With no sign of greenery; not a single dead leaf on the street let alone a green one, constant bone-chilling breeze, population less than what we come across on a single coach of Delhi metro during late hours and in spite of many more challenges that came along in a 5-day trip, Spiti managed to steal my heart. I packed my bag with lots of warm clothes and hopes led by our beloved social media (Instagram). Call me superficial but I’d be lying if I deny that at some point or the other I didn’t regret traveling all the way to Spiti in local buses (HRTC buses). The journey was extremely draining and my body felt like a milkshake in a mixer for hours. But soon I found a way to deal with it and which is precisely why I chose to go via Kinnaur instead of Manali: “The view outside the window”.
DELHI – SPITI (via Kinnaur) 793km
Going Spiti via Kinnaur is always seen as a better option, due to the extravaganza views throughout the journey. Kinnaur is a magical village and you cannot afford to miss it. The reason I think it is the best route is that it is open throughout the year hence in the off-season too and that’s when I prefer to travel. The only catch is that the rout is way too long and takes quite a patience test. Basically, it takes a little madness and lots of determination to go via Kinnaur. This is the guide for the people who like to travel on local buses, with no luxury.
DELHI – SHIMLA (346km, 7:24hrs)
This is the first segment of the trip which is the shortest and most comfortable one. So try to sleep as much as you can. Let’s be honest: nobody likes to sit on a bus for hours in the day time. That’s why I always prefer to take the night bus so that I can sleep throughout the journey plus I love that feeling of Sleeping in one state and waking up in another. And in this journey, my main agenda behind taking the night bus was to reach Shimla by 5 am so that I can board the first bus to Reckong Peo (@ 6 am).
Bus Details: HRTC A/C(VOLVO) Seater (2+2)
Time: 09:36 PM – 05:00 AM
Stop: Kashmiri Gate – Shimla bus Depo
SHIMLA – RECKONG PEO (227km, 10:30hrs)
As you might have noticed that the distance is less than the first slot but the time taken is more. Yes, my Math is weak, but I am not that dumb. It took 10+ hours to reach Peo from Shimla because of the mountain roads and of course the tedious halts. The real journey starts here, in an ordinary HRTC bus, on the zigzag roads along with the unbelievable views. Also, this is when your mind and body start to disagree but remember “You got this”.
Bus Details: HRTC Ordinary Bus
Time: 6 AM Sharp
Stop: Shimla Bus Stop – Peo Bus stop
Tip: carry neck pillow (it really helps).
RECKONG PEO – KAZA, SPITI (196km, 9:00hrs)
Here is when I decided to let go of my carefully planned Spiti itinerary and ended up spending the night in Peo. Apart from exploring the place, the other major reason was that there is only one bus for Kaza (Spiti Valley) from Peo bus stand, which leaves at sharp 7 am. This situation will leave you with no other option but to stay, which is a plus point trust me. You can always take two days out from your 10 days trip and explore surprising villages of Kinnaur like Kalpa (20mins away from Peo), Sangla (3hrs away from Peo), and the best of all Chitkul (4hrs away from Peo).
TIP: I checked in in a hotel within walking distance to the Peo bus stand so that I don’t have to worry about missing the bus or the cab fare.
Bus Details: HRTC Ordinary bus
Timing: 7 AM sharp
Stop: Peo Bus Stand – Kaza bus stand
Remember the feeling when you waited so long for a big-budget Shahrukh Khan movie to release only to find out that it didn’t live up to the expectations at all? Well, in this case, the feeling was exactly the opposite. Trust me there is no better feeling than reaching your dream destination and finding it to be ten times better than what you imagined. It is a treasure trove of adventure and natural beauty.
Please note -:
- Pee wherever you get a chance.
- Backpacks only. pack light but essentials
- Carry a torch. I know your phone has this feature, but you certainly wouldn’t want to waste your battery on anything other than clicking pictures.
- Try to pat every dog you come across.
- Visit Kaza Monastery during lunchtime, you might get lucky in terms of having lunch with the monks.
- Always ask, just don’t hesitate to ask any query you have or any help you need. People go out of their way to help.
- (If possible) Hire a bike please, because this experience is so worth it.
- Travel responsibly, use water according to the instructions.