Spiti in Winters – Most Common Itinerary

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When an adventurous thought of making a trip to Spiti in winters comes to mind, it brings along lots of questions and apprehensions too with it. The thoughts like, will the roads will be open, will the stay options be available, how will be the temperature during that time, will I get food or water, etc.. It is very natural that these questions are coming to your mind and they should, in order to make a successful trip to one of the remotest corners of trans-Himalayas in winters. I took care of many of these important questions in my last article How to plan a trip to Spiti Valley in Winters but left out what shall be your itinerary for a trip to Spiti in winters.

In this article today, I will be suggesting the most common itinerary for a trip to Spiti Valley in winters. In the next and last article of this series on planning a trip to Spiti in winters, I will share my thoughts in detail about staying and food options available in Spiti Valley in winters. There are lots of variables when you are planning such a trip and most major one is the itinerary. Your itinerary must be flexible and hence, you know about places where to stop overnight in case of any changes from original plan. You must also know which places you should avoid staying overnight due to vulnerabilities such as freezing cold, acute mountain sickness or being stuck from both sides of road blocks.

Breathtaking views of Spiti in Winters
Breathtaking views of Spiti in Winters

Itinerary for Spiti in Winters for 9 Days

This nine day itinerary flows to Spiti Valley from from Shimla – Kinnaur side and you end up traversing the same route on return because the route from Manali – Kunzum Pass – Kaza remains closed in winters. You should be aware that route from Manali to Kaza, Spiti Valley only remains open in the summer months from mid June to mid October. Beyond this time period, it is usually closed or it is not suggested to travel on this route because of the reason of getting stuck in the middle of no mans for about six months. The route from Shimla – Kinnaur Valley to Spiti Valley remains open almost all throughout the year including winters barring few days of heavy snowfall that closes NH-22 or road between Kaza – Tabo or Tabo – Puh at times.

This article covers places accessible in Spiti Valley in winters including Tabo, Kaza, Ki, Kibber and other parts of Hindustan – Tibet Highway. Below is the most common itinerary for Spiti in winters, spanning over 9-10 days and making most use of each of the days.

Day 1 | Delhi – Shimla / Narkanda
  • Shimla sightseeing includes Famous Ridge, Mall Road, Lakkar Bazaar, Jakhu Temple
  • Narkanda is about 60 KMs from Shimla takes about 2 Hrs
  • About 8 Hrs drive to Shimla
  • Overnight at Shimla or Narkanda, which ever suits your timings
  • There may be snow on the road and you can expect closure due to heavy snowfall between Shimla – Narkanda
Day 2 | Shimla / Narkanda – Kalpa / Reckong Peo
  • Leave early, if from Shimla and enjoy the vistas en route
  • You can plan for lunch at Rampur
  • About 8 – 9 Hrs of beautiful drive through Kinnaur Valley
  • Overnight at Kalpa / Reckong Peo
  • Road to Kalpa might be closed due to snow but road to Reckong Peo remains open
  • This will be your last place where network will be coming, so call up your near & dear one. Also check the weather updates here before venturing. Once, you get past Reckong peo, there is no looking back and chances of getting stuck between Puh – Nako – Tabo road always remains high. Hence, better check the weather updates before leaving
Day 3 | Kalpa / Reckong Peo – Nako – Nako Lake – Tabo
  • Start your day early and watch the vistas en route over Hindustan Tibet Highway
  • Check Out Khab, Confluence of Spiti and Satluj Rivers
  • See the Leo Purygal Peak from Khab Bridge
  • Have your lunch at Nako, the Nako Lake will be frozen
  • Meet the dreaded Malling Nalla ahead of Nako which will have lot of ice and completely frozen. The road will be very slippery around this section of the road
  • After Chango – Sumdo you will enter Spiti Valley. In case you see weather being not welcoming, try to stop over at Chango. Avoid sleeping at Nako where it will be too freezing and AMS prone
  • After Sumdo police registration, the detour towards Geyu Village to visit the 500 Year old Mummy will be closed. So, keep moving towards Tabo.
  • About 8 – 9 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between
  • Overnight at Tabo
Day 4 | Tabo – Dhangkar – Kaza
  • Visit Dhangkar Monastery in case the road is open else continue to Kaza
  • The route to Pin Valley will be closed
  • About 2 – 3 Hrs of drive in the day
  • Overnight at Kaza
Day 5, 6 | Kaza and around
  • Head for Kaza, headquarters of Spiti Valley and spend couple of days in Kaza
  • Have lunch at Kaza and check in to Hotel
  • In these two days, explore the road to Ki – Kibber which remains mostly open and for more details you can read: Key – Kibber – Gette – Tashigang – Local Sightseeing in Kaza
  • Ki is a famous monastery and others are places to explore as a lovely drive
  • About 2 – 3 Hrs of drive in the day
  • Overnight at Kaza

Breathtaking Views on the way back to Kaza from Dhangkar
Day 7 | Kaza – Tabo – Nako – Puh – Reckong Peo
  • Start your day early and watch the vistas en route over Hindustan Tibet Highway
  • After Chango – Sumdo you will exit Spiti Valley
  • Have your lunch at Nako or at Puh
  • Nako has an IPH Rest House and Puh has a PWD Rest house where you can stay if required due to road closure. Chango also have a PWD rest house. You may be OK to stay at Nako while coming back but still better opt for Chango or Puh
  • You can make quick progress on this day with less stops, as you have already covered to places of interest while reaching Tabo from Kalpa
  • About 9 – 10 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between
  • Overnight at Reckong Peo
Day 8 | Reckong Peo – Sangla/Rakcham – Jeori – Sarahan
  • Enjoy the day at Sangla Valley, in case the road is open. I am not suggesting to stay at Sangla Valley overnight. Firstly, it will increase the previous day’s travel time and secondly, in case the road to Sangla Valley gets closed, you might get stranded there for few days. The road to Chitkul will be close.
  • Go over to Sarahan and spend night up there
  • Visit Kamru Fort at Sangla
  • You can plan for lunch at Sangla village and by evening reach Sarahan
  • About 2 – 5 Hrs of beautiful drive through Kinnaur Valley
  • Overnight at Sarahan
Day 9 | Sarahan – Narkanda – Chail/Shimla/Delhi
  • Leave early and enjoy the vistas en route
  • You can plan for lunch at Narkanda, Negi Dhabha. Check review in DoW Community
  • This time instead of staying at Narkanda stay at Chail by taking the different inner beautiful route to Chail from Kufri, in case open. That route sometimes gets closed due to snow.
  • About 6 – 14 Hrs of beautiful drive through Shimla – Kinnaur Valley depending upon where are you planning to halt the day
  • Overnight at Chail/Shimla/Delhi
Day 10 | Chail – Delhi
  • In case, you have this extra day past the whole week, well, you can relax in Chail
  • Roam around in Chail and leave for Delhi by afternoon
  • About 8 Hrs drive to Delhi
  • Overnight at Delhi / sweet home

Day 11-15 | Buffer days to be kept in case of road closure due to landslides or snowfall or perhaps you want to enjoy more in frozen beauty of Spiti Valley 🙂

Do pay a visit to our DoW Spiti Library in Kaza. Who knows that your short walk there may help it remain active for the local kids for much longer time 🙂 :)…
As weather clears up in Kaza in evening
As weather clears up in Kaza in evening
Add On Days in Spiti Valley??

If you have more days with you then perhaps you can choose any of the days to explore more beautiful places within Spiti Valley in winters…

  • You can trek in snow to Langza, Hikkim or Komic villages for few days. Do not forget to take a local guide or local villager with you if you are under taking such a snow trek. Carry enough food + water and sleeping bag to sleep in home stays up in these villages. You can go for spotting Snow Leopard in these villages as well.
  • Spend a day with Sakya Abode boys or Tsering who goes over to ski on the snow slopes around Kaza. An exhilarating experience I must say.
  • Spend a day to working out winter routines in some home stay to actually experience the hard ships of daily lives in Spiti in winters.
  • Spend few days in Kibber village and try your luck to spot Snow Leopards, who knows it is your lucky day to spot this amazingly elusive cat :).
Petrol Pumps After Between Shimla – Spiti Valley – Manali
  • Theog
  • Narkanda – Do top up here
  • Rampur – After crossing the town, the last one on right side is pretty reliable
  • Jeori
  • Tapri – New one. Do top up here or in Reckong Peo for sure. Carry some 10-15 ltrs extra fuel for contingency which is very important. Powari one remains closed now, so don’t rely on it.
  • Rekong Peo – Do not miss in case haven’t topped up at Tapri
  • Kaza – Do Not Miss, Carry some 10-15 ltrs extra fuel for contingency which is very important.

Foreign Nationals visiting the protected areas of Spiti Valley and Kinnaur Valley are required to get the inner line permits or ILP. Domestic (Indian) tourist do not require any permits. If you are Indian, then just carry a valid photo ID proof of your nationality to be on safe side. You can get all the details for these permits and its process at the article linked here

Breathtaking Snow filled views from Key Monastery
Breathtaking Snow filled views from Key Monastery

Conclusion

I am sure the above itinerary if not help you 100% with planning a trip to Spiti Valley but can certainly act as a starting point for your upcoming trip to Spiti Valley in winters. Do share your valuable thoughts or queries or doubts you have in comment section or DoW Community | Itinerary Advice forum for Lahaul, Spiti & Kinnaur Valley, and we can discuss more about your upcoming Travel Plans for Spiti Valley 🙂

Now we have talked about what to expect and how to plan the trip to Spiti in winters, in the last article of the series I will talk about available food and staying options in winters in Spiti Valley. Feel free to share this article with any friends or family whom you know are making a such a trip to Spiti Valley in winters.

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34 Comments

  1. karnesh diwakar on

    Hello dheeraj 🙂
    Hope you are doing well .
    It’s not about spiti
    My query is for sikkim and bhutan road trip from delhi to delhi. I want to take this trip in this may 2017.. having 14 days..
    You helped me in my three trips one is ladakh.. second is chitkul and third is spitivalley… Thank u so much.. help me for my trip to bhutan and sikkim…

    Thank u dheeraj 🙂

  2. i m thinking of spiti valley plan in mid or late april. what will be the road condition?? and upto how far we can reach?

    • Arijit, it will be cold and I am hoping that you have read the above article. You will have to follow a similar plan as mentioned in the article above. You can reach up to Kaza and then few KMs ahead till where the road is open.

  3. Hii sir,

    We are planning to go spiti around 13th dec. We have swift diesel(one year old). Can we go in this or we should drop the plan. we have the experience driver who can dive on any terrain.

    Suggest us.
    Thanks

  4. Vicky Tseng on

    Hello,

    I’m from Taiwan. First of all, thanks for your great suggested-itinerary, it really helps me a lot 🙂
    I plan to visit Spiti Valley in Jan, 2017 and I wonder how about the transportation from Shimla to Kaza?
    I’m solo traveler, would like to know if it’s possible to take the public transportation, and including all the transportation and accommodation during these 9 days, how much approximately will be the budget?

    Really thanks for your big help!

    • Hello Vicky,

      I hope you have read: How to plan a trip to Spiti Valley in Winters and of course you have read the above itinerary too.

      Regarding public transport, the daily bus from Shimla – Reckong Peo runs and from Reckong Peo a daily bus at 7 AM also runs to Kaza. If the road is closed due to snow, the bus will run up to road closed point and from there people walk if it is walkable distance to the other side where bus from Kaza to Reckong peo usually waits.

      Keep in mind if you are planning just for 9 days and have something important at the end, you may be stuck there. So, keep that contiengencies in mind.

  5. Sudip Basu on

    Sir, I wish to visit himachal pradesh with my 10years old daughter& wife in mid of March 2017 for six days Simla to Simla including Manali by a taxi .PLease suggest other must visit places and itinerary. Regards.

  6. Hey dheeraj !
    I’m looking to make an itinerary for 5 days from reckong to kaza and back …
    I’m relying on public transport for the trip .. do you think it can be done in 5 days ?
    And what are the must see places ?
    Ideally I cant extend it to 9 days .. it’s a long journey for me since im coming from Karnataka.

      • After some adjustments… We have a return flight from Delhi on the 6th.
        Reaching shimla on the 27th..
        How long will the bus take from kaza to Shimla ?
        Any suggestions on how to make use of the time available ?
        Also I’m travelling with a foreign national who needs a permit .. we plan to get it at Peo since 27th is a Sunday in Shimla

        • Sorry, seems I am late and you should be off to the trip already. Yes, you should get the permit in Peo only. Kaza to Peo first will take about 9 Hrs in bus and same is true for Peo to Shimla.

  7. Hi Dheeraj,

    the details which you mentioned in this blog are very helpful.
    Unfortunately, i am plannig the trip in End of Dec month-2016.
    So, Can you pls suggest/advise me which are the best places to visit like this spiti valley starts from Dec 23rd 2016 to Jan 2nd 2017. Start point: Shimla , end point: Dharmashala.

    And the Travel agent details too that who can provide CAB, Hotels & all 3 meal.
    Pls note this is my 1st trip to Himachal pradesh.

    Appreciate your support in this regards and Happy & Safe Diwali..

    Thanks & Regards,
    Hari

    • Hari, it is the harshest place in Himachal to make your first trip to Himachal. Better contain yourself to at max Kinnaur Valley if you really want to be adventurous. DO NOT go into Spiti Valley

    • Hi Hari,

      First of all to visit Spiti valley in the month of December is not a good idea. As Dheeraj rightly said that climate will be harsh during that time.
      All the places that I have visited in Spiti I found personally Losar is must see place if you are travelling in Spiti valley. I was there in the month of October this year temperature around -7 to -8 celsius. This is was my first trip to Himachal with my family. We have stayed there for more than two weeks without any health issue, even I was travelling with my six years old son.

      Regards,
      Explorer

  8. Hi,

    Is a royal enfield bike ride to Spiti Valley in Winter season (December-January) recommended from the Shimla side? I went to Chandratal Lake from Manali side this July, but could not finish the trip to Spiti. So I was planning to do it this winter.

  9. Hi Dheeraj, Your website is very helpful for someone planning to travel to these places for the first time.

    We are a couple planning to visit Manali in October end. I am very disappointed to see this article that Manali – Kunzum pass would be closed after Mid October. Can you please clarify if the entire route would be closed or just after Rohtang pass ?

    Thanks a ton!

    • Sarath, the route will be closed after Rohtang Pass. Manali – Leh Highway has already been decalred officially closed and same risk applies to the highway beyond Rohtang Pass into Spiti Valley.

      • Thanks Dheeraj, Can you please tell me about the activities availability at Rohtang pass in October end. If we are unable to do any activities in Solang valley or Rohtang pass, it would be huge disappointment for us after reaching Manali.

        • Sarath, there will be few activities going on in Solang Valley but other activities are banned in Rohtang Pass now. Only solang will be having the activities and no snow will be present during that time for snow activities.

  10. Aditya Krishnan on

    Hey planning a trip last week of this month 23/10/16 – 30/10/2016 in a petrol sedan -skoda rapid, please suggest must visit places, intenarary, essentials to carry and things to watch out for

    • Hi Aditya,

      You can refer the below plan as rest I replied to your other comment:

      Day 1 | Delhi – Narkanda – Sarahan
      Day 2 | Sarahan – Rakcham/Sangla/Chitkul
      Day 3 | Rakcham/Sangla/Chitkul – Nako – Geyu Mummy – Tabo
      Day 4 | Tabo – Dhangkar – Dhangkar Lake – Pin Valley – Kaza
      — For stay check Sakya Abode or snow lion are two good options at Kaza apart from PWD Guest houses. Get in touch with Tsering, the guy who runs it. He is a very good friend of mine and you can refer my name or DoW to him. Read more about Sakya Abode at: Sakya Abode Kaza – An Enriching Experience in Spiti Valley
      Day 5 | Kaza Rest and Local Sightseeing
      — Ki, Kibber, Gette, Tashigang
      Day 6 | Kaza – Hikkim, Komik, Langza circuit – Kaza and then reach Nako by evening
      Day 7 | Nako – Rampur / Narkanda
      Day 8 | Rampur / Narkanda – Delhi

      OR

      Day 1: Delhi – Sarahan
      Day 2: Sarahan – Kalpa
      Day 3: Kalpa – Nako – Nako Lake – Tabo
      Day 4: Tabo – Dhangkar – Dhangkar Lake – Pin Valley – Kaza
      Day 5: Kaza – Ki, Kibber, Komik, Langza – Kaza
      Day 6: Kaza – Tabo – Nako – Sangla / Chitkul
      Day 7: Sangla / Chitkul – Narkanda / Shimla
      Day 8: Narkanda / Shimla – Delhi

  11. 'Prateek Yadav on

    Is diesel car a good option at that moment?
    I’ll be travelling by mahindra scorpio in December..

  12. Vageesh C on

    I think there is a petrol pump in Powari before the climb to Peo. That was the last one i saw on the highway till Kaza. No need to go to peo just for fuel. Please correct me if i am wrong.

    • Yes there is petrol pump at Powari but now it is closed and they don’t sell fuel anymore over it. They have installed one new one just before entering Tapri, that is the last pump.

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