Through this “Kaza Travel Guide,” I aim to take you on a nice virtual trip to Kaza via my words and make you familiar with one of the most majestic and surprising underdogs of India.
Where is Kaza located?
KAZA/KAZE is a small town as unique and beautiful as its name. A cabalistic place, hiding millions of stories of travellers from all across the world.
It is a sub-divisional headquarter of Spiti Valley, which makes it an important commercial and administrative centre. It is located in Himachal Pradesh on the pristine plains of the Spiti river. A perfect getaway destination for all those looking for peace and tranquillity.
A typical Himachal Town, covered with snow-capped mountains, shiny streams and clear rivers, surrounded by panoramic landscape and enthralling picture-perfect spots.
The town is divided into two parts, namely Old Kaza and New Kaza. One can have the best of both worlds there, be it spiritual awakening or adventurous living.
Temperature of Kaza
Kaza is one of the coldest places in India, because of which it is usually closed for tourists during the peak of the winter season. It is only open to tourists when travelling is convenient. Though days are decently warm, nights are always chilly.
If you don’t know, Kaza’s temperature is famed for dropping below 0°C frequently. The primary entry gateways for Kaza, namely Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass, remain closed from the end of October until the 1st or 2nd week of June.
January is believed to be the coldest time of the year, with heavy snowfall, when the temperature even drops to -37°C. The average temperature remains around 13°C, making it the best getaway destination during summers. It has pleasant weather with frequent showers.
The best time to visit Kaza is around June when one gets to feel its charm.
How to Reach Kaza
It’s easily connected to the roadways. Especially from Manali and Shimla. Government buses can be found easily at low rates. One can simply enjoy the beautiful landscapes that come on the way to Kaza, without burning a hole in their pocket.
Well, as of now, there is no direct air connectivity to Kaza. The nearest airport (Bhuntar) is 250kms away, but buses are available from the airport for an easy commute.
Railways: Similarly, there is no station at Kaza. The nearest one is 365kms away, in Joginder Nagar. Once you have reached there, you can book a bus to reach Kaza.
Due to uncertain weather conditions, it’s better to check with the latest news to know if private vehicles are being allowed or not. The roads are treacherous (especially in the Manali route). You might need a special permit to travel in your private vehicle. So, it’s better to be aware of all the latest guidelines before leaving on your private vehicle for a road trip.
By now you must have figured out that it’s better to opt for a bus and be in the safe hands of experienced drivers if you want to avoid any inconvenience. Buses are the basic mode of transportation there and probably the best way to reach while enjoying the beauty of the pathway that leads to this mesmerizing destination.
Distance from Spiti to Kaza
The distance is about 5.5kms, so it hardly takes over 15-20 minutes. One can either take a bus, a taxi or hire a car whatever suits them and their budget. If you are going in a group, then you can afford a car without spending a lot of money.
Distance from Manali to Kaza
It is usually a 6-hour drive as they are 202kms apart. You can reach there while admiring the mountains and beauty of exuberant unexplored routes of India. If you choose to go from this route, you will come across Solang Valley, Rohtang Pass, Batal, Chandratal, Kunzum Pass and Losar before reaching your desired destination.
All these places are enchanting enough to grab the attention of travellers. The HRTC bus fare is around 350rs per passenger. The bus leaves around 5:00-5:30 am.
Distance from Shimla to Kaza
Generally, it is a 10–11-hour drive because the distance between them is around 400kms. This route is often denoted as one of the deadliest in India. However, when you make it to Kaza, it all seems worth it. The historic monasteries, eye-pleasing mountain views, hues of sky, everything is extraordinary and far beyond explanation.
You would cross Narkanda, Rampur Bushahr, Saharan, Kalpa, Pooh, Nako, Tabo and Dhankar, which are the least known places that still remain untouched by human interference. The buses leave around 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm.
Distance from Delhi to Kaza
Delhi is a convenient place for many to start their trip. It takes around 15 hours to reach Kaza by road, which usually gets hectic because of the route. On the way, you would cross destinations like Kinnaur, Shimla, Manali, Rohtang pass (the other destinations kind of remain the same). So, it’s always advisable to plan a trip to Shimla or Manali first, stay there for a while and then start your journey to Kaza. The distance is around 753kms.
Distance from Chitkul to Kaza
They are 293kms apart and it’s an 8-hour journey. The principal attractions that you would come across are Kalpa, Pooh, Nako, Tabo and Dhankar. Kind of following the shorter version of the Shimla route.
Distance from Reckong Peo to Kaza
It is one of the most adventurous routes that daring people often get fascinated by. This, as well, covers half the Shimla route where you come across Kalpa, Nako, Tabo, and Dhankar. Reckong Peo is the headquarters of the Kinnaur district. It’s approximately a 6-hour drive and the distance is about 211 km. Kaza bus operates from here, around 6 am and costs around 650 rs.
Kaza trip cost
It is a place for all. In fact, if you are new to hitchhiking, you must try it here. The people are kind, and they will be willing to negotiate. You just need to have the skills. It starts as low as 500 rs for dormitory rooms, and if you are lucky, you might even strike a good deal.
There is a government-run HPTDC hotel as well. In case you want a private space, a bit on the luxury side, you can opt for a decent hotel which would cost around 1400rs per night.
The restaurants won’t cost you an arm or a leg either. One can easily enjoy the town’s staple food like Thenthuk for just 60rs.
Sometimes, you might even get free rides to your homestay or vice versa.
Hence, if you plan everything accordingly, then a day in Kaza won’t cost you more than 1200-1600 rs, including food, stay and travel.
What to do in Kaza
1) New monastery– One must visit this unruffled place, located by the side of the main road that connects New and Old Kaza. The architecture, view, and vibes altogether would transfer you to a different world, away from materialism.
2) Key Monastery– This one stands tall for more than 1000 years. The Holy presence of the Dalai Lama can still be felt in this monastery. It is one of the largest ones in Spiti valley, and a place one should definitely visit.
3) Chandratal and Dhankar Lake– These are best suited for those who like chilling by the lakeside, admiring its beauty while forgetting about the worldly chaos, just enjoying the carefree-version of themselves.
4) Pin Valley National Park And Pin Valley Park Trek– This one is for exploring the flora and fauna that is distinct from any other place. Since the climate is mostly cold, the variety of species found here is unique and rare on its own.
5) Villages– The ones who are keen to gain a deeper knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism culture and want to connect with it on ground-level must-visit villages like Kibber, Langza, Hikkim, Chicham, Tabo, Nako, Mudh Village, Rangrik and Komic.
Free Tips For your Kaza travel guide
1) Kaza offers fairly decent network connectivity. Jio is the best option you could avail. It works the best. Other than Jio at times, you have BSNL and Airtel but you cannot rely on them.
Those who need good connectivity must prepare themselves beforehand. However, a few hotels, homestays and restaurants do provide Wi-Fi, but it doesn’t work well either. So don’t expect much in terms of speed.
2) Don’t underestimate the weather, even if you are a winter person. The nights here are uncomfortably chilly and one must keep their warm clothes handy at all times.
3) Hiring a private taxi can be expensive, but I definitely recommend it to those who are planning to go there in a group.
4) “German bakery” and “The Himalayan Cafe” are the must-visit cafes as many speak very fondly about it.
5) If you enjoy Momos, do eat from Kelsang’s Kitchen. They make the most authentic ones and are very courteous.
6) Don’t forget to purchase local products, like sea buckthorn tea, jam, local sweet barley, etc., from the local vendors, in Old Kaza.
7) Make sure to communicate with the locals. You will surely get to learn a lot from each one of them as they never run out of stories.
8) If you have a travelling spirit, then plan a budget-friendly trip to Kaza and take out some time to explore the places nearby. There are a lot of unexplored places waiting to be explored.
9) Hiking, bonfire, and other adventurous activities are a few that I would want you to try at least once.
Many travellers claim their Kaza trip to be an unforgettable experience. The main reason being the kind and compassionate nature of its residents. The Tibetan Buddhism culture followed here surrounds the town with a great positive aura and serene vibes.
The spell-bounding beauty can’t be described in words. On many platforms, you can see travellers urge the readers to visit Kaza and experience everything on their own. Everyone seems to have experienced different things and found new pleasures. So, visit and decide on your own.
“Kaza is a place to be, offering adventures that nobody can foresee.”
I hope with this Kaza Travel Guide; I could cover all your queries. If not, then please comment below and I shall get back to you. I will keep updating the guide regularly with new updates.