“SPITI VALLEY”

Spiti Valley

ROAD TRIP TO SPITI VALLEY

Spiti Valley is a cold desert mountainous region located high in the Himalayas in the north-eastern part of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The name “Spiti” means “The middle land”, i.e. the land between Tibet and India. 

The Mighty Glaciers; snow covered velvet mountains; deserted mountains with green patches over a dry weather-beaten face; the crystal clear emerald green water meandering its way through the nooks and corners of the huge mountains; strategically placed ancient monasteries; windswept landscapes and quiet villages of “Spiti” will make you feel mesmerized. The scenic beauty of the valley is out of imagination, it is a place of dreams and beyond; in no words can it be described.

Know The Fact : “Spiti” is a hidden paradise with a population of just 10,000 residing in the valley, it is isolated and cut off from the rest of the world. People of the valley say that, just two decades back there were no travelers in the valley due to the worst/No roads and harsh climatic conditions. Yes, there were nearly no roads at all in the valley back then and people thought of  ‘Spiti’ as a piece of barren land where no one goes/lives because it is very close to Indo-china border with harsh climatic conditions, no vegetation and cellular connectivity. Eventually a few years back group of nature photographers, motorcyclists & off-road enthusiasts started traveling in the urge of capturing the nature’s best & conquering the “World’s Most Treacherous Roads”.  Later it started getting very famous for the same reasons and tourism started growing in the valley with which you can now find some roads being built, cellular connectivity at some places, roadside dhaba’s with tent facilities, guest houses and homestays in the valley. But there is still a lot more, untouched and yet to be explored.

Novelist Rudyard Kipling in his book ‘Kim’ describes Spiti as ‘a world within a world,’ ‘a place where the gods live’ – something that holds true to the present day.

Karan Singh: To me, It feels like Spiti welcomes me with wide open arms to hug and make me feel home, like I belong here, relaxed & comfortable. It is a place which undoubtedly delivers positivity, good vibes, peace of mind and enough oxygen to keep me going well for a year. I wear a constant smile on my face, my brain is working at highest efficiency and my heart keeps blushing. 

When to Plan?

Mostly snow melts by the end of April or the starting of May and the valley gets accessible to the tourists. From the first week of May to the mid of September is the best time to plan your Spiti Valley road trip. After mid-September the weather in the valley starts decreasing (5⁰C to -27⁰C) which results in heavy snowfall and thick ice on the road surface, hence the roads get cut off from the north up (Via. Manali – Rohtang Pass) to eight months of the year (September End – April). Although the roads from (Chandigarh – Shimla – Rampur –Nako – Tabo) side are open throughout the year till Kaza; but i would suggest you to talk to the residents of Spiti Valley in advance about the road conditions before you plan a winter Spiti road trip (October-April). To help you out with this i have also shared contact details of the residents and hotel owners in Spiti Valley.

There is also a possibility that the North up (Manali – Rohtang Pass) road is open till the mid of December, depending upon the weather. In 2019 we were lucky enough to complete the Spiti Circuit in the month of December; It was an amazing experience, driving in the snow flurry.

Time Needed for Spiti Valley Trip?

It will entirely depend on where you are coming from and your mode of travel. But assuming Delhi/Chandigarh as a starting point, a total of 9 – 10 days is what I will recommend for this journey. You can, of course, do away with a lesser number of days as well but with ample days in your hand, you will make sure that you did not rush anywhere during the trip, no night drives, visited everything that was worth and made the best out of your time. The Ride Plane/Itinerary section below breaks down the trip by the number of days and gives you an idea on how you can plan your trip.

Route Map

Geographically ‘Spiti’ is surrounded by High Altitude passes like The Rohtang Pass, at 13,054 feet (3,979 m), separates Lahul and Spiti from the Kullu Valley. Lahul and Spiti are cut off from each other by the higher Kunzum Pass, at 15,059 feet (4,590 m). A road connects the two divisions, but is cut off frequently in winter and spring due to heavy snow. The valley is likewise cut off from the north up (Manali – Rohtang – Batal – Kunzum) side upto eight months of the year due to heavy snowfalls and thick icing conditions. A southern route (Shimla – Kinnaur – Nako – Kaza) is open whole year round till Kaza.

Although southern route can also be periodically closed for a brief period due to the winter storms of November which may continue till May, but the road access is usually restored a few days after the storres ends.

Two ways of completing Spiti Circuit

  • Via Manali – Rohtang Pass – Kunzum La – Kaza – Nako – Shimla – Chandigarh
  • Via Shimla – Nako – Kaza – Kunzum La – Rohtang Pass – Manali

The most preferable option of completing  the circuit is via (Delhi – Chandigarh – Shimla – Nako – Kaza – Kunzum La – Rohtang Pass – Manali – Delhi) because of two reasons which are as follows :

  • Your gain in altitude is gradual while traveling from Shimla side; and there is almost no chance of acute mountain sickness. On the other hand, if you started from Manali, on first day you will gain 2000 meters from plains to Manali. On the second day, you will go from 2000 meters to 4000 meters at Kaza. In a couple of days, you brought your body to heights that it is not accustomed to; that to all of a sudden. This will make you prone to suffering from AMS and ruin your trip.
  • Permit is required to enter from Manali side, If you enter the circuit from manali, there you need to get your as well as the vehicle’s permit, which you can get near DC’s office Mall Road, Manali. But you will waste complete one day doing that. Irrespective of whether you are an Indian or foreigner, you will definitely have to obtain a permit for Rohtang Pass; if you intended to enter the valley from Manali side.

Planning the trip on a Motorcycle?

Yes! you can do it if you are a fit and an experienced rider. An “Experienced Rider” here means that you should have off-road riding instincts, sharp yet calm mind, physical toughness and an early experience of riding in the Mountainous regions. If you think you meet the above mentioned standards then get ready for the most adventurous and exciting ride of your life.

I believe a motorcycle can touch almost every corner of the valley and you can discover the most on it. Well I have done it on Both Motorcycle and Car, but frankly speaking i am a hardcore passionate biker by soul so of-course i loved it more on the motorcycle. Though the car has its own benefits over motorcycle but I will still prefer a motorcycle..

“Completing Spiti Circuit on a motorcycle is a big challenge in itself, it makes you feel so much confident & proud of yourself. Its feels like winning a Battle” 

Most Preferable Motorcycle:

  • Well I would say that the Royal Enfield Himalayan/Hero X-pulse/KTM 390 Adventure will conquer the rough and harsh terrains of Spiti Valley like no other budget bikes.
  • The Royal Enfield Standard 500 is also high on torque & tough enough to go on the circuit.

But before you choose any other motorcycle to ride in Spiti Valley make sure that it has a high ground clearance, high on torque, fit and tough enough to withstand the world’s most challenging terrains.

Yes, it can be done on any other motorcycle or scooters, people have records of doing it. But maybe they are just a bunch of professionals or some crazy enthusiasts. I would not suggest you to go for any other motorcycle if it’s your first attempt. Please do not compare Spiti to ladakh, Spiti has far more treacherous and difficult terrain than ladakh. Even a single mistake can be fatal.

Looking for a Rental Motorcycle?

Yes you can easily rent a motorcycle with luggage carriers & riding gears, all you need is to hold a valid drivers license. You can either rent a motorcycle from Delhi/Chandigarh/Manali.

Note: Not all motorcycle rentals allow to take their motorcycle in Spiti area. Here are some motorcycle rental shops which offer special motorcycles for Spiti Expedition.

  • For Motorcycle Hire from Delhi/Chandigarh/Manali Mall Road you can contact the below mentioned:

TONY BIKE CENTRE

Rajesh +91 9811281681 

 E-mail – tonybikecentre@gmail.com

  • For Motorcycle Hire from Old Manali you can contact the below mentioned:

TIGER EYE ADVENTURE

+91 9418092470

E-mail – tigereyeadventure97@gmail.com

HADIMBA MOTORS (Manali): +91 9418013333 , +91 9816154297

Want to know about the Motorcycle Rental Charges?

  • Royal Enfield Classic/Standard 350cc – 900/- per day
  • Royal Enfield Standard 500cc – 1200/- per day
  • Royal Enfield Himalayan 411cc – 1300/- per day
  • Riding Gears – 250/- per day (Riding jacket + Gloves + knee guards)

Note:

  • The above-mentioned charges are inclusive of a luggage carrier, Helmet and a kit of general spare with tools.
  • Advance Deposit Charges are 7K – 10K (Refundable) depending upon the motorcycle.

If you own a Motorcycle:

It gets very easy when you have a motorcycle of your own because you are already very familiar to riding it, you’ve developed that relation between you and your motorcycle which is very necessary for riding over such difficult terrains, you are well aware about the service history and maintenance works, last and most importantly it can make you save a lot of money which in turn you had to spend on rental motorcycle.

Just make sure before you leave for the trip you get your motorcycle a thoroughly checked-up and serviced at a workshop. You can easily transport your motorcycle in a train till Delhi/Chandigarh Railways station, which will help in saving money, energy and excitement for the Spiti Road Trip.

Also do not forget to carry the below mentioned spare parts along with you.

List of Spare Parts (Motorcycle):

  • Tire Tubes x 2No.
  • Chain link
  • Air inflating pump
  • Spark plug, Accelerator Cable, Clutch Cable, Brake Pads
  • Chain lube
  • jump start cables
  • Fuel can (3-5 liter)
  • Head lamp bulb & spare fuses
  • Bungee Cable x 4
  • Engine Oil and Lubricating oil
  • Nylon ropes, bungee cords, Zip ties and nut-bolts of different sizes.
  • Petrol Can (5L) and a petrol pipe to transfer oil
  • Duplicate bike keys
  • Some vulnerable nuts & bolts with all the spanner and tools.

Planning the trip in a Car?

As I have completed the Spiti Circuit on a motorcycle and a car both, I must say that travelling in a car is far more comfortable and easy. It is not at all as harsh and unwilling as it might get on a motorcycle. A car also adds on an ease of carrying your luggage and food and keeps you isolated from the cold winds on the way and while crossing high altitude pass, whereas on a motorcycle you almost freeze up at certain points. Like seriously, I could not find even a single drawback of traveling in a car to Spiti Valley.

All you need is to make sure that the car you are thinking to take on the terrains of Spiti is in a very good shape, tough enough to travel in the World’s Most Treacherous Roads and must have at least a Ground Clearance of 180mm.

Most Preferable Car:

  • Well a 4×4 Mahindra Thar/Tata Xenon/Isuzu V-Cross/Gypsy/Force Gurkha/Toyota Fortuner/Rover will conquer the rough and harsh terrains of Spiti Valley like no other Four Wheeler.
  • However any 4×2 SUV with a ground clearance of minimum 180mm can be a ready to go for Spiti drive.

If you own a car which meets the above specified standards, you can explore the maximum under minimum expenses. In case you don’t own a car or your car does not meet the above specified standards there is still no need to worry because we are here to help you out with that as well.

Looking for a Rental Car?

“MyChoize” Self Drive Car Rental service is cheap, reliable, their policies are the best of all the other self-drive car rental services and they provide you almost a brand new car. As per my own experience with many self-drive car rental services I will recommend you “MyChoize” for a road trip to Spiti. “MyChoize” rental cars can be booked from either Delhi or Chandigarh.

https://www.mychoize.com

List of Spare Parts (Car)

  • Tire Air Inflator
  • Tubeless Puncture Repair Kit
  • Car Phone Charger
  • Coolant, Brake Fluid  & Lubricating Oil
  • Battery Jumper Cable & Fuses
  • Headlamp Bulb
  • Towing Chain
  • Jack & Tool Kit.
  • Clutch & Throttle Cable (If Required)
  • An Extra Tire
  • Spare Keys, torch, Insulating tape, adhesive and Documents.

Want to Know about Car Rental Charges?

I paid around 18k as rent to “MyChoice” for booking a self-drive 7 seater Mahindra Scorpio for 10 days which was excluding fuel cost. However the rental charges may vary from car to car and number of days.

  • Each day Rent – 1800/- approximately
  • Advance Deposit – 6000/- (Refundable)
  • Roof Carrier Charges – 200/- Per day

Ride Plan/ Itinerary

Via Shimla

(Delhi – Chandigarh – Shimla – Nako – Tabo – Kaza – Kunzum la – Rohtang Pass – Manali – Chandigarh – Delhi)

Riding/Driving Hours (7:00 am – 6:30 pm)

Day 1 – [Delhi – Chandigarh – Shimla]

380 kms approx. (Highway and Hills ride)

As its the first day of your road trip you are like super excited and wake up early in the morning. Start your ride/drive hitting the fast highways till you reach kalka hill area which is around 50 kms from Chandigarh. Gradually with the twists and turns of hill highway roads the altitude will increase and by the evening you reach Shimla which is the largest and ‘Capital’ city of Himachal Pradesh. It will be a good warm up ride day and a beautiful evening in Shimla

Day 2 – [Shimla – Rampur – Tapri – Reckong Peo – Chitkul]

280 kms approx. (River crossings & Mountainous terrain with difficult road conditions)

Its Day 2 of your road trip and you are already enjoying fresh air & loving the vibes of the Himalayas. Today on the way  we will hit many river crossings, beautiful blue sky, dams, lush green forested mountains & valleys En-route Kinnaur. The roads are tricky with some hairpin bends, there is an off-road patch as well of medium difficulty level. By mid day or  evening you will reach Chitkul where you can enjoy camping and bonfire at the river side of ‘Baspa River’. The altitude gain today will be 1500 Meters

Day 3 – [Chitkul – Sangla – Kalpa – Spillow – Khab – Nako]

200 kms approx. (Mountainous terrain with difficult road conditions)

Waking up to the magical sound of nature & river flowing down the mountains with a cup of tea/coffee in your hand is probably going to be the best morning of your life. The journey today will not be less adventurous as the height of mountains increase with a decrease in road width. By mid day you will reach ‘Kalpa’ Village which is renowned for its apples and trust me the taste of those freshly plucked apples sets a benchmark. By the evening you will reach ‘Nako’ which is very very close to the indo-china border, it is a great feeling when you watch the mountains in China from your balcony. Enjoy your night & delicious food at the Hotel “Reo Purgil”. The altitude gain today will be just 150 Meter.

Day 4 – [Nako – Sumdo – Gue –Tabo – Dhankar]

150 kms approx. (Mountainous terrain with difficult road conditions)

Good Morning! Get ready! As the journey today will be typical & challenging due to sharp turns over the cliff of huge mountains, zig-zag roads, off road conditions, crossing through the cave shaped haunting mountains etc.. But the scenic beauty is no less, as you are going to witness dry wind beaten face of Himalayas with yellowish – orange grass patches around the crystal clear flowing water. After riding for 2 hours or so you will reach ‘Gue Village’ which is the first village of ‘Spiti Valley’ famous for its ancient Mummy  Temple. By mid day you will reach ‘Tabo Village’ famous for its Monastery, golden apples & helipad which can be explored  in an hour or two; have your lunch in ‘Tabo’ and leave for Dhankar. Enjoy your evening around the ‘dhankar lake’ and stay on the cliff of the mountain. The altitude gain today will be 200 Meter.

Day 5 – [Dhankar – Sangnam – Pin Valley – Mud – langza – Hikkim – Komic – Kaza]

200 kms approx. (Off – road, high altitude mountains, hairpin turns, high gradient dusty terrain, rolling stones & low oxygen level)

Good Morning Dear! I hope you don’t have a hangover (haha), Because its going to be a tough ride today for which you need to be fit in every senses; stay slow & precise over each corner. The dirt gravels are loose which makes the wheel spin free and make you slide. ‘Pin Valley’ is the place where you can spend your extra day exploring the Pin Valley National Park. If you are running out of time then explore Pin, Sangnam & Mud by the afternoon and move towards Langza, Hikkim & Komic. Hikkim village has the “Worlds Highest Post office” whereas Komic is the “Highest Village in World connected with Motorable roads”. By evening get back to ‘Kaza’ which is the ‘Capital’ of ‘Spiti’. Kaza night stay is very special as the sky is full of glowing stars; appearing to be so close that you can touch them. The altitude gain today will be 800 Meter (in Komik) but by the night (in Kaza) it will be zero.

Day 6 – [Kaza – Key – Kibber – Chicham – Kato – Losar – Kunzum – Chandrataal]

150 kms approx. (Extreme off – road, rocky terrain, ice cold water crossings, high altitude pass, hairpin turns, rolling stones & low oxygen level)

After a spending beautiful night in Kaza looking at the ‘Galaxy’ so close. Good morning! have your breakfast and kick start your day with a ride to Key Monastery where Lama’s will welcome you with an amazing herbal drink & further if you want you can meditate for an hour or so. Now  its time to proceed for ‘Kibber’ which is also known as ‘The land of Snow Leopards’ and no wonder we encountered many  preserved wildlife animals on the way. Explore the village, have your lunch ( Have a Diamox Tablet as a precautionary measure because by the evening the altitude will increase rapidly); now moving to take some snaps on  ‘Asia’s Highest Bridge’ i.e. “Chicham Bridge”. But what now you are going to witness on the way to ‘Losar’ is unexplainable; the unique structure of the mountains ans, dry rivers & planes is something which can only be compared to a different planet.

 

From ‘Losar’ starts an extremely tactical & difficult off-road terrain which will continue till the end of the day. Losar – Kunzum Pass is a sudden high altitude climb, unwilling roads, low temperature, low oxygen level & snow all around. But trust me this patch will be one of the  best & most memorable view’s of your life. At “Kunzum Top” i.e 4590M above sea level you will see a “Kunzum Devi” Temple which is believed to be the Goddess blessing you luck for your safe journey. Yes, you definitely need that energy and blessings to reach ‘Chandrataal’ because the roads to ‘Chandrataal’ will really challenge your driving/riding skills. Yes,You did it! Finally reached ‘Chandrataal’. Tired?take a deep breath, relax & enjoy camping near the ‘Chandrataal Lake’. The altitude gain today at ‘Kunzum Pass’ will be 800M and at ‘Chandrataal Camps’ 450M.

Day 7 – [Chandrataal – Batal – Chattru – Rohtang Pass – Manali]

150 kms approx. (Extreme level off – road, rocky terrain, ice cold water crossings, high altitude pass, hairpin turns, rolling stones & low oxygen level)

Good Morning! Hope you had a tight sleep after a tiring journey. Today is like the Grand Finale of your off-road riding/driving skills test because the route till “Rohtang Pass” has No Roads at all. Yes, the route is a test for the driver as well as his ride/drive; infact this route is one of the toughest stages of  “Raid de Himalaya”. Big boulders, rolling stones from landslide, water crossings, stone grits, mud, dirt, risky hairpin turns and what not you will be challenged with while riding/driving today; If you are smart, calm, strong and a Pro rider/driver you will definitely make it to ‘Rohtang’.  

Finally reached the snow covered “Rohtang Pass” and its time to celebrate! Scream, dance, play with the snow, hug you partners because you have proved that you are one of the best Adventure Touring Rider/Driver in the world. Yay! It’s a ‘Carpe-diem’ style of party time in ‘Old Manali & Parvati Valley’ for the next two day. Whoop! it’s a big altitude drop today.

Day 8 – [Manali – Parvati Valley – Manikaran – Kasol/Tosh]

100 kms approx. (Hilly terrain, good road conditions)

Good Afternoon! I know you will be laying in the bed looking at the snaps and recalling moments of the trip with your friends till 12 in the noon because i did the same (haha). Get up! explore ‘Mall Road’ have your lunch and leave for ‘Parvati Valley’. Today on the way you will see dense green forest over the Mountains, shining crystal clear Beas & Parvati river flowing down the Valleys. You will fall in love with the captivating aroma, mesmerizing views & the vibes of ‘Parvati Valley’. ‘Manikaran’ is famous for its natural hot water spring, Tosh is famous for ‘kheer ganga trek’ and ‘Kasol’ for its party & cafe culture. So its all upon you and your interests, where you want to stay the night.

 

Day 9 – [Kasol – Delhi]

500 kms approx. (Hill & Highway Ride)

Its 5:30 am, Good Morning! Get ready and leave by 6:30 am because you got to go a long distance today and reach in time so that you can do your formalities of returning the rental car/motorcycle. 

Wish you a Happy Journey; Live Wild & Ride Hard; Wander

Day 10 – Extra [In case of any breakdown or delay due to climatic conditions. If not, i am sure by now you must have decided where you are going to spend that extra day]

Via Manali (Unpreferable)

Riding/Driving Hours (7:30 am – 6:30 pm)

Day 1 – [Delhi – Chandigarh – Bilaspur – Mandi] 420kms approx.

Day 2 – [Mandi – Manali – Get Your Ride Permissions (Afternoon) – Enjoy Manali Evening] 110kms approx.

Day 3 – [Manali – Rohtang Pass – Chattru – Batal –  Chandratal] 150kms approx.

Day 4 – [Chandratal – Kunzum La – Losar – Kato — Chicham – Kibber – Key – Kaza] 150 kms approx.

Day 5 – [Kaza – Langza – Hikkim – Komic – Sangnam – Mud – Dhankar] 200kms approx.

Day 6 – [Dhankar – Tabo – Gue – Sumdo – Nako] 150kms approx.

Day 7 – [Nako – Khab – Spillow – Reckong Peo – Kalpa – Chitkul] 200kms approx.

Day 8 – [Chitkul – Tapri – Rampur – Shimla] 250kms approx.

Day 9 – [Shimla – Chandigarh – Delhi] 350kms approx.

Day 10 – Extra [In case of any breakdown or delay due to climatic conditions. If not, i am sure by now you must have decided where you are going to spend that extra day]

Where To Stay ?

Lakdor Homestay (Kaza)

Places Like Chandigarh, Delhi, Manali, Shimla, Kasol etc. are very developed cities and you can easily find Hotels/rooms/dorms anything you looking for at any budget..

You can search your stays by downloading these applications: OYO/Trivago/Goibibo/Airbnb/Makemytrip

You might not find very lavish Hotels & Mobile internet in the valley but yes there are Roadside/Mountain tents, homestays and small hotels which can provide you the basics.

My personal suggestion would be homestays forever because I love meeting residents of the valley, living their culture, traditional and authentic home cooked food, eating fruits from their gardens, knowing about their life and living skills. Residents of this valley take so much care of you that you feel like a family with them and that’s the most memorable part of the trip.

Rikpal Homestay (Gue Village)

I am providing you with the contact details of the residents who are running a budget homestay or a hotel in the valley. All these contacts that I have developed in the valley are very kind people & can be a big help to you with anything throughout the trip.

Chitkul: Moon Shadow Camp (8219126723) / Baspa Camps (9418701460)

Nako: Hotel Reopurgil Vijay Negi (9459494111)

Dhankar: Mr. Susheel (8988347735/7018815097)

Kaza: Lakdor Homestays (9418615490)

Chandrataal: Kesang Spiti Expedition (89880080416/9418283847)

Tabo: White Lotus Homestays (8988572298)

Losar: Ibex Homestays (9259270076)

Kalpa: Munna Mansion (9818289305)

Gue Village : Rikpal Homestays (In front of Gue village post office)

What to pack in the bag for Spiti:

Riding Essentials

I suggest you not compromise with your riding safety and the below mentioned are a must for every rider

  • Helmet with New visor.
  • Riding Jacket with Thermal Liner/ Elbow guards.
  • Riding Pant with Thermal Liner/ Knee guards.
  • Riding Shoes/Army boots.
  • Riding Gloves.
  • Skull cap/bandana/balaclava.
  • Riding Goggles (UV/Polarized)
  • Gum Boots. (There are many freezing cold water crossing on the way)

Bag Pack Essentials

Pack only the most useful stuff  because if you over pack  your bag it will add on to the carriage weight and take more space to carry. Don’t forget you also have an extra fuel can and spares of the motorcycle as well. Also you need to keep the weight well distributed. We recommend you to pack in layers.

  • Thermal Inner wears.
  • A windcheater jacket or windproof jacket to prevent the winds.
  • Woolen socks 2-3 Pairs
  • Leather Socks 1 Pair
  • Heavy woolens like pullovers, sweater or warm hoodies
  • Comfortable trekking / traveling pants or trousers.
  • Carry at least 1-2 caps to protect yourself from direct sunlight as it is too harsh in this region to protect yourself from UV rays.
  • A few t-shirts and jeans.
  • Carry at least 1 Balaclava or monkey cap.
  • Polarized Sunglasses to protect your eyes from the reflections from snow, Leather hand gloves.
  • SPF 40+ sunscreen lotion, Moisturizer & Lip balm.
  • Battery Bank
  • Extra Phone & charger of all your electronics
  • Cash
  • Tooth Brush, Tooth Paste, Comb, Soap (Paper soap if possible)Toilet Paper
  • Face Wash, Shampoo, Towel, Deodorant.Dry Fruits, Chocolates or any instant energy providing snack.
  • Portable oxygen can (size is like a deodorant bottle)
  • Rechargeable torch.
  • Tea bags and coffee pouches.
  • Escape knife.

Medicines

Diamox works as a precautionary measure (not a cure) for acute mountain sickness but please ensure that you are not allergic to sulfur medicines. Best would be to consult a doctor if you are unsure. Apart from Diamox, carry some other basic medicines for headache, upset stomach, fever, cold and cough.

If possible, I will also recommend carrying a small pack of glucose. If the high altitude, long hours of travel and mountain sickness start to take a toll, it can work miracles to keep you going; providing instant energy. In all probability, AMS is bound to kill your appetite as well and some glucose will definitely come to rescue in such a situation.

  • Pain relief balm or spray like Iodex, Moov or Volini.
  • Few strips of Band Aid
  • A bottle of Dettol
  • An antiseptic cream
  • A crepe bandage
  • Nasal drops can be extremely helpful if end up with a blocked nose after catching cold
  • ORS Packs & other medicine to control hill diarrhea/Loose motions.
  • Diclomol – Pain Reliever
  • Any other medication which you are already on.

Documents

At least one government issued identity card like driver’s license, voter ID, Passport or Aadhar Card. Please ensure that you are carrying both the original and a few photocopies of it.

  • Print out of your itinerary/Map.
  • Travel tickets.
  • Hotel reservation slips if booked in advance.
  • Write down some of your emergency contacts (name and phone numbers) on a piece of paper and keep it in your wallet.
  • Medical insurance if any
  • Motorcycle/Car Insurance.
  • Multiple copies of your Permit if entering through manali side.
  • Passport size photographs

What to Eat in Spiti?

In Spiti, they have many restaurants with a large variety of dishes to offer in the valley, but the food at homestays is still the best of all. To know more what to eat in Spiti, click here

Want to Trek in Spiti Valley?

If you have time in hand and you also want to trek in the mountains of Spiti Valley, you can contact the owner of Ibex Homestays in Losar.

Dorja Guide – Losar (+91 9259270076)

We call him “Superman” because he is so fast and fit over the treks as well as the house work. He is a great cook and he makes an amazing alcoholic drink.

Planning the Budget:

How much will a road trip will cost totally depends upon a person’s choice and can differ for every individual depending on their spending habits. However, there are some expenses which will remain the same for all or will definitely incur irrespective of any other factors. How much will the trip cost cannot be predicted on the maximum side but yes we can still calculate the minimum budget. 

  • There are NO or a very few ATM/Paytm/GPay/Card swipe machine in “Spiti Valley”, Hence carry as much CASH as you think you might need in the whole trip.
  • Always keep a track of your ride’s fuel level and get it refilled before it reaches below half tank.

Following are the ways in which i will breakdown your minimum budget planning details, both will be exclusive of your travel cost to Delhi.

In Case you are rent a motorcycle:

  1. Renting a motorcycle with safety gears will cost you around 11 – 15k
  2. Fuel will cost you around 3 – 3.5k 
  3. Stay Each day will cost you around 700/- in a Homestay/Guest House (Including Dinner) and it can be even less if you travel in a group.
  4. Food in the valley will cost you around 300/-  (Breakfast + Lunch) each day.

Total Expense of Trip (Delhi – Delhi): 25k approx. (If traveling solo) & 16k approx. (If traveling with pillion)

In Case you own a Motorcycle:

  1. Getting you motorcycle from any state to Delhi/Chandigarh via Train, will cost you around 2 – 3k
  2. Fuel will cost you around 3 – 3.5k 
  3. Stay Each day will cost you around 700/- in a homestay/Guest House (Including Dinner) and it can be even less if you travel in a group.
  4. Food in the valley will cost you around 300/- (Breakfast + Lunch) each day.

Total Expense of Trip (Delhi – Delhi): 16k approx. (If traveling solo) & 10k approx. (If traveling with pillion)

In Case you own a Car:

  1. Fuel will cost you around 8-10k
  2. Stay Each day will cost you around 700/- in a homestay/Guest House (Including Dinner) and it can be even less if you travel in a group.
  3. Food in the valley will cost you around 300/- (Breakfast + Lunch) each day.

Total Expense of Trip (Delhi – Delhi): 15k approx. (If traveling with 2-3 members) & 12k approx. (If traveling in a group of 4-5 members)

In Case you rent a Car:

  1. Renting a car with luggage carrier will cost you around 20k for 10 days.
  2. Fuel will cost you around 8-10k
  3. Stay Each day will cost you around 700/- in a homestay/Guest House (Including Dinner) and it can be even less if you travel in a group.
  4. Food in the valley will cost you around 300/- (Breakfast + Lunch) each day.

Total Expense of Trip (Delhi – Delhi): 20k approx. (If traveling with 2-3 members) & 16k approx. (If traveling in a group of 4-5 members)

Is Spiti Safe?

The local people here are very kind, humble and gentle. Majority of the valley are simple villagers and crime rate here is next to zero. So as long as you drive sensibly, do not take any unnecessary risks, do not pick fruit from their garden without permission , do not get into foolish arguments with someone then ‘Spiti Valley’ is a safe place to visit. ‘Spiti’ is safe for women traveling solo. In fact I have never met anyone as humble as the people of this valley, they take good care of you.

Places to visit in Spiti Valley

Kaza

Kaza is the administrative headquarter & the largest settlement of the valley. Situated on the left bank of Spiti river, narrow streets of the small town lead to the marketplace which has some restaurants. There is Bank, ATM, Post Office and a petrol – diesel filling station at Kaza. Being a good base to exploring the region, the famous Key monastery and remote villages like Langza, Hikkim, and Komik can be easily reached from here. Kaza is also known for its colorful festivals and the ancient Sakya Tangyud Monastery. Kaza is situated along the Spiti River at an elevation of 3,650 metres (11,980 ft) above mean sea level, is the largest township and commercial center of the Spiti valley.

Chandra Taal Lake

Chandra Taal, meaning ‘Lake of the Moon’, is a deep blue crystal clear water body high up in the valley hollowed in an attractive crescent shape. The picturesque Chandra Taal lake beauty is legendary. It’s an ideal pastoral countryside when a carpet of meadow grass covers the slopes and shepherds lead their flocks to graze in spring and summer.
Though there is a 14 km-long high risky motorable road that branches from Batal to the lake, but a better approach is to undertake a 2 hour level walk from Kunzum Pass. The lake sides are ideal summer camping grounds where tent accommodation is also available from June to October. The lake is a very popular among trekkers and campers.

Key Monastery

Kye/Key Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on top of a hill at an altitude of 4,166 metres (13,668 ft) above sea level, close to the Spiti River. Perched on a volcanic-shaped hillock, Key monastery is a collection of faintly lit rooms and a maze of dark corridors leading to different sections of the complex. Age-old wood columns and small flights of stone steps that surrender in front of heavily carved wooden doors leading to the prayer chambers have exhibits of rare thangkas, murals, and several ancient musical instruments. A library contains manuscripts of sacred Tangyur texts. Apart from the cells occupied by the monks, the Gompa has a large assembly hall and chamber that is lined with religious paintings. The chamber of the incarnate abbot Zim-chung is the highest point of the complex. It is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and a religious training centre for Lamas.

Hikkim Village

Hikkim is a small village in Spiti at an elevation of 4,400 M (14,400 ft). It is 46 km from Kaza, the nearest town connected by road. It is one of the highest year-round inhabited locations in India, with residences from 4330 to 4400 M. Hikkim village has a post office situated at an elevation of 4,400 m (14,400 ft) and this post office is the highest post office in the world. The post office connects small villages in this isolated region to the rest of the world. It receives and sends postal letters. It also acts as a savings bank where villagers can deposit money in their savings accounts or withdraw money. Intrepid travelers make it this far to Hikkim village to take pride in mailing their letters from the highest post office on Earth. The Postal Index Number or PIN of the village is 172114. Rinchen Chhering has been the postmaster since its inception in 1983. The mail is carried on foot to Kaza. The post office is forced to shut during winter months due to heavy snowfall.

Komic Village

Komic Village also know as “Highest village in the world connected with a motorable road”. The timelessness of Komic following the route which enables mesmerizing view of handful peaks (all above 6000 meters). Komic (‘Ko’- snow cock, ‘Mic’-eye), situated at an elevation of 4513 meters is one of the highest villages in Asia and literally means the eye of a snow cock. This quaint little farming village houses a population of 84 in 13 households. One of the world’s highest monasteries (4513 meters) called “Komic Lundup Chhemo” is situated in this village and belongs to the Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

Tabo Village

A small and secluded village in the heart of Spiti, Tabo is famous for a monastery which is over a thousand years old. Founded in 996 AD, Tabo is the largest monastic complex in Spiti comprising of nine temples, 23 chortens, a monk chamber and a nun’s chamber. The village, with sprawling apple orchards is in the middle of a cold desert around. Across the monastery, on a mountain side are a cluster of caves that are said to have been used by meditating monks for months of solitary confinement. This village has a Helipad area just behind the Tabo Monastery.

Tabo Monastery 

Tabo Monastery (or Tabo Chos-Khor Monastery) was founded in 996 CE in the Tibetan year of the Fire Ape. Tabo is noted for being the oldest continuously operating Buddhist enclave in both India and the Himalayas. A large number of frescoes displayed on its walls depict tales from the Buddhist pantheon. There are many priceless collections of thankas (scroll paintings), manuscripts, well-preserved statues, frescos and extensive murals which cover almost every wall. After the earthquake of 1975, the monastery was rebuilt, and in 1983 a new Du-kang or Assembly Hall was constructed. It is here that the 14th Dalai Lama held the Kalachakra ceremonies in 1983 and 1996. The monastery is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as a national historic treasure of India

Kunzum Pass

Kunzum Pass (Tibetan: Kunzum La, (elevation 4,590 m or 15,060 ft), is a high mountain pass on the eastern Kunzum Range of the Himalayas around 122 km from Manali. It connects Lahul valley and Spiti valley . There is also a 15 km trek to the Moon Lake of the Chandratal from the Kunzum Pass. It consists of fifteen (15) sharp hairpin turns, testing driving skills of even experienced drivers. The drivers, travelers and passerby seeks blessings of Kunzum mata before undertaking the dangerous journey.

Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass is a high mountain pass (elevation 3,980 m (13,058 ft)) on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas around 51 km from Manali. It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is a major tourist attraction place as people love to play, ski and slide in the snow of Rohtang Pass; but if you are looking to travel to this place from Manali side you need to get a permit from DC’s office.

Chicham Bridge

Chicham Bridge, the highest bridge in Asia, and quite an astounding spectacle at that. The bridge is at a staggering height of 13596 ft and connects the two villages named Chicham and Kibber. When you look down from the bridge you will find yourself gaping below, at a 1000 ft deep gorge! The gorge below is known by the name of Samba Lamba Nallah; the making of this bridge cuts down the journey from Kibber to Losar by 40 km.

Gue Village

Gue is a small remote village comprising about 50 to 75 houses, situated at a height of approx 10,000 feet above the sea level, between the towns of Sumdo and Tabo. It is relatively unknown and unheard till date. A yellow coloured large cemented gate marks the deviation towards the village on NH-22, from where it is a steep 8 kms climb on a curvy broken road to the hilltop where Gue is located.The village is tucked deep in the mountains that very few people know about. If you are ready to take a short detour from the main roads, you will find yourself at a place that looks straight out of the fairy world.
It is famous for India’s only known naturally preserved mummy of the old monk. You can find the mummy inside a glass case which is a naturally preserved dead body, not wrapped in any bandage, completely dried up and the eyes, teeth and hair on its head still intact. The Mummy was found in a sitting position (which it remains to be in till date) with a rosary in one hand, with all body parts intact and a strange belt running down its spine, from neck to lower parts of the body. Right beside the mummy there is a beautiful monastery making it a must visit place.

Kibber Village

It is also known as the “ The land of Snow Leopards” Kibber  is a village high in the Spiti Valley at 4270 metres altitude above sea level and situated 20 kms away from Kaza. It contains a monastery and the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary. Kibber lies in a narrow valley on the summit of a limestone rock. Villagers count on the 3 day traditional trade route over Parang La to Ladakh to barter their horses for yaks or to sell for cash. It also acts as the base for several high altitude treks. The Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary, spread across 1400 sq. km lies past the village and is a habitat for blue sheep, ibex and snow leopards.

Dankhar

Dankhar (3870 m.) the old capital of Spiti is a large village built on a spur or bluff which stands out into the main valley and ends in a precipice. It is connected by a rough motorable road and is 27 km away from Kaza. Towards the west of it is the Pin Valley. Situated on the ridge it would have been very easy to defend this place; locals tell stories about how the lamas sat in the monastery or the upper houses throwing stones at invaders. Life was very simple before the days of bullets! The whole place is very picturesque.

Kalpa

A small town in the Sutlej river valley, above Reckong Peo in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. Inhabited by Kinnauri people and known for its apple orchards. Apples are a major cash-crop for the region. The local inhabitants follow a syncretism of Hinduism and Buddhism, and many temples in Kalpa are dedicated to both Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses. Also visible from this place is the sacred Shivling rock on the Kailash mountain that changes its color at different points in the day.

Pin Valley National Park

From the confluence place of Pin River with Spiti River, at Atargoo, 10 km from Schichling village, a narrow road leads into the valley carved out by Pin. At its origin the river is fed by the Kungri glacier. The valley has several monasteries which includes the Kungri monastery and several others located in the scenic village named Mud. From Pin Valley several tough trekking routes head out which pass over the Pin Parbati Pass. One trail gets into Kullu valley, while another one through Bhawa valley leads into Kinnaur. The entire Pin Valley is a National park where over twenty species of rare animals and birds including the endangered snow leopard are sheltered. Other wildlife sighted in the sanctuary are the Ibex, Bharal, Red Fox, Marten, Weasel, Snow Leapord, Bearded Vulture, Chakor, Golden Eagle, Griffon and Himalayan Chough Wease

Kiato

Kiato also called as Kato/Keto in the valley. It is just an unexplainable, out of the World place which can only be compared with outer space planets like Mars. With unique rock structures, river lines, plains and loneliness makes this region like a land from outer World. You can reach this place while you drive from kibber to losar via Chicham Bridge. It is nearly 30kms tactical ride/drive from Kaza.

Money Saving Tips

  • Travel in a Group/Pillion.
    1. Travel in the Month of September (Peak season time gets over by September and you get in the situation to bargain)
    2. Make on spot bookings for stay.
    3. Carry Your Tent along with you. (You can save a big amount if you are flexible and can sleep in a tent)

World’s Renowned Places

  1. Hikkim – World’s Highest Post Office.
  2. Komic – World’s Highest Village Connected With Motorable Road.
  3. Kaza Indian Oil Petrol Pump – World’s Highest Retail Outlet.
  4. Chicham Bridge – Asia’s Highest Bridge.
  5. Spiti Valley – World’s Most Treacherous Road.
  6. Kunzum Top – Altitude 4950 M above Mean Sea Level.
  7. Chitkul – India’s Last Village

Things You Should Not Do

  1. Do not pick fruits of the gardens without permission.
  2. Do not under estimate the terrain of Spiti Valley neither compare it with Ladakh.
  3. Do not drink alcohol while Driving/Riding.
  4. Do not litter in the Holy valley.
  5. Acclimatize yourself by traveling/Riding from Shimla Side. 
  6. Do not use your phone while Riding/Driving.
  7. Do not take infants or old age people along with you on this trip.
  8. Do not click pictures or record videos of the Holy Monasteries in the Valley.

Warning

  • The roads of this valley are world’s most treacherous and adventurous roads. You have to have a lot of off-road riding/driving experience and a very calm mind set, you have to be very precise over every corner of the valley. The altitude is very high, oxygen levels are low, cold winds are harsh and the roads are highly risky to drive.
  • People above 50 year age or with any heart/respiratory disorders should not attempt to travel this valley without advice of your doctors.
  • Do not take a child along with you.
  • You should have to have the basic knowledge of your automobile with quite a few spare parts. As there are a very few repair/spare shops in the valley and nearly no connectivity with the essentials for a stretch of 180kms which is the most treacherous terrain of the trip.
  • Do not drive or ride after 7 pm.

From Our Camera

35 thoughts on ““SPITI VALLEY”

  1. Its a great blog to get such a detailed info and useful collection of do’s and don’ts ,thanks for saving my time in searching the best one…a must checkout blog for travells and the ones who wants collect info about such a beautiful place to go.✌💯

  2. Dear Son, You don’t miss even a single chance to make us feel proud of you. Keep it up & may God bless you dear

    1. Hello sir….
      I don’t know much about traveler blog…..but sir you always give me valuable knowledge…..like this your blog give me more information about travel and now I m so excited to travel sir….I wanna take more experience with you…. always be with me…you are my 2nd hero😍😍

  3. Very informative & you covered almost every point. Itinerary is very impressive and interesting. Waiting for more to come from you

  4. I must say this is really a useful blog for people who love to travel, you have covered everything in your blog. Really appreciate your hard work.
    I would say every one should see this blog before planning a trip to SPITI VALLEY coz it will save time and money at same time. Thank you for sharing your experience with us

    1. Very well written blog and brilliant photographs shared from your expeditions of Spiti Valley. Each and every detail are strategically composed and informative. Reading this has truly made me feel energetic and inspired me to pack my bags and fly out straight from the peaks of northern England to the challenging Himalayan ranges of India. The mountains are calling..and I must go.

  5. Damn awesome, each and everything is mentioned in this. there’s no need of asking anyone for anything about the ride even the cost, fuel, food, kms, everything is mentioned. I really loved it 😍

  6. It’s was more than a blog like a virtual trip to Spiti Valley! Like the every single detail mentioned made me to think of visiting it. Not a kind of travelling guy, but the text and those beautiful pictures really made me one!!

  7. Woww perfectly explained 🤩….. Now m surely going to spiti after this lockdown ends 💪💪
    #fullpower

  8. Really amazing. Ease for a Traveller if he/she follows this. Explained everything from head to toe, Keep bringing more please. 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  9. Very well written blog . Each and every detail are strategically composed and informative. Reading this has truly made me feel energetic and inspired me to travel all the beautiful places.really appreciate your hard work.

  10. Really amazing sir. Each and every point is mentioned in this. The points are well explained and this will surely lit up the enthusiasm about the next travelling blog💯

  11. Spiti Valley was considered a place only for the adventurous type and motorcycle enthusiasts?

    I am not much aware about the blogs and all but yes, after reading I feel so good..and energetic.

    Is safe spiti if you want to go with family and kid?

  12. Very well drafted blog which is really rich in information to help travelers!! Thank you for sharing experience with us.

  13. Really very informative blog it is .it gives much collection of information. I’m sure people will get help from this.👍

  14. Very well written in a detailed format, very informative. After reading this in feeling very energetic and excited..

  15. Your blog has some amazing content for all travel enthusiasts. Thanks for sharing such a thrilling experience of yours. Really useful and worth going through your content and egarly waiting for more to come.👍

  16. Very well written and highly informative…should be the go to fr anybody planning to visit Spiti Valley

  17. I am Lucky to have you as my teacher( not only in study kind of sruff you know what I’m talking😀) . Sir, actually my big brother❤ an inspiration. I’d never thought, I will ever get so much emotionally attached to the bikes, trips and rides. You inspired me for this and then I’ve got to know that what life is actually about.
    Well, I’ve seen many motovlogs this is first time I’d read travel blog, and right now I can feel the goosebumps of riding on the CHICHAM BRIDGE.
    I hope someday we’ll ride together to Leh, Spiti, Nepal and Bhutan. I want to ride with you everywhere sir. Har waqt kuch naya seekhne ko milega.😅

  18. Its really a great blog and all the important information explained easy language …. i love this😘

  19. This is the perfect piece of information needed. The writing style and the amount Of information shows how passionately you want to help or guide others for their future travel.
    Keep up the good work. 😇

  20. Superb! Mind-blowing write up and the depth of your information will make any travellar think it’s a child’s play going to Spiti.But yes this trip was unbelievable true and was an experience which cannot be described in words it actually changed our lives altogether.

  21. Very well jotted down blog. Loved every bit of it. This really motivates the adventurous me to plan a trip here soon. Thank you Karan.

  22. Wow just wow – what a detailed blog – simply fantastic photos and information. A must see for travelers to Spiti!!

  23. Wow, very informative blog, its took me to SPITI already in my imaginations. Definitely try to go there in my next vacations with my gang,

    Thanks karan for blogging each and every details about the journey.

  24. Well, you have left very little to imagine! Fantastic and detailed blog. But most of all, very inspiring. I am tempted to say that I will go there at least once, but must add, ‘God willing’.

  25. This is a fantastic comprehensive blog for anyone wanting to visit Spiti. A lot of hard work has gone into the details and photographs.

  26. This is one of the best blogs I have come across in my traveling times, the details covered and in such a simple way is astonishing. Himalayas never seizes to amaze us with its beauty and variety ant the essence of the same has been reflected in this blog. I have been an ardent traveller but for me also there was a lot to learn. Keep up the Good work!

  27. Very well written blog! Informative, detailed and definitely an asset for anyone planning a trip to the Spiti valley!

  28. A very well good written blog on spiti valley road trip.
    Thanks for this,it will really help for someone planning trip to spiti.
    Really appreciate your work👍🏻

  29. Excellent blog!!
    Thanks for such good information on spiti valley ,each n every point is covered in your post.
    Keep going n carry your adventures👍🏻

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