Lahaul valley is the newest entrant to the Himachali travel scene. Not only is it adventurous, it is also unique in its own beautiful way and quite different from the adjacent valleys. This is primarily due to its relative anonymity as people tend to club certain parts with the Manali – Leh Highway journey or with the Spiti circuit. Both these options are fine, however you tend to miss out on indulging in the exquisite beauty of Lahaul.
This article will be super helpful for you, when planning your trip to the valley. I have covered other aspects of the Lahaul valley in previous posts – including the most perfect guide for the region and the best itineraries you can use! If you’re a weekend explorer, we got you covered too, my friend!
Most important disclosure when planning your budget for Lahaul
Truly, the cost of budget of any trip to any place in the world is obviously dependent on your individual choices. The type of comfort you’re looking for; the duration you want to visit – all need to be factored in. Use this list as a way to estimate your costs, basis certain assumptions!
Calculating the Cost of a Lahaul Trip
The biggest expenses when visiting far flung places in the hills are accommodation, fuel and your choice of transport. These can be fairly simple to estimate. Lahaul offers you some choices – from road conditions to circumstances, from luxury to basic essentials – so you can enjoy your journey in that manner.
For example – range for your stay can vary from INR 100 at some dhabas or shacks, INR 500 for decent homestays, INR 1500 for budget hotels/ decent tents to even INR 3000 for some hotels based on comfort, food etc.
Food is easier to estimate – are there truly are not many options for choices and cuisines here. Now, obviously anyone visiting the depths of Himalayas is not going there for luxury, but for connecting with nature – so this part should not be a concern for much. Dhabas will be your providers for food, except in a couple of places – where you can enjoy the full meals and long(ish) menus!
Budget for Lahaul Trip!
Basic, budget friendly way to travel, without any buffer days and starting point as Delhi – to keep all your needs in check. This is a common trip, that I have explained extensively.
1 – Delhi – Chandigarh – Bhuntar – Manali
2 – Sightseeing Manali, exploring nearby areas
3 – Manali – Sissu – Keylong – Jispa
4 – Jispa – Baralacha la – Sarchu
5 – Sarchu – Keylong
6 – Keylong – Udaipur
7 – Explore Udaipur and nearby regions
8 – Udaipur – Keylong – Manali – Mandi
9 – Mandi – Delhi
Of course you can customize this, basis your needs and the time you have at hand. As you can see I have not added any buffer days to this itinerary (though I strongly suggest you keep 1 day additional, I have used buffer days MANY TIMES!)
Food + Accommodation + Others
Let’s assume you’re travelling comfortable, in a group (minimum 2) than your average expenses for food + accommodation + others (toll, permit, entry fees) will come to about INR 1000 per day. So, with a 9-day trip, roughly you’ll be spending INR 10K – 12K on the majority of your expenses.
Now, keep in mind your “others” can vary greatly. If you plan on skiing in the winter season when in Lahaul, that will jack up your costs. Shopping costs, expensive meals in great hotels, vegetarian vs non-vegetarian food – all affect your budget.
Travel & Fuel
There are multiple options in terms of your vehicle of choice. You can choose to bring your own vehicle. And, I would highly recommend a SUV or a 4X4 for this journey. Especially, if you are adventurous and like to create your own route when exploring.
Then, the next option of course, is getting a self-drive car. Rates start from INR 3000 per day, and fuel costs are your own. Zoom car and Revv are great options. However, if I am being completely honest – Revv has far better quality vehicles (not sponsored, just personal choice).
In terms of cars, total fuel cost for a 9-day trip would be about INR 10,000 to 18,000 (rates have gone UP my friend!)
Now, if you are travelling on motorcycle, costs for renting from Manali would be INR 700 – INR 1500 per day. Please note, this is not for twin sharing, when travelling in this region – as it can be especially difficult and tough on your back.
So, overall, on average, for the vehicle and transportation costs – you will have a total of INR 40,000 – 45,000(divisible by 4-5, depending on the size of the group)
For public transport, HPTDC and HRTC Volvo are both available options. Cost can vary from INR 500 to INR 2200, depending on the luxury of the vehicle. Lastly, if you are hiring a private/shared cab for the trip – then cost will be INR 4500 for personal car with driver.
Hence, assume about INR 7500- INR 10,000 per person for travel.
- Keep in mind, if you travel alone, your costs are bound to be higher. If you are travelling in an evenly balanced group – you can divide a lot of these costs and come out far cheaper
- The people of Lahaul are very hospitable. The crime rates are negligible. So travelling in Lahaul is safer than travelling in India. Solo travel should definitely not scare you, though, costs will be higher.
- 4 is the magical number. Go with 3 more friends. Can share cabs and rooms easily. Saves more money and more fun.
Depending on how you travel, and what you indulge in – this figure can be higher or lower. However, the basics are pretty much covered here. Lahaul is genuinely the most beautiful place to travel, especially if you’re on a budget, without feeling like you’re missing out on any activity. Almost all monuments, hikes etc. are free and the place is super isolated, with plenty of natural beauty around.