Places to explore in Uttarakhand on a 16-day backpacking trip (INR 15000)

Khaliya top trek Munsiyari Places to explore in Uttarakhand

Don’t listen to what they say. Just get out and experience it!!” Well… True that! Isn’t it? Ok, now let me ask you; what’s the first thing that comes to your mind whenever you hear about Uttarakhand. Is it the mountains, refreshing weather or perhaps the holy temples, religious and spiritual centers? Hang on there, did you realize that as you think about the answer, there’s a part of your heart that’s whispering “Dude there are lots of places to explore in Uttarakhand”. Well, honestly mine did that too.

amazing scenes on Khaliya top trek Munsiyari

Khaliya top trek – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

From last year and a half, since I started blogging, many of my readers asked me that how do I plan for such long tours? Do I opt for a packaged tour? Definitely not!! Why to book a packaged tour when all the information needed for planning is easily available over the internet. GmapsIRCTCWikipediaWikitravelMakeMyTrip, and travel blogs are all there to help you in planning the itinerary. Let me put forward my backpacking solo trip of 16 days to explore the must-see places in Uttarakhand.

Water lake at Auli Hill Station Uttrakhand

Auli – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

Before the start of the journey

Generally, I don’t plan much!! Just in order to keep the traversing distance to the shortest, what I generally do is, locate all the places on Gmaps that I am planning to visit and traverse accordingly, in order to avoid repeating the road routes. I hope you got what I am trying to convey here.

This is how I traversed starting from Haridwar and ending the trip at Nainital.

Places to explore in Uttarakhand on a 15 day backpacking trip

I just pre-booked return journey flight tickets for Pune – Delhi (INR 4500) and a train from Delhi to Haridwar (sleeper class). Being not a full-time traveler right now, I have limited holidays and hence I prefer flights just in order to save that extra day. For stay, except booking Zostel at Rishikesh, I didn’t book anything.

Zostel Rishikesh Uttrakhand

Zostel Rishikesh

My journey to Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand is a unique state like any other state in our country and since I had heard a lot about it, I was very curious to visit it and to my surprise, it offered me more than what I expected of it. This land captured my soul.

Trayambakeshwar Temple Rishikesh Uttrakhand


Lakshman Jhula- Places to explore in Uttarakhand

As I entered the place, my body got numb and all I remember is the holy breeze that hit my body and made me realize about the part that was longing for this feeling of sacredness. With this warm welcome, I started my journey to one of the most beautiful states of our country “Uttarakhand” also known as “Devbhoomi” (Land of Gods).

snowy roads at Auli Hill station Uttrakhand

En route to Auli – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

Note: All INR spent below are inclusive of everything (travel, food and stay).

Day 0 (Pune – New Delhi – Haridwar) INR 2600   

  • Pune to Delhi flight(INR 2200)
  • Delhi to Haridwar overnight train (INR 190 – Mussoorie express – 22:25 – 06:05)

Are you satisfied with your 9 -5 job? Have you ever put a step forward to work on what you love to do and pursue it as a career? Maybe, a dream career will not give you as much as a 9-5 job, but it will surely give you happiness worth millions. I am happy that I took that step forward.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

amazing place to camp at Nag Tibba Trek

Nag Tibba Trek – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

I was excited!! Excited to leave the daily routine in the chaotic city life and travel to the love of my life, “The Himalayas”.  With all the excitement of the long trip ahead, I boarded the evening flight for New Delhi. From Delhi, I took an overnight train to reach Haridwar early morning.

Sangam of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi to form Ganga

Devprayag – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

Day 1, 2(Haridwar – Rishikesh) INR 1500      

Haridwar was first on my list. After spending around 8-10 hours exploring the must-see places of the sacred city, I headed for Rishikesh. The distance between Haridwar to Rishikesh is around 20 kms and one can opt for a bus/Tuk-Tuk (shared auto – INR 40) to reach the same.

Post for Haridwar is underwriting and will be published soon. For more details on my journey to Rishikesh, check out the earlier post: Rishikesh – Finding your inner self at Yoga Capital of the World (INR 1500 – 2 days)

Ganga Aarti at Triveni Ghat Rishikesh Uttrakhand

Ganga Aarti – Triveni Ghat in Rishikesh

Day 3, 4, 5 (Rishikesh – Dehradun – Nag Tibba Trek – Rishikesh) INR 700

700 INR for 3 days? Abhi, are you kidding!! No, I am not!! Last year, Bikat adventures organized a photo contest and my photo was awarded the Viewers ‘choice prize. They gave me a voucher worth 5,000 INR which could only be applied to any of their packaged tours. And, I chose the Nag Tibba trek for which the cost was 5,550 INR. So only 550 INR from my pocket. 😃Ha-ha!!

Sunrise at Nag Tibba Trek

Nag Tibba Trek – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

I took an early morning bus from Rishikesh for Dehradun (INR 55 – 45 kms- 1 hour) where everyone was expected to assemble. For more details on Nag Tibba Trek, you may check out my earlier post: Nag Tibba Trek – An exciting snow trek in the lap of Himalayas.

Heavy Snow at Nag Tibba Trek

Nag Tibba Trek – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

Day 6(Rishikesh – Devprayag – Pauri) INR 700

I started my day a bit early and took a morning bus from Rishikesh (just outside Zostel) (INR 110 – 76 kms – 3.5 hours) and reached Devprayag around 11 am. To read more about my journey to Devprayag, you may give a read to my post: Devprayag – The confluence of the rivers Bhagirathi and Alaknanda to form “The Ganga”

Confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi to form Ganga

Devprayag – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

After exploring the town for around 5-6 hours, next on my list was Khirsu. But, thanks to the concept of Hitchhiking, I ended up at Pauri (40 kms from Devprayag and 20 kms before Khirsu). And, I must admit that I was lucky enough to experience the beauty of this Hidden Gem. It was already 8 pm by the time I made it to the town, hence decided to explore it the next day. That’s the beauty of no fixed plans.

Khirsu Uttrakhand

Pauri – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

Day 7, 8 (Pauri – Khirsu –Pauri – Joshimath) INR 1200

Day 7, I planned entirely for exploring the town of Pauri. To be honest, I was left stunned and speechless seeing the beauty of this town. To know more about the places to explore in Pauri, you may check out my earlier post: Pauri Uttarakhand – Hitchhiking brought me to this hidden treasure.

Nag Dev Mandir Pauri Uttrakhand

Pauri – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

Next day, I took an early morning shared taxi for Khirsu (20 kms – 30 INR, 30 minutes), as I wanted to return as early as possible; in order to catch a transport for Joshimath by afternoon. To know more about the beauty of the small village Khirsu, check out my earlier post: Khirsu Village – An unexplored hidden gem in the lap of Himalayas.

After coming back from Khirsu, I took a bus for Gopeshwar (INR 160 – 137 kms – 5 hours) and a shared taxi from Gopeshwar to reach Joshimath (INR 90 -60 kms – 2.5 hours).

Khirsu Village Uttrakhand

Khirsu – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

Day 9 (Joshimath – Auli – Joshimath) INR 800

I took an early morning shared taxi for Auli from Joshimath (INR 200 for a round trip). A Heaven for skiers and a delight for mountaineers, Auli is the perfect place to be at, in order to enjoy the live snowfall amidst huge Himalayan Mountains in the backdrop. After exploring the place for 4-5 hours, I happily headed back to Joshimath.

For more details on Auli, you can check my post: Experience snowfall amidst the snow-clad Himalayan Mountains at Auli Hill Station

Hairy dog at Auli Hill Station Uttrakhand

Auli – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

Day 10 (Joshimath – Karnaprayag –Tharali – Gwaldam –Garur –  Kausani) INR 900

The 10th day of my journey to explore the state of Uttarakhand was more about traveling to reach Kausani with just exploring the places that comes enroute. The two places which I wanted to explore on the way were Karnaprayag and Gwaldam. For more details on Gwaldam, check out my post: Gwaldam Uttarakhand – A quaint little hamlet in the lap of Himalayas.

  • Joshimath to Karnaprayag by shared taxi (82 kms – 3 hours – INR 120)
  • Karnaprayag – Tharali by bus (46 kms – 2 hours – INR 70)
  • Tharali to Gwaldam by shared Taxi (23 kms – 1 hour – INR 50)
  • Gwaldam to Garur by shared taxi (25 kms – 1 hour – INR 50)
  • Garur to Kausani by bus (15 kms – 40 minutes – INR 30).

snow mountains as seen from Gwaldam Uttrakhand

Gwaldam – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

Day 11 (Kausani) INR 700

The entire day was planned to explore the beautiful town of Kausani. Being an offseason, it seemed that I was the only visitor in the entire town.😃To read more on Kausani, check out my post: Escape the scorching heat this summer by heading out to Kausani Uttarakhand.

cloudy at Kausani Uttrakhand

Kausani – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

Day 12 (Kausani – Almora – Binsar – Bageshwar) INR 800

The 12th day of my journey to explore the state of Uttarakhand was again more about traveling in order to make it to Munsiyari and just exploring the places that come enroute. The two places which I wanted to explore on the way were Almora and Binsar.

Due to the low frequency of transport between the route, I only managed to reach up to Bageshwar.

  • Kausani – Almora by bus (52 kms – 2 hours – INR 80)
  • Almora – Binsar by bus (25 kms – 1 hour – INR 35)
  • Binsar – Bageshwar by bus (61 kms – 2.5 hours – INR 70).

Cable car ropeway at Auli Hill station Uttrakhand

Auli Ropeway – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

Day 13, 14 (Bageshwar – Udiyari Band – Thal – Munsiyari) INR 1300

I started with my day very early in order to make it Munsiyari as early as possible. There is no direct transport available between Bageshwar and Munsiyari.

  • Bageshwar to Udiyari Band by bus (55 kms – 2 hours – INR 70)
  • Udiyari Band to Thal by shared taxi (20 kms – 1 hour – INR 50)
  • Thal to Munsiyari by shared taxi (70 kms – 3.5 hours – INR 150)

It was around 2 pm by the time I made it to Munsiyari. So I planned to explore the town till late evening and do the famous Khaliya top trek the next day. To know how I explored Munsiyari, check out my post: Experience snowfall amidst the snow-clad Himalayan Mountains at Auli Hill Station.

Panchachuli Peaks on Khaliya top trek Munsiyari

Khaliya Top Munsiyari – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

Day 15, 16 (Munsiyari – Bhowali – Nainital – New Delhi – Pune) INR 3800

As the trip was approaching to its end, the last on my list was the famous touristy town of Nainital. I took a shared taxi early morning from Munsiyari for Haldwani (250 kms – 12 hours – INR 500) and got down at Bhowali which is just a few kms from Nainital. It was almost late evening by the time I reached Nainital.

The next day was planned entirely for exploring the famous town of Nainital. To read in details how I traversed in Nainital to visit the must-see places of Nainital, check out my post: Nainital Uttarakhand – Exploring the City of Lakes on a day trip.

onacheaptrip at Nainital Uttarakhand

Nainital – Places to explore in Uttarakhand

Total expenses – 2600+1500+700+700+1200+800+900+700+800+1300+3800 = INR 15,000

I could have reduced trip expenditure (may be up to 13,000 INR) if there was an option to travel in nights. What I generally do is, explore a place for a day, take a night bus/train/Shared taxi to reach the next destination and explore the other place the following day and so on. It helps me to avoid taking a hotel/ lodge and thus save money. But since there is almost no transportation at night in the hilly terrains of Uttarakhand, I couldn’t save money on the stay part.

Trekking on Snow routes on Nag Tibba Trek

As I explored the state, I realized that both Uttarakhand and Uttarakhandi are special. Like the way we love to take something from the place where we visit as our token of memory; I am taking the love and warmness that this place offered me throughout my journey. Those sky and those hills were full of messages, messages of love. I’ll adore them and will keep them forever.

Indian Flag on Khaliya top Munsiyari

I hope this blog post gave you some idea on how to travel cheap and may help you in planning one such itinerary. Let me know if you have any queries or need help in planning your itinerary. Hope to see you travel soon!! Cheers!!!

Nana devi in backdrop at Auli Hill station Uttrakhand
The tent that I carry during the treks is Quechua Arpenaz 2 Tent. It has enough space for 2 people.

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Are you looking for some essential travel gear? Check out my blog post on What’s in my Backpack.

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17 thoughts on “Places to explore in Uttarakhand on a 16-day backpacking trip (INR 15000)

  1. Hi abishek, thank you fr this blog. But can I know when was this trip done? I mean the month of the year so that I can plan accordingly

  2. Thanks Abhishek…for providing such a comprehensive information on uttarakhand itinerary in which you have included fair prices , distance of each destination etc. it will help to plan my journey to uttarakhand ……. i reaiiy like your blog …….. much apppreciated …. keep writing

  3. Hello, I am planning to visit Chopta, kausani, auli maybe in October or in December coz children have vaccination .so plz suggest me how to start from Mumbai n how to explore this place we have 10 days .and if possible let me know about the route fare n hotel fare also.
    In short can you guide me my tour including road option n hotel in cheap budget

  4. Hi Abhishek,

    Firstly I must say, wonderfully narrated blog brother! I actually visualized while reading each and every leg of your journey. I am planning a solo trip to Uttarkhand this year early December. I hope this is the right time to explore the beauty of UK.

    Also, as this would be my first solo trip, I would appreciate your expertise to go about it. Any suggestions / advice for a first time traveler would really help big time. I live in Mumbai and yes I am certainly looking for a budget friendly trip.

    I have been on bike tours to Mumbai – Ladakh – Mumbai, Mumbai – Rajasthan – Gujarat – Mumbai and Mumbai – Goa – Karnataka – Mumbai however this experience would be really new for me.

    Await your response mate!

    1. Thank you so much!! Yes December would be great time to explore UK though you would have to bear with the cold. great to hear that you are planning to travel solo. Finding a budget hotel for solo sometimes become tough, so don’t hesitate to inquire at least at 3-4 stay options before finalizing one. though UK is extremely safe, still avoid wandering late at nights.You can connect with me on my Instagram handle(@onacheaptrip) if you have any queries. Happy planning mate 🙂

      1. Thats very kind of you Abhi! Your quick response is highly appreciated.

        I have started following you on Insta (mgohil3) and shall certainly DM you in case I am stuck anywhere.

        All the very best!

        Keep Blogging and Keep Wandering!

  5. Hi

    Super post ..I am assuming its not an issue travelling around Uttarakhand for a solo female traveller ,,I am planning to travel around Uttarakhand in mid June and am a bit concerned it will be busy season.. when did u travel ie which months??

  6. Hey njoyed your post …informative and interesting .. I am a female solo travel and take immense pleasure in travelling around our beautiful country on a shoe string budget ur travelogue is super useful.

    I am planning to travel around Uttarakhand in mid June .. but concerned it will b super busy .. which months did u travel .?

    1. Thank you!! Yeah, Uttarakhand is pretty safe and it should not be an issue travelling solo for a female. Just keep in mind that you don’t wander at late nights, rest is fine 🙂 I travelled in the month of sep-oct but June should be fine as well.
      Happy travelling!!!

  7. Cool Abhishek , Thanks for sharing your experiences. But if we are traveling with family what will be your suggestions?

  8. Hello Abhishek, Thank you fr your travel blogs, they help me a lot for some budget travels around India.

    I am planing to go to Auli and Joshimath in Feb 2019. I have rented a car(self drive) fr now. Is it safe to drive up to Joshimath(would it be snowing and make the drive treacherous enough for someone who is not used to driving on snow?). In that case I can consider public transport and cabs if affordable. Also where did you stay at joshimath?. I plan to stay for 2 nights 3 days at joshimath or auli and do some light trekking around. Budget stays will be recommended.

    1. Hey Kenneth, you are welcome!!

      Yes, it is absolutely safe to drive all the way to Joshimath in the month of February. In fact, I visited the place in the same month last year and there was no snow till Joshimath. From Joshimath, you can opt for the cable car take a shared taxi till Auli(100 INR). The road route from Joshimath will most probably have snow. Hope you are fine with driving on curvy and bumpy roads! I stayed at Hotel Mount Elephant and charges was INR 400/night.Though won’t recommend it. Auli will be expensive to stay, you may try your luck at GMVN tourist guest house which is comparatively cheaper. It has a dormitory as well for which prices are around INR 300/bed.
      Hope that helps!!
      Happy journey 🙂

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