Firstly, Staying in Chitkul Valley was not on my mind when I had arrived in Kinnaur Valley.
Then what happened which had changed my mind to arrive in Chitkul and end up staying and writing this Chitkul travel guide.
The day before leaving for Chikul Valley, I was in Kalpa valley.
I had made a plan that I will leave before the sunrise for my Chitkul trip and be right back before the sunset (that was actually what I had thought) with no clue irrespective of bus timing & other factors.
According to my plan, I left before the sunrise. Since I was staying in Village Kashmir (Kalpa) hardly any bus passes by before 8:30 a.m. on that route to reach Reckong Peo.
Hence, I Waited for some time. Luckily! I saw a bus that had dropped passengers on the Kalpa-Roghi Road curve at 8 a.m.
Table of Contents
Conversation Between Me and the Bus Driver
Me – Is this going towards Reckong Peo? Conductor – Yes, come up fast (strict of their time).
Let me be your Chitkul travel guide and take you to Paradise ♥.
All About Chitkul Village
Chitkul in Himachal Pradesh is the last residing: a very small village before the India – Tibet border. The Indian roads end here and you cannot go ahead from here all you can go is backward.
The road trip to Chitkul on the HRTC bus will going to be full of experiences. Driving on these road conditions is mostly preferred by experienced drivers keeping in mind the safety measures.
The first and most important thing right at the start – Do not throw wrappers anywhere near Baspa river or I would say anywhere in Chitkul village. It’s still untouched by irresponsible human beings and let’s keep it the same.
i.e Travel Responsibly and Promote Responsible Tourism.
How to Reach Chitkul from Delhi
To reach Chitkul from Delhi the distance can be covered in two days by using public transport. Acclimatize for a day at either Reckong Peo or Sangla before heading to Chitkul because it’s located at a higher altitude. Acclimatizing to the conditions at a slightly lower height is very important for the body to proceed further.
The Total Delhi to Chitkul distance is approx. 590km via road and it would take around 16-17hr to reach Chitkul from Delhi.
To go to Chitkul from Delhi, one can opt for any option listed in the points below –
Delhi to Chitkul Flight
The nearest airport is in Shimla (Jubbarhatti airport). All the towns are easily accessible from Shimla because it’s the major hub. You can either take a bus to Sangla or hire a cab which will directly drop you at Chitkul.
Unfortunately, there is no Delhi to Chitkul direct Bus service, but you can get a Delhi to Reckong Peo direct HRTC Bus. The distance between Reckong Peo to Chitkul is hardly 65km approx. & you can cover that by taking another bus in the morning from the Reckong Peo bus stand.
Note – You will be going to reach Reckong Peo or Sangla in the evening. Therefore, you have to stay in Peo or Sangla for a night and take the bus very next morning to Chitkul which starts at 9:30 a.m.
If you are willing to travel from Delhi, then you have to change the bus at frequent intervals.
Also, Chandigarh to Reckong Peo buses is available. All you can do is take a bus to Chitkul after reaching Reckong Peo from Chandigarh.
*If you take my advice, I will strongly recommend (1) and (2) here because you will get the much-needed break in changing the bus and that is the most important part of a long journey.
Delhi to Reckong Peo Bus
Yes, there’s a direct Delhi to Reckong Peo HRTC Ordinary bus which daily operates from the ISBT Kashmiri gate till Reckong Peo bus stand.
Note – The duration of the Delhi to Reckong Peo bus journey will going to be about 17-18 hrs long. i.e. travel on an ordinary bus after considering your stamina and health.
Shimla to Chitkul Bus
The Shimla to Chitkul road journey would be a roller coaster ride on your trip but there’s no Shimla to Chitkul direct bus, you can either go to Reckong Peo or Sangla. The Shimla to Reckong Peo distance is almost 220-225km and Shimla to Sangla distance is almost 220km.
i.e. You must take the night rest and leave for Chitkul the next morning.
The Shimla to Chitkul distance is approx. 300km passing via Narkanda and Rampur, the window view during the bus journey is that you cannot miss it.
How to Reach Chitkul from Reckong Peo
Reckong Peo to Chitkul Bus
Reckong Peo to Chitkul buses leaves every day. As seen in the image above with the timings and their respective destinations.
If you are departing from Reckong Peo. Two HRTC buses leave daily from Reckong Peo bus stand to Chitkul –
The second bus departs at 12 p.m from Reckong Peo and reaches Chitkul around 4 p.m. The bus comes back the next morning from Chitkul because of safety measures. Also, there are no street lights/road lights on that route.
How Chitkul Happened in a Sec
I had a plan of going till Sangla and then afterward to my homestay in Kalpa towards the end of the evening.
I left my homestay early morning.
Took a Reckong Peo to Sangla Bus which costed Rs.72.
I reached Sangla at around 12:30 p.m. and hopped out of the bus, had my lunch. and began to ask-
Me – What things can I do in Sangla? Locals – Nothing much, instead go Chitkul.
Asked from few others and they kept saying the same thing, not only in Sangla but also heard the same thing in Kalpa too that “Chitkul is like a Switzerland of India”.
Okay, in a sec. made a decision that I reached Sangla.
i.e. The Sangla to Chitkul distance is 24Km and it will be going to take all most 1:30 hrs to reach Chikul. If I am not going to Chitkul then it would be a waste of coming till Sangla.
Luckily, I saw the same bus which dropped me at Sangla bus depot. The drivers had their lunch and were about to leave and I asked.
Conversation between Me and the Bus Driver
Me– Can I come again? I am now going to Chitkul! Conductor – Come on!
Sangla to Chitkul Bus fare was Rs.40.
Reached Chitkul at 2 p.m. and literally shocked to see Chitkul, never-ever imagined that Chitkul’s journey can turn out to be so beautiful right from the moment go.
Snow clad mountains all around and baspa river making its presence felt when looked down.
Major Note – If you are a foreigner, you need to take a permit before landing in Chitkul. The permit can be taken from Reckong Peo, near the Peo parking where it has been written “Tourist Info System”, you can take info and permit for Spiti too.
Chitkul Village Images
I have been mesmerized by the Chitkul beauty and felt thankful that I made a decision to come here.
It’s cold too. Leaving everything apart I first started searching for a place to stay in Chitkul.
i.e listed below are the options that I found where you can stay in Chikul –
Accommodation options in Chitkul
(I hadn’t booked or enquired about where I will be staying during my trip to Chitkul. Therefore, it was the starting of the season (mid-April) and roads have just been opened, so it was pretty easy to find a stay).
I stayed in Zostel Chitkul for Rs.599 for a night ( that time )
The weather in Chitkul is altogether different, the cold breeze has been blowing in the afternoon. The roads have just been opened at the starting of April, plan your visit to Chikul accordingly.
Mobile Network in Chitkul
I have some bad news for the users of Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, and any other network users. Only BSNL Mobile Network works in Chitkul.
After landing in Chitkul or I can say after crossing Rakcham mobile signals will not come into play.
It’s not necessarily that you have to switch between your network provider, at least the network ensures that you see the magical beauty of Chitkul without looking at your phone or being disturbed. The actual answer to living in the moment.
Petrol Pump in Chikul
There are no petrol pumps in Chikul. Instead, if you are coming to Chitkul in your personal vehicle then you have to make sure that it was completely filled in Sangla valley which is about 24km away from Chitkul.
Best Time to Visit Chitkul
The best time to visit Chitkul is between the months of mid-April – August or even September (Take care of the monsoon season). The days remain bright and sunny with slight cold nights.
Jan – Apr
In these months’ temperature ranges from min. -20 degrees in the month of Jan to the max. 0 degrees in April.
In these months’ temperature ranges from min. -10 degrees in the month of May to the max. 8 degrees in the month of August. You can also expect snowfall at the starting of May too.
In these months’ temperature ranges from min. -2 degrees in the month of Sept to the max. of -10 degrees in the month of December.
Things to do in Chitkul
Chitkul is located in a small area, hence you have limited things to do. Although, it depends upon how you utilize that limited things to make something special out from there.
Listed below are the points, let’s see –
My best part about the journey is I end up covering a lot because I travel mostly on foot. Hence, This is the main reason the Chitkul travel guide is taking place.
1. Panoramic walk
When in Chitkul, must take a panoramic walk along the Baspa river or just chill alongside and make a panorama of this beauty.
2. Walk till army check post (Nagasthi ITBP)
This walk will be going to your memorable and proud one too. I was accompanied by my army camp dogs right from the start to the end.
You will be crossing the last resort on Indian soil and progressing towards the Nagasthi ITBP check post. If allowed you will actually be reaching till the last of the check post.
3. Nag Temple
Nag temple opens only at the time of Lohri – local replied, after being asked at what time it will going to open.
*One more advice from a Local – Stay away from the dogs of Chitkul Village because if you are not going to give biscuits to dogs, they will bite you and the hospital is very far from there ( Exact words the local spoke to me ).
4. Durga Maa temple
Durga Maa temple opens every day at a sharp 9 a.m. and you can take the blessings and spend some time in the open surroundings.
5. Walk in the village
Any walk is blissful and especially when it’s in the last inhabited village.
Interact with the locals that how they spent their whole day and try to keep yourself in their shoes that what how will you manage to survive in these conditions or environment.
6. Chitkul Trek
Yes, trek lovers, you got this one.
There’s a flag post-trek in Chikul and the flag can easily be seen from the land. It’s an easy trek that passes from the village and you can also take local guidance to reach the endpoint.
*These are some points you can look to do in your Chitkul trip.
Buses from Chitkul Bus Stand
Hats off to our HRTC drivers who drive on these dangerous roads. As shown above, this bus directly came from Mandi District and reached Chitkul in the morning.
The drivers are strict in their time. Hence, you must keep an eye on the time.
These buses leave from the Chitkul Bus stand “Hindustan Ka Akhari Dhaba “ –
6:30 a.m. Bus timing = Chitkul ➡️ Reckong Peo
9:30 a.m. Bus timing = Chitkul ➡️ Mandi
12:00 p.m. Bus timing = Chitkul➡️ Sangla
2:00 p.m. Bus timing = Chitkul ➡️ Reckong Peo
3:30 p.m. Bus timing = Chitkul ➡️ Chandigarh
Vice-Versa, You can take a bus from Chandigarh to Sangla which is around 330km approx. i.e. from Sangla to Chitkul.
Likewise, you can travel back from Chitkul to Reckong Peo or some of the other places.
All the buses pass from Sangla and Kharcham if mistakenly you miss your preferable bus take any and reach Sangla or Kharcham and from there board as per your plans.
For Ex- It goes like this, starting from Reckong Peo
Chitkul in Kinnaur Valley can be done under the budget of Rs.6000 – Rs.6500 for 3-4 days, considering one day to reach, two days in Chitkul, and one day while going back to Delhi.
The day-wise cost breakdown has been described below –
Delhi to Shimla Bus = Rs.650-Rs.750 (Volvo Bus)
Shimla till Chitkul Bus ( From any routes listed in the how-to reach section ) = Rs.600- Rs700 (Ordinary Bus)
Stay(Hostel = Rs. 500 – Rs 600) for a night + Food = Rs. 1400 around
Stay(Hotel = Rs 1000 – Rs 1500) for a night + Food = Around Rs. 2000