Spiti Road Trip
Spiti, part of Lahaul and Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh, is sandwiched between treacherous Manali – Leh highway and Hindustan-Tibet road. Region has recently caught the attention of travellers’ for its remoteness. Spiti offers unique experiences for travellers owing to breath-taking landscapes. In addition, Spiti has lot to offer in terms of its rich culture.
Closed for better part of the year due to harsh climatic conditions, Spiti opens from end of June until October. Buddhism is the major religion of Spiti. It has five major monasteries under three different philosophies. Among natural and manmade wonders of Spiti, we visit Langza, fossil village of India due to abundance of fossils here. We also visit Hikkim, which arguably has world’s highest post office at 4440 metres. On second day, we stay at Tangyud monastery in Komik village, which is highest village in the world.
As a part of Spiti road trip, which starts from travellers’ paradise, Manali, we also stay at homes of locals in different villages to experience their culture and beliefs. Finally, on penultimate day, we stay in camps during our visit to Chandertal Lake.
|We use cabs (Traveller/Innova/Sumo) for the entire road trip. However, if you want to ride a bike, bike rental option is also available. You can select that option at time of booking.|
If road tours are not your cup of tea, you can check our Spiti village treks option here.
|Pickup/Drop Point||Government Bus Stand, near Mall Road, Manali|
|Departure Time||5 AM|
|Return Time||4 PM (Take a buffer time of an hour)|
|Distance||Points of Interest||Stay Location||Max altitude|
|Day 1||202 kms||Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass||Hotel in Kaza||4590 metres|
|Day 2||70 kms||Key Monastery, Kibber, Tashikang, Langza, Hikkim, Komik||Komik monastery||4587 metres|
|Day 3||70 kms||Demul village, Pin valley||Home stay at Mudh village, Pin valley||3850 metres|
|Day 4||75 kms||Dhankar Lake, Dhankar village||Home stay at Dhankar village||4200 metres*|
|Day 5||80 kms||Lhalung village, Kunzum Pass||Camping at Chandratal||4590 metres|
|Day 6||130 kms||Chandratal Lake, Rohtang Pass||–||4300 metres|
*This is altitude of Dhankar Lake. In case you do not go for trek to Dhankar Lake, you scale a maximum altitude of 3751 metres this day
Arrive at Manali and stay there
Manali, tourist capital of Himachal Pradesh is departure location for this trip. Since we scale higher altitudes over a course of six days, therefore, we recommend to arrive a day earlier to scheduled departure and have proper rest. This is a necessary part of acclimatization process so that it is easier for our bodies to adjust to higher altitudes that we scale over next few days.
Drive of 202 kms from Manali to Kaza
We arrange pickup from Manali Mall road at 5 AM on first day of this tour. As we start the journey, we leave Kullu district and cross the famous Rohtang Pass to enter into Lahaul & Spiti side of Himachal.
Our journey is through one of the toughest roads on the planet. As we have to cross a number of rivulets, therefore, we start early from Manali. Starting early gives the advantage of crossing lower water levels in those rivulets. Once sun is at its peak during afternoon, snow at upper areas melt and thus water level rises during evening time.
We take a breakfast stop at 7 AM near Marhi (35 kms from Manali), From approximately 2000 metres altitude of Manali, we scale to nearly 4000 metres of mighty Rohtang Pass within a span of 52 kms. Rohtang Pass, at 3978 metres is the lifeline for people of Spiti and Ladakh. It is also on the line of ancient trade route between people of Kullu and Lahaul Spiti. Until this date, Gaddis or Shepherds take their goats and sheep from barren landscapes of Lahaul Spiti to greener pastures of Kullu valley during June to September.
As we descend from Rohtang, road divides into 2: one towards north i.e. Leh and other towards east i.e. Spiti. As we continue our journey towards Spiti, landscapes slowly tilt towards brown from greener tint. As this region is over tree line, so we see lesser trees. We take lunch break at Batal after which we proceed towards Kaza. We reach Kaza by 4 PM.
This day’s stay is in hotel rooms on twin sharing basis.
Drive of 70 kms from Kaza – Key monastery or Kee monastery – Kibber – Tashikang – Langza – Hikkim – Tangyud monastery Komik
Key, many might not have heard the name but would have definitely seen photographs of the most famous monastery of Spiti region. Also known as Key monastery, it is biggest of the region and known for its unique architecture. Of different sects of Buddhism, it falls under Geluk. As per ancient Buddhist culture, one member of family has to become a monk. This is the monastery where Buddhists send their children who, braving strict discipline and after renouncing worldly comforts become monks.
We head towards Key at 8 AM. It is 23 kms/40 mins drive from Kaza. Everyone can spend time within the monastery premises and interact with monks. Post that, we move towards Kibber, which was once the highest village of the Asia. Located at an altitude of 4270 metres, this village also serves as base for many difficult treks like Kanamo Peak and Prangla Pass.
After spending time at Kibber, we move towards Tashikang, which is 17 kms from Kibber. Highest peak of Spiti i.e. Chau Chau Kang Nilda at 6300 metres above sea level is also visible from this village. It is a small village at the road end and there are approximately 10 homes in this village. This village is also on the periphery of Kibber wildlife sanctuary. Post Tashikang, we head towards Langza, which is also known as fossil village of India. Langza is located at an altitude of 4419 metres. Word “Langza” is a combination of two words: Lang, which means “Hill top” and Za, which means “grass” in local language.
There have been various documentaries recorded on this village for presence of Fossils, which are seashells. As a result of sedimentation process, they were preserved.
After Langza, we proceed towards Hikkim village, which arguably has world’s highest post office and polling station at 4572 metres. Post office has been functioning in this village since November 5, 1983.
We reach Komik village before sunset. Komik is highest village of the world. Komik also has a monastery, named Tangyud, which comes under Sakya philosophy.
We stay in monastery this day.
Drive of 70 kms from Komik – Demul – Mudh Village (Pin Valley)
We visit Mudh Village of Pin valley on this day. Entire Spiti valley has dry terrain with exception of Mudh village. One can see greener landscapes near the village. Mudh is also the base for Pin Parvati trek, which ends in Kheerganga (Kullu region).
On the way to Mudh village, we also visit picturesque Demul village, which is famous for Handicrafts made by locals of the village and provides a perfect view of Chau Chau Kang Nilda peak in the backdrop.
Main occupation of people here is weaving carpets during months of November to May because farming is not possible due to heavy snow. They are involved in farming during months of June to October when weather and terrain is appropriate.
It takes 2 hours to reach Demul from Komik. After spending some time at Demul, we head to Mudh. It takes 3 hours to reach Mudh from Demul. We stay in home stay this day.
Drive of 70 kms from Mudh – Dhanker village and 6 kms trek to Dhankar Lake & back
Dhankar is a combination of two words: “Dhank”, which means a “Big Rock” and “Kar”, means a “Palace”. True to its meaning, it is renowned for 1200 years’ old monastery, which is striking beautiful and one gets awestruck by the unbelievable architecture that stands on tall rocks.
From Mudh, we start our journey at 8 AM. On reaching the village after 2.5 hours of drive, we also visit Dhankar Lake at 4200 metres. It is a beautiful lake and locals have sighted Snow leopard many times around this lake. It is a short trek of three kms until the lake. Interested people can join the trek and others can opt to stay in the village. We return to village by 5 PM.
This day also we stay in homes of locals. We also visit the old monastery in the village, which provides a panoramic view of some higher peaks and also confluence of Spiti and Pin rivers.
Drive from Dhanker village – Lhalung – Chandratal campsite
Our last place of interest of this tour is visit to historical Lhalung village and famous Chandertal Lake.
Lhalung village, located at an altitude of 3751 metres is famous for one of the oldest monasteries of Spiti, which locals refer as Golden Temple due to gold plated scriptures inside. 1020 AD is year of establishment of this monastery. There is another significance of this monastery. It is believed that when God came from Tibet, he brought a stick with him which he planted in Lhalung and blessed that stick. That stick turned into a tree, named Changma Tree. Changma Tree is still blossoming in monastery premises. The tree has medicinal properties, which is used to cure cough and cold. After Lhalung, we head towards Chandratal.
As its going to be long drive, we start early at 7:30 AM from Dhankar village. We reach Chandratal camp by 3 PM. We do camping this day.
Trek from Chandratal campsite to Lake and back & Drop back to Manali
Final day of this tour starts with trek to Chandertal Lake. After morning tea, we start early at 6 AM for this 1-hour easy trek.
Chandertal Lake or Moon Lake is located at an altitude of 4300 metres. It lies on the boundary between Lahaul and Spiti region.
We spend some time at the lake after which we return to campsite. After that, we head towards Manali in cabs. We take a brief halt at Marhi and reach Manali by 4 PM.
After thanks giving note, we leave with memorable experiences of this delightful journey.
- Rucksack/Bag (50-60 litres): Keep it light, keep only necessary items
- Day pack to carry water bottle and some eatables
- Trekking/Sports Shoes
- Pants (3 pairs)
- Full sleeve T-shirts (3 pairs including the one you are wearing)
- 1 Full sleeve woollens/fleece
- 1 Thick Jacket
- Socks (3 pairs, cotton)
- Woollen Cap/Balaclava
- Water Bottle
- Sunglasses (must)
- Toiletries(Sunscreen – SPF 30+, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper/wet tissues)
- Headlamp/LED torch
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to ensure the clothes and other essentials remain dry in case of rain.
- 1 lunchbox and spoon for carrying packed lunch
Personal Medical Kit
Although tour guides would have medical kit, still we would suggest to carry a personal medical kit as well.
ORS/Electrolyte (5 packets – They help a lot when energy levels start to deplete and body is in need of Salt)
- Band Aid – 5 strips
- Paracetamol – 5 tablets
- Moov spray
- Avil 25 mg(in case of allergies) – 3 tablets
- Crocin (in case of fever)- 5 tablets
- Vomistop – 5 tablets
*These medicines are advised on basis of our experiences in mountains. Please consult your doctor/physician before taking any medicine.
- Photocopy and Original Govt id card
- Declaration and Disclaimer form(These would be shared over mail once a trekker registers with us)
• For any cancellations 1 week prior to starting of trek/tour, 70% of booking amount would be refunded
• For any cancellations 3-6 days prior to starting of trek/tour, 50% of booking amount would be refunded
• For any cancellations 1-2 days prior to starting of trek/tour, no amount would be refunded
Example, for a trek/tour starting on 1st September,
• Any cancellations on or before 25th August, 70% of booking amount would be refunded
• Any cancellations between 26th-29th August(both dates inclusive), 50% of booking would be refunded
• Any cancellations on 30th and 31st August, no amount would be refunded
For any bookings made within 3-6 days before starting of the trek/tour, only 50% of booking amount would be refunded on cancellations
For any bookings made on last 2 days before starting of the trek/tour, no amount would be refunded on cancellations
ROAD MAP OF SPITI VALLEY
1. Are there mobile signals in any place in Spiti?
Unfortunately or fortunately, there are no mobile signals in most of Spiti. You only get BSNL signals and that too in Kaza. At all other locations, there are no mobile signals. After leaving Manali, there are mobile signals for around 10-15 kms.
2. Is there any ATM in Spiti?
ATM is available only in Kaza. So, remember to carry extra cash for any emergency cases. Once we start from Manali, ATM is available only at Kaza.
3. What kind of physical fitness is needed for this trip?
Since there are many high altitude points that one crosses on the way to Spiti, there can be cases of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). It is therefore, highly recommended to arrive Manali a day earlier of scheduled departure for acclimatization purpose. Though not related to AMS, but a basic level of fitness is must before undertaking this trip. You can click here to check general fitness plan. Refer to beginner’s level for this trip.
For points related to bike rental option, please refer to below points:
- From what days the bike option is available?
- It is be available from Day 2 to Day 5. It is be available from Kaza to Kaza. You would be travelling by cab on Day 1 i.e. Manali to Kaza, Day 5 i.e. Kaza to Chandratal and Day 6 i.e. Chandratal campsite to Manali
- Which bike would be provided?
- We provide Royal Enfield Bullet which is either 350 or 500 cc
- What extra accessories/facilities is/are provided if we opt for the bike option?
- We provide Helmet for both rider as well as pillion passenger
- We also provide storage cans for the fuel
- You can also keep your bags/rucksacks in the cabs. You need not carry those on the bike. You can carry a day pack though for having useful items like a water bottle, a medical kit, food etc.
- What about fuel charges?
- Fuel charges have to be borne by you
- We provide empty fuel cans which you can utilize to carry extra fuel. You do not need to carry those and can keep those in the cab which will be accompanying you
- What if I get stuck somewhere because of bike puncture/clutch wire damage/acceleration wire damage?
- We help you fully in getting bike back to running condition if there is a puncture/damage to clutch wire or accelerator wire. You need not pay anything for puncture. We take care of that.
Also, our support staff would always keep a check so that you are not left behind other group members who would be travelling by cabs
- What if unfortunately bike meets with an accident and gets damaged?
- If in an unfortunate condition bike meets with an accident, our trip leader would assist you fully in providing basic first aid. Regarding the bike, please do not try to repair/correct any wiring or damaged part by yourself. Please report it to trip leader immediately.
- If there is any kind of damage to the bike, repair charges would have to be borne by you but only those charges which would be calculated after opting for insurance. You need not pay full amount of damage. Let’s consider an example. If due to damage repair cost comes out to be Rs 10000 without insurance, but after opting for insurance, final cost is Rs 900, then you pay Rs 900 only not Rs 10000. These charges are deducted from the security that you need to deposit before starting of the trip.
- Also, it is our responsibility to get bike lifted from point where its damaged to the repairing agency/service station. You are not be liable to pay for that pickup charges
- There is a security deposit of Rs 2500 which you need to deposit before starting of the trip. Failure to deposit the amount would lead to termination of your slot in the trip. If there is any damage to the bike, we return the security deposit after deducting the damage charges. Balance amount would be credited to your account after bike has been repaired.
- If there is no damage and everything goes smoothly, we return you the security at Manali on Day 6 of the trip.
- Please ensure to always wear your helmet while riding. If our trip leader finds you or pillion riding without helmet, your trip would be terminated immediately and security will not be refunded
- Also, if in an unfortunate condition you meet with an accident and were found that you were not wearing the helmet at time of accident, security deposit would not be returned