Have you heard about a place called Munsiyari in Uttarakhand? Or are you planning to travel to Munsiyari in Kumaon on your next Himalayan sojourn? Well, this Munsiyari travel guide will help you get answers to all your questions about planning a memorable Kumaon trip.
I went to Munsiyari a year back in April. As much as I would like to settle in this quaint place, I also want urge to other travelers to not miss out on this beautiful place.
This article is a step by step Munsiyari travel guide detailing a perfect itinerary, where to stay, and how to reach Munsiyari. I will also provide details on trekking routes that one can commence from here and details on ATMs and mobile connectivity.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
Munsiyari Travel Guide
Munsiyari is one of those gorgeous places which lies in the uppermost part of India, the Kumaon hills of Uttarakhand. It is the most picturesque place I have been too and the alluring valley surrounded by snow-capped Himalayan peaks is something which everyone should experience at least once in their life.
Sure, reaching such places is difficult, but it is also equally fruitful nonetheless. The view is gorgeous, there is serenity everywhere, and people are kind here. There is a reason that Munsiyari tops our list of offbeat places in Kumaon – Uttarakhand.
Why visit Munsiyari
Nestled deep in the remote corner of Uttarakhand, Munsiyari is well known for its quaintness and sunset-sunrise on Panchchulli Peaks. It offers the best views of these five sister peaks of the Himalayas where you can easily travel by road.
Apart from offering an offbeat experience away from the crowd, there are numerous Himalayan treks that start from Munsiyari. Hence, people also call it a trekker’s paradise. Whether you are a novice into trekking or an expert trekker, Munsiyari offers many distinct difficulty level treks.
So, if you are looking to watch a golden Himalayan sunrise or sunset sitting in the balcony of your hotel, you should pack your bags and plan a trip to Munsiyari. Similarly, if you are into trekking, hiking, or camping, you will be surprised by the charm of this little hamlet in Kumaon.
Lying in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand, Munsiyari height is 7,590 feet or 2300 meters approximately. The best part about this offbeat place in Uttarakhand is the views of snow-capped Himalayan peaks. It falls on the ancient trade route of Tibet and also acts as the entrance to Johar valley.
It is also entitled to the ‘Little Kashmir.’ From here, one can see the gorgeous ranges of ‘Panchachuli Peaks,’ which is a group of five peaks and also one of the most important tourist attractions of Munsiyari.
Weather in Munsiyari is mostly pleasant all around the year. The Summer months are a delight, while the Spring and Fall seasons offer cool mornings and cool evenings. In the winter, Munsiyari experiences snowfall. Sometimes the road also gets closed at Kalimuni top due to the presence of snow. Hence, Munsiyari has a special mention in our list of places to experience snowfall in winters in Uttarakhand.
But, overall, Munsiyari temperature is very pleasant and a delight to the senses. Expect a maximum of 25 degrees Celcius in the summer season and the coldest winter months experience around -5 to 10 degrees Celcius.
Best time to visit Munsiyari
Munsiyari can be visited at any time of the year. But again, it depends on what backdrop and season you want to experience. Tourists mostly come from March to April. During these months, one can witness rhododendron flowers along with pleasant weather and bustling streets. Since the weather is clear, reaching during these months is not a problem and the view of distant peaks is clear as well.
However, if you want to experience snow and see the long stretches of white throughout the place, the best time to visit Munsiyari for you will be from November to February. During this time, you may also spot many couples can who come here to celebrate their honeymoon in the Himalayas. However, others come during this time to also have an absolute thrilling skiing experience as well.
One should avoid planning a Munsiyari trip during the monsoon because reaching Munsiyari in monsoon becomes difficult due to rains. Since the road is really steep, the problem of landslides becomes prominent as well in some sections from Delhi to Munsiyari. Furthermore, sightseeing can also become difficult and restrictive if the weather is not clear during your trip to Munsiyari.
Hence, the best time to visit Munsiyari is anytime between September to June period. I also like to travel to Munsiyari in November – December, particularly year-end when you find rush everywhere else in the Uttarakhand and Himachal.
How to reach Munsiyari
The distance from Munsyari to Delhi is 560 km. You cannot reach Munsiyari from Delhi in one day unless you plan to drive 15-16 hrs in a day. Most people spend a couple of nights in Kumaon at places like Pangot-Nainital then to Binsar or Chaukori and finally reaching Munsiyari on the third day. However, you can travel from Delhi to Munsiyari in two days.
The nearest airport to Munsiyari is Pantnagar Airport, which lies in the Nainital region of Uttarakhand. The distance from Pantnagar to Munsiyari is 315 km approximately. You can take a taxi directly to Munsiyari from Pantnagar. Or if you want to reduce the cost, you can take a taxi till Almora, and from Almora, you can take a Munsiyari bus or a shared taxi.
The nearest train station to Munsiyari is Kathgodam, which is 278 km away. There are two trains from Delhi to Kathgodam daily, as this is a gateway for the Kumaon region. It is advisable to book your train seats well in advance because the train fills fast.
From Kathgodam there are frequent buses leaving for Almora and Pithoragarh. You may get a shared jeep to Munsiyari from Kathgodam or book a private taxi as well.
Munsiyari – Delhi by Road Trip
You can make a road trip Munsiyari from Delhi on your private vehicle, car or bike. However, it will take at least two days to reach Munsiyari. There are no direct buses to Munsiyari. A private taxi is also an option; however, if you want to reduce costs, a shared taxi would be the most feasible option.
Travel Tip: Do not forget to check my travel guide about Manila – An unknown place in Uttarakhand.
Munsiyari by Bus or Public Transport
There is no direct bus to Munsiyari from Delhi. You can take a bus to Almora from Delhi ISBT (Anand Vihar) and then travel to Munsiyari by another bus. There are buses available from Delhi to Pithoragarh, as well. Then you can take a shared jeep or bus to Munsiyari from Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand. Another option for you would be to take a bus to Haldwani. Buses from ISBT Anand Vihar frequently runs till Haldwani.
So, you need to break the journey to Munsiyari by bus in two days anyways when traveling by public transport. If you are coming from Garhwal or Haridwar side, I am not sure about any direct Haridwar to Munsiyari bus. However, you can travel to Almora or Bageshwar from Haridwar to take a bus to Munsiyari further.
Munsiyari Sightseeing – Top things to do
Munsiyari is a trekker’s paradise. It is also the base camp for Nanda Devi trek. However, apart from the trekking spots, there are several sightseeing places near Munsiyari which makes this place a perfect Kumaon getaway. This section will answer your questions about tourist attractions in Munsiyari.
Mythology: ‘Chuli’ in the word Panchachuli means Chulah, which means cooking hearths. Some say that the last meal cooked by the Pandavas of Mahabharata was in Munsiyari before they went to heaven. Hence the name Panchachuli was given to the five mighty peaks.
These peaks are visible from all over Munsiyari. One can also witness the beautiful sunrise as the sun rises right behind these peaks. Furthermore, if you are lucky, you can also see the moonrise right after the sunset just behind these peaks.
This hidden Birthi waterfall near Munsiyari lies about 32 km away towards Chaukori. One can easily trek to this place. It lies amidst the forest area, and the ideal time to visit this place is from September to June. When the monsoon time ends in July-August, the flow of the Birthi waterfall is more as compared to the other months.
Balanti Potato Farm
These farms are closest to the Munsiyari bus stand itself, and from here, the view of Panchachuli peaks is spectacular. One has to commence a 2 km trek to reach this place and can see the vegetation of potatoes and apple in this farm.
Travel Tip: If you are planning a trip to Himachal instead of Uttrakhand, you can check these 12 must-visit offbeat places in Himachal.
Tourists who come to Munsiyari should not miss this easy trek. Khaliya top trek is fairly easy, and one can also witness the snowline from here during the summer season, as well. International tourists carry their tents to camp.
They love it because witnessing the sunrise from the Khaliya top would be altogether a different experience. One can as well see the sunrise from the town itself, but due to the height of the Khaliya top, the view during sunrise is even better. Since it is at a gradient height, the view of Panchchuli peaks becomes even more mesmerizing from here.
Do I need a guide for Khaliya top trek?
It is better to take a guide or a local with you since a defined path to the top has not been laid out. Although the trek is comparatively easy, the path is not defined, and one has to cross the forest area to reach the top. Hence, it is always best to travel with a guide or a local villager in the Himalayas.
I took a guide to this place since there are no defined paths to reach the top. The guide charged a minimal amount of INR 500/- after bargaining.
Munsiyari is the base camp to reach the Nanda Devi temple. This temple can be reached after trekking for 3 km from Munsiyari’s main market itself.
Famous Treks from Munsiyari
Munsiyari is famous for its trek, both short and long ones. Khaliya top is one of the shortest treks from Munsiyari, along with the trek to Nanda Devi temple. Some of the long treks are to – Milam Glacier, Namik Glacier, and Ralam Glacier.
Milan Glacier Trek
This glacier is one of the largest glaciers in the Kumaon region. Munsiyari is the base camp for this trek, and one can see the beautiful river flowing of the Gori Ganga River. The total duration of the trek is nine days.
Ralam Glacier Trek
This glacier is also located in the Kumaon region and is divided into two – lower Ralam and upper Ralam. It is about 15 km from Munsiyari. The total duration of the trek is 8 days.
Namik Glacier Trek
This ten-day trek is located in the Kumaon region, and one can see the Nanda Devi peaks, Nanda Kot and Trishul. It is one of the least explored regions in Uttarakhand and is about 40 km from Munsiyari, which acts as the base camp for this trek. One can also witness saltwater springs in this region.
Tourist Places Near Munsiyari
There are several other places near Munsiyari that can be explored by tourists. Let us look at them one by one and see if we can cover some of these tourist attractions in our most common itinerary of Munsiyari trip.
Chaukori is a colorful little hill station of the Pithoragarh, Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. This sleepy town is shaped like a bowl (hence the name) and enveloped by Himalayan peaks all around.
Farther from Munsiyari, this is a very beautiful hilltop located about 165 km from Munsiyari. Even this hill station offers the majestic view of various snow-capped mountains and is a perfect place to explore a lesser touristy spot.
Bageshwar – Baijnath
This place is closer to Mukteshwar and is again famous for its temple – Baijnath. It is situated on the banks of the Gomati river. This place is very religious significance and is rich with ancient history. During the Hindu festivals, this place is worth a site since the entire town celebrates the festivals with pure joy.
Nestled on the border of Kumaon and Garhwal hills, lies this sleepy unknown hill town of Gwaldam. At an altitude of about 5577 feet, this place is like heaven for those who are tired of city life. It offers one of the best and closest views of Trishul peaks. The distance from Munsiyari to Gwaldam is 170 km.
You can easily plan to travel further from Chaukori to Munsiyari if you have a couple of days in hand. It will take about 4 hrs of a drive to cover a distance of 98 km between Chaukori and Munsiyari.
If you go farther away, almost 195 km away from Munsiyari lies another peaceful town, Binsar. This offbeat place in Kumaon is famously known for its Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary. It also houses a Lord Shiva temple.
Munsiyari Trip in 4-5 Days – Best Itinerary
There is a lot to travel from Delhi to Munsiyari road trip. You cannot reach Munsiyari in just one day from Delhi unless you want to be on a very hectic trip. Hence, it is better to make a trip with at least 4-5 days in hand to make some sense out of it.
I hope the below itinerary of the Munsiyari trip will help you make a memorable trip to this offbeat place in Uttarakhand.
If you have enough days in hand, then you can always check my most recommended itinerary for the Kumaon region.
Day 0 – Delhi to Haldwani / Almora
Take an overnight bus from Delhi, from Anand Vihar ISBT bus stop. Since there are no direct buses to Munsiyari, the best would be to catch a bus to Haldwani or Almora. From Haldwani or Almora, there are several buses/shared taxis that run till Munsiyari
Day 1 – Haldwani / Almora to Munsiyari
After reaching Haldwani or Almora early in the morning, catch another bus or a shared taxi for Munsiyari. You can also hire a private taxi from here, but if you are traveling solo or has a budget set in mind, buses will be the feasible option. The bus to Munsiyari from Haldwani leaves at 6:30 AM. So it would always be better to reach Haldwani as soon as you can. Otherwise, a shared taxi can do wonders if you miss the bus.
You will reach Munsiyari late in the evening since the distance between the Haldwani and Munsiyari is about 9-10 hours. The roads are rough in between. Since you will reach after a long ride, best would be to take rest today and marvel at the Panchachuli peaks from your hotel room. You can also go out in the market during the night to have dinner and soak in the peaceful vibes of the place.
Day 2 – Munsiyari Attractions
Today, you can start with sightseeing activities. You can go to Khaliya top first, early in the morning after breakfast. The trek to Khaliya top takes an hour to two hours, depending on your speed.
You can spend as much time as you wish on the top before starting back to Munsiyari. The view from the top is breathtaking. Come back to the town by afternoon and after having lunch explore the rest of the places, like, Balanti Potato Farm.
Day 3 – Munsiyari to Birthi Falls to Chaukori
Today, get up early in the morning to see the sunrise. You can start the journey back towards home to split the long route into two days. The best option is to travel to Chaukori, which offers one of the best sunrise and sunsets in the entire Kumaon region. While traveling to Chaukori from Munsiyari, you can stop for some time at Birthi waterfall as well.
Day 4 – Chaukori – Haldwani – Delhi
Take the bus back to Haldwani early in the morning after watching the sunrise. You may need to travel to Bageshwar or rely on shared jeep. The other option could be to pre-book a seat in the shared taxi a day in advance. Both buses or shared cabs leave from Chaukori-Bageshwar early in the morning. So start your day early and have breakfast in the hotel or homestay itself.
Where to stay in Munsiyari
Well, nothing beats the location of Munsiyari KMVN but then if you have stayed at KMVNs then you know what to expect from them.
I stayed in Martolia Family Guest House in Sarmoli. It had parking facilities and also provided with homely food. But this is not it, the best part of this homestay was that the Panchachuli peaks were right in front of this peak. Thus, I was able to enjoy the sunrise right there from my little room. The washroom was clean and had a TV set installed in the room.
The hospitality was commendable, and since the guest house lies a little far away from the market, the peace was very welcoming and enriching. I think this has to be the best accommodation in Munsiyari for being so picturesque.
Where to eat in Munsiyari
There are local shops in the village offering really nice local food. You will not find lavish restaurants but most Munsiyari hotels and guest houses serves food as well. KMVN at Munsiyari also serves food to guests and visitors. Do try the local delicacies when up there in the lap of Himalayas.
You should always carry your 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 and your step in this direction can help save the Himalayas too !! 🙂 🙂
Munsiyari has ATM availability, as it is slowly becoming a tourist spot. The market area has ATM stoppages for financial needs.
The network connectivity is good here, however, Vodafone’s internet connection is very slow. The best is BSNL as a service provider. Data Connectivity was almost always available wherever the signals were present though it was mostly slow.
Pro Travel Tip: Do not forget to check my list of things to carry on Uttarakhand trip.
In my opinion, a 5-day trip to Munsiyari is ideal for someone who wants peace and serenity at the same time. If you are a trekking enthusiast and have more days in hand, then this place is again a perfect place to commence your adventures. With so many trekking spots and glaciers to explore, it offers the perfect start point to trekking enthusiasts.
From here, one can witness snowline routes and the five peaks which offer the best sunrise and moonrise views.
I hope this travel guide of Munsiyari will help you plan a perfect trip to the Kumaon region in the upcoming season.
If you or your friends are planning a trip to Munsiyari in the coming days, then do not forget to share this article with them.