Bir Billing Itinerary: The Offbeat Getaway of Himachal Pradesh

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Bir Billing itinerary: Paragliding, paragliding, and more paragliding.

Bir, a village in Himachal Pradesh and paragliding capital of India, is no doubt popular for paragliding beyond anything. But for a Bir Billing itinerary, give your timepiece 2 – 3 days to swirl here. It isn’t the places, there’s more to do with the remoteness of Bir and its history.

We stayed at Bir for 2 days and it makes for a perfect itinerary considering the extent of the village. There’s paragliding for one which takes no more than a single morning (or evening). But it’s staying itself that makes it count – Bir’s colorful view of clear skies with colors gliding down over your accommodation.

Here’s all about our Bir Billing itinerary.

*This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend products I use and trust.

How many days for Bir Billing?

While our Bir Billing itinerary was for two nights, some travelers we met at our hostel were staying even upto for a week. Some weren’t even planning on paragliding here! Bir is the getaway that I’ve always imagined experiencing. Simply away from cities, crowds, and even nosy tourists. That’s why some stayed longer than others.

Number of days in Bir: I had a vivid imagination of how Bir appeared before getting there. When I called a local travel agency from Bangalore to request quotes for paragliding, the person-in-charge had made it clear – “Sir, when paragliding in Bir, stay here at least for 2 days. You won’t regret it.”

Overlooking the itinerary – a short 2 days journey, a town with decent safety, and a less touristy part of Himachal. It has all perks of making for the perfect solo trip.

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Bir Billing Itinerary

And so it began. Our Bir Billing itinerary continued after visiting Manali for 3 days. It gave a break from the touristy touch of Manali while getting a taste of the rural lives of a Himachal village.

This post, however, isn’t my experience of Bir. It’s how to plan your itinerary based on my experience. Tips on getting to Bir, best timings for activities, and accommodation recommendations.

Because ours took a very different turn – but that’s for another day :)

Bir Billing Itinerary for 2 Days

Before we begin, let’s keep clear that Bir by itself is one village. Billing, on the other hand, is where the launch site meadows for paragliding sit 14 km north of Bir. The landing spot rests at the southern edge of Bir called Chowgan.

Travelers stay at Bir village where most hotels and backpackers hostel reside. Here’s how to get to Bir village.

Arrive at Bir

The recommended way to get to Bir is via bus, be it from Delhi, Chandigarh, or even Manali. Book your travel on sites like Redbus or AbhiBus for the Volvo Semi-sleepers. Local buses are available to Bir but it can be a strain.

Unlike the route to Manali, the Bir route is more curvy and narrow, making for an uncomfortable journey on a local bus. For the pahadi (locals of Himachal), the bus journey is common. However, it isn’t advisable for inexperienced travelers – especially for those with traveling sickness.

Assuming a semi-sleeper Redbus, it takes around 12 hours from Delhi and 7-8 hours from Chandigarh. Most buses are overnight routes thus letting you begin the Bir Billing itinerary from day one.

Manali is only 4-5 hours away.

For the fastest route, Kangra Airport in Dharamshala is the nearest airport to Bir. From Dharamshala, Bir is only a 2-hour bus ride.

Day 1: Trek the Hidden Waterfalls

One of the top things to do aside from paragliding is trekking in Bir. The village offers a handful of places – Rajgundha Valley trek and Gunehar River pool to name a few.

Bir is most popular among solo backpackers, thus most stay at hostels like GoStops and Zostel. The Zostels organize weekly treks to the Hidden Waterfalls in the mornings. Enquire for pricing at the reception of your accommodation.

HostelWorld for Accommodation

Speaking of accommodation, I recommend using HostelWorld to find your preferred hostel. I’ve used HostelWorld on various occasions on trips to Kerala, Singapore, and Vietnam. With experience, I can assure you they’re reliable for quality stays at affordable rates.

Prebook your accommodation in HostelWorld to get a confirmed booking. The best part? You need not pay the whole amount upfront. For Bir Zostel Plus, it sells like hot cakes thus I advise booking at least a week early. Book on HostelWorld below today!

Consider it a short but guided trek to the 100-ft. Hidden Waterfalls is said to be worth the time.

As the name suggests, the waterfall is nowhere in sight in the beginning. But sliding and climbing up large rocks through forests, the final destination lets you bathe in the waterfall pool for a reward. With the weather fine, it makes for a pleasant morning start. The whole trip lasts 2-3 hours.

When I talked with another backpacker at Zostel, he mentioned it to be “unexpectedly amazing”. It was already lunchtime Day 2 at Bir. That makes for my regret – NOT visiting the hidden waterfalls.

Visit the Monasteries of Bir

Like many places across the Himalayan region, Bir is well-known for its monasteries. Upon the Tibet exile of thousands of Tibetans in 1959, Bir in the West Joginder Valley became a refugee area for some of them.

I couldn’t help diving into the history and culture of Buddhism. The four pillar schools of Tibetan Buddhism – Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug. With Nyingma and Kagyu teachings being the oldest – the Sherabling Monastery and Chokling Monastery in Chaugan are two authentic places founded by the Tibetan Lama lineages.

Even more so, Dalai Lama visited the Palpung Sherabling Monastery in 2015! When you visit, it’s a privilege to talk with students and disciples of the place here.

Some recognized ones are the Sherabling Monastery, Nyingma Monastery, Tsering Dong Monastery, and Chokling Monastery.

Spend an afternoon after your trek relaxing yet exploring of Bir’s flowering with Tibetan monasteries. Bir Tibetan Colony is a large part of Bir, but you’ll be visiting it anyhow in the following part of the Bir Billing itinerary. Thus I recommend visiting the Sherabling Monastery in the Keori Village 6 km away from Bir’s landing site.

Have a feast at the Eateries at Bir’s landing site

Pretty much most of Bir’s tourism comes to meet at the common point, at Bir’s landing site in Chowgan. Followed by the food-hopping places are the Bir Tibetan Colony and Chokling Monastery down the road from here.

Unlike authentic food like Siddus and Momos of Himachal, Bir is popular for its distinguished variety of cuisines and cute cafes. To name a few well-known places are Avva’s Cafe, Silver Linings, and Buransh Cafe. Here’s an article on just the best eateries in Bir.

You see, with the rise in Buddhism Tibetan colonies, the monasteries, refugees, and Buddhism teaching institutes have always been mostly funded by foreigners and NRIs seeking spirituality.

With Bir being the world’s second-highest paragliding spot, the number of international visitors to the so-called offbeat village is a cherry on top. With such a range of customers, cafes here offer an extremely diverse range of delicacies to try.

Extra tip: If you’re staying at Zostel, DON’T miss eating at their cafe as well. The pricing is average compared to other eateries and the food is simply amazing (Not to mention the calm garden ambiance). Be it the breakfasts we ordered or the dinner dishes. We were super-hooked.

The best part, they grow their own vegetables for the cuisines.

Explore the Bir Colony

The colony is a must on the Bir Billing itinerary In case you have time, stroll the Bir Colony. Push it to the following day otherwise. You’ll need at least an hour to explore and more to tour the monasteries here.

Some call it Tibetan Colony… tomayto tomahto. With the Tibetans so prevalent, they just call it the Colony, the Bir colony. Key parts not to miss here are the Peme Awam Choegar Gyurme Ling monastery, also called the Chokling monastery. The stupa inside is something to ponder of.

The story goes of the third Neten Chokling of the Nyingma lineage who brings his family and an entourage to Bir. With aid from various sources, he purchases 200 acres of land for 300 Tibetan families to build their houses.

This stands as Bir Colony now. The Chokling monastery today was his vision. Today, the monastery’s full responsibility is held by the 4th Neten Chokling who was said to be the reincarnation of Neten Chokling Pema Gyurme. Thus the etymology!

Day 2: Inevitably, paragliding

Too much history hammered in? Free your mind with paragliding! Keep paragliding for day two, it lets you recognize the view better. Yes, you sail over monasteries and get a clear view of the colony before landing!

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Bir Billing itinerary

When I glided down, not having visited a single monastery, I couldn’t tell from a monastery to a school. Hence, I recommend the first day for a village excursion. This is all considering the skies are clear from the mist of course.

Speaking of skies, visit Bir between September and June. March to June is the best time for paragliding with clear skies. Even slight weather changes or clouding up halts the gliders at times – wind matters after all.

Now choosing a morning and evening session, it’s purely a personal preference. Beginning in the morning, I found it pleasant. A morning glide is more assured with a clear view beneath.

On the other hand, evenings are to drool over the sunset view. With the incredible sunset, some also recommend visiting the landing point only to experience the sunset. Again, plan your second day accordingly depending on preference. Our whole session including the drive upto the Billing takeoff point took around an hour.

But unexpectedly, we had to wait a while at the landing spot for pickup. The evening session shouldn’t be a problem when you’re leaving Bir late in the evening.

Go Bungee Jumping

Bir Billing itinerary: The next best adventure activity after paragliding in Bir is bungee jumping. I wasn’t aware of it until I met a group of teenage boys from Haryana at the hostel who knew the alleys ins and outs of Manali and Bir.

Situated in Gunehar (3 km from Bir bus stop), agencies around offer a whole package inclusive of transport. The same agencies that service paragliding tend to know of bungee jumping as well.

Bungee jumping in Bir is a 50-meter drop, a moderate drop for an amateur. Though I planned, I couldn’t go myself but it’s something I shouldn’t have missed. As I mentioned, my itinerary didn’t go as planned at all.

Anyway, consider it optional. If not bungee jumping, knock yourself out exploring the Bir landing site, its sunset, and more cafe-hopping around.

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Paragliding! Bir Billing itinerary

Bir Billing Itinerary: Estimated Budget

There are not many places to visit in Bir than the mentioned ones above. Some articles talk of 25 things to do in Bir but include things to do tens of miles away from Bir like the Tibetan colony of Mcleodganj in Dharamshala. This post is exclusive of the things to do in Bir, thus the Bir Billing itinerary for 2 days.

The only thing I might have missed is camping in Bir. Because for Bir, I’d pick staying at a hostel dormitory any day.

Coming to the budget, Visiting Bir isn’t a budget trip. Paragliding, bungee jumping, and cafe hopping are expensive even for a 2 days itinerary. Unless you come on a 2D1N package trip that includes a camp stay, it’s expensive.

For a package trip, here’s a reasonable one from Klook.com, a travel site I personally trust on my trips. This includes a camp stay, paragliding, and trekking to the peak point. Check out details on their site below!

Klook.com

Bir Billing Itinerary budget:

  • Paragliding cost us a flat Rs. 3000 per person for a basic 15-20 minutes flight with a guide. It differs from season to season.
  • Modest hostel accommodation in Bir ranges between Rs. 700 to Rs. 1000. The Bir Zostel Plus was on the expensive end at Rs. 1000 per night. But the Zostel here is quite something with its butterfly structure and worth every penny!
  • For cafes (the ones with cozy warm lights), expect to spend approx. Rs. 300 per dish. Many are famous for finger-licking good delicacies so it’s hard not to miss them.
  • Scooter rental. This is optional. But when we got ourselves a scooter to get around. It cost around Rs. 800 to Rs.1000.
  • Bungee jumping, as mentioned, costs around Rs. 2000 to Rs. 2500.
  • Last but not least, semi-sleeper Volvo buses are recommended to get to Bir, be it from Chandigarh, Manali, or Delhi. For those new to Himachal’s narrow roads to villages, avoid local buses. From Delhi, a decent sleeper bus makes nothing but a small dent in the Bir Billing itinerary.

Bir Billing itinerary: Tailpiece

This sums up my post on the Bir Billing itinerary. On my visit to Bir, paragliding was the one thing I did. Before getting here from Manali, a fever knocked me down, leaving me weak in bed the whole day. We hadn’t a choice but to get to Bir – the Zostel stays were all booked and the itinerary planned.

While I got better on the second day in Bir, I explored the Bir landing site after gliding down. When paragliding, I could see distant golden and red monasteries, and the scenic view of small pathways, and lush grasslands.

I did try multiple dishes at Zostel and made a handful at friends, but that was all to it. In the future, I’m bound to visit Bir again for the Tibetan colony and monasteries. If nothing, it’s an amazing spot for work-from-home. The serenity reminded me of Wayanad’s tea plantations.

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Manas Patil

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1 thought on “Bir Billing Itinerary: The Offbeat Getaway of Himachal Pradesh”

  1. Anshima Vishwakarma

    Your words really make me want to pack my bags and head straight to Bir! I’ve been eyeing it for a while now, and your description seals the deal. Thanks for the helpful insights; they’ll definitely come in handy when I hit the road. Can’t wait to experience Bir’s charm firsthand.

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