The Chadar Trek Experience
Chadar Trek – Something that had been on my bucket list for the past three years, has finally been ticked off in 2020 ! And what an experience it was !
So for starters, the whole Chadar Trek Experience if of 8 Days, where you arrive in Leh on Day 1, and head straight to your hotel to rest and acclimatise .
Day 2 also you rest, and possibly stroll around Leh market, and do your shopping for the Chadar Trek. The best place to get all your supplies at the cheapest possible rates is the New Army General Store in the Main Bazar in Leh.
Day 3 you go for the Medical Check up and finish up with the Insurance formalities.
Day 4 you start your Chadar Trek Experience from somewhere between Chilling and Nerak at a place called Bakula, which takes 2-3 hours by road. This day you camp at Shingra Koma, after walking for 2-3 hours.
Day 5 you head towards Tibb Cave from Shingra Koma which takes you around 6-7 hours.
Day 6 you start from Tibb Cave to reach Nerak again taking 6-7 hours.
Day 7 you start your journey back by first walking for 6-7 hours towards Hotong where you camp.
Day 8 you walk the remaining distance all the way back to Bakula taking not more than 5-6 hours, and you are back in Leh by late evening.
However, in our case things went a bit sideways!
We got done with our medical check up and got our Insurance cards on the 12th Jan 2020, and were ready to start the trek on 13th Jan 2020, but as luck would have it, the Chadar Trek got temporary suspended for two days – ie 13th Jan 2020 and 14th Jan 2020, due to bad weather. The situation was such that the river started overflowing at places beyond Tibb Cave, and a lot of trekkers had to be rescued by the Indian Army.
However, we got lucky and the authorities decided to open up the trek on the 15th Jan 2020, and we were off!
The only limitation was that we couldn’t even go beyond the first campsite Shingra Koma, as the clearance was only issued till Shingra Koma – the first main base camp of the Chadar Trek.
Despite knowing this, we started our trek on the 15th Jan 2020, camped for 2 nights in the freezing cold, and were back after ticking off the once in a lifetime experience of walking on the Chadar formed on the frozen Zanskar river on 17th Jan 2020.
While there were plenty of loopholes in the system, for example – the authorities have started charging a mandatory fees which includes the Environmental Fees, the ALTOA fees and the Medical Insurance. However, the authorities have failed to regulate the number of trekkers going for the trek.
The reality is that in a matter of 1 – 1.5 months, there are 10 to 15 operators running batches every 2-3 days, each comprising of 10-30 trekkers, which ultimately means that, on any day, there are around 100-150 trekkers starting the Chadar Trek. So you can imagine, the heavy footfall on the sensitive Chadar.
Nevertheless, doing the Chadar Trek is a once in a life time experience, which I recommend all the adventure enthusiasts should definitely do, as the whole landscape is so unreal, like straight out of a fairy tale.
So without me taking more of your time, start scrolling down and check out this Photo Blog on the Chadar Trek 2020!
If you are not that adventurous but want to explore Ladakh in the Winters, this 5 Day Leh Ladakh in Winters Itinerary would prove to be of help to you. However, if you want to visit Ladakh in the summer months, this 7 Day Leh Ladakh Road Trip Itinerary is your best source of information and inspiration.
I hope you enjoyed scrolling through these pictures, and if you too are interested in ticking off Chadar Trek off your list next year, get in touch with us at arnav@theETLRblog.com and we along with Ladakh Travel Craft will hook you up.
Hi, I am Arnav Mathur, a hard core foodie and a travel aficionado at heart. Having changed over 8 schools in 6 different cities, every 2 years, since birth, traveling and socializing has been in my DNA. “Follow your Passion and Travel to a new place every 3-4 months and Eat, Travel, Live and REPEAT.”That’s my mantra to live a life without regrets.