Mary Sipaun and Esther, two adventurous ladies from Malaysia reached out to us to plan their much-awaited road trip to Spiti. We were not just thrilled to have them on board with us but equally excited to be a part of their entire trip, VIRTUALLY!
It all started with arriving at their destination, Amritsar, where our designated person Manish was to receive them. Their flight to Amritsar was comfortable and they were nothing short of ecstatic on arriving. However, they had to go for a little tour of Amritsar as the homestay wasn’t easily accessible in the wee hours. Needless to say, this added to the excitement of traveling in India, all by themselves. This was followed by a good nights sleep at Jasmeets homestay (who by the way was an excellent host); as the next morning, they were scheduled to leave on a very long drive, the beginning of their road trip to Spiti.
Covering kilometres one milestone at a time
The drive on that day was going to be close to 350km all the way to Narkanda. Yes, a long road ahead but an adventurous one! Another beautiful homestay by the name of Camp Himalayan Yew awaited them, with Vivek Rajta as their host. The best part was that our team offered virtual assistance throughout and this made a huge difference. From pro tips like carrying car chargers to asking them to send their live location, all of it! We guarantee safety along with making good memories.
The Local flavours
On their drive, our esteemed team member Neeraj suggested quite a few good places to eat at. Not just that, he even asked them to try out a HPMC shop at Dharmapur for some rhododendron wine. (I know a lot of you will drool at the thought of that). Well for wine lovers, this is THE place! At the store, you also find assorted juices, pickles among other things. So, a must visit for sure. Both Mary & Esther indulged in some of these goodies to take back home with them.
From Narkanda to Kalpa
A very interesting drive to Kalpa was scheduled for the day, covering 172kms. They visited the Padam palace at Rampur and the Bhimakali temple at Sarahan on this day, getting a little flavour of the various religions, history, and culture spread across this place. The highlight, however, was the Roghi cliff, also known as the suicide point. A very sharp edge on the cliff that can nearly scare anyone who sees it from a distance; they still managed a great shot there!
Kalpa also has a host of interesting things to do and try out. Ranging from their famous salty tea called ‘Cha’ to deliciously brewed local alcohol that contains apple, grapes, pear & barley; things that will quench your thirst in one way or another! Note to meat lovers: There was the classic mutton curry & an array of Bengali fish dishes that you definitely cannot miss on your road trip to Spiti. They had a very comfortable stay at the Apple pie hotel in Kalpa with some mouth-watering Indian dishes at their service.
From Kalpa to Nako
A not so long drive of 100kms was planned for the day. From visiting temples to lakes, this day was all about exploring the changing hues of nature and all that this place had to offer. They also visited the monument at Pooh along with witnessing the confluence of Satluj and Spiti. The stay for tonight was at Nehru homestay and what followed was a good meal and slumber.
Expect the Unexpected: From Nako to Kaza
The following day, they had to wait it out a bit before they left on their road trip to Spiti as the road was closed due to a landslide. This is the type of bad weather you can expect when you drive to the mountains. However, the next day was a 100km drive which roughly estimates to 4 hours of driving. Once the roads opened, they managed to visit some of the famous monasteries.
Not just that, they even went to the bridge in Chicham which was opened recently. Earlier it was a ropeway to get across to the other side. It used to be quite thrilling back then as well but thank god for the bridge to make life simpler. Apart from the bridge and monasteries, Mary & Esther made it to the World’s highest Post office at Hikkim. A very feel-good place for those who believe in sending out postcards, letters, parcels to their loved ones from an altitude of 14,400ft. Not a regular post office for sure!
The road trip that was
To sum it up witnessing snow that close was something Esther and Mary couldn’t get enough off. Their stay at all the places was nothing short of magic, to say the least. From trying out Indian cuisine to visiting monasteries, they did it all on their road trip to Spiti. They also found a travel companion in the mountains by the name of Jully who seemed to have accompanied them on their walks. Some great finds, some memories to take back, Mary and Esther’s road trip to Spiti may have come to an end but it wasn’t over yet.
Back to Base
Leaving the mountains wasn’t easy for sure but there were a lot of memories they were taking back with them. As they were at the fag end of their journey, they decided to pay a visit to the Golden Temple at Amritsar and indulge in some Punjabi food as no visit to Amritsar is complete without trying out the tasty cuisine that is available all around the city. Be it parathas, kulcha or lassi; everything is a must try!
At Amritsar, they had almost all day to kill before boarding their flight back that night. Golden temple was the perfect way to end their memorable road trip to Spiti by seeking blessings for a safe trip home. To add to that, the city holds a different vibe altogether as compared to the mountains so it was definitely a good layover.
Words that count
Here’s what they had to say about their trip:
Mary says, “Overall I had a fantastic experience. Everything was planned and organised well according to my budget and the team behind it was always at hand and easily accessible.”
Esther had this to say, “From the planning stage right till the end of our road trip, everything was meticulously planned to take our travel time and budget into account. With our own car and driver, it gave us more freedom to stop wherever we wanted to, for pictures, to enjoy the scenery or just to walk around villages for a bit. It was perfect! And it was not just that. ScoutMyTrip also prepared a list of must-visit places and delicacies to try, so we wouldn’t miss a thing. :)”
For those of you who would like to road trip to Spiti, you can check out the recommended route to Spiti below. From places to stay to things to do, we have it covered.
Well, we are happy to have virtually taken you through Mary and Esther’s road trip to Spiti and are sure that most of you would want to plan your trip as well. So leave the trip planning to us and just get in touch on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram or visit our website if you want us to help create a wonderful journey for you.