You may have taken several road trips in your entire life with your family or friends.
But the Delhi to Chitkul road trip will be a different experience entirely. Because you will be surpassing amongst the most dangerous motorable roads in India (Sangla), the drastically changing mountain climate, & patience level most importantly.
This post will cover how you should plan your road trip to Chiktul on the HRTC bus for a blissful experience in the Kinnaur region.
There is always a doubt which arises in our head that “how we can reach a lower location at a lower cost, correct? But, of course, the post title itself says that on the bus, that means the expense will be on the cheaper side. But what about that 600km odd distance that you have to cover?
Patience, Patience, Patience! The Delhi to Chitkul road trip will be going to test all.
Are there any accessible airports nearby or a railway station? Nope, hop on the bus and let the journey on the HRTC begins.
I assume that you’re going to Chitkul or the Kinnaur region for the first time. It would help if you had no idea where you would be getting the buses.
Road trip to Chitkul on the HRTC bus
Firstly, we will be going to look at the starting point. Let’s assume that you are departing from Delhi –
Delhi to Chitkul Road Trip
1. Take a metro or bus or any means of transport and reach the ISBT Kashmere gate bus stand. It’s in front of the Kashmere gate metro station.
2. The Delhi to Reckong Peo bus option is the most usual because of the overnight journey. The time passes away quickly within a blink of an eye. But in the blink of an eye, sleep doesn’t happen to everyone, especially in my case.
3. The HRTC bus usually runs at a fixed time, which is 8:10 p.m. But I insist you still enquire about the time because for precise clarity.
4. The Delhi to Reckong Peo HRTC bus will usually take around 16-17 hrs. You will reach your desired destination, Reckong Peo, in the afternoon.
That was the most usual case.
Note – Reckong Peo is the headquarters of the Kinnaur region. The HRTC bus will take around 16-17hrs starting from Delhi, to reach the Reckong Peo bus stand.
Now, we will be dividing the journey into different parts –
Dividing the Delhi to Chitkul Road Trip into Different Parts
Delhi ➡️ Reckong Peo ➡️ Chitkul
After taking an overnight bus from Delhi, the bus will be reaching Reckong Peo around the afternoon. There are no buses to Chitkul in the afternoon from Reckong Peo. So you have to spend a night around Reckong Peo. There are lots of hotels available around the bus stand area.
There are two buses from Reckong Peo to Chitkul, the timings are –
Reckong Peo ➡️ Chitkul at 9:30 a.m from the bus stand
Reckong Peo ➡️ Chitkul at noon, and after that, no other buses on that particular day from the bus stand
Delhi ➡️ Shimla ➡️ Reckong Peo ➡️ Chitkul
Delhi ➡️ Shimla ➡️ Reckong Peo ➡️ Sangla ➡️ Chitkul
I have listed the above two routes in the same part because you will be crossing Sangla on both journeys. It depends upon you whether to drop off and explore Sangla or not.
After reaching Shimla from Delhi in the morning, the buses to Reckong Peo start at:
Shimla ➡️ Reckong Peo – 6 a.m, 8a.m & 10a.m respectively from the ISBT Shimla bus stand.
You can check out this link for the HRTC routes from the Shimla timetable
Delhi ➡️ Shimla ➡️ Rampur ➡️ Karcham ➡️ Sangla ➡️ Chitkul
After arriving at Shimla, you can take a bus to Rampur and Karcham. If you did not get the Karcham bus, you can take a bus to Reckong Peo & drop it at Karcham. Then catch a bus till Sangla or either Chitkul directly from there.
There are no fixed timings for the buses reaching Kharcham because it’s not a big bus stand like Shimla & Reckong Peo. So the bus will drop on the diversion, and you can take a bus after.
Delhi ➡️ Shimla ➡️ Rampur ➡️ Reckong Peo ➡️ Sangla ➡️ Chitkul
Delhi ➡️ Shimla ➡️ Rampur ➡️ Reckong Peo ➡️ Chitkul
This part will be the longest if you take this route. Also, you’ll get to explore the Reckong Peo side too. After that, you decide to have enough time to explore the other areas of the Kinnaur region.
After reaching Shimla, take a bus to Rampur and Reckong Peo. There are hardly any exceptional buses that are only going to Sangla. All the buses will go further till Chitkul.
Delhi ➡️ Shimla ➡️ Sangla ➡️ Chitkul
Daily buses run between Shimla to Sangla, and you can expect to reach Chitkul on the same day. If & only If you take an early bus from Shimla till Sangla & reach Sangla before 3:30p.m – 4p.m. The last bus to Chitkul passing via Sangla would be somewhere around that period only.
That would be a very hectic schedule because you will be sitting & then catching buses all day.
Delhi to Chitkul Road Trip would be a very long journey. So if you haven’t traveled that much long before on the bus, you must divide your journey into different parts. Because traveling a long journey, say 16-17 hrs stretch on a bus, is not easy in the mountains.
I recommend that you plan & divide your Delhi to Chitkul road trip into at least 3-to four different dropping-off points. I have listed the routes above. You can choose the most convenient according to you.
Necessary tips for Shimla to Reckong Peo Bus Journey
1. The road journey will be with lots of turns. Carry earplugs & don’t try to eat much while on the bus.
2. The bus will stop for breakfast and lunch if you are directly going from Shimla to Reckong Peo.
3. You can also explore the Kalpa valley. It’s just 15-20 min away from the Reckong Peo and can easily reach by bus.
Reckong Peo to Chitkul Journey
1. The buses will leave at their fixed departure in the morning. It would help if you reached the Reckong Peo bus stand on time.
2. The two buses which depart in the morning will be taking around 3-4 hrs with approx 60km to cover to reach Chitkul.
Note – You can find further detailed information on my Delhi to Chitkul blog, covering different aspects of the Chitkul trip.
The Road till Chitkul
1. Especially from Sangla till Chitkul, the roads will give you a roller coaster feeling. When it snows, the road gets completely blocked, and there’s no way for the vehicles even to move.
2. The road to Chitkul is not accessible all over the year. You must take out time to know the seasons before planning a road trip to Chitkul from the HRTC bus. You can read what it’s like to travel to Chitkul in April. that will give you an idea and the weather conditions to choose your preferred month accordingly.
3. Finding Hotels, Hostels & Homestays will not be a problem (fingers crossed).
After the long tiring bus journeys, you are, and it is worth it. You must agree with me, not now. But definitely after arriving.
The road trips are often tiring, and the Delhi to Chitkul road trip is not an exception to the back-breaking trip.
But the fun will be in this type of journey, when you tell your friends that remembered, “You sat next to the driver’s seat while going to Chitkul” or “The bus conductor had taken the ticket twice from you ?” & you laughed out loud.
These are the memories we all end up making. If this post has helped you, please don’t forget to share and follow the blog. It takes so much effort to create content.
Before ending this, here are Helpful articles for your Kinnaur trip –
2. How to take 5 Days Kinnaur Valley Road Trip under 8K (including Chitkul)
Until then, see you on the roads.
This road trip looks beautiful. Love how in depth the guide is as well! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for your valuable time in reading this guide.