Himachal Experts Please Critique my Dharamshala -Mcleodganj - Dalhousie Itinerary

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#1 Apr 6th, 2010, 13:42
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  • Vinay N is offline
#1
Hi All,

I'm planning a trip to Dharamshala -Mcleodganj - Dalhousie starting from 20th April. I'll be travelling alone.

I went through most of the previous threads on these places and prepared this itinerary. I would appreciate if you would provide suggestion/improvements to my itinerary.

20th - Tue - Evening Bus to Dharamshala from ISBT Delhi.
21st - Wed - Go direct to Mcleodganj. Stay at OM Guest house- Local Sightseeing
22nd - Thu - Visit places around Dharamshala
23rd - Fri - Day trek to Triund
24th - Sat - Move to Dalhousie
25th - Sun - Book a car & visit Khajjar & Chamba
26th - Mon - Back to Mc leodganj. Chill out at Mc leodganj
27th - Tue - Catch evening bus back to Delhi

My reason for going to Dharamshala -Mcleodganj is for the mountains & not the Dalai Lama That's why I prefer staying at McLeodganj as I read it's less crowded there.

A few questions:

1) I would be booking the Delhi-Dharamshala bus in advance. Is it also necessary to book the return bus to Delhi in advance? Or is it okay to book on 26th (a day before returning).

2) Will the tourist season start by this time. I like to avoid crowds

3) Can you suggest a good hotel/guesthouse in Dalhousie with nice views? Budget 600-800Rs.

4) I can add a day or two to the trip. Should I chill out at Dalhousie or McLeodganj for a day or two more. I read that Bhagsu & Dharamkot are also nice places to stay.


Thanks in advance,
Vinay
#2 Apr 6th, 2010, 14:21
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  • delhiwala is offline
#2
1. Why are you returning to Mcleodganj ? You can take bus to Delhi from Chamba also. Or may come to Pathankot/Chakki and take a train.

2. April end is full on tourist season at Mcleodganj. There will be so mnay people around that Triund will look like Chowapatty beach on a sunday.

3. You can do Bhagsu & Dharamkot on 22nd itself. Must go to Shiva Cafe at Bhagsu Fall. Pizzeria at Dharamkot is nice.
I did not fully understand the dread term "Terminal Illness" until I saw Terminal 1 D of Delhi Airport.
#3 Apr 6th, 2010, 15:54
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#3
Am no Himachal expert, but here are my two cents based on my recent trip to these two places:

I would suggest to stay overnite at Triund if possible and trek to Snowline the next day. I found it much more relaxed that way, and it was fun to splash around in the snow. As Delhiwala mentioned, it will be crowded and so make sure you book the rest house at the top in advance(Booking at Kotwali bazaar in Dharamshala). The chai wala at the top also has his own guest house there now..

Lots of interesting food options at McLeodganj - Pizza at Pema Thang guest house as well as Nick's Kitchen (try the cakes and brownies here too), road-side momos outside the Dalai Lama Temple (4 pieces for Rs. 10 - they were awesome), pastries at the corner pastry shop in the town center..

You can take a day tour to Palampur/Baijnath/Chamunda etc from MeLeodganj as well. Although, I found it more apporpriate for those who are religiously inclined and less for enjoying natural beauty ..I think there is another day tour that goes to Kangra fort, Jwalamukhi temple etc, but did not go there personally.

Unless you are really fixated on going to Dalhousie, i think you can skip it and just spend the time in McLeodganj..traveling to Dalhousie is a bit tiring (4 hours at least)..and McLeodganj is a very "interesting" place, and can surely keep you busy for a week and more.

If you do go to Dalhouise, i would suggest you spend another day just walking around the local places (Panch-pulla, mall road). It will be less crowded and you can also chill out as you prefer

Things are still fresh from my mind, so message me if you need any more info
#4 Apr 6th, 2010, 22:50
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#4
Thanks for your replies delhiwala & neerajd

@delhiwala,

I thought that the season started in May. Should've planned for an earlier trip

I'm not a pizza fan, but I'll definitely checkout Shiva Cafe.

@neerajd,

Will there be snow in April in Triund?

I loved the chicken momos of Darjeeling. Hope McLeodganj ones are as good

It would be really hard to give Dalhousie a miss when it's so near to McLeodganj. I'm thinking of adding one more day to my Itinerary. If I like Dalhousie, I'll spend some more time there and catch the return bus to delhi from Dalhousie itself. Or else I'll return to McLeodganj and spend some more time there.


What about the return bus to Delhi? Do I need to book in advance since the season is starting?


Thanks
Vinay
#5 Apr 6th, 2010, 23:36
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#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by delhiwala View Post 1. Why are you returning to Mcleodganj ? You can take bus to Delhi from Chamba also. Or may come to Pathankot/Chakki and take a train.

2. April end is full on tourist season at Mcleodganj. There will be so mnay people around that Triund will look like Chowapatty beach on a sunday.

3. You can do Bhagsu & Dharamkot on 22nd itself. Must go to Shiva Cafe at Bhagsu Fall. Pizzeria at Dharamkot is nice.
True, true & true.

Last year when I went to Triund, it was full of people. This is true especially if it is a Saturday when crowds from Punjab/ Chandigarh also arrive there. I went on a Friday this time (2nd April) and it was much more peaceful. Stayed in a tent hired from one of the chaiwallahs. But when I came back from snowline the next day, the place was full.

Too bad you don't like Pizza .. coz I tasted some of the best pizzas ever there in Dharamkot .. good enough to put a lot of Pizzas in Delhi to shame.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neerajd View Post I would suggest to stay overnite at Triund if possible and trek to Snowline the next day. I found it much more relaxed that way, and it was fun to splash around in the snow. As Delhiwala mentioned, it will be crowded and so make sure you book the rest house at the top in advance(Booking at Kotwali bazaar in Dharamshala). The chai wala at the top also has his own guest house there now..
Yes. Even I'd suggest that you stay up at Triund. It is a nice experience. Then trek to Snowline the next day, great views from there and the trek is nice too. The hills are in fact full of rhododendrons right now .. very beautiful. If you go up to Triund, stay closer to the private rest house which is beyond the last hillock you see towards the right, when you reach Triund. That place is relatively less crowded. Btw, I don't think that that rest house is owned by the chaiwallah ..

If you like chicken momos, someone told me that the best ones are available at Pehelwan Dhaba on Temple Road . Do try the 'Chocolate brownie with hot chocolate sauce & vanilla ice cream' at Nicks too. It is awesome!
#6 Apr 7th, 2010, 07:43
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#6
in april at dalhousie you can get numerous hotels within your budget as the season is low in april, i usually stays in himalyan resorts which ranges from 600-1000 depending upon the season
#7 Apr 7th, 2010, 13:56
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinay N View Post
@neerajd,

Will there be snow in April in Triund?

It would be really hard to give Dalhousie a miss when it's so near to McLeodganj. I'm thinking of adding one more day to my Itinerary. If I like Dalhousie, I'll spend some more time there and catch the return bus to delhi from Dalhousie itself. Or else I'll return to McLeodganj and spend some more time there.

Thanks
Vinay
There is no snow per se at Triund (apart from some little glacial snow on the way up), but if u trek to the snowline (another 3 km), thats where you will find lots of snow.

If u cant skip Dalhousie, at least try and not do a back-and-forth between the two. First stay at Mcleodganj, then Dalhousie (or other way round) and back to Delhi from there directly. As suggested by delhiwala, you can even consider coming to Pathankot (4 hours), from where Delhi is an overnite comfortable train journey. I think McLeodganj will be fairly crowded on weekends..
#8 Apr 7th, 2010, 14:27
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#8
Skip McLeodganj except for a night stay and some sight-seeing, it is crowded. Stay for the most time possible in Triund. Need not come back to Dharamsala for the return journey. Book tickets in advance. Better do the journey the other way (Chamba/Khajiyar/Dalhousie first and then to McLeodganj).
#9 Apr 8th, 2010, 13:20
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#9
Thanks for all your replies!

For some reason I had to move my schedule by one day, but I also added another day to my trip. So the modification meant that my Triund trek would have been on a crowded Sunday . So I made Dalhousie my first destination.

So based on all the expert views , here's my modified itinerary.

22 - Thu - Evening bus from Delhi to Pathankot
23 - Fri - From Pathankot go direct to Dalhousie by bus.
24 - Sat - Visit Khajjar & Chamba
25 - Sun - Chill out at Dalhousie
26 - Mon - Move to McLeodganj
27 - Tue - Trek to Triund. Stay Overnight
28 - Wed - Return Back. Visit sights near to Dharamshala
29 - Thu - Catch evening bus back to Delhi

A few questions

1) From Delhi to Pathankot, trains are all on waiting list. Can you suggest any good sites from where to book Delhi - Pathankot bus tickets since hptdc.nic.in is not an option. Maybe redbus?

2) Getting a bus from Pathankot to Dalhousie won't be a problem right? No need to book in advance?


Thanks in advance
Vinay
#10 Apr 8th, 2010, 13:55
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#10
Your schedule looks good now! nice and relaxed

Some comments from my side:

There are plenty of buses to go from Pathankot to Dalhousie (around one per hour). No advance booking needed. The bus ride should take you about 3.5 hours. Dont expect a very luxurious ride as most of these are old rickety state transport buses

On 25th - do walk down to Panchpulla from Dalhouise if possible. Its a beautiful downhill walk of about 2 km with green valleys on one side and the mountains on the other.

26th - there arent too many trasnport options from Dalhousie to Dharamshala. I think there is one bus at 7 am and another at 2 pm, but do check the timing beforehand. It can be a slightly painful journey (approx 6 hours).

Try to see if you get tickets in Tatkal for Pathankot. Train journey would probably be more relaxing. I am not sure but check whether you will be able to get a direct bus from Delhi to Dalhousie, rather than having to go via Pathankot.
#11 Apr 8th, 2010, 19:58
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#11
BTW, you could go directly to Chamba from Pathankot and start your journey from there. Then, you do not retrace your steps except for Dharamsala/Triund sector, which cannot be avoided.
#12 Apr 9th, 2010, 02:23
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When we were there in Mcleodganj ... locals suggested that we (Indians) should avoid what Foreigners hog on, Tibetian made Tibetian food .... they said they are made in very unhygenic conditions and if you see the preparation ... you won't eat it ... so it is better to eat tibetian food from Indian Hotels ... try Mclo near the bustand ... awsum chicken chow chow ....

Mcleodganj is a waste place and it will be teeming with crowd in this part of the year .... the hotels are unkempt and dirty, place is horrible, behavior of the hotel staff are inexplicable .... I would never twice visit the place .... but yea the Triund Trek in Dec was fantastic ... there was no snow in Triund in Dec so do no expect it now as well ... but now you can walk upto the snowline ... so as suggested by evryone, try to put put up in Triund ... worth the money and effort ... they have open air camps, cottages, food ... no worries at all ... the view of the indrahar ranges from Triund top is fantabulous ...
Last edited by delhiwala; Apr 9th, 2010 at 02:45.. Reason: Consecutive Posts Merged
#13 Apr 9th, 2010, 02:56
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#13
I too was there during the Christmas holidays. I stayed at Sunshine guest house, just off the Bhagsu Road. It was very well maintained and the staff too was nice.

I visited few more hotels also, I found them generally good.

In Dec. there are very few tourists there, so I don't understand why would they behave strangely with whatever few guests they have. Are you sure your behavior was explicable ?

And I ate at many places, all were run by Tibetans. Lhamo's Croissant, Nick's Italian, Namgyal Cafe, Moonspeak all were good.


Quote:
Originally Posted by saiki View Post .... the hotels are unkempt and dirty, place is horrible, behavior of the hotel staff are inexplicable .... ..
#14 Apr 9th, 2010, 10:13
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#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by saiki View Post When we were there in Mcleodganj ... locals suggested that we (Indians) should avoid what Foreigners hog on, Tibetian made Tibetian food .... they said they are made in very unhygenic conditions and if you see the preparation ... you won't eat it ... so it is better to eat tibetian food from Indian Hotels ... try Mclo near the bustand ... awsum chicken chow chow ....
I think this could have been an effort from the locals to increase their sales!?!?
I have had food at a lot of Tibetan/ Other nationality owned places. The food has generally been good, if not awesome at a few places. And, I have never gotten sick eating that food too!

Quote:
Mcleodganj is a waste place and it will be teeming with crowd in this part of the year .... the hotels are unkempt and dirty, place is horrible, behavior of the hotel staff are inexplicable .... I would never twice visit the place ....
I understand that your experience would have been very poor, but is incorrect to generalize that all the hotels are such. I have been going to McLeod Ganj every year for the last few years .. my experience in the hotel and at the place has always been fantastic. Although I have never stayed at proper McLeod Ganj.

As for the crowds, I agree McLeod Ganj would be quite crowded. But if you venture a little out of town, like towards Dharamkot or Bhagsu, the situation is better. I usually stay at a place between these two, and I have always had a very peaceful vacation there.
#15 Apr 9th, 2010, 11:55
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#15
Thanks for your replies!

@neerajd, I could not find any direct buses from Delhi to Dalhousie on any of the bus ticket booking sites.

@Aupmanyav, that's a good suggestion. But I don't want to land in Dalhousie on a Saturday with the weekend crowd when my stay options would be fewer.

One more question

Do you know at around what time the 7PM bus from Dharamshala would reach Delhi. The hptdc website doesn't mention that. I wanted to figure out what the best time would be for my return flight from Delhi. I don't want to spend a lot of time waiting at the Delhi airport
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