Budget Trip to Shimla - Complete guide for every tourist
Hi there. Are you planning a budget trip to Shimla but don’t have any idea how to make it?
Here, I will will help you in planning out your pocket friendly trip to Shimla. You just need to follow few simple steps and do a little bit of research work, before finalizing your tour.
Shimla, which is also known as ‘Queen of the Hills’ was once the “Summer Capital of British India”. Since then the place has been in limelight among the nature lovers and travelers. Shimla’s weather is also one of the factor which attracts large number of tourists to this place. During the month of May-June, when the northern plain regions like Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh experiences extreme hot temperatures, the weather in Shimla at that time remains cool and pleasant. In Winters, during the months of January and February, the region receives good snowfall, thus, again attracting a good number of travelers.
Being located at the height of 2,200 metres above from sea level, the climate and the mesmerizing views of the mountains from Shimla, rejuvenates your mind, body and soul.
But is the month of May-June or Jan-Feb, a good choice to take a trip to this beautiful hill station?
The answer is NO!
Let us find out the reason.
When to Travel?
In Northern India, most of the families or group of friends and relatives, who want to spend their vacations in some hill station that is away from their daily hustle and bustle routine life, Shimla becomes the good choice for them. So, for many of the ones residing in nearby metropolitan cities like Chandigarh, Delhi and NCR, for them Shimla becomes a good option when they get break from their offices/duties or when their children have summer and winter vacations from the school.
So, always try to avoid travelling to this hill station during the months of May, June and mid December till February. During these months, you will not be able to enjoy the pristine beauty of this hamlet as most of the times you will get stuck in long traffic jams and for hotels also you will have to pay a heavy amount as during these months, the hotels charge their peak season rates.
So, what is the best time to plan a budget trip to Shimla?
I would suggest the months of March-April and October-November, as during these months the climate in hills is pleasant and apart from that, one gets good views of the mountains with far sighted visibility. And, the best part is that you will get less crowd during these months, so there is a chance to enjoy the pristine beauty of this hamlet.
For those, who love to travel in monsoons, for them July-September can be an option. Although, it is not recommended to travel in North India hills in monsoons as mostly, it rains heavily in the hills during monsoons, sometimes resulting into landslides and road blockages, but the highway from Chandigarh to Shimla is much broader and there has been hardly any news in the past, regarding the obstructions on this route.
So, based on your choice and as per your availability, you can visit during any of the above mentioned months.
How to plan a budget trip?
Now, coming to the main subject of this article, if you are a budget solo traveler or a person who is travelling with his/her colleagues and do not want to spend much on your trip then there are some suggestions and steps that you should follow before finalizing your tour.
- Plan Your Itinerary – You should plan the day wise schedule of your trip. Planning an itinerary helps you in sorting out the destinations, sightseeing and activities you will be covering in your trip. For e.g., if you are travelling from Delhi to Shimla then, you need to plan the time you will be leaving from Delhi, the time you will be reaching Shimla and what all places you will be visiting in Shimla in 2 or 3 days, before taking a return journey to Delhi. For planning an itinerary you can refer googlemaps for the routing and tripadvisor for the local sightseeing.
- Research On Stay Options – This is one of the main element in your tour plan. You need to do a little bit searching on internet for finding a best suitable accommodation for you. Today, there are many websites available on internet from where you can book your stay at a reasonable cost. For budget travelers like me, I would suggest you to check few websites like hostels.com, trivago, goibibo etc. for a comparative study. Also, look for the location the hotel is showing, check the distances on google maps. After this, you have two choices – either you choose one budget hotel and book it right away or select few hotels and book it on the spot after physically viewing the hotel. For Shimla, I would suggest you to make an advance booking, if you are travelling on weekends and long weekends as the hotels during this time gets full most of the time. Else, if you are travelling on weekdays, you can book it on the spot. As, I visited Shimla during the month of April and it was in weekdays, so I easily got accommodation at YMCA, which provides budget accommodation and it is located at just a few walkable distance behind the Christ Church.
- Mode Of Travel – This could worry you a little bit but actually it is very easy when it comes to plan a budget trip to Shimla. Apart from the private cars, the public transport connectivity to Shimla from the main cities in North India is too good. Below are the few modes of transportation to Shimla from other destinations.
- Buses : There are luxury Volvo and other buses available for Shimla from Chandigarh, Delhi, Punjab, Uttarakhand etc. Both government and private operators run their buses in these routes and you can even book your seats in advance with these operators. HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation) is a government undertaking and it provides ordinary, deluxe and luxury bus service to Shimla from Delhi, Chandigarh and other prominent places in North India.There are other websites also like HPTDC (Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation), Haryana Roadways, Redbus etc. from where you can book your bus seats in advance. If your budget is a bit low, you can also opt for ordinary buses which will price you approx. Rs. 450 one way (from Delhi).
- Trains : Shimla is connected to trains as well. These are narrow gauge mountain toy trains with an average speed of 22-25 kmph. To travel in these trains one has to reach Kalka Railway Station, which is 30 km from Chandigarh city. You can book the train tickets from IRCTC (website for train bookings in India). The price of these train tickets varies from Rs. 130 to Rs. 500. Please note, as compared to buses and cars, these trains take more time to reach Shimla.
For the local sightseeing of Shimla, one can walk around to visit The Ridge, Mall Road, Christ Church. For Jakhu Temple, there are shared jeeps operated by HRTC which are available near the road behind Christ Church. The charges for these jeeps cost you approx. Rs. 25 one way. For IIAS (Indian Institute of Advanced Studies) or Viceregal Lodge, you can take a local city bus from Old Shimla Bus Stand till Boileuganj, from where the IIAS is just at a hike of 15 min.
If you want to explore more around Shimla, you can take the service of HPTDC (Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation), a government department for tourism which provides local sightseeing tours around Shimla on sharing basis. For more details you can check their website – http://hptdc.in/index.php/conducted-tours-by-hptdc-luxury-coaches/
So, if you have planned a trip to the beautiful hill station of Shimla then follow the above mentioned points which will definitely help you in doing this trip within your suitable budget. So, by following few steps and planning your trip smartly, you can save few bugs which you can utilize in your next tour.