A cheap safe hotel in Kargil, Jammu and Kashmir (JK) Tourist Bungalow II, located opposite Hussani Park, is an old traditional wooden structure facing the Suru River. The structure within easy walking distance of the bus stands, taxi stands, and Lal Chowk is in reasonably good condition. The unmanicured garden at the entrance housed long grass, red and magenta color flowers and bright yellow sunflowers that attracted several nectar collectors. The rooms have tiled bath rooms with western commodes. The big glass and mesh windows let the fresh air and the sun befriend with the occupants and keep the insects at the bay. Small balconies facing the main road laced with the grey waters of the bubbly Suru provide space for (1) basking in the sun and (2) drying clothes because every budget traveler prefers to do own laundry. The first floor has five rooms. The Room Number 1 is earmarked for the VIPs. This is the only room with geyser for 24-hour hot water supply.
I stayed in two different rooms of the bungalow during September, 2017: room numbers 3 and 2.
The bungalow has a basic kitchen managed by Kasim and his assistant. During my first stay, I did not get any food because Kasim was on leave on the first day and on the remaining two days, I was the only guest for dinner. However, Kasim’s assistant served toasts on the first night. They also offered me another option: they would buy food from a dhaba / restaurant.
During my second and third stay, Kasim cooked rice, sabji of my choice, salad, and dal for dinner. An unlimited dinner costed my INR 100, including room service. Sabji and dal were well prepared. But he never cooks chapati or roti. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food are available.
Tip: Do order in advance, at least few hours before the meal time. They will buy fresh vegetables, meat, dal…
Dinner served at Jammu and Kashmir (JK) Tourist Bungalow II: (L-R) Carrot beans curry and rice with salad
I had water from the hand pump installed within the bungalow complex located next to the public library and two schools. Locals also drink from this pump. Initially, the caretaker advised me to buy bottled water. But I wanted to try what locals drink. It was not a disappointment.
Room Number 3
I spent three nights (September 7-10) in this airy bright sunny room on the first floor. The en suite bathroom was clean and bright. However, the flush leaked and the swollen door never closed properly. Since I was the only occupant of the double-bed room, the door was not a big issue.
The bed smelled good. The sockets worked. My stuff, eatables, luggage, and water jug, covered the wooden table whose buddy, the chair, was placed in the balcony. In the night, I missed curtains that were required to block streetlight entering from the big window. This disturbance was too brief to bother me because I was fully spent after a long bus ride. The sleep embraced me tightly and quickly.
Bathroom in Room Number 3: A Pictorial View of Basic Amenities
Room Number 2
On September 17 and 21, I was upgraded to a better room: Room Number 2 facing the VIPs’ room. The flush worked fine. The caretaker provided a half bucket of piping hot water free of cost to freshen up. This twin-bed room had curtains for the windows. The streetlight, therefore, did not dare to interfere with my sleep. It had a dresser without its main part, the mirror. The functional sockets for charging mobiles helped me in connecting with my friends and relatives.
Basic Amenities in Room Number 2
Bathroom of Room Number 2: Basic Amenities
Just INR 400 per person, per day
It is really affordable.
Book the room (s) in advance. Contact Department of Tourism and Tourist Reception Center located in the Main Market, Kargil.
The department may ask you to send a written booking request using snail mail, including speed post. So you need some extra time.
Remember, you may not get the number in the first try. Try again. You will get the number sooner or later.
If rooms are available, walk-in guests may be accommodated.
The staff told me that there is a plan to demolish the old structure and rebuild it. The town has another accommodation, Bungalow I, nearby.
I will stay here again.