Bus journeys: 7 thrilling places to visit near Dharamshala

Home to the Dalai Lama, Dharamshala offers a heady mix of Tibetan spirituality and Pahadi culture. It is also famous as the gateway for scenic treks to Triund, Dal Lake, Kareri Lake and the Indrahar Pass. 

A bus journey to or from this city will greet you with breathtaking views and dense forests of deodar. And if you make an online bus booking, then many delightful destinations are just one ride away. 

Here are 7 towns and cities near Dharamshala that you can visit by bus:

  • Palampur (34 km)
  • Bir (64 km)
  • Dalhousie (118 km)
  • Chandigarh (232 km)
  • Amritsar (202 km)
  • Kullu (175 km)
  • Manali (215 km)

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Let’s take a closer look:

Palampur (34 km)

scenery with fields and tree in palampur india

Quiet afternoons in Palampur

Tea plantations, mountain streams and Buddhist monasteries are Palampur’s most well-known attractions. Neugal Khad is a beautiful picnic spot, and a little beyond town lies the ancient Baijnath Temple, dedicated to Shiva. 

Adventure-seekers can try the Aadi Himani Chamunda trek, which leads to a ridge-top temple, while art lovers tend to make a beeline for the creative atmosphere at Andretta Artists’ Village. 

By bus, Palampur is about 1 to 2.5 hours away from Dharamshala. 

Also Read | Travel Guidelines for All States (Updated Daily)

Bir (64 km)

Bir is one of the world’s best paragliding sites, and summer and autumn are the best times to visit. Gliders take off at a launch suite in nearby Billing, soar over villages and green valleys, and land 14 km away just outside Bir. 

Apart from paragliding, the area also has mountain biking and trekking routes, plus several colourful monasteries. Travellers can reach Bir in 3.5 hours with a bus booking from Dharamshala. 

Dalhousie (118 km)

Evening view of Dalhousie at sunset

Gorgeous sunsets are a given at Dalhousie

Spread over five hills, Dalhousie is known for its British-era architecture and mesmerising views of the Dhauladhar range. Top places for sightseeing here include the Panchpula and Satdhara Falls, the Chamera Dam, the Khajjiar Lake (1 hr away) and the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary. Treks to Dainkund Peak and Ganji Pahari are also popular. 

Dharamshala–Dalhousie is a common bus route under the HRTC as well as private operators. It usually takes 4.5 hours to complete the journey. 

Chandigarh (232 km)

Sukhna Lake boating at sunset

Boating at Chandigarh’s Sukhna Lake

As one of India’s first planned cities, Chandigarh’s architecture sits a cut above everyone else. The city’s Capitol Complex, designed by Le Corbusier, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while the Rock and Rose Gardens are the top places of interest. 

Quiet afternoons can be spent boating at the Sukhna Lake, while evenings are for indulging in the city’s upscale shopping, dining and nightlife opportunities. Day trippers also enjoy heading to the nearby Morni Hills, a soon-to-be adventure hub

It takes 4 to 6 hours to reach Chandigarh from Dharamshala by bus. 

Amritsar (202 km)

Women and a child sit inside Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, India.

Visitors pause for a break at the Golden Temple

Amritsar’s Golden Temple needs no introduction. We recommend visiting it at sunrise, and following up with a hearty breakfast of stuffed kulchas, chole and lassi from the city’s bustling dhabas. 

You can then venture out to explore places like the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum, the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, the Partition Museum and Gobindgarh Fort. The Harike Wetland (1 hr away) is a relaxing picnic spot, with clear views of rare migratory birds. 

On average, a Dharamshala–Amritsar bus journey takes about 5 hours

Kullu (175 km)

Tourists enjoying white water rafting in Kullu

White water rafting on the River Beas in Kullu

Kullu is set in an idyllic valley formed by the River Beas. In a calm itinerary, travellers like to explore the Great Himalayan National Park, where one can spot snow leopards, ibex, black bears and other rare wildlife. People also visit the Chandrakhani Pass, the Manikaran Hot Springs and the town’s several temples. 

For adventure sports, both amateurs and experts can try trekking, cycling, skiing (winter only), paragliding and river rafting. Sounds like an all-in-one package, no? 

To go from Dharamshala to Kullu by bus, you’ll need about 7.5 hours. 

Manali (215 km)

Tents at a campsite on the Bhrigu Lake trek in northern India

Tents at a campsite for the Bhrigu Lake trek from Manali

After mentioning Kullu, Manali can’t be far behind! The first place you should visit here (no surprise) is the Mall Road, for some great food and shopping. Post that, enjoy iconic sites like the Hidimba Devi Temple, Van Vihar, the Nyingmapa Monastery and Jogini Falls. 

Most of the adventure sports found in Kullu can also be arranged from Manali. You can also try the gorgeous treks to alpine lakes like Beas Kund and Bhrigu Lake. In the early summer, drives to Solang Valley and the snowy Rohtang Pass are popular. 

After a bus booking, the journey from Dharamshala to Manali will take 7–8.5 hours

That’s the end for now. But just so you know, this is not a conclusive list! 

You can also visit destinations such as Shimla (234 km), Mandi (126 km), Chamba (127 km), New Delhi (486 km), Ludhiana (191 km), Pathankot (85 km) and Haridwar (460 km) with a bus booking from Dharamshala. 

Disclaimer: While this story is meant to be a year-round guide, we advise you to exercise caution when travelling to/from Dharamshala during the monsoons. Its district, Kangra, gets heavy rains, which sometimes cause landslides and flooding. Please do remember to check the weather before planning your trip.