With a terrain that is seriously challenging and a landscape that is drop-dead gorgeous, the Spiti valley makes for an exceptional adventure destination. There are places in India that are outlined by treacherous alleys and lie buried under stiffened snow for the most part of the year. Spiti Valley is one such place. Spiti is home to some of the highest villages, oldest monasteries and the most stunning landscapes you’ll ever see. A perfect example of nature’s surrealism, the Spiti Valley, at an altitude of 4000 m, is a barbed and unexplored gem in Himachal Pradesh.
Prepare to get awestruck with the remarkably striking snow-capped mountains, explore rambling old monasteries, and savor the marvel of this ancient civilization in this detailed guide to the grit-testing Spiti valley trek.
Why Spiti Valley Trek 2020?
The Spiti Valley trekking involves rigorous walking along the treacherous mountain paths, negotiating dangerous roads and staying with the locals. Trekking in Spiti Valley commands the next level endurance backed by a throbbing adrenaline rush. As you go ahead trekking, you’d find yourself amid nature’s sojourn comprising beauty, perseverance, and thrill, all at once. While relishing them you’ll find yourself pushing to the next level of agility and that’s how the trekking in Spiti becomes one of the most daunting expeditions of all.
Arguably, Spiti Valley is one of the most enduring treks, and I don’t hesitate to say that you’ll agree when you’re through this blog!
Best Time To Visit For Spiti Valley Trek
The ideal time to go and experience Spiti Valley trekking is between the months of July to October. As during the winter season, many high altitude passes and road become inaccessible due to heavy snowfall. This results in the obstruction of trekking and mountaineering.
Spiti Valley Trek: An Overview
Distance and duration: Spiti Valley trekking span is 55 km (approximately) starting from Langza and ending at Dhankar over the 5 days. Spiti Valley road trip is a memorable excursion in the Himalayan mountains. About 13.5 km is covered by cab and the rest 41.5 km is done on foot. The detailed day wise itinerary is given below.
Spiti Valley Trek Route: Kaza – Kibber – Langza – Hikkim – Komik – Chemai Lepcha Pass – Demul – Lalung – Dhankar – Tabo – Kaza
Before you leave for Spiti Valley trek 2020, best time to visit is something you must know. Best time to take the Spiti Valley Trek 2020: June to October. During these months, the maximum temperature can touch 25 degrees with a minimum of 3-4 degrees thus making it the best time to visit Spiti Valley. Spiti Valley in October could be a bit more exciting because of the occasional snowfall in the higher areas.
Reaching Kaza: The Starting Point Of The Trek
As mentioned above, there are two popular road routes to reach Spiti Valley, i.e Shimla-Kaza, and Manali-Kaza. I propose the Manali to Spiti one for more than one reasons.
- Though Manali-Kaza route isn’t as exciting as Shimla – Kaza route, it certainly is less susceptible to landslides as compared to roads in Kinnaur Valley, especially in monsoons.
- Also, the Manali to Spiti is the faster one, so better run through this route to save a day for you and also the fatigue level. Keep yourself afresh for the upcoming trek.
- This route is cost-effective, thanks to the less distance that you’ve to traverse.
- Finally, if you are someone who is fascinated by crossing over various high altitude passes, then it has to be the route to Spiti Valley from Manali. In this route, you will be first crossing Rohtang Pass (3980 m) to enter Lahaul Valley from Kullu Valley and then Kunzum Pass (4551 m) to enter Spiti Valley from Lahaul Valley. The feeling of running over these passes is inexplicable!!
So coming back, you can take a bus from Manali to Kaza – the district headquarters of Spiti district in Himachal – that runs every morning. There is only one government bus service from Manali to Kaza (a 5-hour ride) but the road is pretty inaccessible with frequent landslides along the way.
As this lacks roads of good quality it is advisable to hire a private vehicle from Manali to Spiti (starting point Kaza). You can share the cab with fellow travelers so that the ride doesn’t cost you dearly.
P.S.The Manali road via Rohtang and Kunzum passes is passable only in summer which is also the best time to venture the valley.
Note: It is suggested to spend a night in Kaza before starting the trek. In the morning you start the expedition from Kaza.
Check out the day wise itinerary of your trek. Keep scrolling down and read alone!
Day 1: Kaza to Langza Via Ki Monastery In Kibber
The first day of the trek is covered by cab. From Kaza, the cabbie would take you to Langza. Enroute you’d come across Ki Monastery – a 1000-year-old monastery in Kibber which is also the largest monastery in Spiti Valley. This majestic structure stands to overlook the winding turquoise green Spiti river with imposing mountains in the backdrop.
Spend some time exploring this village which serves as a base camp for many Himalayan treks. This place is truly a photographer’s paradise, so you can spend some capturing the locale in your camera. Driving further, you reach Langza where you can opt for a homestay.
Altitude: 14,435 feet, Kaza to Langza- 13.5 km, 5-6 hours
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Day 2: Langza To Komik
The real journey begins on the second day as you start with a 3-4-hour moderate trek towards Komik – the highest inhabited village in all of Asia. On the way, stop over at Hikkim where you find the highest post office in the world. Hikkim also happens to be the highest polling station in the world as well.
Keep walking higher and ascend 15,000 feet above sea-level to reach Komik. Gorge on freshly picked peas from the farms (it’s seasonal, so good luck with that). As the night approaches, and the mercury outside drops down to as low as 3-4 degrees (June-Sept), snug into the comforts of a mud home where the temperatures are comparably warmer. Enjoy a hot, freshly home cooked local meal and call it a day. Overnight stay at Komik.
Altitude: 14,800 feet, Trek from Langza to Komik- 9 km, 3-4 hours
Day 3: Komik To Demul Via Chemai Lepcha Pass
On the third day of the trek, you cover Komik to Demul on foot, traversing the Chemai Lepcha Pass. After spending a lot of time with barren mountains you stumble on the lush greens of Demul. Take a short, traditional yak safari and soak in the local vibes. Spend the night in the comforts of the homes of the local residents there.
Altitude: 14,435 feet, Trek from Komik to Demul- 14 km, 5-6 hours
Day 4: Demul To Lalung Via Lingti Valley
The fourth day of the Spiti Valley trek brings you lot of greenery as you move from the secluded Demul to the village of Lalung in Lingti Valley. It’s a breather for your weary body as you walk down a steep descent till Lingti.
Lalung is located at the foot of the Tangmar Mountains. The locals believe their God lives in these mountains and the mountain changes its colors into reds, yellows, browns depending on the mood of their God. At Lalung, visit one of the oldest gompas in the Spiti Valley before calling it a day.
Altitude: 12,300 feet, Trek from Demul to Lalung- 10 km, 4-5 hours
Day 5: Lalung – Dhankar – Tabo – Kaza
On the last day of the trek, you venture across an easy path towards the former capital of the Spiti Valley, Dhankar. Dhankar stands perched above the confluence of the Spiti and Pin river thus offering a panoramic view of the valley. It is till this point that you cover the trek via foot.
From Dhankar, you drive towards the 1000-year old Tabo monastery, renowned for being a UNESCO World Heritage site. Reach Kaza by evening and spend the night recollecting the unthinkable feats you’ve accomplished in the last week.
Altitude: 12,800 feet, Trek from Lalung to Dhankar- 9 km, 4-5 hours
Challenges You Face While Trekking In Spiti Valley
Some words of caution here! Spiti boasts of hostile weather which is underlined by the fact that it receives only 250 days of sunshine in a year, which also implies that Spiti in winter is harsh. The summer season is a perfect time to visit Spiti Valley when the temperature on an average drops down to 18 degrees Celsius during night hours while during the day it rarely exceeds 20-25 degrees.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is another severe health condition often experienced by travelers. It can occur to anyone at an altitude of 10,000 feet – which is the average elevation of Spiti Valley. The common symptoms of AMS are a headache, disturbed sleep, nausea, irregular breathing, breathlessness, lack of energy, difficulty in passing urine, lack of concentration and chest gurgles. A small medical kit with requisites is highly recommended.
Also, you must take rest for at least a day before starting the trek. That way you can get acclimatized to the conditions and the altitude.
Homestays In Spiti
Homestay in Spiti is common these days. Some of the Spitian families in the remote villages have opened up their homes to travelers with the help of social enterprises. Try finding a good homestay for your stay in Spiti valley and enjoy the home-like feeling.
How To Reach Spiti
Given the remoteness of the place, Spiti doesn’t have an airport or railway station. Great mountains, forests, and rivers envelop it from all sides. However, it can be accessed by roads from major cities like Kullu and Shimla. Here’s how to reach Spiti:
By Train: Shimla is the nearest railway station. From the station, one can hire cabs and jeeps to reach Spiti. Buses are also available from the station.
By Road: As there is no access to airport and railways in Spiti, it can only be reached by road. But some of the roads leading to Spiti are closed for as long as 6 months due to heavy snowfall, so it’s better to do your homework before settling for an itinerary. You can rent a vehicle from Manali or take a Spiti valley bike trip, there are plenty of options available for people planning Spiti Valley road trip.
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What To Pack?
Spiti is also known as cold mountain desert, and given its uncertain climatic condition you must equip your backpack with essentials like:
- Windproof Jackets (heavy/feather if you are coming before June and after October)
- Pullovers / Sweatshirt
- Woolen caps, Mufflers, and Gloves
- Raincoat (not necessary- but you never know when the need arises)
- Waterproof / snow-proof trekking shoes
- A flashlight
- Lip guard
Sunrays could be harsh, so you must cover yourself adequately and the exposed body part must be layered with sunscreen lotion. Proper trekking shoes are a must.
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Tips For Spiti Valley Trek
- Do check the weather conditions once, before heading for a trek in Spiti Valley
- In Spiti, only the BSNL network works and one can get that from Manali and Kaza
- If you’re going without a guide, then it is suggested to download the offline maps
- Carry water and keep yourself hydrate to avoid the situation of affecting the AMS of your body
- Carry cash with yourself, as there is only one SBI ATM in Spiti
Further Read: Long Weekends In India 2020: Enliven Your Vacay Vibes!
Now that I have given you all the details of the thrilling Spiti Valley trek, prepare to reach out for surreal sceneries and otherworldly experiences that remain veiled behind nature’s canvas. So, get packed, pick this guide, plan your trip to India and reach for them and savor every last drop of magnificence.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Spiti Valley Trek
A. April to mid July is a good time to visit Spiti.
A. The distance between Lahaul Spiti and Delhi is around 428 km.
A. No, Spiti Valley trek isn’t dangerous, but one should research well before setting on this adventurous trek.
A. If you are headed to Spiti by bus, then board a bus from Shimla to Reckong Peo and from Reckong Peo to Kaza.
A. Yes, one can drive to Spiti via Manali or Shimla.
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