Duration: 19 days, 9 days on trek
Accomodations: Camping on trek
Best time: May-October
This trek is an epic journey through some of the most remote and spectacular areas of Ladakh and Zanskar. It is a treat for both newcomers to the Indian Himalaya and veteran trekkers alike. The trek combines the best of the Himalayas - the classic villages and fascinating culture of central Zanskar with the vivid history and colorful, living gompas (monasteries) of Ladakh.
Note that the trekking itinerary and campsites may vary slightly depending on trail and weather conditions and the various trekkers' acclimatization rate.
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
DAY 1: ARRIVE DELHI. Our Local representative will greet you at the international airport and help you Transfer to the hotel.
DAY 2: FLY TO LEH. You will have an early morning transfer to the domestic airport for the flight up to Leh. This surely is one of the most sensational scheduled flights in the world, taking you right over the top of the Greater Himalaya before dropping down in a series of steep turns, to land at the small military airport at Leh. Flight time is about 1 hour. You will be met on arrival and driven through Leh to check into your Hotel. Leh is at an altitude of 11,500 ft and therefore we recommend that the rest of the day is spent resting to help adjust to the altitude.
DAY 3: AT LEISURE IN LEH. Again we will take it easy today and your guide can show you around town. Leh is very Tibetan in many respects; the national dress, 'stove-pipe' hats and felt boots with turned-up toes are much in evidence. The Royal Palace which dominates the town is very reminiscent of the Potala in Lhasa and Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, large chortens, prayer flags and mud brick houses with flat roofs are a dramatic culture change from the hot, teeming frenetic rush of Delhi. Don't try to do too much on this first day! Visit the palace, poke around the bazaars, and if you're feeling really keen and strong, walk out to one of the villages just to the north.
DAY 4: DRIVE TO WANLA VIA ALCHI MONASTERY. (5 to 6 hours) The monastery of Alchi is the one of the oldest in ladakh and has a magnificent mural built by lama Rinchen Zangpo. Camp and overnight in Wanla.
DAY 5: WANLA TO HANUPATA. (6 to 7 hours) After crossing the bridge of Wanla River we follow on its right side the rough vehicle road until we reach Hinju, Ursi and then Phanjila. Then, we cross the river over a small bridge. After that, we turn west up the Spang Nala and continue on the gently rising trail to the large village of Hanupata with its gompa. River camp and overnight in Hanupata.
DAY 6: HANUPATA TO PHOTOKSAR OVER SIRSIR LA. (7 to 8 hours) The trail follows the Spang Nala and then up its narrow valley. As you reach the top of Sirsir La (4800 meters) you will have a nice view to the Singge La and Zanskar mountains. The descent is steep at first, then more gently to the Photang River. We follow it downstream until Photoksar Village after having crossed the river. This is a beautiful camp and we overnight in Photoksar.
DAY 7: PHOTOKSAR TO YULCHUNG-NERAG. (7 to 8 hours) Today we will climb two passes, the Bumiktse La (4200 meters) and after that the highest pass of this trek, the Singge La (5000 metres), both easy climbs. On top of the latter we have a fantastic view to the Zanskar mountains! There is a steep descent to our next camp and we will overnight above the village of Yulchung-Nerag.
DAY 8: YULCHUNG-NERAG TO LINGSHED TO HANUMA LA. (7 to 8 hours) We first cross the small Kiupa La (3900 m) and descend steeply to the villages of Skiumpata and Gongma. From here we have to cross another pass, the Murgum La (4100 m) before we easily reach Lingshed, the largest village in the trans Singge La region. We will visit the monastery that belongs to the Gelukpa school of buddhism. We camp and overnight near Lingshed gompa.
DAY 9: BASE HANUMA LA TO ZINGCHAN OMA CHU. (6 to 7 hours) On top of Hanuma la (4700 m) we can see Lingshed and its monastery very clearly. We trek easily down and follow a narrow valley to reach Snertse, continuing the steep and difficult trail to Zingchan near the Oma Chu River and cross the bridge. Here we are in the Zanskar region. We camp and overnight at the bridge of Zingchan Oma Chu.
DAY 10: ZINGCHAN OMA CHU TO HANUMIL. (6 to 7 hours) We start with a steep climb to Parfi La (3900 m). On its edge you will find chortens and prayer flags. A steep descent will bring us toward the raging Zanskar River. From here the trail is easy walking to the attractive village of Hanumil. We camp and overnight in Hanumil.
DAY 11: HANUMIL TO PISHU. (5 to 6 hours) Today we do not have to cross any passes! We follow the Zanskar River on the right side and arrive, after only two hours, in Pidmo village. Here we cross the bridge and walk toward Pishu. This is a nice camp and we overnight in Pishu.
DAY 12: PISHU TO KHARSHA. (5 to 6 hours) We first make a little detour before discovering the longest hanging bridge, which spans the 55 metrers over the Zanskar River and leads us to Zangla. We pass Rinam village and continue on very dusty river banks. Here it is often very hot! Yet, the first sight of the largest monastery of Zanskar valley soon will come into view. The camping site is situated just below the willow garden of Karsha monastery which we will visit in the afternoon. We camp and overnight in Karsha.
DAY 13: KHARSHA TO PADUM. (3 to 4 hours) After the crossing of the Stod (or Doda) River, we head toward Pibiting and finally reach Padum. In the afternoon, we will visit the small market. We camp and overnight in Padum.
DAY 14: PADUM –KARGIL DRIVE.
DAY 15: KARGIL–LEH.
DAY 16: RELAX IN LEH. We will have a chance to relax in the relative luxury of Leh, and do any last sightseeing and exploring. There will no doubt be a chance to have a final celebration with your guide and crew before the flight tomorrow. In the summer there are often polo matches on a Sunday. Overnight in the hotel.
DAY 17: FLY TO DELHI. Our representative will meet you and transfer you to your hotel.
DAY 18: RELAX IN DELHI. International flights usually leave after midnight, so sleep in and relax. Leave for the airport about 10 pm.
DAY 19: FLY HOME.
Another option: Zanskar Trek Over the Shingo La - song and slideshow 5:42
LAND COST: on request
- All accommodation in Delhi and Leh with breakfast.
- Camping accommodation as per the program with all meals during the treks.
- Mule drivers and mules during the trekking.
- All monastery entrance fees, wild life fees and camping fees.
- English-speaking guide in monasteries and while trekking.
- Service of cook and attendants during the trekking.
- All camping equipment including North Face or equivalent sleeping tent, foam mattresses, dining tent and toilet tents
- All transportation from Delhi Airport pick-up to departure.
What’s not included:
- Medical and evacuation insurance
- Miscellaneous expenses and tipping to the staff
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and food in Leh and Delhi.
- International Air ticket to and from Delhi.
- A single supplement.
- Laundry and other services not mentioned in the package. If you need any arrangement, please let us know.
IMPORTANT TREK NOTES
Whilst every effort is made to keep to the above itinerary, clients will hopefully appreciate that this is Adventure Travel in a remote mountain region. There will quite likely be changes to the itinerary in terms of anything from on-the-spot choice of campsite to when a rest day is taken. Weather conditions, road conditions, vehicle breakdowns off the beaten track, local availability of horses or yaks, can contribute to the need for changes. The Trek guide will do everything in his power to see that you are inconvenienced as little as possible in such circumstances. Timings are approximate.
© Yama Adventures, 2017.