Remember when Kareena Kapoor ran away with Shahid Kapoor in Jab We Met? Through the snow and amazing mountains to Shimla to meet her boyfriend? We all grooved to the song she sung during her road trip – “Yeh Ishq Hai” !!
Well, I am not asking you to runaway or elope but yes you can getaway on a nice long weekend ! Go on a Road Trip through the mountains! With the wind in your hair, fresh air in your lungs and your eyes feasting on the mind-blowing vistas and landscapes!
TOP 10 ROAD TRIPS THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS
1. MANALI – LEH
Best Time: June – October
Experiences En Route: Beautiful and tricky passes like Rohtang La, Baralacha La, Lachulung La, visit the enchanting Suraj Tal at Lahaul Valley, Camp under the starry sky at Sarchu, Visit the Kardang Monastery at Keylong…
The only way to Leh through Manali is by the Leh – Manali highway. This highway is open during the months of June – mid October and is usually closed because of excessive snowfall during the year. So make sure you leave during these months. It’s a rugged yet sturdy road that can take heavy vehicles as well as bikes. Travellers usually prefer the Srinagar – Leh route but this route is made for the highly adventurous! So go for it! The route will pass through the following places
1. ROHTANG PASS:
Rohtang Pass is quite popular among the travellers. Its at an altitude of 3978 meters and usually surrounded by snow. So do stop here to throw a few snowballs at each other or have a nice hot paper cup of tea or coffee. From Rohtang, carry on to the small town called Gramphu.
65 kms ahead of Rohtang lies the administrative town of Lahaul and Spiti, Keylong. Here you can visit the Kardang Monastery. If you’d like to have a quick tour of the Lahaul and Spiti valley then you can stay here for a night or two.
3. BARALACHA LA:
74 kms away from Keylong on the Leh – Manali highway is the Baralacha Pass. It’s at a very high altitude at 4890 meters. The panorama on either side of the path is amazing! The famous Suraj Tal is also close by so stop here for while to see this enchanting lake.
Only 31 kms from Baralacha La is this little town called Sarchu, which lies on the borders of Himachal and Kashmir. This place is popularly known for camping amongst the trekkers. So experience a chilly night in a tent under a starry sky and guarded by massive mountains. Next day head northwards to Lachulung La.
5. LACHULUNG LA:
55 kms from Sarchu in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is the Lachulung Pass. Get acclimatized to the weather and enjoy the beauty of Kashmir.
196 kms from Lachulung La is the beautiful Leh. Stay here for a couple of days. Explore Ladakh and its multitudes of colours; its landscapes, lakes, mountains and rivers.
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Go back completely invigorated and refreshed! Bask in the spiritual and peaceful atmosphere at Ladakh. This Road trip will be epic!
2. SRINAGAR – LEH
Best Time: June to September
Experiences En Route: play in the Snow at Sonmarg, visit Kargil and the second coldest inhabited town – Drass. Explore the holy and beautiful monasteries like Lamayuru and Alchi
The Leh- Srinagar Highway or the NH 1D can be covered either in 2 or 3 days depending upon how much time you have and how many places you would like to visit. It’s approximately 434 kms journey. It is a highly adventurous journey and gives you quiet an adrenaline rush.
On your way to Leh from Srinagar you will pass:
The beautiful hill station Sonmarg is known for its splendid Himalayan vistas and Snow!
2. ZOJI LA:
Ahead of Sonmarg is of the highest passes of Srinagar – Leh highway, the Zoji La Pass. It’s usually closed in winters because it’s filled with snow.
Drass is known to be the second coldest inhabited places in the world so don’t forget to carry extra winter clothes as it’s going to be freezing cold!!!
People prefer to stay in Kargil because of the availability of more hotels.
5. LAMAYURU MONASTERY :
The Lamayuru Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries of Ladakh and a must-visit! It’s known for its lunar landscape or Moonscape and the Monastery. Lamayuru is a beautiful monastry and you must not miss this!
If you have enough time then you should stop at this Buddhist monastery too! Alchi is situated further away from Lamayuru towards Leh. Alchi is known for its exquisite paintings that adorn the walls of its monasteries
Ladakh is known to be a very dreamlike and enchanting destination. So soak up all this beauty and serenity. Have an adventurous yet spiritual experience.
3. SPITI CIRCUIT
Best Time: Mid May to Mid October
Experiences En route: Enjoy the Snow at Rohtang pass, fill your tummies at Gramphu, Explore ancient Monasteries at Kaza like Kibber & Ki Monastrey and camp at the magnificent Chandra Tal.
The route from Manali to Spiti Valley is a bikers dream and trekkers favourite! And it surely is one of the most beautiful yet rugged routes. It’s a little over 200 kms ride and so one can cover it in a day unless you want to stopover somewhere for sightseeing. On your way to Spiti Valley you’ll travel through the following places:
1. ROHTANG PASS:
Enjoy the snow and the cold weather; sip some hot tea or coffee sold by the vendors. This road is a major attraction for tourists and the panoramic view of the mountains is breathtaking! Its 51 kms away from Manali.
Around 35 kms from Rohtang is this small town known as Gramphu. It’s basically to stopover for food. Visit one of the countryside dhabas and stuff your self with paranthas or chole kulche.
130 kms from Gramphu is Spiti Valley. The place looks like paradise with different colors melding together; almost like a painting. A few more kilometers ahead is Kaza. You book a guesthouse here and stay the night.
4. CHANDRA TAL:
The Chandra Tal is a crescent shaped lake in Spiti Valley. It’s truly an enchanting lake. You must go to see this lake if you’re in Spiti. Trekkers camp on the banks of the lake that is filled with wildflowers and meadows during spring.
5. KIBBER AND KI MONASTERY:
The Kibber and Ki Monasteries are located in Kaza. Explore the monasteries and let the peacefulness engulf you.
The Spiti Valley is so beautiful and pristine, you’re going to have an amazing time here! So don’t miss out this road trip!
4. DELHI TO SHIMLA AND MANALI
Best Time: October – November or March – May
Experiences En Route: Enjoy the chilly weather, scenic vistas and a lot of sightseeing at these amazing hill stations: Chail, Narkhanda, Shimla, Manali, Stop at Rohtang Pass for some Snow!
Delhi to Shimla is a perfect Get-away! The roads are good and scenic. If you can extend your holidays then try to visit Manali as well. If you have a shorter holiday then cover Shimla, Narkhanda and Chail. You could also stop at Chandigarh for a night or for food. Even though Shimla is a common get-away it’s worth going to. Places where you can stop on this road trip are:
244 kms away from Delhi, which will take at least 4-5 hours travel on The Grand Trunk Road. You could stop here for a good meal of parathas and a glass full of creamy lassi. Chandigarh is a big city so go shopping and sight seeing if you want.
Shimla is approximately 130 kms away from Chandigarh, which will take about 3 hours. Enjoy the chilly weather and the beautiful places like Jakhoo hill, Summer Hill, Christ Church. Shop at the mall road and chill at the Ridge.
Around 60 kms north of Shimla is Narkanda. A quaint little hill station. The Hatu peak is a must-visit! It’s the highest point in Narkanda and has an amazing view of the snow capped mountains. You can also visit the Hatu temple and then relax at the hotel.
Chail is 40 kms from Shimla and 75kms from Narkanda. It’s a little hill station with log huts and thick forests perfect for a romantic get-away. Enjoy the chilly weather and the secluded atmosphere different from the touristy atmosphere of Shimla.
Manali is around 260 kms away from Shimla. It’s a 5 to 6 hours drive. Manali is a beautiful hill station. Covered with Apple orchards and nestled in the mountains. Visit the Hadimba temple, Panden Ngari Gompa (Monastery) and many more places and eat at the fancy restaurants. You can also indulge in lot of activites here like rock climbing, river crossing, rappelling and Paragliding especially in Solang Valley etc. Manali is a perfect place to runaway for a relaxing and a fun vacation.
This Road trip is perfect if you want a nice long weekend getaway and experience the chilly and crisp weather of Himachal. Relax… Recharge… and Refresh!
5. DARJEELING HILLS ROAD TRIP
Best Time: Any season other than Monsoon
Experiences En Route: Be surrounded by lush tea gardens at DarjeelingWander around the beautiful town of Kalimpong, Ride the toy train at Kurseong and soak up the tranquil atmosphere of Mirik
Nestled between the mountains and surrounded by Sikkim, Nepal and Bhutan are the Darjeeling hills. A beautiful spot for a perfect get-away! Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong are splendid places to holiday over a long weekend. Overlooking large tea estates and with narrow winding roads are these 3 hill stations. You can start from Gangtok; enjoy the cool breeze, the amazing tea estates and the meandering roads. All the places you can visit on this pleasant road trip:
Around 97 kms from Gangtok is Darjeeling, one of the most relaxing and pleasant places for travellers. With vast stretches of fresh green tea gardens and mighty Kanchenjunga towering in the north gives this town a very serene vibe. Travel in the toy train and visit the Tiger Hill, The Peace Pagoda, The Happy Valley Tea Gardens and many more!
50 kms away from Darjeeling is Kalimpong, a peaceful little town. Enjoy the beautiful vistas and the amazing weather. You can also visit various places like the Deolo Hill, the Cactus Nursery and the Golf course.
Only 30 kms from Darjeeling is this sleepy little town of Kurseong. It has a bustling little market with winding train tracks of the toy train. This hill station is literally a small one but the view from here is amazing! Visit the Eagles Crag, Dow Hill, Deer Park and Chimney.
45 kms from Kurseong is Mirik, again a small hill station known for its secluded and serene aura. Don’t forget to visit Sumendu Lake and enjoy pleasant climate and the natural beauty of this place.
If you don’t want to travel to Gangtok, you can visit the Darjeeling Hill from Siliguri, West Bengal too. Since you’re going to be surrounded by tea plantations this entire road trip you’re going to come back refreshed!
6. UTTARAKHAND ROAD TRIP
Best Time: March – June or October – February (for winters)
Experiences En Route: Get spiritual at Kathgodam, Enjoy the rich variety of flora and fauna and the amazing weather at Ranikhet, Kausani and Binsar and take in the beauty of ‘Little Kashmir’- Munsyari.
Known for its ancient temples, massive Himalayas, holy rivers, old scriptures and splendid scenery, Uttarakhand makes a good place to go a long road trip . You can begin from Kathgodam and drive your way up to Munsiyari. Depending on how many days you have, you can choose where you would like to stop over and explore the hill stations. Munsiyari is around 275 kms away from Kathgodam but you can cover this distance by stopping at beautiful hill stations. So here are the places you will travel to:
Your starting point, Kathgodam attracts a large number or devotees because it is close to two very beautiful temples, Sheetla Devi and Kalichaud.
If you don’t want to start from Kathgodam, you could start your trip from Nainital. Nainital is just 23kms from Kathgodam. Nainital is a popular hill station and it’s quite picturesque. Nainital has numerous places to where you can sightsee like the Naini Lake, Naina Devi Temple, Naini Peak and many more! Do stop here for atleast a few hours!
Approximately 56 km from Nainital; it’s a sleepy little hillstation in the Almora district of Uttarakhand. Ranikhet means “Queens Meadow” in Hindi and is really a very beautiful place. In winters you can enjoy the chilly weather and the Himalayan vistas. The weather is very pleasant from March till October.
Kausani iS 60kms from Ranikhet. It’s a quaint hillstation overlooking the breathtaking Nanda Devi range. The climate is pleasant or slightly cold. Kausani is a must visit! It’s a perfect place where you can sit back and relax or recharge and refresh by going on long walks or hikes through the jungles.
Binsar is about 72kms from Kausani. Its at an altitude of 2420 meters and is quite lovely. You can view the gorgeous snow clad peaks of Himalaya from here and on a clear day spot the sacred shrines at Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. Surrounded by a dense forest, Binsar has a good variety of various species of flora and fauna. If you love hiking, trekking and going on long walks then you MUST go to Binsar.
Munsiyari is 172 kms of long scenic drive away from Binsar. Popularly known as ‘Little Kashmir’, is a magnet for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers. A number of treks into Himalayas begin from here as Munsiyari acts as a base camp. If you’re not much into trekking. You can enjoy the majestic view of the snow peaks and the peace and serenity this hill station offers.
Now that you’ve reached your destination, you can go back to Nainital from here and back home but don’t forget to take back good memories and I bet this road trip is going breath new life into you!
7. GUWAHATI TO KAZIRANGA AND CHERRAPUNJI
Best Time: October – May
Experiences En Route: Spot the Tiger stripes or the horn of a Rhino amongst the tall grasses at the Kaziranga National Park. Go sightseeing in Shillong and enjoy the romantic rainy weather of Cherrapunji…
A fun and pleasant Road trip through the tea state of Assam and cloudy Meghalaya anyone? This Road trip can be highly refreshing and beautiful. Assam and Meghlaya are located in Eastern part of India and are quite lovely! You can begin your journey from the capital of Assam, Guwahati and drive your way through to Shillong and Cherrapunji in Meghlaya. If you want to enjoy some amazing weather and splendid landscapes then this Road trip should be a part of your Top 10 road trip s through India. So skim through all the places you’ll visit:
Guwahati is the biggest metropolitan city in Northeast India. Guwahati is the main entry point from where you can explore the other parts of Assam. There are lots of tourist spots here like Umananda Temple, Kamakhya Temple, Chandubi Lake, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and more.
2. KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK:
Ready to be wowed by wildlife and nature? Kaziranga is a MUST visit if you’re going to Assam. Spend at least one night and two days here. It’s a World Heritage Site that preserves the Great One-horned Rhinoceroses. It’s also known to have the largest density of Tigers. The Kaziranga National Park is very well maintained. Covered in elephant grass and dense forest, Kaziranga can make a fun trip with friends and family. You can ride on majestic elephants or go on an adventurous safari; this trip is going to leave you exhilarated and fresh!
Then after a long 255 km drive from Kaziranga you’ll enter the ‘the abode of clouds’- Meghalaya! Shillong is the capital of Meghalaya; also know as the ‘Scotland of the East’. Shillong is a fascinating city with a lot of interesting places to visit. So make sure you visit the Elephant falls, Shillong Peak, Bishop and Beadon falls, Sweet falls and some really good museums. Stay at Shillong for a night or two since it has quite a lot of places to see.
Welcome to the second wettest place on Earth! 53kms south of Shillong, Cherrapunji, is known to receive rain throughout the year. You can do a lot of fun adventure activites here like trekking, especially the one that goes to The Double Decker Living Root bridge in Nongriat or you can go camping, try rock climbing and river canyoning. Also, don’t forget to visit the beautiful Nohsngithiang Waterfalls and I promise that you will never forget your trip to Cherrapunji because it’s such a different yet enchanting!
This Road trip would be perfect with family or friends or even a romantic getaway! You’ll explore so much in this one road trip and have a lot of fun! So don’t miss out on this one!
8. THE NORTH SIKKIM ROAD TRIP
Best Time: Mid September – Mid October
Experiences En Route: visit the sacred Phodong Monastery, enjoy the amazing landscapes at Lachung and Yumthang valley, wallow in the isolated hamlet of Lachen and visit the holy Gurudongmar Lake.
North Sikkim district is the least populous district in India. It shares its borders with The Republic of China and hence most of the area is isolated and not allowed to venture into. But there are a few amazing places here where tourists are allowed and are worth visiting! North Sikkim is very close to the mountains and hence has an up close and breathtaking view of the Himalayas. The climate is cold but very pleasant during summers. You can start this road trip from Sikkim’s capital, Gangtok and drive all the way north to see the second highest lake in India, Gurudongmar Lake. So here is the list of places you can stop over at:
1. PHODONG MONASTERY:
This monastery is only 30 kms away from Gangtok so if you’re interested in the culture and heritage of a place, do visit this monastery!
This town is the middle ground between Lachen and Lachung. So you stop over here to eat or just sightsee if you like
A quaint little hamlet with gurgling streams, apple orchards and encircled by massive snow capped peaks is Lachung. Its 95 kms from Gangtok. You can stay over here for at least a night; Lachung has a lot of hotels so accommodation is not an issue. Don’t forget to visit the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary!
4. YUMTHANG VALLEY:
32 kms from Lachung is the Yumthang Valley, also known as the Valley of flowers. This valley is truly a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers. It’s blanketed in vibrant flowers during April and May and is covered in a dense forest of Silver Fir and Pine. Keep your eyes wide open while driving through this valley because you’ll see meandering streams and beautiful waterfalls.
Lachen is smaller than Lachung but as beautiful! Its only 25 kms from Chungthang and is very isolated and scantily populated and hence is very appealing to those who want to a few days away from the noisy places. Its also the gateway to the holy lakes: Gurudongmar and Lhamu Tso. A number of treks and camps being from Lachen. So if you’re interested in a little adventure do stop here.
6. GURUDONGMAR LAKE:
Located at the altitude of 17,800 ft., this lake is one of the highest lakes in the world. Gurudongmar Lake is named after the great Guru Padmasambhava who introduced in Buddhism in North East India, Tibet and Bhutan. Hence it’s considered quite sacred. It’s fed by the glacial water and is surrounded by snow peaks. The drive here could be a little tiresome but the destination is worth it!
Very few people actually go for this road trip, so you must go for this one! If you want a peaceful break among the mountains and picture perfect landscapes then this is the Road trip you must take.
9. CHANDIGARH TO SHIMLA AND KINNAUR
Best Time: April – October
Experiences En Route: Go sightseeing and shopping at Shimla, Enjoy the countryside at Sangla, Sarahan and more, Wander through the apple orchards and cold deserts of Kinnaur.
You can start this road trip from either Delhi or Chandigarh. If you have a long weekend then this is a perfect getaway! Drive your way through the beautiful mountains, passes, valleys and forests, enjoy the chilly weather and have a good time with your family! So these are the places you’ll visit on this road trip:
Shimla is 130 kms from Chandigarh. Go sightseeing or shop at the Mall road or at The Ridge. There are a lot of places to see in Shimla so stay here for a day or two
Sarahan is 151 kms from Shimla that is, a 6 hours drive. You’ll pass Kufri, Narkanda and Rampur on the way so you can stopover at one of these places if you like. Sarahan is highly picturesque since its located half way up a mountain. Sarahan paints a perfect picture of a sleepy hamlet with apple orchards, little cottages and lush meadows. It’s a good place to relax and rejuvenate.
Sangla is one of the most beautiful valleys of Himachal. It’s about 85kms from Sarahan. Try to spend a night here in one of the camps. In the morning visit the Kamru fort and Chitkul village.
Before going to Kinnaur you could stop at Kalpa if you like. Kalpa is the main village of Kinnaur so you can stay over one night here.
Kinnaur is nature at its best. Its lush green with orchards and vineyards but on the other end its has vast cold deserts too. Kinnaur has a bountiful of flora and fauna. So make sure you spend atleast a night here at its main village Kalpa and explore for a day or two.
If you have a long weekend ahead then go for this Road trip. Visit the lesser-known towns like Sangla and Sarahan so you’re not cramped up in a hill station thronged by tourists. Have a good time at the beautiful district of Kinnaur. Come back with new and beautiful memories!
10. ROAD TRIP TO KINGDOM OF BHUTAN!
Best Time: March – May or September – November
Experiences En Route: Drive from one country to another, see the change of landscapes, Enjoy the scenic beauty of Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jhongkhar and Gelephu. Experience the Bhutanese culture at Thimphu and visit numerous monasteries like the Tiger’s Nest.
Bhutan is a beautiful little country landlocked between India and China. Best part about Bhutan Tourism for Indians is that you don’t need any effort or paperwork for the visa. As soon as you enter the country, a visa will be given to you. All you need to bring is a photo id.
You can enter Bhutan from 3 points; choose the one that is closer for you or the one you prefer. Most frequently travelled road is through Phuntsholing.
Phuntsholing is almost adjoining Jaigong, Indias border town. If you’re in West Bengal, drive from Siliguri, which is only 150 kms away from Phuntsholing. The drive to Phuntsholing is quite scenic and the weathers usually pleasant. The capital of Bhutan, Thimphu is again 150 kms from Phuntsholing so you could stop over here if you like.
2. SAMDRUP JHONGKHAR:
Samdrup Jongkhar meets India at Assam. So you could start from Guwahati which is only 4-5 hours drive (185kms) from Samdrup Jongkhar. Samdrup Jongkhar is a little far from Thimphu but you can traverse through some districts like Mongar, Trongsa and Punakha and sightsee before you reach Thimphu. Halt for a night at one of these cities.
Gelephu also touches Assam near Bongaigaon. So start from Guwahati which 225kms away. You can stay here for a night and then continue to Thimphu, which is 240 kms far.
Once you’re in Bhutan, visit all the important cities like Thimphu and Paro; also go to different monasteries and soak up the spirituality and serenity of Bhutan. Try and go around the time of a festival so that you can celebrate with the natives and try some authentic Bhutanese food like Ema Datchi, Momos, red rice, Yak milk tea and more! The natives of Bhutan are extremely welcoming are known to be very cheerful! (Thanks to the Gross National Happiness)
A Road trip to Bhutan will be a completely different and new experience because its a Road trip from one country to another! You can observe and experience the changes in the landscape, people, culture and so much more! Make sure you make this trip. For more information on Road trip to Bhutan, Check out some packages by RLT.
Now that you have so many choices, you can plan a fun road trip with your family and friends! If you need a hand in planning a road trip you can check out RLT’s Tour Packages !
Don’t forget to have a fun and be adventurous !