Duration of Trek: 06 Days.
Best Time: Mid June to September.
Highest Point: Choku La (5,560m)
Focus: Landscape, Peaks, People Villages and High Altitude Lake
Highlight: Chumathang Hotspring, Chokula High peaks & Pass, Nomads and Yaya Tso
Physical Challenge: High Altitude Trek, Challenging
Day 1 : Drive by car from Leh to Chumathang.
The pleasant drive along the Indus takes 3,5 - 4 hrs. Chumathang is famous for its Hot Springs. People come here for medical treatment - or washing their laundry. The village of Chumathang is located 2 km further west from the Hot Springs with a pleasant campground at a big farmhouse. You can either visit the monastery (characterization of monastery?) in the afternoon or in the morning. It is 20 min by walk from the camping
Day 2 : Trek Chumathang to Gangra, 5 hrs.
Set off in Chumathang, 4.050 m, walk through the village and follow up the valley north. The path is easy to find as many shepherds use this trail to go for the high pastures with their animals. You will find some of their places on their way. Also it is very likely to see some wildlife as marmots and bluesheep. As one treks up following the Chumathang river there is no scarcity of water and plenty of camping possibilities. Our choice Gangra is located at 4.630 m with a fine scenery.
Day 3 : Trek Gangra to Sumdo, 4 hrs.
Today is just a short walking-day, but you won't regret it as the camping is set in such a fine scenery, that one has enough time to explore it or just relax in the sun. The trail leads still along the Chumathang river from 4.630 m up to 5.140 m. Sumdo, the goal of the day, is a junction of three valleys. As oxygen is getting less, one has to walk very slowly. But time enough to spot some of the many marmots and maybe some Kyangs. Sumdo is also a favorite place for big herds of Yak.
Day 4 : Trek Sumdo over Choku-la to Phayalung, 8 hrs.
As this is quite a tough day as one has to cross the 5.560 m high pass Choku-la, it is advised to start early in the morning. We climb over a ridge and follow the high valley to the east of Sumdo, reach an even higher valley and find a small and unremarkable pass without prayerflags in the very east of this valley. This is the highest point of this trekking and one has a superb view along the surrounding mountains and valley. After that it goes slowly down, plateau after plateau, each being dominated by a beautiful lake. First it is Sengnapo-Tso on 5.460 m, then xxx on 5.310 m and followed by xxx on 5.300 m. We have to climb over a ridge again to finally reach a shepherds place at 5.200 m, which is fine for a camping.
Day 5 : Trek Phayalung to Yayatso, 5 hrs.
While walking further down, one passes several shepherds places, walks along a refreshing river crosses a desert-plateau with a big Lhato and reaches a small lake with a gorge on the left side. Passing this gorge one gets a fine view to the big blue Yayatso with its surrounding short meadows, grazing goats and yaks and the small village of Yaya, containing of seven houses, on the east side of the high valley. Situated on 4.700 m the Yayatso is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Changthang area. Camp next to one of the several small rivers leading to Yayatso and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere with men and animals living adjusted to natures conditions.
Day 6 : One could trek over another 4.800 m pass to Mahe, but as there is a road, it is nicer to set off by car. On the way to Mahe visit the famous nunnery with more than 100 nuns and in Mahe the monastery. In Mahe you have the choice to go on further into Changthang area either to newly opened area of Nyoma and Muth and/or Tsomoriri/Tsokar Lakes or directly back to Leh.
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Ladakh Trekking India (LTI) did an excellent job for our large group for Markha Valley Trek with special spiritual interests. Mr. Sam accompanied us the whole time and took diligently care of our needs. We became friends, and this is all I would like to say: a great thank you from all my heart.