The Spiti Valley Backpacking Trip (9D/8N)

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  • 9 Days 8 Nights
  • Group Size: Minimum 3, Maximum 20
  • Difficulty : Easy
  • Starting/End Location : Delhi

Overview

Hello Roadtrippers!

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 trip:

  • Road trip from Shimla to get acclimatized to high altitude
  • Chitkul – The Last Village of India
  • 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
  • Chandratal – The most beautiful Lake
  • Tabo, Kaza & Nako: The cold desert of Spiti valley
  • Dhankar Monastery: Confluence of Spiti, Pin rivers
  • Chicham Bridge – Travelers favorite
  • Manali Mall road stroll

Inclusions

  • Travel (SUV or Tempo) from Shimla > Spiti > Manali
  • Volvo Semi-sleeper Bus from Delhi to Shimla, Manali to Delhi
  • Stay: 6 Nights (Homestays & Guest Houses)
  • 12 Meals total (6 Breakfasts, 6 Dinners) - All Veg
  • Entry Tickets, Special Permits
  • Trip Leader (for group size above 6)
  • Once in a lifetime road trip

Exclusions

  • Lunches, food while traveling
  • Any kind of insurance, activities, shopping, party, medical expenses, and anything not mentioned in inclusions above
  • Any extra cost arising due to any change in the itinerary/stay/route on account of bad weather, traffic-congestion, landslides/roadblocks, natural calamities, political disturbances and/or any other factors beyond our control.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Delhi to Shimla

  • We will board our Bus at Majnu ka Tila, overnight journey to Shimla.

Day 2 - Roadtrip from Shimla to Sangla (220 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  Sangla, a town in Kinner Kailash range.
  • Shimla to Sangla 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.
  • Sangla: We will reach Sangla, 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 around. Along with its Apples, Sangla 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.

Day 3 - Chitkul Day Trip, Sangla to Kalpa (90 Km, 6-7 hours)

  • Today we will witness jaw-dropping Sunrise at Sangla 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.
  • Reach Kalpa stay by late evening, finish Dinner and rest.

Day 4 - 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?

Day 5 - 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!

Day 6 - 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.

Day 7 - Key Monastery, Chicham Bridge, Chandratal Stay

  • After Breakfast we will head to the most beautiful Key Monastery. Explore length and breath of this peaceful heaven and meditate in the serenity.
  • The most famous landmark Chicham Bridge
  • Continue our journey to Chandratal Lake, after having a pit stop at Chandratal view point.
  • Overnight stay at a Homestay or a Camp in Chandratal.

Day 8 - Chandratal Lake sunrise, Atal Tunnel, Manali ( 120 Km, 5 Hours)

  • We will witness the most beautiful sunrise of our Spiti Valley road trip at Chandratal Lake.
  • 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.
  • Manali: Coming from the remotest locations, we will suddenly find lots of people everywhere in Manali. We will take a stroll on the famous Mall Road, indulge in some shopping. Manali has options for 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.

Day 9 - Drop at Delhi

  • The Bus drops us at Kashmir gate. You may book a cab to the airport to catch your flight.
  • You are safe to book flights after 12 PM (afternoon).

What to Expect

About Trip:
  • This trip involves basic facilities in terms of food, travel, and stay without any luxury, whatsoever.
  • This is a group trip with shared model. It may not suit everyone – especially for those expecting privacy and comfort. It best suits for people who wish to socialize.
  • Please do not book this trip if you are not okay with above points.

Travel:
  • Trip starting/ending point: Delhi
  • Volvo Semi-Sleeper Buses: Delhi > Shimla & Manali > Delhi
  • Local vehicle(s) between Shimla > Spiti Valley > Manali
  • After contacting our Booking Team, you may book flights to Delhi up/down from your city
  • Note: Our team can assist you in booking your flight tickets (sometimes at discounted rates).

Pick-up/Drop:
  • Pick up (Day 1):
    > Around 9 PM 
    > Delhi Kashmiri Gate or Manju ka Tilla
    > Exact time & location will be updated in the Whatsapp group close to the trip.
  • Drop (Day 9)
    > Around 9 AM
    > Delhi Kashmiri Gate or Manju ka Tilla

Booking Flight tickets:
  • Our team can assist you in booking your flight tickets to New Delhi through an agent without any fees.
  • Sometimes, there is a chance to get discounted price compared to online price.

Accommodation:
  • Comfortable Standard Homestays or Guesthouses.
  • Multi sharing rooms based on final combination.
  • There will be shared Beds & Mattress placed in the rooms. Some stays have attached bathrooms, some have common bathrooms.
  • Sangla – 1 Night
  • Kalpa – 1 Night
  • Tabo – 1 Night
  • Kaza – 2 Nights
  • Chandratal: 1 night camp
  • Note: You may get in touch with booking team if you wish to see stay pictures.

Food:
  • Breakfasts & Dinners included (All Veg) at our stays.
  • Lunches & food while traveling are self-sponsored as we will be outside at that time.
  • How much you have to spend for good food?
    200 – 250 per meal

Special disclaimer about Spiti trip:
  • Spiti is a high-altitude destination with long journeys that may not suit everybody.
  • Travelers are expected to come with an open heart, respect local culture, care towards the environment & climate change, and help each other.
  • Because of the unpredictable nature of rough Himalayan terrain, one should expect road closures or diversions in Spiti which may alter the order and/or places in the itinerary. The Operations Manager & Driver will take a call on the changes in itinerary when such situations occur. No special requests will be entertained.
  • You may book this trip only if you are fine with all the above points.

Before booking your trip:
  • Travelers are expected to carefully read and understand special scenarios presented by Spiti along with “Terms & Conditions“, “Cancellation Policy” sections of Spiti trip before reserving their spot for the trip.
  • The complexities involved, and all important details needed for Spiti trip are clearly mentioned in a transparent manner.

FAQ

Pickup/Drop Points

New Delhi

  • Starting Point/Time: Majnu Ka Tilla, Saturday 9 PM
  • Ending Point/Time: Kashmiri Gate, Sunday 9 AM

Note: Timings are approximate. Exact timings shall be shared in the trip Whatsapp group.

What's next after booking your trip?

  • Organizers will get in touch with you, or vice versa.
  • Once minimum number of people book this trip (at least 4 members), Organizing team will give a green signal to book your flights.
  • A Whatsapp group will be created for all the registered folks 5 days before the event.

Terms & Conditions

  • The itinerary is fixed. No special requests to change itinerary/schedule shall be entertained. Travellers are not allowed to advice/instruct the Organizers (Driver or Trip Leader or Operations Manager) to change the itinerary.
  • Cooperate with the Organizers in following the schedule set for the day (especially getting up and getting ready in the morning). This will ensure travellers won’t miss out on the real fun part that is traveling and visiting all places in itinerary.
  • Every traveler is responsible for his/her for your own safety. Do not indulge in any illegal or silly activity that causes harm to self or fellow travelers.
  • Do not wander into the forest away from the designated trail for treks. There may be snakes, scorpions, and dangerous animals.
  • Unexpected situations: In rare scenarios, we might not be able to cover all the places mentioned in the itinerary because of unpredictable reasons like bad weather, landslides, wild animal presence, abrupt blocking of sites by the police/forest/local authorities, delay in travel because of an issue with our group itself, traffic conditions, etc. In most cases, if the time permits, the Organizers will take travelers to an alternative place. But in some cases, we may have to skip places altogether.
  • No alcohol & smoking during travel, treks, and other outdoor activities. There would be a separate window and space (usually at night) to have these at the stays for interested people.
  • Travelers are expected to respect each other and help one another. Avoid discussing sensitive matters like sex, politics, and religion/caste/race.
  • Using foul or abusive language, eve-teasing, arguing with fellow travelers/Organizers, and/or involving in the physical assault will not be accepted and will stand a chance of being deserted by the group then and there.
  • Every traveler is expected to digitally fill & submit a liability/waiver form given by the Organizers before the trip. This liability form will discharge Muddie Trails of any unexpected incident like injury/death/theft etc.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation by Traveler

  • 80% refund if a cancellation request is sent 30 days before the trip start date.
  • 50% refund if a cancellation request is sent between 30 to 15 days before the trip start date.
  • An email has to be sent to muddietrails@gmail.com to raise a cancellation request.
  • No refund within 15 days of the event start time whatever is the reason (Health, COVID, Accident, Family crisis, Office issue, or anything else).
  • No refund during/after the event.
  • No refund on the partial payment (advance) done to block your seat for the trip.

Cancellation by Muddie Trails

Muddie Trails may decide to cancel the event if there are less than 3 travelers signed up for the trip/trek.

What if we don’t get the minimum number of people for the trip?
We have 2 options in this case:
Option 1: Complete refund.
Option 2: Switch to any other long trip of the same dates or future dates. The difference amount will be collected from you or paid back according to the new trip cost.

Note: We do not recommend to book flight tickets until the trip is confirmed with atleast 3 travelers signed up.


Cancellation due to external factors

Muddie Trails may have to cancel the event in case of external factors that are beyond our control like Natural Disasters, Extreme Weather Conditions, Red Alerts, Political Disturbances, Bandh/Curfews, Local Issues, Road Blocks, Train cancellations, Covid-19 or any other disease outbreaks etc.

In these scenarios:

  • No Refund is allowed.
  • 100% trip amount can be used for any other new trip of the same weekend or future weekends. The difference amount will be collected from you or paid back according to the new trip cost.
  • Once you confirm your participation on the new trip, all the above Cancellation policies will apply for the same.
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