5 Reasons to Travel Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur Route

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We all know that two routes exist to travel to Spiti Valley. The one route takes you to Kaza, Spiti from Shimla – Kinnaur side while the other route goes from Manali – Rohtang Pass to Spiti.

In the last two articles, I have talked about in details on How To Travel to Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur side and then How To Travel to Spiti Valley from Manali side. Now that we know how we are going to travel to Spiti Valley, the question arises which one you should pick and why. If one has to choose among these two routes for traveling to Spiti Valley by road, then let’s looks at some advantages of traveling to Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur route, popularly known as Hindustan Tibet Highway.

Why to travel to Spiti Valley from Shimla - Kinnaur side?
Why to travel to Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur side?

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Why travel to Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur route?

If you compare the road to Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur Route with the road to Spiti Valley from Manali, there are certain definitive advantages as well as disadvantages of both these beautiful routes. It is a hard choice, but some of the reasons mentioned in this article will help you make the right choice based on your preferences.

In this article, I will enlist 5 main reasons to travel to Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur route. And, in the next article, I will talk about the advantages of making the road trip to Spiti Valley from Manali side.

Spiti Valley from Shimla - Kinnaur
Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur

1. Acclimatization and AMS

Sometimes, people traveling or going directly to Spiti Valley or Kaza from Manali suffers from acute mountain sickness due to the sudden change of altitude. The body does not adapt that quickly to such a high altitude of Kunzum Pass or Kaza, which is about 3600 Mtrs high in altitude. Manali is much lower in altitude to provide any benefits of acclimatization.

Hence, there is a very high possibility of getting hit with AMS when traveling to Spiti from Manali side. One night’s stay is not sufficient to acclimatize to the altitude of Spiti Valley or Chandratal.

However, when you travel to Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur side, the Hindustan Tibet Road provides a gradual ascend to travelers. Thus, it helps you fight any chances of acute mountain sickness (AMS) caused due to a sudden change in high altitudes.

Hence, you enjoy the beautiful vistas en-route Spiti Valley in a relaxed and peaceful manner without any concerns of AMS in trans-Himalayas.

Colors of Spiti Valley from Shimla - Kinnaur side
Colors of Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur side

2. Ugly & Messy Drive of Rohtang Pass – Gramphu – Batal

When you travel from to Spiti from Manali, then you have to drive through the ever messy Rohtang Pass. The widely famous huge traffic jams which in the month of May-June used to last even for days though since the ban of tourism at Rohtang Pass things have improved a lot.

Still, in peak season time, the drivers coming from another side will bully you, break the lines and block the traffic coming from another side. Sometimes even ignorant, ill-mannered people driving from plains are also responsible for this queue breaks and resulting in deadlocks for hours.

This only creates frustration and agony, plus some people suffer from ill-health too while stranded for long hours at that high altitude. As those summer and vacation months pass by, monsoons magic comes in and makes the road to Rohtang Pass, especially the Rohtang Pass, to Gramphu road on the Northern side. So, in case you are self-driving, get ready for some real fun and adventure through slush during this time.

I will admit that you may find roads with slush in the Kinnaur region as well when traveling to Spiti. However, going through the journey of Rohtang Pass – Gramphu – Batal on the second day of the trip can easily be a trip crasher for certain people who expects a smooth journey across to Kaza from Manali seeing the Google maps.

3. The Drama of Manali – Rohtang Pass Permits

Of course, it is a trivial process that you need to get the Rohtang Pass permits when traveling towards Rohtang Pass from Manali side. However, sometimes, it can prove to be a frustrating affair. It can be a kind of piss-off that can force you to alter your drive plans or nights stay even. In 2018, Himachal govt launched a mobile app to get yourself the Rohtang Pass permits. You can read my article on how to get Rohtang Pass permit online or using a mobile app.

It is a very welcoming move that eases out the whole process of apply Rohtang Pass permits as it has been known to be a very nightmarish experience in the past. Still, in-season time, you might have some frustrating encounters.

Oddly, you do not need Rohtang Pass permit when you travel from Kaza or Keylong side. Hence, when you travel to Spiti Valley from the Kinnaur side, you do not need any permits for Rohtang Pass. So, one less thing to prepare or worry about on your adventure road trip to Spiti Valley.

The road from Gramphu to Batal
The road from Gramphu to Batal

4. Limited Season of Travel – June to September

The roads to Spiti Valley from Manali to Kaza side opens up in June along with the opening of the whole route between Gramphu (a small diversion point on Manali – Leh Highway ahead of Rohtang Pass) to Kunzum Pass to Kaza.

Gramphu to Kunzum Pass route remains buried under 20+ feet snow glaciers, which needs to be cut-through to make the passage to Spiti. Since this road from Manali to Kaza is low on priority for BRO in general, they start opening it at later stages only after making Manali – Leh Highway almost completely operational.

Kunzum Pass opens in late May or early June

Even after the opening of Manali – Leh Highway, the progress of opening of Gramphu to Kunzum Pass is not that quick. Even though authorities work from both ends, that is, from Gramphu end as well as Losar end, the sheer presence of huge glaciers makes the task at hand very difficult.

In fact, the snow clearance operation on Manali to Kaza road from Kaza side starts from March itself. First, the GREF clears the snow from Kaza to Losar and then move towards Kunzum Pass. Finally, the snow clearance operations go beyond Batal up to Chota Dhara / Chatru, which falls under other divisions.

The road up to Chota Dhara / Chatru is cleared from Gramphu side by the division of Lahaul Valley (I hope I am correct in this assumption :))

Hindustan Tibet Road near Reckong Peo Cut-off
Hindustan Tibet Road near Reckong Peo Cut-off

Kunzum Pass closes in October – November

By September month, Kunzum Pass and other high mountain passes of the Himalayas start receiving snowfall. Hence, it is not an ideal time to travel beyond Kunzum Pass, especially after the middle of October, because you can get stranded for some hours to days in between Grampu and Kunzum Pass. It had happened in the past and even recently in 2018 when hundreds of tourists got stuck in Spiti and Lahaul valley after sudden snowfall in September.

As October begins, the risk becomes even higher. Hence, you are limited by a small window of 4-5 months for traveling the road to Spiti Valley from Manali side.

On the other hand, if you travel Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur side, that route remains open almost all around the year including winter months in Spiti. Only when there is heavy snowfall, the route from Shimla – Kinnaur to Spiti closes down for a few days.

5. Beauty of Hindustan Tibet Highway

In the end, of course, you will miss the entire beauty and adventure of traveling or driving or riding one of the most treacherous roads in the world: Hindustan – Tibet Highway.

The experience of traveling on Hindustan – Tibet road is unmatched, and I call it a destination in itself rather than a journey. I do not deny the road beyond Rohtang Pass and towards Kunzum Pass is not that scenic, but there is a hell lot more attached to Hindustan – Tibet Highway than the road from Manali over Kunzum Pass to Spiti Valley.

Just to get an idea of sightseeing places over this amazing yet historic route to Spiti from Shimla – Kinnaur side, which shall not be missed, check my article on Hindustan Tibet Road & NH – 22 | Interesting Places

Hindustan – Tibet Road Altitude & Distance Graph
Hindustan – Tibet Road Altitude & Distance Graph
Road to Spiti Valley via Manali Altitude - Distance Graph
Road to Spiti Valley via Manali Altitude – Distance Graph

Still, Confused??

Well, if you are still confused on which route to choose to travel to Spiti Valley, I will recommend that you wait and take some more days off to travel the full circuit of Spiti Valley, that is, starting the trip to Spiti from Shimla side and ending at Manali side.

Views in Spiti Valley in March Near Kaza
Views in Spiti Valley in March Near Kaza

Don’t have time to read the full article? Check this less than 3-minute video on DevilOnWheels YouTube Channel on these five reasons to take Shimla to Kaza route instead of Manali to Kaza. If you like my video, please do not forget to SUBSCRIBE to the YouTube channel.

Why travel to Spiti Valley from Shimla Kinnaur side?

Conclusion

I hope this article will help all of you who are in a bit of confusion among these two routes. In the next article of the series, I will also talk about some of the reasons which you shall consider to travel Spiti Valley from Manali side as well, just in case you are feeling too much-bounded :)…

Have a travel question?? You can follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel to ask your travel questions in a direct message on Instagram or comments on my YouTube videos. I also conduct a weekly Q&A session every Saturday evening on Instagram, so see you there.

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

Are you planning to go to Spiti Valley via Hindustan – Tibet Highway or Manali? If yes, please feel free to ask any questions or doubts you have regarding your plan in the comments section OR my Instagram profile. I will be happy to reply and discuss them with you. Looking forward to your responses 🙂

If you know your friends or family are planning a trip to Spiti from Shimla side, then do share this article with them to help them make a memorable trip.

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Helping travelers, backpackers & tourists in planning memorable trips to the Himalayas - Smartly, Safely, Responsibly and Economically. I am in love with Spreading Smiles in the Himalayas through DoW Causes. You can read more about me in detail by checking out About Me section from the main menu.

203 Comments

  1. Comments section gets closed in 90 days. You can follow my YouTube Channel or follow me on Instagram to ask your travel questions. I also conduct a weekly Q&A session every Saturday evening on Instagram, so see you there !!

  2. Asking frankly, is their any threat of terrorists in Nubra Valley or Ahead?

  3. How many days r required to go to Nubra Valley from Leh n comeback? N wht abt Siachin? Is it open 4 tourists or only 4 military?

    • Siachen is not open for tourists. Nubra Valley requires at least two days of comfortable trip, 3 days with Turtuk and 1 day of very hectic touch and come type of trip.

  4. Is it possible to go to Nubra Valley from Leh by bikes in September?

  5. Is September beginning best for Ladakh trip or mid September is best. Can we complete the trip by Srinagar-Kargil-Leh-Rohtang-Spitti-Naarkanda-Kufri-Shimla. How much days this trip requires?

    • Whole of September is a good time, if you want to make it mid of September, it will be more better as there is less tourist rush towards the end. You will need around 18-20 days to complete this trip

  6. Wht abt climatic conditions at that time? Specially abt rains n landslides at Zozilla Pass n Rohtang Pass.

  7. We r planning trip to Ladakh via Srinagar n ending at Manali. Which dates r best rite now for the trip? We r planning for 1st Sept. to 15th Sept.

  8. Avi Somani on

    Hi Dheeraj,
    We are six people planning to go to spiti valley on our personal bikes at last week of july. The bikes are R15 , pulsar 200 and fazer and zixsar. Will it be advisable to go from these bike?

      • Avi Somani on

        Will these bike do fine on spiti to manali route and if some problem occure in these bike during our journey can we find some mechanic for that?

        • Avi, the bikes will do fine but in case there is any issue it all depends upon the know-how of the mechanic which are not easily available and are available only at main places in Spiti Valley.

  9. Sandeep Kumar Sharma on

    Hi Dheeraj
    Planning to leave Delhi on 24 June

    We are three travellers going By Nissan Micra(Diesel).
    Will that be fine to go by this car(in terms of Ground Clearance)?
    we are carrying extra fuel for safety purpose also.

    Our trip will be as follow

    Day 1 Delhi to Chandigarh to Rampur(overnight to rampur leaving Delhi at 5 PM). Stay at Rampur
    Day 2 Rampur to Kaza(Stay at Kaza)
    Day 3 Kaza stay
    Day 4 Kaza – Losar- chandratal(Stay at Losar)
    Day 5 Losar to Manali(Stay at Manali)
    Day 6 Manali stay
    Day 7 Manali to Delhi

    Please suggest for improvement of the same

  10. Hi Dheeraj,

    I am planning a 8-9 days self drive trip to Spiti from Noida with my wife. Can you please help me with itenary and the best route for same.

    • Saurabh, you may refer below:

      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, Koumik) 
      — Hikkim, Komik, Langza circuit 
      Day 7 | Kaza – Kunzum Pass – Chandratal
      Day 8 | Chandratal – Manali
      Day 9 | Manali – Delhi

  11. Hi Dheeraj

    I will be travelling to Rampur next week. Was planning to stay in Shimla in return but since its very crowded i am planning to travel up from Rampur (Kinnaur Valley/ sangla/Kalpa). so can you please suggest which would be the best option.

    • Gaurav, you should stay over at Sangla/Chitkul but i did not get if you are coming back to stay at Shimla or going ahead of Rampur to stay in Kinnaur?

    • Hi dear i am planning to go with my friends in july 1st week..on shimla manali circuit..last year i have also been dere..but this time i am planning to do camping ol over..so can u suggest me sm gud spots for camping on this track..

  12. Hi Dheeraj

    Thanks for the detailed information shared in your blog. I am planning to Visit Lahaul & Spiti Valley between 3 – 10 June. We will take the following route Delhi — Sangla –> Kalpa –> Tabo –> Kaza –> Losur –> Keylong –> Manali –> Delhi.

    Can you please let me know your opinion whether the Lahaul and Spiti route will be open during 3 – 10 June? If not then what is the best time to cover this itinerary.

      • HI Dheeraj, Is there any change in the status of road between Manali – Kaza? Also when is Chandrataal route expected to open?

        • Also please let me known whether we need to take any road permit while coming from Kaza to Manali. If yes then which place we can take the same. And how many days in advance we need to book the road permit.

    • M.k. vashisth on

      Sir pls share your experience about the route. I m m planning to travel this route by royal Enfield sole.

  13. Hello im planning to travel to spiti valey on 28th may and ive 7-8 days in hand can i make a round trip like going from the shimla side and coming back from manali side I currently live in Chandigarh

  14. Hi Greetings from Delhi…

    First your blog are so information….

    I have planning to visit Shimla , kufri, Manali, slogn vally, rohtang pass and most beautiful spiti vally

    I have 7 days in hand
    And dates are 20th may to 27 the may 2016, I read your suggestions on spiti vally that it took 4 days from Manali to spiti
    So I will skip Shimla if …

    Would you pl tell me that from 20th may to 27 th may route are open for spiti from Manali??

    Thanks in Advance

  15. How long does it take to travel from Delhi to Spiti via Kinnaur by a car[Mini SUV] during late August?

    Point A to B kind of a thing, no sightseeing,

      • Hi Dheeraj,

        We are a team of 8 planning to traverse Spiti Valley from Shimla side from Sep 25 – Oct 6 and complete the entire stretch back to Chanidgarh on bike.
        Just wanted to check the dates are fine and we are riding bikes.
        Awaiting your inputs.

    • You need 2 days to reach there if you drive 12 hrs a day (For the month of August only, and if there is no major landslide on the way)

  16. Hi Dheeraj… Very nice and Informative article.. Me and couple of my buddies are planning to Visit Spiti on bike from Dehradun
    … What would you suggest would be best places and routes to visit… We will leave on 1st of July.. Around afternoon… We only have till sunday.. Any advice would be really helpful… Thanks in advance…

      • Thanks a lot.. Really appreciate you responding and helping out.. cheers!!

  17. Would the this route be open in mid Oct this year? We are 3 friends who are planning to travel via Shimla to Spiti

  18. sir,

    Earlier i have posted for tour from 20th Jun. However our progra changed and we will reach chandigarh on 25th June evening . and we have return flight on 3rd july evening 5 pm

    We would like to traval from shimla – – tibet higway – – kaza – – manali. ( Is it possible or only manali – kaza – manali)
    We are family 3 gents 2 ladies.
    We will hire vehile .

    Pl suggest plan .
    Wher to stay, good hotels ?
    Do we need hotel bookings ?

    rgds

    shriram

    • Hello Shriram,

      You have just 7 days in hand which will make it very difficult to have a trip to Spiti Valley during that time window especially considering if Manali – Kaza road will be open or not because from Shimla side it will take about 3 days just to reach spiti. You can try below plan and expect the Manali – Kaza to be open to execute it.

      Day 1 : Reach Manali by overnight volvo of and stay overnight at Solang Valley as preferred for acclimatization
      Day 2 : Manali / Solang – Kaza
      Day 3 : Kaza – Dhangkar – Tabo
      Day 4 : Tabo – Pin Valley – Kaza. Do Ki, Kibber in the evening.
      Day 5 : Kaza – Langza – Komik – Hikkim – Kaza / Losar
      Day 6 : Kaza / Losar – Chandratal – Manali, if chandral open
      Day 7 : Reach Chandigarh by overnight Volvo from Manali

      Updated road conditions can be found at: https://devilonwheels.com/india/road-status-conditions-f32/manali-kunzum-pass-spiti-valley-road-status-2013-t36-90.html#p21263

  19. Sir,

    We want to travel spity valley and other places from 20th June onwadrs. We have 1 week available. We want to hire a vehicle. Can you suggest some tour operator ? Can you guide the tour plan. Hotels etc.

    Can we talk to you over phone ?

    rgds

    shriram

    • Hi Shriram,

      Day 1 : Reach Manali by overnight volvo of and stay overnight at Solang Valley as preferred for acclimatization
      Day 2 : Manali / Solang – Kaza
      Day 3 : Kaza – Dhangkar – Tabo
      Day 4 : Tabo – Pin Valley
      Day 5 : Pin Valley – Kaza. Do Ki, Kibber in the evening.
      Day 6 : Kaza – Langza – Komik – Hikkim – Kaza / Losar
      Day 7 : Kaza / Losar – Chandratal – Manali
      Day 8 : Reach Delhi by overnight Volvo from Manali

      You can get connected directly to some drivers in Spiti Valley or Kinnaur Valley at the link: List of Taxi Drivers for Spiti Valley & Kinnaur Valley. These drivers can come and pick you up from Manali & Shimla too.

      The rates of the taxis are about Rs 3000-3500 per day depending upon the number of days you plan to travel, more the days, less the price.

      Otherwise, taxis in general are also available on the spot from Shimla or Manali from respective taxi stands

      For stay options in Kinnaur and Spiti, check the link: Some Good Options of Stays in Spiti Valley / Kinnaur Valley

      Regards
      Dheeraj

  20. Hi. I am Planning to travel on HIndustan – Tibet highway to Spiti valley and subsequently further on to Leh. Is it possible to do it in June beginning? Please suggest

    • Manali – Leh Highway will open by 15th June as per last reports and road to Kaza towards Manali – Leh will open most likely after that only, so begining June is not the right time to travel that route.

  21. Shadman Reza on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    We are a group of 5 planning to do a full circuit that’s starting from shimla – Spiti – lahaul – manali – shimla. We have 10 days in hand and will be traveling on bike in the first week of June. Can you please suggest us the various stop points on this route day wise and if anything important which we should keep in mind regarding this tour. We have experience in riding in this kind of terrain we have already complete a trip of Leh – Khardungla – Numbhra Valley – leh – Chang La – Pangong Lake – leh on bike. Will the road from Spiti to lahaul open up during that time of the year?

    • Shadman, I will suggest in case you plan to do full circuit then it is better that you postpone the trip by atleast 2-3 weeks as road from Manali to Kaza opens by mid of June only. You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Spiti Valley followed by many travellers including me at the link here for 10-11 days: Most Common Itinerary for Spiti Valley.

  22. sushil Kumar on

    I want to cover the following places please let me know the direction and how to cover all the mention below places

    Solang Valley, Rohtang Pass , Chandratal, Kaza, Dhankar Lake, Khajjair, Parashar Lake, Kasol

    Kindly suggest travel plan …I want to travel from 14 June.

    Waiting for your positive response.

  23. Hi Dheeraj,

    We some of friends are planning to Spiti in first week of April on our bikes. What route would you suggest to us and dos and donts? Is it possible to go till chandratal lake & Kaza?

    • Vini, April is a bit harsh in Spiti Valley and have you taken a ride before of such adventure? March / April are months of snow slides and landslides, so there could be road closures as well. Also, stay options will not be plenty and food options too. Are you fine with it? Road up to Kaza will be open but not to Chandratal.

      • Thanks for your reply Dheeraj. I’m not considering myself as very professional rider but I wish we would manage the harsh conditions. We did Sach Pass and Mana last year with little easy conditions let us try something bit difficult this time.
        What is the difference kms in Kaza & Chandratal Lake?
        My only concern is, would we get accommodation in Spiti? And does 6-7 days are fine for a round trip from Delhi from Shimla route?

        • Vini, doing Sach Pass, you will be familiar with the conditions in such a case. Be ready for anything an everything. The only issue with the route is stability as compared to Mana and Sach you did. Once they are open, they tend to be stable however the mountains of Kinnaur are quite fragile especially in the month of March and April when snow melts and takes down huge glaciers with them in the form of landslides and snowslides. So, the positive side is that at least you guys will have a mindset what to expect doing similar rides before.

          The road remain open up to Kaza only, may be 12-15 KMs ahead of Kaza too as the snow clearance towards Kunzum Pass begins. So, forget about Chandratal as of now. Now in 6-7 days, you can try something like below, though a bit tiring:

          Day 1 | Delhi – Narkanda
          Day 2 | Narkanda – Kalpa
          Day 3 | Kalpa – Nako – Tabo / Kaza
          Day 4 | Tabo / Kaza, rest day. Go over to Ki, Kibber
          Day 5 | Kaza – Nako – Sangla
          Day 6 | Sangla – Chitkul / Sarahan (keep one of them in mind and start early, by 7 AM) – Narkanda / Chail
          Day 7 | Narkanda / Chail – Delhi

        • M.k. vashisth on

          Hi vini

          I m planning to go sole this June end to spiti valley prefer shimla ,sangla, kaza, manali route by 350 rolyal Enfield . pls share your experience about roads and other suggestion s

  24. Hey Dheeraj,

    4 of us friends want to plan a trip to Lahaul-Spiti but we have a time frame of max 10 days and the dates being last week of April. A lot of blogs suggest that roads to Lahaul are closed during that time of the year. However I was just going through your blog and thought of dropping you a message to inquire about the same. Do you think it is feasible to travel to Lahaul during the last week of April – 1st week of May either from Manali or Shimla? And if both Lahaul and Spiti are feasible during that time, what do you suggest would be a better visit? Also some treks like Chandratal, you’d recommend?

    A rough travel itinerary would also be of great help.

    Thanks in advance,
    Mansi

    • Mansi, yes the roads to Lahaul remains blocked during that time. You can travel to Spiti Valley from Shimla side. However, please note that landslides / snowslides are common during this period on the way to Spiti Valley. Chandratal will not be feasible, max, you will be able to travel will be upto Kaza from Shimla. Also, conditions will be a bit harsh and in spiti you may not have running water toilets functional by that time.

      • Thanks for your response Dheeraj. Also, do you think it would be a good idea to drive a car like Ecosport in that terrain during those dates?

  25. Hi dheeraj,

    We are group of 5 friends and planning our lahaul-spiti trip from shimla side and end to manali on our own bike in mid august. is there any permit issue on this route ? (i.e. leh) please let me also know about Travelling on this route on non HP vehicle.. we have 10 days from shimla to manali. is it sufficient to cover all major place? suggest route according to you also..

    • Sandip, for Indians there isn’t any permit required on this route. there are no restrictions on this route for non-hp vehicles if you follow the direction from Shimla to Spiti to Lahaul and then back to Manali. You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Spiti Valley followed by many travellers including me at the link here for 10-11 days: Most Common Itinerary for Spiti Valley.

  26. Hi,
    Can i travell to spiti in month of january .if yes ,then what will be the possible route and transport.

    • Akarshak, you can travel to Spiti in the month of January from the Shimla – Kinnaur route and will need to come back the same route. HRTC buses run from Reckong Peo to Kaza all year long barring the days of heavy snowfall. IN case road is closed in between then both buses from respective ends run up to the feasible point and exchange passengers in transit before returning back to bases. There are shared taxis as well that runs from Rampur to Kaza and Reckong Peo to Kaza as well.

  27. Hi Dhiraj,

    I have been planning to do a cycling trip from Shimla to manali via Kinnaur-Rohtang. Can you please!! please!! give me a travel itinerary for this including accommodation options since I wont be travelling with tents/sleeping bags since I want to travel light as it would be a cycling trip. Please help me dude.

    Thanks

    • Rajiv, that can be done but can you please tell me how much can you ride in a day and have you done such kind of cycling trip before too? Also, which month are you planning this drive.

      • Hi Dhiraj. Thanks for the reply. I am planning well ahead. August-September 2015.

        Presently I can travel nearly 40 Kms per day by cycling on normal route. If it is continuously inclining, I can cover may be upto 30-35 Kms. By since I am cycling every day nowadays, I should be able to reach around 60 Kms/day by September. Kindly provide me an itinerary based on the above. Thanks

        • If you can reach about 60 KMs a day then you can target this one:

          Simla – Narkanda / Sainj
          Narkanda / Sainj – Rampur
          Rampur – Sarahan
          Sarahan – Tapri / Sangla / Kalpa
          Kalpa – Puh
          Puh – Nako – Chango (see if you can reach Nako a day before, then you can save a day)
          Nako – Chango – Tabo
          Tabo – Kaza
          Kaza – Ki – Kibber
          Ki – Kibber – Langza – Komik
          Komik – Demul – Lhalung
          Lhalung – Lingti – Kaza
          Kaza – Rangrik – Losar
          Losar – Chandratal
          Chandratal – Batal – Chota Dhara – Chatru
          Chatru – Gramphu – Khoksar / Sissu / Marhi
          Khoksar / Sissu – Rohtang Pass – Marhi – Manali

          Check this awesome account of cycle journeys too here too: http://www.masterlyinactivity.com/spiti/intro.html

  28. Hi
    I want to travel to Key Monastery in second half of December. Is it possible? If yes, what is my option given I will be travelling from Chandigarh (Budget no limit)

  29. Hi Dheeraj
    We group of 4 from Gurgaon planning to go to Spiti valley via Manali on the coming dussera vacation(30 Sept-6 Oct) please suggest is this is the right time and are we be able to reach there without any road blocks.

    • Gaurav, it will get quite cold up there but roads will be open. In case it snows, the road might close for a day or two but route from Shimla – Kinnaur side will remain open. Go prepared with heavy woolens.

  30. Kamal Garg on

    Hi Dheeraj..seems to be mountain lover.. I read your article and realy very informative. Coming month 1 Oct, I am planning to go Delhi-Spiti via Shimla route and want to come back via manali route. Any suggestions for current time as temperatue is already low there. I am going through self drive A-star. Will it be fine for this trip? I know the challneges but already I covered most of the Himachal area with same car only. Within past 2 years, covered 1)Delhi-Shimla-Kufri-tattapani-naldhhera-chail-shadupul. 2)Gurgaon-Dharmshala-mcleodganj-Triyund (trekking)-Bir/Billing(paraglinding)-Delhi. 3)Gurgaon-kullu-manali-solang valley-kasol-manikaran-Chalal(trekking)-Tosh village-Malana village(trekking)-national park-kullu-shimla-chail-chandighar-gurgaon. and now planned for spiti…. 🙂

    • Hello Kamal,

      Sorry for the delayed reply but I was away on DoW Mega Meet in Spiti Valley for last 10 days. You will for sure face issues on Gramphu – to Kunzum Pass road and need to be very careful while driving on that route. We have my dzire as well as an alto with us in our convoy and we managed well just because of large group size. Hence, there will be challenges and I believe water will further lower down in water crossings, so with careful driving you will be able to make it through.

      Regards
      dheeraj

  31. Great article sir… we are planning to do this route in alto starting from delhi on sep-6th for 3 weeks covering leh as well…

    We are 4 travelling in an alto..

    Route: Delhi – Shimla – Spiti – Leh – Srinagar – Delhi

    We are flexible about the duration of trip…
    Can we do it? Please suggest..

    Thanks… Kamal

    • Kamal, For hatchback/sedan taking on Manali – Leh Highway Or Spiti Valley via Manali Or Ladakh, please refer the link: FAQ | Can I do Leh – Ladakh / Spiti / Manali – Leh trip in Hatchback or Sedan? for more details.

  32. Hi Dheeraj wish to travel by my XUV 500 from Dehradun in November….Please advise is the road is safe and motorable on same. I have good exp of hill driving…….

    • Sarab, to Spiti in November? I hope you know that temperatures will be freezing by that time and many of the road sections will have ice on the road making it difficult to drive in the morning hours of the day and in shades. Hotels will be closed and even if some home stays will be open but there bathrooms will be closed.

  33. hi Dheeraj,
    i am planning a road trip to spiti via Shimla and then Leh..we are group of 5 and decide to leave mid August..we have just 7 days in hand..is it feasible ? what do u suggest??
    Thanks in Advance

    • Neha, in just 7 days even Spiti Valley trip is a challenge and very difficult one. It takes 3 days from Delhi just to reach Spiti. Then two days to come back if you plan to come from Manali side. Plus at least 1 day of buffer since trip is planned in monsoons. So, just 1 day remains, that may be needed for rest after 3 long days of travel and 2 long days ahead of you 🙂

  34. hii dheeraj
    yours is the best blog for spiti trip..awesomely informative..helped alot..will be travelling to spiti with 5 of my friends from 10th-20thjune… have prepared an itenary with the help of ur blog 😉 just wanted to know if ders any flaw in it according to you… any suggestions regarding it would be quite quite helpful …heres the itenary

    DAY 1 – CHANDIGARH-SHIMLA..night halt at shimla.. vl be travelling throught the trip by public transport

    DAY 2 – SHIMLA-RECKPONG PEO/ KALPA..stay at reckong peo

    DAY 3 – early morning from RECKONG PEO – TABO.. stay at tabo

    DAY 4 – TABO-DHANKAR VILLAGE-TABO
    DAY 5 – TABO-KAZA-LANGHZA
    vl b stayin at Tserings sakya 🙂 m in touch with him ..
    DAY 6 – KAZA-KIBBER-KEY GOMPA-KYE MONASTERY
    DAY 7 – KAZA-LOSAR
    DAY8 – LOSAR-CHANDERTAAL
    Hoping for kunzum to open so that v can complete the whole circuit via manali nd bck to chandigarh…or else back to TABO-RECKONGPEO-SHIMLA-CHANDIGARH..

    IS IT PREFERRABLE TO TAKE A TAXI FR TRAVELLIN WITHIN SPITI OR PUBLIC TRANSPORT BUSES VL DO?? BUDGET IS AN ISSUE..VL BE KEEPING IT LOW ..ALSO ANY HOMESTAYS INFO AT TABO LOSAR CHANDERTAAL-BATTAL ..

    • Hi Angelo,

      Thanks alot for warm words of appreciation. I will suggest following changes:

      DAY 4 – TABO – DHANKAR VILLAGE – Pin Valley
      DAY 5 – Pin Valley – KAZA, visit Ki – Kibber in the evening. Stay at Kaza
      — Good to know you will stay with Tsering. Say hello from my side to him and his family…
      DAY 6 – KAZA – Langza – Komik – Hikkim – Kaza
      DAY 7 – KAZA – LOSAR – Chandratal
      — You need to trek to Chandratal, keep in mind and camp there only. Hence, no need to stay at Losar. Start early morning from Kaza, by 7 AM. Ask Tsering to make arrangements for you. Kunzum Pass is open but not sure if dozer has yet reached the point where Chandratal road bifurcates. Hence, you need to trek from Kunzum Pass only.
      DAY8 – Chandratal – Manali
      — I doubt if the road will open before 20th June anyhow. Else track back the route from Kinnaur as below:
      Day 8 – Chandratal – Kaza/Tabo
      Day 9 – Kaza/Tabo – Peo/Sangla
      Day 10 – Peo/Sangla – chandigarh

      You need to take mix of public transport and taxis. Till Kaza and back there should not be any problem with publich transport or shared taxis. But for Chandratal and Komik circuit, Ki, Kibber you might need private taxi.

      Regards
      Dheeraj

  35. yashik Aggarwal on

    Dheeraj You’re the man! lemme know if you are around then, will catch up with you too!

    • Thank you brother, hope you see you soon as well. If you in Delhi, join us over our monthly Mini Meets in Delhi sometime to share Travel to Himalayas.

      • yashik Aggarwal on

        I definitely will see you when i am in Delhi next! help me with thy contact information.

  36. Hi Dheeraj!
    Thank you for a prompt reply! I would love to travel from tge suggested route i was just skeptical about the rains! But taking into account your experience and expertise i shall rephrase my request! Sir can help me plan an itienary for 7 days including travel from ambala to spiti via kinnaur and exit manali and also what is the scene for trekking at chandratal?
    Warm Regards
    Yashik Aggarwal

    • aah… 7 days are less, can you add more? If not then follow an itinerary like below:

      Day 1 | Ambala – Sarahan
      Day 2 | Sarahan – Kalpa
      Day 3 | Kalpa – Tabo – Kaza
      Day 4 | Kaza – Ki, Kibber then Komik, Langza, Hikkim – Kaza
      Day 5 | Kaza – Chandratal
      Day 6 | Chandratal – Rohtang Pass – Manali
      Day 7 | Manali – Ambala

      OR

      Day 1 | Ambala – Manali
      Day 2 | Manali – Rohtang Pass – Gramphu – Sissu/Khoksar
      — I know you traveling a bit the same route on next day but to better acclimatize before you hit the high altitude form Manali side, this is the best way to take it. Sissu has hotel Triveni which is very nice and very economic too.
      — Remember AMS is fatal and before going towards Gramphu and beyond to Kunzum/chandratal/losar/kaza which all are at high altitude, you must sleep at lower altitude to acclimatize a bit to an extent. Else leave Manali very early and go straight to sleep at Tabo to avoid AMS on the second day. else it can spoil your trip.
      Day 3 | Sissu/Khoksar – Gramphu – Chandratal
      Day 4 | Chandratal – Ki, Kibber then Komik, Langza, Hikkim – Kaza
      Day 5 | Kaza – Pin Valley – Dhangkar – Tabo – Kaza
      Day 6 | Kaza – – Kunzum Pass – Gramphu – Rohtang Pass – Manali
      Day 7 | Manali – Ambala

      Regards
      dheeraj

      • Dear dheeraj! itinerary that you have planned is pretty amazing. just last thing i wanted to check was, can i include Pin valley with the suggested itinerary?

  37. thank you
    please suggese me how can i make my visit ,,,very ground to earth and most affordable and safe

  38. Hi, all your article are very helpful, thank you so much ! I am planning a 9 day trip to Manali-spiti-chandratal-sangla from Delhi in the month of May (Mid). First question is that is it open in the month of may? and second is what should be the itinerary.
    Thanks in advance !

    • Sourabh, in mid of May the route from Manali to Kaza / Spiti Valley over Kunzum Pass is not open because Kunzum Pass remains closed. The route generally opens in mid of June.

  39. sanjay negi on

    dear dheeraj
    I am planning to start my trip from Jaipur on 11th june thru spiti to leh. is the road and kunzum usually open by that time (say around 15th or 16th june)?

    • Sanjay, last year road from Kaza to Kunzun Pass to Manali opened by 18th June. Generally it opens in mid of June only, so you will have fair chance of finding it open. If possible, I will suggest that you postpone by a week or two.

        • YEs Sanjay that will be much better way to take it that way. Go via Srinagar – Leh Highway and return via Manali – Leh Highway and at Gramphu, turn towards Kaza – Spiti.

        • sanjay negi on

          thanks a tonne dheeraj. but for me Srinagar highway is a big no no-woud prefer to do the same twice. I am planning to do mananli leh -later from leh -pangong-chushul-tsimoriri-tsokar-jispa-spiti-shimla on return

        • Ohh, then better halt at Jispa after Manali and then next day make a dash to Leh starting 5 AM in the morning. This way you will be able to combat the AMS.

        • sanjay negi on

          yes dheeraj……I find sarchu too haunting…… AMS…I depend on Diamox.
          THANKS

  40. Naina Sharma on

    Hello Dheeraj,

    I appreciate your efforts, time and patience for creating this blog which gives so much information for travel enthusiasts. I am grateful.

    My friend and I are planning to travel to Spiti from Delhi (May 3 to May 8)may 9th, we need to be back in Delhi. from your blog, I understand we need to take the Shimla – Kinnaur Route as the other route will be closed. After reading the contents here, we are planning to take a public transport to Shimla and then move to Reckong Peo in another public transport. We plan to stay in Reckong Peo for a night and then move to kaza next day. Any places we could cover in between? Do you think its doable starting from Delhi on May 3rd(late afternoon) and could we reach Delhi on 8th May?

    Thanks so much in advance,
    Naina

    • even i am planning for the same route delhi to spiti (3rd may to 8th may).. can i join you..

      my plan: delhi – shimla (by train + toy train)

    • Hello Naina,

      You can understand that there will be atleast 2-3 days required to reach Spiti Valley for sure and 2-3 days again to come back. I see you do not even have just 6 days in hand.

      Regards
      dheeraj Sharma

  41. sanjay negi on

    dheeraj for quite some time I have been following your travel tips. I have done manali leh twice and want to do spiti valley to leh starting from Shimla. how do we arrange for the permits required at koksar??? or else I have to do it in the return journey.

    • hi Sanjay,

      You do not need any permit if you are reaching Khoksar from Spiti Valley side. The permit is required only for traveling Manali to Rohtang Pass. You can always tell that you are coming from Spiti Valley. Any bill from a hotel in Spiti or Kinnaur will help you in case you are confronted at Khoksar, by any chance.

      Regards
      Dheeraj

        • sanjay negi on

          dheeraj do we have camps at chandratal? can we carry our own tents and is it safe(we are 2 couples) to be in tents on the way?

        • Yes, there are camps setup up near Chandratal, about 1.5 KMs before it at camp site. Some people does pitch camp about 500-600 mtrs away too but that is not permitted. Chandratal is under Ramsar site and it is not allowed to pitch camps near it. But, yes there are camps and it is safe to stay there. You can carry your own tents and pay them fees to current camp sites to allow you to pitch there and have meals from there.

  42. Hi,

    I am planning for a short himalayan sojourn towards end of april (26-1). Please advice on what adventure activities we can take around that time. Note : places in consideration Manali or Shimla. Activities : moderate trekking, Snow activities. Photography.

    • Manu, well in that case it is better that you go and travel to Manali. You will find rafting, rappelling, river crossing/zipping, climbing, trekking, paragliding, snow activities, etc.. all up there in Manali region.

  43. hi dheeraj,
    i found your suggestions very useful.we are planing to visit kinnaur belt from shimla to manali via kunzum pass and rotang pass. can you please guide me regarding rate of car(suvlike inova) .

    • Hi Dheeraj
      I am planing to visit kinnaur valley via kaza spiti lahaul kuzum pass to manali . our journey date from kolkata 17th may 2014.shall i cover total route or road can be blocked. please suggest.

  44. Hello me n my friends are planning to go to spitti valley on this weekend via shimla! So can you help us with details of route as in which place to stay and visit! And also is it safe in this month? Any precautions and all?

    • Varun, how many days do you have in hand. Going to Spiti Valley this time is not that much recommended as all hotels will be closed, extreme cold temperatures right now and all sightseeing places will be closed due to snow. Though you can reach Kaza but that’s it. You need to rely on staying there in home stays or basic guest houses only. Are you OK? Only recommended if you into adventure for some time and have experience of such conditions?

  45. Hello, we are planning to go to spitti valley via shimla route! We are planning to leave this weekend so can you help me this? As in which place to stay or take a halt or food place and is it safe to go in this weather? And yeah what all precautions or things to take?

    • Varun, how many days do you have in hand. Going to Spiti Valley this time is not that much recommended as all hotels will be closed, extreme cold temperatures right now and all sightseeing places will be closed due to snow. Though you can reach Kaza but that’s it. You need to rely on staying there in home stays or basic guest houses only. Are you OK? Only recommended if you into adventure for some time and have experience of such conditions?

  46. Hi Dheeraj,

    Recently came across your website and find the info very helpful.

    We are planning to Visit Spiti Valley (with Chandra Taal) between August 9 to 15th from Mumbai.I am requesting your advice in planning our journey.
    Here is our iternary:
    Day 01 (9-Aug-14) Arrive at Chandigarh (from Mumbai) on and proceed to Manali & stay.
    Day 02 (10-Aug-14 – Manali to Chandratal through Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass… camping near lake.
    Day 03 (11-Aug-14) Chandratal to Kaza and stay in Kaza.
    Day 04 (12-Aug-14) Spiti Valley – Ki Monastery, Komic and stay at Langza
    Day 05 (13-Aug-14) Langza to Dhankar Lake and The Mumy of Giu and proceed to Moorang (on Shimala road). Stay at Moorang / Reckong.
    Day 06 (14-Aug-14) Drive to Shimala, Shimala S/S and stay.
    Day 07 (15-Aug-14) Shimala to Chandigarh (Chandigarh to Mumbai)

    • Hi yogesh,
      Do also try to visit Demul (4300 mtrs)and the 21 village top (Phalang-ri top). You will definitely be able to see Blue Sheeps (baharal) near Demul during that time. Shepherd’s camp (Dok-sa)will be an added advantage but you have trek a bit (during August). Best wishes

    • Yogesh, you plan looks fine to me given the number of days in hand. Just be cautious of AMS and keep your body well hydrated with ORS soluted water in early days of the trip. If you are not feeling well after first couple of days then descend or stay at Tabo to allow AMS to reside away. Also, Kunzum Pass will come when you drive from Chandratal lake back into Spiti Valley, Kaza. Moorang will not have a place to stay, so try to make it to Peo/Kalpa from Langza which will be a very tiring and long day, leave by 6 AM.

      • Hi Dheeraj,

        We revised our plan. Please find the below Iternary and suggest if first week of July is good time to visit with respect to rains, landslides etc. (Mode of Transport: Innova or Scorpio):

        Day 01 (5-July-14) Arrive at Chandigarh on 11:00 AM and proceed to Shimala. S/s & stay.
        Day 02 (6-July-14) Drive through Kinnaur Valley to Sangala. – S/s Chitkul village and overnight at Sangala.
        Day 03 (7-July-14) Drive to Kamru Fort and proceed to Kalpa – overnight at Kalpa
        Day 04 (8-July-14) Kalpa to Tabo.. S/S of confluence of Spiti and Satluj Rivers, Leo Purygal Peak from Khab Bridge, Nako Lake, Malling Nalla, Giu Mummy and overnight at Tabo.
        Day 05 (9-July-14) Tabo to Pin Valley – Dhankar Monastery and Dhankar Lake & proceed to Pin Valley. Overnight at Mud Village Or Kaza.
        Day 06 (10-July-14) Drive to Spiti Valley – Demul, Hikkim, Komik and Overnight in Langza Or Kaza – S/s of Key Monastery, statue of Buddha, Tanggyud Monastery at Komik Tashigang, Chau Chau Kang Nelda peak from Langza)
        Day 07 (11-July-14) Drive to Chandratal through Kunzum Pass and camping near lake.
        Day 08 (12-July-14) Drive Manali through Rohtang Pass & stay in Manali.
        Day 09 (13-July-14) Manali to Chandigarh

        Or

        It could be great if you can suggest the Iternary for above mentioned dates and place. 

        Thanks a lot in advance for your help.

        • Yogesh, the itinerary is well done I will say given the amount of time in hand. May be a minor suggestion could be do Tabo – dhangkar – Pin Valley – Kaza and then next day do Ki, Kibber in first half and Hikkim, Komik, Langza in the second half. Either stay at Langza or back Kaza.

  47. dear i have a bullet 500 cc can i go spiti with this bullet bike via hindustan tibet highway i want to go upto kaza is there any risk of low oxygen?

    • Vivek, you can surely travel to Spiti Valley over bullet and thousands of rider does so on many different kind of bikes every year. When are you planning to visit Spiti Valley?

  48. Pingback: 5 Reasons to Travel Spiti Valley from Manali Route - DeViL on WheeLs

  49. Ravindra Gavali on

    When you travel through this route you will appreciate the slow transition from lower to middle to higher to transhimalaya. The transition is not limited to landscape, but it is also to people,culture and food. Also, you have many exotic places to visit on the way. I will suggest enter from kinnaur side and exit from Manali side. Its complete experience of a typical Himalayan travel.

    • Very well said sir!! I also like the idea of this slow transition and making it a wholesome experience of Himalayas!! It is one of the reason sometimes I give my feelings more for Spiti than for Ladakh 🙂

  50. samardeep singh on

    hi dheeraj

    I came manali from kunzum pass last year on 25 oct and saw the first snowfall of the season, and kunzum was not having snow not even on top… further its the shorter route to reach kaza comparing the other one…

    • Samardeep, it is generally happening for the last few years. However, one shall not count out the risk which stems itself from September onward. There have been instances when due to snow people have been stranded even in August, but still I feel that up to September all goes fine but then beyond that and in October risk gets higher and that is just one need to keep in mind before attempting it. I am not saying that you will remain starnded but it can bump you off for couple of days at least sometimes. So, one shall not venture into this terrain in skeptical months. Even local believe so and follows to some extent but they are forced to utilize it as far as it is open. People even cross it in November too 🙂


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