10 Days Spiti Valley Road Trip
MAY - OCTOBER 2018
Spiti Valley Road Trip Highlights
Cost per person
Spiti Valley, with an average height of 12,500 feet above sea level, is a desert mountain which lies nestled between India and Tibet. With clear blue skies, snow-capped mountains piercing up and turquoise green streams as your companions, this 10 day Spiti Valley and Kinnaur round trip on the Hindustan-Tibet highway and the Manali – Kaza highway is by far the most unforgettable drives you’ll take in your life.
Starting in Chandigarh and ending in Manali, this 10 day Spiti Valley tour is designed for travellers looking for an authentic and comprehensive Spiti Valley holiday. Shared by a small group of co-travellers, this Spiti Valley tour goes through the lush green valleys of Kinnaur and, into the brown Badlands of Spiti Valley and descends into Manali.
Come travel with us – the most experienced local Spiti Valley tour operator, and explore the native culture, food, and thousand-year-old heritage by interacting with the effervescent, warm, and extremely gregarious locals.View Full Itinerary
Your ten-day Spiti Valley Tour begins as you leave Chandigarh for the Himalayan town of Shimla. Enjoy the comforts of a luxurious Toyota Innova, as your driver takes you from the plains into the mountains at Shimla where you get your first taste of the Himalayas.
Shimla today is an attractive blend of a hill, town and holiday resorts. With its distinctive retro style, hand-painted signs in bazaars, cars banned in the main town, Shimla has an old-world charm to it which feels as if the British left just yesterday. While it’s a 4-hour drive to Shimla, we recommend spending a night in Shimla as the body gets acclimatized to the tough mountainous terrain that awaits us in Spiti Valley.
While you get awed by the beauty of this town, remind yourself that this is just the beginning of a magical ten-day journey ahead. As there is no sightseeing scheduled for this day, you are free to rest at the hotel or you can explore the town on your own.
Overnight in a hotel in Shimla.
On the second day of this Spiti Valley tour, 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-kilometer 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.
On the third 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 Bapsa 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 fourth 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, which would be our first stop in the glorious, mystical Spiti Valley.
The second largest village of the Spiti Valley, Tabo, is known worldwide for its 1000-year-old Tabo Monastery. Walk around this UNESCO world heritage site and gain a deeper insight into Buddhism. Unlike other monasteries in the Spiti Valley, the Tabo monastery is located at the bottom of the valley.
Overnight at a hotel in Tabo.
On the fifth day of this Spiti Valley tour, we drive to the charming and high villages of Dhankar and Lhalung.
Dhankar, the former capital of the Spiti Valley, offers panoramic views of Spiti Valley. Dhankar stands perched above the confluence of the Spiti and Pin river. Perhaps there must have been a fort here once, but today Dhankar is renowned for its 1200-year old monastery balanced precariously on a rocky precipice. If time and energy permit, we do the easy 45-minute trek to the stunning turquoise coloured Dhankar Lake.
After the trek, we drive to the nearby village of Lhalung. Literally translating to the “Land of God”, Lhalung is located at the foot of the Tangmar Mountains. The locals believe their God lives in these mountains and the mountain changes its colors through wide arrays of reds, yellows, browns depending on the mood of their God. Visit one of the oldest gompas in the Spiti Valley which the natives say was built by angels one night. Bear in mind not to touch the walls of this monastery for people believe that it will make the angels go away.
In Lhalung, visit the Lhalung Monastery famous for its statue of the three-cornered Buddha which symbolizes the Buddha looking in all directions at one time. If time permits take a short, traditional Yak safari or learn how to make steaming hot momos with the locals.
Gain a better understanding of the Spiti culture as you spend this night in a homestay. Enjoy authentic, freshly prepared cuisines and sleep in the comforts of a clean, warm and comfortable bed. We spend the night at an authentic local homestay with a local family, listening to stories of life at above 12,000 feet.
Overnight at a homestay in Lhalung.
On the sixth 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.
On the seventh 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 might 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 around 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 traversible 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.
On the eighth day of this Spiti Valley tour, we drive to one of the most photogenic places in Spiti Valley – the Chandratal Lake. Before that, we pass through the high altitude pass of Kunzum La. Stop by at the stupa and pay tribute to the local goddess, “Kuzum Mata” as she's known. At 15,000 feet above sea-level, the Kuzum Pass connects Kullu and Lahaul to the Spiti Valley.
From there, we head to Chandratal Lake – A visual marvel, this stunning blue-coloured lake is set at an altitude of 4,300 meters above sea level in the heart of high Himalayas and is a must see on a full moon night. It derives its name, “Chandra” (Moon) and “Taal” (Lake) from the crescent shape of the lake. Watch the lake change colours from crystal clear shades of blue to emerald greens by dusk.
Otherwise barren and bereft of any human settlement, the blue lake bordered by carpeted green meadows couple with the pristine white of the Chandra Bhaga mountain range makes this an ideal camping ground.
Live your dream of camping comfortably in the Himalayas as you spend your evening gazing at the Milky Way and the millions of stars on a clear night. Our camps at Chandratal Lake are equipped with camping equipment including tents, high altitude sleeping bags / blankets and a comfortable mattress.
Overnight at a camp 2 km away from Chandratal Lake.
On the ninth day of this Spiti Valley tour, drive from Chandratal Lake towards Manali. We take a quick stop at Batal for a cup of tea at a small tea shop run by a beautiful old couple. From there, we continue driving on the Kaza – Manali highway and stop at Chatru for lunch. Drive through the famous Rohtang Pass and return to Manali to end your breath-taking Spiti Valley sojourn.
Here, we bid goodbye to your driver who’d have been your friend and guide for the last nine days.
Since there is no sightseeing included in your schedule in Manali, you are free to explore Manali on your own.
Overnight at a hotel in Manali.
On the final day of our Spiti Valley Tour, we wake up to some hot chai, a sumptuous breakfast and some brilliant views of the Himalayas from your hotel in Manali. You are free to explore Manali on foot today.
You can choose to take an overnight bus to New Delhi / we can help you arrange a private taxi from Manali to Chandigarh / New Delhi as an additional service.
Just as your body needed time to acclimatize to the mountains in Shimla, this drive is perfect for your mind to acclimatize back into modern-day existence. Bid adieu to the picturesque valleys, blue skies, and winding rivers as you begin descending from the mountains into the plains.
You could choose to pack the following items for your Spiti Valley holiday:
*If you are buying new shoes for your Spiti Valley holiday, please remember to use them for at least a month before you commence your holiday.
Request you to carry only one backpack per person.
Some Important Points:
1) The tour starts in Chandigarh and ends in Manali.
2) Vegetarian food will be easily available. If you need Jain food or have any dietary restrictions, please let us know and we will make the required arrangements.
3) We recommend a start time of 7 AM from Shimla on Day 2. So that you reach Kalpa / Sangla in the twighlight hours and can enjoy your cup of tea watching the sunset or take a stroll around.
4) On each day of the tour, we recommend to begin the journey latest by 7AM so that you can utilise the day light at its fullest and avoid traveling in low light.
Regarding any safety concerns:
If you are concerned about your safety, please note that we have been arranging tours and treks in Spiti Valley for the last 29 years and there has never been an untoward incident. Spiti Valley and generally the whole of Himachal Pradesh is very safe. The guides and the drivers we work with have been with us for several years.
Please do not worry about your safety - for us, in our our culture - you are like our family members and you will be treated like the same - with lots of respect.
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…
29 years of experience in organising tours within Spiti valley
The only local Spiti travel company to be Recommended by Lonely Planet
The best local prices minus any middle man or commissions.
Drive from Chandigarh – Shimla
Drive from Shimla – Sangla
Drive from Sangla – Chitkul – Kalpa
Drive from Kalpa – Nako – Tabo
Drive from Tabo – Dhankar – Dhankar Lake Trek – Lhalung
Drive from Lhalung – Pin Valley – Kungri – Mudh – Kaza
Drive from Kaza – Langza – Hikkim – Komik – Ki Monastery – Kibber – Gette – Kaza
Drive from Kaza – Losar – Kunzum La – Chandratal Lake
Drive from Chandratal Lake – Chattru – Rohtang Pass – Manali
Check out from Manali