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What is ecotourism? A dictionary defines it as "tourism directed towards unspoilt natural environments and intended to support conservation efforts". In addition, LWTC believes in the support and protection of local culture and heritage. Tourism results in social, as well as environmental impacts, and a responsible tourist needs to be aware of this.

Tourism is a major industry in Ladakh, providing many people with an income. Both locals and tourists can learn a great deal from each other about their different cultures and ways of life. In school, Ladakhis are neither taught about their own culture nor about their environment and the need to protect it. Through tourism, young Ladakhis can learn of the importance of preserving  the culture and environment that is attracting so many people to Ladakh. Talk to Ladakhis and tell them what it is that brings you to Ladakh and tempts you into wanting to return, and tell them what you don't like as this is the only way that things will change!

Many tourists come to Ladakh to go trekking. By using homestays wherever possible, trekkers can minimise the environmental impact of their treks and learn more about Ladakhi culture at the same time! Treks in the Sham region and in most of Hemis National Park can be done using homestays.

Camping treks put a strain on the local environment. Ponies and donkeys, used to carry camping supplies, eat the limited grass available that is otherwise needed by wildlife and domestic animals. Rubbish is often left lying and toilet waste is a major problem due to poor facilities at the campsites. Both trekking agencies and trekkers need to behave responsibly when camping and obey the "Leave no trace..." rule. Campsites should provide a Ladakhi style toilet, with closing door and a shovel and earth. After using the toilet you should always throw a shovel of earth down the hole to cover the waste. Complain to the campsite owner if the toilet facilities are poor, e.g. no door, no earth or shovel. Complain to the trekking agency when you return to Leh, if you were not happy with the environmental approach of the trekking staff. Facilities will not improve if you do not complain!

Do's List:

  • do buy drinks in glass bottles

  • do use refillable water bottles (safe drinking water available at guesthouses, homestays and Dzomsa shop in Leh)

  • do drive on roads or tracks

  • do use litter bins

  • do enjoy watching the wildlife

  • do enjoy the flora

  • when camping/trekking, do wash body/laundry at least 50m away from stream

  • do use a guesthouse with solar-heated hot water

  • do buy locally made produce and goods (cut's down on transportation and packaging)


Don'ts List:

  • don't buy drinks in plastic bottles

  • don't drive off the road or track on to fragile ground

  • don't leave litter on trekking routes

  • don't feed the wildlife

  • don't pick the flora

  • when camping/trekking, don't wash body/laundry in or near stream

  • don't use a guesthouse with wood-fired hot water

  • don't buy imported produce and goods (transportation pollutes, packaging disposal is a problem)



Help Ladakhis to preserve their environment and culture!