Chadar trek is one for the adrenaline-junkies that like to go all in or all out. This trek will give you a chance to walk on the frozen Zanskar River. It is a huge favourite among Indians and travellers from abroad. Meant to be tried only by seasoned professionals, Chadar river trek is about endurance, focus and fitness.
The beauty of this region attracts a lot of visitors, but its harsh and deserted environment is quite demanding. On a Zanskar Valley trek, you would meet the locals and understand their way of living in one of the most uninhabitable regions in the world; some locals stay in the camps alongside the banks. Meeting with these locals who sustain a challenging lifestyle or a livelihood in these conditions is sure to charge you up.
The temperature, in general, is twenty degrees below the freezing point and sometimes goes even further below. So, one should try to generate sufficient body heat by walking over sustained periods of time. Lastly, although investing in durable footwear is advised for all treks, this one highly demands it.
The Chadar frozen river trek is an experience for the brave-hearted that seek thrill through responsible eco-tourism. The weather and terrain might shake your confidence a bit but if you can surpass that then the journey to this land will be the most enrich experience of your life.
Know more about Trekking in Leh Ladakh.
Day 1: Arrival in Leh (3500 m)
Leh, which lies at an altitude of more than 3500 metres above sea level, is the second largest district in the country. In winters, as most passes leading to Leh are closed, you will be flown to the Leh airport which has the distinction of being the highest airport in the world.
As soon you land at the airport, you will be greeted by dry and cold air, but what will take all your attention is the lofty, snow-capped mountains all around; a sight that will remain with you forever. After completing the arrival formalities and picking up your bags from the baggage counter, take a taxi and proceed towards the pre-arranged hotel. Enjoy an overnight stay in the hotel.
Day 2: Acclimatization Walk in Leh
Get up early in the morning and begin the process of acclimatization at high altitude. Proceed to walk towards Shanti Stupa, a sacred Buddhist stupa, from where you will get an opportunity to witness a beautiful view of the sunrise and a panoramic sight of the town of Leh.
Stay hydrated as you spend your first day of the trek in Leh.
Day 3: Getting a medical check-up at SNM Hospital
Due to the challenging nature of this particular trek, government has made it mandatory for participants to acquire medical certification before they undertake Chadar trek. A clearance certificate upon a medical check-up will be issued by the Sonam Narbu Hospital. One will get a certificate only when adequately fit and acclimatized for the trek.
Day 4: Shingra Koma and Somo Paldar
Enjoy tea and breakfast in the morning and start your journey by driving to Shingra Koma. This ride is not for the faint-hearted as bumpy roads and hairpin bends are quite common on this route. The sight of the surrounding high mountains will give you a sense of awe. After a point, you will have to deboard from the vehicle and trek towards Somo Paldar campsite.
Your Chadar trek expedition starts here.
Day 5: Trek to Dib Cave/Tibb
Today, you will set out to trek to Dib Cave/Tibb. During the day, you will behold the breathtaking beauty of the region including ravines and gorges. You might not see sunshine properly as the steep cliffs in this area obstruct them. Once you reach Dib, you will see a large cave. This is the place where you will halt for the night and rest. Butter tea would be offered and we recommend you to try it. Enjoy overnight stay at the campsite.
Day 6: Dib Cave/Tibb to Camp at Naerak
Today, you will trek the most scenic part of the region and get a chance to witness the largest frozen waterfall and prayer flags. The bridge built next to the site of the waterfall is used in summers to reach Zanskar from Leh. Thereafter, you can proceed towards the village of Naerak to mingle with the locals and understand their way of living. Stay overnight at the village camp comfortably.
Day 7: Naerak to Tibb
On this particular day, start your return trip and proceed towards Tibb. The return trail would not be easy and the river quickly reacts to any change in the temperature. By now the frozen river might have taken an entirely new form. On the way back, admire the beauty of the region, click pictures and meet locals, who can be seen wearing traditional woolen Gonchas (robes). Upon Dib Cave, relax and stay overnight at the campsite.
Day 8: Tibb to Shingra Koma & Back To Leh
In the morning, get ready to leave Tibb and proceed towards Shingra Koma, crossing Gyalpo. The trail today will give you a chance to witness high mountains and pugmarks of wild animals like snow leopards, ibex and foxes. If lucky, you just might spot a leopard; even if you do not, then at least be sure, you would be watched by them.
In the evening, drive back to Leh and stay overnight at the hotel.
Day 9: Departure from Leh
Today, the mesmeric journey to one of the finest scenic destinations of India will ultimately come to an end. The entire experience, we are sure, would give you an unmatchable feeling of achievement and satisfaction. In the morning, check-out from the guesthouse and depart from the Leh airport.
1) What is the best time to go?
January to February is the best time to go on the Chadar trek, because this is when the Zanskar River has frozen up and is considered safe for walking across it.
2) What are some of the best features of Chadar trek?
Marked as one of the most unique treks of country, Chadar trek exhibits a beauty nowhere to be found. The extreme climate, the ever-changing weather, sledges, walking on ice with water underneath it, the frozen waterfall view, and camping near the frozen river will give you the experience of a lifetime, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The supreme beauty that you will find on every step of the frozen Zanskar River Trek will make you wish the trek never ends.
3) How fit do I need to be for going on the Chadar Trek?
You need to be reasonably fit to undertake the Chadar trek as you will be facing long walks on glassy terrain. However, the trek is not very challenging as you will have to walk straight on a frozen river and not on an inclined path. You will need to learn penguin steps when on Chadar trek. Cardio exercises for half an hour, 2-3 times a week will be a good place to start.
4) How are the weather conditions on Chadar Trek?
Dealing with low temperatures is what makes this trek challenging. Temperatures vary between +5 to -5 degrees during the day and -20 to -30 degree during the night. The oxygen level is really thin, as the onset of winter brings harsh weather that causes temperatures to go below freezing point.
5) How long I have to walk on the frozen Zanskar River?
You will have to cover a distance of 10-15 km daily that will take around 5-7 hours. Initially, you will have to walk slowly, as walking on frozen river takes some getting used to. You will walk slowly, taking penguin steps and as you get the hang of it, you can easily walk without much hassle.
6) What kind of shoes should I buy?
We recommend that you have trekking shoes which are waterproof and have high-ankles, as your shoes might get drenched while walking on the frozen river. You can also buy gum boots from the local market in Leh, which would be helpful when crossing stretches of the river that are not frozen.
Approx Trekking Km:
Best Time to go to Chadar Trek:
January to February
In case the Chadar is not formed your local operator shall offer you the alternate trek for same duration. If a trip must be delayed or the itinerary changed due to the following events, then the cost of delays and/or other changes are normally the responsibility of the participant.
If Minimum group strength is not met, we have the right to cancel the departure.
Should you wish to customise the trip as per your preferred date, separate charges will apply.
Itineraries are based on information available at the time of planning and are subject to change. Tour operator reserves the right to change expedition dates or itineraries as conditions warrant.
You need to bring the Medical certificate from your respective city
Chadar Trek is surely going to be one of your most thrilling experiences of a lifetime. So, get ready for this exhilarating adventure and bring back home some embraceable memories. Cherish each and every moment of this trek and also share your amazing stories with the world
Wildlife Department Fee Structure:
1. Wildlife Department permit @ Rs. 2,200/- for foreigners
2. Wildlife Department permit @ Rs. 2,000/- for Indians
3. NO fee will be levied for Guides/ Cooks / Porter - Wildlife Dept issued a circular in this regard.
4. ALTOA will provide Adventure Insurance and Medical Check-up at Leh @ Rs. 3,000/- per person
It was amazing. Your management was very good. The best thing I liked about the trek was the people there. The guide, porters, their work as at the top, without them we couldn't trek.
Being an adventure enthusiast, Chadar trek had always been on my bucket list. But it wasn't until February 2018 that I ticked this off my list, and I am extremely proud of myself for completing it. The trek was challenging because of the below freezing temperatures, but kudos to the trek leaders, porters, cooks and organisers, who kept the camp running like a well-oiled machine. The trek leader especially kept me motivated throughout the entire trek. I couldn't thank them enough for their sheer efforts. A hearty thanks to Adventure Nation for fulfilling my dreams. I had the time of my life!
I saw the pictures of the frozen Zanskar river on a Facebook post by Adventure Nation, and I was awestruck by its beauty. I have always wanted to have an experience of this kind, so I enquired about the Chadar trek. I booked through Adventure Nation itself-which was an incredibly smooth process, and then started packing to leave for my epic adventure. The trek leaders were quite knowledgeable about the do's and don'ts and guided everyone cheerfully and patiently through the challenging terrain. All my tiredness was over when I saw Zanskar River with my own eyes. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the frozen river with the high mountains in the back drop. I had a phenomenal experience on this trek, and would recommend Adventure Nation to everyone!
The Famous Chadar Trek-what a paradise on Earth! Whether it's the trail, the high mountains surrounding you, or the frozen river, the entire trek keeps you on your toes with excitement. Walking on the frozen river and viewing the frozen waterfall were the best highlights of my trek. Whenever we camped, I was really pleased with the arrangements that had been made. And to put a cherry on the top, the hot food made by the cooks was a blessing. The trek guides were very responsible with the team, giving us time to acclimatise. The trek was amazing, and I am happy to have booked with Adventure Nation.