This post was recently updated on September 12th, 2021
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Firstly, Sojourning in Chitkul was not in my thought when I was planning from Delhi to Chitkul.
Then, what happened that had changed my mind to end up staying in Chitkul and writing this Delhi to Chitkul travel guide?
Suspense & it will be interesting as well. . . The day before departing for Chikul, I initially arrived in Kalpa valley.
I had made a plan to leave before the sunrise for Kalpa to Chitkul and move directly back before the sunset to where I was sojourning in Kalpa.
I was clueless irrespective of bus timing & other factors.
According to my plan, I started before sunrise. Since I was staying in Village Kashmir (Kalpa), very few buses pass before 8:30 a.m. on that route to reach the Reckong Peo bus stand.
Therefore, I Waited for a long 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 quick (strict of their time).
I took the bus and succeeded to the Reckong Peo bus stand before the earliest bus leaves for Chitkul.
Allow me to be your Delhi to Chitkul virtual guide and I’ll lead you to Paradise ♥.
All About Chitkul Himachal Pradesh
Chitkul in Himachal Pradesh is the last residing, a small village before the India – Tibet border.
The Indian roads end here, and you cannot go forward from here. You can go backward.
The road trip to Chitkul on the HRTC bus will going to be full of experiences. Riding on these road conditions is often favored by expert drivers holding in mind the safety standards.
The first and most essential point is right at the start. Please do not throw wrappers anywhere near, Baspa river or anywhere in Chitkul village.
Let us keep the place nice for our future generations to ponder.
Travel Responsibly and Support Responsible Tourism.
How to Reach Chitkul from Delhi
The entire Delhi to Chitkul distance is approx. 590km via road. It would take about 16-17hr to reach Chitkul from Delhi.
You can use public transportation to cover your Delhi to Chitkul journey.
You can acclimatize for a day at either Reckong Peo or Sangla before heading to Chitkul because Chitkul is present at a higher elevation. Acclimatizing at a somewhat lower height is essential for the body to continue further.
To go to Chitkul from Delhi, you have to split your trip into several parts –
Delhi to Chitkul Flight
The nearest airport is in Shimla (Jubbarhatti airport). All the towns are easily accessible from Shimla.
First, you can take a flight from Delhi to Shimla. Upon reaching Shimla, you can either take a bus to Sangla or book a cab that will directly drop you in Chitkul.
*If you take my advice, I will strongly suggest (1) and (2) here because you will get the much-needed rest in changing the bus, and it is the most crucial part of a long journey.
Delhi to Reckong Peo
Yes, there’s a direct Delhi to Reckong Peo HRTC Ordinary bus which daily operates from the ISBT Kashmiri gate.
The Delhi to Reckong Peo bus fare will be around Rs.750-Rs.850 per person. It will be a very ordinary bus, you have to still all the time. Many a time there might be possible that the direct Delhi to Reckong buses is not available.
So, don’t completely rely on the direct Reckong Peo bus, either you should remain flexible with regards to the buses. Since it will be a very long journey in the mountains.
The duration of the Delhi to Reckong Peo bus journey will be going to be around 18-19 hrs i.e. it will be a pretty long bus journey straight from Delhi.
Chandigarh to Chitkul
If you’re willing to travel from Chandigarh to Chitkul, you will need to take the Sangla bus:
There are very limited buses that operate directly in the route of Chandigarh to Sangla. Since the distance between them is 332km.
The bus departing from Delhi will anyhow be going to cross Chandigarh to further travel to Shimla and then to Chitkul.
i.e. the route will be going to be the same both for Delhi to Chitkul & Chandigarh to Chitkul. Unless & Until you’ll take some longer routes.
So, If you haven’t got a direct bus then there is always a possibility that you can take a Chandigarh to Shimla bus. Thereafter, Shimla to Sangla bus or either Shimla to Rampur bus & then to Sangla & Chitkul.
I know you have to Interchange quite a lot of buses but Chitkul is worth all the efforts that you will be going to make.
Also, Chandigarh to Reckong Peo buses is available. All you can do is take a bus to Chitkul after reaching Reckong Peo from Chandigarh.
Shimla to Chitkul Bus
The Shimla to Chitkul road journey will be a roller coaster ride of your trip. But there’s no Shimla to Chitkul direct bus, you can either take a bus to either Reckong Peo or Sangla.
The Shimla to Chitkul distance is 300km approx. passing via Narkanda and Rampur. The road conditions from Shimla to Chitkul will be halfway smooth & the remaining half will test your patience.
Shimla to Reckong Peo Bus
The Shimla to Reckong Peo distance is 220-225km approx.
Shimla to Sangla distance is 220km approx.
The bus will be going to take about 7-8hrs to reach Reckong Peo from Shimla. The Shimla to Reckong Peo bus fare is Rs. 420 approx.
Therefore, You must take the night rest and leave for Chitkul the next morning.
Like from Shimla to Rampur, the route will be smooth but before entering the Kinnaur region till Chitkul the route will be a bumpy journey.
Luxury or Deluxe Buses to Chitkul
The mountain roads are not ideal for luxury or deluxe buses because of their sizes. Since the deluxe buses can make you reach to an extent but it will not going to cover your whole journey.
Delhi to Shimla journey can be done on the deluxe bus but further you need to travel till Chitkul on the ordinary buses only.
How to Reach Chitkul from Reckong Peo
Reckong Peo to Chitkul Bus
The Reckong Peo to Chitkul buses leaves every day. You can see in the two images above, the timings of the buses and their respective destinations.
Two HRTC buses leave daily from Reckong Peo bus stand to Chitkul –
I had stayed in Zostel Chitkul for Rs.599 for a night.
The weather in Chitkul could be extreme if not been planned effectively. During my visit, the roads were just opened at the beginning of April. Thus, 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 to be precise after crossing Rakcham there will be no mobile connectivity apart from the BSNL network.
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 repeatedly. 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 vehicle, you have to make sure that the vehicle tank is filled in Sangla valley, about 24km away from Chitkul.
The same goes for the bikers as well.
Best Time to Visit Chitkul
The best time to visit Chitkul is between the months of the middle of April – August or even September (Take care of the monsoon season). The days remain bright and sunny with slight cold nights.
Also, the roads would open up somewhere around March & April, so April will be a good month to inhale the Chitkul air. Rest Apart everything depends upon the weather, I mean no one can tell that it might start snowing in April too.
Jan – Apr
In these months’ temperature ranges from min. -20 degrees in Jan to the max. 0 degrees in April.
In these months’ temperature ranges from min. -10 degrees in May to the max. 8 degrees in August. You can also expect snowfall at the starting of May too.
In these months’ temperature ranges from min. -2 degrees in Sept to the max. of -10 degrees in 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 –
The best part about the journey was I end up covering a lot because I prefer to travel mostly on foot. Hence, this was also the main reason I spent Delhi to Chitkul on a low budget.
1. A Refreshing Walk Along the Baspa River
When you’re in Chitkul, you must take a panoramic walk along the Baspa river or just chill alongside and make a panorama of this beauty. The water mostly will be going to remain cold because of the climate.
The road will follow side by side, all you can do is walk towards the Baspa river.
2. A Scenic Walk till Army Check Post (Nagasthi ITBP)
This walk will be going to your memorable and proud one too. I was accompanied by army camp dogs from the start of the walk till the end because the dogs often come to the village houses.
You will be crossing the last resort on Indian soil and will be moving towards the Nagasthi ITBP check post. If allowed you can reach the last of the check post.
3. Nag Temple
Nag temple opens only at the time of Lohri – A local of the village had provided me this info.
*One more piece of advice from a Local – Stay away from the dogs of Chitkul Village because if you are not going to give biscuits to the dogs, they will bite you and the hospital is very far from there ( Exact words the local conveyed to me ).
4. Durga Maa temple
Chitkul is spread in a very small area. Reaching any of the places will not going to be a problem for you.
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. A Walk into the Chitkul Village
Any walk is blissful and especially when it’s in the last inhabited village.
You can interact with the locals about how they spent their whole day. Try to keep yourself in their shoes that what how will you manage to survive in these conditions or environment.
6. The Chitkul Trek
Yes, trek lovers, there are many treks in Chitkul and Kinnaur region.
There’s a flag post-trek in Chikul and the flag can easily be seen from the Chitkul. It’s a trek that passes from the village and you can also take local guidance to reach the endpoint.
Some of the names of the treks are –
Lamkhaga pass trek
Borasu pass trek
Charang Chitkul pass trek
Nalgan pass trek
Those were some of the points that you can look at during your Chitkul trip.
Buses from Chitkul Bus Stand
Hats off to our HRTC drivers who drive on these dangerous roads. As you can see in the image above, this bus directly came from Mandi District and reached Chitkul in the morning. The Mandi to Chikul distance is almost 293km.
The drivers are strict in their time. Hence, you must keep an eye on the time.
The buses that leave from the Chitkul Bus stand at the “Hindustan Ka Akhari Dhaba “ point. Here’s an overview of the buses –
6:30 a.m. Bus timing = Chitkul ➡️ Reckong Peo
9:30 a.m. Bus timing = Chitkul ➡️ Mandi
12:00 p.m. (Noon) 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. You can take any of the buses and reach Sangla or Kharcham and from there board as per your plans.
For e.x- The buses go like this, starting from Reckong Peo –