You can enjoy shopping for curios and souvenirs in the bazaars and markets of Leh, while on your tour of Ladakh. On Old Leh Road exists the Tibetan Refugee Market which is an ideal place for shopping in Leh. Tibetan markets are popular for their metal-ware. The visitors here who have an eye for artistic pieces would find sonorous bowls made of nine metals like cymbals, decorative brass and copper trumpets. Besides, cymbals that have religious themes that are used in meditation are also found here.
It is possible to find relevant items like unpolished silver and turquoise jewellery and chunky shell bangles worn by Ladakhi women there. There are ranges of excellent rugs and carpets that have traditional Persian and Kashmiri themes. Some other attractions of these markets are the native Thangka paintings, jewellery made of semi-precious stones, small prayer wheels, shawls, stoles and music bowls. One can also find the lapis lazuli from Afghanistan and the rubies from Burma.
Some other popular items with tourists are Pashmina shawls, stoles and other woollen garments. Handmade woollen socks, gloves, caps and sweaters are also a favorite of tourists in this region. Then the market is also filled with carpets and hand woven rugs in a range of prices. During your visit, you must not forget to buy apricots, because this dry fruit of the region is considered to be of a good quality. While shopping in open markets, bargaining is commonly practiced and the final price you pay for any product will depend on your skill at negotiating with the seller. In government-run crafts emporia and larger established stores the prices are fixed and bargaining does not occur.
Some good venues for shopping in Ladakh are:
- Tibetan Handicraft Emporium on the Main Bazaar Road
- Tibetan Handicraft Community Showroom in Choglamsar
- Ladakh Environment and Health Organization on the Main Bazaar Road
- Ladakh Art Palace on the Main Bazaar Roa
- Women’s Alliance in Changspa
- Ecology Centre in Changspa
- Cottage Industries Exposition in Changspa
Main markets in Leh are:
- Moti Market near the Leh bus stand
- Tibetan Market off Old Leh Road for clothes