While Ladakh has become quite popular in the aftermath of the Bollywood hit film 3 Idiots, what’s mostly known to most travellers heading to the region is Khardungla Pass, Nubra Valley an the breath-taking Pangong Lake. While each of these places is undeniably incredibly beautiful, Ladakh does have a lot more to offer beyond them as well. For the adventurous ones there are a number of trails that they can trek upon to witness the lesser explored beauty of Ladakh. If you are wondering which one to opt for, then here we have the 5 best treks in Ladakh for you!
Best time to visit/trek: July to September
Duration: 9 – 11 days
Kang Yatse II is the lesser known and yet equally beautiful sibling of the famous Stok Kangri trek. The challenging trek takes you through scenic surroundings and the pretty Markha Valley. You will find yourself gradually acclimatizing in this 6,000 metres plus high-altitude trek. The trail kickstarts by meandering through the Ladakhi culture up close and personal as you make your way passing monasteries and gompas. From the quaint villages perched at hilly terrains you eventually enter the Hemis National Park. The park is known for its rich wildlife and if you are lucky you might spot some rarely seen animals in their mountainous environment. Thereafter, you are greeted to a blanket of wildflowers blooming as they please under the glorious Sun. Crossing the trademark Buddhist Mani stones you will then reach a lake that goes by the name of Tigu. Hear its sounds as you continue to gain height for the chance of seeing massive peaks standing in their full might.
Best time to visit/trek: Mid-March to Mid-June, Mid-August to September
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 8 days
For the ones who love to take their trekking experience to as adventurous heights as they can, there’s the fantastic opportunity of trekking towards a glacier in Ladakh! In the Kumaon Himalayas region there stretch out curved outcroppings of rocky-mountains at different heights. Amongst these is a peak called Nanda Kot on whose lap is the lushly laid Kafni Glacier. This icy wonder is the source from which the Kafni River gets water. You also get the chance of seeing the pale blue picturesque waters of the River Pindari. The attraction in this trek is that through its steep uphill and downhill climbs it lets you witness the stone carved side of Ladakh as well its cosiness in the gentling swaying green meadows. The Kafni Glacier trek is a week long escape into the many facets that exist within the vastness of Ladakh’s raw natural beaut
Best time to visit/trek: April to June
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Duration: 5 – 6 days
Meanwhile, are you someone who is looking to trek through the terrains of Ladakh to chance upon seeing its landscapes that acquire so much praise? But the problem is that you are not sure if you can take on such a long gruelling trek as many that come to be recommended from this region. Then do not be disappointed because the Digar La trek is the solution! This relatively easier trek is a shorter one which attempts at showcasing the magic of Ladakh to you without a lot of difficulty. What starts off with the warmth of some local simple villages leads to steeper climbs that take you to points from where one can hope to spot the Stok and Kumarakoram ranges on days with clear skies! The possibility of spotting wolfs to seeing green cascades and not to forget the starry night skies for which Ladakh is famous. The camp life is where you sip on a cup of chai in the cold winds to overlook outstanding peaks and their natural surroundings.
Best time to visit/trek: January to March
Duration: 5 days
This one is not for the faint hearted. They say that this trek presents many challenges and one ought to take it only with adequate preparation. Even the locals narrate sayings that talk of settling all of one’s debts before crossing Chadar for who knows whether one may return or not! But then why do people trek here? Ah, Chadar is also one of the most unique trekking experiences that one can have because you get to walk on a frozen lake! Yes, the name “chadar” comes from the fact that in the winter months the lake here freezes. In its frozen state it resembles a sheet draped over nature’s bed. Not only do you get to walk on frozen water but you also see frozen waterfalls. They look like icy snow cones drooping below and if you are lucky you might spot a string of water freezing right before your eyes! If Chronicles of Narnia fascinated you, then get set because you are going to enter a whole other world!
Best time to visit/trek: May to September
Duration: 9 days
Is it just me who started humming the song, “Sham bhi koi, jaise hai naddi, lehar lehar jaise beh rahi hai” when I stumbled upon the name of this trek? Well, if you weren’t up until now, I am pretty sure that if you find yourself at this trek you will huddle up around bonfires at your campsite singing this mandatory camping number. For the opportunity of exploring the charms of Ladakh without being strained, this one is a good fit. This part of Western Ladakh has you trekking to see the magnificent Indus Valley gushing like a dream between a path of peaks running along it. It starts from a quaint village called Likir and has you stepping through forests and rocky lands to see scenic visions. While you may have loved eating the fruit apricot, here in this trek you walk through the “Apricot Valley” where you even witness its flower in full bloom. Small villages, stretched out fields, gurgling streams and lots more beckon you to explore Ladakh on foot.
For seeing Ladakh off the beaten path throw on your shoes and get trekking through its natural sceneries!