Friday, September 9, 2016

McLoedganj for the budget traveler

McLoedganj is a very popular travel destination in Dharamshala. Being just 250 km (5 hours) journey from Chandigarh and around 475 km (9-10 hours) journey from Delhi, McLoedganj has become a hotspot for weekend trips and is usually jam-packed with tourists on long weekends.

McLoedganj has a lot to offer to all kinds of travellers alike. There’s Bir Biling – The paragliding capital of India ; roughly 70 km away , Triund trek – a 9 km trek from Bhagsu ; and it is a foodies haven with all kinds of foods and cuisines available in the many cafes spread all over the town.
McLoedganj is best explored on foot and to enjoy the city it is recommended to park your vehicle in the parking lot near the bus stop for the duration of the stay .This does two things – Less traffic on the narrow roads and making your effort to keep the town pollution free.

Being a traveller’s paradise the town has a lot of budget hotels ranging from INR 500 – 2000 per room if booked in advance and dharamshalas. Dharamkot is a better location as it is a bit away (1-1.5km) from the Mall Square and the view of the mountains can be enjoyed from nearly all the rooms in Dharamkot. The plus point of the town being a traveller’s paradise is that there is WiFi in almost all the cafes and none of the café owners force you or pester you to leave the café or vacate your table because you have paid the bill. For all the bibliophile's, order a cup of hot chocolate or some peach Tea and read a book all day long without being bothered by anyone. That my friend is true relaxation and rejuvenation.

The specialty is the Tibetan cuisine and one can find some good Tibetan food in The Clay Oven and Tibet Kitchen. A good big bowl of Thukpa or Thentuk will cost you only INR 100-120 which is very economical compared to the surplus quantity served. There are some good Italian joints like Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen and Carpediem which serve good pastas and Pizzas. One should definitely try the pastries and cakes from the roadside bakery’s as the taste is yummy and it is definitely something you will regret if not tried.( 5 places that should be there on every Foodie's list for the McLoedganj Foodtrail )
PS: The pizza in Carpediem has been the best I have had till now.
Look at the beauty

Such a generous serving of Thukpa

I had a blast in McLoedganj for 3 days in as less than INR 4000 per head.

Here’s how I did it:
  •               A comfortable Volvo bus journey to and fro from Delhi to McLoedganj for INR 1500 per head.
  •               A two night stay in Hotel Hill Town for approx. INR 1400 at INR 700 per night (Cost was around INR 950 but applied the discount code on GOIBIBO and paid part by GoCash).
  •               3 meals a day for two days and 2 for the third day in approx. INR 100-150 per meal per head.
  •               Total Cost = 1500+1400+1000=INR 3900.

Now this cost can be easily reduced if:
  •               A night’s stay cost can be reduced by 40% by staying in a backpackers hostel for anywhere between INR 250-450 per night.
  •               Instead of going out for a breakfast, look out for hotels offering complimentary breakfast (OYO provides complimentary breakfast) or an Airbnb.
  •               Try the local cuisine instead of traditional Indian meal as the local meals are cheaper and plenty in quantity, and trust me the taste will not disappoint you.

Now that you have saved some money and can spare some cash, do pick up some souvenirs such as Dalai Lama saying Scrolls, bookmarks, a variety of tees and not to forget the local handicrafts. The best place to buy the souvenirs is on Bhagsu Nag road near the Mall Square.

Ditch the 2nd Saturday and holiday weekends as it will be too crowded, rather take a day or two’s leave and go on a normal weekend to enjoy town as it is without the constant honking of horns and overfilled streets with tourists. Be a Wraveler and take the Road less Travelled to have an experience like no other.