Monday, June 29, 2009

The Ladakh Diary - Day 1

This is a detailed diary being written for the benefit of junta planning a holiday to Leh - Ladakh.

You can easily skip the entire series if Leh is not on ur interest antenna.
Day 1:

We got to the airport and then to the hotel. As the taxi drove into the small guest house kind of a place, we visibly groaned. Small just about describes it. The two other guests who had arrived with us were also very disappointed. One of them asked for his money back and the other couple just left. Sure, the staff was very nice and all that, and the hotel has history attached to it, as we later found out. But if its one thing, its HUGELY overpriced. And just like a guest house, hot water is only available in the mornings and evenings. Great website, and maybe if it didn’t over promise, so many ppl wouldn’t ask for a refund. I could go on and on about the hotel, but lets leave it at that.

Day 1 was spent acclimatizing. Which basically meant sitting and reading in the hotel garden. There were some books in the hotel office and I picked up one of them.

Later in the day, we did a round of all the other hotels that we’d considered from Delhi. Here is our feedback:

Our criteria:
1. Distance from hustle, bustle, main roads and crowds. ( we wanted it far)
2. Running hot and cold water.
3. Some comfort would be nice. Electricity backup especially.
4. Warm rooms and decent view.
5. Service and warmth.

Hotel The Grand Dragon: Its situated pat on the main road, and is comfort itself. The rooms look good, the service looks ok, and we have kind of decided on this hotel for our next visit.

Hotel Namgyal Palace: Again pat on the main road, no one’s dream come true. The fittings are cheap and we basically did not like a lot about it. The website gives you views from the rooms, but does not tell you that some of the rooms open into a public patio and that the front of the hotel is on the main road.

Hotel Omasila: Pat in the middle of the market, smaller than a guest house. Am sure that the service is great, because the hotel has got great reviews from people who stayed there.

Hotel Cho palace: We saw this hotel on the fourth day, but since the reviews of all hotels are here, will add this here too. The fittings are not cheap. In fact, the rooms are very well appointed. The service looks ok and the pricing is very attractive. In short, after the Grand Dragon, this will be our second choice. And “Hotel” Shambhala, just doesn’t make the cut of a hotel. This one is on the Airport Road, so while it may not be as crowded as a main road, it is not entirely isolated. However, the village Skara is a very nice place.

Hotel Shambhala: Hugely overpriced. It IS located off the main road. Mr. Wangchook, the manager is warmth personified and was very nice to us and the other guests throughout our stay. He basically made it worth the while to stay there. We decided to continue with Shambhala for the rest of the trip, for its location and for its staff. Really warm, nice people. The hotel itself is not too well fitted. Amenities like running hot and cold water all the time, or power backup, or good rooms that dont look like a budget acco, or Wifi that is reliable, or newspaper every morning, or even a decent view, must not be expected here. What you will get, however, is no noise, clean air, a small garden that is enough for the 25 rooms, some view from the terrace, great staff (and not so great service and food).

End of Day 1.


BK Chowla said...

Very informative.I have planned going there twice,but,I was warned that acclamitising is a big problem.Now,after reading your post...i am ready.

Mampi said...

Yes, Yes yes, i have Leh on my wishlist. Hope to make it next summer if all goes well.
Now I know where to turn to for advice.
GOing to the newer posts now...

Mama - Mia said...


read all of em in a shot and Leh Ladakh is one of them dream destinations. and you shall be our virtual guide when we have the chhutti, moolah and health! :D