Sham Valley trek, Leh

Well, I’m back from my first trek in Ladakh with the blisters to prove it.  I’ve walked through the Sham Valley, starting at Likir and finishing at Tia, aided and abetted by the fabulous Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company.

The scenery was entirely unbelievable, like something from a different world.  Vast, arid mountains interrupted startlingly by bright patches of green at each village we visited.

View from Tia Monastery

Between Likir and Yangtang

Stones marking our path

Windswept and happy at the top of a mountain pass

We stayed overnight in homestays which was really fun, helping to shell peas and make pasta in the farmhouses by the fire before crashing out on mattresses under lots of blankets.  My Ladakhi homestay vocabulary is coming on a treat: I can now say “hello”, “goodbye”, and “thank you”- admittedly all expressed by one very useful word, “Julay” – as well as, crucially “mmm, the food is delicious” (“Ma zhimpo”).

Homestay in Yangtang

Homestay accommodation

Cooking dinner after a hard day trekking

We also visited several Buddhist monasteries en route, many of which were in truly spectacular locations with the mountains forming a backdrop to ancient prayer wheels or brand new gold statues of Buddha.

Gate to Temisgang monastery

Tia monastery

Prayer wheels at Likir monastery

Statue of Buddha at Likir monastery