The never-ending journey to Spiti Valley. “Literally”

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Photo of The never-ending journey to Spiti Valley. “Literally” by Saloni Bisht

DELHI – SPITI (via Kinnaur) 793km

Going Spiti via Kinnaur is always seen as a better option, as it is more beautiful than Rohtang Pass obviously because Kinnaur is a magical village and you can not afford to miss it. Why I think it is the best route because this route is open throughout the year hence in off season too and that’s when I prefer to travel. The only catch is that the rout is way too long and takes quite a patience test. Basically, it takes a little madness and lots of determination to go via Kinnaur.

This is the guide for the people who like to travel in local buses and with no luxury, i.e how I travel (no kidding). Also for those who are broke and unemployed but can kill for travelling, like me (no kidding again).

DELHI – SHIMLA (346km, 7:24hrs)

Well, guys, this is the only time of your trip when you can go with luxury and by luxury, I mean Volvo bus. This is the first slot of the trip and the shortest and most comfortable one. So try to sleep as much as you can. I always take the night bus to Shimla, there are many reasons behind it. Let’s say for starters I hate day journey, also night journeys are way less tiring because I’m sleeping most of the time. Plus I love that feeling of Sleeping in one state and waking up in other. But the main agenda is to reach Shimla by or before 5 am so that I can board the first bus to Reckong Peo (@ 6 am).

Bus Details: HRTC A/C(VOLVO) Seater (2+2)

Time: 09:36 PM – 05:00 AM

Venue: Kashmiri Gate

SHIMLA – RECKONG PEO (227km, 10:30hrs)

As you can see the distance is less than the first slot but the time taken is more. Yes, my Maths is weak but I am not that dumb. It takes more time to travel the same distance on mountains than on plains, sadly Google maps don’t consider this point. It takes 10+ hours to reach Peo from Shimla because of the mountain roads and of course the halts. The real journey starts here, with ordinary HRTC bus and zigzag roads, ah.. and also the day journey. Always remember you can do it.

Tip: carry neck pillow (it really helps).

Bus Details: HRTC Ordinary Bus

Time: 6 AM Sharp

Venue: Shimla Bus Stop 1stfloor

RECKONG POE – KAZA, SPITI (196km, 9:00hrs)

Now here’s a thing that you’re probably not going to like but it how it is and nothing much can be done about it. The thing is there is only one bus that goes to Kaza (Spiti Valley) from Peo bus stand and that too at sharp 7 am. It’s pretty obvious that you’ll have to stay at Kinnaur which is a plus point trust me. you can always take two days out from your 10 days trip and explore astonishing villages of Kinnaur like Kalpa (20mins away from Peo), Sangla (3hrs away from Peo), and the best of all Chitkul (4hrs away from Peo).

TIP: learning from the past* experience, the day before I was going to leave for Kaza I checked in in a hotel within the walking distance to the Peo bus stand so that I don’t have to worry about getting late or the cab fare.

*Past: I stayed at Kalpa last to last year in 2017 and booked a cab for 500rupees which is totally not worth it as it is just 20 mins away from Peo.

Bus Details: HRTC Ordinary bus

Timing: 7 AM sharp

Venue: Peo Bus Stand

It’s way too much to grasp I know but once you take this journey and come back home you’ll be stronger from within and will feel differently about yourself, differently in a good way obviously. Because by then you must’ve witnessed the beauty of Spiti, and by beauty, I mean not only the landscapes but also the beauty of the people and their hospitality.

Some more TIPS -:

-Pee wherever you get a chance and every time the bus stop.

-Backpacks only. pack light but pack essentials

-Carry a torch. I know your phone has this feature but you certainly wouldn’t want to waste your battery on anything other than clicking pictures.

-Try to pat every dog you come across. All they need is love and little food.

-Visit Kaza Monastery during the lunchtime, you might get lucky in terms of having lunch with the monks.

-Always ask, just don’t hesitate to ask any query you have or any help you need. People go out of their way to help.

-(If possible) Hire a bike please, because this experience is so worth it.

Just go for it.

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