Chitkul Travel Guide – Stay, How to Reach, Weather, Connectivity6 min read

Reckong Peo – Batseri – Chitkul – Sangla – Reckong Peo

Duration – 2 Days

No matter how many times I go to Chitkul, it still feels like my first. A breath of fresh air, insane looking mountains, peace and more than that it is the last village of India. With absolute no connectivity, you just enjoy the nature and the distant (which look very near) peaks, without any distractions.

I have been to Chitkul both in the summers and winters so I would like to believe that I can give you a fair idea of how this place is during both the seasons 🙂

Below, you will find all the details regarding stay options, how to plan the trip so that you can soak in the maximum of this place, typical cost, as well as ATM and connectivity issues.

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Best Time

Now, it depends on what exactly you would like to experience in Chitkul. Depending on the choice between snow-capped mountains or free-flowing Baspar river you can make the decision. Below, I will give you how each of the season feels. 🙂

Summers

The summers in Chitkul is not like you will start feeling hot and sweaty. During this time, weather is still very cold and you must wear 2-3 layers during this time as well, however, during the months of May to September all the hotels are open and the river Baspa is not frozen. So you can see a beautiful blue coloured river flowing freely underneath the mountains. Although most of the snow in this season melts and you will only see snow on the top of the distant mountain peaks. But the entire valley is very beautiful. Sitting in the open and soaking in the sun is an experience in itself during this time.

 

Winters

During this season, the entire valley is decorated in white. It is so cold during this season that rarely any hotels or homestays are operating. Water is frozen so for showers and washing face, you will only get water in buckets. Further, river Baspa is also frozen, like Chadar in Ladakh 🙂 

Although many travellers specially visit Chitkul to see the white fairyland despite its harsh weather and strict environment.

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The happiest when outdoors 🙂

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How to Reach

In this blog, I will talk about how you can reach from Reckong Peo. There is a bus from Shimla that drops you directly to Chitkul. The bus leaves at 6 AM from Shimla and costs about INR 450/-. If you wish to know the routes from Delhi to Reckong Peo, please read our Kinnaur guide here – link

Reckong Peo to Chitkul

In this section, I will talk about two route options. One will be on how you can reach from Reckong Peo directly and the other one is just a piece of additional information in case you miss your bus (like we did).

There are several ordinary buses that leave from Reckong Peo bus stand. I am listing down their timings below – 

9.30 AM – to Chitkul

12 PM – to Chitkul

4 PM – to Rakcham

However, if you miss the bus, another option can be to take a bus to Karcham. There are continuous buses that leave for Karcham from Peo bus stand. From Karcham, you can take a bus/cab or hitchhike.

Chitkul to Reckong Peo

Now from Chitkul, there are two buses that leave for Peo. These buses cross Sangla as well, so you can shift the timings by an hour. The departure time from Chitkul is 12 PM and 2 PM. These are the same buses that reach Chitkul from Peo.

However, we wanted to spend a little more time and decided on an alternate option –

To Chandigarh

If you want to reach Chandigarh directly from Chitkul, there is a bus that leaves at 4 PM

To Reckong Peo

You can also take a bus that leaves at 4 PM from Chitkul to Chandigarh. This bus will drop you at the midpoint which is Karcham. From Karcham there are frequent buses to Peo (almost every half an hour). You can take the bus then from Karcham to Peo. Getting a bus from Karcham will not be an issue

 

Road Conditions

The roads to Shimla are excellent. Of course, once you cross Chandigarh the zig-zag and twist and turns start, however, the roads are in a good condition during most of the journey. But, be prepared to witness some scary sight. The valleys are so deep that looking out the window once you enter Kinnaur is scary. The roads in Kinnaur is considered one of the most dangerous roads in India, and it is not for faint hearts. This road has been literally carved out of rocks and there are sharp blind turns, due to which accidents are often reported from this region.

However, our HRTC bus drivers are extremely trained and champions to drive on such roads. You can trust them

Itinerary

Below I am giving you the itinerary you can follow. Of course, you can tweak it as per your preference. But it will also give you a fair idea of what all you can see in these places.

Day 0 – Reach Batseri

On this day, reach Batseri and explore the places in Batseri. Batseri is a very small village of Sangla Valley. The village lies to the left of river Baspa and to reach here you have to come down through the road in a valley and cross bridges. The place has such peaceful rural vibes and a very clean environment. Over here, you can visit Badrinarayan temple (carved out of woods) and stroll around the village to get Kinnauri vibes, soak in the beauty of river Baspa and have a chit chat with the locals who are very down to Earth.

 

Day 1 – Visit Chitkul

Today, leave for Chitkul. You can either catch the bus that reaches Batseri at 12 PM or take a direct cab for Chitkul. It will take an hour to reach Chitkul and as soon as you reach this place you will be surprised by the sheer magnitude of its beauty. Enjoy a cup of tea in the last dhaba of India, go near the Baspa rivers and get perfect mountain shots, visit the Mathi temple and also have lunch here. Lunch in the mountains with tea is fantastic and if you can enjoy your food with the view there is no better feeling than this.

After this, you can either come back to Batseri or stay in Chitkul. If you want to know of the stay options please read this section here – link

Day 2 – Visit Sangla

Today, go to Sangla with your bags itself. Why I am saying with the bags is because you will save a lot of time and can leave for Peo/Chandigarh directly from Sangla instead of coming back to Batseri.

Kamru Fort – In Sangla walk towards Kamru fort while enjoying the Sangla meadows. Kamru fort is dedicated to Hindu Goddess Kamakhya Devi, and to enter here you have to tie clothing around your waist, along with wearing a Kinnauri cap which the temple people will give you

Bering Nag Temple – Also visit the Bering Nag temple post this, that is devoted to Lord Jagas

Brelengi Gompa – Also go to this Buddhist monastery which is near the Sangla market itself


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The Map I Followed

Below, the map will tell you the exact distance between places, and also why staying in Batseri is the best. It is right in the middle of Sangla and Chitkul 🙂

 

Where to Stay

If you want to stay in Chitkul, you can stay in Zostel, however, I chose to stay in the nearby village called Batseri, as it offered secluded views away from the tourists. In Batseri I stayed in Hotel Batseri that offers luxury stay and epic views of the valley. You can also get a hot shower, free wifi and restaurant right inside the hotel.

It was one of the best places to stay because I get to witness the flowing river of Baspa right from my room with beautiful mountain peaks. The place was not only cosy but scenic.

 

Connectivity

In Sangla and Batseri you will not face any problems with the network connection. Of course, Jio works the best but even Vodafone’s and Airtel’s performance is not that bad. However, once you start moving towards Chitkul there is no network connection.

Only BSNL works here, and the Internet of BSNL does not work, you can only make/take calls.

 

ATMs in Chitkul

You would easily be able to find ATMs in Reckong Peo, and then there is another one in Sangla. Other places do not have any ATMs, so do not forget to carry cash when you leave for these places.

 

Typical Cost

  • Hotels/Homestays – I would really suggest you stay in Hotel Batseri, at least for a day. It is really amazing. You can check out the prices here – link, however, if you are tight on a budget you will be able to find homestays for INR 500/-. Check out a few of them here – link
  • Bus Cost – Bus from Reckong Peo to Chitkul will cost less than INR 150/-. Buses are your best friend and the most budget-friendly partner to have during the trip
  • Food – There is a wide number of restaurants to choose from, especially in Reckong Peo and Kalpa. A meal cost somewhere around INR 150/-

 

What to Pack

Some of the essential things that you cannot forget on such trips are below. I am also giving links to some of them for your purchase 🙂

  • Winter Jackets – link
  • Pairs of Woollen socks – I love the merino wools socks here. They are the best and keeps you warm – link
  • Trekking Shoes – They are essential as in the mountains walking can become tedious and in some places, you might have to hike – link
  • Balaclava – link

 

I hope the guide helps you in having a fantastic time in such a beautiful place. Do comment below in case of any questions, I love to chat 🙂

 

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