School Trek - The Markha Valley Trek

India, School Expeditions, 16 days - from $2,900 (land only)

School Expeditions
KE Adventure school adventuresKE Adventure school adventures

  • A high-altitude trek with two pass crossings
  • Learn about the Buddhist religion and way of life
  • A Community Project day in Leh
  • Visit the unforgettable Taj Mahal
  • The best short trek in Ladakh

With its excellent trekking routes, colourful Buddhist religion and charming inhabitants, India's northern region of Ladakh makes for an exciting location for a school adventure. Geographically, Ladakh is a western extension of the Tibetan Plateau and, as recently as the beginning of the nineteenth century, this mountainous country was a part of Tibet. Buddhism is the dominant religion throughout Ladakh and there are many colourful monasteries, often occupying impressive hilltop sites. The Muslim religion is also important in Ladakh, thanks in part to the influence of Kashmir to the west. A mixture of cultures and religions is an important element in the attraction of Ladakh as a destination for school groups. Perhaps more important, however, is the remarkable landscape of the area, which is absolutely brilliant for trekking. Close to the old capital of Leh, the 8-day circuit trek through the Markha Valley is one of the most popular short treks in Ladakh - with good reason. Our journey starts out by way of the exciting flight to Leh, where we spend 3 days acclimatising, exploring some of the monasteries of the upper Indus Valley.  We will also drive up into the mountains to the north of Leh, as far as the Khardung La (5380m), which is one of the highest road passes in the world. The Markha Valley trek makes a complete circuit of the prominent Stok Kangri group of peaks, which lie to the south of Leh and visits several remote settlements and monasteries en route. The valley is a part of the Hemis High Altitude National Park, a wildlife conservation area which is home to many species including wolf and snow leopard. We cross the Ganda La (4900m) to enter the Markha Valley and at the end of our trek, we cross the even higher Kongmaru La (5100m) on our return to the Indus Valley. North of the Indian Himalaya and sheltered from the influence of the monsoon, the starkly beautiful region of Ladakh is at its best in the summer months. Providing a fascinating glimpse of Ladakh's unique culture and exposure to a range of colourful landscapes, this is a fantastic itinerary for any School Group. This tried and tested KE Schools itinerary can be adjusted to better fit the needs of your group - please call and speak to a KE School Groups Coordinator or email

Is this holiday for you?

This is an excellent school adventure and a great travel experience. It includes a trek at altitude through the Markha Valley, with two tough pass crossings. To allow group members to acclimatise to the altitude in Ladakh (3500m), our tried and test itinerary includes 3 days and nights in Leh before setting off on the trek. It is important to note that trekking at high altitude makes greater demands on the body than walking at low elevations. There are 8 days of trekking and most of this is on good trails, which are the main routes between the villages of the Markha Valley. Crossing the two high passes on the trek, we will encounter zig-zag paths on scree. We will trek for an average of approximately 5 hours each day, with a couple of longer days. On most afternoons there will be the opportunity to rest and relax and interact with local people, but there are no exclusively resting days during the trek and it is reasonably sustained. 

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