5 Reasons to Travel Spiti Valley from Manali Route


We have already talked about How To Travel to Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur and How To Travel to Spiti Valley from Manali and now if you compare these two routes, there are certain definitive advantages and disadvantages of each one of them. In the last article I talked about 5 Reasons to Travel Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur Route, looking at the advantages one gets when traveling this treacherous and longish route to Spiti Valley. In this article, I will talk about the 5 Reasons to Travel Spiti Valley from Manali Route 🙂 …

Buried in Snow, Spiti Valley from Manali in June…
Spiti Valley from Manali

1. Lesser Time to Reach Spiti Valley: Compared to road to Spiti Valley from Shimla, the road to Spiti Valley from Manali is not that shorter in distance but definitely in time taken to traverse the route. As it is apparent in the below Altitude v/s Distance graphs for both the routes, the difference in distance between Delhi – Shimla – Kaza (791 KMs) AND Delhi – Manali – Kaza (772 KMs) is just mere 19 KMs. However, you can reach Manali that is 570 KMs of drive within a day or about 12 Hrs journey from Delhi due to mostly excellent and wide roads leading to it. Next day, remaining 202 KMs can be done to reach Kaza by evening. However, as discussed in previous article you have to brave the AMS as the altitude difference is abrupt while we travel this route as apparent in graphs below. But, if you are short on number of days and road to Spiti Valley from Manali is open, better run through it to save a day for you and also fatigue levels. You can always descend to Tabo to control the AMS by starting 2 Hrs early from Manali.

Hindustan – Tibet Road Altitude & Distance Graph
To enlarge, Right Click and Save Image As Road to Spiti Valley from Shimla Altitude & Distance Graph
Road to Spiti Valley from Manali Altitude & Distance Graph
To enlarge, Right Click and Save Image As Road to Spiti Valley via Manali Altitude & Distance Graph

2. Less Susceptible to Landslides: I understand the road between Gramphu and Kunzum Pass is very treacherous but an experience plus beauty in itself. Moreover this route from Manali is less susceptible to landslides as compared to roads in Kinnaur Valley especially in monsoons. On this route the major hurdle is used to be slush around Rohtang Pass, about 10 KMs each side of it and water crossing between Kunzum Pass and Gramphu. If you leave early from Manali, these water crossings are manageable but in Kinnaur Valley, monsoons wreck havoc and there are many number of zones where constant shooting stones and slides happen, major being Malling Nalla ahead of Nako. And this is time window when this route from Manali is open and can be used to reach Spiti Valley. You can enter the rain shadow region as quickly as possible by risking the rains just for a couple of days, almost a day less than traveling to Spiti Valley from Shimla. I know this is arguable but still personally I will prefer going to Spiti Valley from Manali in rainy seasons as compared to Shimla side.

3. Ease of Accessibility: Well, the route from Manali to Spiti Valley is also easily accessible using the public transport when compared to route to Spiti Valley from Shimla or Kinnaur. There are daily buses that runs between Manali and Delhi and one can take overnight bus to reach Manali. You can take a Volvo run by HRTC or HPTDC to Manali from Delhi and then HRTC buses ply buses on Kullu – Manali – Rohtang Pass – Kunzum Pass – Kaza route. There are two HRTC buses which runs between Manali and Kaza every morning, as soon as road to Spiti Valley via Manali get open in the season, mostly in mid-June. These buses run from Kullu to Kaza via Manali and it reaches Manali around 4.45 AM and leaves at 5.00 AM. Ticket to Kaza will cost you only about INR 250 approximately per person. Further more, if you want to reach Tabo, there is an HRTC bus that runs from Kaza at 2 PM to Chango which can drop you to Tabo for the night stay on Day 2, which helps in better acclimatization. However, when compared, the buses are not that frequent when you enter from Kinnaur and even Reckong Peo has a daily bus from Chandigarh. Hence, from Delhi, you need to hop onto 3 buses to reach Kaza from Kinnaur side as I am not sure if there is a direct bus to Reckong Peo from Delhi.

4. Cheaper in Budget: Now, since we know that Spiti Valley is easily accessible from Manali side by public transport, using HRTC buses one can reach Kaza in cheapest means with overnight halt at just Manali. While coming from Shimla to Spiti Valley, you will end up paying more for transport plus you will be staying on the route for 2 nights which itself will increase the lodging expenditure. Hence, the route to Spiti Valley from Manali is cheaper as well when compared with route from Shimla – Kinnaur side.

5. Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass: If you are one of those like me who is fascinated crossing over various high altitude passes, then it has to be route to Spiti Valley from Manali as you will be crossing Rohtang Pass (3980 Mtrs) first to enter Lahaul Valley from Kullu Valley and then you will cross Kunzum Pass (4551 Mtrs) to enter Spiti Valley from Lahaul Valley. Running over these passes is a kind of a feeling in itself!! 🙂 🙂


I hope this short series of two articles on both the routes to Spiti Valley will help all of you who are in a bit of confusion choosing among these two routes i.e. Spiti Valley from Manali side v/s Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur side. Now, you can weigh the advantages of both these routes and decide which one suits you the best given the circumstances, which direction to take if interested in complete circuit, etc.. in order to Travel to Spiti Valley.

Have you ever been to Spiti Valley through Hindustan – Tibet Highway or via Manali? If yes, please share your view points, suggestions or inputs as comments below, it will help other fellow travellers to plan their own journey too.

Are you planning to go to Spiti Valley via Hindustan – Tibet Highway or Manali? If yes, please feel free to ask any queries or doubts you have regarding the your plan either in comments section OR in the DoW – Himalayan Travel Community & Forums. I will be happy to reply and discuss them with you. Looking forward to your responses 🙂

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  1. Hi Amar, i have planned my trip in June 5-10 full 6 days, out of which I want to spend 3 days in manali 5-7 full can you please give me a plan for next 3 days , also as i am travelling with my mother i won’t prefer much sports activities, will kufri shimla be a nice place?
    Or it’s just a city type and time waste?
    Please help

    • Hi Kamna,

      Avoid Shimla in June. It is much better to visit Tirthan Valley during that time in the remaining days. You may plan the trip like below two options

      Day 1 – Leave from Delhi by overnight Volvo for Manali. Get down at Aut/Bhunter near Kullu next morning (Day 2) where you can get to reach Tirthan Valley (about 40-45 KMs from there)
      Day 2 – Tirthan Valley – Relaxing day besides Tirthan River
      — Stay at Raju Bharti Guest House (you will need booking well in advance, so finalize it ASAP) other you need to stay at some other property. Raju is a pioneer in that region, so will say do not miss the stay there as it is quite an experience in itself.
      Day 3 – Tirthan Valley
      — Enjoy the walks in the GHNP. There are two Waterfalls nearby Raju GH in the woods.
      Day 4 – Tirthan Valley – Naggar Castle (about 50 KMs)
      — Stay at Naggar Castle and enjoy the place. Very romantic with great views and food. Visit Roerich Musueum, Art Gallery and do not miss the hike to ancient Krishna Temple at the top
      — It is one of the most romantic places in Himachal
      Day 5 – Naggar Castle – Manali (about 30 KMs)
      — Manali Local sightseeing including Manu Temple, Hadimba Temple, Local Monastery, Shopping at Mall road etc etc
      Day 6 – Manali – Marhi/Gulaba Snow Points towards Rohtang Pass – Solang Valley – Manali
      – You can enjoy the first half of the day at snow point MArhi/Gulaba (whichever is accessible) and if interested may also visit Solang Valley snow point for other adventure activities
      Day 7 | Manali – Delhi by overnight Volvo
      — Relax in Manali by evening and leave from Manali by overnight Volvo.


      Day 1 – Reach Manali, take rest for the evening
      Day 2 – Manali Local sightseeing which includes Hadimba Temple, Manu Temple, Mall Road, Local Monastery, Vashisth Hot Water Springs (never found it interesting) etc.
      Day 3 – Manali – Snow Point either at Solang Valley or Marhi/Gulaba on the way to Rohtang Pass. Enjoy in snow and come back to Manali
      Day 4 – Manali – Naggar Castle (stay at Naggar and enjoy the place)
      Day 5 – Naggar – Tirthan Valley
      day 6 – Tirthan Valley
      Day 7 – Start the return

  2. Hi Dhiraj we are planning to visit in that area between 15 – 22 May can you tell us whats best tour for us?? Is manali – shimla or Spiti Valley

  3. Can you suggest on some Spiti tour package please ? We are planning to travel during 17th-25th June. I wish to start my journey from Shimla and end it in Manali. Let me know if you know any travel agent who could plan a tour for us

    • Though we prefer that you plan the trip yourself but still, If you are looking for competitive and customized Ladakh tour and packages, you can connect with info@offbeatescapes.com as most of the readers in the past couple of years have had very good feedback about them and especially their transparent policies along with being there with you all the time in need.

      You can plan the itinerary here and may be just forward them or others for package details 🙂

      Given below is a 9 day plan for a Spiti Valley trip

      Day 1 | Delhi – Narkanda
      Day 2 | Narkanda – Kalpa
      Day 3 | Kalpa – Nako – Nako Lake – Geyu Mummy – Tabo
      Day 4 | Tabo – Dhankar – Dhankar Lake – Pin Valley (Mudh Village) – Kaza
      Day 5 | Kaza Local Sightseeing 
      — Ki, Kibber, Gette, Tashigang in the second half of the day
      Day 6 | Kaza Local Sightseeing (Hikkim, Komik) 
      — Hikkim, Komik, Langza circuit 
      Day 7 | Kaza – Kunzum Pass – Chandratal
      Day 8 | Chandratal – Manali
      Day 9 | Manali – Delhi

  4. Hi,
    Will I be able to get the bus from manali to kaza in the first week of june this year?

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this valuable information. We are planning to Manali and spiti Valley for our anniversary. Which is best time to visit both locations? How safe it is?

  6. nitin tyagi on

    Hi dheeraj

    I am planning spiti in August either on bike or bus ( lil confused) from Manali .can you suggest will it be a good time to go spiti on a bike. Or should i choose shimla kinnaur route.

    • Nitin, Kinnaur is much worse than Manali – Kaza in monsoons, so you can decide upon the fact. I will recommend to make the trip in September to avoid monsoons altogether

  7. Abhinav Kankani on

    We are planning to go Spiti via Manali in Third week of April. Is it possible to go..? We had been till Nako last year via Kinnaur route. So we are planning to go Via Manali. Is it possible and what will be the way..! We want to explore Chandrataal lake too..?

  8. Hi Dheeraj,

    Congratulations on this wonderful blog. Going to Spiti later this month and lots of tips in here 🙂
    Yet, some questions: will local bus be available from Losar to Manali towards the end of the month, around 29th Oct? How long will it take? Will it be safe? Somebody mentioned shared tempos – is there such a thing as that? How can one pre-book these?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Madhu, it is a touch and go. Manali – Leh has been declared officially closed now owing to the risk of lives to the people. Same desolation and life threatening risks applies to the road of Manali – Kaza. I will not recommend you doing that road during that time of the year.

  9. Hi, very informative post.
    I’m planning to visit spiti around 8-15 october, that too alone.

    I’m relying on public transport. Would that be available around this time, manali to kaza.

    And lastly is it safe for solo travel?

    Thank you

  10. F Siddiqui on

    Hello Dheeraj

    good handy information you provided. i am planning a bike trip to Spiti valley from 17th oct-24th oct. Can you help me with the info related to, where to get the permit for passing the Rohtang pass and will the Manali – spiti Route be opened during the mentioned time frame.

    • Manalo – Spiti route will be open but it is not recommended to travel over that route during that time of the year. The route beyond Rohtang Pass towards Kunzum Pass becomes very desolated and very risky. Are you sure you want to take that risk and make such a trip?

  11. Dheeraj bhai kudos for your good work. Have a question in mind. Want to visit shimla and near by places for our babymoon. Will it be okay to visit spiti by this route in november last week. Any itinerary or suggestions.

  12. Hi Dheeraj,
    I am planning to visit Spiti valley next month(Oct 1st week). Can I get more information on transportation between Manali – Kaza. In some of your post you have mentioned about HRTC buses. Can I get more details like timing and reservation info. I am solo traveller. Your suggestions would be more helpful for me.


    • Nisarg, the bus starts at 5 AM from Manali and reaches by 3 PM at Kaza. Same way, it starts at 5 AM from Kaza while coming back. Also, the fare is about 250-275 and can be booked at Manali bus stand.

  13. Lovepreet Singh on

    Dear Dheeraj ji,
    we are planning tour at last of september via bike manali to kaza so please share about the stay between these routes.

    Lovepreet Singh

    • Lavepreet, there will be PWD Guest House with no light at Chatru, then at Batal along with Dhabha and then guest houses at Losar and finally you reach Kaza.

  14. Hi Dheeraj:
    Just wanted to check if the roads to Kaza from Manali – via Rohtang & Kunzum – will possibly be accessible during this week of 26th Sept? The weather is cold with about 2-3 degrees of minimum temp.
    The local/public transport will be open, right?


  15. Hey hi,
    Can anyone tell me if I can visit Spiti valley in Late December and is it still beautiful in all that frozen scene and which route should I take if I travel in Late december maybe around 25 december?

  16. Hi Dheeraj,

    Is it wise to go to Kaza from Manali in October (7-14). Will the roads be open, how the climate will be and do one require permit for Bikes hired from Manali.


    • Roads will be open, only travel to go on that route after chcking the weather conditions as it can snow anytime during that time. The cold will make it hard to ride a bike, so be prepared for it. Yes, you need permit to cross Rohtang Pass on any vehicle, rented or private.

  17. Hi Dheeraj,

    A friend and I (both girls) plan to travel to Spiti Valley. The dates are 4-14 August from Chandigarh and back. Could you please suggest an itinerary for us and places where we can stay. Thanks in advance 🙂

  18. Hi Dheeraj,

    I was planning for 4 days trip to Manali and from there to Spiti but after reading this I think it will be too less time.I will reach Manali on thursday late morning and leaving on Sunday evening. Can you please suggest where i can get amazing views in and around in such a short stay.

    Thanks in advance:)

    • You can try this

      Day 1 | Delhi – Manali and stay overnight at Solang Valley
      Day 2 | Solang – Khoksar/Sissu/Chatru/Batal
      Day 3 | Khoksar/Sissu/Chatru/Batal – Chandratal
      Day 4 | Chandratal – Manali
      Day 5 | Manali – Delhi

  19. Navin Jain on

    Hi Dheeraj
    I am working on a Travel and Game show concept for TV, it involves Travel from Manali to Kaza. In the show I want to explore places for their unique characters, activities and culture through planned games and tasks for the team of two. Can you suggest few local activities or traditions in this Manali Kaza route around which I can create content.

    • You can reach Kaza and from there take it on. Visit Langza, Hikkim, Komik villages, Demul and Lhalung are two other where you can find stories and old tradition people.

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