Spiti Valley is a cold desert mountain valley located high in the Himalayas in the north-eastern part of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, i.e. the land between Tibet and India
The experience at Spiti Valley can be best described through Rudyard Kipling’s words, “Surely the Gods must live here, this is no place for men.”
Located at an average height of 12,500 feet above sea level, Spiti Valley consists of stark high alpine lands, scattered with small postcard-perfect villages of whitewashed mud-homes and monasteries. Prepare to travel to a world where villages appear like a mirage after miles of trailing a turquoise green river nestled between snow-capped barren mountains and blue lakes; a world which has the coldest winters you’ll ever see, but therein reside the warmest people you will meet.
This comfortable and carefully curated seven-day Spiti Valley tour is designed for travelers looking for an authentic Spiti Valley experience in a week’s time. Shared by a small group of travellers, this Spiti Valley Tour includes travelling in a comfortable Toyota Innova to some of the most popular villages of Spiti Valley including Asia’s highest villages – Komik and Kibber. Marvel at the wondrous structure of the Ki Monastery and get ready to be amazed by the Tabo Monastery – a 1020-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site. End this tour on a high note (literally), as you spend a night, gazing at the Milky Way and the millions of stars while camping around the stunningly beautiful Chandratal Lake.
We begin this Spiti Valley tour by hitting the road from Manali. We pass through the popular adventure-haven Rohtang Pass. Then we drive into the desolate and stunning brown-badland landscape and approach Chattru and Batal. At 14,931 feet, we catch our first chill at the august Kunzum Pass and then descend into Losar Village, the first in Spiti valley.
Having warmed up with cup of chai (tea), we continue driving through the stunning landscapes and reach Kaza where we spend the night at a comfortable hotel.
On the second day of the 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 4,513 meters. This farm-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 brings 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 may 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 4,400 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 into 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 4,205 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 traversable 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.
We drive back to Kaza in the evening and spend the night in a comfortable and warm Kaza hotel.
On the third day of our 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.
We drive back to Kaza in the evening and spend the night in a comfortable and warm Kaza hotel.
After a delicious breakfast, we continue our Spiti Valley tour and drive towards the only other town of Spiti Valley – Tabo. Also known as the ‘Ajanta of the Himalayas’, Tabo houses the 1020 year-old Tabo Monastery – which is a UNESCO world heritage site and is famous for its ancient paintings that depict the life of The Buddha, and intricate portraits of gods and demons along with life-size statues of bodhisattvas, in a fusion of western Tibetan, Indian and Kashmiri styles.
After spending a couple of hours at Tabo, we drive towards Dhankar. Perched high above the confluence of the Spiti and Pin River, in a hidden bowl, is the tiny hamlet of Dhankar. The former capital of the Royals of Spiti Valley, also known as the Nono, who ruled the dust-coloured badlands of Spiti Valley. Go back in time as you explore the 1200-year-old Dhankar Gompa which perches precariously between eroded rocky pinnacles on the edge of a cliff. If time permits, do take an hour’s climb above the village to visit the stunning turquoise Dhankar Tso or Dhankar Lake which offers views over the valley and towards the twin peaks of Mane Rang (6593 meters).
Later, we take a short drive to Lhalung – another beautiful high altitude Spiti valley village. The word Lhalung means ‘land of god’ and the village of Lhalung is located at the foot of the Tangmar Mountains which supposedly transforms in colour depending on the mood of the deities. Red denotes anger while yellow signifies happiness. Apart from being home to hospitable local families, the village of Lhalung is also home to one of the oldest gompas in Spiti valley. The Lhalung Monastery – also known as Sarkhang and golden Temple – is situated at a height of 3658 meters.
We spend the night at an authentic local homestay with a local family, listening to life tales at above 12,000 feet.
This day, we commence our journey back home and trace our steps back on the Kaza – Manali road. However, we take one last stop at another Spitian wonder – Chandratal Lake. The mystical and beautiful Chandratal Lake, which translates to Moon Lake, is located at a height of 14,100 feet. The Chandra Bhaga mountain range forms a striking backdrop for the lake, which changes appearance according to the pictures painted in the sky.
After capturing the colours of the beautiful Chandratal Lake, we drive to our camping site where a hot supper under the gaze of a million stars and the Milky Way awaits us.
Our camps at Chandratal Lake are equipped with camping equipment including tents, high altitude sleeping bags / blankets and a comfortable mattress.
With visuals of the stunning Chandratal Lake captured in minds and cameras, we continue tracing our steps back, driving on the Kaza – Manali road and after a few hours of driving and some more stunning landscape, we pass through the famous Rohtang Pass and reach Manali where we bid goodbye to our drivers. You can choose to explore Manali’s markets in the evening if you are up for it or you can rest in the comforts of your Manali hotel.
Check out from Manali at 12 noon / Take an overnight bus to New Delhi. We wake up to some hot chai, a sumptuous breakfast and some brilliant views of the Himalayas from the hotel in Manali. You'll be free to explore Manali on foot this day. 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.
The Trip Cost Includes
- Pick-up or Drop-off service from and to Airport(in our own vehicle)
- Transportation to and from!!
- Food all along the trip(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and a cup of coffee or tea) and accommodations during the trip in hotels with family environment
- Transportation, food, accommodation and insurance of Guide during the trip
- Down jacket, all-season sleeping bag, duffel bag and trekking map(in case if you don’t have your own. Down jacket, sleeping bag and duffel bag must be returned after completion of the trip)
- First Aid Medical Kit(Your guide will carry the Medical Kit but we also advise to bring yourself for your own use, as far as possible)
- All the required permits and paperwork
The Trip Cost Excludes
- International Airfare
- Visa Charges
- Hotel Expenses(In Kathmandu, some packages do include hotel expenses)
- Your travel and medical insurance
- Personal Expenses such as shopping, bar bills, hot shower, telephone, laundry, titbits etc
- Food and accommodations in Kathmandu
- Services not mentioned or not promised by the agent/agency
- Emergency expenses such as expenses on chartered helicopter.
Frequently asked Questions
Annapurna Base Camp is a Grade B or a moderately difficult trekking route. So any fit person can do this trek, even if you do not have any previous experience. You should be aware of what to expect and mentally prepare for it. Then, as long as you will to, you can.
On average, you walk about 4 to 6 hours per day. One or two days can be as less as 3hrs and one or two days can be as long as 7hrs.
The highest altitude reached is 4190m. This is the elevation of Annapurna Base Camp. ABC is the highest we will climb in this trek.
Yes, you can charge batteries en route. Charger should be brought. There are hot shower facilities as well. You may have to pay certain amount for both ($1-$2). Negotiate. Also, hot water facility could be free at lower elevation.
No. There are no ATMs on this trek route. You will have to draw enough cash in Pokhara or Kathmandu. There are a number of ATMs in these cities. Everything is paid in Nepali rupees. So money should be exchanged before the start of the trek.
Yes. Internet can be accessed in most places. Sometimes, there might be some technical problems. Internet in Nepal is not as fast as you are used to and at times you can just lose connection.
Not really. It depends on you. If you want, ABC trekking can be done independently. You could hire a guide and a porter by yourself instead of going through an agency or not hire a guide at all. Although, not having a guide can be a little problematic during off season. It really depends on you. Is it your first time in Nepal? How confident are you of being able to find your way around? How pressed on time are you? If you go through an agency, it will be costlier but everything will be planned. You will only have to come, trek and return.
For Annapurna region, pay for guides range from $20 to $30 per day and porters take $15 to $25 per day.