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Reckong Peo – Batseri – Chitkul – Sangla – Reckong Peo
Duration – 2 Days
Please keep Chitkul clean. Take back plastics and only leave your footprints behind 🙂
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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Location of Chitkul Village
Chitkul is located in the Kinnaur Valley which is very close to Tibet border. From here travelers usually move to the Spiti valley. Chitkul’s elevation is 3,450 metres and is about 570km from Delhi. Chitkul is considered the last village in India at the Northern side as the Indo-Tibet border is just 90 km away from it.
Best Time to Visit Chitkul – Chitkul Weather
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 in Chitkul
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.
If you are planning to move to Spiti from Kinnaur, here is the guide – Spiti Travel Guide
Winters in Chitkul
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.
How to Reach from Delhi to Chitkul
In this blog, I will talk IN DETAIL about how you can reach from Delhi to Chitkul and as well as from Reckong Peo. There is also 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 guide here – Kinnaur guide
Delhi to Chitkul By Air
If you are coming from far away states then the nearest airport for you will be Shimla, however, do check the flights till Delhi and Chandigarh before booking as the chances are the flight to Delhi might be cheaper than the flight to Shimla due to high frequency.
More on how you can reach from Delhi, Chandigarh, and Shimla to Chitkul below.
Delhi to Chitkul By Train
Shimla is the nearest Railway station to Chitkul. More on how you can reach from Shimla to Chitkul below.
Chitkul By Bus or Public Transport
You can easily take an HRTC bus from Delhi, Chandigarh or Shimla to Chitkul. You can either reach directly to Sangla which is a closer place to Chitkul. Or reach Reckong Peo first, explore Kalpa and then move to Chitkul. I am talking about all the possible bus routes in detail below.
Delhi to Chitkul + Chandigarh to Chitkul
Take an overnight HRTC bus from Delhi to Chandigarh that leaves at 8 PM from ISBT Kashmiri Gate. The next morning, get down at Chandigarh and take a deluxe bus that leaves in the evening at 5:50 PM, 6 PM and 7 PM for Reckong Peo
- While reaching Reckong Peo, a bus stand by the name Karcham comes half an hour before the Reckong Peo bus stand. Get down here and take another bus to Chitkul from Karcham
Delhi to Chitkul + Shimla to Chitkul
There are many overnight buses that leave for Shimla from ISBT Kashmiri Gate of Delhi. If you want to reach Chitkul directly, instead of getting down at Karcham as mentioned above, reaching Shimla would be the best option from where a bus leaves at 6 AM every day for Chitkul and costs about INR 450/-
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.
Sangla to Chitkul
If you chose to stay in Sangla then you can easily go for a day tour to Chitkul from Sangla. Sangla is far more convenient for reaching Chitkul. The bus runs daily and the last bus to return to Sangla from Chitkul is at 3:30 PM.
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. Hence from Sangla, these buses will leave at 1 PM and 3 PM respectively.
However, we wanted to spend a little more time and decided on an alternate option –
If you want to reach Chandigarh directly from Chitkul, there is a bus that leaves at 4 PM from Chitkul
An Alternate to Reckong Peo
If you miss the 12 PM or 2 PM bus there is another way to reach 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.
Traveling to Kinnaur solo? These tips will help you – Solo travel Tips for India
Road Conditions in Chitkul
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
3 Days Itinerary of Chitkul
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 the 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 – Kinnaur Travel Guide
You can check the website below as well for hotel booking. The best thing about this website is that you do not have to pay any amount in advance. Just reserve the room through them 🙂
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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Running into 2019 like. ^_^ . It has been a crazy year, with ultimate independence unlocked after quitting my job. 2019 will be mostly about learning new adventures and growing as a person. Currently, I am off to Spiti to experience cold weather and superimposing the previous experiences with warmer memories. 🌠 . 📷 @ro5h4n
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 🙂
Hotels in Chitkul – Where to Stay
If you want a hotel 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 cozy but scenic.
If you traveling on a budget, you can check the website below as well for hotel booking. The best thing about this website is that you do not have to pay any amount in advance. Just reserve the room through them 🙂
Network Connectivity in Chitkul
Sangla and Batseri have good network connectivity except for Vodafone. Jio works the best and Vodafone does not work at all. Airtel’s performance is not that bad as well.
Further, once you start moving towards Chitkul there is no network connection at all. Only BSNL works here while the Internet even of BSNL does not work. You can only make/take calls.
ATMs and Petrol Pump 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.
Same is the case with petrol pumps. So ensure your tanks are full.
Where to Eat
Hindustan ka akhri dhaba (Last Dhaba of India) is a must do things in Chitkul. Although you will find many dhabas serving momos, thukpa, maggie and tea but do not miss out on Hindustan ka akhri dhaba.
If possible take your own cutlery and ask the shopkeepers to give you food in that instead of buying plastic. It is destroying the beauty of Chitkul as waste is being spread out in the mountains.
- 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 🙂
- Thermal Inners: This should be your base layer and have a good quality thermal to wear for this one. Thermals trap your body heat and keep you warm. Further, they do not take that much space as well in your backpack
- Winter Jackets – link
- Gloves/Muffler/Woollen Cap: All these are essential. During winters it is important to keep your head covered. Avoid wearing woollen gloves during the snowfall season as it traps water. Consider buying the below one –
- 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
- Hand Sanitizer
- Tooth Paste/Tooth Brush
- Towel/Toilet Paper
- Lip Balm
- Day Pack Bag: You will be needing a small backpack whenever you are going out of your room to pack your essentials –
- UV Sunglasses
- Water Bottle
- Small Towel
- Raincover: For your backpacks make sure you have a rain cover if you are going during the monsoon season. If you have gadgets and electronic things and your backpack is not waterproof it can damage all your necessities –
- Slippers: Do not forget to pack good slippers. For quick errands, you will not like to wear your shoes again and again
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 🙂