Spiti Valley is a cold desert mountain valley located at 12,500 feet in north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. Acclimatization is very important to enjoy Spiti’s miraculous beauty. Travelers who come from sea level cities take 1-2 days to get acclimatized. Plan your tours considering this extra time. The best way to experience culture and nature of Spiti Valley is by having homestays at locals. They are very kind people and ready to open their doors to give you pleasant stay. It is preferable to roam around Spiti by taking a local cab or Bike. Prepaid SIM cards don’t work in Spiti; either buy BSNL SIM or carry postpaid SIM card. This article will help you in planning your week’s trip to Spiti Valley. Customized map and way of transport for your quick planning are at the bottom of article.
Kaza is beautiful town surrounded by mountains situated at 3,650 meters (11,980 ft) above sea level. It is the largest township and commercial center of the Spiti valley. Many travelers prefer to stay here due to its easy accessibility by road. Visit Sakya Tangyud Monastery; a typical Tibetan monastery in Kaza. If you are staying in Kaza; it will be at walking distance. Each Monastery is unique in its own way and must visit sacred place. Ladarcha Festival in August is authentic, eye-catching display of local music, dance and drama.
Stay: I experienced best say at Zostel but there are many homestays and hotels which you can opt for.
3. Key Gompa, Key Monastery
Key Gompa is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on top of a hill (elevation: 4,166 meters=13,668 Feet). The calmness in its ambiance brings clear and peaceful mind. It is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and a religious training center for Lamas. This Monastery is established in 11th century. It is on 30 minutes drive from Kaza. You can also stay here with minimal cost.
3. Langza Buddha Statue and Fossils
Langza village is known for Buddha Statue overlooking Spiti Valley and Fossils. Fossils of marine creatures and plants are found in plenty under the sedimentary rocks. These fossils are around millions of years old. You will see school going kids selling fossils with intricate patterns for ₹100-₹200 as souvenir without knowing its true value to the world. It is on 35 minutes drive from Kaza.
4. Komic Village
Komic is the highest inhabited village in the world connected with motorable road (elevation: 4,587 meters=15,027 feet above sea level). You can also visit Monastery at this highest village. It is on half an hour drive from Langza Village.
5. Hikkim Village
Hikkim village has highest post office in the world (elevation: 4,400 m = 14,400 ft). This post office connects small villages in isolated region to rest of the world. Travelers take a pride to send mail to any part of the world from the highest post office on Earth. Just imagine finding letter on your doorstep from highest post office in the world giving flashback of memories at Spiti. It closes at 4pm so make sure you reach here in time to post your letter. It is on 10 minutes drive from Komic Village.
6. Lhalung village & Monastery
LhaLung means ‘Land of gods’. The village has approximately 40 houses. Monastery at Lhalung village is worth visiting. It was among the earliest monasteries found in Himachal Pradesh in 10th century. Lhalung village is located between Kaza and Dhankar Village. There are many short hikes which you can do in this village; locals will be best source of information on treks.
7. Dhankar Monastery and Lake
Dhankar Monastery is beautiful monastery in Dhankar Village at 3,894 metres (12,775 feet) above sea level. It is 16th century old fort monastery on 1 hour drive from Kaza. From Dhankar Village hike for 3.5 km to reach to Dhankar lake. Entire route to the lake gives you heavenly views of Mountains, Villages and Monasteries.
8. Tabo Monastery
The Tabo monastery is thousands of years old situated at 10,761 feet above sea level established in 996 CE in the Tibetan year of the Fire Ape. It is on 1 hour drive from Kaza and 45 minutes drive from Dhankar village.
9. Kibber Village
Kibber is one of the highest Village in the World. It is situated at 4,270 metres (14,200 ft) from Sea level. People in the village are truly kind and their houses are more like a museum which is must experience in Kibber. You can visit Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary and Kibber Monastery. In winter you may get lucky to see Snow leopard. Travelers must have homestay here to know their culture. Locals will take utmost care of yours whenever you need. When I visited Kibber, we got extremely sick one night due to mountain sickness (AMS), locals made all arrangements necessary to travel us back to Kaza safely that too at 10pm. So please make sure you are acclimatized to the weather before visiting Kibber otherwise it can be dangerous to be staying at such height as there are very limited medical facilities. It is on 40 minutes drive from Kaza.
10. Chandratal Lake
This is another exciting place which should be on your itinerary to Spiti Valley. A lake surrounded by Himalayas, breezy turquoise water, outstanding stargazing make this place heavenly beautiful. Chandratal lake is located at 13944 feet. Before reaching to this place make sure you are properly acclimatized. It will be difficult to get medical assistance after reaching this place. You can plan this getaway on your way to Manali.
How to reach Chandratal Lake:
- From Kaza you can take a local cab. It will cost you around Rs.4,000 (convenient option)
- Early morning bus leaves from Kaza to Manali. You can board this bus and get down at Batal. At Batal, take a cab to Chandratal Lake. (cheaper and exciting option).
- Hike from Kunzum pass to Chandratal lake (adventurous option)
Once you get down from your ride, hike for 2-3km to reach to Chandratal lake. You can find many camping options here, online booking is preferred but don’t worry if you can’t book online. They generally accommodate to the walk-ins.
Food: Thuppa, Momos, Pahadi Chicken, Butter Tea
Budget to Spiti Valley: ₹15,000-₹35,000 (including airfare) for a week
Shopping: Fossils, Buddha Statues, flags, local jewelry, dry fruits
How to reach Spiti Valley:
By Air: The nearest airport to Spiti region is Kullu Airport at Bhuntar, Kullu. You can take a bus or taxi to reach Spiti on 5 hours drive.
By Railway: Joginder Nagar railway station, and Shimla railway station. You can rent Taxi or catch a Bus going to Spiti. It takes about 8-10 hours to reach Spiti Valley.
By Road: There are two routes which lead to Spiti Valley. Board Himachal Pradesh state transport (HPST) buses and other private buses from Manali, One route is Manali – Rohtang Pass – Gramphu – Chattru – Kunzum Pass – Kaza (Spiti Valley) which is open round the year and second is Shimla – Kinnaur Valley as Shimla – Kinnaur – Nako – Sumdo (Spiti Valley) – Tabo – Kaza but closed in winter.
If you have some more time for trekking or you have to come down to Manali due to Acclimatization issues then go for Beas Kund trek in Manali. You can get perfect itinerary for trek to Beas Kund in my article https://travel2spirit.co/4-days-trek-to-beas-kund/
I would love to hear your experiences in comments below.