In a world dominated by instant messaging and e-mail, this is the best souvenir to send to your loved ones. Nothing beats receiving an old-fashioned snail mail, especially when it comes from the highest post office in the world.
Perched at 14,400 ft., Hikkim is the highest post office in the world. Ever since it was established in 1983, it has been run by a very cute gentleman named 'Rinchen Cherring'. Hikkim isn't the most accessible places, but this determined and passionate postmaster makes daily rounds from Hikkim to Kaza to deliver mails, which are further routed to Shimla and Delhi. Don't forget to write a letter to yourself along with your loved ones.
Visit The Mummy At The Gue Monastery
You can still see the hair on its head and shining white teeth. You have to see it to believe it. Most travelers end up missing the Gue Monastery and head straight to Tabo. I definitely think it's worth the short, hour-long detour.
Gue village is home to this apparently 550-year-old mummy. One version of the folklore mentions the drought in Tibet where several lamas were mummified and later destroyed when China took over Tibet. However, during the 1975 earthquake, one of the mummies ended up in the Spiti river, which is how it got to Gue.
The other version of this story describes this as the mummy of Sangha Tenzin, a Buddhist monk who had sacrificed his life to save the village from a plague when scorpions took over the Gue Village. In either case, it's definitely worth a visit.
Experience A Spitian Home-Stay
While planning my trip, most people recommended I experience a homestay in Tabo to encourage and promote 'eco-tourism' there. When I got there, the village seemed very prepared for tourists and it almost seemed staged. Don't get me wrong, I really loved the old monastery in Tabo and the mini-trek to the human caves around the village, but something felt amiss and I was a little underwhelmed.
I recommend stopping at a tinier village called 'Mane', which is only 15 kms ahead of Tabo, but less touristy. As of August 2017, when I visited Mane, there was only one lady who ran a home-stay under her own name called 'Lobzang's Homestay'. It was one of the best experiences of my trip and one that was 100% authentic. She welcomed us as if we were her family, showed us around the whole village, cooked the most delicious Spitian dinner and breakfast, took us to the river for a morning stroll, introduced us to homemade 'Arak' (local liquor), sea buckthorn juice/tea and apricot jam all for a mere Rs. 600 (10 USD) a night. This couple had so little, but still so much to give! Feel free to email me for her details if you decide to go there.
Hike Up To The Dhankar Lake