Leh and Ladakh are two beautiful tourist destinations in Kashmir, and everyone must visit them at least once in their life. Also known as the Himalayan desert with the brightest blue skies, mesmerizing roads, pristine snow-covered mountains, and clearest lakes, Ladakh alone uplifts Jammu and Kashmir tourism by 80% in the global travel landscape. It is also a trek-friendly place in Asia, with hundreds of trekkers and mountaineers visiting Kashmir from around the world every year.
While we have seen only the pretty sides of Ladakh, there are downsides to this Himalayan place, which you may never come to know until you visit. Therefore, to prepare you for your most incredible trip, we have compiled dos and don’ts in Ladakh that will come in handy when you visit Jammu and Kashmir.
Dos and Don’ts When Travelling to Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir
While Leh-Ladakh attracts hundreds of tourists, adventurers, and trekkers each year, improving employment opportunities, its distinctive features and beauty have also brought bane with its boon for the people. For instance, the modernity and rise in Jammu tourism have dramatically impacted the environment. Deforestation, water scarcity, a massive amount of garbage, etc., continues to overwhelm the balance of this place.
Therefore, to maintain the sanity of Leh-Ladakh, the Jammu and Kashmir tourism department has introduced the concept of sustainable tourism, which urges tourists to choose an eco-friendly, inexpensive, and meaningful vacation to respect and treat the fragility of the environment.
Let’s read what you can do as a tourist.
On average, a tourist spends around 75 liters of water per day compared to 21 liters per day for a local. With less than 100 millimeters of rainfall annually, Ladakh is facing an acute water shortage. Climate change is not helping either, as it is making glaciers recede faster. So, try to use little water when you are here and save the environment.
Don’t Use Plastic Bags and Bottles
Every year, around 30,000 plastic wastes, like plastic bottles, packaged foods, and food disposables, are dumped in the city garbage every year. On average, a single tourist trashes five bottles per day. Ladakh’s waste management infrastructure cannot handle such a massive amount of waste generated. Besides, there’s no facility for recycling too. Therefore, as a tourist, it is recommended to avoid buying plastic bottles and carry eco-friendlier options like steel bottles. There are plenty of clean water sources where you can refill your water cans. Try to eat local food from local eateries instead of processed and packaged foods.
Stay with the Locals
Homestays in Ladakh not only offer comfortable lodging, delicious local foods, and a different cultural experience, but they are also less expensive compared to hotel stays. Besides, there is one greater advantage here: you support the villagers financially and also improve sustainability, as big hotels produce more waste than guesthouses. Most of the produces and supplies used by the villagers are organic, which contributes to the local economy. The hospitality of the people of Ladakh is highly revered. By staying with the locals, you get an opportunity to live in traditional houses, experience village life to its full glory, and ultimately promote environmentally-friendly, low-impact Jammu tourism.
Do Not Disturb the Wildlife
The Himalayan range is home to fascinating wildlife, such as brown bears, snow leopard, ibex, marmot, antelopes, and beautiful species of birds and trees. But the harsh conditions, industrialization, and poaching have made them scarce and endangered. Wildlife tours in Ladakh can help the Jammu and Kashmir tourism departments to protect the wild animals.
While we encourage you to book these tours, do not try to invade the animal’s natural habitat. For instance, feeding them with packaged foods will make the animals dependent on you, which could be dangerous during winter when they are forced to leave the wild in search of packaged foods. Similar incidences have been happening with the marmots.
There are other things you can do to preserve the vastness of Ladakh, such as promoting traditional products, shopping in local stores, avoiding scribbling on the monasteries and walls, using shared taxis to reduce carbon footprint, respecting their sober and humble culture, and volunteering with an NGO.
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