So you think travelling is expensive? Consider our budget trip to Lahaul-Spiti under 4k. Part-1

              “ I ain’t a poet to describe the beauty of this place

              I ain’t what it takes to understand this fascination

            I ain’t have things to give in return to what these roads have given me

      but all I have is what I share

              The story of my journey, the story of my trodden paths.

            Listen quietly or else you might miss something in rush

            Listen with love because these stories are what connects all of us.”

Chandrataal Lake

So, this time we have decided to take you to a place which froze us to a state of placidness. This place is  ‘Chandrataal’ and now all we want from you is to sit back and enjoy our story through this wonderful journey.

How to reach Chandrataal?

blog 4
Our map via road

We all know how college life is, you plan a trip and there are very rare chances for it to take off. But something of an unusual experience happened this time with us. We alone had decided to go for Chandrataal at first but then a call for one turned into a call for many. And at the end of the day a total of 9 people were all set to go.

  • Chandigarh – Manali

transport means- all options of land transport and flight till Kullu.

Manali-Leh Highway

So from Chandigarh the next stop was marked at Manali.

  • Manali – Rohtang Pass – Gramphu – Chhatru – Chotta dara – Batal (dist.- 114kms)

transport means– Bus (only 1), cars, motor bikes, or via trek

At Manali we all had to board our bus towards Kaza but then we missed it because some of us were busy sleeping. But you know sometimes delays are good too and we got a taxi for a very low fare uptill Batal. The picturesque view and our driver’s choice of some really old songs  made the journey beautiful. The trees stood tall, the roads scented with natural aromas and the mountains glittered with shine. Who would not fall for this and then who would wanna go home? The driver dropped us at Batal. Here we had our lunch.

  • Batal – Chandra taal

    ( total 14 kms; 12.5 kms jeapable; 1.5 kms only accessible by foot)

transport means cars, motor bikes or via trek.

Lazy People

From here, we decided to trek uptill the lake itself. But if you have your own car the road till the closest camping site is motorable. The trek was completed in 3.5 hours and around 5:00 in the evening we reached Chandrataal.

Note: You can also reach Chandrataal by trekking via Hampta Pass.

What about stay and food options?



Stay 1: At Manali

Mountaineering institute, Manali
There are plenty of options in Manali like HOTELS, COTTAGES, TREE HOUSES, HOME STAYS, GUEST HOUSES, REST HOUSES. But we chose to stay at MOUNTAINEERING INSTITUTE.

Note: To stay at Mountaineering Institute you need to have prior permissions. We had all necessary validations so we could stay.

Stay 2: Near Chandrataal lake:

Camping site, Chandrataal
Since the lake is marked as a RAMSAR site, camping activities here are supervised by local forest authorities. Due to this they didn’t let us camp around the lake. Vast grasslands on the banks of the lake are the camping sites. You can camp here by paying some amount of money. But we preferred to camp a few meters away from the camping site as we had our own tents so paying money was pointless.



Chacha-Chachi Dhaba, batal

Our first food point after Manali was at Batal. Here is a world famous and the only food point available called Chacha-Chachi Dhaba. The food here, with a touch of Himalayan exotic flavors was no doubt very delicious and cheap too. After Batal, we had our next meal at the camping site itself. And again our sole savior MAGGIE came to our rescue. The next morning we just had bread-jam and stopped for lunch at Batal on the way back.

What does it feel like to be at the lake?

Mesmerizing View

Have you ever closed your eyes and felt transfixed in silence for a minute or two? I mean like your eyes stayed shut because they found their solace at a place. Have you ever wondered why these closed eyes made you feel the happiest ever, even when they couldn’t see anything? Why the stillness inside accentuated with every breathe in that particular space while all our ‘materialism’ was hanging out miles away from us? This ecstasy, this happiness often swathes us into the deeper prospect of the inside. It awakens the immortal but not so alive spirit and helps it trace the story of its originality. Me, you and everyone else have been at these places and all of us know what it feels like to just be at that moment.

If nothing else, guess this could explain what the beauty of this place does to you.

What were the challenges we faced during the trip?

Helping out with the road congestion…..
  • Only one bus service is available towards Batal. So don’t even think about being lazy as you would only end up extending your trip.
  • Roads are pretty unreliable in terms of natural calamities such as landslides. We too got stuck near Chhatru for around an hour.
  • Chandrataal, like other sites in India is marked as a Ramsar site. So, camping around the lake is prohibited and thus you have to stay at the camping site itself which is like a km away. You have to pay to camp here and if you have your tents you can put up your tents somewhere else too, like we did. But the problem here is of an unpredictable threat from the wild animals and falling rocks.
  • Temperature at night particularly gets pretty intolerable. So, you gotta take care about this.
  • Food and fuel availability is a problem as the last point of avail is at Batal.
  • No networks available after Rohtang Pass but a payphone is available at Batal.

Our budget for the trip per person till Chandrataal..

  • Travel expenditure= approx. Rs. 650 from (Chandigarh to Chandrataal, as we traveled in ordinary buses and got a low fare taxi)
  • Food= approx. Rs. 600 (till Chanrataal)
  • Stay= Nothing (We stayed at the Mountaineering institute  and for camping we had our own tent)

Note: To stay at Mountaineering Institute you need to have prior permissions. We had all necessary validations so we could stay.

  • Total= approx. Rs.1500 (excluding camping charges and luxury expenditures)
  • Rest of the budget is accounted in Lahaul-Spiti part 2.
Sincere Thanks to all our companions: Munish Rajput, Ajay Thakur, Suraj Gangta, Prateek Paul, Parikshit Sharma, Munish Prashar, Ashish Verma,


Did you find our information useful? If yes, please follow for travel stories and more. Please don’t forget to like, comment and share. 🙂 Also if you feel some information is missing, incomplete or misguided, do let us know @

That’s all for now, bye bye……

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Rohit says:

    Nice work fellows


  2. thesoulplay says:

    This is just part1 please read entire info. Carefully


  3. Pritika Sharma says:

    Oh! This is so cool!!
    Good job


    1. thesoulplay says:

      Thanks pritika sharma


  4. Adi says:

    Very nycccv… I lvvb itt


  5. devenderthakur says:



  6. devenderthakur says:

    Great work guyzz


  7. thedailyblog99 says:

    nicely written. Please check out my blog on Hampta Pass trek too.


    1. thesoulplay says:

      THANK YOU. We’ll surely do that.


  8. Great post! very informative! I didn’t know it could be this cheap. great blog as well

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thesoulplay says:

      Thank you @Trekking In Couture
      stay connected with us do follow our @thesoulplay

      Liked by 1 person

  9. victorialise says:

    Amazing photos of an incredible place! If I ever happen to visit the area I’m sure I will refer to your information as a helpful guide. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thesoulplay says:

      That’s really sweet of you. Thank you for your valuable reviews

      Liked by 1 person

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