Visit the oldest hamlet of Zanskar Valley

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12 days
Zanskar Valley

Deep inside the Zanskar Valley of Ladakh

Visit the pristine and beautiful hamlet – Marling, a hidden gem of Zanskar valley of Ladakh.

Why this experience is unique?

  • Most scenic drive through Zanskar Valley
  • Visiting medieval heritage
  • Hike to the oldest village
  • Stay with locals
Experience Details

Once was home to the Indo-European population, the dramatic Zanskar Valley became the most significant region for Tibetans. The religious transitions that happened in Tibet back then resulted in Zanskar region becoming the epicenter for Buddhism. It became a kingdom of Buddhism. This identity was established by building the two royal houses – monasteries of Karsha and Phugtal. With the presence of royal families in Padum, the region flourished and people came in to settle in the valley. Even after centuries, the daily life of the people of Zanskar revolves around Buddhism. These villages still exist in the valley and one of them is believed to be the oldest where the first inhabitants of Zanskar were settled. Take a journey to visit this oldest village – Marling where 8 families reside. 

Your Day by Day Journey
Exploring main towns: Day 1 – Day 3
  • Arrive in Leh and acclimatize
  • Know Leh town’s history, geology and local culture
  • Drive via Moonland and 10th century old monastery

Day 1Acclimatization in Leh

We will pick you up from the Leh airport and transfer you to your eco-friendly homestay in Leh (11,500ft). You will be resting today and acclimatizing yourself to the High-Altitude environment amidst the picturesque Himalayan landscape. This day is called the Acclimatization day and is required to adjust your body to the low oxygen levels of this altitude.

Day 2Sight seeing around Leh

Today we will explore some of the monasteries around Leh. After breakfast ride for 15 km, visit the monastery and palace of Shey. A gilded copper statue of Shakyamuni Buddha here is a must-see. Later we’ll visit the Potala palace – resembling monastery of Thiksey, Hemis Monastery – the largest monastery of Ladakh. The museum here walks you through the history of Ladakh’s Buddhism.

Day 3Leh to Kargil

After a relaxed breakfast, drive to Kargil via Lamayuru. On the way, you can visit the 10th century built Alchi Monastery to see the ancient Gandhara arts statues and wall paintings. On the way, you can visit the dramatically located Lamayuru monastery and the adjoining “Moonland” hills. After a drive of 5-6 hours, we’ll reach Kargil city. Stay overnight at the homestay.

Begin the scenic journey: Day 4 – Day 6
  • Long drive through high passes and glaciers
  • Spend a day in spiritually rich town – Padum
  • Explore Tibetan art and architecture

Day 4Kargil to Padum

Today you embark on a journey to Zanskar valley. You will drive through the roads that are known for its ruggedness. The journey would be full of enchanting views of mountains. You will pass by Penzi La, the gateway to Zanskar. On the way, the Drang Drung Glacier would greet you to the eastern flank of Penzi La. After this mesmerizing journey, ypu will reach Padum and stay in a homely homestay.

Day 5Sight seeing around Padum

Padum, named after the Great Odiyana Padmasambhava is the only town and administrative center in Zanskar. You will have your breakfast in your homely homestay and head to explore the town. Several notable Buddhist monasteries are located near Padum including Bardan Monastery and Karsha Monastery and the newly built Dalai Lama Photang. Soak in the calmness of the town that is spiritually rich and still unadulterated. Come back to the same homestay.

Journey to the remotest village: Day 7 – Day 9
  • Hike to the oldest village of Zanskar Valley
  • Explore the village and have local delicacies
  • Live a local life for a day

Day 6Padum to Anmu

From Padum you will drive alongside Tsarap River to reach village Anmu. You will take a halt at Barden monastery by the road to take a visit and watch some beautiful Tibetan arts. After having a freshly cooked Lunch, you can go for a stroll around the village to watch the different activities performed by the villagers. In the evening return to the homestay and have a delicious Ladakhi dinner.

Day 7Anmu to Marling

After having a healthy breakfast you will drive towards Cha village, which is a half-hour drive from the village of Anmu. From Cha, you have to walk for 3 to 4 hours to reach the oldest village of Marling. Here you will be welcomed by the villagers in the Marling Homestays. Take a good rest and after having tea we’ll go to explore the village. You can try activities like making butter and dry cheese.

Day 8Marling to Padum

With beautiful memories to cherish, leave from Marling village and start walking back towards Cha village. Continue on the road until Purne and then cross the bridge to start climbing towards Cha. The pickup taxi would be waiting at Cha as the trekking comes to an end. Another 3 to 4hr ride through the dusty road and you will be at Padum. Stay overnight at the homestay in Padum.

Return journey through Suru Valley
  • Drive through the most scenic roads
  • See the nine meters tall statue of Future Buddha
  • Back to Leh town and spend relaxed evening

Day 9Padum to Rangdum

After morning breakfast proceed to the Rangdum Monastery. A few hours of drive from Padum you will be climbing the Penzi La (4200m). This area is very scenic and you will find many shepherds huts here. Rangdum Monastery is an important temple of Zanskar. Built in the 18th century, the monastery belongs to the Gelugpa order of Buddhism and home to some 40 monks. Stay in a homestay situated near the monastery. You can visit the monastery and visit its museum on the same day before going to the homestay or choose to wake up early and attend the Morning Prayer in the monastery.

Day 10Rangdum to Kargil

Today you will drive towards Kargil. After a few hours of drive from Rangdum, enter into the Suru valley where you will enjoy the view of massive Nun and Kun peaks and the Parkachik glacier. There are many other unnamed glacier peaks on the way. By noon you will be at Kargil the second largest town in Ladakh after Leh. In Kargil stay overnight at homestay

Day 11Kargil to Leh

The last day of the tour starts on a little relaxed note. After having breakfast and enjoying the view of the river and some historic mountain peaks, the journey begins towards Leh. The easy driving day will permit us to stop at a couple of iconic spots on the way. Come back to the Leh town and drive homestay. Spend the rest of the day relaxing and roaming around in Leh market.

Day 12Goodbye Leh

It is the day to say goodbye to the land of mountain passes. We will drop you to the Leh airport as per your flight time.

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