Traveling to India without going to Ladakh would have been a pity given all the good feedback regarding this region well known for its treks.
As we only got 2 weeks for our trip in India, we were looking for a « small » trek allowing us to discover the area and going on an adventure for a few days. Expats living in India recommended us Dreamland agency, so, that’s what we did.
First of all, remotely, the agency has been very reactive and answered quickly all of my questions (by the way, the website is full of practical information). About ten different treks are available through Dreamland according to your level and the time you got (from 4 days to 2 weeks).
We chose the smallest trek available, the one going from Spituk to Matho within 4 days through Rumbak valley. It includes trekking in the valley then on the mountain with a guide, a « cook » and a « poney-man », walking through a pass (height : 4800m) and of course nights in a tent into the wild, let’s go !
DAY 1 – From Spituk to Zingchen, Adaptation, max. height : 3360m
In the morning, all the team came to get us in front of our guesthouse (booked by the agency) with a small van. We headed for Spituk, 30 minutes away from Leh. There, we met the guide and the cook who would be with us during the 4 next days. On the way, our guide asked us if we wanted to begin with an adaptation journey. We made the « mistake » of saying yes, which led us to an extra hour on a road with a few diversity of landscapes :
Fortunately, landscapes began to change at the entrance of Hemis National Park where we kept up walking in the valley and had our lunch (supplied by Dreamland) in the local restaurant !
Then, we followed the river until our first stop, Zingchen camp, where we found our tent ready! Luckily, we knew a typical trekking day was begining early in the morning and therefore ending quite early in the afternoon. An advice : make sure you bring something to fill your evening (ball, games, movies, …). You never know but you could end up alone in the camp as it happened to us one night !
DAY 2 – Rumbak Valley, max. height : 4200m
The next day, after the wake-up tea and the hot water bucket to clean ourselves up, we met our « poney-man » and his 7 mules which would carry our bags, tents and all the equipment for the cooking. This second day was wonderful, we left the dry area of Ladakh to follow the valley shaped by the river. Ascent really began and landscape became mountainous. After a few hours walking, we reached Rumbak, a small village isolated at 4000m height where about forty people are living all the year. It felt like a village straight from a Tibetan landscape.
After a few photos and a lunch (a potato, an egg, chocolate and a juice), we set off again for the camp located at 4200m height where we could see the Stok La pass, 600 meters higher.
DAY 3 – Towards Stok La… or not
After a hard night without sleeping because of altitude sickness and our chinese neighbours, totally direspectful towards us or even the nature (cigarets and cans droped anywhere, constant talking in spite of our intervention), we felt it will be difficult to trek the 6 hours left. We discussed it with the guide who decided it would be better for us to come back slowly to the first camp. Even if if we were disapointed, the guide reassured us by telling us the landscape would have been the same on the other side of the mountain.
In the end, we were thrilled. In fact, we had this relaxed third day of trekking to come down to Zinchen, which gave us time to enjoy landcapes and our last night in a tent. On the way back, we spoke with our guide about our will to visit Bouddhist temples from Ladakh and were happily surprised when he suggested we could visit those temples with him the next day as we had a day left with Dreamland. Thanks to him, we had a wondeful last day in Ladakh !
DAY 4 – Ladkh, Bouddhist land
Our guide let the agency knows about our last day, a car was ready the next morning to take us back to Leh and after a quick stop, Dreamland found us a taxi (paid by the agency) to get us to the temples but this is an other story that you can find here : Ladakh, Terre Bouddhiste