This is a great time to take a trip to Ladakh, and if you’re planning to take the bus from Manali, here’s why you’re in for a treat. The Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation Ltd’s (HPTDC) deluxe bus service from Manali to Leh that started on July 1 is slated to run till September 31. It’s a 3-month service only because post September, the high altitude regions of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu experience extreme snowfall and the roads remain closed for most part of winter.

This service is a delight particularly because of how economical it is for the budgeted traveller. Also, it is designed specifically for tourists; which means there are sightseeing and meals included. Which is not the case in a normal bus service that runs between the two states.

While a private taxi from Manali to Leh costs somewhere around INR 18,000 for a two day trip, the deluxe bus service costs somewhere around INR 3,000. What’s more is that it halts at all the high altitude passes such as Rohtang Pass, Baralacha La, Nakee La, Lachulung La and Taglang La as well major attractions like Keylong, Sarchu, Pang, Gata Loops and Moore Plains.

The highlight of the journey is an overnight stay at Keylong or Jispa with complimentary meals. The 474km long journey from Manali to Leh takes about 18-19 hours excluding the overnight halt. The itinerary usually goes like this: the bus leaves Manali at 10 am and reaches Keylong around 5 pm the same day. After the overnight halt, the bus leaves Keylong at 5 am the next day and reaches Leh by 7 pm.

So, if exploring the scenic beauty of the Himalayan landscape has been on your list for quite some time, this is a great way to explore a lot of places between Manali and Leh by undertaking a bus journey.