Is Uttarakhand Expensive, this will be one of the first questions that will pop up if you are a budget traveler looking to visit the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand.

Being a budget traveler myself who has traveled across Uttarakhand, I think I’ll be able to clear all your queries regarding the cost for a trip to Uttarakhand.

Is Uttarakhand Expensive

Is Uttarakhand Expensive ?

Having traveled extensively across Himachal for a couple years, Uttarakhand really seemed to be more expensive than Himachal.

But again, its not too expensive. From what I felt and experienced, It can get a bit above budget for solo travelers. For couples and families it might not turn out that expensive.

So here this blog is going to be all about cost breakdown which will give you an idea as to how expensive is Uttarakhand. Lets get start. By the way, if its your first time in Uttarakhand, here is a detailed blog on what to pack for Uttarakhand.

Stay Cost

Average cost of stay in Uttarakhand would at least be INR 700 to INR 1500. Hostels are limited to only a select few places and are not widespread as Himachal. So a solo traveler on a shoe string budget might have a problem.

Internal Commute

Shared cabs and buses are the only economical options for internal commute usually. Depending on the distance this expense would be incurred. Unless you are travelling long distances, you should be able to limit your expense to around INR 200 to INR 400.

Food Cost

If you eat at Dhabas, you should incur maximum INR 300 in terms of expense. If you eat out at Cafes, be prepared to spend above INR 500 and upwards depending on what you eat and how many times you eat.

Miscellaneous Expenses

These expenses will include guide charges for treks and hikes, adventure activities charges like River Rafting, Skiing, Zipline. Guide charges range from INR 1000 to INR 1500. While adventure activities will cost you at least INR 2k to INR 3k if not more.

Stay & Accommodation Cost For A Trip To Uttarakhand

Depending on the area or region you decide to visit in Uttarakhand, you’ll end spending accordingly. Let me explain.

Famous places like Harsil or Chopta have had their popularity soared over the recent years. But finding budget hostels or guesthouses if really difficult. In fact, Harsil doesn’t even have a hostel yet.

On an average you would have to spend at least INR 700 to INR 1500 for accommodation in Uttarakhand.

Unless you are staying in market town or District headquarters like Ukhimath, Rudraprayad or too popular place like Mussorie, Nainital, Rishikesh etc.

I’ll explain through my personal experience. So Harsil and Chopta I had to pay INR 1200 and INR 1000 for stay and meals. In Himachal at most of homestays I end up paying between INR 700 to INR 900 for stay and meals.

Although in market towns I got basic room for as low as INR 250 in places like Purola, Srinagar, Uttarkashi. I hope you get the idea.

The only region where I got budget homestays is actually in Jakhol area and Har ki Dun valley which is not even your mainstream tourist destinations.

For couples, families though getting a room for INR 1500 or INR 2000 might not be that expensive, but certainly it matters for solo and budget travelers.

By the way, if you are planning a trip Harsil, here is a super handy Harsil valley itinerary which will be very useful.

Uttarakhand Trip Budget

View from the Backyard of The Harsil Homestay in Bagori, my home for a couple of weeks in Harsil.

Internal Commute Cost In Uttarakhand

This is one is a straight forward. Shared cabs and Buses are usually the only forms of public transport available in upper reaches and most tourist destinations of Uttarakhand.

Unlike HRTC, UTC is not as robust. Bus services are way less with less intra-district connectivity. So shared cabs also come into picture.

Depending on the distance you’ll end up paying for bus and shared. For instance, bus fare in mountainous regions of Uttarakhand is a little more than INR 2*distance. Shared cabs will be a bit higher than bus fare.

So lets say you traveled around 50 km in mountainous region of Uttarakhand, you’ll end up paying more than INR 100. Shared cabs will charge even more than buses.

Now if you are a family or a mid-size or large group of friends, then traveling by private taxi’s will be quite a convenient option. But do remember they charge way more.

For instance, rate from Ukhimath to Chopta is around INR 1500 in a private cab. The distance is mere 28 km. Shared cabs charge around INR 150.

By the way, Here is a detailed comparison blog on Himachal Vs Uttarakhand. This will be surely of a great help.

Food Cost For An Uttarakhand Trip

Depending on where you eat out you’ll incur food expenses accordingly. If you eat out at cafes you’ll certainly end up spending a lot on food expenses.

But if you stick to Dhabas it won’t cost you a fortune. If you had all your meals in cafes you’ll be looking at somewhere around INR 700 to INR 800 for the day.

Now if you eat out at Dhabas, you’ll have to spend around INR 250 for all the meals. Also, in Garwhal there are hardly any mainstream city like cafes. Kumaon has a ton of them though at places like Muketshwar, Kasar Devi.

I personally prefer to eat at homestays itself and usually I pay up for food and stay costs together at homestay. Freshly cooked home-made food is what I like and therefore homestays prove the best bet for me.

For instance, while in Sari village, I paid INR 1000 for stay and food expenses.

But again I’ve had situations where in I have stayed in main towns while in commute and ended up limiting my food expenses at INR 200 by eating out at basic Dhabas.

So if you don’t eat out at Cafes, you food expenses should remain modest at around INR 300 per day maximum.

accommodation cost a trip to Uttarakhand

Cafes in Garwhal are a rarity unlike Kumaon. In frame, Cafe Buransh in Sari village.

Trekking Guide and Adventure Activity Costs For Trip To Uttarakhand

Apart from food, stay & commute expense, adventure activity and trekking guide will be another expense incurred if you decide to go hiking or go for adventure activities.

Hiking or trekking guide in Uttarakhand charges at least INR 1000 per day. On more popular trails, you’ll be charged around INR 1500.

Although popular trails in Uttarakhand are very well-marked, but I don’t advocate going solo if you are inexperienced or casual hikers.

In case if you opt for adventure activities like river rafting, bungee jumping, zipline etc, be prepared to spend at least INR 2000 to INR 3000 per activity.

By the way, here are 13 easy hikes and treks around Kullu manali which are perfect for beginners.

Vipin Bhai from Barsu village posing at Barnala Bugyal on the way to Dayara Bugyal. He accompanied me as a guide on the day hike to Dayara bugyal.

Total Cost for An Uttarakhand Trip – Uttarakhand Trip Budget 

I’ll consider costs for a weeklong trip. I’ll not be considering adventure activities and guide charges as that will be depend on individual to individual.

  • Stay will cost around INR 7000 for a 7 day-trip
  • Food will cost around INR 2500 for a 7 day-trip
  • Internal commute will cost around INR 3000

So Food, stay, commute should cost around INR 12500 to INR 15000 for a week long trip to Uttarakhand. Again, this is just an average.

You can spend lesser or more than this depending on where you choose to stay and eat. And how you choose to travel. Add another INR 5000 if you opt to hire a trekking guide and do adventure activities.

Is Uttarakhand Expensive  – Final Thoughts 

  • Uttarakhand is pretty economical barring a certain areas with high popularity but limited accommodation.
  • A solo traveler on a budget may find Uttarakhand a bit expensive due absence of budget hostels.
  • UTC is not a robust as HRTC. Shared cabs are a bit more expensive than buses.
  • Food is very economical if you eat at Dhabas. Major city like Cafes restricted to Kumaon only.
  • Uttarakhand is certainly not as budget-friendly as Himachal Pradesh as per my experience
  • Remote Areas with less tourist footfall are the most budget-friendly places for solo travelers.

To conclude, I hope you have the answer to the question Is Uttarakhand expensive and a rough idea on how much you’ll end up spending on a trip to Uttarakhand. In case you have queries, do drop them in them in the comments.