I spent nine days at local family-run Tharpling Guest House in Lamayuru, starting from June 10, 2018. Since I planned to stay for more than one week, I negotiated the tariff and got 20% discount. So, I got a double bed room with attached bath for ₹800 per day, per person but I paid tariff for two and half days in advance via bank transfer.
During my long stay, I discovered a few important things about the guesthouse and the owner. One of conversations with Mr. Rigzin Murut whose wife runs the guesthouse revealed that he prefers foreign tourists to Indian tourists because he believes that many Indian tourists are dishonest and waste water. And there is a shortage of water in Lamayuru. Foreign tourists are honest and do not waste water. Interestingly, Mr. Murut is himself an Indian.
I am wondering how he will react to this honest review of his property by an Indian guest.
Tharpling Restaurant: Good Food, Selfie Point, Camping Site
The restaurant affording views of Moonland is approximately 700-800 meters away from the guest house. One has to walk for 10-15 minutes along the busy highway. Sometimes, Mr. Murut offers lift to his guests. In front of the restaurant, a dummy yak -original skin of a yak stuffed with something- doubles as another selfie point after the most favorite selfie point Moonland.
This one-room restaurant serves both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food between 6:00 am and 9:00 pm. The restaurant appointed with cheap plastic furniture has both indoor and outdoor dining areas and a camping site with traditional toilets. Camping costs ₹200 per day, per two-person tent. If tents are bigger, the rate increases by ₹100 per additional person. For example, camping costs ₹300 per day, per 3-person tent.
Besides traditional toilets, the restaurant has a pair of modern tiled washrooms within the dining area and a small television. The restaurant with a cold storage may also serve buffet meals.
I had two meals at the restaurant. Food was good and enough but the menu lacked variety. The menu for the first meal was local sag (green leafy vegetable), dal-a mix of channa and mong-, tawa rotis of white refine flour, and pickles. There was no lemon. Second meal consisted of rajma, aloo, roti, and a quarter plate of salad that had cucumber, onion, tomato, and carrot slices but salad had no lemon. Food was well cooked. An unlimited set meal costs ₹150 per person.
The guesthouse lending itself to the views of an upcoming open air theatre is located near Yung Drung Tharpling Monastery in Lamayuru. The multilevel guesthouse on National Highway 1 (NH1) features seven rooms. Out of which only five have attached bathrooms. Other two have common washroom. The basic rooms are airy, bright, and spacious. Wi Fi was free.
Amenities in Room 301
I was allotted the best room (Room 301) of the guesthouse, according to Mr. Murut. Two walls of the room at the second floor were almost full of glass windows extending from the ceiling to the floor, filling the room with ample natural light. Thin bright green, red, and deep-pink purple curtains blocked the light partly whenever curtains were drawn.
The double bed with mattresses, bedsheets, and thin blankets that were enough for the season when I was there ensured a good night’s sleep. A sofa and a table decorated with plastic flowers were comfortable. An orange velvet sheet covered the wooden floor.
Bedsheets, pillows, and blankets had big and small roses all over. Even wall tiles in bathroom had equally big roses. So, rose was probably the theme of the room.
The room was equipped with electric fittings. When electricity disappeared suddenly, generator was switched on if the man of the house was at home because the woman of the house did not know how to operate it (she told me.)
- Only one socket
- Only one small bulb
- No ceiling fan
- No exhaust fan
The narrow rectangular tiled bathroom was clean and appointed with all basics, including a cloth rod, washbasin, mirror, plastic bucket, plastic stool, plastic mug, and shower. Both cold and hot water were available round the clock subject to the sun as geyser was powered by the solar electricity system. So, on a non-sunny day, do not expect hot water.
Bathroom had a big glass window opposite the bathroom door and western commode. The room window presented a wild rose bush loaded with pink blooms and tall trees of safeda. A white horse painting hung near en suite bathroom door in the room.
The host neither asked for an identity card nor signing the guest register.
My room was opposite big Ladakhi Kitchen that doubled as restaurant and family living room. The kitchen was decorated with photographs. It was equipped with a small television, a fridge, and two sofas with matching tables. The carpeted floor had big cushions, bolsters, and traditional low tables used for meals. Glass windows ran from one wall to another wall. Two walls were without windows because these had shelves. You can buy mineral water from the kitchen.
4 Things I Did Not Like About Guesthouse
1. Drinking Water
Initially, free drinking water was served whenever I requested because I was not using mineral water. But third day onwards, the woman showed me a peach color plastic container that was not so clean. It was placed outside my room. She asked me to collect water from it whenever I needed. But, when I came back in the evening, that container was without the lid. So I never dared to use that water. I got water from the restaurants wherever I had meals.
2. Housekeeping Service
During my long stay, no housekeep (room cleaning) service was provided.
3. Misplaced Pillar
A wooden pillar stood between the double bed and the sofa in the Room 301. Very narrow space on the two sides of the pillar was left. So every time, I had to be extra careful to avoid getting hurt by the badly positioned pillar.
4. Glass windows
The glass windows did not have any grills. So I could not keep them open while sleeping. All sorts of noises from the highway filled the room if windows were open.
Room Tariff (as of June 2018)
Room with attached washroom: ₹1,000 per day, per person
Room with sharing washroom: ₹500 per day, per person
Discounts are available for longer stays.
I may not stay here again.