If you're arriving from Srinagar, Ladakh's proudly Muslim second city seems quaint, with its vibrant workshops and old merchant stores cramming the packed, ramshackle central area. Coming from Padum or Leh, however, Kargil can feel grimy, male-dominated and a tad chaotic. The city is deep within a high-sided river valley. The landscape looks more attractive if you climb to the little Central Asian Museum, which celebrates Kargil's former glory as a trading post on caravan routes. It's up the stairway that starts around three minutes walk along Main Bazaar from Roots Cafe, which is Kargil's most traveller-friendly address. The cafe is a sensible first stop to get inspired for treks, excursions, rafting or other activities in the fascinating but little-visited region around the city.