As you probably know already, Kinnaur primarily needs to be explored on HRTC buses, unless you have a vehicle and good enough to drive/ride through these roads or rich enough to hire a cab. The good news is that the bus service in Kinnaur is pretty good. The main locations have regular buses from major cities of Himachal while some of them may be directly connected to larger cities on the plains like Chandigarh, Haridwar, or even Delhi. Local buses to more remote areas can be found from these bigger centers like Reckong Peo and Sangla.
Understanding Kinnaur Bus Service
Before proceeding further, please understand the nature of the road, terrain, and the service.These are difficult hilly roads and the buses take their own time. Very long rides can be tiresome and you may need to break the journey anyway. So, don’t bother if you can’t find a direct bus from some distant place. Just move to the nearest major city such as Shimla or go a bit further to Rampur Bushahr (There will be many buses to these places) and stay the night. Next morning get your Kinnaur bus form the local bus stand.
Yes, there is a direct bus or two even from Delhi to Kinnaur and Peo, and more from Chandigarh. To be honest, it is a very long way and I have never gone that far directly and always broken the journey. You can break your trip to places like Shimla, Narkanda, or Rampur Bushahr. The last one will be further but with less expensive hotels (Both Shimla & Narkanda are part of the mainstream touristy circuit and have become very expensive of late). Also, your progress will be easier the next morning from Rampur.
Here is a list of bus timings around Kinnaur that I have extracted and segregated from the time tables at various places.
Kinnaur Bus Timings
Buses to Kinnaur from Major Cities
Delhi to Kinnaur Buses
I am not sure about the exact timing. You can ask at Kashmiri Gate ISBT.
Delhi to Sangla Bus 6 PM-10 PM
Delhi to Reckong Peo Bus 8 PM
Chandigarh to Kinnaur Buses
Chandigarh to Reckong Peo [deluxe] 6:30 am
Chandigarh to Reckong Peo 18:00 pm
Chandigarh to Chitkul 3:30 am
Chandigarh-Kafnoo 4:00 am
Chandigarh-Ribba 5:00 am
Chandigarh to Kafnu 4AM
Shimla to Kinnaur Buses
Shimla to Sangla Bus 6 AM/ 7AM (leaves early morning… don’t remember the exact timing)
Shimla to Reckong Peo
Shimla to Kaza – 6:30 PM (via Peo)
Shimla to Pooh – 4:00 AM (via Peo)
Shimla to Reckong Peo – 5:00 AM
Shimla to Kafnu 8.30 AM
Buses from Other Cities to Kinnaur
There are even buses from the likes of Dharamshala and Haridwar. Yet, I don’t see anyone taking such a long ride at one go. So, from any other place, simply find a bus to Shimla (there will be plenty) and then look for a bus from Shimla morning.
Buses from Kinnaur to Outside (Timings from Peo Bus Stand)
Buses from Peo & Kalpa to Outside
Reckong Peo to Dharamshala 3.00 PM (via Karsog)
Reckong Peo to Rampur 10.30 AM
Reckong Peo to Delhi 11.30 AM
Reckong Peo to Chandigarh 1.30 PM (Deluxe)
Reckong Peo to Dharampur 2.00 PM (via Karsog)
Reckong Peo to Hamirpur 4.30 AM
Reckong Peo to Mandi 4.30 AM
Reckong Peo to Rohru 5.30 AM
Reckong Peo to Chandigarh 6.00 AM (Deluxe)
Reckong Peo to Haridwar 6.15 AM
Ribba to Chandigarh 7.15 AM
Kalpa to Shimla 7.40 AM
Thangi to Dharamshala 8.30 AM (via Shimla)
Pooh to Shimla 9.30 AM
Reckong Peo to Jahalma 5.00 PM (via Keylong)
Kaza to Shimla 7.00 PM
Lippa to Solan 8.15 AM
Kalpa to Chandigarh 3.30 PM
Sangla to outside Buses
Sangla to Delhi Bus 6.45 AM (via Shimla & Chandigarh)
Sangla to Mandi Bus 10.30 AM (via Shimla)
Sangla to Chandigarh Bus 5.30 PM
Buses within Kinnaur (& Spiti)
Buses Towards Nako (Hangrang Valley) & Spiti
Reckong Peo to Pooh 6.00 AM (via Ropa)
Reckong Peo to Purbani 7.00 AM
Reckong Peo to Kaza 7.00 AM
Reckong Peo to Lamber 9.00 AM
Reckong Peo to Asrang 10.00 AM
Reckong Peo to Hango 11.00 AM
Reckong Peo to Samdo 11.30 AM (via Nako)
Reckong Peo to Barakamba 12.30 PM
Reckong Peo to Nesang 1.30 PM
Reckong Peo to Asrang 2.00 PM
Reckong Peo to Ropa 3.00 PM
Reckong Peo to Thopan 5.00 PM (via Ribba/Rispa)
Kalpa to Kanam 3.30 PM
Kalpa to Purbani 4.00 PM
Buses to Sangla Chitkul
* Do note that if you are coming from outside Kinnaur and don’t get a direct bus to Sangla, then simply get down at Karchan bridge and wait for a bus coming from Peo.
Reckong Peo to Chitkul Bus 9.30 AM (Via Sangla)
Reckong Peo to Chitkul Bus 12.00 AM (Via Sangla)
Reckong Peo to Raksham Bus 4.00 PM (Via Sangla)
Reckong Peo to Chansu 4.15 PM (via Rali)
Reckong Peo to Nichar 2.40 PM (via Kilba)
Buses from Sangla & Chitkul
Sangla to Reckong Peo Bus 7.00 AM
Sangla to Rakcham Bus 8.00 AM
Sangla to Rakcham Bus 6.00 PM
Sangla to Chitkul Bus 12.00 AM (Chitkul to Sangla return at around 1.30 PM)
Sangla to Chitkul Bus 2.30 PM (Chitkul to Sangla return at around 4.00 PM)
Sangla to Reckong Peo Bus 3.00 PM
Buses to Sarahan
Buses to Sarahan from outside are not very frequent. But you can take any Reckong Peo bound bus, get down at Jeori, and get a local bus or shared car to Sarahan.
Kothi to Sarahan 8.15 AM
Shimla to Sarahan 9.10 AM (Coming from Haridwar)
Shimla to Sarahan 9.30 AM (Coming from Kalka)
Shimla to Sarahan 11.30 AM
Buses from Sarahan
Sarahan is a small place and you will get return buses the next morning or you can also look for shared cars to reach the highway at Jeori, from where you can get regular buses going both towards Shimla and Peo.
Buses to Kafnu (Bhaba Valley)
Kalpa to Kafnu 4.00 PM
Local buses around Kalpa & Peo & Sangla
Reckong Peo to Kalpa Buses
Peo to Kalpa is just 10 KMs and local buses keep coming and going all the time during the daytime. Similarly, you can find buses or other options to nearby Kothi and Pangi villages.
Bus Fares in Kinnaur
The HRTC bus fares are the same all over Himachal, which is INR 1.75 per kilometers in the hilly areas for ordinary buses. So, if you travel 100 KMs, you will have to pay INR 175 (Plus another 10-15 Rs in some taxes). So, find out the distances between two places and make your own calculations.
However, the bus fare is INR 1.12 per kilometers in the plain areas. So, if a bus comes from say Delhi or Chandigarh, you will count the plain portions seperately and hilly portion seperately.
Frequency of the Buses
All these buses mentioned above generally run on a daily basis unless there is some problem such as landslides or flash floods.
Ideal Nighthalts En-Route to Kinnaur
If you are coming from a distant location, here are the possible night halts…
It is the capital of Himachal and the only place in the state that can be called a City. Naturally, that means a lot of crowds and hotels are expensive. Hotel agents will jump on you if you walk around the highway and look like a tourist! Besides, it is still a long way to Kinnaur and will take bulk of the next day!
Around 65 KMs on from Shimla, it is a popular tourist gateway due to its apple orchards. Again, it regularly receives the tourist crown from Shimla and so the options are expensive here too.
I prefer this one. It takes around 3-4 hours more from Shimla (Many regular buses available from Shimla ISBT throughout the day). It is a bit long way but hotels here will be cheaper and more importantly, the next day will be easy. You can catch the buses coming from Shimla but will have enough time in the morning to take a walk around the town.