7 Day Road Trip
APRIL - MAY 2020
Road Trip Highlights
Cost per person
There are two routes to the stunning Spiti Valley. One, via Manali and the other via Shimla – which is also called the Hindustan – Tibet Highway.
In the months of April and May, before the Manali – Kaza Highway opens Spiti Valley to a busy, bustling world, there is a fantastic opportunity to explore Spiti Valley at its tranquil and peaceful best through the Hindustan – Tibet Highway starting from Shimla. While the rest of the country is baking in the smoldering summers, the high altitude mountains of the Spiti Valley are usually still trenched in snow. This Spiti Valley tour for seven days is perfect for you if you want a break from the heat, and only have time in months of April and May.
Drive through one of the most beautiful picture-perfect roads in the world while halting along in dreamy mountain villages. This Spiti Valley tour from Shimla goes through Kalpa of the Kinnaur Valley and finally enters Spiti through the village of Nako. Explore ancient thousand-year-old monasteries, ride a Yak, live in authentic homestays and spend time in some of the highest villages in Asia. Dubbed as “The world's most adventurous road”, this Hindustan-Tibet highway is a visual masterpiece. Don’t let that misnomer frighten you because despite its hairpin curves and steep drops, this road has been safely ferrying travellers since the 1850s.
Watch time stand still as you gaze into crystal-clear blue skies, pristine, turquoise rivers nestled between snow-capped peaks and a never-ending expanse of barren mountains. Sounds enticing, doesn’t it?View Full Itinerary
On the first day of this Spiti Valley Tour, from Shimla, we drive through Narkandha and head towards the apple-orchard dotted town of Kalpa. Foreigners entering Spiti Valley through this route need a permit which can be obtained through a quick twenty-minute procedure in Reckong Peo from Monday to Saturday.
After a 7 kilometer winding road through pine forests, Kalpa is a splendid gem. According to legends, this is the winter abode of Lord Shiva. With the majestic views of the Kinner Kailash and Jordan Peaks, this enthralling village has spectacular sunrises with the crimson sunlight glowing on the snow-capped peaks. 3 kilometers away from Kalpa at Kothi, is a temple dedicated to the goddess Chanadika. An exquisite image of the goddess is enshrined in this sanctum.
Overnight at a hotel in Kalpa.
On the second day of this Spiti Valley tour, from Kalpa, we continue driving on the famous Hindustan – Tibet Highway or the NH 22 – This stretch is famously known as one of “most adventurous roads of the world” by the ‘Lonely Planet’ in a visual spectacle. Don’t let that little piece of information deter you because your local drivers are highly skilled and experienced while driving on these roads. As you begin embracing the jaw-dropping views, watch the mountains change their colours from the lush greens of the Kinnaur valley to the many hues of brown.
After a quick refueling stop at Puh, we proceed to Nako – the last hamlet of Kinnaur, before we enter the gates of Spiti Valley. After lunch at Nako, we drive through Sumdo, the first village of Spiti Valley on this side of the road, to Tabo, which would be our first stop in the glorious, mystical Spiti Valley.
The second largest village of the Spiti Valley, Tabo is known worldwide for its 1020-year-old 'Tabo Monastery'. Walk around this UNESCO world heritage site and gain a deeper insight into Buddhism. Unlike other monasteries in the Spiti Valley, the Tabo monastery is located at the bottom of the valley.
Overnight at a hotel or a Homestay in Tabo.
On the third day of this Spiti Valley tour, we drive to the charming and high villages of Dhankar and Lhalung.
Dhankar, the former capital of the Spiti Valley, offers panoramic views of Spiti Valley. Dhankar stands perched above the confluence of the Spiti and Pin river. Perhaps there must have been a fort here once, but today Dhankar is renowned for its 1200-year old monastery balanced precariously on a rocky precipice. If time and energy permit, we do the easy 45-minute trek to the stunning turquoise coloured Dhankar Lake.
After the trek, we drive to the nearby village of Lhalung. Literally translating to the “Land of God”, Lhalung is located at the foot of the Tangmar Mountains. The locals believe God lives in these mountains and the mountain changes its colors through wide arrays of reds, yellows, browns depending on the mood of their God. Visit one of the oldest gompas in the Spiti Valley which the natives say was built by angels one night. Bear in mind not to touch the walls of this monastery for people believe that it will make the angels go away.
In Lhalung, visit the Lhalung Monastery famous for its statue of the three-cornered Buddha which symbolizes the Buddha looking in all directions at one time.
If time permits, take a short, traditional Yak safari or learn how to make steaming hot momos with the locals.
Gain a better understanding of the Spiti culture as you spend this night in a homestay. Enjoy authentic, freshly prepared cuisines, and sleep in the comforts of a clean, warm and comfortable bed.
We spend the night at an authentic local homestay with a local family, listening to stories of life, at above 12,000 feet.
Overnight at a homestay in Lhalung.
On the fourth day of this 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.
By evening, drive to Kaza, the commercial capital of the Spiti valley and spend the night in a hotel in either Kaza or the nearby village of Rangrik.
Overnight at a hotel in Kaza / Rangrik.
On the fifth day of this 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 4513 meters. This farming 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 ensures to bring 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 can 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 4400 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 4205 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 / Rangrik in the evening and spend the night in a comfortable and warm Kaza / Rangrik hotel.
On the sixth day of the Spiti Valley tour, we are almost towards the end of this magical trip. Today, we set out to return to Shimla across the Hindustan-Tibet highway. The first stop on this leg would be the charming village of Kalpa which we had previously visited on our way up to Spiti Valley.
Overnight at a hotel in Kalpa.
On the final day of this Spiti Valley tour, from Kalpa, we head back to Shimla. Shimla is an attractive blend of a hill town and holiday resort. With its distinctive retro style, hand-painted signs in bazaars, cars banned in the main town, Shimla has an old-world charm which feels as if the British left just yesterday. The tour ends here but you have the option of choosing to stay in Shimla and explore the town on your own – or we can help you arrange a private taxi to get back to Chandigarh or New Delhi.
The 6 day Spiti holiday we had in the month of August 2016 was one of the most exciting, hassel-free and filled with enriching experiences.Big Thank you goes to each and everyone in Spiti Holiday Adventure for the amazing time we had.It was indeed a pleasure to meet Rahul Mansur who organised the trip for us at a very short notice.Special thanks to Team at Hotel Spiti Serai, Rangrik for their hospitality and our driver Tilak.Would definitely love to experience more off-beat destinations organised by you guys.
Do yourself a big favour and visit Spiti Valley using this company. The whole team is extremely professional and just a lovely bunch! We did 7-day jeep ride which provided a great itinerary to see a lot of what this amazing place has to offer. Spiti Valley is a once in a lifetime experience and totally worth the effort to go!
Thank you for an amazing "Spiti" experience. This was one of the well arranged and managed travel experience that I have been part of. Still missing the hospitality of all the people who hosted us at all places be it Khansar at kaza, Home-stay at Kibber or Mountain Trail Hotel at Manali. Once again a thank you very much and of course hope to travel with you guys once again. As JRR Tolkien says... Home is behind, The world ahead; And there are many paths to tread…
31 years of experience in organising tours within the Himalayas
The only local Spiti travel company to be Recommended by Lonely Planet
The best local prices minus any middle man or commissions.
Drive from Shimla to Kalpa
Drive from Kalpa – Nako – Tabo
Drive from Tabo – Dhankar – Dhankar Lake Trek – Lhalung
Drive from Kaza – Pin Valley – Kungri – Mudh – Kaza
Drive from Kaza – Langza – Hikkim – Komik – Ki Monastery – Kibber – Gette – Kaza
Drive from Kaza - Kalpa
Drive from Kalpa – Shimla
It has been a great experience and a memorable one with Spiti Holiday Adventure. Great place, Great people and agency to travel with.
The way they arrange groups is incredible.Good food, amazing people and really good stay at hotels, camps and homestay.
One of the best road trips one could possibly undertake in the subcontinent region. Notwithstanding the dwindling roads and the awe-inspiring waterfalls en route, these roads quite honestly offered the journey of a lifetime. The drivers really made the trips entertaining and educating. Also, credit to the dedicated guide/local liaison/hike instructor from Spiti Holiday Adventures (Rengzin) for helping us understand local customs, traditions and giving us local remedies to acclimatise. Despite the road blocks on the Manali - Kaza highway, the detour and prompt planning from the team at SHA didn't dampen our morale one bit. Safety was always of prime concern to the team, which really made things easier for the first-time mountaineers.