Kargil is in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is an important transit hub of Ladakh, with roads leading from here to Leh, Srinagar, and Padum in Zangskar. The unofficial capital of Muslim Ladakh, and capital of the Kargil district, it is still a small town. While interesting in many ways due to it’s historic position on the caravan routes, nothing of this is visible to the casual visitor. It is notorious with travellers as a necessary stop between Central Ladakh, Zangskar and Kashmir.
It is now famous due to the Kargil Conflict, when the town, and surrounding areas, was shelled by Pakistani based militants.
Kargil has direct bus connections with Leh, Shrinagar, and Padum. Shared Jeeps make a faster, more expensive alternative to the buses, they leave from near the Bus depot, on main Bazaar.
Kargil is small enough to walk from one end of town to the other easily.
Kargil provides excellent sites for trekking and mountaineering such as the Nun Kun Massif, also there is large scope for river rafting in the Zanskar region of Kargil district. Kargil is known all over India for its rich apricot orchards: during summer the entire valley changes into a beautiful orange colour.
One may have a look a the Munshi Aziz Bhat Museum for Central Asian Trade and artefacts which is the main attraction for tourists in Kargil town. One may have a visit to Gongma Kargil situated on the top of the town although the general area around Kargil has pleasant scenery and would make for nice walks. Otherwise, come prepared with a good book.
The Jameh Mosque in the main street is open for visitors, but although it is a Shiite mosque, it lacks the ornaments found in Iranian mosques.
Kargil has no souvenir shops, although you might visit one of the music shops selling locally produced folk music.
Kargil is a good place to stock up on trekking food, better than Padum for dry fruit and fresh veggies. Don't miss the dried apricots, and fragrant tandoori naan, even if you aren't trekking.
There are a plenty of decent eateries of the Dhaba variety around Main Bazaar. The Tibetan restaurant on the third floor of a building in the main street offers pleasant and inexpensive Tibetan dishes, such as Momo and Thugpka.
As a conservative Muslim town, there are no bars. Tea is available in any of the Dhabas.
Unfortunately for a town that is necessary for so many travellers to spend the night in, accommodation is of very low quality and poor value, for the price of a beautiful double room in Leh here you will get a dirty, dark, box. There are enough places to choose from and finding a bed is not a problem, follow the signs all around the bus depot and main bazaar. A sleeping bag is useful, as the bedding is unlikely to be clean in even the more expensive places.
Most travellers passing through Kargil are going from Leh to Srinagar, or vice versa, and as such have booked a through ticket. Be sure to do this if at all possible. For people coming from elsewhere in Ladakh, or going to Zangskar the bus station is chaotic and it can be confusing to get a ticket. The ticket office is down a small pedestrian lane, in an unmarked large stone building, (there's normally a couple of buses out front) a couple minutes walk from the bus depot.
Remember this is a conservative Muslim area, and it would be inappropriate for men or women to wear shorts. Women should particularly avoid tight or revealing clothes.
Also, travellers should avoid any raising a political discussions in public on issues like Hindu-Muslim riots; whether Kashmir should be a part of India, Pakistan or a separate state; or any other topic that might hurt the sentiments of either Hindus or Muslims.