The Spiti Valley Backpacking Tripfrom
Backpack to Spiti Valley Road Trip!
Spiti is a wonderland where each place you witness is bliss and every second you spend is a delight for senses. It’s truly an out-of-the-world destination in the rain-shadowed Himalayas bordering Tibet.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Easy
Group Size Small Group
Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and majestic valleys all year, the “middle land” called Spiti Valley between India and Tibet is a dream of every traveler. Winding roads, bumpy rides, pointed peaks, sudden changes in climate, the purest form of air, millions of stars, flowing rivers in all directions, warm welcoming locals, colorful monasteries and the rustic setting present a unique combination that cannot be described, but can only be felt and experienced with your own senses.
On this road trip, we will take you on a journey to all important places in Spiti like Kaza, Hikkim, Koumik, Nako, Dhankar, Tabo, etc. Along with unmatched beauty and wilderness of mighty Himalayas, Spiti gives us a great opportunity to immerse ourselves in the local Buddhist culture that is so peaceful and welcoming. For instance, Key – the biggest monastery of the entire valley, built in the 11th century, is home for many monks and nuns. It’s the biggest training center for Lamas. Strike a conversation with one of the elderly lamas to get a pinch of wisdom, and your heart will feel light.
The great heights of this place combined with sparsely populated landscapes intrigue and charm you at the same time. Spiti will make you stand still, will slow down the pace of time, and will make you appreciate one of the most important aspects of life called Peace.
Spiti will leave an imprint on your mind, body, and soul. It’s not just a road trip, but a journey of complete joy and fulfillment. It’s a journey that’s called life in its full ecstasy.
Come, live it.
Highlights of the Spiti Trip:
- Road trip from Shimla to get acclimatized to high altitude
- Key monastery: The grandest view one can imagine
- Koumik: World’s Highest Village connected with a motorable road
- Hikkim: World’s highest post office
- Langza: Giant Buddha statue in amphitheater setting of Himalayas
- Kalpa: Captivating sunrise views
- Reckong Peo: Abode of Gods
- Tabo: Ajanta of Snow-capped Himalayas
- Kaza: The cold desert of Spiti valley
- Nako: Beautiful medieval village
- Dhankar Monastery: Confluence of Spiti, Pin rivers
- Shimla shopping, famous Mall road stroll
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Delhi to Shimla
- We will board our Bus at Majnu ka Tila, overnight journey to Shimla.
Roadtrip from Shimla to Kalpa (235 Km, 8 Hours)
- We shall board our private tourist vehicle at Shimla Bus stop, and stop by at a restaurant to freshen up, have breakfast. Note that there is no shower facility as of now. After getting briefed on important aspects of the road trip, we will formally begin the road trip on Hindustan Tibet Road towards Kalpa, a town in Kinner Kailash range.
- Shimla to Kalpa is one of the most adventurous roads in India. We will pass by famous places like Kufri, Narkanda, and Rampur, drive through a famous tunnel between Wangtu and Karcham. The Sutlej River, Kalpa Monastery.
- Kalpa: We will reach Kalpa, which is the base of Kinner Kailash mountain range, by early evening. This magical place tends to change colors based on reflections of light throughout the day. There are plenty of Apple Orchards in Kalpa. Along with its Apples, Kalpa is also famous for its almonds, Chilgoza, Ogla, Apricots as well as Grapes. It’s a great shopping destination too for shawls, handicrafts, etc, but since it’s the beginning of a road trip, we may have to control ourselves.
Kalpa to Chitkul (via Karcham, Sangla)
- Today we will witness jaw-dropping Sunrise at Kalpa with gigantic Kinner Kailash mountain – an abode of Lord Shiva – as a backdrop. This location is called “Land of Gods” and is the district headquarters of Kinnaur. Pine trees, Apple Orchards and Deodars fill-up the slopes around. We will start the day early, explore the village, meet locals who are quite humble and helpful.
- Chitkul: We will then go on a drive to Chitkul which is called “The Last Village of India”, about a 3-hour drive one way. The drive to Chitkul is an adventure in itself, with a narrow, steep road gaining high altitude in less time. This route doesn’t have a mobile network. On our way, we will make a pit stop at Sangla valley, visit Kamru fort that has beautiful architecture. Chitkul village is located right at the footsteps of snow-capped mountains. We will take a stroll around the village dotted with wooden houses, visit a pretty temple, breathe the cleanest air, enjoy the sight of the beautiful Baspa river, tall trees and the hues of nature.
Kalpa to Tabo (150 Km, 5 Hours)
- Today we will drive towards Tabo, in the heart of the cold desert region of Lahaul and Spiti valley, on the banks of the Spiti River. On our way, we will make a pit stop at Khab, the confluence of Satluj and Spiti rivers. One can clearly see the difference in the color of the water as the rivers meet.
- Tabo: The Tabo monastery which is the second oldest monastery after Patola Palace in the capital city of Tibet Lhasa. There is a tradition of serving Tea to the people visiting this place. After sipping a hot cup of tea, we will interact with Lamas with is a great spiritual experience. Buddhists consider Tabo monastery to be one of the holiest, so Dalai Lama actually wishes to retire here. We will also give a visit to the golden temple which is part of the complex.
- We will take a small hike to Tabo meditation caves where monks meditate during winter. From here one can get a birds-eye view of Tabo village and surrounding valley.
- Taking a stroll through the Pea plantations, soaking some sun and chilling out by the free-flowing Spiti river make way for another magnificent sunset.
- We will take a night’s rest at our guesthouse in Tabo. If we are lucky to have a clear night, this is the place to gaze at millions of stars in the Milky way galaxy. How about a time-lapse?
Tabo to Kaza (50 Km, 2 Hours)
- Dhankhar Monastery: Dhankhar means fort in the local language. It exists in a unique location almost hanging on the tip of a peak and overlooking beautiful valleys. One wonders how monks chose such places to build such monasteries. The view of the confluence of Spiti and Pin rivers from the small windows that are located right above the cliff is simply spectacular.
- Dhankar Lake: From the monastery we will go on a 2 Km trek to Dhankar Lake on the other side of the mountain, situated at a higher altitude than the monastery. We will easily spend a couple of hours at this tranquil, bluish lake. We can clearly notice the change in colors and reflections on the crystal-like lake as the sky changes its hue, making it more spellbinding.
- Kaza: By evening we shall reach Kaza, a serene little place on the plains of Spiti valley, which is also the capital. We will head straight to the most famous hilltop “Key” monastery which is easily the biggest and most picturesque one in Spiti valley. The monastery complex has lots of prayer wheels lined up. These wheels are always spun clockwise so the mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ is written on them. One can try the famous Butter Tea here.
- The cold desert, crystal clear lakes and rivers, majestic snow-capped mountains, monasteries, all have made mark another dream destination on our road trip.
- Overnight stay at our Kaza guesthouse.
- Come the night, as far as the number of stars is concerned, the sky’s the limit!
Koumik, Hikkim, Langza (50 Km)
- Today we will explore the famous village circuit of Spiti – Koumik, Hikkim, and Langza.
- Each village offers something unique.
- Komic: Komic is a very high altitude village in Spiti valley and therefore very few people live there. It is also one of the oldest monasteries in the valley. This monastery is situated on the edge of a canyon and therefore has a really unique look.
- Hikkim: As we make our way to the world’s highest post office, we will see a few young guys and girls from Spiti set up tables with colorful markers, pens, and postcards. Make sure you get postal addresses of near and dear ones who will feel really special when they receive postcards from the world’s highest post office!
- Langza: This place is famous for its Buddha statue located at a place from where it seems like he’s taking a view of a breathtaking spectacle of an infinite valley. There are few cafes here where we can sip a hot tea
- Overnight stay at our Kaza guesthouse.
Nako, Kinnaur stay (150 Km, 4 Hours)
- Today we will drive back to Kinnaur valley to the heritage town of Nako, with colorful Buddhist flags fluttering over the peak. We will walk down to Nako lake and spend some time there, explore the monastery, temple ruins, etc.
- We will drive down to Kinnaur town and stay overnight there.
Drive to Shimla, stop at Narkanda ( 220 Km, 7 Hours)
- On the last day of our road trip we will drive back towards Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. On our way, we will stop by at Narkanda.
- Shimla: Coming from the remotest locations, we will suddenly find lots of people everywhere in Shimla. We will take a stroll on the famous Mall Road, indulge in some shopping. Shimla has options for almost all kinds of food, so this is a perfect time to taste what you missed in the past 7 days.
- Finally, by late evening, we shall board our return Bus back to Delhi.
Drop at Delhi
- The Bus drops us at Kashmir gate. You may book a cab to the airport to catch your flight.
- Total slots for the trip: 5 or more
- Stay: Guesthouses
- Food: Breakfasts, Dinners included. Lunches are self-sponsored.
- Trek Difficulty: No trekking. This is a road trip.
- Max altitude: 15,000 feet above Sea level
- Trip starting/ending point: Delhi
- Volvo Semi-Sleeper Bus between Delhi and Shimla
- Local vehicle(s) between Shimla and Spiti Valley
- Starting time: Saturday 9 PM
- Ending time: Sunday 7 AM
- You may book Flight/Bus till Delhi from your City in India
What’s next after booking your trip:
- The Organizer will get in touch with you, or vice versa. After discussing with him/her, you may book your flights up and down.
- A Whatsapp group will be created for all the registered folks a week before the event.
- You may discuss many things in the group and get prepared for the trip.
- Spiti Valley is a high altitude destination that may not suit everybody. Travelers are expected to carefully read and understand Terms & Conditions that explain complexities of this trip before booking
- All Himalayan treks/trips need a basic fitness level and ability to feel comfortable at high altitudes. Do your research on Acute Mountain Sickness.
- Travelers are expected to come with an open heart by appreciating complexities of mother nature-based on seasonal variations, monthly or even daily weather conditions.
- The Trip Captain need not have done the trip before. He/She will act as an interface between our travelers and Driver / local people.
- Travel everywhere
- Volvo Semi Sleeper between Delhi and Shimla
- SUV or Tempo between Shimla and Spiti
- Stay for 6 Nights
- Sharing basis
- 7 Breakfasts, 6 Dinners (Veg)
- Entry tickets, permissions
- Trip Guide/Captain
- Bonfire(s) (if it doesn’t rain)
- Once in a lifetime road trip
- Any kind of insurance, activities, shopping, party, medical expenses
- Any misc. expenses that are not in inclusions above
- No major health issues shall be present to the traveler like Asthma, respiratory problems, mental ailments, Heart issues, High blood pressure or any other special medical condition which may affect you and others during the trip
- No Luxury. We assure awesome memories every trip, but not awesome facilities!
- We provide basic facilities in terms of food, travel & accommodation.
- The itinerary is fixed. No special requests to change itinerary/schedule are permitted
- Absolutely No littering during our travels. We swear to protect our environment.
- No alcohol & smoking during Treks & adventure activities. There would be separate window and space (usually at night) to have these at campsite/homestay for interested people
- Cooperate with the organizer(s) in following the schedule set for the day (especially getting up and getting ready in the morning). This will ensure travelers won’t miss out on the real fun part that is traveling.
- Every traveler is responsible for his/her for your own safety while traveling with Muddie Trails. Don’t indulge in any illegal or silly activity that causes harm to you or fellow travelers.
- Every traveler is expected to sign a liability/waiver form given by the organizer(s) after boarding the vehicle that discharges Muddie Trails of any unexpected incident like injury/death/theft etc.
- Unexpected situations: It may happen we do not cover all the places mentioned in the itinerary because of unpredictable reasons like bad weather, wild animal presence, abrupt blocking of sites by the police/forest department, delay in travel because of an issue with our group itself, traffic conditions, etc. In most cases, if the time permits, the organizer(s) will take travelers to an alternative place. But in some cases, we may have to skip a place altogether.
- The event will stand canceled if less than 8 travelers signed up for the trip/trek
- Travelers are expected to respect each other and help each other. Avoid discussing sensitive matters like sex, politics, and religion/caste/race.
- Using foul or abusive language, eve-teasing, arguing with fellow travelers/organizer(s), and/or involving in the physical assault will not be accepted and will stand a chance of being deserted by Muddie Trails.
- 80% refund if a cancellation request is sent 30 days before the trip start date.
- 50% refund if a cancellation request is sent between 29 to 15 days before the trip start date.
- No refund within 15 days, during, or after the trip whatever be the reason.
- No refund on the partial payment done to block your seat for the trip.
- Toiletries, moisturizer, light towel, lip balm, wet wipes, toothbrush, toothpaste,
- A lightweight large Backpack for the entire road trip (60 liters or more)
- A small backpack for basic items (to carry valuables, water bottle, etc when going out)
- Photo identity proof with address (Aadhar/Passport/Voter ID)
- 2 Passport size color photographs (important for permit)
- Thermal inners and warm clothes (very cold climate)
- A rainproof jacket with a hood (to protect from cold winds, sudden rain/snowfall)
- Waterproof gloves, thick socks, track pants, full sleeve t-shirts (to keep your body warm)
- Cap/Hat (you may get tanned because of high altitude direct sun rays)
- Sunglasses (very important as snow reflects harmful UV rays)
- Sunscreen (SPF 50 or more)
- Power bank, charger, camera, binoculars (if you wish to)
- Hand sanitizer and liquid hand wash (facilities over there are very basic)
- Proper water bottle for your trip. You may fill at our guesthouses
- Disposable garbage covers (To separate used/unused clothes)
- Water-resistant good grip shoes for travel, extra slippers to use at guest houses
- Personal medications, any drugs that you may feel necessary (remember high altitude, ghat roads, chill climate)
- No need to carry snacks/chocolates. You may buy at local shops to support them.
Read the detailed Terms and Conditions here.
Got more questions? Check out here!