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Spiti Valley: Arrival Day

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

Finally, the day had arrived! It was time to head to Spiti Valley. I was petrified, to say the least. As much as I like my airport visits or even the early morning flights, it was way different this time. While my essentials were tucked in my 60-liter rucksack, carrying it was a whole new challenge.

I was supposed to catch up with another solo traveler at Terminal 2 of the Mumbai airport, and as planned we did! Even though we checked in separately, we were seated in the same row. I mean, what are the odds, right? As it turned out, she was an avid trekker and been doing similar trips for years. Not sure if that jolted my confidence or gave that much-needed morale boost. Nevertheless, I was eager enough to hear out her travel stories. I was in awe by her sheer level of comfort in traveling alone, and the kind of things she had encountered in the past. "If she's capable of doing this, so am I!" - I muttered in my head.

We were flying from Mumbai to Chandigarh for our onward journey by road to Shimla. While I was battling my fear of traveling solo, the pandemic surely had brought upon other miseries. Upon our arrival at Chandigarh International Airport, we waited for another fellow tripper for the next phase of our journey. There was a sense of comfort among all three of us, which was a great deal for me. I mean, how else are you going to spend the next week together if you don't get along right away!

Traveling from Chandigarh to Shimla

There are multiple options for you to choose from if you're planning to reach Shimla from Chandigarh. Depending on how much time you're willing to spend or the comfort that you're looking for, you can choose between Volvos, shared cabs, or private ones. Since we didn't want to expose ourselves too much, given the current state of affairs, we had pre-booked a private car through our trip organizer Spiti Holiday Adventures. Booking a cab through any travel agencies could cost you anywhere between 1,800-3,500 INR depending on the type of vehicle you book and the exact drop-off point once you enter Shimla. It was a no-brainer for us to choose a sedan considering all the bags three of us were carrying, and it cost us 3,000 INR - which wasn't all that bad. MakeMyTrip can be an easy and safe choice for the first time solo travelers too!

Road to Shimla

When you ask someone as to how much time you'll take to reach Shimla by road from Chandigarh, you may never get a fixed reply. This is essentially because of the mountainous terrain and the unpredictability that it comes with. We ended up taking five hours including a 45-minute lunch break along our way.

I was all pumped to try out some local delicacies but realized it wasn't the right place for that. Food was delicious nevertheless. The road ain't all that scenic for the first part of your journey, and perhaps it's a great idea to catch up on some sleep - especially if you've taken a super early morning connecting flight. But the view changes towards the latter part of your road trip - so keep an eye out for those captures.

Weather in March

You'll find Chandigarh rather hot and humid and it might feel weird to carry those layers of clothes in your backpack or even that down jacket almost falling off your arm. But believe me, the temperature drops drastically as you move higher up. Shimla stays pleasant till sundown but post that you must keep that light jacket of yours ready. Temperature touches anywhere between 5-10 degrees at night; early mornings might be chilly too!

Shimla accommodation

Some of us were putting up at Hotel Rocky Knob - about four odd km from the mall road. The hotel overlooks the beautiful valley, and if you manage to wake up a bit early you may well be in the game to witness a grand sunrise. The stay was recommended by our organizer and to my surprise, it turned out way better than what I had in mind.

If you're on a budget trip and do not mind the travel time to Mall road, you may want to consider staying here - per night tariff being 3,500 INR.

  • Comfort 5/5

  • Location 3/5

  • Staff 5/5

  • Food - Didn't end up trying since it was just a one night stay

The next morning was when the actual trip began, and we couldn't contain our excitement. It was time to catch up with the entire gang before heading to our next stop Rampur and later that evening reach Kalpa.

(In photo: Khadu Cafe) It was a quick pitstop for our breakfast that morning.

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