Himachal pradesh budget trip Guide For solo travelers

Are you looking for a budget trip to Himachal Pradesh? This is the only post you may have to read!

In this post I have shared my experience of how I travelled most of Himachal in a very tight budget, keep reading for details…

My solo trip itinerary to himachal pradesh

I started my trip from Mumbai and plan was to enter Himachal from Chandigarh side and exit from Amritsar side.

This would have given me a good coverage of Hiachal, so i booked my train tickets accordingly including the Kalka Shimla toy train.

Once in Himachal, you will have to rely on road transports as trains in hilly region are not available.

Keep reading for more details…

Mumbai to chandigarh

I booked 3rd AC train ticket well in advance and boarded train from Borivali to Chandigarh. I prefer side upper bearth when I travel solo, this gives me easy access to the seat below to sit and berth above when I need to sleep.

Chandigarh sightseeing in Rs.75!

Chandigarh Sightseeing

I reached Chandigarh around 2pm. I wanted to take the HopOn HopOff bus and cover Chandigarh sightseeing but the last bus was around 3p from sector7 and the Tourist informaiton center just outside station informed me that I may not be able to make it on time to catch the bus.

The next best option was to get a day pass for Rs.75 and roam around all the spots using Government bus (both AC and nonAC bus).

I got the bus from outside the station and covered Sector17 (Sector Satara as people call it there), then went to Venna lake and rock garden and back to Chandigarh station as I had to board the train to Kalka that was around 9pm.

Night stay option at kalka

The train journey from Chandigarh to Kalka is around 30min. My plan was to make use of Retiring room facility at Kalka but when I reach there, saw station and all the rooms were under renovation.

They have faciltiy for dormatory (room with 6 beds and attached bathroom), one non ac room for family and one AC room for family.

As the station was under renovation, the dormatory room was being used for railway staff on duty hence I did not get a bed. Non AC room was taken by a family and the AC room was too costly for me as solo traveler, following are the rates:

Room typeRate
Non AC family roomRs.800
AC family roomRs.1200

So I hit the old waiting room, luckily there were not many passengers and I grabbed a bench and slept.

Note: There are few hotel options near Kalka station as well where rooms start form Rs.1000/-

kalka to shimla toy train

I had reserved seat in toy train starting from Kalka at around 620Am that had the cheapest ticket (Rs.80 booked online).

It dropped me in Shimla around 12pm, a journey of around 5-6hrs.

The experinece was good, the train stopped on multiple halts from where you can get water bottel, maggie etc. It was exiciting initially but the 5hr journey got bit boring as the seats were not very comfortable and the view were kind of ok…

Note: A cab would have taken around 2-3 hours for the same journey.

Read detailed post on Shimla to Kalka Toy Train

Budget stay in shimla

Once you come out of the railway station, a lot of cab and hotel agents will chase you for room. You can bargain with them and ask for a room near city center or mall road.

I walked around 20 min towards city and got myself a room with attached bath in Gurudwara for Rs.600. This is around 7min walk from old bus stop.

Note: On the way, I saw few dharmshala as well where dormitory was available for Rs.100 per bed. I used it for my second night stay and it was ok (common toilets were decently clean, only few charging slots available in room with around 10 beds)

Budget stay in shimla: Panchayat Bhawan Shimla

Shimla sightseeing

After keeping my luggage in Gurudwara, I stepped out for local sightseeing. I wanted to book the Himachal sightseeing bus tour for next day (online facility is there but somehow it was showing no seats available)

The Tourism office was on Mall road and they booked me a seat for next day for Rs.600/- Following attractions are covered in this trip:


The view from Kufri is awesome, you can see multiple points from this location. During Apple season, you can enjoy the fruit picking as well.


Details in video below

Apart from the points covered by the tourist bus, you should also visit following places when in Shimla:

Jakhu Temple

Jakhu Temple Shimla

This is an awesome temple located at the highest point in Shimla. You will get a Government run cab from near the church on mall road (Near McDonald) that will charge you Rs.20/- for one way trip. Private cab will ask for Rs.100 or so per person.

The huge Lord Hanuman statue is really fantastic. After spending some time here, i walked back to Mall road that took around 30min so comfort walk.

Mall Road

This place gives a lot of positive vibes. Just stroll on the streets, enjoy the wether and food. I will recommend you to visit this place both at morning and evening times.

Shimla lift

Shimla Lift

Shimla can broadly divided into 3 layers of mountain. The bottom one is where the old bus stand is, second is as you climb up the mountain-its a local market and the top level is the Mall road.

You can either walk uphill or take the lift, its located on the other side of road from railway station. The ticket for lift is Rs.20 for one side and it works in two parts- lower to middel section and other one from middle to Mall road.

shimla to kullu

Next day I took bus from ISBT till Kullu. It was around 6h drive and ticket was approx.Rs.500.

The kullu bus stop is really modern and you will get a bus to most of the places in Himachal from this stop.

Budget stay in kullu

The Gurudwara at Kullu is near the bus stop, make sure to take the back exit. The front exit route is longer. Here also you will get a room for Rs.400/- .In case you need a room with attached bathroom, it will cost you Rs.600/-

Kullu sight seeing

Kullu is a small place. You can enjoy the weather and take a stroll. The river side is a beautiful place, just find a spot which is not littred!

You can visit Kullu Vaishnodevi temple(3km from bus stop) and Lord Shiva temple (1km from bus stop).

Kullu to manikaran

There is one bus from Kullu bus depot at around 730am. In case you miss it, you will get many bus from Bhuntar bus stop. Ticke is around Rs.200 and it will take 3hrs to reach Manikaran via Kasol.

The stay at Manikaran gurudwara is free, you need to produce your Aadhar card and if you are more than one person, you will get a room.

Manikaran to kasol

There is private bus service between Manikaran and Kasol, it cost Rs.30 one side. The frequency may be a problem during after noon.

The walk from Manikaran to Kasol is also a good experience and not very challenging as its downhill.

Sightseeing at manikaran and kasol

Manikaran is a small place with Gurudwara , temple near by. Also the hot water source is an intresting place, the water here is boiling while the temperature is freezing!

Kasol weather is also great and its very relaxing. Finding a budget stay may be a challnege here.

manikaran to manali

The bus starts around 730am from Manikaran and you will get direct bus to Manali. The private bus are small in size and is not very comfortable for long travel, so you can get down at Kullu and take a Government bus that is faster and more comfortable.

manali budget stay

In case you reach Manali in offseason i.e before 15April, you will get a decent room for Rs.500 near mall road else you may have to go till Old Manali where stay rates are much cheaper.

There is a dharamshala near mall road attached to Lord shiva’s temple. The temple is nice and the morning aarti is really good.

But the dharmshals is very dirty, seems no one cleaned it for ages and its toilet is worst, one feel like puking just by nearing the toilet.

You will get a room for Rs.90 there.

manali places to visit

You can walk around Manali and explore the places at leisure or get an auto. Following are walkable attractions at Manali:

Manali Mall Road

This is an amazing place and you can spend hours just sitting there, enjoying weather and food.

Hidimba Temple

This is around 1hr walk from Mall road. This is an ancient temple, its history is linked to Pandav’s.

Manu Temple

This is further ahead and linked to the era where Manu rishi rescued living creatures of the earth in his boat.

Old Manali Club house

This one place has shopping centers, adventure activity area, river side. The sign board says there is an entry ticket but we just walked in and no one asked 🙂

manali sightseeing bus by hptdc

You should not miss this tour. You can also book ticket online or at the office that is near Manali bus depot. The cost is Rs.500 and it covers following spots:

  1. Sisu Valley: This place had snow even in April!
  2. Atal Tunnel: This 9km tunnel keeps the connectivity between Manali and Sisu open year long.
  3. Solang Valley: You can enjoy air gliding, it will cost Rs.3500/- per person and go capture video is another Rs.500

manali to dharamshala Bus

There are private and Government bus that run between Manali and Dharamshala. The ticket is Rs.540 and travel time is 9-10hrs.

You can also plan for Palampur that is on the way to Dharamshala.

Budget stay at dharmshala

The rooms at Dharamshala starts from Rs.800. I stayed at Anmol Residency, its near the Grampanchayat bhavan (one stop before the Dharmshala stop)

It was an excellent stay, big rooms, neat and clean and it cost me Rs.700/-

You can call 9418022729/9418184729 to book this room. It is walkable distance from the market ( the uphill walk makes it look bit far)

places to visit at dharmshala

  1. The best attraction is the Dharmshala Cricket stadium. Its entry timings are 9 to 5 and ticket cost Rs.30/-.You will get a bus that will drop you near the stadium (still you will have to walk for 20min)
  2. There is also a war memorial near the bus stop, its a decent place and you can relax there while paying homage to the fallen warriors.

dharmshala to mclodgunj

You can either take a bus or there are sharing Jeeps (not cab) near bus stop that charge Rs.20 and will drop you at McLodgunj gate. Bus frequency is pretty less so Jeep is a good option.

You can also use Ropeway that will cost Rs.300 (one way) till McLodgunj, its a good experience.

Note: If you get bus, better get down at Bagsunag temple that is 1.5km ahead of McLodgung.

sightseeing spots at mclodgunj

  1. Dalailama temple: This is the Buddhist Monestory where Dalailama visits frequently.
  2. McLodgunj walk: Just stroll around and enjoy the weather and local food.
  3. Bagsunag Temple: This si an ancient Nag temple frequented by tourists. There is aswimming pool as well where you can take a dip for free but its open only in mornings and evenings.
  4. Bagsunag Waterfall: Its a small waterfall, further ahead of the temple.You can give it a miss if you don’t feel like walking.
  5. Adventure Activity: Almost mid way to the water fall, there is an adventure point where you can cycle on rope!

dharamshala to khajjihar

I took a bus from Dharamshala to Chamba and from Chamba to Khajjihar, bus tickets were Rs.300/- and Rs.50 respectively.

The route was not very good, few people had suggested to take a Pathankot bus and get down at Nurpur. From Nurpur, get a bus for Dalhausi/Khajjihar.

budget stay at khajjihar

The hotels near the Khajjihar park and lake starts from Rs.2000/- even in off season. I went and spoke with the food stall vendors behind the nag temple, they arranged for a decent room for Rs.600. It was a double bed but hot water facility was not available.

sightseeing at khajjihar

Khajjihar garden with a lake in the center is also known as mini switzerland. During winter, the whole garden turns white with snow.

Near the lake, there is an ancient Nag Temple, you will be mesmirized by the history of the temple that is written on the board in the temple.

You can also walk around 1.5km to visit 85ft Lord Shiva statue along with Mata Temple opposit it.

khajjihar to dalhousi

From just outside Khajjihar garden gate, you will get bus till Dalhousi, it will cost Rs.48 for a travel time of around 2hrs. The bus frequency is limited and there is no fixed time but the bus will come. Just wait for it. Pvt. taxi will take Rs.500/- for same.

budget stay at dalhousi

There are many budget hotels just behiond Dalhousi bus stop. You can get a double bed room for Rs.500/- during off season.

People may suggest to take room at Gandhi chowk, but rooms are costly there. Dalhousi is a small place, you can just stroll and cover most of the places so staying at Gandhi chowk/mall road will not add any value.

Note: The food at Dalhousi is costly.

sightseeing places in dalhousi

You can walk around the mall road near Gandhi chawk.

You can also visit waterfall (its a small stream of water, you can give it a miss)

Subhash chawk- the view from this point is amazing.


Himachal is a beautiful state in all weather.Just avoid monsoon as there are chances of landslide and you may get stuck. If you are already in Himachal near Monsoon, I am sure the sight will be breathtaking.

The total cost of this Himachal trip came around 8k ( travel till himachal and back to mumbai train cost not included)

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