Have you ever gone trekking with your family? If your answer is yes, no or both, of course, I do not know. But I know that at least once in your lifetime you should go on trekking along with your family even if it is big or small. Moreover, travel becomes boring sans adventure. So, I am going to tell you about a wonderful trek destination in Ladakh called Sham Valley. It also has another name associated with it i.e Apricot valley because it is the abode of Apricot Flowers that blossom in this valley during the winter months. So, do not forget to eat and bring some juicy Apricots back home.
The Sham Valley trek is suitable for beginners as well as families. Hence, it is often nicknamed as a ‘baby Trek’. This trekking route is located in the Indus valley of the Sham region and you will get a chance to discover rural village life of Sham in Ladakh. Not only this, but the trek also tempts you with pleasurable walks through small mountain passes, shady rackets, vast barley fields, and captivating streams. You may consider this trek as a temporary refuge from the rigors of monotonous modern-day city life.
Moreover, this trek will allow you to acquaint yourself with the simple life of the Indo-Tibetans – cuisine, rituals, festivals, and hospitality. The trek trail passes through the serene villages of Hemis Shukpachen, Temisgang, Ridzong, and Ang and also, offers trekkers a homestay at local houses that are specifically appointed to enable trekkers to experience the unique Indo-Tibetan culture. Enclosed within the barren mounds, these villages spray traditional essence leaving one to step into an enchanting world.
|Duration||07 Days (3 days travel/4 days trekking)|
|Best Season||May – October|
|Trek Length||07 km Gradual | 58 km Steep|
Best Time to Visit Sham Valley
The ideal time to visit this trek is between May and mid-October because during this time, the weather in Ladakh is pleasant and the average temperature ranges between 19 and 31°C in the daytime. Also, the highways leading to Ladakh are open for civilian traffic. This is the time when Ladakh receives the bulk of its tourists. Most highways open up at the end of April or the first week of May. The weather clears up and one can enjoy their trip to Ladakh.
Read more: Hidden Hill Stations In India/
However, July and August are the best months for Sham Valley trek as during these months Manali-Leh and Srinagar-Leh highways are open for private vehicles.
Sham Valley Trek Highlights
Sham Valley Location
Sham Valley Trek is located in Ladakh and is a little ahead of Likir village, towards Khaltsey village. You may arrive at Likir monastery, where the track to Likir monastery meets in between Suspool – Bazgo. The trek is hardly an hour’s walk from the road.
How to Reach Sham Valley Trek
By Road: Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is the main passenger airport in Leh City. It has quite a number of flights that connect Leh with Delhi as well as with few major cities of India. You can opt for air travel and have a very unique and heart-throbbing experience of flying over the mountains.
By Air: It is better if you opt for road travel for reaching Sham Valley. Also, if possible take your own vehicle or else you can rent a self-drive vehicle of your choice.
Most importantly, hire a private taxi in Leh instead of hiring a shared taxi or depending upon public transport because shared taxi and bus would not be the correct decision because there are multiple places to be covered and you may not find a public transport towards these remote villages at all.
Now coming to the route, Leh is connected to the rest of India by two major highways: (NH 1D) Srinagar-Leh Highway) and (NH-3) Manali-Leh Highway. The Srinagar-Leh Highway passes through Kargil and Zoji-La and the Leh-Manali Highway passes through famed Rohtang Pass and Tanglang La. It also passes through the upland desert plateau of Rupshu whose altitude ranges from 4,500 m to 5,500 m.
Itinerary for Sham Valley Trek
Day 01 ( Flight to Leh ):
Take a flight from Delhi to Leh. I would suggest a morning flight. On arrival at Ladakh, take a taxi in order to reach the hotel. Then you can visit the local markets of Leh like the Tibetan market for clothes and the Moti market in the evening. Try to return early from the markets and take proper rest in the hotel.
Day 02: ( Leh – Shey – Thiksey – Hemis )
So, now we are heading on a sightseeing tour to some important monasteries in the area. We will be visiting Shey Gompa, which was once the summer capital of Ladakhi kings; Thiksey Gompa, which is said to be one of the most beautiful structures in Ladakh and the famous Hemis Monastery belonging to Drukpa Order. Then, you may stay at the guest house.
Day 03: Leh – Likir – Yangthang across Phobe La ( 9 kms/4 to 5 hrs )
Try to wake up by 6 am, I know it is difficult to wake up so early when you are on a holiday. Yet, to make your vacation special try to follow some tips. Then get fresh and eat a proper, light and healthy breakfast. Also remember to carry some biscuits, fruits, water bottles, and napkins along with you.
Then, you need to drive to Likir, which is 58 kilometers away and is the beginning point of your trek. Today you need trek to cover a short distance. We will pass through two passes: Phobe La (3580 meters) and Chagatse La (4200 meters). The village of Yangthang is across Chagatse pass. Then you shall camp at Yangthang for the night next to a stream.
Day 04: Yangthang – Hemis Shukpachan across Tsermangchan La ( 8 km 2/3 hours )
Your trek for today will be quite easy, despite the fact that it involves climbing up to a pass. The good news is that both ascent and descent will be on gentle slopes. You will trek to the north, dipping down a bit and then crossing a stream ascending west to Tsermangchan La (3900 meters). Then you will have to climb down to Hemis Shukpachan after crossing the pass. There are several captivating streams bordered by shady willows and large barley fields.
Day 05: Hemis Shukpachan – Ang across Mebtak La ( 10 km/ 3 hrs )
Again a fairly easy trekking day as well. Today you will have to trek upward between two hillocks in the west of the village located upwards until it heads south and ascends up to Mebtak La (3750 meters). Moreover, this valley is marked by prayer flags. Then you will have to proceed further down the gorge to Ang from the pass. Ang is a village with beautiful apricot orchards. Then you can camp at Ang for overnight stay.
Day 06: Ang -Temisgam and Nurla ( 8 km/ 3 hrs ) – Leh
On the last day of the trek, we will go for an easy trek downhill all the way on the main road. There would be a taxi waiting at Temisgam. This taxi leads us to Leh.
Day 07: Leh – Delhi
Now, your trip has not got over. You still have to reach your home. So, reach the airport in time to catch the flight to Delhi and also, for those who have come by road, I wish you a safe journey ahead.
I know you must be feeling quite tired and also sad at the same time because your trip has now come to an end. But I hope you enjoyed the trip to Sham Valley and wish you all the best to keep on trying new treks. Gradually you can increase the level of your treks and what if one day you may go trekking to Stok Kangri pass which is the highest trek in India.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) for Sham Valley Trek
When should I book for Sham Valley Trek?
You should book Sham Valley trek two-three months in advance so that you get an ample amount of time to prepare for the trek.
What is the minimum age required for Sham Valley Trek?
Sham Valley trek is an easy trek with a maximum altitude of 12300ft (3750m), so the minimum age required for this trek is 10 years.
What kind of shoes will be required for this trek?
Trekking shoes with good ankle support are a must for any trek in the Himalayas. Quechua Forlclaz 500, Hi-Tec Colman and Salomon are the ideal shoes with value for money.
Which vehicles are used for transportation purposes?
Most of the Himalayan roads towards the trek are rugged, so a vehicle with best ground clearance like Mahindra Bolero, Scorpio, Safari Dicor, Tata Sumo ,etc are used for transportation purposes.
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