Travel number: 42
Trek from Darcha to Lamayuru through the Zanskar Region
20 days Himalaya Trekking
Number of participants: from one participant
Requirements: 7 von 10
This trekking tour is not very difficult in principle. In most cases, there are no major ascents or descents to cope with. However, with 19 days of trekking you need great stamina. Especially when it coming to the 6 mountain passes. We will acclimatise more and more over time, so that the height will not cause any major problems. Only on the first pass will we feel the altitude clearly due to the low oxygen content of the air.
North of the high Himalayas, amid tangled knots of rugged mountains, lies a furrowed and fascinating land: the once-independent kingdom of Zanskar.
Nestled between the Indus valley and the main ridges of the Indian Himalayas, the abandoned and inaccessible area, which is well protected by snow-covered passes, has kept alive an ancient form of Tibetan Buddhism, as can be seen from the high number of well-thriving monasteries. Most of them have strong walls and are located on deep slopes and on steep rocky ridges in isolated valleys.
On our way you will have the opportunity to visit ancient monasteries as well as to meet the friendly inhabitants of Zanskar.
Ancient villages, high grassy pastures, crystal clear springs, snow-capped mountains and the beauty of the deserted landscape make this trek so fascinating.
This long moderate trek also has a lot to offer physically: 14 to 20 km are covered daily on challenging paths – over almost 3 weeks! During the trek we cross 6 passes, the highest is over 5230 m high. This trekking tour is the right place for persevering trekkers who love the challenge.
This tour is also possible as a complete trip from Delhi. To do so, please click here.
Day 1 Manali to Darcha 8 hours (3400 m) to Palmo 5 hours (3600 m) by car
We take the vehicle over the Rothang Pass and continue through the Lahaul valley to Darcha and Palmo. It is worth stopping on the Rothang Pass to enjoy the view of the surrounding mountains. We reach Palmo late in the afternoon and use the altitude to acclimatize. (Overnight in the tent) -/L/D
Day 2 Palmo to Zanskar Sumdo (3900 m) 6 hours
Today we start with the actual trek. We leave our camp in the morning after breakfast. Today’s route is not yet very steep and therefore a little easier. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 3 Palmo to Chumikanakpo (4060 m) 5-6 hours
At the beginning it starts with a slightly steeper climb, later it gets a little flatter again. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 4 Chumikanakpo to Shingo La (5100 m) to Lakong (4100 m) 7-8 hours
Today we start early, as we have to master our first pass on this trek, the Shingo La. The ascent is not particularly technical, but nevertheless it becomes a bit difficult, as it descends steeply on the glacier. Due to the height of 5100 meters, we will also have to deal with the ascent of the pass. Today will be long and tiring. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 5 Lakong to Kurgiak (4060 m) 6-7 hours
With today, the first changes in the landscape and in the formation of the mountains can already be seen: it becomes sharper and barren. Today, about 14 km can be covered. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 6 Kurgiak to Purne (3745 m) 5-6 hours
Today we have an easy, tranquil hike ahead of us. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 7 Purne to Phuktal Gompa (3990 m) back to Purne
Today we stay in the same camp and make a trip to the famous Phutkal Monastery. To get there, we follow the Tsarap Gorge. It is one of the most impressive monastery in Ladakh and is located in a cave of 3990 meters. After the tour we return to the camp. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 8 Purne to Ichar (3650 m) (5-6 hours )
Today we hike to the village of Ichar. We cross several small gorges with rubble and cross the villages of Hanumi and Surle. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 9 Ichar to Mone (3,650 m) 5 hours
An easy day, it’s only slightly uphill and downhill. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 10 Mone to Padum (5-6 hours) (3560 m)
Today we reach Padum, the old capital of Zanskar. If we have time, we can visit the Pipi Tong and Stagnima Gompa. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 11 Padum to Karsha (3600 m) 5 hours
We cross the Doda River and get to Karsha. A 15th-century gompa dominates the scenery. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 12 Karsha to Pishu (3650) 5 hours
The route continues along the Zanskar River to Pishu. Today’s route is relatively simple. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 13 Pishu to Hanumil (3960 m) 4-5 hours
First we go to Pidmu, then on the left side of the Zanskar River. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 14 Hanumil to Purfi La (3900) to Snertse (3750 m) 6 hours
We have a steep path up to the pass in front of us. The descent to the Omachu River is also steep and difficult. It then goes again a bit uphill to a beautiful camp. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 15 Snertsenach Hanuma La (4750 m) to Lingshet (3800 m) 6- 7 hours
After an early breakfast we start quickly to climb Hanuma La. At first it is hard, it’s a long steady ascent with gorges, later it gets easier. After about 4 hours we reach the highest point. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 16 Lingshet to Murgum La (4100 m) at the foot of Shing La (4100 m) 7 hours
Another early start. After about an hour we reach Murgum La (4100 m). We continue to climb to see the view of the Nierag Valley, which is on the other side of the Zanskar River. From here it goes gently downhill to the villages of Gomgma and Skiumpata. Afterwards we climb up hill again to reach the base camp of Shin La. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 17 From the foot of Shing La to (5230 m) Shinge La to Bumiktse La (4200 m) to Photoksar (4100 m) 7 hours
For about 2 hours we climb up to Shing La. Shing la means “Pass of the Lion” and is also our highest pass on our trek. First it goes through the moraine, then over the long glacier. The ascent is not steep, the descent a little more difficult. Afterwards it goes again a bit uphill to cross the Bumiktse La. It goes to our beautiful camp near the village of Photokar with small houses, green fields and a gompa. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 18 Photoksar to Sirsir Lanach (4800 m) Hanupatta (3770 m) 7 hours
Today we hike to our next destination Hanupatta. To do this, we have to cross the Sirsir La, where the ascent is steep and the descent is relatively easy. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 19 Hanupatta to Wanla (3645 m) 6 hours
We reach the small town of Wanla with its brownish gompa nestled on the steep rock. (Overnight in a tent) B/L/D
Day 20 Wanla to Lamayuru (3510 m)to Leh (Trek/Jeep) 7-8 hours
We need about 4 hours to get to Lamayuru. The monastery here is one of the most impressive in Zanskar and preserved in the best condition. After visiting the monastery, we take the four-hour drive to Leh. On the way we can visit the monastery in Alchi. B/L/-
- Trained trekking guide
- Cook and helper
- Load horses or carriers
- 19 nights accommodation in 2-man tents (1-man tent surcharge)
- Kitchen tent
- Dining and staying tent
- Toilet tent
- 20 days full board (breakfast, lunch packages, dinner and snacks)
- Transport from Manali to the start of the trek
- Transport from the end of the trek to Leh
- Arrival Manali (can be organized by and)
- Departure Leh (can be organized by us)
This tour is possible from July to September
1 person from 2799 € per person
2 people from 1849 € per person
3-4 people 1699 € per person
5-6 people 1599 € per person
About trekking in the Indian Himalayas with Chalo! Travels
Mountain guide and trekking team
On all our treks we have at least one (for larger groups of 6 participants two) trained local mountain guide. Our mountain guides have all completed at least the Indian mountaineering training, many of them have also completed the advanced courses.
They are familiar with the trekking routes and know the terrain excellently. All our mountain guides speak English.
In addition, there is a local team consisting of a cook (if the group consists of only two participants, the mountain guide also takes over the tasks of the cook), helpers, horsemen with horses or Nepalese porters, depending on the type of trek.
All our team members have been working with us for years, are very friendly and always strive to provide our guests with a great trekking experience. Their English (besides of the Guide) is rather mediocre or non-existent, but this is not necessarily a hindrance to communicating with them.
The trekking routes are designed according the skills of our guests and are all feasible for a person with a good fitness level, unless otherwise mentioned. The daily routes are between five and eight hours long (with breaks) and an average increase of around 500-800 metres of altitude is completed.
In between, rivers may have to be crossed. The paths are partly well developed, but sometimes also almost non-existent. On our trekking routes there are hardly any villages in between, so we will take enough food for the whole tour.
On our treks we cross passes, snow or glaciers. On steep slopes, we have safety equipment with us.
Daily routine (Depending on the length and intensity of the trek, the times may vary)
7: 00 am Get up with Tea
7:30-8:30 am Breakfast
7:00-9:30 am Dismantling of the camp
8:00- 9:30 am Start Trek
1:00 pm Lunch on the way
3:00-5:00 pm Arrival at the camp and camp construction
3:30-5:30 pm Snacks
7:00 pm Dinner
Altitude and altitude sickness
Altitude sickness is a very important topic that should not be underestimated, especially during our trekking tours in the Indian Himalayas. At altitudes above 3500 m, our body has to slowly get used to the low air pressure, which also causes less oxygen to enter our lungs. The first signs of altitude sickness are headaches, which are accompanied by dizziness, nausea, insomnia and loss of appetite. It becomes problematic when water accumulates in the lungs and brain and edema occurs. Then only the immediate descent to lower altitudes will help. To prepare for the heights on our treks, we will either spend a few nights at high altitudes before the trek or slowly ascend during the trek to acclimatize. If we notice that there are problems with our guests (each person is otherwise able to acclimatize, regardless of age, gender and fitness level), it may happen that either the entire group or the concerned participant descends/returns with a team. In addition, it makes sense to take an emergency drug for altitude sickness. For this, it is best to consult the pharmacy or the travel doctor. For certain treks we will also have oxygen with us.
Each trekking participant is responsible for his own clothes and personal belongings. Depending on the trek, we are either with horses or porters. If we have load horses, one bag per participant can be loaded onto the horse. In the case of treks with porters, all personal luggage must be carried independently. Tents, sleeping bags, mattresses and food are carried by our porters.
For trekking tours with horses, a day backpack with space for the lunchbox, a water bottle and warm overcoat clothing should be taken with you. Here to the complete packing list for our trekking tours.
Packing list for trekking tours
☐ sleeping bag at least -10°C
☐ large backpack or soft carrying bag so that the load animals can carry the luggage
☐ Small carrying backpack for the day approx. 30-40 l with rain protection
☐ 2 refillable water bottles
☐ hiking poles
☐ passport and passport copy
☐ camera with spare battery and memory card
☐ headgear as sun protection
☐ Good Sunglasses
☐ Scarf, Buff
☐ wind-proof trekking pants
☐ trekking pants
☐ Functional Underwear Long
☐ hiking boots
☐ socks thick and thin
☐ sneakers, sandals and/or slats
☐ Warm Jacket
☐ fleece sweater/jacket
☐ sunscreen, lip balm min. Protection 40
☐ fat cream
☐ water purification tablets
(boiled and filtered water is provided)
☐ own medications for headaches, nausea, digestive problems, colds)
☐ bubble patches and dressing material
☐ own hygiene articles
☐ hand disinfection
During the trek there will be a vegetarian full catering. Water is either boiled or we have a water filter with us.
Breakfast (daily selection):
- Oatmeal porridge/muesli/cornflakes/Indian porridge
- Indian breakfast
- Sliced fruit/vegetables
Lunch (mostly lunchbox), sometimes warm in the camp
- Sandwiches/Indian (rice, chapati, vegetables)/potatoes
- French fries/Indian snacks
Dinner (depending on the length of the Trek mix of Indian/Chinese/Continental)
- Vegetable dish
- Lentil dish
Accommodation and camp
We have very comfortable and spacious two-man tents. Our mattresses are practical but simple if there are problems with sleeping on hard surfaces, please take your own mattress with you or order from us. Our sleeping bags are freshly washed and have a very good quality with comfort zone up to -5°C/extreme zone up to -20° C. It is recommended to bring personal indoor sleeping bags.
In addition, we have a spacious dining tent with tables and chairs, a kitchen tent for the team and a toilet tent. For treks up to 4 people, the kitchen tent can also act as a dining tent at the same time.
For trekking tours with porters, we will take our smaller, lighter tents with us and do without a toilet tent.
In the Himalayas, temperatures fluctuate widely. While it can get warm up to 25°C during the day and the sun is not only warming, but also very intense (sun protection is a must), it can also cool down significantly below the minus-grade at night, especially in the months end of September and October, as well as in June. There may also be weather changes with snow on the passes.