Choosing between both the Spiti Valley routes is a significant task before planning. Moreover, the season determines the most suitable path for your journey to the land of adventure.
I want to share my thoughts after undergoing both the Spiti Valley routes.
Considering the required shots, I went on a Solo Trip to Spiti Valley to work on my Photography Portfolio. Hence, I selected a particular date to leave. Soon after, I heard that it was raining heavily and landslides all over the Himalayan region again—yeah, you guessed it correctly, it’s the month of monsoon, unpredictable August.
Firstly, I decided to go from Delhi to Manali and then from Manali to Spiti. After much inquiry, everybody, and even the HRTC officials, suggested the way from Shimla would be ideal for Spiti Valley in overcast weather.
Therefore, I began my journey from Delhi to Shimla primarily. Then, after reaching Shimla in the early morning, I took a bus to Rampur Bushahr because I missed the direct bus to Reckong Peo. I changed the bus at Rampur and then headed straight to Reckong Peo for the night halt.
Make sure to stay near the Bus stand, Hotel OYO Apple Resort is right next to the bus stand. So, you can consider that because the first bus from Reckong Peo to Spiti leaves at 5:30 a.m. then the next bus at approximately 9 a.m, staying nearby would be fruitful.
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Road Condition from Shimla to Reckong Peo
The road conditions are good on that route. But when you enter Kinnaur district, a lousy patch roughly extends to 1-2hr. However, it’s manageable.
If you’re traveling by local bus or personal vehicle, you’ll enjoy the ride and scenic view outside your windows.
HRTC Bus from Shimla to Reckong Peo
Every day, 2 buses run from Shimla to Reckong Peo directly, but very early, around 5-5:30a.m, so it’s essential to take a bus from Delhi that would make you reach before 5 a.m.
Unfortunately, the bus I was on fell short by 15 minutes, so I reached Shimla around 5:45 a.m., and the direct Shimla to Reckong Peo bus had left.
In that case, I took a Shimla to Rampur bus and later changed from Rampur to Reckong Peo.
The Shimla to Rampur bus cost Rs. 300 and took around 5-6hrs. Furthermore, the Rampur to Reckong Peo bus cost Rs. 230 and took 3-4 hours to reach.
Finally, I arrived at Reckong Peo for the night stay around 6:30 p.m.
Network Availability on the Shimla to Reckong Peo Route
There is full availability of network on that route. I had an Airtel sim, so that worked perfectly on that route.
Reckong Peo to Kaza HRTC Bus
From the Reckong Peo bus stand, two buses run daily on that route. The first bus was around 5:30.m, but you’ll need to arrive early to get the ticket because only about 45-50 tickets are there. Almost all the locals acquire those, so you need to arrive at the bus stand by 4:30 a.m. to stand in queue and wait for your turn.
But, still, people will try to break the line to get the tickets, so you need to act more intelligent to get tickets.
I missed the very first bus because when I stood in line, as my turn came, the tickets were finished.
The following bus from Reckong Peo to Kaza would leave around 9:30 a.m; ditto, stand in queue ahead and get your ticket. Finally, here, I got the ticket.
The Reckong Peo to Kaza bus ticket fare is Rs. 495, and it would take around 8-9 hours—I reached Kaza by 6:30 p.m. and saw the beautiful side light falling in the fields.
Road Conditions from Reckong Peo to Kaza
The roads are relatively good, but a few patches before reaching Kaza is a little disturbed, though the overall ride would be enjoyable and scenic. You would be crossing some other popular sites like Tabo & Nako. But, there’s no halt for sightseeing. However, the bus would stop for Breakfast and Lunch in between for short intervals.
Network Availability on the Reckong Peo to Kaza Route
The network connection is inconsistent on this route; therefore, ensure you have downloaded your playlist or for your entertainment well before. But, on the majority, the network would remain. Precisely, it would lose out for 20-30 mins or sometimes an hour in the total journey of around 8-9hrs.
When returning from Kaza to Manali…
Road Conditions from Kaza to Manali Route
It’s entirely off-road but equally scenic. Nature’s beauty on this route is remarkable; you’ll pass by waterfalls and lush greenery and even easily see the transition from Green to Deserted mountains as you proceed toward the bigger town.
I’ll repeat: the road conditions are not ideal if you’re willing to drive independently. However, if traveling by local bus, then it would be okay.
Network Availability on the Kaza to Manali Route
Ahh, ultimately, none. After the bus starts from Spiti, roughly after 1 -2 hours, there’ll be no network till you finally reach Manali; likewise, when you start from Manali.
Your journey would be fantastic if you had the best seat, probably the window. Otherwise, it would help if you stay dependent on your phone or other alternatives to keep yourself entertained.
How do you get the window seat on the HRTC Buses?
Everything depends on how early you book your tickets. The ticket booking starts the previous day evening, in the case of going outside to Kaza.
If you’re not willing to take tickets the previous day, then the chances of you getting a seat would be troublesome. Undoubtedly, you want to avoid traveling for 7-8 hours while standing on the bus.
For example – I was in Spiti and wanted to go to Manali, so the ticket booking started a day before in the evening around 6 p.m. All the window seats get occupied on a first come, first serve basis. Hence, it would be best if you arrive at the exact time when the booking opens.
Kaza to Manali and Kaza to Kullu HRTC Bus Fare
The Kaza to Manali HRTC bus ticket was Rs. 400 roughly per person.
Furthermore, I extended my journey from Kaza to Kullu directly, which cost around Rs. 500 per person. Ultimately, I had to reach Delhi; getting closer in a single day would be beneficial.
I have thoroughly expressed my experience with both the Spiti Valley routes.
Hence, I recommend undergoing both routes, also called the Spiti Valley circuit, because both paths have their magnificence, so it’s fairer to see than to regret afterward.
Make sure to choose the appropriate season for selecting on the Spiti Valley routes, but not the monsoon season.