The new large Zanskar Trek with new, demanding route
The best of Zanskar is revealed on this great trekking tour crossing several 5000m passes. The remote valleys with their discreetly rich landscapes reveal a treasure trove of flora and fauna, charming villages and hospitable inhabitants who are delighted by the few visitors who venture as far as their villages.
The classic Zanskar trek is long gone from what it once was. Road construction has made the route uninteresting. For this reason, we have completely relaid the route. The trekking tour has thus become a lot more demanding, but has become all the more appealing. At the same time we have taken into consideration the acclimatization process, because the crossing of several passes of more than 5000m makes this necessary. We reach remote villages that can be reached only in several days’ marches and hike through uninhabited territory, crossed only by shepherds with their flocks of sheep and goats.
The new large Zanskar Trek
- 09. August to 02. September 2023
Departure from home
Arrival in Delhi and Leh
On your arrival In Delhi, when required, we will be assisting you with the transfer to the next flight to Leh, depending on the connecting domestic flight. It can be the same terminal with different floor or a different terminal.
The slightly more than an hour flight from the plains of North India, over the foothills and beyond the great Himalaya into the trans Himalaya is in itself a beautiful experience. One of our team members or your guide will be waiting for you at the airport in Leh and will accompany you to your guesthouse. The programme for the first day is a mandatory rest and relaxing to acclimatize and adapt to the high altitude. Overnight in GH in Leh. B, L,-
In the: Leh
The first day of sightseeing is dedicated to Leh. At first sight, Ladakh’s capital seems chaotic and not very charming, but if you look closely you will discover many exciting aspects that your guide will introduce you. You visit the central city monastery – the Gonpa Soma –, the bazar of Leh, women section of the market, where daily fresh produce from their gardens are sold, and then the polo field, where polo was played long before the British came. After lunch at the hotel there is time to relax, the second part of the program only starts later in the afternoon. Drive to Tsemo monastery on the hill above Leh town and visit the 15th century temples with the view of Leh, the indus valley and beyond. Later we walk to Samkhar monastery. To complete the day, we visit Shanti-Stupa, built in the 1980’s, and later walk to the Hotel but forst down the steps. B,L,-
Acclimatization hike and moon valley
Drive to Gyamsa and walk to Phyang in around 5 hours over a pass at 4410m pass. This walk, though over a small pass, provides a substantial insight into the terrains of Ladakh at a moderate level. Initially we walk through a small gorge on a mixed sand and gravel path (around 45 minutes to one hour) before we traverse up the main middle ridge, which leads us to the saddle, which is our pass. Wild roses, wild peas, wild rhubarb and many more plants can be seen on the way besides wild animals. A rather steep descend for around 200 meters brings us into another wide gorge that leads us to the main Phyang valley. Our cars wait for us and we drive to Lamayuru via Alchi temples. Overnight in simple Hotel. B,L,D
Today is a rather long day as we drive over 2 main passes, namely Sirsirla 4809m and Singe La (5.000m) by car and change into our walking boots at the end of the road and hike to Lingshed (3.800m). The guide will decide whether to walk (minimum 3 hours) before or after Singela and that will be dependent on factors such as the time and the weather of the day. Overnight in camp with our own trekking crew. B,L,D
Trekking to Hanuma La base camp (4020m)
In the afternoon we leave Lingshed after having discovered the beautiful village. The village has a monastery, a nunnery and the village itself is worth seeing how a family lives sinces ages to the present time following a simple but completely in an organic and self-sustaining lifestyle and surrounding. The normal trek to the base camp is 2 – 3 hours over a small unnamed Pass 4210m.Therefore we take advantage of the time and explore the village and naturally we need more time for this. Overnight in Camp 4020m. B,L,D
Trekking to Zhingchen
The ascend of Hanuma La pass begins right from our camp. Most of the times we were able to zigzag to the top in around 2 hours, but sometimes it also took up to 3 hours. We gained around 730 m from the camp to the top and then lose 1380m in around 3-4 hours until we reach to our camp on the bank of the Oma chu at Zhingchen 3370m.
The Pass 4.750m offers a nice view of the village Lingshed, the Zanskar river gorge, Stok Kangri at a distance in the east and a few snow cladded peaks behind Karcha Monastery beyond Oma chu and its range. Overnight in camp. B,L,D
Trekking to Hanamur
We cross the newly built bridge on the Oma chu which enters Zanskar river in around 1.5 kilometres. We leave the Oma chu gorge and begin to climb towards the pass called Parfi La (3.910m) in around 1 to 1 and half hours while gaining 540m in altitude. The pass is directly above the Zanskar river (3352m) which flows northeast to merge with the Indus near the village of Nimu. We descend only a few meters towards the river and then traverse the range towards Hanamur village in the south in around 3 or 3 and half hours. We have landed in the area where there are many juniper trees and bushes besides other berry bearings plants and wild roses on the otherwise dry slopes above the river. Oma Chu and the area around Hanamur are also frequented by Black and brawn Himalayan bears due to this reason. Overnight in camp on the land belonging to a very famous Shaman family. B,L,D
Trekking to the bridge of Pidmo
We walk around 2 hours to reach at the newly build bridge on the river Zanskar near the village of Pidmo. The old bridge along with many others were destroyed and carried away by the flood caused by the temporary lake formed on the river Tsarap some years ago. At the bridge we meet our drivers/Driver who will drive us to Padum/Karcha. Enroute visit the monastery of stongde; founded by Lama Marpa, the translator, in the mid 11th century.
After the visit, we continue driving towards Padum 3572m, where our cook and his assistants will be buying fresh vegetables and other supplies. We will be visiting Karcha monastery in the late afternoon. Overnight in tents. B,L,D
Trekking part #2
The second and main part of our great Zanskar trek is through remote and isolated valleys, where we will be walking through narrow gorges, over high passes and crossing several rivers! The reward will be encountering wildlife and villages not yet ran down by mass tourisms.
We begin the adventure with a short drive to Zangla, the site of the former Capital of Zanskar before beginning the trek to Zangla Sumdo (3.800m) in around 3-4 hours through a gorge, where we are required to cross the same river multiple times. We recommend a pair of shoes in which one can cross the river and walk through the stony trail. Trail running shoes or sandals which support the toes and heels from sharp stones are practical). Zangla Sumdo means the confluence of three valleys of Zangla and it is a wooded campsite on the bank of the river we will be crossing several times. Overntight in tents again! B, L, D
Trekking to Kolumtse (3-4 hrs)
Kolumtse/Konglumtse (4325m) is the base of Penak/Pandang La. We have a rather short day today as trekking all the way beyond the pass to Niri Doksa (also known as Tsazar Doksa) is quite long as we are required to climb more than 1000m in altitude. Secondly, we need to cross the stream a several times. The stream is not big, but the stones in the stream are very slippery to jump from stone to stone.
It is a very special place, well concealed within the folding of the mountains and is rich in flora and the fauna, including snow leopard and Himalayan bears have been spotted on several occasions. B, L, D
Trekking to Niri Doksa over Penan or Pangdang La (5.175m)
The pass lies right above and at the middle of the valley where we are camped. The ascend towards the pass begins at the camp site itself. The basic formula to enjoy the ascend is the ability to enjoy the step we are taking rather than worrying constantly when and how to reach the top of the pass! In terms of distance, it is not at all far away, technically it is not difficult, and the landscape is marvellous! Niri Doksa is also called as Tsazar Doksa 4550m as the land here is the summer pasture of the villagers of Tsazar, a village near Zangla. There are enough camping sites (4550m to 4400m) once we have crossed the pass and gradually descended into the Niri valley. B,L,D
Trekking to Shade Doksa
Trek to Shade Doksa (4.300m) via Lar La (4.680m). We begin the day by walking in the wide Niri chu riverbed for around 6 kilometres. Because it meanders so constantly, we are required to cross the same water several times. Around 4270m altitude we leave the riverbed and traverse the hillside on our left-hand side towards Mitsik 4300m on an angulating trail over a small pass and then to Shade Doksa over Larla pass within 6 -7 hours. B,L,D
Trek to Shade and further (6-7 hrs)
Most of the times (in the past) we were able to reach the village of Shade over Rodanla/Rotang la (4.900m) in around 4 -5 hours. We will spend enough time in this special village which is among the very few villages in Ladakh still continuing to hold on to the old ways of living. Later we walk down to our camp at Tantak river Camp 3950m in around 1 or 1.5 hours.
While we were traversing and crossing various slopes and passes to shade village, Niri chu travelled westward through a narrow rocky gorge and merged with the water coming from Stongde phu and its tributaries and has grown into a smart looking river. BF,L,D
Trek to Phuktal
The hike to Phuktal (circa. 7 – 8 hours) is beautiful, exciting and in a Grand Canyon above the river, which changes its colour from Lapis Lazuli to Turquois. Niri chu becomes Tsarap Chu or the Tsarap river which originates around the region where we are going to end our trek.
Even though, for centuries, the residents of Shade have walked and maintained this as the main entrance route to their village, it still requires a level of experience in walking on narrow edges above deep gorges.
It is possible to camp near the monastery guesthouse 3840m or across the Tsarap chu in the village of Jugar 3860m. BF,L,D
Trekking to Tangtse Village (3.986m)
Today we will be walking on the old great Zanskar trek route (circa 7 hours) which has not yet been destroyed by the road. On the way, we pass the villages of Purne, Yal, Testa and others. Tangtse where we camp is near the newly constructed road that connects Zanskar with Himachal Pradesh. We will encounter people busy harvesting in their fields and not yet using machine for the same.
Trekking to Zhingchen (4.610m)
We leave the Main Lungnak valley and ascend to a ridge pass at 4565m and then traverse gradually to our camp, the only camping site known as Zhingchen (near a stream originating from and around Phirtse la) in around 5 hours.
Trekking to Chumik Marpo / Tangtse Doksa (4.750m)
We will hike via Phirtse la (5.550m) into the Lingti valley. The longest day and the highest pass of the trek. Our campsite in this very beautiful valley is located at the confluence of the Phirtse la and Sarichan la treks. (8 – 9 hours)
Trekking to the Lingti Valley
Trek to camp at 4.400m in the very broad and beautiful Lingti valley. The second last day of the trek is through a wide valley where the Lingti river expands in size after all the streams, creeks, brooks, runnels, and rivulets run into it. In the olden days, the region used to be roamed by the shepherds arriving from south of the trans Himalaya, Chanthang and Zanskar during the summer months. (around 6 -7 hours)
Reserved Day to be used on the trek between Zangla and Sarchu
One reserved day for a trek though wilderness is essential. When not required, we could use this day as a rest day or to make a longer day shorter! Changes will be done by the guide after meeting the guests and knowing the group´s conditions.
Trekking to Sarchu (4.300m)
It is a beautiful walk of around 3 -4 hours through the lingti plains where Tsarap chu is being formed and then flows towards Phuktal until it merges with the Stod river near Padum to become Zanskar, it collects many streams, some of them are Sarchu, Yunan, Tichip, Niri and Kargyak Chu.
The beautiful trek comes to end as soon as we cross the bridge (4240m) on Tsarap and arrive at the busy Leh- Manali road camp. 4 – 5 hours.
Drive to Leh
The approximately 8 hours drive is over Lachulung la into the Skyangchuthang (the plain of wild Tibetan donkey called Kiang) and then over Taglang la into the Indus valley through the villages of Rumtse,Gya and Miru, which are considered as the first proper settlements of Ladakh.
After the lonely and quiet days in the wild nature of Zanskar, arriving in the relatively noisy Leh will be an adjustment. But with a glass of beer in a restaurant in Leh, after a refreshing shower and clean clothes, you will definitely enjoy the comfort of the city. BF,L,-
Free day in Leh
A day in Leh is planned to relax while collecting little souvenir from Ladakh which is now easier to choose than at the time of your first encounter to Leh at the beginning. But Leh offers lots more than souvenir shops. One could attend a yoga class, or an introductory meditation class, a visit to a nearby monastery or village which you could not visit or was not included in the itinerary. One could hire a mountain bike and ride down the Khardong la or a rafting down the Indus or Zanskar rivers.
In the evening we invite you to a last dinner together. BF,-,D
Flight to Delhi
In the morning you will be brought to the airport in Leh to board for your flight to Delhi. Once reached you will be transferred into a hotel. In the afternoon we will show you Delhi. Late evening or next day you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home. BF
Price and dates
Key data for the tour “The new large Zanskar Trek” as a group tour
- Date: 09. August to 02. September 2023
- Min/Max participants: 4/6
- Special Price: 2.490 EUR
- Single Room: +350 EUR
This tour can also be booked as an individual tour.
- Price on request
- Services from/to Leh/Delhi
- Accommodation in hotels with meals according to detailed program / double rooms
- English speaking local tour guide
- All drives/transfers according to detailed program
- Trekking Support with cook, helper, horses
- Camping-Equipment excluding sleeping bag
- Alle entry fees and permits
- Flights (on request we can arrange appropriate flights for you)
- Insurance (it is recommended to get travel insurance)
- Visa for India
- Additional costs incurred due to illness, accident, change of route due to force majeure, etc.
- Additional costs incurred due to flight cancellations or postponements