Spiti Valley lays in a remote pocket of India’s Himalayas. Tibetan prayer flags billow in the wind, strung along trees, bridges, and roadside shrines. Snowy peaks dot the skyline. Villages are few and far between, and many are only accessible by foot. This isn’t Tibet, however. This is India at its wildest. This Spiti Valley itinerary breaks down what to see and do in this incredible region of India
Day 1: Delhi to kalka to shimla via toy train
Day 2: Drive to Reckong Peo via satluj river and kinnaur
Day 3: Drive to Mudh via Kungri Monastery
Day 4: Drive to Tabo via Dhankar
Day 5: Drive to Langza via Demul, Hikkim, and Komic
Day 6: Drive to Kaza via Key Monastery
Day 7: Drive to Chandratal Lake
Day 8: Drive to Batal kashmir
Day 9: Drive batal to Manali
Day 10: Drive Manali to Delhi
Due to the rough, unsealed mountain passes you must traverse throughout this itinerary, I do not recommend self-driving in Spiti Valley. Erratic weather and rain bursts can result in dangerous landslides, and the distance between villages means that if something goes wrong, you’re on your own.
That said, traveling Spiti Valley by motorcycle is incredibly popular. If you do wish to drive a motorcycle through Spiti Valley, I recommend joining a small group with a guide, like this option.
Public buses connect most of the towns in Spiti Valley, but they do not have the most reassuring safety record. They are known to be overcrowded and drivers may be tired and overworked. That said, it’s a cheap option, and as more tourists plan their itineraries through Spiti Valley, bus services are becoming a more viable option. For more information, check out this detailed guide on bus services in Spiti.
This is the option we chose for our Spiti Valley itinerary, and it is easily the one I would recommend. Private drivers are familiar with the roads, connected with other drivers via satellite phones (great for sharing info on road conditions), and it is not as expensive as you might think. We booked our driver, meals, activities, and accommodations through a single tour company and for this entire Spiti Valley itinerary, we only spent $500 USD per person (excluding flights to/from Bhuntar/Kullu).
There are several tour companies you can book through. I recommend finding one that has a strict no-alcohol policy for the drivers. It is unfortunately common for drivers to not only drink in the evenings between driving days but sometimes even during the drive itself. The attitude towards drinking and driving is not as negative in India as it may be in your home country, so make sure to ask about this before you book to ensure your safety.
Getting to Spiti Valley
There are daily 1 hour flights to Bhuntar from Delhi (round trip about $300 USD). From there, it is about an hour and a half drive to Manali.
You can also take an overnight bus from Delhi to Manali for about $25 USD each way. The drive takes at least 13 hours, and you will be in for some long drives once you start your itinerary in Spiti Valley. For this reason, I recommend flying. However, depending on how you look at it, you may want to take the bus since it is a lot cheaper and hey, what’s one more day on the road?
Accommodation in Spiti Valley
Every destination in this Spiti Valley itinerary has a variety of guesthouses and small hotels you can stay in. All have options that include breakfast and dinner. I have included the accommodations where we stayed in each destination in the day-by-day guide below.
Bring enough cash with you on your trip. ATMs are few and not always stocked.
All of Spiti Valley is at high altitude. Talk to your doctor before traveling about this best options for you for mitigating altitude sickness.
Make sure you pack layers for the ever-changing weather and plenty of sunscreens.
There is no wifi or cell phone reception in Spiti Valley.
In order to visit Tabo, you will need an Inner-Line Permit. Because Spiti Valley is ethnically and culturally Tibetan, you are essentially visiting Tibet, but without crossing the official border. The permit can be arranged in Kaza. The process is a little complicated and inconsistent, but you can ask the folks at your accommodation for help if needed. In the meantime,
Spiti Valley Itinerary Day-By-Day