How to Reach Chandratal Lake

By Mridula Dwivedi September 5, 2015 168 Comments
chandratal

I did a trip to Lahaul and Spiti in August 2015. When I posted some pictures of Chandratal Lake, people asked me how to go there, was there a resort nearby, etc. In this post I try to answer some questions related to How to reach Chandratal Lake? This is when I assume you are not driving your own vehicle.

tata-sumo-chandratal
Hire a Tata Sumo

The nearest large town near Chandratal is Manali. The easiest but the most costly way to reach is to hire a Tata Sumo from Manali and reach Chandratal. The distance between the two is 140 km. You will pay more than 10K rupees for a private jeep hire. It helps if a few friends are sharing the cost of hiring a jeep.

After you cross the Rohtang Pass there are just two spots where you can get things to eat Chhatru and Batal. There are small dhabas at both the places.

road-chandratal
Roads in Lahaul and Spiti

The road to Spiti has more mud and rocks than anything else! There is hardly any tar to be seen anywhere! You can find waterfalls, pagal nalas all on the road!

There are no phone services or electricity both at Batal and Chandratal. In the Spiti Valley only BSNL phones work.

chandra-dhaba-batal
Chandra Dhaba, Batal

If you do not wish to hire a jeep, there is a bus to Kaza. Get down at Batal and stay there at Chandra Dhaba run by Chacha and Chachi. By staying you will acclimatize better to the high altitude. Chandratal Lake is a 14km trek from Batal. So option one is to trek! Chandratal Lake is at a height of 4300 meters.

how-to-reach-chandratal
The Kaza Manali Bus

This time we reached there in one shot, in a Tata Sumo, from Manali. I had headache and mild nausea due to the altitude. I could not eat much at the night. I was better in the morning. Last year we stayed at Batal, trekked to Chandratal and I had no discomfort because I acclimatized better.

hitch-hiking-chandratal
Hitch Hiking to Chandratal

If you do not wish to trek, then you are in a mild soup. You need to hitch hike. A gentleman from Mumbai took a lift from us. We had no space in the vehicle so he went on the roof. He came back to Batal the same way! There are bikers, cars and workers going that way. Be nice to people and someone will give you a lift. Make sure that you can come back with the same set of people, or you need to ask someone for the lift again.

camping-ground-chandratal
The Camping ground at Chandratal, 2015

I would say stay at the Chandratal camping grounds for a few days. Please note that camping is not allowed by the edge of the lake! And it is a good thing. You want the lake to be there for your kids too, right? I went to Chandratal, both in 2014 and 2015. In 2015 the camping grounds have been pushed back further away from the lake and I like it. We could not camp where we did in 2014.

We had our own tent and kitchen tent! However, there are tents and food available at the camping grounds. Tenzing, Chacha and Chachi’s son runs a camp at Chandratal. Jamaica is another tent which we saw both in 2014 and 2015! So once you reach, you can stay at the tents, they will give you food too. The tents usually cost 1200 rupees upwards. But as there are no phone services, pre-booking a tent is a pain! Tenzing told me, “Ask them to come, we have extra tents, we will pitch it if need be. We will not let them freeze at night.” And it really freezes at night. The windscreen of the car had to be thawed there was so much frost on it.

From the camping grounds the lake is still about 3km way. You can take the trek route and walk to the lake. Or you can take a lift to what is known as the ‘parking lot’ of the Chandratal. From the parking lot, the lake is a ten minutes leisurely walk.

water-body-above-chandratal
The Smaller Water Body above Chandratal

There are smaller water bodies above Chandratal. They are worth a visit. I could visit only one and spot another one in the distance. They have been marked for future exploration.

goat-sheep-jam
The Goat Sheep Jam

Now that you reached Chandratal you need to get back to civilization! Your first task will be to get back to Batal. Once again either trek or ask for a lift.

Once at Batal you can continue further to Kaza or try getting back to Manali. I highly recommend that you go to Kaza and beyond. There is a bus in season from Kaza to Manali. There are shared jeeps too.

Losar is another village is Spiti which offers lodges, you can stay there and then head to Kaza. The distance between Batal and Losar is about 50 km.

I met a young Indian couple who were doing the trip to Spiti using public transport. I met many foreigners who were doing this trip using public transport.

I met another young Indian couple who were doing this trip hitch hiking with truck driver!

rama-kant-sharma
Rama Kant Sharma and Arun Thakur, Our Guides

And if all this feels like too much work just get in touch with my guide Rama Kant Sharma and he will arrange the trip for you. He can be reached at 9816183284

And now you know that the nearest resort near Chandratal is at Manali. At Chandratal there are only tents.

Bonus: Check out DOW’s post on the same topic for crazier ideas.

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168 thoughts on “How to Reach Chandratal Lake”

  1. Chandratal is such a surreal place, I wish it remains this beautiful forever. And after reading this post I am reminded that I haver never written about my trip as I am still stuck at Kunzum La 🙂

  2. It’s a beautiful place. All these posts remind me that I lost all photographs of this place 4years back, due to HDD crash 🙁 . I have to plan a trip soon.

    Thanks !

  3. Chandertal is beautiful and yes, we want it to remain the way it is. Beautiful and serene.

    Did you get to meet Jamaica BTW? He is a friend 🙂

    Cheers,
    Rajiv

  4. Very beautiful place which I have not heard of before. You have given excellent tips for anyone who wants to get there and also useful information about rides, food, shelter!

  5. Oh wow!
    Chandratal seems to be totally out of this world. I’d be surprised if there was anybody who didn’t want to go there after seeing these pictures.

    Splendid pictures, Mridula.

    1. Thank you Divya, my fascination with the place is old. I knew of it since 2007 and yet reached for the first time in 2014!

  6. This is one of the most useful posts that I have come across in recent times. It makes me want to go and stand on the shore of the Chandratal lake, though I know its not going to happen any time soon.
    I wonder why is it called the “moon-lake”.
    Thanks for sharing

  7. Whoa :).. These are some stunning pics Mridula :).. I am tempted to request for a few High Res ones so that I can use them as a wall paper. Looks so beautiful :).. I can only imagine how it would have been to be there

  8. Kaza, Spiti and Lahaul have been on my mind for way too long and reading your post just feels like a sign that its calling me.

    What according to you is the best time and which is the best path to take – The hindustan tibet highway or through the kunzum pass ? We would be going on bikes 🙂

    1. September is a good time though nights will be cold. I have not been on the Hindustan Tibet Highway so can’t say. I saw bikers regularly on the Kunzum side. I know of friends who have done the circuit. So take your pick and stay safe.

  9. What a beautiful place and information about the place written by you Mridula ji . The small water body is looking very nice above chandratal. Ultimately it will be very costlier .

  10. The pictures are so mind-blowing….I have heard so much abt Manali and surrounding towns. Reading about them makes me so want to head there right now. Have so much to cover in the North. 😀

  11. Loved the pics ! The sheep’s one looks like a painting!

    What camera you used for these? Is there any problem reported for cameras at this cold and this high?

    M

  12. Hi Mridula
    Your blog is so very amazing. The nature at Chandratal Lake is so awesome that I feel like heading there right away. Thank you for all the valuable tips you have provided, especially about food and getting acclimatised there. I have to visit it soon.

  13. Nice informative Writeup.
    On the google maps n the Sour Tal Lake has been shown approx 4 Km in North West Direction from chandrataal Lake. Have you ever think of exploring this Sour Tal Lake. From Google Map/Earth this Sour Tal Lake apprears to be at a amazing location near Glaciers.
    Please share any information you have regarding this Sour Tal Lake.

    1. Om Prakash ji let me put this to my local guide Rama Kant ji as I do not know. It is because of you I got to know about the other water body!

  14. Ahhhhhhhhh, this brings back memories for me from Chandratal and Spiti!! Spiti is one of the most surreal places I’ve ever been to, it just makes me sigh every time I think about it. And aren’t Chacha Chachi sweet 😀 Did Chacha pull that “1000 rupees for the Maggi” trick with you too? It seems to be his staple jolt to give people, lol. I stayed in a small tent next to their main dhaba for a night, and saw Chacha pulling that one ever so often. 🙂 Lovely pictures!

    1. My nephew pulled a reverse one on them, when Chacha said 1000 rupees for a cap he actually took out 1000 rupees and gave it. It was chacha’s turn to do a U-turn and say no no it was only 200 rupees! 😀

  15. Hi,
    I am planning to visit chandrataal this summer(2016).
    Can you please share the contact details of persons who can help me book tents or other things.
    You can also share your contact for help.

  16. Hey Lovely to hear your experience. Well can you tell me if it is safe and okay to do a solo female trip to chandratal and to spiti using public transport

  17. hi, I just want to know, is this the right time to visit chandratal ? or when should I visit there according to weather conditions ??

    1. Hi Mohit I would say pay attention to the weather conditions. There would be no camps in off season and if Kunzun is not open I am not sure if you can reach Chandratal.

  18. Madam,

    I just have one fear in mind that “Is it possible to arrange camping gear N food at chandratal after reaching there.

    1. In season the tents are there, you can turn up and live in a tent and get food! That is not a problem. But only in season.

  19. Hi Mridula,

    Thank you for putting your experience into such beautiful words. I would like your opinion on this itinerary to help plan my trip (4 pax, in mid July):

    Day 1: Kaza to Batal, (How long does it take from Kaza to Batal?)
    Day 2: Leave most luggage at Chandra Dhaba. Trek early morning to Chandratal, camp, go to the lake and come back to camp.
    Day 3: Trek back to Batal. Catch a bus to Manali. Will I find a bus to Manali if I reach Batal before noon? Or do I have to stay in Batal again?

    Anyone I need to contact in advance to book anything in advance?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Kaza to Batal would be 5-6 hours.

      The trekking plan would be then of roughly 30km in a single day. Would you like to do that? What if you get bad weather at Chandratal and want to go when the pictures come out well?

      You can book a tent at Chandratal and stay there for a night. Chacha would help you with that once you reach there. Hope this helps.

  20. Hi Mridhula,
    Just wanted to know if we cant take the bikes up to the parking lot near Chandertal Lake. Also if we wish to trek, can we park our bike some where in Batal and trek up to the lake???
    What can be better option, to trek or to ride upto the lake

    1. Hi Shoaib, you can leave the bikes at Batal at Chandra Dhaba. But it would be better to take them to Chandratal camping grounds. The lake is still about 2-3 km from camping ground. You can take your bike at leave it at what is called the parking space at Chandratal. Basically that is the last point up to where bikes and car can go. I have replied to your email too. If you have further questions feel free to ask!

  21. I wouldnt go unless i have some work there. While i plan to go in Langza village of Spiti. Trekking is a good thing, but often tourists ruin the landscape, i think Himachal government should put control over these bikers and automobiles. Let them go on foot. Otherwise all ice would melt, like in Rohtang Pass.

  22. Woaahh! This place looks like heaven!???? Im reaching delhi on 9th of june and going around manali, kasol, malana and khirganga.im goin to put this place in my timeline too. So glad i found this post. ???? You think an eco sport can make it up till the parking space?

    1. Put ample time for it, it is a tough terrain. I do not know much about cars but I am sure Eco Sport is a 4 wheel drive and it would do fine.

  23. Hi,

    Great Post!

    I am heading to Manali this weekend and hoping to visit the lake. Would now be an appropriate time? Also are there any reccommended places to rent the Tata Sumo’s from in Manali?

    1. You can book a single seat in a sumo till Batal then either trek or hitch hike. I have not kept a tab on the route till now but I will be surprised if it is not open!

  24. Hi!

    Great Post!

    I am visiting Manali this week and hoping to go on to Chandratal. Is now a good time? Also are there any recommended places to rent a vehicle? Do people hitchike from Manali to Chandratal?

  25. Hi,

    How is it to visit Spiti Valley in October (before mid October) via Manali route?

    Are non HP vehicles allowed there?

    1. Hi

      I guess the normal route to Kaza, but go a little early if possible, October weather can be a little unpredictable! I think there is no problem with non HP personal vehicle but check with Devil on Wheels or Indiamike!

  26. I have arranged the trip to chandratal from 16 june 2016 to 20 june 2016.

    Regarding the trip, i have communicated to ramakant whose mob. no. is coming switch off.

    if u do some help to provide me alternate no. or mail id, it makes my trip successful.

  27. How much food costs and is there any arrangement of sleeping bags?? does tents really costs 1200rs per day ?

  28. can one hire bikes from kaza for chandra taal??
    is night camping possible at chandra taal in october??
    please reply and thanks in advance.

    1. Hi when do you plan to go in October? If you are anyway going to Spiti you can check on ground conditions better at Kaza itself closer to the trip.

  29. hello mridula

    this is ankur from raipur, chattisgarh

    i wanna to travel to chndertaal n spiti valley end of june

    i am having a kid of 1 year n 1 month old. so suggest me will we go to spiti or choose any other destination.

    i m wooring about her health over there.

    n if we go for spiti wat area to be cover in 4 night n 5 days

    1. I would be scared to take a one year old to such a high altitude. My daughter is 8 and I have still not taken her to Spiti!

  30. Hi Mridula
    Is it going to be very cold and windy in mid july at Chandratal. Will a sweater and Jacket suffice
    Thank you so much

    1. It is always cold there, particularly at night. Do carry a think jacket or it would become uncomfortable!

  31. Hello Mridula,

    Nice to see the work you are doing. i.e. Helping the travellers.

    We are planning to travel Chandratal on 1st October nd we will be carrying the camping tents with us.
    I just wanted to know that as we are going to stay for 2 nights at camp Are there any facilities of toilets available near camping area?

    else it would be difficult for us to control the natures call for 2 days.

    Thanks in Advance. 🙂

    1. Hi Raviraj,

      If the rented tent accommodations are there and if you are nice to them they will let you use their toilets. Otherwise the natures call is to be answered in the open!

  32. We are planning to take scorpio to Chandrataal lake, is it advisable? How are the roads here? We are taking a self drive car.

    1. I do not drive in the hills myself but I have sen others driving their Scorpios right up to the campsite of Chandratal! I think it does fine in Spiti.

  33. Hi Mridula,

    This Is Karan Sharma From Delhi. Thank you for providing such a useful information.

    Although I still have some doubts. Would you please help me with some other queries that I have?

    I’ll be leaving Delhi on 7th of oct and will reach Manali on 8th. So I’ll leave for Chandratal on 9th of oct by taking a bus to Batal.

    1. Is it too late to go there on that time?
    2. Will there be any tents on the camping site?
    3. How much time does it take to trek 14 km? (I have some trekking experience)
    4. Is it possible to catch a bus from Batal to Manali while returning from Chandratal.

    I hope I’m not bothering you with too many questions.

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Hi Karan,

      I do not have the latest information, nor have I visited Chandratal in October ever. You have two options- either go to Manali and ask around if he buses are still running. Or you can phone my guide Ramakant Sharma (or message him on FB) and ask for information and see how feasible the plan is. His FB link is in the post. For that matter any local might be able to advise you. I hope this helps.

  34. Hi ,

    I am planning to visit Chandrataal alone on last week of Sep’16 . If there is someone who wants me to join please contact me at 9810218797

      1. Dear Mandeep ji We 4 couple going to Chadar Taal by Bike on 21st Sep from Manali.We are leaving from Delhi on 19th Sep by Tempo… If You wish u can join with us… I have Camp site at Manali(Giri Camps Manali) having 22 Room with all aminities..Cook and staff will be with us in seperate car.

    1. If the route is open jeeps go right up to the campsite and then to what is known as the parking lot. It is a 15 minutes or so from the parking lot to Chandratal. If the route is not open then it is abut 14 km to the camping site. It is still done in less than a day. Hope this helps and I have answered your question.

  35. Mridula…I am 46 year old female residing at Lucknow and working as a DySP in MHA..During my training days in 1995, I did my BMC at SGMI Gangtok and the mesmerising beauty of higher altitudes left me speechless…How i long to trek to valley of flowers, Bhrigu lake and Chandratal too. Though i went toManali this year, but couldgo up only till RohtangPass. I dont have a company with whom I could undertake these journeys..My hubby is least adventurous n he wont let the adolescent daughters to accompany me. So I just wantedto request you to take me along next time you embark on any kind of sucha trip. Believe me, it would be realisation of a long cherished dream. Please assist me in my endeavour. .U won’t believe, I dream of various destinations n how to reach there. .Although this job sucks, but money is important as I have to raise two daughters. . I had multiple fracture in my right leg in 2008 n have got plates inserted. .Still I feel so vibrant and enthusiastic to undertake such journeys. .To keep my self fit I do brisk walk 4.5 kms five days a week. Please get in touch with me n help me to realise my ultimate passion. .Love n take care

    1. Let us connect next year as the season is ending for Spiti now. We may plan a trip for Spiti next year! I will let you know. Take care and keep the spirit of adventure alive!

  36. Mridula…I am 46 year old female residing at Lucknow and working as a DySP in MHA..During my training days in 1995, I did my BMC at SGMI Gangtok and the mesmerising beauty of higher altitudes left me speechless…How i long to trek to valley of flowers, Bhrigu lake and Chandratal too. Though i went toManali this year, but couldgo up only till RohtangPass. I dont have a company with whom I could undertake these journeys..My hubby is least adventurous n he wont let the adolescent daughters to accompany me. So I just wantedto request you to take me along next time you embark on any kind of sucha trip. Believe me, it would be realisation of a long cherished dream. Please assist me in my endeavour. .U won’t believe, I dream of various destinations n how to reach there. .Although this job sucks, but money is important as I have to raise two daughters. . I had multiple fracture in my right leg in 2008 n have got plates inserted. .Still I feel so vibrant and enthusiastic to undertake such journeys. .To keep my self fit I do brisk walk 4.5 kms five days a week. Please get in touch with me n help me to realise my ultimate passion. .Love n take care
    Reply
    Leave a Reply

  37. Hey.. Info was very much useful to people like us who wants the knowledge to travel these beautyful places.. I want to ask something more.. Plzz help me out.. Firstly what is the total expence to travel from manali to chandertal to manali in which we can include all the places that should be visited.. Secondely how many person can stay in one tent at chandertal.. And is it rite to plan a trip in newyear.. If yess, would it will increase the expence of trip…
    Plzz reply… Thnq 🙂

    1. The season in Lahaul and Spiti is a short one May to September end. After that there is too much snow. So you cannot travel there at new year. You can probably reach Kaza in Spiti from Shimla side. Hope this helps a bit.

  38. Hello.
    I am a 22 year old student currently from Delhi.
    I have been making plans for Chandra Taal Lake and siti valley for more than a year now.
    Let me get straight to my question.
    Is visiting Chandra Tal during mid of November 2016 a sound decision?
    How cold will it be at nights? Will a good quality down jacket, sleeping bag and tent be enough?

    Thank You.

    1. Hi Amrit, you can’t reach Chandratal in November, both Rohtang Pass and Kunzum La will close! People leave the area by October. You can go next year, the season is from May to September.

  39. I’ll be there the first part of June this year, with my most favorite human in the world. We’re looking forward to it, it looks absolutely breathtaking. I think we’re going to try to Trek most of it up there… maybe the bus? We’ll figure it out.
    Thank you so much for posting this info,
    it’s very helpful.

  40. Hi Mridula,
    Is it advisable to visit Chandratal in late June ? We are planning around 28 June onwards…

  41. Hi,

    I am planning to leave tonight, Chandratal will be the right destination now?? how many days it will take?? i have 4 days leave. Please help out.

  42. I will be visiting Chandratal in second week of September 17.
    My questions are– 01. Can I reach there in a day from Manali?
    02. Does Govt permit require to travel in Spiti & Kinnaur?
    03. How much does the tent cost per night for accomodation for 2?
    Thanks, Best Regards.

    1. You can reach to Chandratal the same day you leave from Manali, provided you start early. I think the jeep you hire needs a permit now but the jeep operators know how to get it. People don’t need permit. I do not remember the cost but it must be about 2-3K per night. Hope this helps a bit.

    1. You can take a bus or shared jeep from Manali for sure. But it will drop you at Batal. From Batal you either hitch a ride to Chandratal or you walk to the lake. There is no public transport to the Chandratal Lake.

  43. Hi Mridula,
    Thanks a lot for this wonderful blog. I need some guidance from you regarding our trip to Chandratal lake during last week of June. We will reach Manali by bus from Delhi. From there how much it will cost now for a night stay near Chandratal? including vehicle and tent. We are group of two couples. Can we take a rented car from Delhi directly? Thank you.

    1. If you rent a car from Manali it would cost you somewhere around 10K. The tent would be in between 2K-3K. I have never hired a car from Delhi so no idea about it. Wish you a wonderful trip.

  44. Hi Mridula,
    Thanks for this blog I would like to know which route should we taken to spiti,from shimla or manali and where to stay in spiti how much will it cost for three persons?

  45. Hello Dear Mridula….we are planning a trip to Chadertal and ur detailed blog….helps us alot….we r leaving this month….as I love to travel and to adventure things around…would be in touch with u…I am a Jammu based journalist.

  46. Hi Mridula,
    This was very helpful for an idea to reach chandertaal.
    We are planning to visit the place in july 1st week, I hope we are not accompanied by rains.
    Furthermore, as we are planning to drive from Delhi could you please suggest as are there any permits that are required for a vehicle to reach the chandertaal?
    Also, Could u please share any contact details of the person organising the camps near chandertaal ?

    Thanks
    Saryu

  47. Hi Mam,
    I will be going to chandratal from manali on 18 or 19 june. Can you please let me know the weather condition during that period and the time it will take us to trek from kaza to chandratal. Also how much does the bus take to drop us at kazo.
    Thanks
    Aayush

    1. Hi Ayush,

      Kaza toChandratal is too far away. There is a road that goes close to Chandratal but it is a diversion from a place called Batal which is between Manali and Kaza! Hope this helps.

  48. Hi,

    I need advise on chandratal lake visit on my trip to Spiti.

    I am planning to visit Spiti in last week of June (from 26th June), and My plan is to go Kaza from Manali (Via Rohtang Pass) through transport Innova so can you please advise on below 2 points-

    1. Can I take Innova till chandratal lake or how far is the motorable road as I want minimum trekking

    2, Can I return same day by evening and head towards Kaza?

    Thanks in advance.

  49. Hi Ma’am,
    We are a young couple planning to visit Kaza and Chandrataal in the mid of August this year. As the trip starts from Manali, we will like to drop at Chandrataal first, stay there in camp for a night, before making it to Kaza and then, back to Manali. Will this be an advisable itinerary? We are apprehensive about altitude sickness (AMS) as we will be reaching Chandrataal straight from Manali. What’s your take on this? Please suggest.

    1. Hi Sanjeev, not sure how many days you have for your vacation? If I were going to Spiti anything less than 9-10 days won’t make any sense. Feel free to ask more questions or write to me, my email is there in my profile.

  50. Can i go by my own tata safari? But where will i leave it prior to trekking….are the roads motorable for SUV?

    1. People do travel in their own vehicles. The trek is small and you can leave the car at what is called the parking lot of Chandratal. However if the road is broken due to some reason, then I know of people who just locked their cars by the side of the roads and walked for the rest of the route.

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Mridula Dwivedi

I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!

If you wish to collaborate with me, please check out my media kit. You can write to me at mridulablog@gmail.com

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