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 plan 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.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
Why Kinnaur trip by bus or public transport?
The rate of taxis on a Kinnaur Valley trip generally ranges 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.
In the past, I have written a similar article like how to make a budget trip to Chandratal Lake 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 using 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 Kashmir or Leh Ladakh, it is kind of difficult to find tourists looking for taxis or shared tourist taxis in Kinnaur Valley.
There aren’t many cafes, dine-ins, restaurants 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 HRTC buses which do not stop for any sightseeing on the way to different places in Kinnaur Valley.
Kinnaur Valley Itinerary by Bus
I will try to outline an example trip of Kinnaur 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 of Kinnaur Valley as an example that 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 the cost of stay + food (twin sharing basis) at these places. I am assuming you are on a budget trip to Kinnaur Valley and hence, you will be finding the places of stay on the spot and not pre-booking them 😉 😉
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 the evening from 6 PM to 10 PM
- Cost of travel: Rs 515 by ordinary HRTC bus.
- Cost of stay: You will find a few budget guesthouses or PWD rest houses from Rs 600 to 800. So, you can consider Rs 300 – 400 to 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 run 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 to find budget guesthouses and homestays in Sangla Valley ranging from Rs 600 to 700. So, you can consider Rs 300 – 350 to 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, hitchhikes to nearby places.
- Cost of travel: Rs 50 by ordinary HRTC bus.
- Cost of stay: Consider Rs 300 – 350 for a stay in Sangla Valley or Chiktul.
- 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 a local taxi to Chitkul from Sangla which will take about Rs 40-50 per seat and take the afternoon 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 the 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 a 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
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
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 the 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
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
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 !! 🙂 🙂
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..
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 🙂 🙂
Kinnaur Solo Trip Travellers – Latest Bus Timings in Kinnaur Valley
I 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 6.50 am Shimla then 10.00 am Narkanda and 5.00 pm Sangla last stop.
- From Sangla Valley 5.10 pm Bus from Rakcham to Chitkul at 6.00 pm last stop.
- From Chitkul 3 buses to Sangla (6.30 am, 1.30 pm and 4.00 pm). The 1.30 pm bus will go to Reckong Peo.
- Reckong Peo to Kalpa, every one-hour approx you will get buses.
- From Reckong Peo to Kaza only one bus 7.00 am (Peo — Nako – Tabo Sumdo – Schilling – Kaza)
- Reckong Peo – Tabo 9.00 am a bus (Peo – Nako – Tabo last stop)
- Reckong Peo – Sumdo 12.00 pm bus (Peo – Nako – Sumdo last stop)- Next day it will come approx 11.30 am to Tabo then Schilling – Kaza.
- Schilling to Tabo – Dhankar 700 per taxi
- Dhankar to Kaza morning 8.00 am – 9.00 am, you may get a shared taxi to Kaza or come down to schilling to catch a bus.
- From Kaza, you can rent a bike for all the places is the best option
Important Bus Timetable Kinnaur Valley
Other timing for HRTC buses within Kinnaur Valley can be found below. Let’s look at some of the most important bus routes in Kinnaur Valley.
- Reckong Peo – Chitkul – 9.30 AM
- Reckong Peo – Chtikul – 12.00 PM
- Reckong Peo – Sangla Valley – Rakcham – 4.00 PM
- Reckong Peo – Rampur – 10.30 AM
- Reckong Peo – Chandigarh – 6.00 AM (Deluxe)
- Reckong Peo – Chandigarh – 7.15 PM
- Reckong Peo – Chandigarh – 1.30 PM
- Reckong Peo – Delhi – 11.30 AM
- Lippa – Solan – 8.15 AM
- Kalpa – Shimla – 7.40 AM
- Kalpa – Reckong Peo – Chandigarh – 3.30 PM
- Puh – Shimla – 9.30 AM
- Solan – Peo – 5.15 PM
- Shimla – Puh – 4.00 PM
Is there any Delhi to Kinnaur Bus Service?
There is a daily bus from Delhi to Reckong Peo, which you will need to use to reach Kinnaur from Delhi by bus. It will take at least two days to reach Kinnaur from Delhi. The Delhi to Kinnaur bus timing is in the evening.
Is there any Manali to Kinnaur Bus Service?
There is no direct bus from Manali to Kinnaur Valley. However, you can reach Mandi from Manali and then take the direct bus from Mandi to Reckong Peo to travel from Manali to Kinnaur by bus.
Is there any Shimla to Kaza Bus Service?
There is no direct bus from Shimla to Kaza. However, you can take the daily bus from Shimla to Reckong Peo or Chandigarh to Reckong Peo and then travel to Kaza the next day by the daily 7.00 am a bus running between Reckong Peo to Kaza. The bus daily from Shimla to Reckong Peo leaves around 7.00 AM as well.
Is there any bus from Reckong Peo to Kaza?
There is a direct daily Reckong Peo to Kaza bus service that starts every day at 7.00 AM from Reckong Peo and similarly comes back from Kaza to Reckong Peo every day at 7.00 AM.
Is there any Shimla to Kinnaur bus service?
Yes, there is a daily direct bus from Shimla to Reckong Peo that leaves Shimla at around 7.00 AM. Also, there is a direct bus from Shimla to Sangla Valley as well at starts at 6.30 AM.
Is there any Sangla to Shimla bus service?
As far as I know, there is only on Shimla to Sangla bus which starts at 6.50 am from Shimla, reaches around 10.00 am at Narkanda and finally 5.00 pm Sangla last stop. The bus usually runs f, and hence, you should ensure that you get the seat at Shimla itself.
What is the Shimla to Chitkul bus timing?
There is no direct bus from Shimla to Chitkul, but you can reach Sangla Valley from Shimla, and then from Sangla Valley, there is a bus that starts at 5.10 pm from Rakcham and reaches to Chitkul at 6.00 pm at the last stop.
Is there any Sangla to Reckong Peo Bus service?
There is an afternoon bus from Sangla to Reckong Peo that runs daily and comes from Chitkul to Sangla first and then goes all the way to Reckong Peo. The Sangla – Chitkul bus fare is about Rs 110.
Is there any bus from Reckong to Chitkul?
Daily there are two Reckong Peo to Chiktul buses that run at 9.30 AM and 12.00 PM respectively.
I hope the 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 this Himalayan 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.
I will look forward to hearing your 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 a family person who is making a trip to Kinnaur Valley, please feel free to share this article with them as well 🙂