As you know, the only available public transport to Spiti Valley is the HRTC buses. There is no direct transport from major cities of the plains and you will first have to reach Kullu-Manali or Shimla from the plains and then take a bus to Spiti, usually the next day. It is a long way and so a halt at some place is also required.
This is a companion piece to the Complete Spiti Valley Travel Guide
Approaches to Spiti
Spiti can be reached from two sides, i.e. either from Manali or from Shimla. It is a circular route. So, you can enter from one side, and come out of the other side. However, this is only possible in the summer. In the winter, the Manali route closes down and only the Hindustan-Tibet Road from Shimla to Kaza via Kinnaur remains open.
Spiti Bus Timetable
Buses to Spiti from outside
Kullu-Manali to Kaza Bus
Kullu to Kaza 4 AM-4.30 AM
Manali to Kaza 5 AM-5.30 AM (Same bus as above that reaches Manali after leaving Kullu)
Shimla to Kaza Bus
Shimla to Kaza Bus 6.30 PM (Reaches Peo in the morning)
Shimla to Kaza is a long way and it goes via Kinnaur. Usually, people halt at Reckong Peo and enjoy the delights of Kinnaur and then go to Spiti after a day or two.
Reckong Peo to Kaza Bus
Reckong Peo to Kaza 7 AM.
Reckong Peo to Sumdo 11.30 AM-12 Noon (Only goes till Sumdo & not Kaza)
Buses from Spiti Leaving for Outside
Kaza to Reckong Peo, Shimla and Manali Bus
Kaza to Kullu 4 AM-5 AM (via Manali)
Kaza to Shimla 7.30 AM (via Tabo, Nako, & Reckong Peo)
Buses within Spiti Valley
Kaza to Local Villages
Do note that most of Kaza to local village buses go in the afternoon and return from those villages in the next morning.
Kaza to Chango 2.30 PM
Kaza to Losar 4.30 PM
Kaza to Komic 5 PM (via Langza & Hikkim)
Kaza to Demul 5 PM
Kaza to Kibber 5 PM
Kaza to Chchicham 5 PM
Kaza to Lalung 5.15 PM
Kaza to Key Monastery – Take the Kibber bus and get down near Key Monastery.
Local Villages to Kaza
Chango to Kaza 6 AM
Losar to Kaza 7.00 AM
Komic to Kaza 7.30 AM (via Langza & Hikkim)
Demul to Kaza 7.30 AM
Lhalung to Kaza 7.30 AM
Kibber to Kaza 7 AM
Chicham to Kaza 8 AM
Pin Valley Buses
Kaza to Mud 4 PM
Mud to Kaza 6 AM
Kaza to Dhankar Buses
No direct bus to Dhankar. But take any Mud, Sumdo, Nako, Reckong Peo, Shimla bound bus from Kaza and get down at a pace called Schilling. Dhankar is a 10 KM diversion from here. You can take a lift from locals or simply hike up like I once did. Read my Dhankar Gompa post to read about that experience.
Kaza to Tabo Buses
Take any Sumdo, Nako, Reckong Peo, Shimla bound bus from Kaza and get down at Tabo.
Tabo to Kaza Bus
Sumdo to Kaza bus 9.30 AM -10 AM
Kaza to Nako Bus
Kaza to Nako Take the Reckong Peo or Shimla bound bus at 7.30 AM in the morning.
Reckong Peo to Nako Bus
Reckong Peo to Kaza 7 AM (via Nako)
Reckong Peo to Sumdo 11.30-12 Noon (via Nako)
Chandertal Buse Timing
There is no direct bus to Chandertal. You can take to Kaza to Manali bus and get down at Batal. From here, it is still 15 KMs. You cna try to hitchhike, while some adventurous people even try to trek the whole way. You can, of course, hire a cab from Kaza but that will cost a reasonable amount.
There are no buses to Gue (Known for the mummy of the Lama). It is around 10 KMs from Sumdo. If you want to try your luck, take any Nako, Reckong Peo, Shimla bound bus from Kaza and get down at Sumdo and then hike or hitchhike.
Shared cars from Kaza to Manali
Alternatively, there are some local private shared cars that leave from Kaza every morning. I once took such a tempo traveller from Kaza to Manali and it charged around INR 500, a bit higher than the bus but not too much.
Spiti Bus Fares
As of now, the formula for HRTC bus fares for ordinary buses is 1.75 times the number of kilometers covered. For example, if the distance is 200 KMs, the rate will be 300 (plus a bit more for taxes etc.). So, just find out the distance and calculate for any place. I saw some other sites mentioning much lower rates. I think that data is a few years old and the rates have increased now.
Hiring Cabs for Spiti Sightseeing
The internal road networks within Spiti has improved significantly in the last few years. There are good roads to most of the villages now. There are local buses to take you to the villages around Kaza, such as Tabo, Key, Langza, Pin Valley etc. However, all of them generally leave in the afternoon and come back the next morning. Basically, if you are planning to make a day trip using the bus, it is not possible. You will have to go in the afternoon to any of these villages, stay at night, then come back in the morning.
On the other hand cars for hire are always available. The people at the market charge INR 3000 for showing all major attractions near Kaza, i.e. Kee, Kibber, Langza, Komic, and Hikkim. My homestay owner said that he can organize the same for INR 2500. Now, it is expensive for one but if you can team up with 3-4 people, this is a good deal too.
Also, it is possible to hire bikes in Kaza too. I am not a biker and don’t have the first-hand experience. But I met someone who hired a bike for INR 1000 per day. Just ask around in the market for options.
Also Read: Kinnaur Bus Timings