How to plan a trip to Suraj Tal will be on your mind if you are visiting Lahaul valley or Manali area. Making a trip to the mighty Baralacha La and this ethereal water body has never been so easy all thanks to Atal Tunnel.
Therefore, I am curating a detailed guide on how to plan a trip to Suraj Tal. I personally made a visit to this ethereal lake way back in the Autumn of 2019 and absolutely was gobsmacked by its incredible beauty. I am certainly sure you’ll too.
How To Plan A Trip To Suraj – An Overview
A trip to Baralacha La and Suraj Tal is a must if you are visiting Lahaul valley. The famous lake is a hit amongst travelers thanks to its incredible scenic vistas, impeccable shades of blue and high mountains all around.
Even though the lake was fairly popular before Atal tunnel, but now with the Atal operational more and more travelers will get enticed to this surreal water body thanks to its celestial landscapes.
By the way, here is a detailed guide on Lahaul valley. I am sure this will be quite helpful for those who want to visit the Himalayan wonderland of Lahaul.
Lahaul valley, Himachal Pradesh, India
From May to October, Closed for the rest of the year due to heavy snow
|Altitude and Distance from Manali
The lake is perched at around 16,000 ft and is one of the highest lakes in India. From Manali, the distance to Suraj Tal is around 145 km.
|Best time to visit
Best Time to visit Suraj Tal are the months of July, August, September.
If you go in early, the lake might still be frozen and if you go in October it will too cold.
|Cost to visit
If you choose to go by public transport, then it will hardly cost you INR 600 from Manali.
If you hire a taxi, then it will cost you around INR 7000-10000 from Manali and around INR 5000 from Kyelang.
|Is it safe to visit
Yes, Suraj Tal is safe to visit. But remember it’s a no man’s land and quite remote.
Also due to the altitude getting hit by AMS is a likelihood. So you should not spend much time at the lake and you should be well acclimatized.
Darcha is the last village on the Lahaul side where you can find the basic accommodation.
Where Exactly is Suraj Tal
Suraj Tal or originally called as Tso Kamtsi is a high altitude glacial lake located in the Upper Tod valley (A sub valley of Lahaul valley) of Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul & Spiti district. Suraj Tal also acts as the source of River Bhaga.
Perched at a dizzying altitude 16,000 ft, this celestial is surrounded by snow-capped high mountains. Suraj Tal is one of the highest lakes in India.
Suraj Tal is just 3 km away from the famous mountain pass, Baralacha La that one encounters on Leh-Manali highway. As a result Suraj Tal was a huge hit amongst travelers visiting Ladakh and is now even more popular thanks to its easy accessibility from Manali due to Atal Tunnel.
Here is a detailed comparison post on Suraj Tal vs Chandratal Lake, two of the most popular high altitude glacial lakes in Himachal. I am sure this will be of a great help if you are first time traveler.
How To Reach Suraj Tal
You might think that reaching Suraj would be difficult thanks to it being perched at a dizzying altitude of 16,000 ft. But that’s not the case.
Reaching Suraj is quite easy these days, thanks to solid metaled roads and Atal Tunnel built by the prestigious BRO. So much so that even a day trip from Suraj is a easily possible from Manali.
Even though you can visit Suraj while coming to Manali from Ladakh. I’ll consider Manali as the start point to reach Suraj.
To reach Suraj Tal from Manali you’ll need to first get to Manali which nowadays is a piece of cake. Plenty of private and HRTC volvo ply between Delhi and Manali and even Lahaul. Here is where you can book HRTC buses online.
Once you reach Manali, you have get to the Sissu village in Lahaul via Solang valley and Atal Tunnel. From Sissu you have to continue your exhilarating journey to the district headquarters of Keylong via Tandi bridge on Leh – Manali highway.
Once you have made it Keylong, you need to get to the last village of Lahaul i.e Darcha via the famous Jispa. From Darcha continue on Leh-Manali highway and reach Suraj Taa via Patseo, Deepak Taal and Zing Zing Bar.
The total distance between Suraj Tal and Manali is around 145 km. By the way, here is a detailed guide on how to reach Himachal’s most famous glacial lake, Chandratal.
How Long is Suraj Tal Accessible – Best Time To Visit Suraj Tal
Owing to incredibly high altitude and hostile climatic conditions, Suraj Tal is not accessible throughout the year.
Suraj Tal remains accessible starting from late May till early November after which heavy snow spells leads to the closure of the roads until next year when BRO throws them open for traffic.
So to sum it up ideal time to visit Suraj Taal is from June to September. After October 15, the check posts on the Leh-Manali highway are removed and the road is deemed dangerous for travel due to chances of road closure in case of bad weather.
Here is a detailed comparison post on Rohtang Pass Vs Atal Tunnel. Wherein I explain the key differences between Rohtang pass and Atal Tunnel. I am sure this will be quite helpful for people traveling to Lahaul, Ladakh, Spiti.
Stay Options In Suraj Tal And Where to Eat
There are no accommodation options right near Suraj Tal. But you can find basic accommodation at campsites and Dhaba’s around Suraj Tal. But do not expect any hotels or guesthouses..
The last Lahauli village before Suraj Taal is Darcha and you might find basic accommodation at Dhaba’s around Darcha for 200-300 INR. Apart from Darcha, the Dhabas near Zing Zing Bar might offer some basic accommodation.
If you were to come from Ladakh side, then you’ll surely find basic accommodation at Sarchu and Bharatpur tent colony. Again you’ll only find basic accommodation to spend the night at the Dhaba’s or campsites.
At all the Dhaba’s mentioned above you’ll find basic food as well like Dal Chawal, Rajma Chawal, Momos, Thukpa, Maggi etc.
Also do note that the altitude at these places is quite high. So there is always a risk of getting hit by AMS. So only spend at the aforementioned places if you are well-acclimatized.
If you like glacial lakes, Lahaul has gotten a ton of them. Here is a detailed guide about high-altitude lakes of Lahaul which I am sure you’ll love and will be helpful to you.
Public transport for Suraj Tal
There is no direct public transport going to Suraj Tal. But if you really want to visit by Public transport, there is a way.
First you need to board the bus going to Leh from Keylong. The bus to Leh starts from Keylong at 5 AM. Then you get down at Suraj Tal and explore around. You’ll reach by around 8 AM.
Once you are done exploring you can either hitch a ride back to Keylong or wait for the Keylong bus from Leh. But do note that the bus to Keylong will only arrive in the evening at 4-5 PM. Bus to Keylong starts at 4.30 AM from Leh.
Also do note that bus service to Leh is only functional from June to September. Also, spending too much time at Suraj Tal is not at all advisable as the risk of AMS looms large owing to Suraj Tal being perched at around 16,000 ft.
So in my opinion if you are group you would be better off hiring a cab from Keylong for a day trip to Baralacha La and Suraj Tal. By the way, here is how you can explore Himachal using public transport just like I do.
A Day Trip to Baralacha La and Suraj Tal – Best Way to Visit Suraj Tal
As you might have realized that using public transport to visit Suraj Tal can be quite risky owing to the altitude. Plus the public transport is not even functional throughout the year.
So the best way to make a trip to Baralacha La and Suraj Tal is to actually cover it in a single day from Manali or Lahaul. Suraj Tal is just 3km before Baralacha La. So you can cover both and people usually do the same.
You can early from Manali at around 7 AM. Reach Baralacha La by noon. Spend few moments at the top of the mighty Baralacha La and then while on the way back spend some time at the Suraj Tal.
You can easily be back to Manali by 7 PM while also enjoying the surreal beauty of Deepak Tal. The road conditions are excellent with almost metalled road all the way to Barlacha La. The cab from Manali and back will cost you around INR 10,000 for the trip to Baralacha La.
But if you’re on a budget, you can definitely take local transport till Keylong and then hire a private cab for Baralacha La and Suraj Tal and back. This will cost you around INR 4000. Bus for Keylong leaves as early as 6.00 AM from Manali.
Is It Safe To Visit Suraj Tal ?
Yes it is absolutely safe to visit Suraj. But owing to its high altitude and hostile terrain, there are a few things that you should keep in my mind when traveling to Suraj Tal.
As the lake is perched at around 16,000 ft you should not spend more than an hour as the risk of getting hit by AMS always looms large.
Also visiting the lake after September last week becomes risky. The temperature becomes too cold and the chances of snow spells due to bad weather drastically increases.
Getting stuck at such altitude can get really dangerous and also can be fatal. So in my opinion you should plan your trip to Suraj Tal before October to be completely on the safer side.
By the way, here is a detailed article on how to tackle AMS in such high altitude valleys. I am sure this will be quite helpful to people visiting high altitude places for the first time.
Road Conditions from Manali to Suraj Tal
Although distance between Manali and Suraj Tal is around 145 km, the roads are smooth as butter barring a few small patches.
So you should face no problems whatsoever to make a visit to Suraj with your own vehicle or self-driving car. You can probably take any care at Suraj provided there is no snow on the road.
Most of the road to Suraj Tal and Baralacha La is metalled. The reason being Suraj Tal is located on Leh-Manali highway which is strategically quite important.
All the credit goes to BRO for working under extremely hostile terrain to connect the remote valleys of India.
Is There Mobile Network in Suraj Tal ?
Unfortunately no. There is no working mobile network at Suraj Tal due to its extremely remote location, hostile terrain and climatic conditions.
The last point where you get the network is at the village of Darcha. So make sure you inform you loved ones about the same. So they do not panic if they are unable to reach you
Also since most of the travelers make a day trip to Baralacha La and come back the same day, not being in network for 3-4 hours should not be that big of deal anyways to be really honest.
By the way, here is a detailed blog on which mobile network is the best for your trip to Himachal. I am sure this will be quite useful for people planning their trip to Himachal.
To conclude I hope “how to plan a trip to Suraj Tal” has been answered and Suraj Tal blog will help you plan a hassle free trip. The best way to visit this heavenly lake is to make a day trip to Baralacha pass and Suraj Tal from Manali or Lahaul.
The exhilarating journey to the lake and vistas around the Suraj Tal will certainly leave you spell-bound. Just like I was. In case, you have any questions on “how to plan a trip to Suraj Tal” please drop them in the comments.