I’m dragging my feet! Soon it will be time and after a break of 4 years I will finally travel to Ladakh again. The last time I was there was also in winter – January 2019. And since then I suspect that so many things have changed – also in tourism. The tourism figures are impressive:
This is a graph made in October 2022 – the numbers still increased. In any case, Indian tourists have doubled during Corona – and Westerners are only tentatively coming back. New accommodation has been built or expanded and renovated – and prices have gone up. Travelling Indians like to bargain, but they still spend good money on fancier accommodation. Speaking of “fancier accommodation” – on the internet you can now see quite a few boutique hotels that have made very tasteful and high-quality use of local interior and exterior design and materials. I’m looking forward to seeing that in real.
Also, some accommodations have upgraded for winter with heaters, are open year-round and even in the Nubra Valley you can now sleep in the warm. Many homestays are also said to be more comfortably equipped with beds. So there is a lot to look at.
Presumably, however, many things will still be as they always were – for example, the traditional small room stove, the gas heaters and the solar panels for direct hot water in front of the house. As will the jittery nightly trips to the dry toilet.
Besides the accommodations, I suspect another big change is the roads that have been built. Very recent ones are the increased access to Zanskar, but I have no idea if you can drive any of that now. And what all is possible with public transport.
That means I don’t really have a plan for the time. Fortunately, my friend Eva is coming too – we already did a lot together in Ladakh 4 years ago (and before that anyway). And I will meet clients as well.
Besides visiting the changes, meeting friends and acquaintances is definitely on the agenda. In any case, there are many possibilities and the nice thing is: I don’t have to arrange and prepare anything now, everything can be decided spontaneously on the spot! I like that.
A few words about the big plan: I start on 02.02.23 from Germany and return on 25.05.23 – so I have 4 months. The first one I’ll spend in Ladakh, after that a longer time in Nepal is planned and in May I’ll be back in India. That will get its own blog parts. Anyway, I’ll be mostly in the mountains, walking around and exploring. So compared to the previous trips blogged here, there are 2 big differences: 1. I already know some things and suspect that I will experience a lot, but it won’t be phenomenally new and 2. I have quite lots of time available.
And to tease you already a little bit: Between landing in Delhi and landing in Leh, I have already arranged something that will certainly be a surprise for those who follow my travels. I’m quite excited myself to see if it will work out the way I imagine. And these are definitely new things!