How to make a budget trip to Kinnaur Valley by public transport?

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Nowadays, one of the most frequently asked questions by readers/members of Devil on Wheels Travel community is, “Can I make a budget trip to Kinnaur Valley by public transport?”. In the last article of the series, I talked about How to calculate cost or budget for Kinnaur Valley trip?, which would help you estimate your budget for Kinnaur Valley trip. However, it does not address if you can a budget trip to Kinnaur Valley or not. Well, in general, it all depends upon the number of days you plan for the trip. The cost of stay and food increases proportionally to the number of days you have planned your trip. The rates of taxis on a Kinnaur Valley trip generally range from Rs 3200-3500 per day. Hence, a trip of 6-7 days could easily cost around Rs 19000 just for the taxi. So, a question like, if I can make a budget trip to Kinnaur Valley by public transport is not surprisingly among the frequently asked questions for a Kinnaur Valley trip.

Planning a budget trip to Kinnaur Valley by public transport?

Planning a budget trip to Kinnaur Valley by public transport?

In the past, I have written a similar article Chandratal Lake | Cheapest Ways To Travel There and How to make a budget trip to Spiti Valley by public transport?. In this article, I will share the tips and tricks with an example itinerary on how you can make a budget trip to Kinnaur Valley by public transport. I am sure this article will be helpful to all those who are planning a solo trip to Kinnaur Valley especially by the means of public transport.

Budget trip to Kinnaur Valley Trip by Public Transport – An example

If you are a solo traveler or a couple, the private taxis may end up making a deep hole in the pocket on a trip to Kinnaur Valley. You may need to spend about 19K just for the private taxi. Unlike Ladakh, it is very difficult to find tourists looking for taxis or shared tourist taxis in Kinnaur Valley. There aren’t many cafes, dine-ins, restaurant or a huge number of travel agents that offer means of availing thee tourist shared taxis. Hence, you are mostly limited to local shared taxis or public transport buses which do not stop for any sightseeing on the way to different places in Kinnaur Valley. You can, of course, try to find online travel partners using our Travel Calendar too.

Interesting Fact: Did you know there is a difference between Hindustan – Tibet Highway and NH – 22? Read my article to know more at the link Hindustan – Tibet Road or Road to Spiti Valley | An Introduction

I will try to outline an example trip which will be a mix and match approach of using the available public transport as well as shared local taxis/jeeps. Let’s consider a trip similar to our most common itinerary as an example which covers the entire circuit as Delhi – Narkanda – Kalpa/Reckong Peo – Nako – Tabo – Kaza – Kunzum Pass – Chandratal – Rohtang Pass – Manali. Now, let’s take a look at this plan day by day including the options of travel on these days, the cost of travel and cost of stay + food (twin sharing basis) at these places. I am assuming you are on a budget trip to Spit Valley and hence, you will be finding the places of stay on the spot and not pre-booking them 😉 😉

Shialkhar Village - The last village in Kinnaur Valley

Shialkhar Village – The last village in Kinnaur Valley

Day 1 | Delhi – Shimla – Narkanda
  • Options of travel: There are 3-4 daily HRTC buses available between Delhi – Shimla – Narkanda which costs around Rs 515 for ordinary bus and about Rs 830 for an AC deluxe bus. These buses depart from Delhi Kashmere Gate ISBT in evening from 6 PM to 10 PM
  • Cost of travel: Rs 515 by ordinary HRTC bus.
  • Cost of stay: You will find few budget guest houses or PWD rest house from Rs 600 to 800. So, you can consider Rs 300 – 400 for stay in Narkanda.
  • Total cost incurred: Rs 515 + Rs 300 – 400 = Rs 815 – 915
Day 2 | Narkanda – Rampur – Sangla / Chitkul (Kinnaur Valley)
  • Options of travel: There is a daily morning HRTC bus between Shimla – Sangla that leaves Shimla around 7.30 AM and should reach Narkanda about 10 AM. There are other buses too that runs on this route originating from Chandigarh/Delhi as well. The cost is around Rs 250 for the ticket in the ordinary bus.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 250 by ordinary HRTC bus.
  • Cost of stay: You will be able find budget guest houses and home stays in Sangla Valley ranging from Rs 600 to 700. So, you can consider Rs 300 – 350 for stay in Sangla Valley.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 815 – 915) + Rs 250 + Rs 300 – 350 = Rs 1365 – 1515
Day 3 | Around Sangla / Chitkul (Kinnaur Valley)
  • Options of travel: Shared jeep, walks, hitch hikes to nearby places.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 50 by ordinary HRTC bus.
  • Cost of stay: Consider Rs 300 – 350 for stay in Sangla Valley.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 1365 – 1515) + Rs 50 + Rs 300 – 350 = Rs 1715 – 1915

Pro Tip: If you are doing a self drive to Kinnaur Valley, then make sure to read the article 40 Must Have Things to Carry on a Self Drive Trip to the Himalayas

Day 4 | Sangla / Chitkul – Sangla – Reckong Peo/Kalpa
  • Options of travel: You can take a morning shared local taxi to Chitkul from Sangla which will take about Rs 40-50 per seat and take the after noon HRTC bus that runs from Chitkul to Reckong Peo which will cost around Rs 100
  • Cost of travel: Rs 200 for Sangla – Chitkul – Reckong Peo by shared jeep and HRTC bus
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house in Reckong Peo near bus stand for about Rs 400-600.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 1715 – 1915) + Rs 200 + Rs 200 – 300 = Rs 2115 – 2415
Day 5 | Reckong Peo/Kalpa – Sarahan
  • Options of travel: You can take any bus going from Kalpa / Reckong Peo to Rampur or Shimla and ahead. You can drop off at Jeori and take bus or shared jeep to Sarahan. You may need to wait a bit at Jeori.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 125 approx for buses and shared jeeps
  • Cost of stay: You can find a guest house or room at Bhimkali temple in Sarahan for about Rs 300-500.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 2115 – 2415) + Rs 125 + Rs 150 – 250 = Rs 2390 – 2790
Day 6 | Sarahan – Rampur – Narkanda – Delhi
  • Options of travel: You can take a shared jeep from Rampur to get to Jeori or Rampur if available in morning. From Rampur, you will get direct buses for Delhi. HRTC ordinary bus costs Rs 600 while HRTC AC bus from Rampur to Delhi costs Rs 965
  • Cost of travel: Rs 650 – 675 by ordinary HRTC bus
  • Cost of stay: Rs 0 as you reach sweet home.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 2390 – 2790) + Rs 650 – 675 = Rs 3040 – 3465
Beautiful Colors of Nako Lake in Fall in Kinnaur Valley

Beautiful Colors of Nako Lake in Fall in Kinnaur Valley

Cost of food for a 6 day Kinnaur Valley trip

The food all over Kinnaur Valley is quite economic unless you wish to lavishly spend in restaurants and hotels of Shimla. If you eat at regular decent dhabas/eating joints where the buses or shared taxis stop for meals, you will not be spending more than Rs 200 – 250 per day on food in Kinnaur valley. Taking this into account, the above 6 day trip to Kinnaur Valley may not cost you more than Rs 1200 – 1500 for the food. Hence, the total cost incurred on your Kinnaur valley trip comes out to be (Rs 3040 – 3465) + (Rs 1200 – 1500) = Rs 4240 – 4965.. By the way, you should always carry your own water bottle and refill it as many times as you need water. It will not only keep you hydrated always, but you will also help in saving the Himalayas from plastic garbage. Remember, every tiny step counts !! 🙂 🙂

Now, you can see that if you wish to make a budget trip to Kinnaur Valley by public transport and plan it properly, you can easily complete your trip within a budget of Rs 4240 – 4965. If you travel by private taxis within Kinnaur Valley to cover Kalpa, Sangla and Chitkul then you are looking at Rs 1000 more for that comfort if shared with 2-3 people.

In this article, you can see that if you wish to make a budget trip to Kinnaur Valley by public transport and plan it properly, you can easily make your Kinnaur Valley trip covering Sangla, Kalpa and Chitkul within a budget of Rs 4240 – 4965 🙂 🙂

Solo trip travellers – latest bus timings September 2017

Would like to add some inputs shared by Hariharan in the comments section below which will be useful within Spiti & Kinnaur Valley and timings of buses/shared taxis.

shimla to sangla only one bus mostly it will get full by shimla itself
time 650 am shimla -10 am narkanda- 5pm sangla last stop.
from sangla 510 pm bus -rakcham-chitkul 6pm last stop.
from chitkul 3 buses to sangla( 630 am 1330 and 4 pm).1330 pm bus it will go to till reckong peo.
reckong peo to kalpa 40 -50 mins travelling every one hour aprox you will get buses.
from reckong peo -kaza only one bus7am (peo -nako- tabo sumdo-schilling -kaza)
reckong peo -tabo 9am bus (peo -nako-tabo last stop)
reckongpeo -sumdo 12 pm bus (peo-nako-sumdo last stop)—next day it will come aprox 1130 am to tabo then schilling -kaza.
schilling to tabo dhankar 700 per taxi///trek (little difficult)
dhankar to kaza morning 8am -9am u may get shared taxi to kaza.
or come down to schilling to catch bus .
from kaza rent a bike for all the places is the best option 1.kee and kibber (this 2 nearby)
2..komic hikkim and lanza this( 3 nearby)
3.kaza to mud village(pin valley daily one bus around 5 pm)
4 .kaza to manali 4 am bus
5 kaza to manali shared van at 6 am fare 1000 rupees per person

Beautiful Kinnaur Valley

Beautiful Kinnaur Valley

Conclusion

I hope above article will help you make your upcoming budget trip to Kinnaur Valley a memorable one. This example will also help you fit your own plan to evaluate the budget of the trip and skip the places you are not visiting in Kinnaur. I hope now you will feel more confident in making a budget trip to Kinnaur Valley by public transport. Feel free to post any questions in the Ask A Question section of the website or using the ASK YOUR TRAVEL QUESTION form available below or even our community forums. I will look forward to hearing your own tips for making a budget trip to Kinnaur Valley as well. Your tips and suggestions will help many other fellow travelers reading this article. In the end, if you know a friend or family person who is making a trip to Kinnaur Valley, please feel free to share this article with them as well 🙂

By the way, if you are interested in making a more adventurous trip, then you can also refer Spiti Valley via Kinnaur | How to Plan Your Journey

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You can call me an Avid Traveler, a Day - Night Dreamer and a Passionate Lover of Himalayas who has a high zest for driving whilst exploring new places in Himalayas & sharing back those Himalayan Travel experiences with the other fellow Travelers... I am in love with Spreading Smiles in Himalayas through DoW Causes & currently enjoying life as Happy Traveling Soul at DoW Community. You can read more about me in detail at the link here ...

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