Detailed Itinerary for Spiti Valley - 9 Days
Hi Guys, if you have come here from YouTube, you may have already seen my Spiti Valley videos. I recently did the full circuit of Spiti Valley Starting from Delhi, then going to Shimla and returning back to Delhi via Manali. I did this trip with Tripver Community. They invited me as their guest vlogger for their "Spiti Valley Explorer" trip to shoot Lunar eclipse on 27th July 2018. I couldn't witness the Lunar eclipse due to a particularly cloudy weather, but the trip was amazing overall. I ended up learning a lot from this trip including details like the culture, lifestyle of locals, local crops, food the best month to visit Spiti Valley (For a full detailed article on that click HERE), etc.
I am sharing below the complete Itinerary, route, cost of this trip. You can always customize it further as per your requirements. I'll also cover different aspects, like things you should know if you are traveling for the first time and FAQs.
Route and Important Stops:
If you are visiting Spiti in a particular season when the weather allows you to complete the full circuit from Shimla to Manali you can opt of taking the complete route as mentioned below (For more details on the ideal travel time and road conditions as per different months click HERE).
Here's the complete driving route -
Delhi (Considering Delhi is the start point of the trip)
Narkanda (stay optional)
Rekong Peo or Kalpa (Stay at Kalpa optional)
You can opt for taking the following detours on the way for a better coverage of places of interest
From Sichling to Dhankar for visiting Dhankar Monastery or Dhankar lake (stay at Dhankar is optional)
From Kaza visit the iconic places like Komic, Hikkim (For the World’s highest Post Office), Lanza and Key Monastery.
The cost of a trip to Spiti Valley will entirely depend on your trip planning, time of visit, mode of conveyance, and the level of comfort you expect. Although I must say, travel to Spiti Valley is not one of those luxurious experiences. Don't expect fancy resorts, flights, amazing roads etc. You are going to a high altitude location with lesser facilities than usual. But your trip can be relatively more comfortable too, depending on your mode of conveyance. I’ve covered these aspects of travel planning and the average cost below:
Trip under INR 10k: Ideal for Backpackers/Someone with flexible time on their hands
If you are a backpacker or looking for a budget friendly trip and/or time is not really a limitation in travel planning to you, you can consider roughing it out and take local buses where ever possible, hitchhike, and opt for low cost stays. A trip like that can be achieved in as low at INR 10,000. Here's a useful article that I found on how you can complete the trip in under 10k on the website Nomllers. Check out the article HERE.
Please see, if you miss a bus or travel in a weather/season when buses are not frequent, it may prolong the overall duration of your trip. Be sure to have buffer days planned. :)
Trip under INR 20k: Ideal for working people, with fixed amount of leaves
There are quite a lot of travel companies that offer packaged tours to Spiti Valley under INR 20k. But please be sure that you do your prior research and check the ratings of the Travel company that you travel with. Some points to keep in mind are, other people’s ratings, thoughts and suggestions on facebook pages of the travel company. And whether or not there is some time in between the itinerary for you to be able to explore the place properly.
For my trip, I travelled with Tripver community. The trip that I opted for is called Spiti Explorer Package. The itinerary spans over 9 days. For all options of their Itineraries you can check HERE.
The one that I went on costs INR 17k as per their website listing. You can get an additional discount of INR 500 if you use the code “Tanya”.
The biggest advantage of such a trip I would say is, that you get to meet a wide variety of people and make good friends. I was travelling solo for mine, and on the same trip I had other solo travellers, couples, married couples, group of friends, siblings etc. It was a great mix and a ton of fun.
Trip Cost between INR 30,000 to 60,000: Ideal For those driving their own vehicle, Car/Bike/Rented Vehicle
For this kind of a trip, you need to consider time, distance, fuel cost, rent of vehicle, Cost of Food, Cost of Stay per day etc. If you are driving a vehicle and are a group of friends, the cost is obviously distributed between the number of people going together. But before you plan this kind of a trip, do read the next topic “some important points”. Below are some average costs for: Distance - Approximately 1500 Km (from Delhi to Delhi) and Duration - 10 days
Fuel cost for Car - 8000
Fuel cost for Bike - 4000
Car rental cost for 10 days (for a good rugged vehicle, inclusive of petrol, no maintenance required)- 35000
Hotel/homestay for 10 days - 10,000 - 20,000 (cost approximation is for 1 person, can be spit between 2 also)
Cost of food - INR 3000 - 5000 (Cost approximate for 1 person)
Cost of servicing own vehicle/car and maintenance (before and after trip) - INR 20,000
Cost of servicing Bike and maintenance (before and after trip) - INR 6,000
My personal opinion is that taking a rental vehicle in this case is way lesser hassle than taking your own vehicle. All these prices are considered on the higher side for safety. I’ve referenced a YouTube video for some of these points. If you want to watch the video click HERE.
Read on for some really important points that you need to keep in mind before planning your own trip
Some important points -
If you are driving to Spiti Valley, please note, and I cannot stress on this point enough, take a rugged vehicle with a good ground clearance. I’ve seen cars like Innova get stuck on the road patch between Kaza to Manali (By far the worst road conditions that I have seen).
A hatchback should not even be considered for driving on those roads. There are some people who take the risk. But I’m just going to put the point here for your own personal safety. The chances of the hatchback skidding, sliding, getting damaged by falling stones etc. are way too high. If you love your life and value it enough, consider paying extra for a rental vehicle, but don’t take a hatchback car.
Whether you are driving a car or a bike, make sure you are a GOOD driver who can handle a vehicle on treacherous roads, blind turns, narrow ways amidst falling stones. Presence of mind is important.
Under any or all situations, while driving on the roads, try and leave from your location as early in the morning as possible, so that you can complete the drive during day light, and the chances of getting clear roads is much higher.
Now that I have spoken enough about driving on the roads, let me mention some ground realities. The roads are bad, yes. But they aren’t impossible either. A lot of vehicles ply on them. There are chances of landslides, but there’s also an active road clearance team stationed to frequently clear the roads for travellers. The worst that can happen is, that you can get stuck for a few hours while a landslide is getting cleared.
For this reason (point 5) don’t ever start driving mid day or late in the evening.
Please seriously consider your health before you travel to Spiti Valley. The altitude is high and so, people are prone to High Altitude sickness and breathlessness. See a doctor before your trip and take medicines like Diamox, that help with acclimatization.
For further getting your body used to the altitude, climb the ascent gradually, taking stops at night at places like Shimla, Narkanda, Kalpa etc. An overnight stay is recommended for acclimatization.
Once you are at the high altitude, do not skip any meal and drink atleast 2L of water/day to stay fit. If you don’t follow, you will feel fatigued and tired way more than usual.
Even I experienced breathlessness at a lot of points, especially while running and climbing (which I keep doing very often), but eating full portion of meals helped a lot.
There is a government run hospital at Kaza which you can visit if you feel sick.
The last point from where you can get petrol during the circuit is at Kaza. Make sure you get a full tank on the way back till Manali
The roads are really rugged and poor, so your vehicle will require frequent checks. So make sure you know the basics of vehicle mechanics. Also, in case you meet with an accident, this point helps.
Talking of maintenance, your vehicle will require conditioning before and after the trip, this point can be avoided if you take a rental vehicle.
A bike trip may seem like a lot of fun while planning, but please note, sometimes when you are carrying a large bag of supplies tied to the bike, and driving on treacherous roads filled with water channels and mud (places where bikes can skid), the trip can turn sour. Factor in these situations during your plan for mental preparation.
Always wear gum boots while driving a bike for preventing your shoes from getting wet in water ways and wet mud.
During my trip to Spiti Valley there were a few hotels that I really liked and would personally recommend to others too. In my case the places were all booked through Tripver and arranged by them (Kudos to them). Actually all their hotel picks were great, but these were some of the best ones that I liked. If you plan a trip yourself too, you can consider booking these places. For current rates and tarrifs, I’m providing booking links. You can check competitive pricing on different booking portals too.
Narkanda - Mount View Hotel
Kalpa - Tab Exotic Hotel
Chandratal Lake - Dewachen Pema Thang Camps (This is a camp site that I would highly recommend because it is comfortable, has an attached bathroom, clean linen, and good facility irrespective of high altitude and limited supply of water). For more visual details of the place, you can also check my vlog HERE
Apart from this, even the monasteries in Spiti have the option of stay at an economical rate if you want to experience living in a Monastery. Some examples are Dhankar Monastery, Key Monastery. They have to be booked upon arrival of course.
At Kaza you can also consider living in Zostel.
Here's the itinerary for a packaged tour with Tripver that I went on. You can customize the itinerary as per your requirements or book a similar trip with them. :) I have all good things to say about my trip.
Day 1: Journey begins from Delhi to Shimla in a comfortable Volvo AC bus at 7 PM
Day 2: Arrive in Shimla early morning, and move to the Force Traveler to Reach Narkanda (9,000ft approx) hotel by 12:00hrs.
Day 3: Set-out early morning post breakfast to Kalpa(9,700ft approx). Stay overnight.
Day 4: Onward journey to Kaza along with stops like Nako and Tabo Monastery on the way.
Watch my complete experience video of the Road Trip from Shimla to Kaza by clicking on video 1! The journey was of course beautiful. Starting from Narkanda, a green misty town of Himachal Pradesh, to the gradually thinning foliage along the way after Kalpa and Rekong Peo. We also witnessed the famous narrow roads, difficult routes and beautiful villages of Nako, Taba and then finally reached the town of Kaza. Such a good feeling!
Wake up early get started to make the most of the day ahead. We begin with a visit to Langza (14,500ft approx) and see an iconic Buddha statue perched on a hill. Mail postcards to loved ones from Hikkim, the world’s highest post office before diving into a maggie break/packed lunch post which we do a mandatory quick Group Insta moment at Komic, the World’s highest village to return straight for a tasteful dinner in Kaza main market.
Watch the complete video experience of this day in my video 2. Do watch the video till the end for the surprise element of dinner at Kaza Main Market. The energy and the lively atmosphere is infectious.
Day 6: We spent Day 6 in Kaza itself due to a modification in the itinerary. We went to the main Market and also made a stop over at Key Monastery, the largest of all in Spiti. For the exact itinerary you can check http://www.tripver.com/spiti/explorer/
Day 7: Started from Kaza towards Chandratal, on the way stopped at Kibber.
Watch video 3 for a detailed visual experience of the journey. The picture that you see in the thumbnail is that of the majestic Key Monastery.
Video 4 is an account of Chandratal lake mostly and the way back from there to Manali. Here a word of caution for most travelers. This route is the worst I have ever experienced in terms of the roads. They are badly broken. See for yourself if you don't believe me. But it is best that you have a large vehicle with you if you consider driving yourself.
Day 7: Visited Chandratal lake the same day. Stayed overnight at Dewachen Camp (best in my opinion near Chandratal)
Day 8: Onward journey towards Manali from Camp. Stopped on the way at Bettal for a meal.
Day 9: Back to Delhi from Manali. Wondering how to spend a Day in Manali? You can check my blog post HERE
What did you think about all the details here? Let me know in the comments below. Also, share it with friends who are planning a trip to Spiti Valley. :)