Ladakh also called the “little Tibet” is one of the most beautiful places for trekking in the Himalayas. Nestled in the far north of India, Ladakh is easily accessible with a flight to Leh airport located 3,500 m above sea level in the Indus Valley. All the treks in Ladakh are at high altitudes and many of them cross passes over 5,000 meters above sea level.
Here are the top 5 treks in Ladakh. Get your backpack ready, let’s go!
1. Trek from Likir to Lamayuru
Number of days: 8 (or 4 in its short version until Khalse)
Maximum altitude: Tar La (5,250 m) – Sham la (4,069 m) for the short version
I did the Sham Valley trek in its short version; the beginning of the route is a good way to acclimatize before setting off on another trek or ending the trek in the village of Lamayuru dominated by its Buddhist monastery. Nights can be spent at homestays as each stage ends in a village. Along the way there are many encounters.
2. Trek in the Markha Valley
Number of days: 7
Maximum altitude: Kongmaru la (5,150 m)
Located in the Hemis National Park, the Markha Valley trek is considered one of the best treks in Ladakh. It should be on everybody’s bucket list of treks to do in the Himalayas. The landscapes that can be seen in this valley are extraordinary. It is also a region where snow leopards and bharals live. And the trek ends at the foot of the monastery of Hemis. What more could you ask for?
3. Trek in the Changtang region to Tso Moriri
Number of days: 11 (long version) – 8 days (short version)
Maximum altitude: Gyama La (5,830 m) for the long version – Yalong Niau (5,400 m) for the short version
This was my 1st trek in Ladakh and it is still one of my best trekking experiences. Inhabited by the Changpa nomads, Changtang is a land of high altitude where the valleys like the mountains are so huge that the landscapes command respect and humility.
The entire Changtang trek is carried out in tents and above 4,600 m (except the departure from Rumtse at 4,100 m). In the evening, the tents are pitched near the Changpa camps. The nomads are quick to invite us to share a Tibetan tea under the canvas tent. What a shock of civilization!
The long version of the trek has the advantage of following Lake Tso Moriri from the south, but the three-day trek is also demanding because it requires passing a pass at 5,830 m. Not nothing anyway!
4. Trek from Lamayuru to Chilling
Number of days: 5
Maximum altitude: Konzke la (4,900 m)
Of moderate difficulty, this trek requires that you carry your tent and camping equipment. Green valleys alternate with arid and rugged mountains. There again, beautiful encounters in the villages and even at altitude with the semi-nomadic shepherds.
In Chilling, you can continue towards Skyuvillage and the Markha Valley trek. With a few extra days, you could even climb Kang Yatse peak, a mighty mountain with an altitude of 6,200 m.
5. Trek from Indus to Nubra
Number of days: 6
Maximum altitude: Lasermo la (5,560 m)
During my last trip to the Indian Himalayas, I went through the Nubra Valley in northern Ladakh but in discovery mode. So yes, I would like to go back but for a trek this time.
A little used 6-day trek links the Indus Valley from the village of Phyang to the Nubra Valley and the village of Hundar. In the direction indicated, it is imperative to be well acclimatized because the Lasermo la (5,560 m) is to be crossed on the 3rd day.