• Let's keep in touch!    Free resources, exclusive photos and beautiful adventures await.

Two Guesthouses a World Apart: Yet Down the Street

After leaving Rishikesh and spending a night in communal lodging at the Golden Temple of Amritsar, Carrie, Lauren, Tara and I arrived in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala. Our first night was spent with a curfew in a teeny room overlooking a garbage-filled zinc roof and next to a busy road.

Early the next day, we wandered up and down McLeod Ganj’s steep hills, inspecting a wide variety of guesthouse rooms before coming across our eventual winner. It’s amazing what you can get when you’re willing to walk up and down 300 stairs…

The inside of the India Suite at Siddhart House in McLeod Ganj, India
The inside of the India Suite at Siddhart House in McLeod Ganj, India

Siddharth House
McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India

At the bottom of 300 stone steps, Sidartha House had everything from teeny rooms with bare walls to massive suites with balconies. Though our usual MO of travel would be to take the $4 room, this time Carrie and I opted for the biggest and best room we could find.

Total Nights: 6
Cost Per Night: 600 Rupees ($12)

Details & Peculiarities 

Each of the best rooms had a fun name. Romantic, Hippie, Music, Sun… ours was the India Room.

Our kitchenette in the India Suite at Siddharth House in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India
Our kitchenette in the India Suite at Siddharth House in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India

. . . .

While traveling with two other friends, we all referred to ourselves as a family. Naturally, as the married couple of the fam, Carrie and I instantly became the parents.

. . . .

Because we were recently-married, the rest of the family decided that Carrie and my room was the honeymoon suite.

. . . .

Carrie, Tara, Lauren and I used the kitchenette (above right) every night to prepare “family meals” for the four of us.

. . . .

Every morning, the sun rose above the Dharamsala hills and the snow-capped Himalayas, right into our bedroom.

. . . .

Below our balcony, a large cemented patio with hammocks, swinging chairs and a campfire provided the perfect place to relax and stare out into the horizon.

The patio and view that greeted us every day from the India Suite at Siddharth House in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India
The patio and view that greeted us every day from the India Suite at Siddharth House in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India
The bathroom of the India Suite at Siddharth House in McLeod Ganj, India
The bathroom of the India Suite at Siddharth House in McLeod Ganj, India

. . . . .

If you looked really hard, you could spot Siddharth House from most points on the road leading from McLeod Ganj to Bhagsu.

. . . .

The slogan for Siddharth House was, “happiness is only real when shared.”

. . . .

The top floor of Siddharth House was a restaurant with windows on all sides. Unfortunately, they had no chefs other than the owner (who was rarely there) and his brother (who was socially inept, a horrible waiter and terrible chef).

Out of the two page menu, the brother could only prepare burned eggs, watery porridge and coffee. When we asked for multiple things at once, he basically shut down.

If I actually thought that the brother had a mental illness, I wouldn’t write a single bad thing about him. But based on conversations I overheard him having with others, he is an incredibly intelligent guy…who also happens to be incredibly lazy.

When we were checking out, he asked where we were going next. I told him Bhagsu, and he said “No. That place is shit. Shit!” Not wanting a confrontation and sensing my emotions boiling up, I just left the room.


Loling Guesthouse
Downtown McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India

Total Nights: 1
Cost Per Night: 250rs ($5)

Our clean and functional room at Loling Guest House in McLeod Ganj, India
Our clean and functional room at Loling Guest House in McLeod Ganj, India

. . . . .

Before arriving in McLeod Ganj, India, Tara booked our first night’s accommodation at Loling Guesthouse from the bus ride. Considering we got in after dark and it took us hours to find our “dream guesthouse” the next day, it was a perfect solution for one night.

While it was clean and had incredibly friendly owners, the hotel was right on the man road, noisy and had a laundry list of rules. Plus, we were in McLeod Ganj for the lush green mountain views, not for a window overlooking a rusted zinc roof.

Details & Peculiarities

It was in this very room at Loling Guesthouse that I had a the coldest shower of my trip to date...and I've had a lot of cold showers!
It was in this very room at Loling Guesthouse that I had a the coldest shower of my trip to date…and I’ve had a lot of cold showers!

Loling Guesthouse was very hard to find at night, as there was no sign outside the dark alley we had to walk down to find it.

. . . .

There was no shortage of taxis at the McLeod Ganj bus station, all of whom wanted to charge us 100 rupees to drive the five minute walk. Fortunately, we found an honest driver who was kind enough to tell us the truth.

. . . .

Usually, guesthouses in India require a photocopy of your passport. Since we arrived after dark and left first thing in the morning, the guy in charge decided it just wasn’t worth his time.

. . . .

Arctic & ice-cold is how I would describe my one shower at Loling Guesthouse. It seems that the place only turned on the hot water for a few hours a day: and 9pm after a full sweaty day on buses and walking around with heavy backpacks was not one of those hours.

. . . .

As the guesthouse was associated with the Loseling Monastery and run by Buddhists, there was a laundry list of rules that guests had to follow:

The list of rules at the Buddhist-run Loling Guesthouse in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India
The list of rules at the Buddhist-run Loling Guesthouse in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India

Share the Journey

  • http://www.facebook.com/ajkclark Ash Clark

    Isn’t it funny that these are the moments you remember the most!

    • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

      Thanks for your comment, Ash. Yeah, the hotel rooms and my experiences in them are by far some of my favorite memories from my travels. Sure beats the heck out of a Best Western!

  • http://www.happinessplunge.com Adam Pervez

    I’m off to Maclead ganj tomorrow. This really helped!

    Thanks for sharing your experience and I’ll give Siddarth House a try!

    • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

      So jealous that you’re heading to McLeod! Be sure to have a Hello to the King for me!!! And if you find yourself in LuLu’s braid shop, tell him Greg says hi!

  • former Mclo resident

    Siddharth House is one of the biggest rip offs in McleodGanj. They are way over priced and the owners are rude and lied to me repeatedly during my brief stay once they took it over a few years ago.
    If you are willing to be charged exorbitant prices, by all means
    ps I think you have confused Loling with Loseling, both of which are run by the Drepung Monastery Loling is in TIPA Road and you have to climb up to it…Loseling is the one in the alley