One of the most frequently asked questions by readers/members of Devil on Wheels Travel community is, “Can I make a budget trip to Spiti Valley by public transport in 2022?”. I know the budget is an integral part of any trip. However, it becomes critical when you make a trip to Spiti Valley because of the higher number of days required in it.
The cost of stay and food increases proportionally to the number of days you have planned your trip. The rates of taxis for the Spiti Valley trip (Shimla to Spiti Valley taxi fare) are Rs 3300-3500 per day. Hence, a trip of 10-11 days to Spiti via Kinnaur can easily cost around Rs 35000 just for the taxi. So, a question like, if I can make a budget trip to Spiti Valley by public transport is not surprisingly the topmost among the frequently asked questions for a Ladakh trip.
When it comes to bringing down the cost of any Himalayan trip, traveling via Public Transport is the answer. Hence, a backpacking trip to Spiti Valley will be the key to bringing down the cost. It will let you travel this remote region of Himachal Pradesh within a budget of about Rs 10000 as you will find in this article.
In the past, I have written a similar article on planning a budget trip to Chandratal Lake. Taking a cue from the same article, I will extend it to the whole Spiti Valley circuit. In this article, I will share the tips and tricks with an example itinerary on how you can make a budget trip to Spiti Valley by public transport.
I am sure this article will be helpful to all those who are planning a backpacking solo trip to Spiti Valley especially by the means of public transport.
If you plan a solo trip to Spiti or travel in a group of two people then private taxis will prove very costly for you on this road trip to Kinnaur & Spiti Valley. You will need to spend about Rs 30000 to 35000 just for the private taxi.
Unlike Leh Ladakh, you do not find the tourist shared taxi that easily in Spiti Valley or on the way to Spiti Valley from Manali and Shimla or Kinnaur. You will be able to find local shared taxis. However, these taxis run from Point A to Point B and do not stop for any sightseeing.
Well, it is hard to find tourist-based shared taxis for Spiti Valley because there aren’t many cafes, dine-ins, restaurants, or a huge number of travel agents that offer means of availing shared tourist taxis as you easily find in Leh Ladakh. Hence, you are mostly limited to local shared taxis or buses which do not stop for any sightseeing on the way.
In Leh Ladakh, there are lots of flyers that people put at cafes, dine-ins, restaurants, travel agent desks/shops/whiteboards wanting to share the taxis for different trips within Ladakh. Even travel agents organize such a shared taxis trip as well but charge a little higher about Rs 200-300 more than it would ideally cost. So, in the worst case, you can always go back to them and book a seat for yourself. Gelling up with people in Ladakh is more or less easy because many people travel solo. They look forward to meeting new people and sharing cultural thoughts and values over the trip.
However, when you are making a backpacking trip to Spiti or a solo trip to Spiti, things are different. It is due to a lack of shared traveling options, especially when you travel from Shimla – Kinnaur side. You may still get lucky when traveling from Manali side as there is a high probability of finding like-minded people in Manali for a Spiti trip.
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 or jeeps in Kinnaur and Spiti.
Let’s consider our most common Spiti itinerary 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 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 😉 😉
Day 1 | Delhi – Shimla – Narkanda
Day 2 | Narkanda – Rampur – Sangla / Chitkul (Kinnaur Valley)
Day 3 | Sangla – Chitkul – Sangla – Reckong Peo/Kalpa
Day 4 | Reckong Peo/Kalpa – Nako – Nako Lake – Tabo
Day 5 | Tabo – Dhankar – Dhankar Lake – Pin Valley (Mud Village)
Day 6 | Pin Valley – Kaza – Ki – Kibber – Kaza
Day 7 | Kaza – Hikkim – Komik – Langza – Kaza / Losar
Day 8 | Kaza – Kunzum Pass – Chandratal – Battal
Day 9 | Battal / Chandratal – Rohtang Pass – Manali
Day 10 | Manali – Delhi
The food all over Spiti Valley and Kinnaur Valley is quite economical unless you wish to lavishly spend in restaurants and hotels in main towns like Shimla/Manali. 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 Spiti Valley or Kinnaur Valley. Taking this into account, the above 10 day trip to Spiti Valley may not cost you more than Rs 2000 – 2500 for the food. Hence, the total cost incurred on your Spiti valley trip comes out to be (Rs 4930 – 5600) + (Rs 2000 – 2500) = Rs 6930 – 8100.
Hence, you can see that if you wish to make a budget trip to Spiti Valley by public transport. If you plan it properly as described in the article, you can easily make your Spiti Valley trip covering Chandratal within a budget of Rs 6930 – 8100.
If you travel by private taxis within Spiti Valley to cover Ki – Kibber, Langza – Hikkim – Komic you are looking for about Rs 2500 more for comfort. It means even with the comfort of a private taxi within Spiti Valley, this 10-day hr budget trip to Spiti Valley will cost you less than Rs 9500 (Rs 9430 – 10600 to be specific) 😯 😯 …
In this article, you can see that if you wish to make a budget trip to Spiti Valley by public transport and plan it properly as described in it, you can easily make your Spiti Valley trip covering Chandratal within a budget of Rs 6930 – 8100.
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.
Other timing for HRTC buses within Spiti and Kinnaur Valley can be found below. Let’s look at some of the most important bus routes in Spiti and Kinnaur Valley.
There is a daily bus from Delhi to Reckong Peo which you will need to use to reach Kinnaur from Delhi by bus. Then, Reckong Peo to Kaza is also connected by a daily bus. Similarly, daily buses run between Manali and Delhi. In summers, Manali to Kaza buses also run to connecting Spiti Valley with Delhi by buses.
Yes, there is a daily bus that travels from Kaza to Manali in summers when the roads over Kunzum Pass are open. The daily bus from Kaza to Manali and further to Kullu starts at 5.00 AM in the morning.
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 bus running between Reckong Peo to Kaza. The bus daily from Shimla to Reckong Peo leaves around 7.00 AM as well.
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.
Well, there is no direct bus from Nako to Kaza but you can travel from Nako to Chango in a shared jeep or hitchhike it. After reaching Chango, there is a daily bus that runs from Chango to Kaza at 6.00 AM and then for return, there is a bus that starts from Kaza to Chango at 2.30 PM. You can take shared jeeps or hitchhike to reach Nako from Chango. There is a PWD Resthouse at Chango too.
As far as I know, there is only one 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 full of people and hence, you should ensure that you take the seat at Shimla itself.
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.
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.
Daily there are two Reckong Peo to Chiktul buses that run at 9.30 AM and 12.00 PM respectively.
Yes, there is a daily bus running between Kaza and Mudh Village in the Pin Valley. The bus starts every day at 4.00 PM at Kaza and travels through Pin Valley villages of Guling – Sagnam and reaches Mudh. Every morning at 6.00 AM the same bus travels from Mudh Village, Pin Valley to Kaza.
Yes, there is a daily bus running between Kaza and Losar. The bus starts every day at 4.30 PM from Kaza to Losar. Then, the next morning at 7.00 AM the same bus travels from Losar to Kaza.
Yes, there is a daily bus running between Kaza and Komik / Komic. The bus starts every day at 5.00 PM from Kaza to Komik. Then, the next morning at 7.30 AM the same bus travels from Komik to Kaza.
Yes, there is a daily bus running between Kaza and Demul. The bus starts every day at 5.00 PM from Kaza to Demul. Then, the next morning at 7.30 AM the same bus travels from Demul to Kaza.
Yes, there is a daily bus running between Kaza and Lhalung. The bus starts every day at 5.15 PM from Kaza to Lhalung. Then, the next morning at 7.30 AM the same bus travels from Lhalung to Kaza.
Yes, there is a daily bus running between Kaza and Chicham. The bus starts every day at 5.15 PM from Kaza to Chicham. Then, the next morning at 7.30 AM the same bus travels from Chicham to Kaza.
I hope the above article helps you evaluate the cost of travel for your upcoming trip to Spiti valley. This example will also help you fit your plan to evaluate the budget of the trip and skip the places you are not visiting in Spiti. I hope now you will feel more confident in making a budget trip to Spit Valley by public transport.
Feel free to share any tips or updates you may have in the comments section. It will make this article more helpful for other fellow travelers. Also, do not forget to share this article with your friends or families who are planning a budget trip to Spiti Valley by public transport 🙂 🙂 …
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