Thiksey [Thiksay, Tikse] and Shey are ancient villages just outside Leh town. They are dotted with old crumbling houses from centuries gone by, chortens and prayer flags, and exude character.
In fine weather, ambling through these ancient villages make for an interesting half day visit with plenty of photo opportunities for the camera happy.
Thiksay is best known for its monastery dating from the 15th Century. It is laid out on a hill side with stunning views of the surrounding villages and the mountain ranges. Parking is available at the base from where one has to walk up a short but fairly steep path. A Tibetan medicine pharmacy is available at site for those who are interested.
There is a small entrance fee, INR 20 per head if I remember right. After that, you are free to roam at will with no restrictions on photography, unlike at Alchi where they are paranoid about not allowing photography merely to pop their own poor quality picture postcards on visitors.
The main courtyard has some frescoes on the side walls. The best frescoes however, are inside the actual temple. Some of the lamas are quite friendly and will happily explain various facets of this monastery to visitors. They do not ask for anything but will not refuse a small donation for the upkeep of the monastery.
Apart from visitors, there are always local Ladakhis coming in to worship.
For those who may be there at the time, the annual temple festival with traditional pomp and colourful rituals is held around October/November according to the Tibetan calendar.
All in all, this monastery and the surrounding area exudes history. I could happily spend a day just walking through and absorbing the ambience; and I surely will on my next visit to Ladakh.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.