Spiti Valley Road Trip: A Trip into Heart of the Himalayas

 In Places To Visit, Road Trip, Spiti, Travel

Ready for your next adventure!!!

Spiti Valley, located in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh is a cold desert mountain valley known for its cultural richness, adventurous routes, and natural beauty. A Spiti Valley Road trip is a wanderlust journey like no other, that lets you experience some of the most amazing landscapes in the Indian Himalayas. “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”. Spiti lies in the middle of Tibet and India and provides a vibrant culturous feel to anyone visiting there. If you are looking forward to spending some quality time amidst nature, then a road trip to Spiti Valley promises an unforgettable experience.

Imagine the thrill of your tyres gripping the curvy roads, and the joy you feel while moving through the hidden villages  in Spiti Valley is priceless. The snow-capped mountains, fresh air crossing your face and the greenery around feel so lively. Ahan! Looks like you are already feeling the rush inside you. So, be ready to turn your dream into reality, and welcome to the Spiti Valley Road trip.

To make your journey effortlessly comfortable and stress-free, you can check out Spiti Tour Packages so that everything is planned. From the moment you start your journey, you’ll find yourself experiencing immense joy. Every turn on the road will bring you closer to a never-experienced adventure before. So, here’s a Spiti Valley Road Trip guide to make your trip extra special.

The Journey Begins: Best Itinerary for Spiti Valley Road Trip

Begin your Spiti Valley Road Trip from the Capital city of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla. Starting a breathtaking journey from Shimla exploring all the scenic beauty of towns like Narkanda and Rampur, the real adventure begins. You can also follow an alternative route from Manali, which is comparatively shorter but filled with challenging routes and high mountain passes. Whichever way you pick for your road trip, these Shimla travel recommendations will help you a lot with exciting experiences.

shimla-to-narkanda

Day 1: Shimla to Narkanda

The best Shimla tour guide tip would be to begin your journey from Shimla to Narkanda, a small town hosting a panoramic view of the Himalayas and the beauty of Apple orchids.

This drive usually takes around 3-4 hours. You can spend the night in Narkanda and enjoy comfortable homestays in Shimla with crisp mountain air.

Day 2: Narkanda to Sangla

Your next day starts from Narkanda to Sangla. Sangla is a picture-perfect spot for all the travellers who wish to click some amazing pictures. This place is in the Kinnaur district.

The drive usually takes around 7-8 hours, so be prepped up. If you follow the Travel Tips For Shimla, then carrying a water bottle and some ready-to-eat energy boosters would be great. In Sangla, you can visit charming villages, and visit the Kamru Fort and the Baspa River. Relax and soak in the natural beauty before hitting your next destination.

Suggested Read: Travel tips for Spiti

Day 3: Sangla to Kalpa

Gear up for the third day for a drive to Kalpa. Kalpa is a small town falling in the Kinnaur Kailash range known for its stunning views. 

The drive to Kalpa takes around 4-5 hours. You can spend a day at Kalpa, enjoying the snow-capped peaks and visiting Kalpa Monastery. 

Day 4: Kalpa to Nako

New day new adventure!
Your fourth-day drive begins from Kalpa to Nako, which is a high-altitude village located near the Indo-Tibetan border. 

This road drive will take around 5-6 hours. At Nako, you can explore places like the Nako Lake, ancient rock-cut temples, and the famous Nako Monastery. Nako is a beautiful place presenting the cultural traditions of the region.

Day 5: Nako to Kaza

Here comes the fifth day, dedicated to visiting the largest town in the Spiti Valley, Kaza. drive to Kaza through the high mountain pass of Kunzum La.

The drive takes around 6-7 hours to reach Kaza in Spiti Valley. here you can have a relaxing time visiting the Kibber Village, the Hikkim Village, known for the highest post office, and the Key monastery.

All these offbeat places in Spiti Valley are a true adventure to give you unforgettable memories.

Exploring the Attractions in Spiti Valley

A trip to Spiti Valley is never a dull experience. Spiti Valley is full of attractions showcasing it’s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. Here are some of the best places to visit in Spiti Valley:

key-monastery

1. Key Monastery

The Key Monastery is one of the famous sightseeing points in the Spiti Valley. Situated at 4,166 meters, the biggest monastery in the region is more than 800 years old and belongs to the sect of Tibetan Buddhism known as Gelugpa. This is a monastery where a large population of monks resides and the facilities in the place include a setup for studying and for meditation. 

2. Tabo Monastery

Tabo Monastery is another well-known sightseeing in the Spiti Valley. This one was established in 996 AD and it is one of the oldest working Buddhist monasteries in India. The monastic church is compound and has many shrines, nine temples, several stupas, and cave grottoes. This monastery is highly prized for its frescoes and stucco works on the walls with themes of the life and preaching of the Buddha.

3. Dhankar Monastery

Located on the northern bank of the Spiti River, and on the right bank of the Pin River, the Dhankar monastery in Spiti is a beautifully built Tibetan Buddhist architecture. The monastery is about one thousand years old and has superb vantage points of the valleys and mountains that surround it. The tourists also have a scope for trekking to the Dhankar Lake which is a splendid high-altitude lake nestled amidst some formidable mountains.

4. Komic Village

Komic Village is one of the highest villages in the world situated at an altitude of 4,587 meters. Towns in the village consist of the Komic Monastery or Tangyud Monastery, which is considered as one of the highest monasteries globally. It provides a magnificent panoramic look at the mountains around the village and gives the feeling of the traditional way of life of the Spitian people.

5. Langza Village

Langza Village has fossils dating back to millions of years as well as a very beautiful sight of Chau Chau Kang Nilda. It is perched at an altitude of 4,400m with a large statue of Buddha on the top of the mountain facing the village. The tourist interest in the village includes Mud House, interaction with local people, and Langza Monastery.

Suggested Read: Budget Trip To Spiti Valley: Affordable Travel Guide

Adventure in Spiti Valley

Spiti Valley is a perfect place for any adventurous soul where one can get almost all types of adventurous activities according to the level of adventure one can digest. Here are some of the top adventure activities in Spiti Valley:

camping

Camping in Spiti Valley

Tent pitching in Spiti Valley is such a memorable experience where you will not only get to see the raw and unadulterated beauty of the place where you are camping. Picturesque camping sites of Spiti Valley include riverside camping and that too on high altitudes of the mountain ranges. While it is appreciated all over, some famous camping places are Chandratal Lake, Kaza, and Langza. Trekking in Spiti Valley gives a golden opportunity to get closer to nature, taking camp under the tent and feeling the beauty of the clear sky during the nights spent up there in the mountain.

Trekking in Spiti Valley

Hiking to the areas in the Spiti Valley is a good option if one wants to tour across the rough terrains and the isolated settlements of this part of the world. Here are some of the trekking trails one can plan in Spiti Valley for a number of days: Pin Parvati Pass trek, Parang La trek and the Spiti to Ladakh trek are some of the famous treks in Himachal Pradesh. These treks are filled with splendid and captivating mountain vistas, glaciers, and deep valleys and afford the cultural tour to see the realities of the native residents.

River Rafting

White water rafting is one of the exciting activities that one can undertake in the Spiti River in order to have an unbelievable look at the valley. The river holds good rapids throughout the ride around deep gorges and multiple terrains thus making it an appropriate river to raft in. The most suitable period for river rafting in the Spiti Valley is the summer period since the river is supplemented by the melting snow in the mountains.

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is another popular activity in Spiti Valley where tourists can go on off-road cycling and face up some of the most challenging tracks in the area. Due to the challenge of rough paths, passes and few habited villages at high altitudes, mountain biking is famous in Spiti Valley. The path from Himachal Pradesh Kaza to Kibber, the highest motorable village in the world is the best route for mountain biking.

Preparing for Your Spiti Valley Road Trip

Driving in & around Spiti Valley requires strategic planning to make the trip as safe and enjoyable as possible. Here are some essential tips to help you prepare for your trip:

Spiti Valley Road Condition

They include rough roads, steep hills, and narrow passes, hence the road network in Spiti Valley can be considered to be rough. One has to make sure that the roads are appropriate for driving and also, endeavour to drive safely. It is advised that one must have a strong and dependable car preferably a Four-wheel drive for the journey. Ironically, it is also recommended to have spare tyres, a tool kit and extra fuel, since fuel depots are scarce in the valley.

Suggested Read: 26 Best Places To Visit In Spiti Valley: A Detailed Guide

Cost of a Road Trip to Spiti Valley

While preparing for a road trip to Spiti Valley, one must consider the expenditure ranging from the means of transport, lodgings, food, permits and other related charges. Here is a breakdown of the typical costs you might incur:

transportation-to-spiti-valley

1. Transportation:

Fuel: Fuel expenses will also be influenced by the total distance the vehicle is used throughout, depending on the vehicle’s consumption rate. Delhi to Spiti Valley is approximately 800-1000 km one way, and the round trip will be approximately 1500-2000 km. The estimated fuel economy is 12-15 km/litre and the best starts at INR 90/litre, thus, make sure you set aside INR 10,000-15,000 for fuel.

Vehicle Rental: If you are hiring a car or motorcycle the cost of hiring differs ranging from INR 1,500-3,000 for a car and INR 1,000-1,500 for a motorcycle per day. Self-drive car rental for a 10-day trip might cost between INR 15,000 to INR 30,000, while for a motorcycle it can cost anything between INR 10,000 to INR 15,000.

Public Transport: If one does not have personal means of transport then one can engage in the use of buses and shared taxis for transport. The tariff for experiencing local transport from Shimla/Manali to Spiti Valley and inside the valley fluctuates between INR 5,000-7,000 per individual for the whole voyage.

2. Accommodation:

  • Standard class options including guest houses and homestays are between INR 500 and 1500 per night. In case of stay, depending on the duration of travel, for instance, INR 5,000-15,000 per person for 10 days of travel may be spent in accommodation.
  • Camping is another arrangement and costs about INR 1,000-2,000 for one night or even includes meals at campsites.

3. Food:

  • Food costs are fairly reasonable in Spiti Valley. The budget for food is INR 300-500/day; this amounts to INR 3,000 – 5,000 for 10 days of travelling.

4. Permits:

  • As for the Indian citizens, there are no restrictions on obtaining permits for visiting the Spiti Valley. Still, foreigners need to possess an Inner Line Permit (ILP) for some of the zones. The permit cost trends at around INR 600 to 800 per head.

5. Miscellaneous:

  • Extra costs are related to payments for entries to the monasteries, buying souvenirs, and any unforeseen circumstances. For these, one should set aside INR 2, 000- INR 3, 000.

Total Estimated Cost:

  • For a budget road trip on your own vehicle: INR 25,000-35,000 per person
  • For a road trip using rental vehicles: INR 40,000-50,000 per person
  • For a trip using public transport: INR 20,000-25,000 per person

This approximate cost depends on how long you plan to stay, how you move around and on the current global fuel costs as well as accommodation costs.

Best Time to Go on a Road Trip to Spiti Valley

spiti

Timing for the perfect Spiti Valley Road Trip depends much on what the traveler would want like deep snow or dry curves. Here is a detailed overview of the best time to visit Spiti Valley:

  1. Summer (May to June):
    • Pros: This is considered the best time for anyone planning to take a road trip to Spiti Valley. The climate is suitable considering that the temperatures are between 15 and 25 degrees all through the day. All the roads and passes including Kunzum Pass are reported to be open. This is the best time to trekking, camping, and visit other interesting sites and places in Spiti Valley.
    • Cons: It may be crowded by tourists, and accommodation rates for the same may also be a little on the higher side.
  2. Monsoon (July to September):
    • Pros: The valley is green and it has beautiful scenery. It is much less crowded in winter so if you like your travel undisturbed this is the best time to visit.
    • Cons: The roads particularly those from Manali are so risky and complex due to issues of landslides and torrential rainfalls. Do not venture out during this time unless you have prior experience in road travel in the mountains.
  3. Autumn (September to October):
    • Pros: After the monsoons the climate is bright, and the vegetation looks relaxed and fresh. Wetter and not as hot as the equatorial region since the temperatures range from 5 °C – to 20 °C. April starts with cool climatic conditions and is perfect for photography and the valley without the hassle of summer tourists.
    • Cons: Nights at this time can be cold, and some of the high-altitude trails could begin closing off by the end of October due to early snow.
  4. Winter (November to April):
    • Pros: It is fun to travel to Spiti Valley as a lone wolf if you like snow during the months of winter. The environment is privileged with snow ground making it different from other terrains. In winter there are wonderful views of the frozen rivers, the monasteries covered with snow and the people and culture of Spiti valley you can document.
    • Cons: The majority of the roads leading to the valley and up to the Manali route are normally blocked by snow during the season. This implies that there is only one route available through Shimla that at times can be a little difficult. Cold climate has been observed to fall between -20°C to 5°C and thus people need to get well prepared, especially during winter. They also have to understand that many accommodations and benefiting facilities can be closed.

Best Time for Spiti Valley Road Trip:

Theoretically, the best time to plan a road trip to Spiti Valley is from May to June and from September to October. These time frames are characterized by good weather conditions, open road routes and, enjoyable road trips.

Things to Carry for Spiti Valley Road Trip

water-and-snacks

As far as things to carry while travelling to Spiti are concerned, they are mainly of two categories: the necessities and the comfort items. The essentials to bring on a Spiti Valley Road Trip include warm clothing, including layers, a medical kit water/energy bars/snacks, a charging port, a torch and a camera. It is also recommended to have all the required prescriptions with you and a photocopy of the travel papers.

Conclusion

The Spiti Valley Road trip is without a doubt, one of the most amazing experiences in life which indeed is an amalgamation of the beauty of nature and the heritage of culture. The natural beauty, architectural brilliance of monasteries, and friendly people are the characteristics of the Spiti Valley making it an ideal tourist destination. 

While on the road bumpy mountainous terrains, the opportunity to camp by the calm lakes or interact with the few residents of the villages or even the amazing sunrises that you will have to endure to make the trip successful, are unforgettable and that’s why the Spiti Valley Road Trip is one of the best.

What are the must-see attractions in Spiti Valley?

Some of the top destinations to visit in Spiti Valley are the Key Monastery,Tabo Monastery,Dhankar Monastery,Komic village and Langza village.Each one of these attractions gives a visitor a different view of the cultural and natural heritage of the valley.

Are there fuel stations available in Spiti Valley?

There are few fuel stations available in the entire Spiti Valley and these are mainly available in both Kaza and Reckong Peo. You should always have spare fuel on all your trips.

Which route is better for Spiti Valley?

The routes of Shimla and Manali are totally distinct as well as give different sightings. Though the Shimla route is longer there are more gradual slopes while there are tiring and tough slopes in the Manali route due to the fact of the toughest terrains, new and high mountain passes. Select the mode of transport that will be more comfortable for you and to which you are accustomed.

Can I do a Spiti Valley road trip on a motorcycle?

Yes, a Spiti Valley road trip on a motorcycle is a popular choice among adventure enthusiasts. Due to the difficult road conditions and splendid views, it can turn out into a most interesting journey. However, you should make sure that the motorcycle you are riding is in good condition as the terrain will require one.

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