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.
Arrive In Leh - After arrival at the airport
Likir Monastery - Yangthang – 4 - 5 Hours
Yangthang to Hemis Shukpachan -Tsermang Chen La - 3 - 4 Hours
Hemis Shukpachan to Ang across Mebtak La - 3 Hours
Ang - Temisgam and Nurla - 8 km - 3 Hours
Temisgang – Khalsi – Leh (3700 m)
Departure from Leh
Some of the inclusions that trekkers are provided during the Markha Valley Trek are as follows:
- a) Accommodation:
Accommodation will be provided in lodges during the stay at the base of the mountain at Leh and tea houses or tents will be given to trekkers during their stay in the mountains. The types of accommodation during the trek are:
- Tea houses
- Home stay
- Parachute tents
Accommodation is provided on a twin or triple sharing basis. Rooms are of basic and very ordinary type, so travelers should not expect high quality like rooms with a/c . Only non-a/c rooms are provided and trekkers have to share rooms with others. In case travelling alone accommodation is given on the first and last day of the trek. Each individual is taken care with concern and best services are provided to the satisfaction of the travelers. Hospitality and warmth is the only motto and people which makes tourists to look forward for a repeat visit.
There are plenty of Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam ( GMVN) hotels at a distance of 7 km from Leh in the interiors of Jammu and Kashmir district. By far Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam offers economy accommodation in dormitories with basic facilities like i.e- clean linen, hot water facilities and an attached bathroom.
Travelers should book through any of the travel portals to avail discounts and cheap rates on hotel bookings.
|Hotel Ladakh Greens||3 Star|
|Hotel Panorama||4 Star|
|The Grand Dragon||4 Star|
|Hotel Cozy Corner||4 Star|
|Auspicious Hotel||3 Star|
|The Zen Ladakh||4 Star|
|Hotel Chube||3 Star|
|Hotel Hill Town||4 Star|
|Hotel Shanti Palace||3 Star|
|Hotel Asia Ladakh||4 Star|
|Hotel Sangto Villa||4 Star|
|The Leh-Chen Hotel||4 Star|
|Hotel Tso-Kar||4 Star|
|Hotel Lingzi||3 Star|
|Hotel Horizon||3 Star|
|Hotel Kangla||4 Star|
|Hotel Singge Palace||4 Star|
|CHOSPA HOTEL||3 Star|
|Hotel Snow View||4 Star|
|Oriental Hotel & Guesthouse||4 Star|
|Golden Continental||3 Star|
|Hotel Manasarover||4 Star|
- b) Meal:
There are different foods served during the course of the trek that is particular to the Leh region. Leh is famous for the multicuisine dishes that include Indian, Chinese, Korean and some Tibetan dishes. There are influences of the foreign dishes. This region uses lot of dry fruits and additive spices that gives a special aroma and taste to the food. Leh also hosts the “Wawazan” festival that has 36 types of non-vegetarian dishes served on the platter. The Leh region has people practicing agriculture hence they cultivate potatoes, pumpkins, beetroots, and beans and are cooked in different ways to serve the mutton dishes. Majority of Ladakhi people eat meat and mutton. The staple food of the people are Skyu and Thukpa (made of wheat), Pava (made of sattu) and khambir (local bread). The foods are full of nutrition and energy that keeps the body warm. In the morning for refreshment, trekkers are given tea, coffee, masala chai and seabuckthorn juice. There are vegetarian dishes like cheese from Yak’s milk (Chhupri), Tigmo, butter tea, momos, thukpa, thenktuk, chaang, mokthuk, Qahwa, Langar and Kulcha, Ladakhi Pulao and apricot jam, Dam-Aaloo and Chaman, Korma Sag, Saag (prepared from thick leaf vegetable ‘hak’) and Lotus Root. The non vegetarian specialties include Thukpa (noodles cooked in mutton soup), Skieu (made with veggies, mutton and flour), Yakhni and Tabaq Naat (made of fried ribs), non- vegetarian momos, Roghan Josh (the juiciest curried mutton, cooked in Yoghurt), Yaknee (similar to Roghan Josh; prepared with the generous use of Kashmiri chillies), Gushtaba (pounded and spiced meat balls cooked in a yoghurt sauce), Rista (rice balls but with less meat and less spice in the sauce), Methi Korma (vegetables with chopped intestines) and Marchwangan Korma (hot mutton curry, usually served with rice and Naan). Many restaurants serve pizza cooked on a wood-fired oven. The Ladakhi region has different choices of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian specialties. The rich and delicious flavor of the cuisine of Ladakh attracts tourists from all over the world.
- c) Activities:
Some of the activities that are popular in the Leh region are:
- Jeep Safari
- Camel safari
- Mountain biking
- Magnetic Hill
- River rafting in the Zanskar river
- Bike ride to the tsomorori lake
- Ice- hockey
- Horse polo
- Heli- Skiing
- Pangong lake visit
- Ladakh prayer wheel
- Hall of fame
- Water rafting
- Motorbiking at Khardung La pass and Ladakh.
- Sightseeing around the Pangong Tso, Tsomoriri Lake, Tso Kar
- Spiritual tours to the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries- Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, Phyang monastery, Hemis monastery, Shey Gompa, Dikshit Gompa, etc.
- Aquatic adventure activities- scuba diving, swimming, diving
- Festivals in Ladakh
- Frozen River Trek
- Snow Leopard Trek
- Filming and Documentary
- Geological Study & research tours
- Meditation and Monastic experience
- Cultural & Scenic Tours in Ladakh
- Motor Bike Tours
- Mountain Bike Tours
- d) Other Inclusions:
The other inclusions during the trek are:
- Pick up from the airport/ railway station
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Airport transfers
- Group medical kit
- Good quality accommodation
- Trek pack including sleeping bag
- Down or fiber filled jacket
- Insulated mat
- All park entrance fees and trekking permits
- Porters to carry all personal and group equipment.
- English speaking guide during the trek.
- All inner line permits and wildlife fee.
- All taxes as applicable.
- Accommodation at hotel in Leh and homestays during trekking.
- Entrance Fee of Monastery
- Rafting from Shorpochay to Sangam (Grade II)
- One Shikara ride on Dal lake.
- Visit to Chandanwari, Betab and Aru Valley in Pahalgam will be by local non AC vehicles
- All Arrival/Departure transfers as per the tour itinerary.
- Vehicle is as per group size, on Sharing basis (6 pax in Innova/Xylo, 12/14 in Tempo Traveller)
- Parking and toll tax, driver allowance, fuel.
Leh can be reached by either air, train or road.
The Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is the main airport serving the Leh. The airport has flights to Delhi as well to many major cities of India.
By Train :
The nearest railhead to Leh is the Jammu Tawi railway station, it is situated at a distance of 712 km from Ladakh. Travel time will be around 18 Hours. This railway station is well connected with major cities like Pune, Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai.
By Bus :
Leh is well connected by two highways NH 1D (Srinagar – Leh Highway) and (Manali – Leh) highway. There are Volvo / deluxe, semi deluxe and private buses to Kargil and Zoji-La (3505m) whereas Leh – Manali pass connects the Rohtang Pass and Tanglang La (5325m). It also connects the passes of Rupshu at an altitude of 3,660 m to 4,570 m
Some of the basic essentials that trekkers need to carry while going for the Sham Valley Trek are:
- Warm shirts
- Light micro fleece pullover
- Light gloves
- Full sleeve t- shirt
- Waterproof trekking pants
- Windproof/ water resistant jackets
- Sleeping bags
- Down jackets
- Thick fleece
- Trekking pants
- Full sleeve Woolen pullover
- Thermal inner wear
- Woolen cap
- Inner fleece gloves
- Outer water proof gloves
- Thick woolen socks and regular socks
- Bandara scarf/muffler (optional)
- Hiking shoes with a thick sole
- Trekking shoes
- Gore- Tex jackets
- Walking stick/ trekking poles
- Wind proof and water resistant trek pants.
- Cotton socks/sneakers
- Water purification filters
- Towel/ Camp towel/ sarong
- Small light weight towel
- Duffel bags down/ synthetic camp booties
- Headlamp/flashlights with extra batteries
- Insulated water bottle
- Hydration pack
- Cap / floppy
- Sun glasses
- Sturdy walking stick
- Trekking pole
- Sunscreen Lotion
- Swiss army knife
- Sun hat / baseball cap
- Extra passport photos
- One liter water bottle wide open mouth
- Wind and rain gear with hoods
- Vitamin tablets
- Money pouch/ belts
- Note book with pen and pencils
- Energy bars
- Lip Balm
- Torch / Flashlight (with extra batteries)
- One pair cotton trousers or shorts
- Two shirts/ T- shirts one warmer ( jacket with hood)
- Personal toiletries
- Personal medication
- Wet wipes ( tissues and wipes) in the mountains is not advisable since these are not biodegradable, sanitary pads should be carried in a Ziploc bag and after using them dispose them after coming to the city.
- Travelers should carry a spoon, lunchbox and coffee mugs with them. If needed they can also bring their own cutlery set with them for hygienic reasons.
- Carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
- Medications for common ailments:
- Diamox- To prevent acute mountain sickness
- Dexamethasone- One strip
- BP tablets as necessary
- Crocin- for fever
- Avomine- to prevent motion sickness
- Avil- for allergies
- Combiflam- Painkiller
- Disprin- Headaches
- Norflox TZ and Lomofen- Diarrhoea
- Digene- for acidity
- Omez/ rantadine- antacids
- Crepe bandage- 3 to 5 meters
- Guaze- 1 small roll
- Band aid- 10 strips
- Cotton- 1 small roll
- Oral Rehydration solution fluids- 10 packets
- Betadine or any antiseptic cream
- Moov spray ( aches and sprains).
The following are some guidelines that travelers should follow when going for the Sham Valley Trek:
- Climatic conditions in the high altitudes differ from those of that in the plains; hence, trekkers should take enough time to get themselves acclimatized to the high altitudes.
- Listen to the guide’s instructions and follow the guidelines given by him for a safe, smooth and enjoyable trekking experience.
- Refrain from consuming alcohol or any other intoxicants during the course of the trek.
- Do not trek during nights.
- Consult a physician the individual is fit enough to undertake the trek.
- Do not litter the local sites or campsites as the whole trek takes place through eco- friendly zones.
- Physical and mental preparation is essential, be ready to trek in high altitudes. Trekkers should be ready to trek in high altitude terrains and face rough weather and trek in harsh climate.
- Trekking crew is essential since they may help in dealing with any sort of emergencies that may arise.
- Getting a proper insurance is necessary and it should cover medical rescue evacuation in case of emergencies. It is advisable to have safety backup like oxygen pressurize altitude chamber in emergency cases.
- To prevent frostbites from extreme freezing temperatures, wear good socks.
- Avoid wearing more than one pair of socks to have good blood circulation.
- Wear track pants instead of denim jeans.
- Wear proper dress while going to temples.
- Vision and contact lenses- A spare will help in case the one in use is damaged.
- Suture Kit- Kit is for use by local health care providers and requires a letter from the doctor on a letterhead stationery.
- Syringe Kit- ( for diabetics)
- Medical alert tags, necklace, bracelets ( for emergency identification)
- Antifungal ointments
- Insect bite ointments
- Bandages- Multiple sizes, adhesive tape and gauze
- Moleskin or molefoam for blisters
- Elastic compression bandage wrap for sprains and strains.
- Disposable gloves
- Digital thermometer
- Scissors and safety pins
- Eye drops
- Cotton swabs
- Oral rehydration drops
The best season to visit Sham valley is between May and October. The weather is warm and pleasant and the temperature ranges between 20*C-30*C. The best months are July- August is the preferred time for the Sham valley Trek because in this months the highways of Manali-Leh and Srinagar- Leh is open for private vehicles.
Summer ( March-April ) :
This season is better as compared to December- February, it is still difficult to resume normal activities during the March and April. March is colder than April. The weather ranges between 6*C in the day to -5*C in the night. April is pleasant and warm and temperature ranges between 12*C-20*C. However, occasional snowfall drops the mercury level down to a great extent.
Monsoon (July- September) :
The freezing cold again starts, but at high elevation of 3000 m the cold is not much experienced. The weather is same as that of May, the days are warm and pleasant between 20*C-22*C with bright sunshine. Nights are harsh and too cold. Temperature again drops to 0*C and all roads and passes are closed for 5-6 months.
Spring (Mid May- August) :
This season has the maximum inflow of tourists; highways also are open by the first week of May. The weather is sunny and pleasant and the temperature is 16*C and 3*C at nights. In June the temperature rises to 21*C. This season has local events and festivals are celebrated. The days are warm and pleasant and July is the warmest month of the year .The day temperature is 25*C and in the night it falls to 10*C and rarely drops to 7*C. There are infrequent rains during this season. The weather is quite good and pleasant and it is really an ideal time to visit this place. Except for August, the weather is cold, and extra blanks have to be carried so trekkers need to take extra woolen clothes to keep themselves warm. The breeze is a lot dusty and fierce.
Winter (December – February) :
This season is very cold in Ladakh, the temperature drops to freezing point, to -20*C. During daytime, the temperature is warm and pleasant with a temperature of 2*C. January is full of snowfall and the region is covered with sheets of snow and ice in rivers and lakes. Highways are inaccessible and are closed. People should be careful of the frostbites and cracks, which develop on the skin. The only month where shops open is February and shopkeepers get business. Generally, this is not a good time to visit this region.
The trek is ideally suited for everyone being a relatively easy trip with rich cultural and local flavor. Besides, the Leh region is full of world famous monasteries, which provide an equal measure of spiritual fervor. Thus, this “Baby Trek” is a package deal to body and soul for a very vibrant and relaxing experience.