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Review: Shakti Himalaya

Travel Service - Tour Operator/Travel Provider

Gurgaon, India

Very high levels of customer service and an excellent holiday

  • By SilverTraveller ESW

    2468 reviews

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  • Jun 2011

169 people found this review helpful

We spent 12 days in Ladakh arranged through Audley Travel in UK. They use Shakti Himalaya for all the arrangements in Ladakh.

As well as general sightseeing holidays for people like us, Shakti also arrange personalised, small group adventure holidays covering trekking and kayaking in Kumaoni, Western Himalays, Sikkim and Ladakh.

We were very impressed by the service provided by Shakti. They have a strong commitment to responsible tourism and supporting the local communities. We can whole heartedly recommend them.

This is the expensive end of travel with our own car and driver and guide. In fact we had two guides, Stanzin who is Ladakhi and Mark who was on his first trip to Ladakh. The rapport with a guide is essential for a good trip and we were very lucky. Both were excellent with a sense of humour and spoke very good English. They were very attentive to our needs, including making a special trip to a pharmacy at the end of the long day to Pangong Lake to get some some travel sickness pills for me. They willingly answered all our many questions and if they didn’t know an answer went out of their way to find one for the following day. They flexed the itinerary from day to day to suit our needs and to make sure we did not get too tired with the altitude.

They arranged for us to watch the cows being milked at Stok, have a cookery lesson at Nimoo and visit the local school in Nimoo. We were taken into the office in Leh during the trip to use their internet and pick up emails. Apart from the hotel in Leh we did not have internet access during the trip. We met the office manager who was very concerned to find out how the trip was going and to check we were happy with all the arrangements and our guides.

Our holiday was all inclusive and Shakti kept us well supplied with bottled water all holiday. Apart from postcards and gifts we didn’t need to spend anything.

Shakti rents village houses for the summer months in Stok, Shey, Nimoo, Taru and Likir. These have been renovated to a very high standard and en suite bathrooms installed.

We stayed in the houses at Stok, Shey and Nimoo, and I have written a more detailed description of the houses in the reviews for each village. Where there was no Village House other arrangements were made which included the Grand Dragon in Leh, Nubra Organic Retreat at Hundar and Alchi Resort.

The house owners owners move out for the summer and Shakti bring in their own staff and cook to look after guests. There are usually 3 or 4 staff per house, including a cook.

The houses have 2 or 3 bedrooms, although Shakti only let a house to one group at a time. As there were just two of us, this did make it more expensive.

Each of the houses is very different and some, like Shey are quite old. We enjoyed seeing the inside of a traditional house and spending time in them. It had all the advantages of living in a traditional building but with all mod cons.

In some the ground floor still houses the animals and is used for storage. In others, the animals are housed in separate sheds.

Above is a large kitchen which was the main living area for the house, especially in the winter. Some houses still have the traditional wood burning stove although all cooking is now done using gas. The walls are lined with shelves displaying metal cooking pans, jugs, ladles and plates. We ate our evening meals here. The living quarters for staff were on this level.

Above are the bedrooms, usually arranged on three sides of a square patio area which had tables and chairs. Breakfast and lunch was eaten here, except at Stok where a table was laid up in the orchard for us. The is a lounge for guest use and the family shrine is also here. Some houses had access to the roof where there was a canopied lounging area which gave marvellous views across the countryside.

Bedrooms were simply furnished with hanging area, chest of drawers and huge, very comfortable bed with and soft, puffy duvet and pillows. Every night someone would turn down the bed and put in hot water bottles. The bathroom had shower, toilet and wash basin. Water was provided by an outside wood burner and could take a long time for the hot water to reach. There was a full range of locally made toiletries provided. The lip salve and hand cream were excellent. There was a plentiful supply of thick towels, which were changed every day.

When we arrived we were always greeted with a cold damp flannel to clean up and a fresh fruit drink. Food was excellent.

We had a couple of picnic lunches when the house staff would arrive and set up table and chairs in an orchard and serve a meal. We could get used to this life style!

The pictures of our holiday are here

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