D

From Markha we continue up valley (with one river crossing) just before the village of Umlung. A few kms beyond the village the imposing peak of Kangyaze (6400m) forms an impressive backdrop. We follow a well-defined trail past ancient mani walls to the substantial village of Hanker (3980m) the highest village in the Markha Valley. Note: Possible Contingency day. We may elect to spend two nights at Hanker and to assist acclimatisation spend the next day ascending towards the vast Nimaling grazing plains.

Meals:  B,L,D

From Hanker we divert from the main trail (leading to Nimaling and the Gongmaru la) and commence our ascent across yak pastures to our secluded camp (4650m) at the base of the Zalung la

Meals:  B,L,D

A challenging stage. From camp it takes around three or four hours to reach the pass. At first the trail follows a narrow gorge before ascending steeply in places to the summit of the Zalung la (5190m). From the pass we gain impressive views of the peaks and jagged ranges of the Zanskar Range. It takes a further three hours descent, initially steep in place to reach a delightful camp near an abandoned encampment known at Tsoska (4200m).

Meals:  B,L,D

A relatively long final stage. From Tsoska we descend through an impressive gorge to a river junction. We then ascend another impressive gorge as we gradually ascend to the settlement of Dat. (4340m). During the summer the settlement is practically deserted as most of the villagers are grazing their yaks and goats on the higher, remote pastures. The shepherds known as Chang Pa follow lifestyles similar to their counterparts in western Tibet.

Meals:  B,L,D

To be spend on the trek – see note on Day 7 with the option of ascending to Nimaling on Day 8. Alternatively Day 10 can easily be split shortening this day with no end of campsites before a short walk the following day to Dat.

Meals:  B,L,D

From Dat we drive across vast grazing area populated by Chang Pa shepherds with huge flocks of yak and goats (famed for their pashmina wool). After two hours we reach the main Leh to Manali highway from where we head north to the Taglang Las (5328m) – the second highest motorable road crossing in the world. It’s then a steep exhilarating, descent of nearly 2000m to reach the Indus valley before returning to Leh

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we have the opportunity to rest or explore Leh. You may wish to visit the Snow Leopard Conservancy centre, as well as catching up on last minute shopping in the markets in preparation for the return flight to Delhi the next day.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we travel to the airport for our early morning flight to Delhi, connecting on Singapore Airlines to Melbourne via Singapore.

Meals:  B


Learning outcomes for students

A World Expeditions Schools adventure is a unique learning experience. Our journeys are designed to encourage thriving and positive youth development along with leaving the communities and environments where we travel in a better condition than when we arrived.
The programs are designed to enhance the following life skills that will help you grow as an individual:
• the confidence to lead a group and make decisions
• the value of working together as a cohesive team to achieve a common objective
• the ability to face mental and physical challenges
• the ability to adapt to new environments outside of their 'comfort zone'
• to appreciate and care for the natural environment. The environments we trek through are beautiful and often pristine, invariably the students will gain a deeper appreciation and understanding about how their individual actions impact on the environment
• build strong friendships and bonds with their peers and also the local peoples
• basic outdoor skills obtained on trek such as personal hygiene, pitching a tent, helping to prepare meals
Importantly our adventures help increase general well-being and build resilience in young citizens to help them deal with adverse situations in life.


Inclusions

  • International flights ex Melbourne on Singapore Airlines to Delhi return
  • All meals as per the detailed itinerary
  • All internal transport in private vehicles
  • Expert bilingual guide and full support crew
  • Group medical kit
  • Good quality hotel accommodation in Delhi & Leh
  • The use of a World Expeditions trek pack which includes a quality sleeping bag, down or fibre fill jacket and insulated mat (valued at over US$500)
  • All park entrances & permits
  • Pack mules to carry all personal and group baggage
  • Souvenir World Expeditions kit bag

  • Lunch & dinner in Delhi
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry etc
  • Tips
  • Visa
  • Travel insurance
  • Internal flight from Delhi to Leh return** COST TO BE ADVISED

Accommodation


Grading

Moderate

To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the walking terrain, the altitude, the number of passes crossings and the length of the trek. Beyond Markha Valley Trek is graded moderate.This is primarily due to the altitude as we commence the trek from 3500 metres. While the stages are not unduly demanding the trail is ill defined in places and both pass crossing – the Ganda La (4950m) and the Zalung La (5190m) may test your resolve. You will need a good level of fitness and be in good health. The majority of our moderately graded treks involve the carrying of a day pack only. Be prepared for potential variable weather conditions. Suggested preparation; 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week and extended periods of exercise during the weekend will accustom you to regular exercise, at least three months prior to your departure. Hill walking with a pack in variable weather conditions will be beneficial if you are taking part in a trekking adventure, kayaking or road cycling is also recommended depending upon the activity you plan to undertake.


Why travel with us

Why travel with us

Assisted over
14,000 Students Worldwide

Since the 1980's, we have helped students from around the globe to experience the world's most exciting destinations, allowing them to travel, give, grow.

400+ Service Learning
Programs

Together with students, we have completed over 400 Service Learning programs in developing countries. We will always continue to support causes including social justice, animal welfare, the environment and more.

Fully Customised
School Travel Programs

Want to include service learning, your school curriculum and a physical challenge, or any of the above? Contact us and we can design a program fully catered for your students and budget.

Safety and
Support - Our #1 Priority

Every school receives a detailed risk management plan that is guided by government advisories and the local partners we work with. We never compromise on the safety of your students to reduce the price of the program.

Testimonials


Videos

Markha Valley Trek - and Beyond | Indian Himalaya with World Expeditions

Want to find out more?

Our educational travel experts are ready to help you tailor an itinerary or service learning project to suit your school’s needs and budget. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.


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