A guide to being a Snow Bum.....Gulmarg Style PART #1

"So where are you going to live???"

So last time I promised you some insider info on how to perform the unthinkable; do a season without actually working! We’ve already covered the fact you’re not a secret millionaire because if you are then doing seasons is too easy! You know you have to get yourself to India, up to Kashmir and to a place called Gulmarg. That’s relatively simple and with your ability to sleep in airports, train stations and street corners; your travel costs will be very low. First insider tip; if you are not getting picked up and driven directly to Gulmarg, beware the touts. They will try and get you right from the off. I’m not going to give too much away because it ruins the travel experience. All I’ll say is there are cheaper ways of getting up to Gulmarg than you might first be told!

One of the cheaper ways of getting to Gulmarg!

Okay, so you’ve arrived. The next thing you’ll need to do is figure out where the hell you are going to stay! A full season here is all about location, location, location. Holiday makers and lazy folks will go straight for the gondola side of the village. That’ll be mistake number one. While it is clearly advantageous to be close to the gondola if you are in for the long-haul you’ll want to be on the market side of town. Why is that? Well it’s pretty simple. The accommodation is cheaper and you are far closer to the other things that make life more affordable.

I love living in the market. It’s got a lot going for it. The biggest worry people have is the 1.5km  walk to the gondola. Now, there are many ways of getting to the Gondola not just your legs, so it’s no real "biggy". As I mentioned before this is a guide not a full blown expose! Plus, it’s an amazing warm up for the days shred ahead. Also, on the days that it is actually puking so much the gondola is closed, you’ll really appreciate it. (I’ll say no more!) But I’m getting ahead of myself. You’re still standing in the village getting touted by numerous ‘hoteliers’ offering you the best rates in town. 

If you live in the Market you will now this road well
by the time spring arrives.

Okay tip two; HAGGLE. You’ve got time, you’re here for a few months. Use that to your advantage. In my experience the locals would rather have a guaranteed income for a few months than have an empty bed for two nights! You have a few options on the market side of town. I highly recommend you start at "New Mount View Backpackers Paradise Inn". While it definitely wins the prize for the most convoluted name in town, it is an absolute gem. Tariq, one of the owner’s, is a fair and friendly guy. His English is exceptional and the last time I stayed there I could not fault him one bit.

If you can’t strike a bargain there, then wander around and chat to people and see what is going on. Bargain hard and don’t be afraid to walk away. Perhaps you could make friends with another traveller and go searching for a room to share. Or if you have a room already try renegotiating when you do find a partner in crime. If you can’t get the price to come down then try and squeeze something out of them. Say a free breakfast; just make sure you confirm what the breakfast will be. You don’t just want a cup of tea and girda! In my mind you don’t ask you won’t get.

Can’t face the harshness that can come with the cheap side of town? At Di5 Adventures both the hotels we use are very close to the gondola, centrally heated and have back-up generators for when the power goes off! Contact us for package details at www.di5adventures.net