Mcleod Ganj is a village on top of a mountain which was originally built by tibetan refugees leaving tibet through the himalayas to escape chinese oppression.

Come here to breathe easy as temperatures are accommodating (about 25 degrees celsius) and pollution is low. There are lots of guest-houses, restaurants and shops to suit all visitors and a lot of people end up staying here longer than originally planned since the vibe is so positive.

mcleod ganj

1. Conversations classes with Tibetan refugees

Every Monday to Saturday at GU-CHU-SUM on Jogibara Road from 4.30pm to 6pm people are invited to converse in English with ex political prisoners and their family members. This is a great way to get to know the stories of these people first hand while helping them improve their English at the same time.

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2. Lattes at Moonpeak, Manadala and Coffee Talk on temple road

A slightly more selfish indulgence are the coffee shops here which may not impress anyone who just stepped off a plane from any Starbucks-ridden city, but when you’ve been traveling around India for a while and like me, have been trouble developing a taste for Nescafe or sweet tea than you might be delighted to invest into one of the Lattes, Cappuccinos or Americanos at the coffeeshops along …road on the way to the monastery. They have fast wi-fi here too.

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3. Monastery and Karmapa

Get an inside peak into Buddhist culture and visit the monastery which is also home of the great Dalai Lama. He is often traveling so chances of seeing him are slim.

Come here at 4.30pm to see the monks debate, or, if you’re an early riser see them during their morning prayer at 4.30 am.

Every Wednesday and Saturday from 2.30 to 3pm Karmapa, the 24-year old second spiritual leader of the Buddhists (apart from the Dalai Lama) gives audiences to the public. You can request a meeting by showing up at 2 or emailing his office at tl.sy.eng@gmail.com.

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4. Bhagsu

Baghsu is a neighboring village and home to another string of hotels, restaurants and travel agencies. A lot of Israelis have set up camp here (not a bad thing considering that Israel produces some really attractive guys) and there’s a good number of German and French bakeries around. We recommend the restaurant at the Oak View Hotel for good food and nightly movies shown at 7 and 9pm.

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5. Yoga, cooking classes, massages

There certainly is little lack of entertainment at Mcleod Ganj and the usual movies, cooking classes, yoga and massages are all provided for. Check our the various centres and find one that works for you. We liked  Kailas School of Yoga & Kerala Ayurvedic Massage for ashtanga yoga and lhamo’s kitchen for cooking classes (both located on Bhagsu Road).

If you have more than a few days to spend here we recommend you sign up for one of the mountain treks. For 3 to 5 days you trek with a group of tourists and helpers who carry your backpack, cook or guide the way.

6. Do a dance

Just like coffee alcohol can hard to come by in India. This certainly is not the go-to country for anyone who likes a bit of party on their vacation. But if you’ve been traveling India on one beer a week, this is the place where you can let your hair down and just be the carefree hedonist you sometime like to be. After gettomg a drink in one of the many bars and restaurants, head over to Excite, the club across from Mc Llo’s, and party all night long (or until whatever time your hotel’s curfew lets you).

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