Zanskar Traverse : Kanji - Nyeraks - Zangla - Phirtse la  - 26 days      16 days of trek

Cross five mountain passes above 5000m, reach Nyeraks village and Padum tour

Trip Route: Leh - Kanji - Yogma la - Snigutse la - Photoksar - Sengge la - Nyerak la - Takti la - Namtse la - Zangla - Padum - Phuktal - Tangze - Phirtse la - Chumik marpo - Khamerup - Kelang sarai - Manali - Delhi

Trip Facts

Ladakh region, Jammu Kashmir, India
Trip Length: 25 days New Delhi to Delhi, Trip Length: 20 days Leh to Manali. Trip Starts: Manali , Trip Ends: Leh 
17day trek, 18 nights camp 1 night hotel
Grade: Moderate to strenuous, Max. Elevation: 5540m,  Best Season: Mid June to July, Aug, Sept

Meals - All meals during the trek and breakfast and dinner at Leh

Accommodation: 3 star hotel in Leh, Padum


Embark on a magical 20 days Zanskar Trek which takes us around most of the Zanskar region reaching the 5,500m, we cross the highest pass on our trip  Phirtse la pass at 5540m. Potala Adventurers 20 days Zanskar Trek is a great introductory trek for experiencing the Zanskar region. If we want a shorter trek but the same route, we may cut off this trek at Zangla 10 days. Depending on your travel schedule.

After 2-3 days of well acclimatizing in Leh, during these acclimatization days you visit some of important places near Leh or Indus valley tour. Setting of from Leh on our 18 days trip Leh to Manali, we drive along the Indus River on Leh – Srinagar highway. Enroute we visit some of the ancient villages before Kanji. Beginning to trek from beautiful village of Kanji we climb to Yogma la with crossing of Shilakong and Sniugutse la pass at 5100m. Joining to main trail at Photoksar we walked on route which is knows for many year as Darcha – Lamayuru or Lamayuru – Darcha. Ancient track, old pack horse trail and we cross numbers of villages. Finally following the Kargyak river chu we climb to our last high pass of Phirtse la and enter in Lahaul valley. Our trek terminates at Kelang Sarai from where we drive to Manali by wonderful valley of of Tod, Gahr and Tinana valleys along the Bhaga and Chandra River.

Trip Introduction

Spectacular drive through 2nd highest mountain road

Stunning sites and Camps in peaceful locations. 

Remote villages and its adventurous trail, meeting with locals.
Ancient fort and trekking in remote area

Included in the price

  • 18 nights camp with all camping facilities.

  • 1 nights hotel accommodation on MAP plan (BD)

  • 2 men spacious sleeping tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, dining tent, toilet tent. Nordic walking sticks.

  • All meals: We serve Indian, local, Tibetan, Chinese and continental cuisine.

  • Transportation to and from per itinerary and sight-seeing trip, Airport pick up and drop. 

  • Support staff, well English, Tibetan, Hindi speaking local guide, cook and Trekking mules with one riding horse. Medical first aid support.

Not included

  • Hotel accommodation in Delhi, Leh, Manali

  • Domestic flight, personal insurances. Mineral water and soft drinks. Entrance fee at monasteries.

  • Personal tipping to staff. Any unforeseen cost arises by natural hazards rain, snow, road block which cost extra lodging & boarding   beyond trip Schedule

Outline Trek Itinerary

Day 1: Morning flight to Leh, arrival in Leh, check in hotel - Acclimatize 1: Afternoon explore local market. Visit Leh palace, Tsemo gompa, Sankar, Shanti stupa,
Day 2: Acclimatize 2 - Visit Shey - Thiksey - Chemrey - Taktok - Hemis - Matho - Stok - Spituk - Leh

Day 3: Drive Leh - Alchi - Lamayuru - Kanji (3850m). 7-8 hrs
Day 4: Trek to Kanji Dok - Yogma La (4720m) - Shilakong (4300m), 6-7 hrs
Day 5: Trek to Nigutse La (5100m) - Spangthang / Urtsi Dok (4500m). 6-7 hrs.
Day 6: Trek to Sirsir La (4805m) - Photoksar (4400m). 5-6 hrs, (Visit Photoksar village)
Day 7: Trek to Boumitse La (4400m) - base of Singey La(Sengge La (4400m), 7-8 hrs.
Day 8: Trek to Singey La/Sengge La (4950m) - Yulchung (3900m)
Day 9: Trek to Chochokuri La (3950m) - Nyerak (3710m). 7 hrs.
Day 10: Trek to Takti La (4950m) - Pangat la (3900m) - Pharkunsa (3980m). 7-8 hrs.
Day 11: Trek Kurmafu (3700m) / Namtse Sumdo.. 7-8 hrs.
Day 12: Trek to Namtse La (4500m) - Honia - Zangla River camp (3500m). 6-7 hrs
Day 13: Drive to visit Zangla - Stongde -  Karsha (3320m) - Sani - Padum (3600m).
Day 14: Drive Padum to Bardan - Mune - Raru (3800m) 1 hr and trek to Vipula (4000m) via Ichar. 6 hrs.
Day 15: Trek to Purne (3800m), 3-4 hrs. (Purne Trek to Phuktal 4055m) - back to Purne 4-5 hrs
Day 16: Trek to Tangze (4000m) - Kyi (4120m). 6 hrs
Day 17: Trek to Thangso - Shanka - Tangze (4000m), 7-8 hrs
Day 18: Trek to Zingchen (4950m) / Base camp, 6-7 hrs.    
Day 19: Trek to Phirtse la (5540m) - Chumik Marpo (4750m),7-8 hrs
Day 20: Trek to Berga Songchak (4400m), 6-7 hrs
Day 21: Trek to Sarchu (4100m), 5 hrs
Day 22: Drive to Baralacha la (4890m) - Keylong - Rohtang pass (3980m) - Manali, 8-9 hrs

Day 23: Manali  
Day 24: Manali - Delhi (Volvo deluxe buses leaves to Delhi at 16:30 pm overnight drive 14-15 hrs)
Day 25: Delhi (Arrival Delhi at 6:00 am. (Visit Red fort, Qutub Minar, Lotus temple) and Cannaught place.
Day 26: Fly home

Send Quick Email

Want to customize this trip - write to us

Detailed Trip Dossier

Day 1 - Morning flight to Leh, 

arrival in Leh, check in hotel - Acclimatize 1: Afternoon explore local market. Visit Leh palace, Tsemo gompa, Sankar, Shanti stupa.
Today morning early transfer or drive to domestic airport for the flight to Leh, but spectacular flight over the Himalaya to Leh. The rest of the day is free to relax and acclimatize to the altitude of 3500m as well as visit Leh bazaar. visit the Royal Palace of Leh from the 16th century, continue through the fields of Sankar monastery , which is adjoins the north Leh. Finally end with climb to the Shanti Stupa. Overnight in hotel.

Day 2 - Acclimatize: Visit Shey – Thiksey – Taktok - Chemdey - Hemis - Matho - Stok - Spituk
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 Taktok and Chemdey and return back 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 to

Day 3 - Drive Leh - Alchi - Lamayuru - Kanji (3850m). 7-8 hrs
Today after breakfast at Leh, we drive to Alchi monastery, situated at a distance of 68 kms from Leh. Its monastery built on lowlands rather than on a hilltop as others are, in order to protect from enemies. The chortens around Alchi gompa contains numerous wall murals of Lotsava Rinchen Zangpo, who has built this monastery. Alchi monastery has vast collections of wall paintings, and wood sculpture. We continue to drive to Lamayuru which is 58 kms from Alchi. Oldest monastery in Ladakh, founded by Indian scholar Mahasiddhacharya Naropa in 11th century. Lamayuru host mask dance festival (Yuru Kabgyat) during 17th and 18th day of fifth months of the Tibetal Lunar calendar. It belongs to red hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism; monastery is rich with Thankas and wall paintings. Lamayuru monastery was constructed by Arahat Nimagung in between 10th and 11th century. History says that in the 11th century the Mahasidha Naropa visited this place and the cave where he resided and meditated is still to be seen inside the monastery. After the visit continue your journey to Kanji, still 40 km drives. Arrive Kanji. Overnight at camp in Kanji village. (3850m)


Day 4 - Trek to Kanji Dok - Yogma La (4720m) - Shilakong (4300m), 6-7 hrs

Morning after breakfast, you explore the village and attract with the innocent villagers. About 15 houses. After then you start your first day trek with easy trek along the right side of upstream river. After the easy walk for 2hrs, you have gentle ascent and then you arrive at small hamlet where you find the campsite. The view of the valley and its stunning mountains from here is indescribable. Enjoy the scenic beauty of nature of Himalayan Mountains.  Continue for an hour and ascend towards the Yogma-la (4720m). From the top of the pass you have spectacular view of landscape. After enjoying few minutes at the top you have gentle descent and then you arrive at the camp. (4300m)

Show More

Day 5 - Trek to Nigutse La (5100m) - Spangthang / Urtsi Dok (4500m). 6-7 hrs.

Morning after the breakfast, continue the trek by following the well-defined and clear trek route on the left bank of the river. En-route amazing and beautiful landscape. After few hours of trek, you reach at the top of the Nyigutse-la (5100m). At the top of the pass, you will find yourself top of the world and get the stunning and enchanting view of unforgettable landscape with different mountains of Himalayan range. Cross the pass and then descend in beautiful lost valley opening on an immense plain where you find many animals like sheep’s, goats and yaks etc. Overnight Camp. (4500m)

Show More

Day 6 - Trek to Sirsir La (4805m) - Photoksar (4400m). 5-6 hrs

Today you have to cross the river so it is advisable to carry some extra stock in your bag so that you may not get wet. As usual after breakfast, continue the trek with ascending the ridge right from the camping. Follow the clear path on rolling ridge and from here you see the Sirsir-la pass. Descend down in towards the river below. Cross the river and then start ascending straight towards the pass Sirsir la (4805m). Enjoy the view of wonderful valleys and its landscape. Gentle and easy descend by following the good trek path to Photoksar (A remote isolated charming village). Evening explore the village. Campsite before the village near the river. Overnight at Camp. (4210m)

Show More

Day 7 - Trek to Boumitse La (4400m) - base of Singey La (Sengge La (4400m), 7-8 hrs.

After breakfast, continue trek. Today you have to cross one easy pass. Right from the camp, start ascend for few meter and then continue along the clear path.beatiful view of village Photoksar and surrounding mountains and gorge. Carry on ascending up to top of Boumitse-la, from the pass you can directly see the Singey la Pass which is about more than three hours trek from this point. Continue to climb on a high pasture land on photang valley, where villagers of Photokars keep their yaks, dzo, and horses for grazing. At final stage we climb steep to Singey la 5060m the 2nd highest point of our trek. Sengge in Tibetan means lion. So its lion pass, the view and formations of pass appears like lion, from pass a panoramic view of Zanskar range, next 1 hrs of steep ascent to base camp.

Day 8 - Trek to Singey La/Sengge La (4950m) - Yulchung (3900m)
Right from the camp, start ascending up to top of Singe-la. It is easy to ascend but 1200m before the top, it is steep ascend in zigzag. From the pass, the route descends steeply to a loose boulder strewn area. This is called Champado Gongma. Continue along the right side of the valley, clear path up to village Skyumphatta. Beautiful and awesome view of landscape of the valley. Follow the beaten easy track and on the way you find a junction. One goes straight towards Lingshed and another goes down towards Yulchung village that you see below. Take left handside and then descend down in zig zag clear path.

Day 9 - Trek to Chochokuri La (3950m) - Nyerak (3710m). 7 hrs.

Leaving Yulchung continue trek with gentle climb to cross the small easy pass Chuchokhuri La (3970m). Cross the pass then steep zig zag descent till Zanskar River. Cross the River over a wooden bridge and then begin to climb towards Nyerak village. Arrive Nyerak. Overnight at camp in Nyerak village (A small and charming village. (3750m)

Day 10 - Trek to Takti La (4950m) - Pangat la (3900m) - Pharkunsa (3980m). 7-8 hrs.

Morning after breakfast, continue climb to cross the Labar-la pass. It seems difficult to climb but slowly and steadily it becomes easy. So continue slowly and steadily to reach at the top of Labar la. From this point you have spectacular and magnificent view of landscape. After crossing the pass, continue gentle climb towards the Pangat-la (3900m). From the top of Pangat-la you have awesome panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and wonderful landscape. Cross the pass, easy descent down till you reach near a river. Cross the river and then continue trek down along the downstream. Again cross the river towards right and then you arrive at beautiful campsite. Good campsite in the middle of willow trees near the river. Overnight at camp. (3730m)

Day 11 - Trek Kurmafu (3700m) / Sumdo. 7-8 hrs.

As usual morning after breakfast, continue trek along with the river. Today you have to wade in the river for several meters so it is advisable to carry extra shoes in your bag. After then continue easy trek along the valley up to the campsite. Good campsite near the river. Overnight camp. (3650m)

Day 12 - Trek to Namtse La (4500m) - Honia - Zangla River camp (3500m). 6-7 hrs

After the breakfast, continue trek with gentle climb towards a small and easy pass. Cross the pass and then easy trek path towards Namtse-la. Continue up along the valley till you reach at top of the pass.From the top of the pass you have enchanting and magnificient panoramic view of landscape. Cross the Namtse-la Pass and then easy descent till you reach at Honara.On the way your first glance will be Zangskar River, Pidmo village and motor road. Descend down till foot of the mountain. From Honara you trek on motor road for a kilometer and then you arrive at Campsite across the meadows near zanskar River. Overnight at camp in Zangla. (3430m)

Day 13 - Drive to visit Zangla - Stongde -  Karsha (3320m) - Sani - Padum (3600m).

Today you have full day culture tour around Padum by drive. Morning after breakfast, drive to Stongde village. Visit beautiful picturesque monastery built on hill top by Lama Marpa 950 years ago. Approximately 60 monks are residing in this monastery. After the visit, continue drive to Karsha (Pair of White i.e., Outer white and Inner white). Visit Karsha monastery. This monastery is the largest of all the monastery in Zanskar and this monastery (Gonpa) was first founded by Great Lama Phagspa Shesrap (the translator of Zanskar). From the monastery, you have amazing and spectacular view of the capital of Zanskar (Padum) and its surrounding mountains. After the visit explore Padum (The capital of Zanskar). Overnight in Padum. (3530m)

Day 14 - Drive Padum to Bardan - Mune - Raru (3800m) 1 hr and trek to Vipula (4000m) via Ichar. 6 hrs.

Today an early departure from Padum, we drive to Bardan along the Tsarap tchu and enter in Lungnak valley. The drive is on dusty trail usually a foundation of road to Darcha over Shingo la pass. We follow this dusty trail up to Raru village. We continues to our trek on a well define ancient trail with amazing and spectacular view of landscape. At first we descend down to Tsarap tchu cross wooden bridge and continue along the river back up to Tsethang village via passing beautiful Ichar village. Overnight camp at Tsethang (3900m).

Day 15 - Trek to Purne (3800m), 3-4 hrs. (Purne Trek to Phuktal 4055m) - back to Purne 4-5 hrs

Today leaving Tsethang behind we continue to trek along the left side of river. Trail goes through some impressive gorges. Ascending to villages Surle above the trail we arrive at the confluence of Tsarap and Kargiak River. We cross the river by bridge and climb short to Purne village, a beautiful and charming village with few houses. Have our hot lunch and enjoy the beauty of nature. Overnight camp in Purne (Purney) 3850m.Today is a great day to see one of most stunning sight of Zanskar. We follow the trek towards Phuktal along the left bank of Tsarap River for ½ an hour.We cross the river by bridge and trail goes along the right bank of river. We will have first impressive view of Phuktal by climbing short ridge, the most spectacular sight in Zanskar and our trek. Main temple built inside huge cave and rest of monastery houses built on rock cliff. The monastery was founded by Changsems Sherab Zangpo. We visit this great monastery and retrace back to campsite at Purne.

Day 16 - Trek to Tangze (4000m) - Kyi (4120m). 6 hrs

We trek back to same bridge that we have cross a 2 days before. We climb gently to Yal village and continue along the right side of the valley. We pass through beautiful and charming villages of Testa 3900m and Karu. We cross the river just before Tangtse village. Continue to trek along the right bank of Kargiak River we arrive at Kargyak village, one of the highest villages in Zanskar region and last village in Zanskar. Overnight camp at Kargyak village.


Day 17 - Trek to Thangso - Shanka - Tangze (4000m), 7-8 hrsToday leaving Kurgiakh trek to beautiful village of Kyin and Thangso and continue upto last village of Shanka. This area is most remotest part of Zanskar and meet happy people. After visiting Shanka we trek back to Tangze following the left bank of Kurgiakh river chu. Overnight camp at Tangze.

Day 18 - Trek to Zingchen (4950m) / Base camp, 6-7 hrs.    

Short after camp we take a left path which leads to Phirtse la pass. The path leads away from the river, gradually up through a gorge and later the slope. A spectacular view of Zanskar valley can be have from a small pass. Crossing the stream we climb gently along the nallah to base camp. Overnight camp at Zingchen.


Day 19 - Trek to Phirtse la (5540m) - Chumik Marpo (4750m),7-8 hrs

Today leaving early to avoid the snow turning softens the Phirtse la is advised.  After an hour of gradual walking along the small stream we climb steep to Phirtse la  pass with patches of ice. Magnificent view of peaks rising above 6000m to the right and the view goes as far a upto Rupshu. After taking a break of 30 minutes we descend gradually along the slopes with patches of snow to Chumik Marpo camp. Wonderfful camp site and at Chumik Marpo where you will find numbers of doksas with numbers of Yaks. Overnight camp at Chumik Marpo.

Day 20 - Trek to Berga Songchak (4400m), 6-7 hrs

Today an early start to cross 2 rivers. Leaving campsite along the left bank of River. After 2 hrs of walking we cross the river and cross-grassy flat land to broad river of Khamerup. The river coming from right we cross it before noon. Continue on wide open space and flat grass land to our campsite close to River called Berga Songchak. There are numbers of camp site along this Lingti chu valley.  Overnight camp at Berga Songchak.

Day 21 - Trek to Sarchu (4100m), 5-6 hrs

Today again a long day of trekking is waiting for us and the last river crossing. Soon after breakfast we continue on wide open space in high altitude grassland. After 2 hrs of trail will bring you to a small pass from where the wide open view of Sarchu and Yunam River valley. Descent to Riverside and cross it. The campsite is located soon after the crossing.

Day 22 - Drive to Baralacha la (4890m) - Keylong - Rohtang pass (3980m) - Manali, 8-9 hrs
We drive to Baralacha la pass, which is 7 km long gives the source of three rivers - Chandra through South, Bhaga through upper Lahoul and Yunam towards Zanskar. A splendid view of M-4 (6514m), which is the highest in the Moulkila range, can be seen from the trail as well as of Keorang range of Great Himalayas.  Passing through wonderful valleys of Tod, Gahr and Tinan the road climbs to Rohtang la pass. It takes 2 hrs to reach Manali. Overnight in hotel.

Day 23 - Manali  

Day 24 - Manali - Delhi (Volvo deluxe buses leaves to Delhi at 16:30 pm overnight drive 14-15 hrs)

Day 25 - Delhi (Arrival Delhi at 6:00 am. (Visit Red fort, Qutub Minar, Lotus temple) and Cannaught place.

Day 26 - Fly home

"Thank you Prem and our trekking team: guide Sherab, Cook - Ravi, helper - Phurba and pony man Disu. We trekked in 1999 from Darcha to Lamayuru (with Potala Adventurers) and now in 2016 with our 3 children, aged 7,11 and 13. We enjoyed trekking in Zanskar/Ladakh from Kelang Sarai to Photoksar. Sherab and the team took great care of the children and although at time there were challenges for the  children. They had a wonderful experience. Many thanks !."

Mrs Louise K (family of 5) - Melbourne, AUSTRALIA - 26th Sept 2016

"Ravi cooking was very good and delicious. I liked his cakes. Disu riding horse was very lovely and well behaved. The sight were very nice."

Miss Elsa - aged 7 yrs, AUSTRALIA

"Thanks POTALA adventures for an amazing trek. It was a great fun and an interesting experience. I was expecting to find it a lot harder but our expert guide helped us every inch of the way !. I was amazed at the incredible skills of our cook Ravi and his helper Phurba, who cooked delicious food on a kerosene stove. They even made a few cakes !! Our horseman Disu was superb at getting the horses to behave. He was also very strong and fast, so even though he left after us he always beat us to camp, and when we arrived the tents were already up. The views were also breath taking !!"

Mr Owen - aged 13 - AUSTRALIA - 26th Sept 2016

Trek: Zanskar Traverse

Duration: 18 days

"Trekking crew supported us in every way. We had great luck to have Mr Gyaltson as a guide. Have a wonderful cook Mr Ravi and his helper and the strong and hard working horseman. Thank you for a great experience we will remember this for a long time ! For sure we will come back to India to do an another trekking. All I can say is Julley !!

We did the Zanskar trek which was 18 days but felt like less time, when you are having a good time ! Due to fantastic team we had a great time in a astonishing environment. Mr Ravi cooked us great meals every day making sure we had lots of energy. Mr Gyaltson was a good guide who helped us many times during this hard but beautiful trek. Thank you all for this wonderful experience."

Mr Leon Van Der & Mrs Margrit - NETHERLANDS - 15th Aug 2016