Monsoons will soon arrive in North India and so will the questions on making a trip to Spiti Valley in monsoons 🙂 🙂 … In today’s article, I will try to outline some basic tips which will help you make your trip to Spiti Valley in monsoons, somewhat comforting.
However, before deep-diving into the topic of making a trip to Spiti Valley in August or monsoon season, let me first answer the fundamental question for you.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
Is it safe to travel to Spiti Valley in Monsoon season?
Well, you must know that Spiti Valley is a rain shadow region, meaning, that the rains do not reach up there in plenty because of the range of trans-Himalayan mountains protecting it from winds bearing the rains.
However, the definition of the rain shadow region of Spiti Valley is changing now with the change in the global climate. We have started getting rains in Spiti Valley too or at least overcast conditions with drizzles now and then in monsoons. Hence, be ready for some surprises even in the rain shadow region of Spiti Valley though they may not be much unless you have a bit of terrible luck.
And finally, if it is safe to travel to Spiti in monsoon, well, the short answer is indeed it is a risky affair. You should continue to read my article to get an understanding of it.
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Are you planning a trip to Spiti Valley in Monsoons?
I have already written about the best season to travel on road to Spiti Valley and in this article, I will try to outline a few important tips for you to make the best use of the August holidays. This will help you make a trip to Spiti Valley in monsoons or August.
The tips mentioned in this article will help you mitigate some risks to an extent and minimize the impact of few which may occur when you are up there in Spiti Valley in monsoon time. This article is not about how to get to Lahaul or Spiti Valley or how to visit Spiti Valley; rather it just highlights the tips for making a safe and successful trip to Spiti in monsoon time.
So, let’s begin without wasting more time 😉
1. Be prepared for monsoon hassles in lower hills
In monsoon time, you will face common monsoon hassles in lower / foothills of the Himalayas including the entire lower belt of Himachal Pradesh. But once you get closer to Spiti Valley, then being a rain shadow region you will be least affected by monsoon rains.
Please note that landslides, roadblocks, and mud on roads will be common in the lower hills due to rains and especially troublesome between Manali to Rohtang pass and most parts of Kinnaur Valley. To be very frank, Kinnaur is not a good place to be in monsoons due to its fragile mountains which are always susceptible to landslides.
2. Be prepared for driving in slush on roads to Spiti Valley in Monsoons
There will be slush on the roads especially from Rohtang Pass to Gramphu and most parts of Kinnaur Valley. Be prepared, to drive with care in slush and do know the whereabouts of the engine chamber of your car if you are making a self-driving road trip to Spiti in August.
There could be stones beneath in slush which may not be visible but can badly damage your engine sump/chamber, leaving you stranded in the middle of nowhere. DO NOT push through too much in case you get stuck, try the back-n-forth tactic to come out or use push or wooden plank/rubber mat. Otherwise, you may end up with burned clutch plates.
Please carry these must have essentials for a self-drive trip to Spiti Valley.
3. Be prepared for tackling furious water crossings on Manali – Kaza road
Since most of the rivers in the entire Himalayan range will be flowing in spate and so does the water crossings will be swollen too. Some water crossings have been passed through water pipes on Manali – Kaza road, but you never know which one emerges the given year.
However, some of those who aren’t yet may become the reason for spending a night in the middle of nowhere OR puncturing your engine sump while crossing it or losing your mudguards or bumpers. Try to cross Malling Nalla ahead of Nako as early as possible, and the same is applicable for all the ferocious water crossings from Manali to Kaza road between Gramphu – Batal section.
Pro Tip: If riding a motorcycle, gumboots will help you dodge overflowing water crossings and keep your other boots dry to ride further. Do carry a pair of them, they don’t cost much.
4. Be alert for shooting stones
The shooting stones along with small landslides are prevalent during rains or monsoons in the mountains. When driving or riding or even sitting in the car, you must always be alert to see over a shooting stone from the side of the mountains.
Be very careful on stretches which have loose gravel or mud, especially in Kinnaur Valley, near Rohtang Pass / Beas Kund to Rani Nalla, Shialkhar village to Sumdo and stretch between Tabo to Attargoo bridge.
These sections of a road trip to Spiti in monsoon are more common for shooting stones and landslides. Even a small stone can pierce through the windshield, and your trip can be screwed. So, always be alert and keep a watch on the movement in such mountains which are vulnerable to shooting stones.
You should always carry your own water bottle and refill it as many times as you need water. It will not only keep you hydrated always, but you will also help in saving the Himalayas from plastic garbage. Remember, every tiny step counts and your step in this direction can help save the Himalayas too !! 🙂 🙂
5. Carry water-resistant clothes and boots
Always carry a rain cut jacket, waterproof shoes or sandals/crocs at least along with a water repellant lower or lower with the quick-dry material. Carrying the jacket will help you in many ways when there is rain. It may end up saving your electronic equipment too.
So, do not forget to carry these at the very least. As said above, gumboots are always handy for people riding bikes and tackling water crossings in spate. You should read tips for Carrying Clothes for Spiti Valley Trip.
6. Carry tarpaulins & few waterproof bags
Apart from the rainproof clothing, carrying small tarpaulins or waterproof bags which will protect your clothes, luggage, or electronic gear if the need arises, especially when riding the bikes. Also, if you are planning to place the luggage on the top of the car, it is a must-have to be carried on a Ladakh trip.
7. Carry an extra pair of car windshield wipers
Well, it sounds to be too much planning but seriously speaking I have seen plenty of people getting stuck just because they did not have that pair of wipers for their cars that fit in. Hence, I cannot avoid putting this tip in this article.
It can be an unlucky day for those, but if you have an old car which you are taking up there in the Himalayas, do prefer to carry an extra pair of wipers. If existing wipers break and you cannot find a pair for your car, you can’t drive in blind conditions even in lower hills.
8. Always follow Sleep Early and Leave Early principle in monsoons
As always in the Himalayas, “Sleep Early and Leave Early” shall be the mantra of your entire trip. It becomes more important in the rainy season as you are already expecting delays due to a landslide, roadblocks, slow speed of cars in the rain. So, always try to follow this principle.
Starting early in the day will help you cope up with extra unexpected delays.
9. Always have a couple of buffer days
It is not at all wise to run from point A to point B in all sought of tensions of missing the flight or train if you can’t make it. You should expect rains in monsoons, which may delay your daily plans or make you stuck behind a landslide for a day or two sometimes.
If you are running on a neck to neck schedule, well, delay of one day somewhere will trigger tensions in mind which will not help you enjoy the sightseeing or journey but keep you worrying about missing a flight or train. So, it is always better to plan your trip with a couple of buffer days when traveling to Spiti Valley in monsoons.
10. Protect your camera from moisture
Needless to say, in monsoon time, both rain and moisture will be all around you when traveling in the Himachal. Please ensure that you protect your camera so that it does not expose to moisture or water. Also, if you use CPLs on lenses, make sure you are making the right use of it in the right light conditions.
On an overcast or rainy day, CPLs may not make much sense depending on what you are shooting. I am just mentioning because I have ruined many times many pictures just because I forgot to take it off in those light conditions. Though I am just a newbie, pros do take care of it, I am sure. You can read: Do It Yourself: Camera dry box
Spiti Valley Weather in August or Monsoon Time
Spiti Valley weather remains cool and pleasant during the monsoon period or in August. Once you are in Spiti, you can pretty much use light jackets and caps. In general, it does not get too cold in monsoon unless it snows. Yes, there has been a year when it snowed in August.
How to visit Spiti in Monsoon
Well, I will recommend that you visit Spiti valley from Manali side during monsoon time because Kinnaur Valley is terrible in rains in comparison to other parts of the Himachal. Hence, it is better to travel to Spiti via Manali in monsoon. You can follow the below itinerary.
Manali to Spiti Valley Itinerary
Given below is a 7-day Manali to Spiti Valley itinerary for monsoon time. I have deliberately skipped the trip to Kinnaur Valley due to landslide-prone zones.
- 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 – Pin Valley – Tabo
- Day 4: Tabo – Dhangkar – Dhangkar Lake – Kaza
- Day 5: Kaza – Ki, Kibber, Komik, Langza – Kaza
- Day 6: Kaza – Chandratal – Manali
- Day 7: Manali – Delhi
I hope the above tips may help you make a successful trip to Spiti Valley in monsoons. If you have any other tips to share or experience of monsoon trip to Spiti, I will be glad to hear them in the comments section or reach me on my Instagram account.
Feel free to share this article with your friends or family who will be going on a trip to Spiti Valley in monsoons or August. We can always discuss more on your upcoming trip to Spiti Valley in August and other regions of the Himalayas 🙂