several: Seed pearls, turqouise and coral neckless
What to buy: In an optimistic hope that a future lady would appreciate a gift of Ladakhi traditional neckless I bought what I myself considered a nice coral/turqoise/seep pearl neckless. I still find it nice, but I yet have to find a lady that fancies it... The learning is that know what thy lady/ies desire/s prior to buying jewelry. But, darn, I still think it is nice. And the quality wasn't bad either.
But so much for a "local product": the turqouise is either from rare Tibetan sources or more mundane Ariziona mines, the coral is from Taiwan or Japan or is a resin/plastic, and the pearls are from China. The cotton thread is probably the only Indian thing about it. But the Ladakhis look absolutely gorgeous with these colors on dark skin/hair. The stuff has its origin in the Silk Road trading in the middle ages and beyond when these items were transported thorugh Tibet/Ladakh.
What to pay: Depends on quality, real stuff can be quite expensive. The best is to consult local ladies and beware of fake coral and turqouise.
- Arts and Culture
- Women's Travel
- Luxury Travel
several: Apricot and silver tea/tsampa bowl
What to buy: I bought myself a drinking bowl with a lid (see upcoming photo), silver lined and made from apricot wood. That was such a nice souvenir, and I am actively using it, several years later. It remains me of Ladakh every day. They come in different sizes, qualities, wood and silver/metal alloys, so take your pick.
What to pay: Depends on the quality of the craft, the wood, metal and size. Not cheap for the nicer ones.
- Arts and Culture
---: BOOKS and CREDIT CARDS in Ladakh?
What to buy: > -is Lonely Planet guidebook enough to have a good knowlegde about the region?
TRY THAT (TREKKING IN THE INDIAN HIMALAYA) FIRST, THEN LOOK FOR MORE DETAILED WORKS WHILE IN LEH IF YOU NEED.
> -are credit cards (Visa and American Express) of any use there, esp in
I DO NOT KNOW, BUT ASSUME THAT MOST UPMARKET HOTELS AND MAYBE THE BEST RESTAURANTS AND TRAVEL AGENTS ACCEPT IT. IN DELHI YOU MAY PREPAY YOUR TRIP ACTIVITIES BY CARD IF YOU ARE DEALING WITH AN AGENT WHO HAS AN OFFICE THERE AND IN LEH.
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
- Adventure Travel
Any decent bookshop: This book in preparation for your Ladakh travel:
What to buy: The literature on Ladakh is generally either the few travelogues and picture-books around or research material.
The key exception to this ruel is Janet Rizvi's book "Ladakh. Crossroads of High Asia" from 1996.
This is a very serious and successful attempt at putting Ladakh comprehesively on paper in a useful format. A bit hefty when it comes to listing of kings' and other rulers' family intrigues, and perhaps not a book you bring with you unless you buy it enroute.
The book really gives you meat on the bone before and after your trip to Ladakh: Geography, history, politics, business, development etc. etc.
What to pay: I bought my copy in Nepal for 872 NPR - about 13 USD.
- Historical Travel
- Study Abroad
Ladakh Art Palace: Jewellery and more
It's a nice shop with a good reputation... unlike most shops in Leh, the goods sold here are either authentic, or clearly marked as "fakes" (for example fake fossile coral, mixed pashminas, and so on). Owners and staff are Ladakhi, which are like a breath of fresh air from the majority of shops run by Kashmiri people. No one here pushes you to buy anything - and the whole experience is relaxing.
What to buy: Coral jewellery and coral jewellery boxes - they were my favourites. Many silver jewels, too and handbags, peace flags, masks... everything. There's also a large selection of pashmina shawls, if you are so inclined
What to pay: Not a lot. About 300 rupess (6 euros) for the jewellery box, and 450 rupees (9 euros) for the necklace (obviously a fake)
not too much shopping in the mountains!
in the middle of the mountains, there is not too much shooping BUT you can take flowers (i have a big collection of dry Ladakhi flowers), and buy some cigarrets in the "bar"!