Coming back to the trip. Day 5 was the trip to Numbra Valley which we skipped. KC and me were exhausted, we didn't want to travel anymore but just rest. We decided to stay back in Leh. I was ill on day 5 and had half a mind to fly back the next day but the tickets were awfully expensive. The agent worked out the hotel details so we didnt have to pay extra. Unfortunately, our hotel did not have available rooms so we shifted to the next door hotel.
After sleeping all day on day 6, we explored the market. The weather was now hot and we didnt need warm wear. Leh is closest to civilization. It has many, many restaurants. We tried only one and stuck to it throughout. I tried the local food called "thukpa"... it is basically noodles in soup with chicken/veggies... filling and easy to make... but too bland for me. I could not have it after 3-4 spoons. The market mainly has warmwear- pashminas, stoles, shawls, sweaters and a lot of handicrafts. The only problem is the high price. Since many, many foreigners visit here the prices are high. The pashmina sweaters/stoles were more expensive than the ones sold in 'Zara'. I bought 2 leather jackets but whether it is real leather will have to be tested. For example, we came across a shop with some Buddha sign on a shiny cloth. For some reason KC was fascinated by it (I personally did not want to see it in my house) and wanted to buy it. The shopkeeper quoted 4k as the price. He brought it down to 3k. It was still way above our budget and we didn't purchase it. The next day, we came across the same piece in another shop for 2k. I am sure after negotiation we could have bought it for 1k. Those guys would still have made a profit. Another reason for the high prices is that tourists go to Leh only during 4 months in the year. Everyone has other means of livelihood during the balance of the year.
Day 7 was the same... we shopped... walked around... slept... relaxed. We returned the next day after a stop over at Jammu airport for 3 hours.
Some tips if you plan to holiday in Leh/Ladakh:
- Keep the trip short... 3-4 days max. It can get hectic otherwise
- Skip Kargil... fly to Leh directly and start the trip from there. We came across a few people on motorbikes. I know some batch mates who did the trip on bikes
- Loos are hard to come by on the way... be prepared for that
- The roads are deserted... don't expect decent food on the way. Best is to carry packed lunches else you will end up eating Maggi on all days. The hotels mostly served us aloo gobhi/paneer etc. We got really, really tired after 2-3 meals. The driver will know the best places for food
- Carry a lot of warm clothes... gloves, jackets, sweaters, thermal wear, socks, caps etc.
- Pray it does not rain but is sunny
- Places around Leh are famous for river rafting and trekking. An adventure trip is a good option here. I wish we had done river rafting
- If you are looking for a leisure holiday, avoid this place...