Chandratal Lake is growing its popularity among the youth in India with each passing summers. Now, families with kids have also started showing interest in making a trip to this pristine lake in Spiti Valley. And why not, as the distance from Delhi looks like Chandratal lake is just a couple of days away only. However, like someone said, “not everything that glitters is gold” and so is the trip to Chandratal lake. All these novice travelers or adventure lovers forget that Chandratal lake is located at an altitude of 14000 feet. This altitude is more than enough to make you sick of acute mountain sickness. Even the road to Chandratal lake from Manali is one of the worst roads you will every come across in your life. It feels like as if you are driving on a river bed and dodging the furious water crossings at every few kilometers.
In this article today, I am going to share a most common itinerary for Chandratal lake. This itinerary keeps distance to travel in a day balanced and to an extent also considers acute mountain sickness issues. You might have read my detailed travel guide of Chandratal lake at the link: Delhi to Chandratal – Travel Guide. If not, then please read this travel guide so as to know more in detail about Chandratal lake. You must be aware of details about the regions and what it offers on any adventure trip. It helps you be prepared for the unknown in such remote locations of Himalayas.
Itinerary for Chandratal Lake from Manali for 5 Days
Before going on a trip to any high altitude region in the Himalayas, I alway urge everyone to read the article on Acute Mountain Sickness and Importance of Acclimatization. Please keep in mind that in case you are planning the trip from Manali side, you can never avoid AMS issues. If you are coming from Kinnaur side, there isn’t much to worry about AMS as your body will be acclimatized. In this article, I am talking about making a trip to Chandratal lake from Manali side. This plan does not cover Spiti Valley and is limited to Chandratal lake only. In case you are interested in making a trip to Spiti Valley, then better refer to articles here and here.
Day 1 | Delhi – Manali – Solang Valley
- Reach Manali by overnight volvo and stay overnight at Solang Valley as preferred for acclimatization
- If there is time then explore Manali
- Manali Local sightseeing which includes Hadimba Temple, Manu Temple, Mall Road, Local Monastery, Old Manali, Vashisth Hot Water Springs (never found it interesting) etc.
- About 12-14 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between
- Overnight at Solang Valley or Manali
Day 2 | Manali – Rohtang Pass – Khoksar / Battal
- Head early morning towards Chandratal via Rohtang Pass
- Drive through Battal – Chattru – Gramphu towards Battal Chandratal is out of the world with one of the worst roads you will ever ride/drive
- You can either stay at Khoksar PWD Rest House to acclimatize more or if you are comfortable with dhabha night stay or PWD rest house stay without light, then stay at Battal
- The reason to sleep at Khoksar or Battal is just to acclimatize more
- About 3-4 Hrs to Khoksar and 6-7 Hrs to Battal
- Overnight at Khoksar or Battal
Day 3 | Khoksar / Battal – Chandratal Lake / Battal
- Head early morning to Chandratal lake to get the reflections in the lake
- Spend the time up there at the lake, explore region around and have lunch at the lake
- Drive through Battal – Chattru – Gramphu towards Battal Chandratal lake is out of the world
- Camps are about 1-1.5 KMs from the Chandratal lake. You can either stay there if you felt good the previous night or be back to Battal (preferred) where there is a PWD rest house now though without electricity. Unless you want to stay in guest house with electricity, better stay at Battal and save time as well as energy for next day.
- About 1-1.5 Hrs drive
- Overnight at Chandratal Lake or Battal
Day 4 | Chandratal – Batal – Gramphu – Rohtang Pass – Manali
- Drive through the same Battal – Chattru – Gramphu route
- Head back to Manali via Rohtang Pass
- About 7 – 8 Hrs drive easily if you do not get messed up Rohtang Pass
- You may take the overnight volvo to save a day but to make hectic 😉
- Overnight at Manali
Day 5 | Manali – Mandi – Jahu – Bhota – Una – Delhi
- If not taking Volvo and driving self to Delhi, you can try a different route
- Take a longer but different route to Delhi from Jahu – Bhota – Una side
- Route is pretty scenic, excellent roads and offer good views
- About 14-15 Hrs, as it is about 55 KMs longer route but devoid of bad roads and truck traffic/li>
- Sweet home
Day 6 | Buffer day to be kept in case of road closure due to landslides or snowfall or perhaps you want to enjoy more 🙂
Stay options at Chandratal Lake
Thankfully there are no concrete buildings near Chandratal lake and only a few temporary camps run in season time at designated camping site near the parking lot. You can get in touch with Bishan Thakur – Parasol Camps & Retreats at 09418845817, 09459910098, Nawang: 09459073908, 01906-200204. You can also write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. These camps are more spacious, have mattresses & quilts and decent comfortable. He does have a dining area & covered washrooms if required. There are couple of other camps too nowadays.
Well, at Battal you can stay at Chandra Dhabha run by Dorje Uncle. It has a shed like room for 7-8 people. Most of the space where food is served is occupied by workers and the Dhaba family itself, so if you are lucky you may get space to sleep there as well. They charge Rs 125-150 per person for a night stay and provide quilts as well. You can take as many quilts as available with them and if not in use by anyone. Best is to have your own sleeping bag.
There is a PWD Rest House as well now at Batal but without any electricity. You can take rooms there and eat at Chandra Dhabha with Dorje Uncle and Aunty Ji. 08991722020 is the contact number of satellite phone at Batal and you can inquire from Dorje uncle if he can book a PWD Rest House room for you or couple of igloo type huts just in front of his dhabha that can save you from cold winds in the evening or night.
Dorje Uncle’s son Tenzin now also set up camps at Chandratal, you can reach him at Tenzing Camp – +91-8991722020. Else call up the satellite phone and ask Dorje uncle to do the bookings for his son’s camps.
Taxis to Chandratal Lake from Manali
You can get connected directly to some drivers in Spiti Valley or Manali at the link: List of Taxi Drivers for Spiti Valley & Kinnaur Valley. The rates of the taxis are about Rs 10000-12000 depending on the number of days you plan to travel. Otherwise, taxis, in general, are also available on the spot from Shimla or Manali from respective taxi stands.
I am sure that the above itinerary may not help you 100% with planning a trip to Chandratal lake but will certainly act as a starting point for it. Do share your valuable thoughts or any questions or any doubts you may have in the comments section of the article or in the DoW Community | Itinerary Advice forum for Lahaul, Spiti & Kinnaur Valley. We can discuss more on your upcoming travel plans for Chandratal lake and Spiti Valley 🙂