The cost of the Chadar Trek varies depending on what operator you use. Local agencies often offer a guided trek for as little as US$250 per person (excluding flights). However, for an established western operator you should look to pay at least double this. The trek can be dangerous and finding the right operator is important as your safety should be paramount.
You will also need to factor in flights, equipment, visas, vaccinations and food and drink. Each operator will offer a slightly varying package when it comes to food and drink on your trek.
Visa, Vaccinations, Insurance etc: ~$300-$500
Equipment (buying and hiring): ~$500-$800
Flights to Leh: ~$1,000
Tour Agency: ~$250 – 350 for a cheap local agency to ~$500 – 1000 for a Western trekking agency.
Misc (additional food, unplanned travel / hotels ect): $200
Total Costs: $2,200 – $4,000
Permits are generally included with your trek costs. However, operators will often ask you to pay around US$50 for a wildlife/environment charge levied by the Indian government.
The best time to trek the Chadar Trek is January and February during the peak winter season. This is when the river is frozen and can be walked on (gently).
The Chadar Trek does not operate at any other point in the year.
Yes, the entire area is at high altitude and you’ll want to make sure you arrive several days before your trek to acclimatise to the thin air.
It is important to have a detailed understanding of the risks associated with high altitude trekking and how the body acclimatises. We recommend you read our detailed article on Altitude Sickness and Acclimatisation.
The Chadar Trek is considered to be one of the toughest treks in the Ladakh Region. The trail is cold, icy, often steep and always at high altitude. Only experienced trekkers are recommended for this trek. You will need to be in good physical condition before attempting the route and have a good stamina built up.
The freezing temperatures also make the trek difficult with temperatures often exceeding -20 degrees at night and -10 degrees during the day.
Trekking in the Ladakh region requires a number of essential pieces of trekking clothing and equipment. The Chadar trek however requires some cold weather gear that is often not nesscary on the summer treks.
Many pieces of equipment can be rented or bought in Leh, but we recommend bringing the most important pieces of gear with you. The important thing is warmth. You’ll need a winter sleeping bag (may be provided) and good quality thermal gear.
To help you plan and prepare for your trek we have written a detailed multi day hike packing list.
Trekking insurance is a must on multi day hikes. This is particularly important on the Chadar Trek which is extremely remote. If an accident should occur that requires medical assistance and evacuation you will definitely want trekking insurance that can cover the costs of air ambulance and treatment.
Moreover, it is prudent to have insurance that covers you for any travel related risks, like lost, stolen, damaged or delayed baggage; flight delays and interruptions; and tour operators default.
This article on travel and trekking insurance provides detailed information on what type of insurance you’ll need in the Ladakh Region, as well as provides a quote calculator from a leading travel operator.