Padum to Shilla Camp:
With multiple stay options, Padum, which is located at a height of 3669 m, is a perfect place to start one’s 10-day trek to Zanskar Valley. Since it is a big town and an administrative centre in Zanskar, it is quite easy to reach the starting point of the trek in Padum via road. On reaching the road to Padum, you will come across a big Tsarap River which is the starting of the trek. From Padum, trek upstream and after that, you will across Mani Wall which is full of grassland. From there, trek further to the river facing Shilla camp, which is the first campsite of the trek. The overall journey takes 1.5 hours.
Shilla Camp to Reru
This route lies mostly on the eastern side. As you go southeast, you will come across a small village called Bardhan Gompa which is carved with prehistoric writings on the stones, indicating that Zanskar was inhibited by hunters many years ago. From there, trek for 2 hours along the Tsarap River to reach Mune Monastery that is located in Reru. The total journey takes about 5 hours.
Reru to Changpa Tsetan
This route takes 6-7 hours to complete the journey. In this route, you have to head southeast along the Tsarap River. From there, the journey becomes rocky and crossing streams get a little tiring at times. The presence of Ichar Village after crossing the stream will be mindblowing. After that, the trekker comes across Pepula and further along the journey, the campsite of Changa Tsetan come into view.
Changpa Tsetan to Purne
Crossing a few torrents and heading east takes the trekker to Ammu Village which is on the other side of the Tsarap River. En route, you will come across the villages of Surle, Kalbok and Zantang as well. Moving further along the course of the river comes across the confluence of Kargyak and Tsarap River which is a pleasant sight indeed. Moving further, you will come across Purne Village which is the destination for the day. It takes about 4 hours to reach the village.
Purne to Phugte to Purne
This trail includes a trail from Purne to Phugtal and then back to Purne. The total journey takes 4-5 hours. Phugtal is a small monastery, which is nestled in a cliff and is famous for its bee-hive appearance. It is also known as the ‘Jewel of Zanskar’ and is located in the remote Lungnak Valley which makes it a prime attraction in Zanskar and is highly recommended to be visited.
Purne to Kargyak
This trek is one of the longest among the treks encountered in the overall journey, which takes about 8 hours. For this trek, trek southeast towards the Kargyak River. Over there, you will encounter a bridge over the upslope trek and this trek continues till a person reaches Yal Village which is 3870 m long. En route, you will also come across Testha, Kuru and Tanse villages.
Kargyak to Shingo La
This requires a person to trek along the Kargyak stream. Staying on the left and walking for further 45 minutes brings the trekker to Gombu Rongjum which is in a monolithic rock form. After crossing this, trek for 1 hour to Shingo La camp base. Overall, it takes 5 hours to reach the campsite.
Shingo La to Ramjak
The stretch to Ramjak includes the highest point in the trek and is located at an altitude of 5050 m. The trek is a very long and you need to cover yourself from the bright sun rays and the gusty wind along the entire trek. The overall trek takes about 7-8 hours which includes 2-2.5 hours to a place called Chumik and then 3-3.5 hours more to Ramjak.
Ramjak to Pal Lhamo
This route marks the entry of Ramjak into Pal Lhamo which accounts for 7 hours of the journey. The journey is entirely downhill from Ramjal which is welcome with beautiful flowers and lush greenery everywhere.
Pal Lhamo- Darcha
This trail marks the end of the journey in Zanskar Valley. Darcha is a small village which comes along the trail of Zanskar Valley. The journey is around 3.5 km long which takes about 3 hours to complete it.