3 Ways to Travel From Shimla to Kaza: Local Food, Best Time to Visit etc.

Dhankar, Shimla to Kaza

Embark on an unforgettable journey from Shimla to Kaza with our detailed guide exploring the three best ways. Whether you prefer the adventure of winding mountain roads, the beauty of serene landscapes, or the convenience of well-traveled paths, we provide comprehensive directions, tips, and insights to ensure a memorable trip. Discover the best ways to reach Kaza from Shimla and maximize your travel experience.

3 Ways to Travel From Shimla to Kaza

1) Shimla to Kaza by bus

Travelling by bus from Shimla to Kaza is the most cost-effective but time-consuming option. The total distance between Shimla to Kaza is around 435 km, and the journey time is approximately 18 hrs depending upon the bus in which you are travelling and its stops.

  • So, basically there are two options:
  1. You can get a direct bus from Shimla to Kaza. The departure time of the bus is 06:10 pm from Shimla and you will reach Kaza, the next day around 02:00 pm. So, the total duration of the journey is 20 hrs. It is a very long journey and only a few can travel this long, so there is a second option which is best to have a comfortable journey.
  2. The second option is that, first you have to take a bus from Shimla to Reckong Peo. You can get plenty of buses from Shimla to Reckong Peo. It should take around 10 hrs to reach Reckong Peo from Shimla. So, you should reach Reckong Peo before night and stay there for a break. The next day, early in the morning, you should take a bus from Reckong Peo to Kaza.


  • The route from Shimla to Kaza remains open throughout the year. But, please check the road conditions, especially in winter and rainy seasons.
  • There is no online booking or booking of buses from Reckong Peo to Kaza. You have to book the ticket at the ticket counter at the Reckong Peo Bus Stand.
  • The bus timings from Reckong Peo to Kaza keep on changing from time to time in summer and in winter.

Below are the timings of the buses from both Shimla to Reckong Peo and Reckong Peo to Kaza.

HRTC Bus Fares and Timings From ISBT Shimla to Reckong Peo

Bus Operator Departure Arrival Fare
HRTC - Ordinary 04:00 am 14:00 pm ₹526
HRTC - Ordinary 04:40 am 15:00 pm ₹526
HRTC - Ordinary 05:00 am 14:15 pm ₹526
HRTC - Ordinary 05:45 am 14:00 pm ₹541
HRTC - Ordinary 06:50 am 14:30 pm ₹541
HRTC - Ordinary 09:00 am 19:00 pm ₹526
HRTC - Ordinary 10:15 am 19:50 pm ₹526
HRTC - Himani Deluxe 10:20 am 20:00 pm ₹650
HRTC - Ordinary 10:50 am 20:30 pm ₹526
HRTC - Ordinary 18:10 pm 03:30 am ₹526
HRTC - Ordinary 20:00 pm 05:30 am ₹526
HRTC - Himani Deluxe 21:20 pm 05:40 am ₹650
HRTC - Himani Deluxe 22:20 pm 06:35 am ₹650
HRTC - Ordinary 22:30 pm 06:20 am ₹526
HRTC - Ordinary 23:30 pm 09:00 am ₹526

HRTC Bus Fares and Timings From Reckong Peo to Kaza

Bus Operator Departure Arrival Fare
HRTC - Ordinary 05:10 am 02:10 pm -
HRTC - Ordinary 09:00 am 06:00 pm -

2) Shimla to Kaza by Taxi/Cab

  • This is one of the most convenient options, offering flexibility in terms of timing and stops along the way. This means that you can stop whenever you want, if you like a spot and want to take some pictures, which you cannot do when travelling by bus. A taxi is often the ideal alternative if you have a lot of bags.
  • The journey takes approximately 14-15 hours, depending on road conditions and traffic. You can easily hire a cab for roughly Rs.30,000-40,000 and the price varies based on the car model like for hatchbacks, the prices are less and for sedans and SUVs, the prices are high.

But, here is a suggestion. So, if you like to save some money there are a few options that you can opt to make your Spiti trip more cost effective. As I said earlier, if you book a cab from Shimla then it will cost you around 30,000-40,000 for the whole trip (Shimla to Shimla). So, the question is how you can save money?

The first option is that instead of hiring a taxi from Shimla you can hire a taxi from Reckong Peo. It means that you can travel from Shimla to Reckong Peo by bus. The bus fare is around Rs.533. So, after reaching Reckong Peo you can hire a taxi from there to reach Kaza and explore Spiti. You can easily get a taxi at around 15,000 to 20,000. Also, you can get a tour package from these taxi operators through which you can explore Kinnaur Valley and Spiti Valley more conveniently. 

Note: The taxi charges depend upon the itinerary.

3) Self

  • Renting a car or motorcycle and driving from Shimla to Kaza allows for flexibility and the freedom to explore the route at your own pace. However, ensure you’re comfortable driving in mountainous terrain.

Choose the mode of transportation based on factors like budget, time constraints, and personal preferences to make the journey from Shimla to Kaza a memorable one.

Important Note:

  • If driving on your own, only drive if you have the experience of driving in mountains.
  • In this route you will experience a change in altitude like Shimla is at 2276 m, Narkanda is 2708 m, Reckong Peo is 2290 m, Nako is 3625 m, Malling Nala is 3875 m, Tabo is 3280 m, Kaza is 3650 m and also the villages like Langza, Komic, Kibber are also at high altitudes. So, the point is that you can experience altitude sickness. But, it is very rare on this route because there is no sudden change in altitude but altitude changes gradually. It is recommended to stay at Kaza for at least one or two days so that your body can acclimatize, which means that your body can adapt to the new climate because of low oxygen levels.
  • If visiting in summers or winters or whenever in peak season. Always book your hotel in advance to avoid any inconvenience.

And you can also book a homestay to have a homelike experience. You can easily get a room at homestay for around 1200 per person (including meals) on a sharing basis. This will make your experience even more memorable.

Shimla to Kaza Itinerary

  • Distance: Approximately 160 km
  • Travel Time: 6-7 hours
  • Highlights:
    • Visit Bhimakali Temple
    • Enjoy the scenic beauty of the village
  • Distance: Approximately 107 km
  • Travel Time: 6-7 hours (including stops)
  • Highlights:
    • Sangla Valley
    • Visit Kamru Fort
    • Explore the Baspa River
    • Drive to Chitkul, the last inhabited village near the Indo-Tibet border
    • Wander through Chitkul village and visit the local temple
    • Marvel at the stunning scenery and apple orchards
    • Spend time by the Baspa River
  • Distance: Approximately 70 km
  • Travel Time: 3-4 hours
  • Highlights:
    • Scenic drive with views of the Kinner Kailash range
    • Check into accommodation in Kalpa
    • Explore Kalpa village
    • Visit Narayan-Nagini Temple
    • Enjoy a walk through the village
    • Watch the sunset over the mountains
  • Distance: Approximately 160 km
  • Travel Time: 7-8 hours
  • Highlights:
    • Stop at Gue Monastery to see the mummified monk
    • Continue to Tabo
    • Visit Tabo Monastery, known for ancient murals and artworks
    • Explore the spiritual and historical site in the evening
  • Distance: Approximately 50 km
  • Travel Time: 2-3 hours
  • Highlights:
    • Stop at Dhankar Monastery, perched on a cliff with stunning views
    • Continue to Kaza
    • Immerse yourself in the local culture and scenery
  • Highlights:
    • Visit Key Monastery
    • Explore high-altitude villages: Kibber, Langza, Hikkim, and Komic
    • Discover ancient fossils in Langza
    • Visit the world’s highest post office in Hikkim
  • Distance: Approximately 200 km
  • Travel Time: 9-10 hours
  • Highlights:
    • Scenic drive
    • Cross Kunzum Pass and Rohtang Pass
    • Reflect on the journey through remote and beautiful landscapes

Local Food of Kaza

Thukpa, Local Food of Spiti
  1. Thukpa: A hearty noodle soup with vegetables and sometimes meat, perfect for the cold climate.
  2. Momos: Tibetan-style dumplings filled with vegetables or meat, often served with a spicy dipping sauce.
  3. Tingmo: Steamed bread that’s soft and fluffy, usually eaten with curries or stews.
  4. Chana Madra: A Himachali dish made with chickpeas cooked in a yogurt-based gravy, flavored with spices.
  5. Chhurpi: A traditional Himalayan cheese that’s quite hard and chewy. It’s often eaten as a snack.
  6. Butter Tea: A Tibetan beverage made from tea leaves, yak butter, water, and salt. It’s an acquired taste but a staple in high-altitude regions.
  7. Thenthuk: A type of noodle soup similar to thukpa but with hand-pulled noodles, offering a different texture.
  8. Khorik: A local bread often made from barley or wheat flour, sometimes enjoyed with butter or as an accompaniment to meals.
  9. Chhang: A local alcoholic beverage made from barley or rice, often enjoyed during festivals and celebrations.
  10. Seabuckthorn Juice: Made from the berries of the seabuckthorn plant, this juice is rich in vitamins and known for its health benefits.

These dishes offer a glimpse into the rich culinary heritage of the Spiti Valley and are a must-try when visiting Kaza.

Best Time to Visit Kaza

The best time to visit Kaza in the Spiti Valley is during the summer months, from late May to early October. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect during these months:

Late May to June:

  • Weather: Pleasant and mild with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 20°C during the day and slightly cooler at night.
  • Accessibility: Roads from Manali and Shimla are usually open, making travel easier.
  • Scenery: Snow begins to melt, revealing lush green valleys and blooming flowers.

July to August:

  • Weather: Warm with daytime temperatures around 20°C to 25°C. Nights can be cool.
  • Accessibility: Both routes from Manali and Shimla are accessible, but occasional landslides can occur due to monsoon rains.
  • Activities: Ideal for trekking, sightseeing, and exploring local culture. The monsoon is not very intense in this region compared to other parts of India.

September to Early October:

  • Weather: Cool and comfortable with daytime temperatures between 10°C to 20°C. Nights start getting colder.
  • Scenery: Clear skies and stunning views of the snow-capped mountains. The landscape starts changing colors with the onset of autumn.
  • Accessibility: Roads are generally in good condition, and there are fewer tourists, making it a great time for a peaceful visit.

Winter Season (November to April):

  • Weather: Extremely cold with temperatures dropping to minus. Heavy snowfall can make roads impassable.
  • Accessibility: Most routes, especially from Manali, are closed due to snow, and the region becomes isolated.
  • Activities: Limited due to harsh weather conditions.

For the best experience, aim for the summer and early autumn months when the weather is pleasant, roads are open, and the natural beauty of Kaza is at its peak.

Tourist Places Near Kaza

Key Monestary, Tourist Places Near Kaza

Kaza, the sub-divisional headquarters of Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, is surrounded by numerous stunning and culturally rich tourist attractions. Here are some notable places to visit near Kaza:

  1. Key Monastery

Distance from Kaza: 14 km

Highlights: This 1,000-year-old monastery is perched on a hilltop and offers panoramic views of the Spiti Valley. It’s a prominent center of Buddhist learning and houses ancient manuscripts and murals.

  1. Kibber Village

Distance from Kaza: 19 km

Highlights: Known as one of the highest inhabited villages in the world, Kibber is famous for its unique landscape and the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary, home to the rare snow leopard.

  1. Langza Village

Distance from Kaza: 16 km

Highlights: Langza is known for its fossil-rich grounds, ancient Buddha statue, and spectacular views of the Chau Chau Kang Nilda peak. It’s a great spot for fossil hunting and experiencing traditional Spitian culture.

  1. Hikkim Village

Distance from Kaza: 15 km

Highlights: Hikkim is home to the world’s highest post office. The village also offers stunning views and a glimpse into the local way of life.

  1. Komic Village

Distance from Kaza: 18 km

Highlights: Komic is one of the highest motorable villages in the world. It features the Tangyud Monastery, which is one of the highest monasteries in India, set against the backdrop of stunning landscapes.

  1. Pin Valley National Park

Distance from Kaza: 32 km (Mud Village, the entry point)

Highlights: Known for its rich biodiversity, including the snow leopard, ibex, and Himalayan birds. The park offers beautiful trekking routes and serene landscapes.

  1. Dhankar Monastery

Distance from Kaza: 34 km

Highlights: This ancient monastery, perched precariously on a cliff, offers breathtaking views of the confluence of the Spiti and Pin Rivers. The monastery has historical significance and a serene atmosphere.

  1. Tabo Monastery

Distance from Kaza: 47 km

Highlights: Often referred to as the “Ajanta of the Himalayas,” Tabo Monastery is renowned for its ancient murals and statues.

  1. Chandratal Lake

Distance from Kaza: 90 km (via Kunzum Pass, accessible in summer)

Highlights: Known as the “Moon Lake,” Chandratal is a high-altitude lake with stunning turquoise waters. It’s a popular destination for camping and trekking.

  1. Losar Village

Distance from Kaza: 56 km

Highlights: Losar is the first village in the Spiti Valley when entering from the Kunzum Pass. It offers scenic beauty and a tranquil environment, making it a great stopover for travelers.

  1. Gue Monastery and Mummy

Distance from Kaza: 70 km

Highlights: This monastery houses a well-preserved 500-year-old mummy of a Buddhist monk, making it a fascinating and unique site.

  1. Chicham Bridge

Distance from Kaza: 20 km

Highlights: At an altitude of around 13,500 feet above sea level, Chicham Bridge is one of the highest suspension bridges in Asia.

Exploring these places will give you a deep appreciation of Spiti Valley’s natural beauty, cultural heritage, and spiritual significance.