Mindful Trekking - Tips for Visitors to LadakhIf you are booking a tour or trek in Ladakh, here are some issues you should consider when you are choosing a tour operator. Do they:
- Use local food as much as possible (where available) and give preference to natural foods with minimal packaging
- Partner with local trekking firms
- Use local guides and pay a fair wage
- Work to minimize the ecological impact of their tour groups. For instance, how do they deal with the following issues: Litter, toilet paper and sanitary products, bottled water, used batteries, water (including hot water), human waste, trail care, plant awareness, use of fires, etc.
- Refrain from using generators on treks
- Employ no-trace camping measures and make efforts to 'clean-up' routes and areas that have been polluted by visitors
- Use local campsites and guesthouses and pay the going rate
- Provide clients with information about Ladakhi cultural norms
- Provide clients with some language guidance and information about Ladakh's cultural history and current issues
- Support Ladakhi businesses in Leh (guest-houses, restaurants, trekking agencies, etc.)
- Have small group size (5 or 6)
- Spread their tours throughout the season? It would be good to see groups coming in April/May/June/Sept/Oct to ease the pressure during the summer when Ladakhis are already busy farming.
- Give a proportion of their profits back to organizations working in Ladakh, or projects directly benefiting Ladakhis?
Choosing who to give your business to can be a very complicated decision. Simply asking about these issues will help provide incentive for tour operators to adopt more culturally and ecologically sensitive practices.
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