Kanji - Zangla to Phuktal via Nerak

No of Days

21 Days

Higest Point

Kanji La (5150 meters)


Moderate to challenging


Lingshed Monastery, Phuktal Monastery, Shadey Villege

The ancient trails of Ladakh are nothing less than a paradise with beautiful monasteries, snow-capped mountains, and enchanting meadows. As you arrive in Leh, get ready to explore the natural beauty of the place and be friends with those challenging terrains as you make your way up. Being in the lap of nature, away from the noisy city for about a month is a refreshing experience and this trip is set to give you that.

Trekking Map of Kanji - Zangla to Phuktal via Nerak

Kanji - Zangla to Phuktal via Nerak - Trip Detail
  • 01


    Leh - Kanji (6 hours, 140 kilometers)
    • Acclimatize yourself fully on your arrival before you head to your first drive to the beautiful Leh. After having a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel, get ready for a blissful drive to Kanji village. The six-hour drive en routes various attractions that are a must visit. On your way to the 140-kilometer stretch, you will come across the Lamayuru Monastery and the Alchi village.

      Lamayuru Monastery Also known as the place of Freedom, the monastery belongs to the red hat sect of Buddhism and exhibits a rich history and Buddhist tradition. The invasion of General Zoravar from Kashmir to Ladakh made all monks hide their valuables in the mountains until the invaders went back. The monastery was founded by Naropa, a renowned Indian scholar. Standing high on the Srinagar-Leh highway, the monastery is a sight to behold. The monastery used to house about 400 monks when it was found, and currently, there are 50 monks residing there. The Seng-ge-sgang is the oldest temple in the monastery, attributed to Richen Zangpo, a monk builder. The Lamayuru Gompa is one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh, and its serendipity and beauty are what’s going to leave you mesmerized. The monastery also hosts a cultural dance festival according to the Buddhist lunar calendar as a way of meditation and offering of prayer to Lord Buddha.

      Stop for Lunch at a restaurant in Khaltse Village before you proceed further.

      Alchi village The Alchi village is a lowland village in Ladakh which is famous for its alpine trees and quietude. The village is home to one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh, the Alchi Monastery. The monastery was built by Richen Zangpo, in the 11th century and is known for its pristine temples and its architecture. The ambiance of the monastery gives a relaxed feeling and also consists of intricately carved artwork that adds to the beauty of the monastery. A world heritage site, the monastery has managed to preserve temples for a thousand years and is hence quite popular.

      After paying a visit to the Lamayuru Monastery and the Alchi Monastery, you will be driven to Kanji Village, a remote village that is situated at an elevation of 3875 meters. Get acquainted with the trekking staff and rest for the night, to begin with the trek the next day.

  • 02


    Kanji - Kanji La Base (6-7 hours )
    • Get ready for an exciting day as you will be beginning with your trekking adventure. This will be an easy trek, as there will be a guide by your side, and you will be crossing a few water gorges and will witness several nomadic camps on your way. Rest the campsite after reaching the Kanji La Base, and get ready for a challenging yet adventurous day ahead.

  • 03


    Kanji La Base (5-6 hours, Maximum elevation: 5150 meters)
    • Get ready to cross the first pass of your trek, the Kanji La Pass, situated at an altitude of 5150 meters. It will be a challenging three-hour trek but will be worth the effort once you reach the top. From the tip of the pass, you can witness the beautiful Zanskar ranges and the twin peaks after which you will have to make a long descent. Walk down for another three hours to the Rangdum River, where your camp will be set. Enjoy the ambiance of the place as you have a sumptuous meal on the banks of the river and a bonfire and rest the night to gain some energy for the upcoming trails.

  • 04


    Sumdo - Pikdongla- Dipling Village (6-7 hours, Maximum elevation: 4895 meters)
    • After a delicious breakfast on the river bank, get ready for another challenging day. The trek will continue as you cross the Rangdum River. Walk on the right side of the valley for about three hours and from there; take a turn to the Pikdongla Pass, situated at an altitude of 4895 meters. As you reach the Pikdongla Pass, you will get a glimpse of the Dipling valley. After a two-hour long descent of about 3000 ft, you will reach the Dipling village, where your campsite will be waiting for you. With a fantastic view of the snow capped mountains surrounding you from every direction, the valley is a beautiful camping spot, having rock walls on either side of it. If you are lucky enough, you may witness wolf tracks early in the day. Enjoy camping at the valley at night before you proceed to explore further.

  • 05


    Dipling Village - Sumdo (5 hours, Maximum elevation: 3870)
    • Begin the trek by exploring the exquisite beauty of the village that resides in its lush green valleys and Gompas. Put on your walking boots and walk towards the Dipling village. The Dipling village is famous for its yellow hat sect of Buddhism, the founder of which was Zongkhapa. If you wish, you can also opt to ride on a horse if you face difficulty in walking. After walking for an hour, you will come across a number of rivers that you will have to cross. The Ladakhi term for a river junction is called Sumdo, and hence the name. The Sumdo is situated at an altitude of 3870 meters. It will be a five hour trek to the Sumdo, the base camp of Barmila Pass, post which, you can spend the night in the lap of nature.

  • 06


    Barmila Pass- Lingshed (7 hours, Maximum elevation: 4680 Meters) (Barmila Pass)
    • Get ready for a trek to Lingshed via Barmila Pass. It will take you three hours to cover the pass, after which you need to make a steep descent. Be careful as the slopes are quite slippery. As you reach the Barmila Pass, you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the snow capped mountains and the beautiful valley with Lingshed Monastery nestled in a corner. After that, you will be moving past the fields and houses to reach Lingshed (4010) meters. Reach Lingshed at your campsite, and spend the night at the camp, with the beautiful backdrop of the monastery and the picturesque view.

  • 07


    Lingshed- Youlchung (7 hours, Maximum elevation: 4465 meters) (Kiupala Pass)
    • Today you will be trekking from Lingshed and will be covering two major passes, Murgumla Pass and Kiupala Pass. You will find that the path to reach your first pass is from the monastery itself, and you will cross two chortens.

      The first chorten will be a thirty-minute trek from Lingshed, crossing rock walls and valleys. The second chorten is about an hour away from this point, which will take you closer to the Murgumla Pass.

      After a ninety-minute trek, you will find yourself in on the Murgum La pass, situated at an altitude of 4310 meters. As you look down, you will see a beautiful valley nestling a tiny hamlet. On your way up, you will find a path that will take you to the next pass for the day; the Kiupala Pass. The hamlet situated at the bottom is Kyumpata. As you come down to explore the village, you will have to descend for about 4040 meters, to the river. The trek will take three and a half hours from Lingshed.

      As you reach the river, you can take shelter under a small shop, and spend some time there. After you regain the energy, you will be crossing the river, which will bring you closer to the Kiupala Pass. The Kiupala pass is a long trek, so make sure you have enough energy to complete the trek, and you can rest if you want to. As you begin crossing the pass, you will discover another small village; Youlchung. Go downwards to find your campsite and rest the night to explore more of Zanskar.

  • 08


    Youlchung- Labarla (6-7 hours, Highest elevation: 4700 meters)
    • Today will be one of the most strenuous days of your trek, but once you reach the next point, walking the tricky terrains, trust us, all the effort will be worth it. You will start the day by exploring the houses situated in Youlchung. These houses are the typically Ladakhi ones, and the village also consists of a large farmhouse having a large kitchen and a shrine room. Behind the farmhouse is a path that unfolds to a small pass. The path runs down to a beautiful gorge amid a shelf of rolling hillsides. Walk for an hour and a half and you will reach the Chuchokhuri La pass, situated at an elevation of 13140 ft. once you reach the pass, rest for a while, as now you need to descend. On your way down, you will be crossing a twisted path, and you need to be very careful while making that descent. As you cover the path, you will see a tiny glimpse of a turquoise blue stream of water that meets the Zanskar River. Continue to walk, till you find an ancient wooden bridge above the beautiful Zanskar River, which you need to cross. It will take you almost three hours to reach this point from where you started.

      Rest for some time to en route the biggest climb of your trek till now! You will continue with your trek to the Nyerak Village, which is an hour village. Once you reach the village, all you need is motivation and a fully functioning immune system, to reach the top. So trek upwards slowly, and admire the beauty around you. You will be following a disused watercourse, which will finally lead you to your campsite. Pat yourself on the back as you reach your campsite; indulge in a sumptuous meal before you hit the bed.

  • 09


    Labarla- Namtse Sumdo (7 hours Maximum elevation: 4925 meters) (Labarla Pass)
    • Now you have reached a point where you will be experiencing complete remoteness, tranquility, and your surroundings will be pretty as a picture. Your trek will include crossing the Labarla Pass; encompassing steep cliffs, narrow paths, and gorgeous mountains. You will be crossing two unusual white cliffs, which appear to be torn in half. It will take you about four hours to reach the jaw of those cliffs, crossing which, you will enter a beautiful valley with a sparkling river and pinnacles. As you move forward, you will come across a gorge with a steep rock step that you need to climb very carefully. You will find a couple of horses at the river below. As you make your way further, you will come across a stunning canyon, animal-width, with vertical sides. The incredible natural structure is 200 yards long, that makes way for the river to flow through it. As you move downwards to your descent, you will be passing down the valley to take an exquisite view of the Namtse Sumdo, where you will have your campsite. Enjoy the stunning view of the mountains and the valley by the bonfire and rest the night explore more of Ladakh.

  • 10


    Namtse La Pass- Honia (6 hours, Maximum elevation: 4465 meters)
    • Wake up to a wonderful morning and get ready to en route to the rest of your journey to the beautiful and the mesmerizing Ladakh. As you begin your trek, you will have to take a steep pull to reach a small pass, which will take about ten minutes. As you reach there, you will see a small valley, beautiful enough to captivate your senses. You will be crossing the Namtse La pas, surrounded by giant cliffs, and a dangerous pathway, which can cause ankle twists if not crossed with utmost care. The pass will take about three and a half hours to cross, after which there will be a descent, followed by a brief lunch. As you proceed, you will see magnificent walls on the right side of the gorge, which means that you will have reached Honia. Honia is a beautiful place, nestled amid the protective shield of nature, with stone built yak pens. The place has beautiful gorges and a well-built wolf/bear trap. This journey will take you another three hours. As you cross the Gorge, pat yourself on the back, as you are halfway through your trekking journey! Welcome to the magnificent Zanskar range. You will be able to see the road again as you hit Zanskar. Rest at the campsite in Honia and enjoy the beautiful sight as you prepare for the day ahead of you.

  • 11


    Honia- Zangla (4 hours, Maximum elevation: 3931 meters)
    • Get ready for a trek to Lingshed via Barmila Pass. It will take you three hours to cover the pass, after which you need to make a steep descent. Be careful as the slopes are quite slippery. As you reach the Barmila Pass, you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the snow capped mountains and the beautiful valley with Lingshed Monastery nestled in a corner. After that, you will be moving past the fields and houses to reach Lingshed (4010) meters. Reach Lingshed at your campsite, and spend the night at the camp, with the beautiful backdrop of the monastery and the picturesque view.

  • 12


    Zangla- Stongday (5-6 hours, Maximum elevation: 3500 meters)
    • Soak the fresh morning air in as you begin your trek to Stongday. The stongday monastery is a flourishing Buddhist monastery, 18 kilometers north of Padum. Built in the 11th century, this beautiful monastery houses about 60 monks. The trek will be flat till the Stongday village until you need to climb to the monastery. The climb is a little tough but is worth it once you reach there. The monastery offers a picturesque view for the surrounding villages like Rinam village and Kumik village situated around Padum. Enjoy camping at night near the monastery.

  • 13


    • Today will be a total rest at Stongday, wherein you can explore the Stongday village, and interact with the locales as you try some local delicacies of the place and soak in the culture of the place.

  • 14


    Stongday- Doksa (6-7 hours, Maximum elevation: 4850 meters) (StongDe La Pass)
    • Start your day with an uphill climb to reach the Stong De la pass. It will be a long climb that will take about four hours. As you reach the peak of the pass, you may find some animals on the way. Enjoy an unparalleled view of your surroundings as you reach the top of the pass, and prepare for your descent. As you descend, you will see a beautiful tiny village of Doksa, meaning the shepherd’s hut. It’s the camp where nomads find shelter in during the rearing season. Proceed to an easy descend to your campsite with a beautiful view of the landscape surrounding the site. Rest overnight at the camp before you begin with yet another exciting day of the trek.

  • 15


    Doksa- Shaling (6-7 hours)
    • Get ready for one of the most memorable days of the trek, which includes crossing the sparkling streams several times as you move along the valley. It will be a twenty-minute walk until you start crossing the stream. The water of the stream will be freezing cold, as you begin crossing it. It will take nearly four hours to cross the valley and the streams, and then continue to the camp. Reaching the campsite includes a little climb up the valley. Your campsite, Shaling is a sight to behold, with beautiful landscape and is a quiet place to enjoy its scenic beauty. Rest overnight after a delicious dinner and prepare for the next day.

  • 16


    Shaling- Shaday- Thangtak (6-7 hours)
    • Begin a new day with a sumptuous breakfast and a stunning view of the Himalayas. As you begin walking along the valley, you will be witnessing various landscapes. As you continue your journey, you will come across a river before reaching the Shaday village. Cross the river and you will see a very old movable bridge, which you need to cross. It’s a 45-minute walk after crossing the bridge, and the village is just a turn away. So take a left turn and there will be the Shaday village, nestled amid the beautiful Himalayas. Since the village is deep inside, it hardly receives any visitors. Meet the locales of the village, which will be found harvesting their potatoes and feeding their livestock. As you cross the village, keep walking till you see a tiny family village called Thangtak. Find your campsite along the banks of the river, where you can spend some quality time indulging in a sumptuous meal after an exciting trek.

  • 17


    Thangtak- Phuktal (6-7 hours)
    • Wake up to a chilly morning and get ready for your trek to Phuktal. As you leave the banks of the river for Phuktal, you may spot some snow leopards if you’re lucky enough. After an hour walk from your camp site, you will see Tsarap River. You need to follow the river to reach the famous Phuktal Monastery. You can indulge in the local incense called Shukpa while on your way to the monastery. Welcome to the Phuktal Monastery. An interesting thing about this trek is that you won’t be camping by the banks of a river, or on the mountain, but in a monastery. The Phuktal monastery is an architectural splendor, built in a cave on the side of a soft rock mountain. Built by the founder of the Gelukpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, Changsem Zangpo, the monastery is a beauty in itself. Enjoy your stay in the monastery as you indulge in some classic delicacies and rest the night away.

  • 18


    Phuktal- Anmu (6 hours )
    • Today is the last day of your trek, to the Anmu Village. Pack yourself with some energy as today you will walk along the road that connects Phuktal and the Anmu Village. As you en route your journey further, you will be crossing the Cha Village, a beautiful village with little civilization. After crossing the Cha village, you will reach the Anmu Village, where you will be camping for the night.

  • 19


    Anmu- Padum (3 hours)
    • Today you will be leaving from Anmu Village to reach Padum. It is a three-hour drive, and you will be visiting the Muny Monastery and the Barden Monastery. Rest at Padum and spend the day at leisure. Overnight at Padum.

  • 20


    Padum - Kargil Drive (10 hours, Distance: 250 kilometers)
    • Be prepared for a long drive today as you need to reach Kargil. You will be driven from the Pentze La Pass and the sparkling Drang Drung glacier. You can visit the Rangdum monastery on the way to Kargil. Also, witness the twin peaks at the Nun Kun Viewpoint and drive through the beautiful valley of Suru before reaching Kargil. Rest for the night at Kargil and pack your belongings for your departure to Leh.

  • 21


    Kargil To Leh (6 hours, Distance: 218 kilometers)
    • Wake up early and have a delicious breakfast before hitting the road. Embrace the final day of your journey as you enjoy the beautiful meadows and the snow-capped mountains on your way. Visit the Lamayuru monastery while on your way back and stop over Khalaste to dig into some Ladakhi delicacies for lunch.

      No matter how many hardships you face during the trek, this 21-day journey will be the most adventurous, most peaceful, most enticing and the most inspiring journey of your life. Make sure you soak in every last bit of the essence of Ladakh during the trek and enjoy every moment, as you travel.

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