Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Kashmir


Day 2-6
Kashmir Day2-6
Mostly entry into kashmir is via Srinagar and Jammu mostly. I think people who want to visit Hindu temples mostly enter through Jammu. If you're more info just the view and snow enter through srinagar airport.
Note as far as I know all foreign sim cards will not work in kashmir (yes even if you have enabled roaming). Even prepaid cards bought outside this area in India will not work. So plan accordingly your meet up with your host / guide. We were lucky that our guide made it convenient for us to contact him.

There is a foreigner registration counter after you pick up your luggage. Registration here doesn't seem strongly enforced especially if you are 'indian looking'.. I'm not sure the reason for registration, likely just for precautionary safety.

Heading back to airport
When you arrived and being driven out likely got world notice a long que coming to the airport. The entry to the airport area has security check points, so plan ample time. Some suggest 4 hours. Here it is something like land border crossing where you have to alight from your car and put your luggage into the x-ray machine and security check. Again this is prior to entry to the airport compound.

All airports in India will require to see your booking and photo ID prior to entry

We checked out two hotels at Srinagar, namely Centre Point and Hotel Royal Batoo. Didn't notice much on tripadvisor for Centre Point but it is definitely value for money. They have central heating which they turn on at nights and in mornings. Noticed even Royal Batoo does not on the central heating in mornings.
If you go for Centre Point suggest get with the breakfast option (and maybe dinner if you don't want to walk out). The breakfast is really good. Try the masala omelette.
Both hotels also have shower heaters (commonly called geezers here).

Choose to visit pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonmarg or all. The most commercialised one with the cable car is xxxx.

Seasons for visiting. The least visited is didn't winter. I guess it's too cold and got can't enjoy the beautiful gardens and blooming flowers. The good thing about visiting in winter is it is less crowded, so you can negotiate better guide and hotel rates. But if you are not local probably do all your negotiations with a good reference on pricing first or pre negotiate with hotels before arrival. Remember got won't have data to check rates online once you arrive.

We got a pretty good driver overall. He owner himself took us around the first few days and did a splendid job. He shared a number of tips to navigate the tourist taps and rates Somehow mid way he deployed his worker to take us around, whose service was just average. So besides getting a good company it is equally important to get a good designated driver.

Interesting either it is hard to get money changers in kashmir or it is not common info. Our foreign credit card and atm card did work at one of the HDFC ATM. Initial try at J&K bank to no avail.

One of the main itinerary for tourist is the boat ride on dal lake. I think it's really worth it if you want to re-live Hindi film scenes. Personally I'd give it a skip of you've have boat ride before.

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