Planning a trip to Ladakh? Once you have decided the places you want to visit and have mapped out your itinerary, comes the biggest challenge before your trip – deciding and booking your accommodation. Ladakh offers a variety of options for this – and while you can easily get on a website and choose from a wide variety of options, Ladakh has something more to offer. Looking for pocket-friendly accommodations, which help the locals as well as the environment, while experiencing the real culture of Ladakh? Here are a few reasons why homestays are better than hotels on a trip to Ladakh:
Local Culture – Up Close and Personal
Sure you can stay in a hotel with grand views and world class amenities. But there is no better way of understanding and experiencing the local Ladakh culture than in a homestay. To stay with the locals who have lived in the place for so many years will give you the real feel of the place. Imagine waking up and going to sleep with them.
Imagine living the life as they do. The people of Ladakh are known to be specially hospitable and friendly to guests, and as you go about the day with them – you will learn more and more about the various nuances of their lives.
From things like how they rear their cattle, how they use the nature and resources around them to facilitate their lives, how and which Gods they worship and stories behind them. These are the things you can never learn staying in a hotel.
The simple pleasures, the struggles that people face living in Ladakh, and everything in between – all this will come together to form that beautiful offbeat Ladakh experience that you’ve always dreamed of.
Local Food – Taste Bud Heaven
One of the biggest pleasures about a visiting a new place is trying out the local cuisine. It is one the critical part of your experience of the place.
And it doesn’t get closer than to have food cooked by the very own locals, to partake in their daily diet. Imagine waking up to the local butter tea (which is a must try on your visit to Ladakh). Interestingly, this tea is served in a very few restaurants and is only found usually at homes.
Throughout your stay you will be relishing various Ladakhi foods which make an essential part of living in the barren desert land. How about some Thukpa in the morning? It is a noodle soup, mixed with vegetable and meat broth if you’re a non-veg lover.
You’ll also get to eat homemade yak cheese. Yes, you read that right. While the yaks are used for carrying around stuff (and will look ridiculously photogenic in your Ladakh Holiday photos) – their milk is used for making this homemade cheese. Which you definitely must try.
You will also get served Tigmo, a local stew which is served with delicious, fermented bread.It’ll help you keep warm in the chilling Ladakh winter. Another favorite of ours in Ladakh food is Skyu, which is a soup based pasta dish.
Every household in Ladakh has a vegetable garden where they grow their own vegetables, and also season fruits like apricots, apples, and walnuts, all grown organically. Eat healthy with this “Farm-to-table” system.
Lastly, it would be a crime to be in Ladakh and not taste momos. While you’ll surely try those out on your Ladakh holiday. If you’re really lucky, your homestay host might make some for you!
Helping the Locals as well as the environment
When you stay in a homestay in Ladakh – you’re helping more than your budget and your pocket. Over the years, tourism has been steadily increasing as a source of income for the locals in Ladakh. By staying with them, you’re helping them to earn direct income, even by paying the minimal amount they charge as compared to hotels.
Moreover, to the locals the place is like their home, so all their efforts are in keeping in mind the fragility of the ecosystem around them. They try to develop sustainable processes for all their needs. So by helping them with money to do so, you are also helping the environment. How’s that for your conscience?
Moreover, the locals are the best tour guide to Ladakh you could ask for. Living in these areas for years, they can guide you to the best places. Think of the unexplored places you could find just by using their knowledge.
A ‘home’ stay is, all in all, someone’s home, and no place can ever replace the feeling of being at home. Which is exactly how you’ll feel here.When you go to a foreign land, it always help having someone who can help you out come what may.
So there you have it – if you needed any more convincing on how homestays are a better option than hotels. If offbeat Ladakh is your thing, make sure to book homestays on your next Ladakh Holiday!