8 Day Road Trip
APRIL - MAY 2023
Road Trip Highlights
Cost per person
There are two routes to the stunning Spiti Valley. One, via Manali and the other via Shimla – which is also called the Hindustan – Tibet Highway.
In the months of April and May, before the Manali – Kaza Highway opens Spiti Valley to a busy, bustling world, there is a fantastic opportunity to explore Spiti Valley at its tranquil and peaceful best through the Hindustan – Tibet Highway starting from Shimla. While the rest of the country is baking in the smoldering summers, the high altitude mountains of the Spiti Valley are usually still trenched in snow. This Spiti Valley tour for eight days is perfect for you if you want a break from the heat, and only have time in months of April and May.
Drive through one of the most beautiful picture-perfect roads in the world while halting along in dreamy mountain villages. This Spiti Valley tour from Shimla goes through Sangla - Chitkul - Kalpa of the Kinnaur Valley and finally enters Spiti through the village of Nako. Explore ancient thousand-year-old monasteries, ride a Yak, live in authentic homestays and spend time in some of the highest villages in Asia. Dubbed as “The world's most adventurous road”, this Hindustan-Tibet highway is a visual masterpiece. Don’t let that misnomer frighten you because despite its hairpin curves and steep drops, this road has been safely ferrying travellers since the 1850s.
Watch time stand still as you gaze into crystal-clear blue skies, pristine, turquoise rivers nestled between snow-capped peaks and a never-ending expanse of barren mountains. Sounds enticing, doesn’t it?View Full Itinerary
We start our epic Himalayan road trip today and start driving to Sangla. With the Baspa river magically weaving itself through the forested slopes, this exquisite 95-kilometre stretch of the Sangla Valley is a sight to behold. Known predominantly for its agriculture, almost every house in Sangla will have cultivations of apples, pears, walnuts, apricots or potatoes. Here, we camp overnight at a luxury campsite with the sound of the river.
On the second day of this Spiti Valley Tour, we have breakfast, basking in the first rays of the sun, and later head towards Chitkul.
Chitkul can be described as one of the most scenic settlements in the valley and the last inhabited village before the India-China border. This short drive from Sangla to Chitkul will be one of the most scenic drives you’ll take with plenty of opportunities to take stunning photographs. Walk around the Baspa river and pay tribute to the Mathi Goddess at the temple in the village. After spending time in Chitkul, we turn around and head to Kalpa.
Legend has it that Kalpa was the winter home of Lord Shiva. If it’s true, he couldn’t have found a more remarkable abode for himself, with enthrallingly majestic views of the Kinner-Kailash and Jorkandan peaks looming right above the village.
Overnight at a hotel in Kalpa.
On the third day of this Spiti Valley tour, from Kalpa, we continue driving on the famous Hindustan – Tibet Highway or the NH 22 – This stretch is famously known as one of “most treacherous roads of the world” by the lonely planet in a visual spectacle. Don’t let that little piece of information deter you because your local drivers are highly skilled and experienced while driving on these roads. As you begin embracing the jaw-dropping views watch the mountains change their colours from the lush greens of the Kinnaur valley to the many hues of brown.
After a quick refueling stop at Puh, we proceed to Nako – the last hamlet of Kinnaur, before we enter the gates of Spiti Valley. After lunch in Nako, we drive through Sumdo, the first village of Spiti Valley on this road, to Tabo, where the most ancient monastery is.
Overnight at a hotel in Tabo.
On the fourth day of this Spiti Valley tour, we drive towards the beautiful Pin Valley. Imagine a national park with an abundance of animals and birds, with some rare plant varieties, a river that gushes when it isn’t frozen and trekking opportunities for the adventure-seekers. The Pin Valley promises all this and more.
We first visit the Kungri Monastery and then the beautiful hamlet of Mudh – the last motorable village of the Pin Valley.
Declared a national park in 1987, Pin Valley has altitudes ranging from 11,000 to 20,000 feet and is home to at least 12 endangered snow leopards. In addition, other animals indigenous to the region and park are the Siberian ibex, bharal, weasel, red fox, and marten. Birds such as the pika, griffon, golden eagle, bearded vulture, chukor and raven paint the skies a pretty picture.
By evening, drive to Kaza, the commercial capital of the Spiti valley and spend the night in a hotel in either Kaza or the nearby village of Rangrik.
Overnight at a hotel in Kaza.
On the fourth day of this Spiti Valley tour, we drive to some of the highest inhabited regions of the world.
The highest village in Asia, Komik, which literally translates to ‘eye of a snow cock’, is situated at a height of 4513 meters. This farming village has a population of 84 people, living in utter isolation, cut-off from the rest of the world for most parts of the year. This little hamlet ensures to bring you thousands of miles away from your familiar settings to a place of soft brown pastures and snow-white mountain peaks. Some of the common animals of the region are the Tibetan wolf, blue sheep, red fox, hare, snow cock, Himalayan griffin, rock pigeon etc.
Later, we drive to Hikkim where we visit the world’s highest post office in the world. If possible, you can even meet the post-master and hear his stories.
After sending out a postcard, we drive to Langza. Langza village is situated at an altitude of 4400 meters and belongs to the Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Langza houses a population of 137 in 33 households. Once you are here, you can walk into the village and visit the ancient Lang (Temple) which is estimated to be around 1000 years old. At Langza, walk back to the prehistoric era when Spiti was submerged by the Tethys Sea, as you explore a land very rich with fossils of Marine animals and plants which were here millions of years ago.
We drive back down to Kaza for lunch. After that, we visit the world famous Ki Monastery. The car will first stop at the base of the monastery hill for the ultimate photo opportunity of this remarkable structure. With over 1000 years’ worth stories to tell, the Ki Monastery situated at a height of 13,668 feet was founded by a disciple of the famous Atisha, in the 11th century CE. Belonging to the Yellow Hat or Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, this monastery is famous as a prominent center of learning as well as a refuge for Tibetans. Being remotely located atop a hill overlooking endless plains, the Ki Monastery is an obvious choice for those seeking peace and calm.
Then we will move farther up the valley to the picturesque village of Kibber. Located at a height of 4205 meters and 18 km from Kaza, this formerly highest permanently inhabited village in this region, is also a popular base camp to embark on adventure and treks to adjoining mountains of high altitude. The expanses of beautiful landscapes and immeasurable beauty of the snow-tipped mountains make the place a haven for nature-lovers and photographers alike. From Kibber you can trek to Chicham Village, located across a sharp and precipitous canyon traversable only by a suspended wire cable basket system known as a Jula. We drive higher up to the secluded village of Gette where we absorb stunning aerial views of Kaza and tie a prayer flag.
We drive back to Kaza / Rangrik in the evening and spend the night in a comfortable and warm Kaza hotel.
On the sixth day of this Spiti Valley tour, we drive words the tiny hamlet of Dhankar. Perched high above the confluence of the Spiti and Pin River, the former capital of the Royals of Spiti Valley also known as the Nono, who ruled the dust-coloured badlands of Spiti Valley is a historic delight.
Walk back in time, as you explore the 1200-year-old Dhankar Gompa which perches precariously between eroded rocky pinnacles on the edge of a cliff. If time permits, do take an hour’s climb above the village to visit the stunning turquoise Dhankar Tso or Dhankar Lake.
Later, we end the day by making our way to Lhalung – another beautiful high altitude Spiti valley village. The word Lhalung means ‘land of god’ and the village of Lhalung is located at the foot of the Tangmar Mountains which supposedly transforms in colour depending on the mood of the deities. Red denotes anger while yellow signifies happiness. We spend the night with a local family and indulge in a cooking session at their authentic homestay.
We listen to their tales and enjoy the delicious homecooked meal before we rest overnight at Lhalung in our warm homestays.
On the seventh day of the Spiti Valley tour, we are almost towards the end of this magical trip. Today, we set out to return to Shimla across the Hindustan-Tibet highway. The first stop on this leg would be the charming village of Rampur and Padam Palace which we had previously crossed on our way up to Spiti Valley.
Overnight at a hotel in a prestigous hotel in Rampur.
Please note: Meals are not included at Rampur stay
On the final day of this Spiti Valley tour, from Rampur, we head back to Shimla. Shimla is an attractive blend of a hill town and holiday resort. With its distinctive retro style, hand-painted signs in bazaars, cars banned in the main town, Shimla has an old-world charm which feels as if the British left just yesterday. The tour ends here but you have the option of choosing to stay in Shimla and explore the town on your own – or we can help you arrange a private taxi to get back to Chandigarh.
The 6 day Spiti holiday we had in the month of August 2016 was one of the most exciting, hassel-free and filled with enriching experiences.Big Thank you goes to each and everyone in Spiti Holiday Adventure for the amazing time we had.It was indeed a pleasure to meet Rahul Mansur who organised the trip for us at a very short notice.Special thanks to Team at Hotel Spiti Serai, Rangrik for their hospitality and our driver Tilak.Would definitely love to experience more off-beat destinations organised by you guys.
Do yourself a big favour and visit Spiti Valley using this company. The whole team is extremely professional and just a lovely bunch! We did 7-day jeep ride which provided a great itinerary to see a lot of what this amazing place has to offer. Spiti Valley is a once in a lifetime experience and totally worth the effort to go!
Thank you for an amazing "Spiti" experience. This was one of the well arranged and managed travel experience that I have been part of. Still missing the hospitality of all the people who hosted us at all places be it Khansar at kaza, Home-stay at Kibber or Mountain Trail Hotel at Manali. Once again a thank you very much and of course hope to travel with you guys once again. As JRR Tolkien says... Home is behind, The world ahead; And there are many paths to tread…
34 years of experience in organising tours within the Himalayas
The only local Spiti travel company to be Recommended by Lonely Planet
The best local prices minus any middle man or commissions.
Drive from Shimla to Sangla
Drive from Sangla – Chitkul – Kalpa
Drive from Kalpa – Nako – Tabo
Drive from Tabo – Pin Valley – Kungri – Mudh – Kaza
Drive from Kaza – Langza – Hikkim – Komik – Ki Monastery – Kibber – Gette – Kaza
Drive from Kaza - Dhankar - Dhankar Lake (Hike) - Lhalung
Drive from Lhalung - Rampur
Drive from Rampur – Shimla
It has been a great experience and a memorable one with Spiti Holiday Adventure. Great place, Great people and agency to travel with.
The way they arrange groups is incredible.Good food, amazing people and really good stay at hotels, camps and homestay.
One of the best road trips one could possibly undertake in the subcontinent region. Notwithstanding the dwindling roads and the awe-inspiring waterfalls en route, these roads quite honestly offered the journey of a lifetime. The drivers really made the trips entertaining and educating. Also, credit to the dedicated guide/local liaison/hike instructor from Spiti Holiday Adventures (Rengzin) for helping us understand local customs, traditions and giving us local remedies to acclimatise. Despite the road blocks on the Manali - Kaza highway, the detour and prompt planning from the team at SHA didn't dampen our morale one bit. Safety was always of prime concern to the team, which really made things easier for the first-time mountaineers.