Wild Zanskar Trek India 28 Days & 27 Nights Mythical Long Distance Trek in Ladakh Zanskar High Passes of Phirtse La 5450m and Ningri La 5175m

Wild Zanskar Trek India

One of the least explored trekking routes and mythical journeys in the Indian Himalayas. With passes over 5000m, it connects Sarchu to Photoksar. Zanskar Grand TraverseZanskar Wild and Remote, or La grande Traversee du Zanskar is an updated Zanskar traverse known to the world as Darcha Lamayuru. Twenty-two days of walking in the heart of spectacular landscape and the complete crossing of Zanskar from South to North. Zanskari village remains cut off from the rest of the world for eight months. The inhabitants of Zanskarpa live in serenity and inner peace. 

Setting off from Leh after 2-3 days of well acclimatizing. We drive to Sarchu crossing the Taglang la 5268 m on the Leh - Manali highway known as 2nd highest mountain road in the world. We pass through high plains on the Rupshu Changthang to the wide valley of Sarchu., from where we cross the highest pass of our trek Phirtse la 5450m, and descend to Lungnak River valley. Passing through villages and exploring the daily life of Zanskari to Phugtal Gompa. Which is built under a huge cave. We continue to Shade one of the remotest villages in the Himalayas, a series of high passes, and the narrow gorge of Zangla before we visit Karsha and Padum.

Our second stage will take us through the Ladakh part after crossing the Takti La, with the final ascent of Sengge La to Photoksar where our trek ends, and return to Leh via visiting Lamayuru and Alchi.

Day 1:  Fly Delhi to Leh. Leh airport pick up & Check into hotel. Acclimatize, rest & relax

Day 2:  Acclimatize: Visit to Leh palace - Tsemo Gompa - Sankar - Shanti Stupa - Spituk - Leh.
Day 3:  Leh: Acclimatize. Visit Shey – Thiksey -  Hemis - Matho - Stok - Leh.
Day 4:  Leh to Taglang La – Sarchu  (4100m)
Day 5:  Trek to Berga Songchak (4400m) 6 hrs or Continue to Khamerup 4450m.
Day 6:  Trek Chumik Marpo (4650m), 6-7 hrs
Day 7:  Trek Phirtse la (5450m) – Zingchen, 7-8 hrs.
Day 8:  Trek Tangze (4000m) - Table, 5-6 hrs. 
Day 9:  Day trip to Kye - Thangso - Shanka
Day 10: Trek Kalbok - Tsethang 6-7 hrs.
Day 11: Trek Anmo - Cha - Phuktal
Day 12: Trek Yatah (4000m). 6 hrs
Day 13: Trek Shade (4300m). 7 hrs.
Day 14: Rest Shade
Day 15: Trek Lar (4300m) over Rotong La  also called Gorteng la (4900m) – Lar La (4680m), 6-7 hrs
Day 16: Trek Yarumchun (4430m). 7 hrs
Day 17: Trek Pandang la also called Ningri la (5175m) - Zangla Sumdo (3900m).
Day 18: Trek Zangla river camp (3600m).
Day 19: Day excursion to Thongde – Karsha - Padum.
Day 20: Trek to Kurmafu (3700m) over Namtse La (4500m)
Day 21: Trek to Valley Camp (3980m).
Day 22: Trek to Nyerak (3710m) over Takti La (4950m).
Day 23: Trek to Yulchung (3900m).
Day 24: Trek to Sengge-la ( 5060m) - Base
Day 25: Trek to Bumitse la - Photoksar ( 4400m). 
Day 26: Drive to Lamayuru (3750m)  - Alchi - Leh.
Day 27: At Leh
Day 28: Fly Leh - New Delhi and overnight flight back home 

Wild garden in Zanskar - care by nature

Zangla gorge


A Zanskari man skinning off Willow branches - to use at interior roof installation

  All ground transportation to & fro as per the itinerary Leh to Leh.

ü  Leh airport transfer &  Leh sightseeing / Indus Valley tour.

ü  5 nights hotel accommodation in Leh at CP plan & 1 night at Padum on MAP  plan

ü  22 nights camp with all camping facilities.  3 men spacious 4 season tents for 2,  sleeping bags, foam mattresses, dining tent, trekking poles & safety gear.

ü  All meals during the trek - starts with bed tea to breakfast, lunch, 3-course dinner, tea /coffee, and snacks. from Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese to continental cuisine.

ü  Support staff: well English, Ladakhi speaking local trekking guide, cook & camp crew.

ü  Muleteer Avec trekking mules/horses for porterage of your luggage and trekking gear.

ü  Camping fee,  trekking permits.

ü  Goods and services tax.

ü  First aid medical kit.

Package Itinerary
  • Day 1 Fly Delhi to Leh. Leh airport pick up & Check into hotel. Acclimatize

    Fly Delhi to Leh. Leh airport pick up & Check into hotel. Acclimatize 1, rest & relax. Evening explore local bazar.

  • Day 2 At Leh - Acclimatize: Visit to Leh palace - Tsemo gompa - Sankar - Shanti Stupa - Spituk - Leh.

    Today after breakfast visit the Royal Palace of Leh from the 16th century, continue to Tsemo gompa, Sankar monastery , which is adjoins the north Leh and onward to Shanti Stupa, Finally end the day trip with Spituk gompa near airport. Evening explore local bazar. Overnight in hotel.

  • Day 3 Leh: Acclimatize. Visit Shey – Thiksey - Hemis - Matho - Stok - Leh.

    After breakfast,  we drive to visit Shey first, than Thiksey. Thiksey monastery, which is 27 km from Hemis. This monastery is the oldest monastery of Gelugpa School in Ladakh. The great Lama Paldan Shesrap built it in 14th century. Here you can see the big statue of the Future Buddha.  Continue to visit Hemis monastery which is 45 km far from Leh and it takes 90 minute drive. The great Mahasiddha Staktsang Raspa along with great ancestor Singey Namgyal builds this biggest monastery in 16th century. Continue to Matho than we drive to Stok which is situated opposite of Leh at a distance of 14 kms, At Stok visit of Royal Palace built during 1825 AD and palace has great collections of antiquity. Continue to visit Matho situated 10 kms from Stok, which has 10th century complex. Finally we drive back to Leh

  • Day 4 Leh to Taglang La – Sarchu (4100m), 8 - 9 hours

    Today leaving Leh, we drive on Leh – Manali highway. The Leh–Manali Highway is a highway northern India connecting Leh in Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir state and Manali in Himachal Pradesh.Open for only about four and a half months in a year in summer between May or June, when the snow is cleared by the Border Roads Organisation of indian army, and mid-October when snowfall again blocks the high passes. It connects Manali valley to Lahaul and Spiti valleys and Zanskar valley in Ladakh. It is a part of NH 21. The average elevation of Leh-Manali highway is more than 4,000 m (13,000 feet and its highest elevation is 5,328 m (17,480 ft) at Taglang La mountain pass. It is flanked by mountain ranges on both sides featuring some stunning sand and rock natural formations. The highway crosses many small streams of ice-cold water from snow-capped mountains. Finally at the plains of Lingti as we approach to Sarchu. 20 minutes short walk to the campsite of Sarchu at the junction of Lingti and Tsarap river.

  • Day 5 Trek to Berga Songchak (4400m) 6 hrs or Continue to Khamerup 4450m.

    Today soon after the camp and after crossing of Tsarap River we climb gradually to a long plateau. After this the terrain becomes more and more barren, the landscape attaining fantastic forms and hues. Following upward on the right bank of Lingti Chu River arrive at the campsite of Berga Songchak.

  • Day 6 Trek Chumik Marpo (4650m), 6-7 hrs

    We start early this day to cross Khamerup river. It will take us about 2 ½ hours to  a broad river of Khamerup, Soon after crossing the river we walk on a large plains and finally enter in a small valley leading to Chumik marpo. Again crossing of river which originates from Phirtse la and Serichun la. We follow the left bank of this river and ascend gradully to the campsite. Numbers of shepherds living in the area mainly from the Southern regions of Himachal who comes during summer times looking for high pasture land for their flocks of sheep and goats. At the end of Chumik marpo the doksa are summer settlements of Zanskari people can be found, with their yaks and dzo, making cheese. These Zanskari people often cross Phirtse la, we may have a chance to meet with them or walk together while crossing of pass next day.

  • Day 7 Trek Phirtse la (5450m) – Zingchen, 7-8 hrs.

    An early start to avoid the snow turning softens the Phirtse la is advised.  Leaving campsite after half an hour we cross-grassy flat land, Gradually the trail becomes Steeper as it leads towards the (5’450m) high Phirtse-la. now after crossing a wide steep slope on a ride, descent to stream. we go up the opposite slope and reach Phirtse-la (5’450m). There is a steep descent on uneven ground with patches of ice and at the base of the slope. Now trail enters in the phirtse Chu valley, 2 hours walking in the valley arrive at the campsite of Zingchen.

  • Day 8 Trek Tangze (4000m) - Table, 5-6 hrs.

    Leaving Zingchen the path leads away from the river, gradually up the slope, first view of rocky escarpment. Further on a pass with cairn and pasture.  A spectacular view of Zanskar valley and arrive at the village of Tangze. By passing behind a rocky bridge follow steep gorge. Cross a stream. Then we arrive at Tanze village, monastery in ruins a bit higher up. Our campsite for tonight is further at short distance peaceful and comfortable campsite.

  • Day 9 Day trip to Kye - Thangso - Shanka
  • Day 10 Trek Kalbok - Tsethang 6-7 hrs.

    Leaving Testa we pass small villages of Hal and then along the left bank of Tsarap River to Kalbok. There are frequent small canyons of pudding stones. Pass a bit above a hanging bridge, which leads to the village of Cha. 2 hours later reach Khedang, a small village in a poplar grove. Carry one until Kalbok teashop. Pass below the village of Surle. Finally reach the beautiful campsite of Tsethang.

  • Day 11 Trek Anmo - Cha - Phuktal

    Today leaving Tsetang we cross the hanging bridge below the Anmo village and we ascend to Anmo village and continue along the right bank of Tsarap river to Cha village. Another beautiful village with great view. We continue now upstream of Tsarap Chu for a while and pass Khangsar village across the river. Finally reach at the crossing bridge and to a small plateau sprinkled with Chorten and religious banners. From here see the most spectacular sight in the Zanskar regions, Phuktal monastery which is built under a huge cave. Today is a short day of walk, thus rest of day you spend your time in Phuktal monastery and visiting the prayer room and meeting with young monks and can also join their prayer meeting in prayer hall.

  • Day 12 Trek Yatah (4000m). 6 hrs

    Today leaving Phuktal the trail winds up the steep slopes of the gorge along Tsarap. The trail has recently been repaired and is again a pleasant width. We stay in Yatah, with a small source of water.
    The day can be very hot in this part as we are in the bottom of valley at river bed. So take enough water for this day. The most attracting view of the day will be the Tsarap river. Making its way to Zanskar with clear blue color.

  • Day 13 Trek Shade (4300m). 7 hrs.

    Leaving Yatah the trail continues along the river Tsarap on an old salt caravan route. Tsa is called salt and Rap is a shallow place to cross. On this route nomads who for centuries have transported salt from Tibet to Zanskar and traded there against barley. After one to two hours, we left the Tsarap and follow the small river Chu Shade. This can be crossed on a new bridge recently. Past the small hamlet Thantak we come to the village Shade. This village is one of the most isolated in Zanskar and for us one of the most beautiful villages in the whole Himalayas.

  • Day 14 At Shade

    Today a rest day and wash your clothes or take a bath and we visit some of homes in this village.

  • Day 15 Trek to Lar (4300m) over Rotong La also called Gorteng la (4900m) – Lar La (4680m), 6-7 hrs

    Leaving Shade we climb a small hill to reach numbers of chortens, signs of Shade's importance as an ancient trade route. The valley on this side of Shade is colorful in shades of yellows, oranges and reds, and we contour easily up to the Rotong La (4890m) except for one steep ridge, an ascent of three hours or less. From the crest of the pass we look out to the craggy peaks, deep valleys and oasis of green doksas that mark our exciting and remote route to Zangla. The descent is gradual, past Rotong Doksa (4470m). From the doksa the trail switchbacks down to Mitsik Doksa (4285m). The deep, willow-lined valley to our left leads to Niri Chu, which snakes through deep canyons below us. Jumping the river, or wading across, we climb past a large doksa on the plateau just above us and then start up the 400-meters to the Lar La (4690m), a steep grazing ridge which drops right down to the next valley. The valleys are now a dramatic combination of soaring cliff-walls, deep canyons and willow filled river valleys, lovely. We'll set up camp in this second valley, another grazing settlement called Lar with a small stream running down the centre.

  • Day 16 Trek Yarumchun (4430m). 7 hrs

    Leaving Lar today is an adventurous and beautiful river day. Soon after camp we cross the stream and ascend a small pass and continue along the left bank of river and reach at a Niri sumdo. From here we cross numbers of times the river, usually a water level below knee . But the rivers get high in the afternoon. We call this valley a Snow leopard valley as we have spotted the foot prints in this valley. You may see wild animals coming to drink water in river bed during day time mostyl blue sheep and ibex. Finally we arrive at a sumdo from where to the right trail goes to Shapodak la to Ruphu Kharnak. We take the left valley to our beautiful campsite of Yarumchan.

  • Day 17 Trek Pandang la also called Ningri la (5175m) - Zangla Sumdo (3900m).

    Today we have to cross another pass, we start with gradual climb to a grassy doksa about an hour away up the hillside and finally an easy half an hour to the pass of Pandang La 5175 meter. This pass is also called Ningri la. From the pass Zanskar mountain panorama is breathe taking and magnificent. Now walking to the right side of steep ravine which will drops down below us. Wild animals roams the hillside, so we our eyes open to all around. We now walk over green plateau and ahead filled with willow trees.Coming out from the willows which hides our campsite, we now descend gradually for half an hour. We descend steeply on a trail of loose scree and rocks which ends down at the Zumlung Chu below. We have to cross the river, and make our way through the underbrush to join the trail to Zangla. The route is known by village from Tsazar just south of Zangla who use the valley as summer pastures. At the next sumdo the trail widens and we trek through a batch of sea buckthorn bushes. The next two hours of hiking are easy, crossing the river many times in a magical valley which narrows as we head south, following the Zumlung Chu. Finally to our campsite of Zangla Sumdo.

  • Day 18 Trek Zangla river camp (3600m).

    Today leaving the Zangla sumdo, our trail leads through colourful gorges. We have to cross river again so prepare your sandals for river crossing to reach Zanga. We pass the large sumdo where to the left the trail leads to jumlam and Charchar la an ancient and old trade route leading into Zanskar from Leh. The Jumlam route are mostly in active when flow of river at its lowest volume. We continue to trek along Zumlung Chu, which we cross many times, finally reaching at Zangla Doksa and continue along the Zangla irrigation ditch while ascending to Zangla fort. The magnificent Zangla fort home of the kings of Zangla. We not descend to village. Zanskar plain lies below us. We continue down to river side to our camp

  • Day 19 Day excursion to Thongde – Karsha - Padum.

    We take this day to restock our supplies and buy a fresh vegetables from Padum market. While the crew and chef will be busy at bazaar you explore and visit the Karsha, one of the largest monastery in Zanskar, or even if you wish you may have chance to visit the Dzonkhul monastery. Explore Padum and lunch here. Finally visit the Thongde gompa on our way back to camp.  

  • Day 20 Trek to Kurmafu (3700m) over Namtse La (4500m)

    Today leaving camp at Zangla, we walk along the Zanskar river to Honya for an hour. We change our position to our right that leads to Khurmafu. We ascend steeply through a gorge. After three four hours of ascending into through a narrow valley by following a small stream we reach Namtse La (4500m). Now trail follows a willow tree for an hour. After trekking through this willows we climb a small top and see our campsite below us. A clear path brings us to a Kurmafu.

  • Day 21 Trek to valley camp (3980m).

    Today leaving kurmafu, starting with crossing the small stream and on a plateau, today is short walk and full of exciting. After the plateau just above the willow, we arrive at a junction of a small stream. After climbing on a stone steps and then we drop down to river and fording it to reach a high, exposed trail on the right which continue to next bend in the river. One more climb and we reach an ice bridge usually through a narrow canyon with ankle deep water. Now for again an hour of walk through willow and finally to our camp site.

  • Day 22 Trek to Nyerak (3710m) over Takti La (4950m).

    Today leaving our camp early morning to cross Takti La with climb of over thousand meters. We at first make our way on small trail through, crossing streams and then to narrow valley to the right. Now here we climb for an hour a steep ascent. After to our first small pass at 4580m, after keeping the eye on Takti La ahead us, with a glacial stream than steep ascent to Takti La (4950m). From here we will had great view of our next pass of Sengge La that we will cross in coming next days. The Himalayan range to south and Ladakh range to our north. After having lunch at the pass we now descend to Nyerak. We descend on a good path along the old irrigation wall. Lastly to our campsite at Nyerak. Later having snacks at camp, you may go and take a look inside village and its life.

  • Day 23 Trek to Yulchung (3900m).

    Today leaving our fantastic camp at Nyerak, we continue to our next stage to yet another significant place of our trek. Leaving nyerak and crossing the Zanskar River, we descend along the old mani walls and to wooden bridge at the Zanskar gorge. We pass Chochokhuri La (3865m) and then around several hillside and last contour leads to a small ridge from where we finally see Yulchung across the valley. The isolated village of Yulchung meaning small Kingdom is a remote and traditional village. We stay to the left and contour around the village, by finally reaching our camp at the end of the village. Our next day trip from this camp is clearly visible, that is crossing to Sengge La pass.

  • Day 24 Trek to Sengge-la ( 4950m) - Base

    We follow the small trail that leads north out of the village, ascending through pasture. Now climbing steeply into canyon to Sengge la. Sengge means in Tibetan is Lion. The campsite is a short descent from the pass.

  • Day 25 Trek to Bumitse la - Photoksar ( 4400m).

    Today easy and gradual descent on a clear path and finally after crossing the Bumitse la, the spectacular view of village Photoksar appears at sudden, surrounded with mountains and gorge.

  • Day 26 Drive to Lamayuru (3750m) - Alchi - Leh.

    A magnificent drive to Sirsir La, Wanla and further to Lamayuru, enroute to Leh you will visit an ancient village and monastery of Alchi. Finally arrive at Leh and check into hotel.

  • Day 27 At Leh
  • Day 28 Fly Leh - New Delhi and overnight flight back home

    Early morning flight to Delhi, arrive Delhi and transfer to hotel for few hours before midnight flight back to home. Or based on your flight departure - proceed to your next destination.


ü  All ground transportation to & fro as per the itinerary Leh to Leh.

ü  Leh airport transfer &  Leh sightseeing / Indus Valley tour.

ü  5 nights hotel accommodation in Leh at CP plan & 1 night at Padum on MAP  plan

ü  22 nights camp with all camping facilities.  3 men spacious 4 season tents for 2,  sleeping bags, foam mattresses, dining tent, trekking poles & safety gear.

ü  All meals during the trek - starts with bed tea to breakfast, lunch, 3 course dinner, tea /coffee, snacks. from Indian, Tibetan, Chinese to continental cuisine.

ü  Support staff: well English, Ladakhi speaking local trekking guide, cook & camp crew.

ü  Muleteer avec trekking mules/horses for porterage of your luggage and trekking gear.

ü  Camping fee,  trekking permits.

ü  Goods and services tax.

ü  First aid medical kit.


×     Domestic flight.  Delhi - Leh, Leh - Delhi
×     Hotel in Delhi and the rest of the hotel in Leh.
×     Travel insurance.
×     Soft or hard drinks.
×     Entrance fee at monasteries
×     Personal tipping to staff: Guide, cook, helper, horseman, driver.
×     Any unforeseen cost arises by natural hazards rain, snow, road block which cost extra lodging & boarding beyond trip Schedule.


5* - Excellent - A VERY SPECIAL EXPERIENCE! We did this trek in summer 2017 - it was a very special experience. As promised, the route was really wild & remote. Overall I can say that the trip was very well organised, we had a very competent guide (Sherab) and an excellent cook (Indra). The trek is physically quite demanding, but the experience is well worth it. Especially the river crossings I ...

Mr. Rene - Switzerland
Mr. Rene - Switzerland

Salut Prem - Nous avons tardé à te répondre, enfin nous te donnons des nouvelles. Pour nous tout va bien, le retour s’était bien passé et nous avons encore pleins de souvenirs dans nos têtes. Encore mille mercis pour ce beau trek! C’était formidable, plein de magnifiques paysages et de très belles rencontres!

Mr Marc, Mrs Catherine & family - FRANCE -  1 to 31 Aug 2016
Mr Marc, Mrs Catherine & Family - FRANCE - 1 To 31 Aug 2016
Grande Traverse Zanskar - Route map

Price on request
Departure from: Min of 2, And a max of 8 in the group.


Activity - Trekking expedition
Region -
 Ladakh region, India 

Difficulty Level - Strenuous
Max Altitude - 5450 meters Phirtse la
Max sleeping altitude - 4650 meters
Lowest trek altitude - 3650 meters
Trip Length - 28 days Delhi to Delhi
23 days from Leh to Leh 

19 days trekking
22 nights camping
5 nights hotel
Best time - July end to Aug, Sept, mid-Oct

Mythical long-distance trek in Ladakh Zanskar
High passes of Phirtse la 5,450 m 
Lungnak, Zanskar & Indus river valley
Shade - isolated villages in the Indian Himalayas

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