a) About the Sham Valley:
One of the most easiest and enjoyable trek in Leh, the Sham valley trek gives a blend of rich cultural infusion and traditional aroma of the Ladakhi village. Trekkers in no way can be left untouched by this beautiful land that is transformed by the flowing streams which bestow prosperity to the region with abundant natural beauty.
The main Ladakhi monasteries are situated in the midst of the ancient Kingdom of Sham, and there are many beautiful and astounding sites to visit like the Alchi, Lamayuru, Spituk, Hemis, Shey and the Thiksey monasteries all of which are accessible by roads. Trekkers finally trek through the Likir, Ridzong and Temisgang villages as they trail through the exotic route of Leh. This trek is not strenuous and tough and trekkers do not face any serious difficulties while trekking since the maximum altitude is around 4,500 m. The uniqueness and beauty of this trek is trekkers come across villages that have been for centuries untouched by the modern civilization. They can meet the villagers, interact with them and get to know of their culture and traditions. Trekkers enjoy their stay at the local villages that are specially meant for village homestay and people of this region are very friendly, warmth and hospitable. A small camera will help to record the interaction of the locals as well capture stunning and amazing views of some of the most beautiful sites of this region.
b) About the Sham Valley Trek:
The Sham Valley trek is spread across the Sham kingdom of Ladakh. It is situated between the wonderful Ladakhi Himalayan ranges and is surrounded by the Karakonam ranges to the North. The trek starts from Likir. It is home to apricot flowers that blooms during winters and is also called the ” APRICOT TREK”. This is one of the ancient village of 15th century. This is one of the easiest treks in the Ladakh region, the Sham valley trek just brings together ones heart and soul, with an unmatched phenomena of nature and cultural diversity. It explores the apricot valley and gives broad insights into the life and traditions of the Ladakhi people, century old monasteries that is a reflection of the Buddhist sects and beautiful streams flowing across the valley. This trek is suitable for beginners who are enthusiastic and fit to undertake this trip. This trek gradually ascends to the Yangthang after a slow decent to Phobe La at 3850 m from Likir and thereafter slowly goes to Chagatse La, situated at an elevation of 3,630 meters. The Ridzong Monastery is about an hour away from the Yangthang, and goes through a deep gorge, which is one of the major attractions of this trek. The trek from Yangthang goes through Hemis Shukpachan that crosses the Tsermangchan La at an altitude of 3,750 meters. This route is full of Cedar, barley, shady willows, streams and desolate rocky and huge mountains. There are different wild animals found in this region with various species like the snow leopard, bacterium camel, wild yak, marmot, lynx, brown bear, red fox, Ladakh urial, Himalayan Musk deer, Blue sheep (bharal), Himalayan tahr, wolf, ibex, viper, griffon, golden eagle, bearded vulture, black necked crane, Eurasian Eagle Owl, bar headed goose, snow cock, wild gazelle, that are unique and particular to the Ladakhi region. The trail thereafter goes deep between two hillocks to the west after which it again climbs south to the Mebak La at 3750 m dotted with full prayer flags. From this pass, the journey to Ang that has rich orchid apricots, are found throughout the gorge. The trek towards Temisgam reflects the Indo-Tibetan culture and tradition. This trek is also called as a baby trek as it approximately covers only a distance of 30 Kms from Likir to Temisgam. The best season for the trek is between June – September. With an ultimate Ladakhi experience, trekkers surely will relish the unforgettable memories forever.
c) Trek Highlights:
Some of the highlights of the Sham Valley trek are as follows:
- Explore the Leh bazaar and get a glimpse of the culture and tradition of the region.
- Visit the old summer retreat and just explore some of the centuries old monasteries of Leh.
- Visit and soak in the beauty and culture of the Ang village, full of apricots.
- Stroll past the beautiful villages of Hemis Shukpachan and the Tingmosgam.
- See a car rolling uphill due to the gravity of the magnetic hill.
- Feel at home with the locals at the homestays at the villages of Ladakh.
- Trek in the middle if the apricot orchid villages
- Visit the century old Rizong Monastery.
- Experience a scenic drive through the beautiful landscape of Lamayuru.
- Trekkers can enjoy their stay in the charming and beautiful villages of Ladakh.
- Trekkers get to see the 11th centuries old Alchi monastery.
- Enjoy the stunning and splendid views of snowcapped passes.
- Enjoy the campfire, music and folkdance in the night of the Ladakhi region.
- See and views of the splendid Indus river as trekkers drive through the Leh-Kargil highway.
d) Key Facts About Sham Valley Trek:
- Region: India- Ladakh
- Starting Point: Leh
- Ending Point: Leh
- Duration: 8 Days and 7 Nights
- Ideal Time: April – October.
- Temperature: Day temperature is pleasant with warm and clear skies between 20*C-30*C. July – August are ideal months to visit this place as the Manali-Leh and Srinagar-Leh roads are accessible and vehicles are allowed. During winters (November- February) this region has dense snowfalls and the temperature drops to -25*C. Winters are extremely cold and harsh so this time is not recommended to visit this region.
- Level: Easy This trek is suitable for suitable beginners and is called baby trek. However, a reasonable level of physical fitness is required as the trek involves considerable amount of ascent and descent, which may be somewhat difficult for a few. This trek is suitable for trekkers who are keen adventurists and are ready to take risks.
- Total Distance: 27
- Maximum Elevation: The trek covers elevation of Phobe La pass (3580 meters) and can reach upto a maximum of Chagatse La pass. (3630 meters).
- Weather: The best time to visit this place is April – October as temperature is warm and pleasant with clear and sunny skies. After this November, until February, there is dense snowfall and trekking routes are completely closed and blocked.
- Communication: Only MTNL and BSNL networks works till Jispa, and the local telecommunication networks like Airtel works all through the Indus Valley but the connectivity is lost after Upshi. Prepaid phones do not work and postpaid rarely get connectivity, but there are lot public phone booth installed in Leh. Only satellite communication works in case of emergencies.
- ATM Point: Purola is the last ATM point trekkers can find here before the trek starts.
- Health insurance cards and policy waiver.
- Proof of yellow fever vaccination – If in case the trip needs travelers to take completed International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis card or medical waiver.
- Copies of all prescriptions- Be sure to have copies of all prescriptions that have generic drug names. Also, carry prescriptions for eyeglasses/ contact lenses and other essential medical supplies.
- Photo Identity ID card, PAN, Driving License, Voter ID ( better to carry copies for submission to any higher authorities)
- Contact details
- Travelers must carry cards having contact numbers and e- mail id of their friends/ relatives in case of any emergencies.