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Bernie Schmieding - Home Travel Kitesurfing Gallery Personal
Ladakh prayerflags



The first thing I noticed about Leh was the friendliness and the word 'juley' (pronounced joo-lay) which means hello. You hear this word everywhere. If you enter a shop, leave a Tibetan restaurant or just meet some local on the street. It has several meanings as the mentioned hello, goodbye, please and thank you.

Leh Palace

Ladakh is an adventure paradise and Leh is the central. Whether you want to do river-rafting, camel-safaris, trekking, mountaineering or organise day-trips to lakes, high-passes and monasteries, here you'll find it all. It is useful to ask the tour operator of your choice if he is a member of The Travel Agents Association of Ladakh. Leh is on 3505m altitude and it is wise to acclimatize for at least 3 days after your arrival. So take your time. Several good restaurants in Leh cater for a big variety of food.

If you stay at the recommended Sia-La guesthouse the Fort Road with its lots of restaurants, internet-facilities and all sorts of shops is nearby. I found out that the safest, most delicious and actually cheapest way to eat is whether at Tibetan or local Ladakhi restaurants. On Fort Road I can recommend the Lamayuru with its outstanding Indian cuisine, Tashi Delek where you can get the most delicious fried potato momos and Little Italy an Italian has very tasty Pasta al forno. Avoid the pizzeria Il Forno on Main Bazaar. After I ate Lasagne here I had to go straight to hospital next morning and lay down the whole day. Food-poisoning. It took me a couple of days to recover. When I went to the Pangong lake I met a norwegian couple and they had problems there as well.


For the whole time being in Ladakh I stayed in Leh. It is very convenient to choose Leh as a base as many other smaller villages do not even have a single guesthouse. You can take your time, stroll along the markets or dive into hundreds of great books in the excellent book-shops. You will find Leh as very special place and should you decide to shop till you drop in a book-store, no worries mate, it is possible to send all your books home. This is cheap and I paid 1200 rps postage for 25 books from India to Australia.

Leh family

Visiting monasteries around Leh can easily be done by local bus. The are very cheap compared to organized tours or shared taxis and most of them are max. 2 hours away. Spituk, only 25 min away from Leh is a great place to go to the Indus River with its green fields and millions of dragon-flies. Mules and cows are on the paddocks near the river and local kids are always keen to have a picture with a digital camera taken. I've been invited by a Spituk family which I met in the fields and these here are very hospitable people in Ladakh.

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Woman on the way to market


Spituk gompa