Although I am not a travel agent, people apparently try to think I am and want to get Leh’d.
Excerpts from a conversation that might seem humorous to some of us :
Q. Hi Shubham. Randomly saw your ladakh pic n ur website
Can u guide me for ladakh? We r a group of 3-4 people planning to go in June by road.
Reply. Ask specific questions 🙂 (In my mind, I’m like – ladakh’s – L could have been a capital one. You could have randomly googled instead of taking the trouble of typing a personal message)
After a week long delay :
Q. What are the camp rates at Pangong Lake? Cheapest and moderate?
Reply. Stay at a Homestay instead. (I’m thinking, the dreaded Pangong Tso surfaces again – whats that – Cheapest and moderate) Ha ha
Q. Why? I wanted to go camping for a night
Reply. Cheapest and moderate.
Reply. Exorbitant that side
Q. Give me an idea? N suggest a place to camp?
Reply. Google the rates 🙂 (I’m already trying to wriggle out of this conversation) and reply I am a backpacker and have never stayed in anything above 300-400 a night. I only stay in homestays – like a local.
Q. How do you get to stay?
Reply. Go and ask. That’s what I do. (There’s no rocket science involved in that?)
Q. Haha Anyways U were not of much help..thanks!
Reply. Bye. But if you really want to plan your trip – then read up some on my blog. Lots of tips on Ladakh. Travelshoebum.com (I breathe a sigh of relief)
Haha, anyway. Happy travels!
Q. Thats great..thats the essence! Im just gng a lil over budget
Reply. (In my mind, I’m like where did all those words disappear.)
Q. Already at 47k without camping.
Reply. That’s ok. Normal people travel 15-20 days a year. I travel for more than 200 days in a year.
Q. Wtf I hv a 6 day schedule
Reply. If you want a travel agent sort of help – then Jispa Journeys – Sherab Gyaltsen is my friend. If you tell him my name, he is a very nice chap. Google him
(And then I realise and laugh aloud,)… Reply. Oops. Only 6 days (Laughing smiley). Thats too less for Ladakh.
Q. I know…that’s all i cud manage
Reply. I’ve been for months together and yet can’t claim to have seen it all. (Ugh, the punctuation and spellings; I’m already feeling I shouldn’t have replied to the first message – but that would be so rude)
I know il go back again dre Hw r d taxi fares?
Reply. It’s ok. To each his own. The taxi fares in Ladakh are some of the costliest in our country. (I’m beginning to get angry here.)
Q. Like i thot il cover main 5-6 areas.. so how much shud i b expecting?
Reply. Google – taxi rates in Ladakh. The official chart is there on the internet. (What I’m thinking – If you have time to ask me, you have time to google it too. 5-6 main areas of the biggest district in India! )
I’ve never travelled by taxi. Either hitchhike or bus.
Q. But its got no package kinda deal Do dy offer some package deals? The taxi union?
Reply. Gyaltsen is a partner with my Lahauli friend Gombo, he can arrange a package.
No. The taxi union doesn’t offer a package deal.
Now comes the funniest part of the conversation :
Q. Ok N can u tell me what i shudnt miss in my 6 days schedule?
That includes acclimatizing too
Reply. Hahahah, I’m sorry but I don’t advise people to visit Ladakh if they have only 6 days. If I were you, I would just listen to the chants at the glorious monasteries and sit with monks and share food with them. (Although I’m happy to know that someone knows about acclimatising in Ladakh and AMS)
Q. Thats not what I asked. (Mean smiley)
Reply. Ok. Then six days are fine to see Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Nubra Valley, Zanskar river rafting, Magnetic Hill and Thiksey & Hemis Monastery.
(I’m trying to be witty here) And also a small trek can be squeezed in.
Q. Khardungla? Indus n zanskar confluence? (Mouth shut smiley)
Reply. I send a picture of white Khardung La in the winter and write – Nubra Valley comes only after crossing Khardung La. And while you are on your way to the confluence, you can also see some hidden valleys, if time permits.
The other person understands I’m making fun and finally says ‘Thanks for d info (Happy smiley)’ – I am happy not to reply – signalling end of the conversation.
So, I can’t claim to have ‘done’ Ladakh yet, or gotten ‘Leh’d’; but I have carried Ladakh in my heart, always.
To the kiangs that run wild in the Changthang,
and the Shayok that gives greenery to Nubra Valley
while the lamas chant at Thiksey
someone makes a mane wall at Pangong Tso
I eat salt from Tso Kar.
These lines were coined as I sat down and imagined all my time spent in Ladakh.
Check : Photo essay from Ladakh