Whenever I am asked about traveling to Spiti Valley, I mostly suggest people not to prefer traveling to Spiti Valley from Manali and rather opt to travel Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur side because of better acclimatization as the altitude increases gradually on this route.
However, a lot of people want to travel to Spiti Valley from Manali side still and I am sure they somehow incline/prefer one of the reasons I described in one of my previous articles, 5 Reasons to Travel Spiti Valley from Manali Route
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Spiti Valley from Manali in 10-11 Days
Today in this article, I will be suggesting a most common itinerary to travel to Spiti Valley from Manali side and make the best use of the time and energy to explore most parts of this hidden, magical middle land in the lap of trans-Himalayas.
I have already suggested the most common itinerary to travel to Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur. In that article, I did mention that sooner or later Leh Ladakh will be full of a mad rush of tourists, almost you can see a glimpse of this thing happening in season time. However, Spiti Valley is altogether untouched as of now, and people mostly confuse it with Lahaul Valley, or they are more or less restricted to only a visit to Chandratal.
The real beauty of Spiti Valley starts beyond Kunzum Pass, towards Losar then to Kaza and then towards Tabo and then further towards Nako or Kinnaur Valley. Not to forget the Pin Valley in between and there is a hell lot of heavenly beauty to explore in Spiti Valley like Langza, Hikkim, Komic, Dhankar, Ki, Kibber, Chicham, etc..
What does this plan cover in Spiti from Manali side?
This article covers almost all major places in Spiti Valley, including Tabo, Kaza, Losar, Chandratal, Kunzum Pass, Ki, Kibber, Pin Valley, etc. There are two routes to enter Spiti Valley viz. Delhi – Manali – Rohtang Pass – Kunzum Pass – Losar – Kaza AND Delhi – Shimla – Narkanda – Kinnaur Valley – Tabo – Kaza.
So, you can see that one can enter from one side (say Manali) and exit back to Delhi from the other side (Shimla) making it a complete circuit.
Here, I will be starting from the Manali side and exiting from Shimla, but it has a major disadvantage. Spiti Valley is a cold desert situated in the trans-Himalayan region at an altitude of 11000+ feet mostly. Hence, your body will require a certain amount of acclimatization before you enter the Spiti Valley.
Traveling to Spiti Valley via Shimla side will help you gradually increase the altitude and your body gets acclimatized properly, hence fewer chances of getting hit with Acute Mountain Sickness (read more info on AMS here). If you start for Spiti Valley from Manali side then you reach the high altitude terrain pretty quickly which increases the chances of mountain sickness that in turn can spoil your road trip to Spiti.
Day by Day Plan | Manali to Kaza to Kinnaur to Shimla
Below is the most common itinerary for Spiti Valley from Manali spanning over about 10-11 days and making the most use of the time. I have covered Chandratal while going to Kaza from Manali, but in case you plan to return from Manali only, then, it is better to plan the trip to Chandratal while coming back from Kaza.
Let us look at this day by day detailed travel of Spiti Valley trip in 10 days from Manali to Kaza to Kinnaur and exiting via Shimla. This way you can also plan your stays on this journey in remote corners of Himachal Pradesh.
Day 1 | Delhi – Manali
- Reach Manali by overnight Volvo of and stay overnight at Solang Valley as preferred for acclimatization
- If there is time explore Manali
- Manali Local sightseeing which includes Hadimba Temple, Manu Temple, Mall Road, Local Monastery, Old Manali, Vashisth Hot Water Springs (never found it interesting), etc.
- About 12-14 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between
- Overnight at Solang Valley or Manali
Day 2 | Manali – Rohtang Pass – Battal – Chandratal – Battal
- Head early morning to Chandratal/Kaza via Rohtang Pass
- Visit Chandratal via Kunzum Pass and enjoy the day there
- Drive through Batal – Chattru – Gramphu towards Batal Chandratal is out of the world
- Camps are about 2 KMs from the Chandratal lake, either stay there (not recommended at all) or back to Batal (preferred) where there is a PWD rest house now though without electricity. Unless you want to stay in a guest house with electricity, better stay at Batal and save time as well as energy for the next day.
- About 7 – 8 Hrs drive easily if you do not get messed up Rohtang Pass or stuck in a water crossing
- Overnight at Batal
Day 3 | Chandratal / Battal – Kunzum Pass – Rangrik / Kaza
- Head for Kaza, headquarters of Spiti Valley
- Have lunch at Kaza and check in to Hotel
- There must be some headache or AMS the previous night, but enjoy this magical drive over Kunzum Pass to enter the middle land called Spiti Valley. You will enjoy the drive to Kaza greatly.
- About 4 – 5 Hrs drive minimum
- Overnight at Rangrik / Kaza
Day 4 | Kaza – Ki – Kibber – Gette – Tashigang – Kaza
- Visit Ki – Kibber – Gette – Tashigang and for more details, you can read: Key – Kibber – Gette – Tashigang – Local Sightseeing in Kaza
- About 4 – 5 Hrs of drive in the day
- Overnight at Kaza
Day 5 | Kaza – Hikkim – Komik – Langza – Kaza / Pin Valley
- Today visit the road less traveled or offbeat places near Kaza
- Great view of Chau Chau Kang Nelda peak from Langza
- Statue of the Buddha near Langza looking down the valley
- The Tanggyud monastery at Komik is one of the most important and the highest monastery in the Spiti Valley.
- You can move to Pin Valley if you would like to stay away from the hustle-bustle of Kaza
- About 2 – 3 Hrs of scenic drive in the day excluding Pin Valley
- If planning to go to Pin Valley, enjoy the most scenic drive of entire Spiti Valley between Losar and Kaza at an easy pace
- About 2 – 2.5 Hrs drive between Pin Valley and Kaza, depending upon the breaks you take in between
- Overnight at Kaza or Pin Valley (Mud Village)
Day 6 | Kaza / Pin Valley (Mud Village) – Dhangkar – Dhangkar Lake – Tabo
- Traverse the Pin Valley | Kungri – Sagnam – Mud – Tailing
- Visit Dhangkar Monastery and Dhangkar Lake and leave after early lunch
- Enjoy the magnificent vistas all-day
- About 4 – 5 Hrs of drive in the day
- Overnight at Tabo
Day 7 | Tabo – Geyu Mummy – Nako – Nako Lake – Kalpa
- Start your day early and watch the vistas en route over Hindustan Tibet Highway
- Before Sumdo police registration and after Hurling, detour towards Geyu Village to visit the 500-Year-old Mummy
- After Chango – Sumdo you will exit Spiti Valley.
- Meet the dreaded Malling Nalla before of Nako
- Have your lunch at Nako Lake
- Check Out Khab, Confluence of Spiti and Satluj Rivers
- See the Leo Purygal Peak from Khab Bridge
- About 8 – 9 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between
- Watch the lovely sunset and sunrise at Kalpa over Mount Kinner Kailash
- Overnight at Kalpa
Day 8 | Kalpa – Sangla / Chitkul
- Leave early to spend some time at beautiful Chitkul Village
- Visit Kamru Fort at Sangla
- About 4 – 5 Hrs of a total drive on this day
- Overnight at Sangla / Chitkul
Day 9 | Sangla / Chitkul (Kinnaur Valley) – Shimla / Narkanda
- Leave early 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 Shimla / Narkanda
Day 10 | Shimla / Narkanda – Delhi
- Shimla sightseeing includes Famous Ridge, Mall Road, Lakkar Bazaar, Jakhu Temple
- Shimla is about 60 KMs from Narkanda takes about 2 Hrs
- About 8 Hrs drive to Shimla
- Overnight at Delhi / sweet home
Day 11-12 | Buffer Days
When planning such an adventure trip, like this one to Spiti from Manali side, you should always plan for a couple of buffer days. These buffers days will help in case of road closure due to landslides or snowfall or perhaps you want to enjoy more 🙂
Add On Days to Stay in Spiti Valley??
If you have a couple of more days on hand, then perhaps you can choose any of the days to explore more beautiful places within Spiti Valley or spend some time lazing out in Kinnaur Valley after reaching back to the mortal world again.
Here are a few of my suggestions to spend some more time on this road trip to Kaza from Manali and exiting via the Kinnaur – Shimla route.
- Spend a day or to explore more of Kinnaur Valley. This day may be an extra day in the Chiktul / Rakcham region, or before Shimla, you can spend a night at Sarahan.
- Spend a day to explore more offbeat places in Spiti Valley like Rama Valley and Lingti Valley that includes Demul, Lhalung, Rama villages. These villages do not have many hotels and mostly offer homestays. Hence, the experience will be raw here, and you must be mentally prepared for it before planning a night stay.
- Spend a day to explore Mane Village in Spiti Valley or maybe a trek to Sopona Lake. Again Mane Village is one of the offbeat places in the Spiti region and hence, mostly offers homestay based stays. You can also carry your camps and pitch them in the village to enjoy a camping experience. Read my tips on camping in places like Spiti Valley.
Petrol Pumps Between Manali – Spiti Valley – Shimla Route
Well, when you travel from Manali to Kaza and then further to Kinnaur Valley, you must take care of petrol pumps and fuel availability on this road trip. You should be aware of where some of the important petrol pumps exist and must top up at those petrol pumps in Spiti or Kinnaur.
Otherwise, it can very easily mean you being stranded in the middle of nowhere without any fuel in your vehicle. Of course, when you start the trip, do not miss top up at Manali.
Sometimes getting stuck in such remote places can result in some ugly circumstances that can result in fatal casualties too. Hence, make sure you always have fuel in your vehicle so that there is at least one less reason to worry or get stuck.
Here is the list of petrol pumps that fall on a trip to Spiti Valley from Manali side and which ones you should not miss.
- Manali – Do Not Miss
- Kaza – Do Not Miss
- Rekong Peo – Do Not Miss
- Tapri – Relaced Powari
- Powari – Mostly Closed
- Rampur After crossing the town, the last one on the right side is pretty reliable
- Narkanda Do Top Up Here
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.
Don’t have time to read the full article? Check this less than 3-minute video on DevilOnWheels YouTube Channel on why you may travel Spiti Valley from Manali side. If you like my video, please do not forget to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel.
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 Spiti Valley trip. Do share your valuable thoughts or queries or doubts you have in the comment section and we can discuss more on your upcoming travel plans for Spiti Valley 🙂
If you know your friends or family are planning a trip to Spiti from Manali, do share this article with them to help them make a memorable Spiti valley trip.