If you are adventurous and wish to get the thrill of adrenaline-rush, then Chadar trek is what you should be trying for. This will give you a chance to walk on the frozen Zanskar River. This activity is a huge favourite among Indians and travellers from abroad. Meant to be tried 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. The journey will start from Leh and move towards Chilling, followed by a hike to Tilad Do, the starting point of Chadar trek. From Tilad Do, the group will proceed towards Gyalpo and then to Div Cave and the village of Naerak. The trail route from Div Cave to Naerak is considered the most picturesque one and will give you a great opportunity to click some wonderful pictures. From Naerak, the return journey starts that passes Tibb, Shingra Koma, Chilling and finally reaching Leh.
The Chadar frozen river trek is an experience for the brave-hearted and thrill-seekers. The weather and terrain might shake your confidence, 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 01: 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 02: Leh to Chilling (3 hours by road) | Hike to Campsite at Tilad Do (3100 m) (02 km/1 hour)
Get up early in the morning and proceed 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.
Thereafter, drive towards Chilling – the beautiful village, and this ride turns bumpy as you pass by Nimu village, where the Indus and Zanskar rivers meet. Make a halt at Nimu and admire the beauty of the natural environs, besides clicking pictures of the scenic landscape. After spending some time at this place, continue your drive to the campsite of Tilad Do. The drive till Tilad Do 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 de-board from the vehicle and walk towards the campsite, the starting point of your Chadar trek expedition.
By the time you would have walked a little on the frozen ice, the dusk would be approaching. So, you will have to set up your tents quickly and get inside your warm, comfortable sleeping bags as the temperature here drops in a matter of minutes. Keep yourself warm inside the tents and get some good rest before the real journey starts on the following day.
Day 03: Tilad Do to Camp at Shingra Koma (3170 m) (05 km apprx/5 hours)
Get up in the morning and prepare yourself to walk for a distance of 12 km above the frozen river to reach Gyalpo. The leader of the group will give you advice on what to do or not along the way. The thickness of ice on the river is variable, so it would be best for you to follow things said by the guide. Proper hydration is required to keep the blood flowing in the veins, so on the way, you will be given soupy noodles for nutrition.
To reach the campsite in Gyalpo, we will have to trek past Shingra Koma, a huge camping ground. On reaching the campsite in Gyalpo, relax and soak in the views of the surrounding areas. This is the place where there are steep rock faces throughout the landscape and the river curves. Stay overnight at the campsite.
Day 04: Shingra Koma to Tib Cave/Tibb (3225 m) (14 km/8 hours)
After tea and breakfast in the morning, commence your journey for the day to Dib Cave. 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 05: Dib Cave/Tibb to Camp at Naerak (3390 m) (10.5 km/7 hours)
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 06: 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 07: Tibb to Shingra Koma
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 pug-marks 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.
Day 08: Shingra Koma to Chilling | Chilling to Leh
Today, it finally would be the last day of your trekking excursion on the Chadar and so admire the undulated beauty of the Zanskar River. As you head towards Chilling from Shingra Koma, click some final pictures as memories. Finally, on reaching Tilad Do, it would be time to bid goodbye to the locals of Zanskar. On reaching Chilling, drive to Leh and stay overnight at the pre-arranged guesthouse.
Day 09: 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. When is it the best time for Chadar Trek?
January and February are the months when the upper portions of the river get frozen, making it possible for trekkers to walk on it gently.
2. How difficult is this trek?
The difficulty of this trek has two aspects, namely temperature and terrain. In terms of terrain, it is quite moderate while when it comes to temperature, it is a bit difficult since it becomes quite cold here.
3. How cold can it really get during the trail?
During the day, the temperature hovers between 5 and -5 degree Celsius while at night, it remains between -20 and -30 degree Celsius.
4. How long are we required to walk each day?
On an average, we will walk for 5-7 hours and cover 10-12 km every day.
5. Who will be leading the group and who are the people going along with us?
The team will be led by a professional leader, with completed basic and advance level training in mountaineering and is certified in the course of first-aid. Along with him, a local guide, helper, cook, porter and several other staff members would be there.
6. How big are these groups?
Normally, a group of 15-18 people, both men and women. We need 6 people minimum to fix the departure, but for customised trips, the size is not a constraint.
7. Is it safe for girls to come for this trek?
Definitely yes! Security of the girls is utmost importance to us and we create a friendly environment and make them feel comfortable in the group. All guides and staff are chosen carefully, but we recommend that you take care of your personal belongings.
8. What are the things we are required to carry?
Once the booking is made, we would send you a list of all the trekking essentials you need to carry along.
9. What if I cannot carry my own bag? Can someone else carry it for me?
In case, you think you will not be able to carry your bag on your own, then let us know in 15 days advance. We can arrange for a mule or porter, accordingly.
10. What footwear should I carry for this frozen river trek?
Well-made shoes are of utmost importance on trails such as these. We recommend that you do some basic research on buying trekking shoes, which would make your task easy during the trek.
11. How many trekkers are accommodated in one tent?
We provide tents for four, but only three will accommodated in one tent.
12. What is the fitness level expected from all the participants?
Fitness is a requisite for trekking and to know more about the level of fitness one is expected to have for these treks, you can read articles about it on different websites.
13. What food will be served during the Zanskar Valley trek?
Indian vegetarian dishes will be served during the trek.
14. How to arrange safe potable water for the trek?
Even though the water in the Himalayas is considered clean and drinkable, but to be on the safer side, we carry boiled water and tablets of chlorine.
15. What is the arrangement for ground transportation on your tours?
Ground transportation for the tour will be provided in vehicles like Bolero, Max or any other equivalent of these.
16. Will any doctor be a part of the group?
No. However, all the leaders accompanying the group are certified in first-aid pertaining to wilderness and difficult treks. We would be carrying ample first-aid kits and necessary medicines.
17. Do you think I should carry along some medicines with me?
Yes. We recommend that you carry medicines that you think you might need during the tour.
18. Can the itinerary be changed by us?
Depending on the situation, the itinerary can be changed, but the aim would be to coincide the completion of the tour as per the original itinerary. We would be venturing into the remotest region, where many unforeseen events might take place; in such a case, there might be some change in the itinerary.
19. Can the trip be customised?
Yes, if you wish to travel independently, customisation is possible. Cost for private trips is fixed and is based on the group size, trek area, duration and style.
Note : 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.
Hotel Details in leh for Budget Package :
Palace View/ Mount Castle/ Bimla Guest House/ Dolma Guest House
Trekkers will be provided stay in either of these options/ similar
Departure Dates: 12th to 27 January 2018 every day.
Max Altitude: 11,123 Ft.
Approx Trekking Km: 75 kms.
Best Time to go: January to February
We recommend that while planning your travel for the trek, you plan for a buffer day. There could be various kinds of delays either in transit or along the Chadar where sometimes you will find that a section of the Chadar has broken away and you might end up waiting for a whole day for it to re-form. However the buffer day arrangements are not included in the package and will be charged additionally.
If you need a porter service then you have to pay Rs.650 per day provided you book the same with us 15 days before the date of departure and maximum laguage is 10 KG.
There is an additional charge of Rs. 2000 for Indian nationals and 2500 for Foreign Nationals payable directly on site before start of the trek as Trekking fees /environmental charges and ALTOA fee levied by the government. Trekkers are requested to make payment of this surcharge directly at the designated office in Leh on arrival.
1. Accommodation. (Camping) and Leh guest house stay (Day 1, and Day 8 according to Itinerary) on triple share basis
2. Meals while on trek (Veg.)
3. Trek equipments, sleeping bag, mattress, kitchen tent, toilet tent, member's tent(3 person)
4. First aid medical kits and oxygen cylinder.
5. Qualified & experienced trek Guide , Assistant guide, helpers,cook
6. Transport from leh to last Road head and return.
7. Camping charges.
8. Trek Completion Certificate
1). GST @ 5.0%
2). Air/Train fare. Airport pick up and d drop and Meals in Leh.
3). Expensespersonal in Nature. Bonfire charges during the trek.
4). Cost incidental to any change in the itinerary / stay on account of flight cancellation due to bad weather, ill health, road blocks and / or any factors beyond control.
5). Additional night stays in Leh apart from the 2 nights included in the package due to delay in trek commencement owing to bad weather conditions , political turmoil or permit issues.
6).There is an additional charge of Rs. 440 per person as wildlife/environmental charges and ALTOA fee levied by the government. Trekkers are requested to make payment of this surcharge directly at the designated office in Leh on arrival.
Note:- Normally AN expects you to carry your personal luggage on your own. If you don't want to carry your backpack, you can put it either on a mule or use the services of a porter on Rs. 800/- extra per day per bag.
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.