Spiti Valley is a perfect and cheaper alternative to Leh Ladakh, yet a bit more than Leh Ladakh. Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh till date is a road less traveled, giving you the perfect crowd free getaway. This place is one of the remotest part of Himachal Pradesh and currently open for tourists midst of pandemic. In this complete travel guide you will know, how to plan your trip to Spiti Valley.
Covid Guidelines for Spiti
Himachal is allowing domestic tourists without any RTPCR test as of June 2021. Spiti valley opened up for tourists this year, whereas last year they chose to close it’s border completely. Tourists are advised to be always wear masks, sanitize and avoid not more than 20 people gatherings. Any one entering the state will need to get an epass through registering here. All shops will remain open from 9AM-5PM Monday to Friday, but they will remain closed over the weekends except for essentials. In our travel guide to Spiti Valley we will recommend to get RTPCR or rapid antigen tests done prior visiting the valley this will guarantee of not spreading the infection in remote areas.
Best time to visit Spiti
Road to Spiti valley mostly open throughout the year, except occasional land slides and heavy snow-falls. The best time to visit the valley will be from Mid-May to September. Winters are very harsh, so better to avoid it unless -24 degree celcius is your thing. You can also plan to travel in April and starting of May month , but chances are you might face some challenges with road closures due to heavy snowfall. We visited in April end and could not complete the full circuit.
Chances of AMS?
Spiti valley trip does have chances of getting AMS as it his high altitude zone, but if you are traveling from Shimla side then your chances of getting AMS is lesser. Still make sure you are drinking more that 3ltr of water and not exerting yourself too much. You can also carry Diamox with you just to be sure.
How to reach Spiti Valley?
You can reach Spiti by two ways, one from Manali side and the other from Shimla side. Manali side will be lot quicker and shorter compared to Shimla side. But, in our itinerary we would recommend you to take the Shimla side to complete the whole circuit. You can fly in to Delhi or Chandigarh and then take a overnight bus or hire a car to Shimla or Manali as per your choice. Alternatively, You can also drive by your own or rental cars from Delhi or Chandigarh, but please note the drive will not be an easy one. You can hire a car for your travel too from Chandigarh to Chandigarh. Currently the state government inter state buses are not operational, else that would have been the most budget friendly way of travel to Himachal.
Find out your perfect full circuit Spiti Valley Itinerary here.
Where to Stay?
Stay in the mountains specially Indian Himalayas is quite affordable and cozy. You will get plenty of decent options from 800-1200 rupees. We prefer to stay in home stays and the max we have paid is 1200 for both of us. Spiti valley is not exception either you will get home stays easily. If you are on a budget you can try several hostel options like Zostels (pre book) or a night in the monastery (walk in). Both of these options will not cost more that 600 rupees per person, but if you are a couple then the best bet will be a home stay.
If you are looking for luxury, it will be bit difficult in this region. You will find few luxurious ( not 5-star standard) stay options, so please make sure you pre-book it before you arrive. Also remember, tented accommodations are plenty and expensive, but if it snows or rains it can be very cold compared to traditional huts.
What to eat while traveling in Spiti Valley?
Before you enter Spiti vallley, our suggestion would be to go for Himachali food. Himachali food like Siddu, Kadhi Chawal, Rajma Chawal is worth to try for, it tastes awesome. In case, you are non-vegetarian you can try Himachali mutton gravy as well. The moment you enter Spiti Valley, be prepared to explore Tibetian cuisine. You can try momos, thukpa, butter tea and many more local delicacies. The cost of food for two hardly will cross 1500 rupees in a day for two people. Most of the days for us food was not even 1000 rupees.
How to get around in Spiti?
If you are driving all the way from Delhi or Chandigarh in your personal/rented car then you are sorted. If you are looking for budget option, all these places are well connected with Himachal State Transport Buses regularly. You can take the same. Only drawback with State buses are they reach almost by evening and leave early in the morning, so you won’t really get enough time to enjoy the place. We will suggest to take out more time if planning for budget travel. In case you are coming in from Manali side, there are direct cabs from Manali to Kaza. Once in Kaza, then hire a motorcycle or scooter in Kaza to do the sights.
Things to do in Spiti Valley
- Experience the Majestic Himalayas – Himachal gives the stunning view of snow capped mountains, pine tree covered routes which makes the trip so special. On top of it the moment you enter Spiti Valley the colorful mountains you will see like you have never seen before. It’s truly a landscape photographers paradise.
- Different Food & Culture – In your Spiti Valley Travel doesn’t matter which side you chose to reach you will see diversified culture from Shimla/Manali to Spiti region. Expect your encounter of a Tibet culture.
- Experience a stay in traditional homes – This I can’t stress enough, cause Spiti Valley is still holding on to its traditions of mud houses and dry toilets. Increase in tourism, causing concrete houses and hotels to be built, but if you stay in both you will realize the insulation is not as same as the Mud houses. Mud houses are cozy, comfortable, warm and environment friendly just the way it should be.
- Night Photography – Spiti Valley has the clearest sky to do night photography or even star gazing. If you are into Astrophotography and you want to spot the milky way then just plan your travel here on right dates. You will love looking at the stars from here for sure.
- National Park for Snow Leopard – Pin Valley National park is home to the mysterious snow leopard. If you want to get see the snow leopard then you have to be here in winter months. Tabo, Hikkim, Komic is also famous for Snow Leopard sightings. Apart from leopard you can also get to see Ibex and Red Fox. If you are a wild live lover do visit once to this gorgeous valley.
- Hiking – There are plenty of hiking trails to chose from Kaza to explore remote villages and landscapes. Most of the hikes either start from Manali or Kaza.
- Spirituality – Spiti Valley Travel will give you ample opportunity explore or stay in monasteries. You can chose to learn about Buddhism, meditation or spirituality during your trip.