Many travel fanatics and admirers of Himachal’s beauty silently adore and dream of travelling the magnificent Spiti Valley! Located at the top of Himachal Pradesh, this snow-covered serene yet dangerous region unfolds a new surprise at every turn. And driving through this Himalayan desert was a soul-striking experience for me. I was on a bike ride to Spiti valley, and here’s my first-hand experience to guide you on a travel to Spiti valley!
It’s Not a Hill Station!
Like, what? Yes, you cannot Spiti to any other regular hill station of Himachal Pradesh. Its spectacular terrains and extreme weathers make it a thrilling choice for explorers of adventure.
We were a group of bikers who were curious and enthusiastic about the sights and location of a place in Himachal Pradesh that is 4,000 m above sea level.
If you have mountain sickness or high altitude problems, this place can be a real treat for you. So, get your health checkups done before you plan a visit over here.
Which is the Best Time to Plan The Trip?
I underwent thorough research before kicking off to the Spiti Valley in Himachal. You need to consider the climate and weather conditions as the acute temperatures are not always pleasing and welcoming.
From June to October, it is advisable to plan your trip over here. After that, the temperature starts dropping to sub-zero, and the markets, hotels, and even the water pipes start freezing up.
Hence, you might find it daunting to even search for suitable accommodation during those times. I planned the Road trip in September and was able to sustain the winter chills over there hardly.
Those who wish to go for winter snow driving and plan to go in winters as well. Mostly, you can find that the roads from Kinnaur stay open, and you can take some homestays as well.
But be ready to struggle for the minimal facilities as there is a shortage of running water and even toilets might not be functional everywhere.
The dropping temperature from -30 degrees Celcius to -10 degrees Celsius is sure to freeze your nerves as well!
How to Travel Around Spiti Valley?
For bikers, it is advisable to opt for a high mileage bike that helps in moving through challenging roads. Remember that the roads to Spiti are thoroughly dangerous, and you need adequate ground clearance to reach over there safely.
When you travel from Manali to Kaza, the route is very rough, and it worsens when monsoons arrive. Several river crossings are making it a trivial path to cross. Travelling through a small car might make it a tricky way for you.
What is the Best Route to Take?
There are two routes, either from Shimla or Manali, to reach the majestic Spiti Valley. When you start a drive from Manali, it almost takes 8 hours to get to Kaza.
If you decide to start the Road trip from Shimla, it is a long ride of nearly two days. This is a long circuit that starts from Shimla, moves through Tabo, and reaches Manali.
With the halts and detours in between, you almost need ten days to complete the journey, and then you can get to the destination.
Manali to Kaza
- Overall Distance- 200 Km
- Time took- 8-10 Hours.
Road situation: The road from Manali to Kaza opens up during mid-June and then gets closed on the 15th of October. I followed this route and reached Rohtang after covering a dirt road of almost 52 km and then took a right turn from Gramphoo. It is at a distance of 14 km from the Rohtang region.
Roads connecting Gramphoo and Losar are hazardous, and there is minimal civilization over there. When I covered the stretch from Chhatru to Batal, it was like driving through the riverbeds. After Batal, you again enter the dirt track and be ready for some jerks till you reach Kaza.
After crossing Rohtang, you need a special travel permit for your vehicle and mention the correct dates to avoid any fuss.
When you leave Manali for the further journey, try to leave before 4 am to avoid the traffic jams in Rohtang. And in the tourist season, you have to be careful of dents and scratches. Also, do not miss out on the right turn for Spiti from Gramphoo as there is a small signboard for the same.
I suggest you take a detour through Chandratal Lake, and there are lovely accommodation options available there.
After you move out of the Manali vicinity, the munching options get constrained. However, you can keep looking out for some eating points and junction. At Batal, Chhatru, and Losar, you might get some small food joints.
Take a halt for a toilet break at Marhi, and after that, directly you can find something in Batal and Chhatru. Good toiletries are also available in Losar and Kunzum.
You will reach Kaza at night, and there you need to relax after the tiring journey. Give your body the time to acclimatize to high altitudes. Opt for some cosy homestays where emergency rations are also available.
Attractions on Your Road Trip to Spiti Valley Are:
- Chandratal LAKE
- Dhankar Monastery
- Kye Gompa
- Komic Village
- Kunzum Pass
- Lahaul Valley
- Langza Village
- The Pin Valley National Park
- Tabo Monastery
Although I was unable to explore all of these attractions, yet tried to cover the maximum expeditions. A road trip to Spiti valley can be an experience for the wander travellers who get thrilled with adventurous locations and twisted points for a lifetime. And it is advisable to carry minimum baggage but sufficient stocks of snacks, liquids, and medicines as the journey might be exhausting and long!
However, if you have good company to enjoy some happy moments, the drive can turn out to be the most amazing one! Do not forget to carry a high-quality camera so that you can capture the best landscapes and panoramic views over there. Be gadget-ready and get started to explore the beautiful locations, secretive roads, and a new challenge that awaits you at every turn.