Traveling to Spiti from Manali

by Vargis.Khan

Most of the people, including myself, while travelling to Spiti would prefer to start from Shimla and end their journey at Manali. Taking this route definitely has several advantages as discussed in a previous article however do not be mistaken; travelling to Spiti from Manali is no lesser fun. The biggest advantage in reaching Spiti via Manali is of time. The distance from Delhi to Kaza via Shimla is a total of approximately 790 kms and it will take you a minimum of three days if you really rushed through the journey, driving long hours without taking any detours. If you really want to enjoy the journey, then it will take you five days to reach Kaza from Delhi. Surprisingly, the distance between Delhi to Kaza via Manali is also almost the same, approximately 770 kms. It will still be long driving hours but taking the Manali route, you can make it to Kaza within two days. Even the driving hours will be comparatively less each day. How? That is because the initial 570 kms from Delhi to Manali can easily be covered in a day, thanks to mostly good and wide roads. The remaining 200 kms from Manali to Kaza can be covered on the second day by starting early from Manali and reaching Kaza late in the evening.

Travelling to spiti from manali side

Atop Rohtang Pass

The second reason why you would want to travel to Spiti from Manali is of convenience. You can take an overnight bus from Delhi to Manali and then catch another bus from Manali to Kaza via Rohtang and Kunzum Pass. There are two daily buses that run between Manali and Kaza as long the passes remain open. The bus starts from Kullu early in the morning, reaches Manali and then departs for Kaza at 5 AM. Ticket to Kaza will cost you around Rs 250 per person. On the other hand, if you take the Shimla route, you will first have to board a bus for Chandigarh from Delhi, then another bus for Reckong Peo from Chandigarh and then finally a third bus from Reckong to Kaza.

Final conclusion is that if you are really short on time and on a limited budget, you are better off travelling to Spiti from Manali and return via the same route. However if time and money is of no concern and you intend to complete the entire circle, that is start from Manali and end at Shimla or vice versa, then it doesn’t really matter where you start from. You will be travelling on the same road, will get to see the same vistas and will not miss anything.

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parth shah April 25, 2019 - 9:15 pm

Hey, my friends and I have booked our tickets for Delhi on 28th May, we are reaching Manali on 31st May night. We are planning to go to kaza, and stop by at chandratal lake for couple of nights… Can you guide us how can we plan we plan our trip? I saw there are early morning buses from Manali to kaza, how will the roads be?

Vargis.Khan April 25, 2019 - 10:10 pm

You should postpone your trip by a week at least. Manali Kaza route will open in June 1st week and Chandratal around June 10th.

Mohit Soni May 31, 2018 - 11:34 am

Hi Vargis,
Glad to read your posts for Spiti. We have planned to do the trip in July and have a few questions. It will be really helpful if you can respond to these questions. We will be hiring an Innova for the trip.

1) How much time does it take from Manali to Spiti via Rohtang and Kunzum pass?
2) While returning we were planning to stay a night in Chandrataal (after 2 nights in Kaza), will that be OK or is it advisable to stay somewhere lower?
3) How much time would it take from Chandrataal to Manali on the return journey?

Thanks a lot.

Nithin Kuruvila April 5, 2018 - 1:01 pm

Hi…Vargis I am planning Spiti on may ..will it be possible

Vargis.Khan April 5, 2018 - 1:50 pm

Hi Nithin – Manali Kaza road will open a bit early this year but I will still advise that you plan only towards or after Mid-May

Gaurav Aggarwal October 19, 2017 - 5:24 pm

Hi I am planning to do a trip to spiti valley starting tomorrow via public transport , would that be adviced at all this late in october if so what would be the best route , I do have 7 8 days in hand.

Vargis.Khan October 20, 2017 - 8:28 pm

You can go but finding public transport between Manali and Kaza can be a little troublesome.

Andrew Little October 4, 2017 - 4:50 am

Hi Vargis,

I am traveling to Kaza via Manali from Ludhiana. I understand from your post that there are two daily busses that leave to Kaza. Where can you buy tickets and catch the bus, I couldn’t find any other info online! Any help would be appreciated!


Vargis.Khan October 4, 2017 - 4:27 pm

Hi Andrew – You will have to buy a ticket on the spot, from Manali Buss stand near Mall road.

Yash September 25, 2017 - 6:28 am

Hi Vargis. Two of us plan to do a full circuit starting from Chandigarh and ending in Delhi on 29 Sept-8th Oct all through public transport or shared cabs. Should we first start from Shimla and then try to make over to Manali on 6-7th October or should we start from Manali first as the chances of Rohtang being open on 29-30th Sept are higher? And will the public buses from Manali towards Kaza be running during this time and if not what will be the alternative?

Any insights on this will be really helpful. Thanks.

Vargis.Khan September 28, 2017 - 3:30 pm

Hi Yash – Manali route will remain open until 8th so you are OK to take the Shimla route first. Public transport too on the route will be available.

MUKUL S September 22, 2017 - 7:11 pm

Dear Vargis, Few queries from my side , Myself and my friend planning to visit Kaza via Manali by Oct first week . How will be the climate that time ? Our plan Day 1 – reach manali , take bike , rest for the whole day , stay @ Sollang Valley : Day 2 – early morning to Kaza , stay @ Kaza : Day 3 – Tabo,pin valley , stay @ Kaza : Day 4 : early morning back to Manali . Is this plan ok ? please advice . Also how much average hours it will take to travel from Manali to Kaza in bike ? And regarding altitude sickness , how it will be ?

Vargis.Khan September 28, 2017 - 3:52 pm

Hi Mukul – Manali to Kaza is a good 8-9 hours ride and chances are that you will feel symptoms of AMS on your first day but should be Ok by Day 2. Your plan seems OK. I am guessing that you have considered Rohtang La permits here as well which you will have to arrange in order to cross over the pass.

Akshat September 19, 2017 - 11:52 am

Hi, I am planning to visit Spiti (Kaza, Komik, Hikkim, Key, Lanhza, tashigang, Dhankhar) and back to Manali.

I have reserved 10 days for it including couple of day in Manali after returning. Trip is planned to start from 27th Oct – to – 5th Nov

Do I get any kind of transport between Manali & Kaza between this time ?

Thanks in advance

Vargis.Khan September 19, 2017 - 2:08 pm

It will be tough to find local transport at that time. The bus service would have stopped and your only chance will be of finding a local taxi. That too will depend on the snow at Kunzum and Rohtang. If it is thick, there will be no transport available. If it is light snow, there could be a taxi traveling but it will be very risky.

Akshat September 20, 2017 - 12:34 pm

Do I have to wait for a day to get the permit to travel through Rohtang pass? or I can board any vehical going that way to kaza.

Vargis.Khan September 20, 2017 - 1:25 pm

Rohtang Permit is applicable per vehicle, not per person. So if you are traveling by public transport, you do not need to worry about it.

sahil September 11, 2017 - 9:03 pm

hey bro! i am going to kaza last week of september from amritsar punjab,, which route is better via manali or shimla?

sahil September 11, 2017 - 9:05 pm

i have 7 days approx and going through bus or share taxi

Vargis.Khan September 12, 2017 - 5:00 pm

Hi Sahil – Start from Shimla and exit at Manali. This way you will avoid the hassle of needing to obtain Rohtang permits and wasting an entire day in Manali.

Mayur GIJAM September 5, 2017 - 4:45 pm

I am looking for options to come back from Kaza to Manali

Can you please suggest if any shared taxis there and how much they cost?

As I have heard that there are only 2 buses from Kaza to Manali

Vargis.Khan September 5, 2017 - 5:19 pm

Yes there are shared taxis available, will cost about you about Rs. 300 per person.

Heena Bhadu September 27, 2017 - 5:28 pm

these shared taxis are available from manali to kaza as well in 300 rs. per person? around 4th of october?

Heena Bhadu September 27, 2017 - 5:29 pm

please reply as soon as you could..its really important.

Vargis.Khan September 28, 2017 - 2:40 am

Yes you will be able to find shared taxis in early October as well. Fare may be slightly different but will be around that amount only.

Mayank kedia June 25, 2017 - 7:49 pm


I am planning a trip from 15th July 2017 to 27th July 2017

Initially we planned it like this
Mumbai – Delhi – tosh – kasol – kheerganga – Manali – Delhi – Mumbai

But after reading about spiti valley and seeing it’s beauty. We wish to include it in our trip.

We are four people. We don’t have our own car and are completely relied on public transport.

I want to know if opting for public transport will be good or hiring a taxi? How cost efficient is taxi service. Can we include all the places ? And if all places can’t be included, how should we go ahead?

Please help us out. You suggestion will really be helpful .

Thank you.

Vargis.Khan June 26, 2017 - 12:14 am

Hello Mayank – Hiring a taxi will be cost effective if you have about 4-5 people to share the cost, else it will be way too costly. How many are you in total? There are luxury buses available as such in Spiti, just the ordinary bus that locals use, keep that in mind before you plan because it can get real bumpy and uncomfortable You can cover all the places with both the bus and taxi but as you can imagine, it would be easier with a taxi.

Mayank kedia June 26, 2017 - 4:47 am

Thank you so much for the prompt reply. We are 4 people. How should we plan it? Doing spiti first and then tosh kasol kheerganga or vice versa.

Vargis.Khan June 26, 2017 - 6:33 pm

You are welcome.. Do Kasol and Kheerganga first, then reach Spiti from Manali and exit via Shimla.

Gurjit May 14, 2017 - 8:21 am

Hello Mr. Khan,Is it safe to travel on your own Inova car for lahul and spiti tour from manali side in last weak of August ?

Vargis.Khan May 14, 2017 - 2:53 pm

Hello Gurjit Bhai, Yes you can take your Innova but in August be prepared for some terrible roads between Manali and Kaza. Lots of slush, landslides, water streams to cross.

Arjun Asok May 2, 2017 - 6:21 am

Planning a Cycle ride to Khardhung lah on mid august or september starting from spiti valley.
iam from kochi, kerala.
my plan is to carry cycle to spiti through bus.
so my question is is it possible to get single bus from delhi to spiti? do you have any bus timeing list?
is carrying cycle in bus is allowed?
any cycle repairing shops near spiti or lahaul ?

Vargis.Khan May 3, 2017 - 3:01 am

There is no direct bus from Delhi to Spiti. Your best bet is to catch a bus to Shimla from Delhi and then another one to Kaza from Shimla. Take a look at the below post

I am not too sure about whether they will let you carry a cycle in the bus. Talk to the conductor, maybe pay a little more and they may let you secure the cycle on the roof of the bus.

There are several cycle repairing shops in both Kaza and Keylong.

abithemj April 21, 2017 - 7:22 am

Hey Vargis! Thanks for this article. I wanted to check if you are aware of the road conditions from Manali to Spiti. Any chances that the roads would be open by 28thApril? Also, if the roads are closed, then what would be the places you suggest are must visit around manali. Thanks in advance.

Vargis.Khan April 22, 2017 - 2:32 am

Hi Abhitemj – Even Rohtang Pass won’t open by 28th April. It will open by early May and entire Manali to Kaza route will be accessible by late May or early June. As of now, if you travel to Manali, you can go only as far as Gulaba.

Akash Bhattacharya March 16, 2017 - 1:24 pm

I want to traval end of may at Manali-Spiti-Reckeng Poe – Shimla. Is this road ok. On that time.if not then what is the alternatives.

Vargis.Khan March 17, 2017 - 1:22 am

Depends on whether Kunzum Pass will be open or not. As of now, it is still snowing all over Spiti valley. Kunzum Pass usually opens by late May or early June and this year, a delay is expected. Better would be that you plan your trip towards Mid or Late June. Chandratal too will open in June so that way you can cover that too.

Ryan January 30, 2017 - 4:20 am

Hello – we are planning on bike touring through the Spiti Valley. We are considering both directions (Manali to Shimla or Shimla to Manali). Given that we will be on bicycles carrying everything, what would you suggest? When I created both routes for my GPS, the one from Manali to Shimla is a bit less elevation overall but it looks like we would have an easier time acclimating from Shimla to Manali and not need a permit this direction. Any suggestions/ideas are welcome. Thank you!

Vargis.Khan January 30, 2017 - 4:24 pm

Shimla to Manali will be better any day Ryan. Gain in altitude will be gradual and you will enjoy the trip much better starting from Shimla.

Host My Holidays Blog January 1, 2017 - 3:39 pm

If you are visiting Manali during the winter, carry light cotton clothes. If you are going to Manali in the winter then make sure you carry thick woolen sweaters, scarves, gloves and socks as it can get very cold.

Vargis.Khan September 2, 2017 - 9:32 pm

Thanks for the tip.

Kashish Lakra September 28, 2016 - 9:59 pm

Is it possible to take a bus from Delhi to Manali and then immediately take the second bus from Manali to Kaza?
Also How much would it cost me if I took a cab from Manali to Kaza?

Nachi August 10, 2016 - 9:08 am

Kullu to Kaza
Bus to Kaza goes at 4.30am from Kullu. and it is necessary that booking should be done on previous day.

And return bus starts from kaza at 5.00 am.

It takes near about 10 hours, as said by the enquiry counter Kullu. 10/08/2016

Vargis.Khan August 11, 2016 - 12:42 am

Thanks for adding this valuable information Nachi. I appreciate it greatly.

veevao suryaj September 2, 2017 - 7:19 pm

Hello Nachi, Is there anyway possible for the booking to be done online for the bus from Manali to Kaza. i will be coming from Delhi, the bus that is available from Delhi will get me to Manali at 4:30, practically no time to get a booking from Manali to Kaza

Vargis.Khan September 2, 2017 - 9:33 pm

There is no online booking system available. You will have to buy your ticket in person

ayeeshi dev August 7, 2016 - 7:52 am

I will reach delhi on 11th oct. from there on to kasol on 12th. and from there to Manali -Spiti-Kalpa and chitkul and back to delhi by 19th. will it be possible. my flight from delhi leaves at 8 in the evening.

Vargis.Khan August 7, 2016 - 7:49 pm

Are you planning to hire a private cab or use public transport services? Do you intend to complete the circuit until Shimla or return via Manali only?

ayeeshi dev August 6, 2016 - 2:34 pm

pls suggest i want to take back route. i want to go via buses and jeeps.

delhi to manali
manali to kaza- dhankar and ki monastery
kaza to tabo-do i need to stay here or will i get a bus/jeep from kaza to kalpa directly.

pls suggest a oute from manali

but i also want tpo got ta kasol .

i wil reach manali and from there i want to go to kaza and then kalpa and baspa valley.

Vargis.Khan August 7, 2016 - 1:52 am

How many days do you have in hand?

Rita August 29, 2016 - 10:47 pm

This is very similar to what I want to do and only have limited time. Overnight bus from Delhi to manali on the 17th, then need to be back in manali for an 8am flight back to Delhi on the 22nd.

How would you suggest I travel to see Ki and dhankar as well as possibly komit and chandrataal.

Figured private jeep may be best but unsure of cost.

Any help is appreciated thank you


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