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24 April, 2017

Review: Zen Hotel Ladakh and Leh as travel destination

Most of you who are seeing my Leh Ladakh pictures like these are mesmerised and think that it is a beautiful place to visit. My friends, who are speaking to me have got my real advice and I would like to give it to my readers too. DO NOT plan a trip to Leh. The place is not as good as it appears.

Now talking about Leh Ladakh 

Leh in itself is not such a great place as it appears to be in pictures. The roads are terrible. If you have to reach any destination- say Nubra valley or Pangong lake, you drive for hours on bad roads and bad cars. (Leh does not have four-wheel drive- which ideally they should). You reach a point and stay there for 15 minutes and start your journey back. You can see my video below.

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To reach Nubra, it took me 7 hours and Rs.8000/- by taxi. Because it is a one-way road, in the morning, cars start from Leh to Nubra. Then in the afternoon, cars start from Nubra towards Leh. If one car stops, a line of cars stops behind it. We would drive for 15 minutes and then again stop for 30 minutes. There were no bathrooms etc. Women would be peeing on the roads. After enduring such a tough journey, there in Nubra all I did was a camel ride for 15 minutes (for Rs.200), some pictures on sand dunes and that's it. Overnight stay in Hunder resort and start the journey back the next day.

To reach Nubra, you have to cross Khardongla Pass. which is at 18380 ft. It is the World highest Motorable road. It is a task to reach there. Below are the pictures of what you get to see there. 




We drove 5 hours to reach Pangong lake. I had heard so much about this lake and seen it in movies like 3 idiots. Yes, it is a beautiful, majestic and picturesque lake. But the drive for 5 hours was killing. There you stay at the lake for 15-20 minutes and start your journey back. There is nothing much to do or see there. 
My advice, drop Leh from your list. There are better places to visit. Save your money. Don't go. 
The oxygen levels are very low. Everyone gets sick. People have to get oxygen cylinder at least the first day. Or else take a medicine. You get a headache, nausea, etc. See my picture with an oxygen mask. With the lack of oxygen, you get a headache and loss of appetite. The sun is killing there. You get dehydrated. That is real truth of Leh.  It is a place where you cannot breathe, roads are bad, no place to pee even, food supply is limited, no phone connectivity- few basic needs are not met. Yes, it has beautiful snow covered mountains and people who think they are "adventurous", "toughie", "can rough it out", like to go there. I would not like to kill myself ever again to go there.

Review of hotel Zen Ladakh.

I normally have a tendency to choose the best hotel of the city (not even the second best).
I saw very good reviews on TripAdvisor for Zen Ladakh hotel. It was the most expensive one. So I booked it. And was I disappointed? Big time- I should say.
The hotel has a good infrastructure and location. You see a view of mountains from the room. The reception is nice. But that was about it. 

The bathrooms got clogged. See the image below. The moment, I took shower, the water came up to my ankles. 
Read more under each picture about the terrible hotel.

Most of the times it did not have a wifi. The breakfast and dinner that was a part of my package was not a buffet but could be ordered from a limited selection of ala carte. It did not include starters. They offered to book my hotel in Nubra valley. It was Hunder resort.  I got to know that they charged me double what the actual tariff was. I felt cheated. The taxis have a union there. Hence, a fixed rate card. Sometimes they offer 10% discount on that. The hotel, on the contrary, would charge 10% over on that. Again it was strange for me. The taxis are expensive. The fare to Pangong and Nubra was about Rs. 8000/- each. If I had pre-booked a package for each place, the hotel had quoted me an exorbitant price of Rs. 47,500/- for a taxi for 6 days. So make sure you do not book your hotel or taxis through them. I asked them for an oxygen cylinder. They gave me an almost empty one that did not work for more than 15 minutes (it was supposed to work for 4 hours) and charged me for it.
I was told by each taxi driver and the locals that the hotel- The Grand Dragon, is better and offers better facilities. I went to check it and it definitely seemed better. I regretted not choosing it for staying.
Hunder resort, in Nubra valley, had no electricity, bad shit pots with seat cover smaller than pot, super limited food options, no wi-fi, no connectivity by phone, sleep overnight and start another gruelling, tiring, journey back next day for another 7 hours.




The drains under the sink were filled with filth.



The bedroom was big and spacious and that is why I say it had nice infrastructure.


The toiletries provided were quite sub standard.



Nice view from the room.




Nice reception area





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