To be honest we were a little disappointed with the rest of Kashmir. Gulmarg and Sonmarg are described as the “Switzerland of India” but I really couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. Yes, they have snow clad mountains, yes they have pine forests but that’s really where the resemblance ends. What really lets it down is the development of tourism – it hasn’t been done very tastefully. It’s a shame because you have this beautiful valley but it’s all scattered with ugly hotels. It’s all a bit tacky really. Hordes of Indian tourists roam around here, all dressed up in rented snow suits and pimp fur coats.
We found the driving in Kashmir to be some of the worst we had seen in all of India. It was really aggressive and careless, many people would drive up the side of us and start talking to us and wanting us to pull over all the while stopping traffic behind them and almost causing us to have an accident.
As a woman, I personally felt rather uncomfortable in most places in Kashmir. It is very obvious this is very much a male-dominated muslim society and even when I was fully geared up in my motorbike clothes the looks I would get from young guys definitely had a sexual undertone. On top of that no one spoke to me, it was like I was invisible. All conversation would be directed at Mark and only Mark’s hand would be shaken. It was a really strange experience for me as I am used to interacting with the locals wherever we go, be it men or women. Having that taken away from me quickly made me feel very isolated.
In general we felt people to be slightly hostile to us, charging us way over the top for items, withholding change from us and just not being very friendly. I know this is a bit of a negative rant but this was our experience. Others may have better experiences than us. I hope so.
Traditional house in Gulmarg
Cable car to the snow fields, hope it was in better shape than the chairlifts that were falling apart
Some local dudes we met, trying our bikes
The view from our room
Dal Lake, Srinagar
Heading towards Sonamarg
Sometimes all we want is to be able to look around without being asked a million questions
and having numerous photos taken, today is one of those days!
Outside our cabin in Sonamarg
The roads here this particular morning were very quite and it was nice to be able to take in
the spectacular scenery without the fear of being run over