Eka Experiences

Sham Valley Trek: A family-friendly adventure in Ladakh

“a delightful village hike and the perfect introduction to high-altitude trekking in the Himalayas”

The Sham Valley Trek in Ladakh is a short and gentle adventure with beginner-friendly features. Starting from Likir village in the west of Leh, the trail meanders through dramatic landscapes in the Sham (lower ladakh) region, while cutting through some of the most charming villages enroute. Traditional, oasis-like hamlets, stunning monasteries, apricot orchards, and mountain passes with breathtaking panoramic views – overall the Sham Valley Trek is a rewarding experience on the road less travelled. It allows people to explore a postcard-perfect, pristine region of Ladakh and immerse themselves in its rich local culture.

With a relatively easy and well-laid trail, multiple accessible motorable points, homestay availability and a shorter duration, the Sham Valley Trek is the perfect choice for anyone without any prior trekking experience. However, due to the high-altitude coupled with multiple pass-crossings as well the cold, dry atmosphere of Ladakh, it requires everyone to be reasonably fit and well-acclimatized. 

This Ladakh trek can be done both as a homestay trail as well as a camping trail and is suitable for couples, small groups and families including children and seniors. It is perfect for those who are seeking a taste of the Himalayan trekking experience in a relatively short time frame without facing extreme altitudes or very challenging terrains. The Sham valley trek therefore is one short and sweet adventure to experience the non-touristy side of Ladakh in its purest form.

Day 1: Welcome to Leh (11,500 ft)

  • Arrival in Leh – Airport Pick Up – Hotel Transfer and Check In
  • Rest, Relax and Acclimatise in Hotel | Meet-up with Team & Trek Briefing
  • Overnight at Leh Hotel

Day 2: Acclimatization Hikes in Leh and Curated Local Exploration

  • Guided walks for Acclimatization in Leh
  • A curated road trip to some of the handpicked sights around Leh
  • Trek Prep and last minute shopping at the markets before your Ladakh Trek
  • Overnight at Leh Hotel

Day 3: Drive to Likir (11540 ft) | Trek to Yangthang (12050 ft) via Phobe La (11745 ft) & Chagatse La (12170 ft)

  • Drive Duration: 50 Kms / 1.5 hrs | Trek Duration: 10 Kms / 4-5 hrs
  • Overnight at Yangthang Village Homestay/Camping

Day 4: Trek from Yangthang to Hemis Shukpachen (11900 ft) via Tsermangchen La (12710 ft)

  • Trek Duration: 10.5 Kms / 4-5 hrs
  • Overnight at Hemis Shukpachen Village Homestay/Camping

Day 5: Trek from Hemis Shukpachen to Temisgam (10600 ft) via Mebtak La (12450 ft) and Ang village

  • Trek Duration: 11.5 Kms / 4-5 hrs | Drive Duration: 94 Kms / 2 hrs
  • Drive back to Leh | Overnight at Leh Hotel

Experience Highlights

1. Oasis villages amidst desolate Wilderness

The Sham Valley Trek in the Sham region (lower reaches) of Ladakh is a short and sweet trail that takes hikers through a strikingly beautiful landscape. 

The secluded villages dotting the route with their lush green, oasis-like appearance appear in stark contrast to the desert-like, barren surroundings. Cedars, Apricots, Junipers and Willow trees along with Wheat and Barley fields help paint the patches of green amidst the desolate arid landscapes.

Yangthang, Hemis Shukpachan, Ang and Temisgam are some of the remote and picturesque villages you will visit on this Ladakh trek. Encircled by mesmerizing rocky terrain with sparkling streams, these pretty little hamlets offer glimpses into the unique lifestyle of the Ladakhi people. 

The traditional mud-brick houses, fluttering prayer flags, and ancient monasteries and stupas add to the unique charm of these mountain villages. Here, the warm and welcoming inhabitants lead a simple and close-knit lifestyle, mostly relying on agriculture, tourism and traditional practices for their livelihood. 

The Sham Valley Trek therefore provides an excellent opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the local culture, witness the undisturbed mountain life, and experience the tranquil beauty of rural Ladakh.

2. The “Baby Trek” of Ladakh

The Sham Valley Trek in Ladakh is often referred to as the “baby trek” of Ladakh. Due to its relatively easy and well-laid trails, shorter durations, accessible nature and comparatively lower altitudes, this Ladakh trek is considered a good trek for beginners. 

It is perfect for those who have a shortage of time, are new to trekking and want to experience the beauty of uncommon Ladakhi landscapes without tackling the more challenging and strenuous trails in the region. 

The Sham Valley trek route is therefore an impressive introduction to high-altitude trekking in the Himalayas.

Despite its relative ease however, let the popular title of “baby trek” not mislead you. It would definitely be a mistake to think that this is just a walk in the park. Although it does offer a less physically demanding trekking experience compared to other challenging adventures in Ladakh, proper preparation and precautions remain extremely essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable trek. 

Avid and experienced hikers might find this ladakh trek on the easier side, but there are certain sections that are steep and may turn out to be challenging for beginners. 

The route therefore requires all hikers to be in a fit physical condition, well-prepared and of course properly acclimatized to prevent any Altitude Sickness issues. 

The Sham Valley trek is suitable for adventurers without prior trekking experience and for families including children and seniors, provided all trekkers are adequately prepared, in good health and willing to make the effort.

3.Likir: The Monastery and the village

Located about 60 km away from Leh town, Likir is a tiny village at an elevation of about 12000 ft. Nestled in the enchanting folds of deserted mountains, it is one of those unfrequented places that usually do not feature in a typical Ladakhi tourist’s radar. 

The charming village is a bright green carpet, with its neatly terraced fields surrounded by brown rugged terrain. The village houses a buddhist gompa of the same name, said to be one of the oldest and most significant monasteries of Ladakh.

Believed to be in existence since the 11th century, the ancient Likir Monastery was re-established in the 18th century and belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. 

The monastery is perched atop a hill that crowns the village. The place offers panoramic views of the surrounding arid landscapes. The main attraction of the Likir monastery is the high statue of Maitreya Buddha said to be gilded in gold. 

The village of Likir is not just picturesque and scenic, but also the grand monastery itself is a testimony of its rich cultural and religious prominence. 

One of the memorable experiences on the Sham valley Trek is exploring Likir’s natural beauty, sweeping vistas, and tranquility of the monastery.

sham valley trek FAQs

There are multiple ways to reach Ladakh. It depends on your preference, your starting point and the season. Ladakh can be reached by both air and road. The most convenient way is to take a flight directly to Leh airport. Alternatively, one can embark on a scenic road trip via Manali or Srinagar highways. Here are the most common methods of reaching Ladakh.

How to reach Ladakh by air?

The easiest and the quickest way to travel to Ladakh is by air. The Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport at Leh, located just a few kms away from the main center of the city, connects it with the rest of the country via regular flights. Leh airport is one of the highest airports in the world. There are a number of flights flying to Ladakh during the peak season and also during the off-season. The flight to Leh offers magnificent aerial views enroute and is in itself a highlight to your trip.

How to reach Ladakh by road ?

There are mainly two motorable routes to reach Ladakh, the Srinagar-Leh Highway and the Manali-Leh highway. The former connects Kashmir region with Ladakh via the Zoji La Pass and covers a distance of around 420 Kms from Srinagar to Leh. The latter option, Manali-Leh highway connects Manali in Himachal Pradesh to Leh via the Tanglang La Pass and Atal Tunnel, covering a distance of around 435 Kms from Manali to Leh. To reach Leh by road you can hire a private cab , shared taxis or board public buses (JKSRTC / HPTDC ). It is important to note here that one can only travel to Ladakh by road between May to September as during the winter months the high passes get blocked and highways are shut due to heavy snowfall.

How to reach Ladakh by train?

You cannot reach Ladakh directly by train as there is no train station in Ladakh. The nearest railhead to Leh Ladakh is the Jammu Tawi railway station. It is at a distance of about 680 km from Leh city. There are a number of trains plying from major Indian cities to Jammu and is well connected with Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.  Upon reaching the Jammu Tawi railway station, travellers can hire private taxis, cabs or opt for state bus services to reach Ladakh.

The Sham Valley is the lower part of Ladakh located towards the west of Leh. The roads are very well connected and it can be reached by public transport or by hiring a private taxi. Some of the major attractions of the Sham Valley region include its beautiful villages and ancient monasteries. From Alchi Monastery, Likir Monastery and Basgo Palace to Sangam Point, Magnetic Hill and Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Sham valley attracts and enthralls tourists from all over. The Sham Valley Trek however takes visitors on an offbeat path to explore some of its remote inaccessible villages. It is a picturesque village trail in the Sham region, providing a glimpse into the traditional Ladakhi lifestyle and culture.

The trek usually starts from the village of Likir, located about 60 kilometers from Leh, the capital of Ladakh.

The Sham Valley trek can be done throughout the year, but the best time with clear pleasant weather is generally during the months of June – August. The time from March-May and September-October is relatively colder but better suited for off-season adventurers. The winter months of November – February increase the trek’s difficulty level due to snow. These months bring their own challenges with extremely harsh temperatures and snow-bound trails that may be difficult to navigate.

The Sham Valley Trek typically spans over 3 to 4 days, covering a distance of approximately 30 kilometers. However, it can be extended further and different routes can be designed based on the participants’ level of interest and fitness levels.

As per our itinerary, the highest point of the Sham Valley Trek is Tsermangchen La Pass that stands at an altitude of 2874 m or 12710 ft.

The Sham Valley Trek is considered an easy high-altitude trek with some steep and challenging sections on the route. It is suitable for beginners and trekking enthusiasts with basic fitness levels.

The Sham Valley Trek is considered an easy trek and suitable for people without any prior trekking experience. The trek however requires a reasonable level of physical fitness with daily average walking duration of about 3 – 5 hours depending on the team’s pace. It is perfectly suitable for families including children and seniors who love to explore the outdoors provided all members are in good health and come well-prepared.

Yes, there are both homestays and camping sights along the trail. The homestays are typical Ladakhi houses that offer lodging, basic amenities and food. They are simple but comfortable stays offering trekkers a great chance to stay with the locals and learn about their local culture and lifestyle. For the camping enthusiasts, the villages on the trail also offer good camping sites to pitch your tents.

Absolutely. Although the Sham Valley Trek is popularly referred to as the “baby trek” by the locals, the route winds its way up above 11500 on average throughout. It is therefore crucial to acclimatize well, hydrate properly and choose night stays carefully. The dry atmosphere of Ladakh coupled with the high altitude nature of the trail may create Altitude sickness issues if trekkers do not acclimatize. It is recommended to spend at least 2 nights in Leh before attempting this trek. Our Sham Valley Trek itinerary includes an Acclimatization day that involves a guided warm-up hike in Leh along with a curated local tour.

For the Sham Valley Trek, it is important to pack properly before embarking on this short adventure. We operate this Ladakh trek offering two options as preferred by the clients: as a homestay trek or a Camping trail. For the homestay trek, you just need to pack your clothing and trek gear. However, if you have a private group that prefers to camp, we can organsie that too. We will provide all the camping gear and equipment including tents, sleeping bags, mats etc. will be taken care of by us. You just need to pack your clothing and trek gear like Trek Pole, Trek Shoes etc. It is recommended to pack lightweight and quick-drying trek clothing, including trekking pants/shorts, t-shirts, Warm/down/thick jackets and waterproof layers/ponchos. Other important accessories like white-brimmed sunhat, UV-protected sunglasses, handgloves etc. Carry personal essentials like sunscreen, personal medicines, and headlamp. We will provide a list of all recommended things to carry and help you pack before the trek.

Travelling to Leh Ladakh is considered very safe for tourists. Over the years, the himalayan region has seen a dramatic increase in tourism, and the local authorities gradually have become very well-equipped to handle all visitors. Due to its proximity to the international border, there are recurring incidents at the China border (LAC) from time to time, but these usually do not affect the tourist circuits.

When travelling in Ladakh, visitors should also be cautious about altitude sickness due to high elevations and plan a gradual acclimatization period. When venturing deeper into the territory, especially very remote areas, travellers must be prepared for challenging road conditions at some places. It’s also essential to obtain necessary permits for restricted areas, be mindful of extreme weather conditions, and carry basic medical supplies. When visiting monasteries and villages, respecting local customs and being environmentally responsible are extremely crucial. Staying informed, using reputable tour operators, and following safety guidelines will help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to this stunning region. Overall, Ladakh is perfectly safe for travel but like any other destination, it is always important to verify the current travel conditions and check for any government advisories before planning your visit.

As we start the trek from Likir and move deeper, a very limited phone network connectivity will be available during the walk. The trail takes you through some of the remote and isolated regions of Western Ladakh. At some spots on the trail including the villages and the high passes, BSNL, Airtel and Jio signals may be available but the signal strength can be weak, inconsistent and mostly unreliable.

It’s important to be prepared for the possibility of no phone network or internet connectivity during all sections of the trek. It’s advisable to inform your family and friends back home about the potential communication limitations during the hiking days. While you may encounter limited connectivity during the Sham Valley Trek, the experience provides you an excellent opportunity to disconnect from technology and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region.

Yes, one can explore the Sham region of Ladakh on a road trip. A trek takes you deeper into the Sham valley to explore some of its remote and secluded villages, away from the main highway. But some of the major points of the region are accessible via motorable roads. The main attractions of Sham Valley are some of its lesser-known villages and monasteries including Alchi and Likir Monastery, Basgo Palace, Saspol Caves, Sangam Point (Confluence of Indus and Zanskar Rivers), Magnetic Hill and Gurudwara Pathar Sahib.


For Trip Booking, Costs and More Details, Please Contact Us:

A personalized itinerary can be crafted based on your group’s interests, expectations, and preferred dates and time duration. For tailoring a suitable Ladakh tour plan just for you, please Call/Whatsapp on +91 8951064013 or mail us at contact@ekaxp.in