Leh to Manali Bus Service – How to Book and Travel?

by Vargis.Khan

In this article, I will provide details on the Leh to Manali Bus service. Manali Leh highway is commonly known as biker’s paradise and quite rightly so. Most people would prefer to travel on this route by their own vehicle; either a car or a motorcycle. While your vehicle will definitely be way more convenient, traveling on this route by Bus too is an experience one of its kind.

Also read: How to Plan a Trip to Ladakh by Public Transport Services?

One of the greatest benefits of traveling here by public transport is the cost factor. If you were on a budget, then traveling to Ladakh by Bus can help reduce your travel cost significantly. Ladakh has been coming up as one of the most sought after tourist destinations of our country and by each passing year, the availability of public transport here is improving. So you will have no trouble finding a bus or a shared cab to your desired destination.

leh to manali busImage Credit: HRTC

Leh to Manali Bus Service

There are two different types of bus services available on the Manali to Leh route, and both are provided by the Himachal Pradesh government. One bus is run by HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation) while the other one is by HPTDC (Himachal Pradesh Tourist Development Corporation).

The HPTDC bus is more of a luxury coach targeted towards the tourist population. The HRTC bus on the other hand is an ordinary bus that the locals here use.

Also read: Delhi to Leh Bus Service

Leh to Manali Bus HPTDC

This one is an all luxury bus that starts towards late June to early July after Manali Leh highway has been declared safe by authorities for a bus to travel. This bus remains operational until September 15th after which it is suspended until next year.

It starts from Leh bus stand early in the morning and reaches Keylong by late evening. The next day it starts from Keylong at 6 AM and reaches Manali by afternoon.

Accommodation at Keylong is at Hotel Chandrabhaga and is included in your bus fare. There is a lawn in front of the hotel Chandrabhaga and HPTDC sets up tents on that lawn. Yes, you will not be staying at a hotel but in the tents.

If you do not like it, you always have the option to check in to the hotel. But then you will have to pay for your room charges on your own; which is about Rs. 1,000 per room. HPTDC will not refund any money from your fare if you do not use the tents.

This bus stops at all major tourist places for sightseeing but is not a daily bus. It is usually available on alternate buses. The schedule for this bus is released by HPTDC each here and can be found at HPTDC Bus Schedule for Leh to Manali.

The best part about this service is that you can book your seat several days or rather months in advance. The booking page is available online at HPTDC Booking for Bus from Leh to Manali

Leh to Manali Bus HRTC

The HRTC bus service are the ordinary buses that ply in the region for locals to commute. As compared to HPTDC luxury buses, these are way cheaper and a great way to journey if you are traveling to Ladakh on a budget. Contrary to common belief, these buses are really not that uncomfortable and you can comfortably take the journey.

This actually is not one bus from Leh to all the way till Manali. You actually will be breaking the journey into two parts and two days. From Leh, you will first board a bus from Keylong which starts early in the morning at 5 AM. This bus travels all day and reaches Keylong by late evening where you will have to look for your own accommodation.

The cost of your stay here is not included in the ticket. From the Keylong Bus stand, you will next day buy a ticket for Keylong to Manali Bus and reach there by late afternoon on a different bus because the bus that came from Leh to Keylong will return to Leh from here.

Also read: Manali to Leh – Available Modes of Transport

Good to Know Info

There are several HRTC buses from Keylong to Manali throughout the day, the last one being at around noon. So in case you miss one bus, you always have the option to catch the next one on the same day until noon. However, from Leh to Keylong, it is just one bus at 5 AM.

If you miss it, you will either have to look for some other mode of travel; or spend another day at Leh. From Leh to Keylong, there is a seat allocated with your ticket; but from Keylong to Manali, there is no seat allocation.

Another important factor here is that in case there is any problem like a breakdown or a roadblock, or the bus is not running per its schedule, then this journey from Leh to Keylong will turn into two days. The bus will halt for the night at either Pang or Sarchu and then go to Keylong the next day; thus changing the entire travel time from Leh to Manali to 3 days.

Also read: Accommodation on Manali Leh Highway

leh to manali bus

Leh to Manali Bus Fare

Fare is different for both HPTDC and HRTC Buses. The HPTDC bus, designed for tourists and a luxury one, is costlier among the two. The HRTC bus is an ordinary one. Since it gets used by local villagers only, is cheap to travel in.

HRTC Bus Fare

As I explained above, these are actually two different buses so you will also have to buy two different tickets from two different places. You will first have to buy a ticket for Keylong and then for Manali from Keylong. But expect the total cost of the journey to be somewhere close to Rs.700. You pay about Rs. 150 for Keylong to Manali, and close to Rs. 500 for Leh to Keylong.

HPTDC Bus Fare

For HPTDC Bus, you will pay at once as you book your seat. Fare per person is Rs. 2,900 which includes your accommodation at Keylong and meals as well (dinner, breakfast, and tea).

Also read: What to See on Manali Leh Highway

pangong lake

Leh to Manali Bus Booking

Like the fare, the booking system also is different for HPTDC and HRTC Buses and I will explain both.

HRTC Bus Booking

There is actually no booking system available for this. These are like the normal roadways buses that ply in our cities as well. You just reach the bus stop and board the bus.

Same way, you will have to reach the Leh Bus stand early in the morning, find the bus going towards Keylong; board it, and buy a ticket from the conductor. The next day, you will find the next bus going towards Manali at the Keylong bus stand, board it and buy the ticket.

Your seat will be guaranteed and mentioned for the journey between Leh to Keylong. But for Keylong to Manali, there is no guaranteed seat. So if you arrive and find the bus full, best to let it go and wait for the next one in an hour. There are regular buses going towards Manali from Keylong until noon.

HPTDC Bus Booking

This bus is entirely dependent on the booking system. On any given day, the bus will only travel if there are a minimum of 10 passengers for the day. If tickets booked online were less than 10, then the bus will be canceled and HPTDC will make alternate arrangements for your travel by shared cabs. In this case, you will be needed to pay the difference between the Bus fare and the cab fare.

For this bus, you can either book the ticket online or buy it in person from the HPTDC office in Manali.

Also read: Best Time to Travel from Manali to Leh

Leh to Manali Bus Online Booking

There is no online booking system available for HRTC buses but you can indeed book a ticket for the HPTDC bus at this link, Book a Ticket for HPTDC Bus from Leh to Manali. Before you book the ticket though make sure you check the Bus Schedule from Leh to Manali.

hrtc bus

Leh to Manali Bus Timings

Both these buses start early in the morning from Leh between 5 to 6 AM and reach Keylong between 6 to 7 PM. The HPTDC bus will start from Keylong at 6 AM again to reach Manali by noon.

Since your ticket for this bus would already be paid for, please make sure that you reach the bus stand well in time to board the bus. With HRTC Bus, however, since you always will have to buy a new ticket from Keylong, you can catch any of the buses to Manali that day and do not necessarily have to rush to the bus stand in the morning.

Leh to Manali Bus Route

The route of both these buses is as mentioned below.

Leh – Karu – Upshi – Tanglang La – Pang – Lachulung La – Nakee La – Sarchu – Baralacha La – Zingzing Bar – Patseo – Darcha – Jispa – Keylong – Tandi – Gramphoo – Rohtang Pass – Manali

Also read: How to Handle Acute Mountain Sickness on Ladakh Trip

Leh to Manali Luxury Bus

Adding this point here since I have been asked this by several people. Yes, the HPTDC bus is a full luxury bus and quite a comfortable one. Seats and the overall bus condition is always good if not excellent. The local HPTDC bus drivers are very competent ones so you will be in good hands for the entire journey.

Conclusion

I hope the information above was of help. If you need any further details, please feel free to ask in the comments section below, or at our Community Forum, and I will be glad to answer. If you have traveled between Manali to Leh on a local bus, then I would appreciate it if you can please share your experience in a few lines to help others.

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54 comments

Biswarup Manna August 15, 2021 - 2:52 pm

Leh to Manali bus service open now?

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NILANJAN PANDE June 28, 2021 - 1:01 pm

Hi Vargis. Thanks for all these information. I am planning to do a solo trip from Leh to Chandigarh via Spiti Valley in the first week of August 2021 by public transportation. My plan is to catch the HRTC bus from Leh to Keylong. Then I like to visit Chandratal lake. So my first question is – how can I reach Chandra tal from Keylong and return to Kaza highway ? And where should I take the night break with accommodation in Kaza Highway?

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Vargis.Khan June 28, 2021 - 3:30 pm

You will have to rely on shared cabs Nilanjan or will have to take a lift from other travelers. You can stay for the night at Batal

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gauri August 14, 2021 - 6:26 am

BUS LEH TO MANALI IS available in September? sir

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Jayashankar April 16, 2021 - 5:59 am

Whether bus running 365 days between manali & leh after Atal Tunnel?

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Vargis.Khan April 17, 2021 - 9:31 pm

No, it is not. Only from late May to late September.

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Ajith February 4, 2021 - 5:42 pm

I have traveled in both these buses. There is a Ordinary government bus that travels almost in paralell to the tourism bus. That bus also stops everywhere where the tourism bus stops. For the tourism bus its 3000 and this one is around 700 rupess + you can get a descent stay at Keylong at 600 rupees. I would highly recommend the normal bus. It is not crowded or sometimes nearly empty. The tourism bus wont stop for more than 3 minutes at a place. And the drivers are rude too. So take the ordinary bus better and save some bucks.

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Vargis.Khan February 10, 2021 - 4:27 am

Thank you for adding the tips Ajith.

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Haider May 12, 2020 - 2:55 pm

Hi Vargis Bhai ! Can i take bus from Pang or Upshi for Manali , returning from Tso Moriri . Or directly from Leh only ??

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Ram thakur April 8, 2020 - 2:35 am

आप की जानकारी यात्रा को सफल करने में आसानी होगा धन्यवाद सर जी

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Juli A Ferrena November 29, 2019 - 11:12 pm

Hello. Are the windows able to open on both HRTC and HPTDC busses? Are the seats hard ones on HRTC? Does HRTC stop at tourist spots for photos?

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Vargis.Khan December 1, 2019 - 11:17 pm

Hello,

Windows – Yes they will open on both sides
Seat – HRTC Ordinary Buses seats are hard and not cushioned enough
Sightseeing – No. It has only a few limited stops for bio-breaks

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MOHIT HARSHANA September 26, 2019 - 7:36 am

I’m going leh by flight but can you tell me how return to Delhi by bus 11 Oct bus available or not ?

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Vargis.Khan September 26, 2019 - 4:11 pm

Chances are that it won’t be

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Dr MK Pareek March 17, 2020 - 10:58 am

Good information vargiskhan

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developerportalblog September 23, 2019 - 11:34 am

Hi Vargis – Does the bus from Leh to Keylong and Keylong to Manali work in October?

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Vargis.Khan September 23, 2019 - 11:13 pm

It depends on the weather but for the first few days, it usually remains operational.

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Abhishek awasthi June 8, 2019 - 11:21 am

Thanku sir

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Vargis.Khan June 8, 2019 - 8:16 pm

You are welcome !!!

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sunil May 28, 2019 - 6:06 pm

By mid of June if HPTDC buses are not available, what all other options are available? Shared cab or something?

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Carmem May 20, 2019 - 7:10 am

Hello Vargis, I’m planning to go from may to june, but I don’t think I’ll stay more than the 5-10 of june, is there any transpostation to Manali? Does the public one work? Or it also opens until july? Thank you.

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Vargis.Khan May 20, 2019 - 5:32 pm

Hi Carmen – Bus service usually starts after 15th June only. But if the road gets opened before that, you can board a shared cab as well.

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Asabe Laxman May 12, 2019 - 1:35 pm

Hi vargis sir I want to go Leh to manali on date 26may can I get bus please reply .thanks

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Vargis.Khan May 12, 2019 - 4:27 pm

No that Bus wil not be available before June mid Laxman.

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Darius May 19, 2019 - 12:54 pm

Hi I have return ticket from Delhi dated on 12 th Sep. Planning to fly to Leh and go back by bus the latest around 7-8th Sep. I believe that bus on the Leh-Manali route should be running.

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Vargis.Khan May 19, 2019 - 4:19 pm

Yes it will be available at that time

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Darius August 6, 2019 - 9:26 pm

Even buses HRTC should available at this time? As I can see HPTDC buses have a lot of tickets free (eg for tomorrow 7 Aug) so I suspect that the service might be canceled.
As I understand HRTC bus will run even with small volume of passangers. So I would use this service.

Vargis.Khan August 8, 2019 - 1:51 am

Yes, HRTC runs well into October actually.

Dee May 5, 2019 - 3:09 pm

Hi Vargis. So informative! But I want to ask something : my husband and I plan to go visit this area. But he wants to ride his bike back from Leh to Manali, while I can’t ride that far (). And because of that, my husband will not get Manali in 1 day, can I take HRTC bus from Leh to (for example) Pang (meet him), then next day from Pang to Sarchu (meet him again), and so on and so on, until we get Manali? And will the bus stop at bus station in every city? Thank you so much. Have a nice day

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Vargis.Khan May 5, 2019 - 5:29 pm

Hi Dee – Yes you can do it. It will be a little inconvenient but doable.

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Dee May 6, 2019 - 2:35 pm

Hi Vargis. Great! And is it safe for women to travel (take that bus) alone? What do you think about that? Thanks

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Vargis.Khan May 6, 2019 - 11:13 pm

Hi Dee – Yes it is totally. Friend of mine did a solo trip to Ladakh last year and she went all the way by public transport.

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Dee May 7, 2019 - 8:50 am

Hi Vargis. Glad to know. Thank you so much for your information. Really helpful. Have a good day!

Vargis.Khan May 7, 2019 - 1:03 pm

You are welcome !!!

Sandra April 8, 2019 - 1:19 pm

Hi Vagis, Thanks alot for this information. Can i use the Leh-Manali bus route, and then proceed to Spiti? Would it be advisable for a solo travel in August based only on public transport?

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Sandra April 8, 2019 - 1:21 pm

Pardon my typo, Vargis..

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Vargis.Khan April 9, 2019 - 4:10 am

No worries 🙂

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Vargis.Khan April 9, 2019 - 4:10 am

Hi Sandra – Yes, you can board the bus from Leh and then get off at Keylong. From Keylong then, you can catch a shared cab for Kaza. And yes, you can travel in August as well. Ladakh and Spiti are both in rain shadow areas so the only chance of rain would be around Keylong.

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Sandra April 9, 2019 - 6:34 pm

Thanks alot Vargis.. This helps alot 🙂

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Vargis.Khan April 9, 2019 - 10:48 pm

You are welcome !!!

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Ashish September 11, 2018 - 10:48 pm

Hey, wanted to know one thing if you could help me i am heading to Leh via Manali in the first week of Sept i’ll take a bus to keylong from manali and then the ladakh bus from keylong. I wanted to know while returning what is the cheapest way to reach Manali from leh? I tried looking for bus i got nothing. Please guide me how can i reach Manali back by spending not more then 2000.

Thanks,
Ashish.

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Vargis.Khan September 12, 2018 - 12:08 pm

The same bus comes back to Manali from Leh.

Leh to Keylong
Keylong to Manali

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Dan September 8, 2018 - 3:33 am

Hey, which bus station does the HRTC bus leave from. I’ve noticed a few stations in Leh. And does it usually sell out?

Thanks

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Vargis.Khan September 9, 2018 - 1:56 pm

It goes from the main JKSRTC bus stand, just ask around and anyone can guide you.

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Aleksandra Koczwara August 15, 2018 - 4:05 pm

Hi Vagis, thanks for usefull information. Any suggestion how how to reach Darcha from Leh? Bus, cab ? thanks in advance, Aleksandra

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Vargis.Khan August 15, 2018 - 4:06 pm

Hi Aleksandra,

You can either board a bus or shared cab and get down at Darcha. Both are available.

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Lourdson July 28, 2018 - 7:04 pm

Is leh and nubra Valley safe to travel and will it be accessible with state transportation(bus) around mid of October? Kindly advise.

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Vargis.Khan July 28, 2018 - 8:55 pm

A lot of people travel there in October so yes, you can do that but it will be very cold in october.

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kedharnath July 30, 2018 - 11:49 am

Can I kindly know whether HRTC buses run between Leh and Manali in the month of October (atleast in the first week of October)

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Vargis.Khan July 30, 2018 - 4:42 pm

It depends on how the weather turns in September.

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Lourdson July 28, 2018 - 7:00 pm

Hi vargis , does hrtc buses run between leh and manali by mid of October?
Ur info are of great help.

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Vargis.Khan July 28, 2018 - 8:56 pm

Hi Lourdson, It all depends on the weather and how soon it snows but usually the bus service stops by late September or early October.

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GAURAV June 30, 2018 - 8:06 am

Hi Vagis, thanks a lot for your amazing and informative blog! I want to ask, whether HRTC buses run daily from Leh to Keylong and from Keylong to Manali or on alternate days??

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Vargis.Khan June 30, 2018 - 4:25 pm

Thanks Gaurav Bhai. HRTC buses run on daily basis between all three destinations.

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