Spiti Valley Road Trip – 6 Things You Need To Know

by Arjun Dikshit
spiti valley

Nowadays, nature and adventure are the two most attractive calls for people leading a busy life in metropolis cities. They seek an unusual yet exciting experience at all times. The terrain of Spiti Valley and serene surroundings, makes it a perfect getaway for those looking to add some fun element to their usual travel experience. Spiti Valley is not densely populated and attracts thousands of visitors every year.

This valley is a cold desert, landlocked mountain valley that lies between India and Tibet. Literal meaning of Spiti is middle land. It is surrounded by thick snow crowned mountains, small villages, exotic greenery, spectacular valleys, and long winding roads. To make things simpler, we’ve listed down all the variables you will need to discover Spiti valley.

Everything you should about traveling to Spiti valley:


The valley is located at 12,500 feet above sea level in the Himalayan region of Himachal Pradesh. Climate is very harsh and has a cold desert terrain. Throughout the year, the place gets sunshine for just 250 days and is one of the coldest places in the Himalayas. The best time to visit is from May to late September as during this time the weather becomes warm, snow begins to melt and all the roads are clear for travelling to the valley.

2.How to reach?

You can reach Kaza (HQ of Spiti valley) either from Manali or from Shimla via Kinnaur. It takes two days when you go via the later route, although we advise to split it into 3-4 days to visit places en-route, it is best to halt at Reekong Peo or Kalpa because travelling in one go can be very exhausting. Both these halts are amazing to explore as well.

Taking a longer route will also allow you to adapt to high altitude. Depending on the road conditions, the former route takes a shorter time of 12 to 14 hours.

3.Travel with good health

To explore the beauty of Spiti Valley, it demands you to be fit. The high altitude of Spiti (3300 –5000 mt) needs considerable acclimatisation for every traveler whether it is first visit or routine visit of these sites. It is advisable to make up your journey plan slow. You must halt halfway in Kinnaur via Shimla or take adequate rest at Manali if taking the shorter route.

Those who suffer from lung diseases, breathing problems or heart issues are advised to consult their doctors before planning the trip.


Indian citizens do not need a permit to enter Spiti valley. Foreigners will need a permit if they are taking the Kinnaur route from Shimla. This specific route is close to the Tibetan border. Foreigners can get the permit from Reckong Peo near Kalpa.

5.Things to do

Spiti valley is known as one of the world’s best trekking spot and called as a virgin paradise. It is ideal for nature lovers and adventure freaks. Places like Chandratal Lake, Pin Valley, and Kunzum Jot are the best for camping and trekking in the valley. The valley is home to some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in the world as well. You can see crystal clear waters, magnificent glaciers, and experience mesmerizing views of mountains with fresh and clean air. 

Here are a few things you can do while in Spiti

  • For an incredible adventurous experience enjoy some river rafting at Pin and Spiti River.
  • Visit the Pin Valley Park and enjoy the spectacular flora and fauna which will make you feel like heaven. You can also spot wildlife along with natural beauty which will definitely give you Goosebumps. It is huge attractions so do take out time to visit this amazing place. 
  • Experience peace and adventure when you visit Dhankar Lake. Heavenly views and challenging trek sites are absolutely worthy to pay a visit.
  • Visit Gue village to visit the monastery housing a 500 year old Mummy. The Mummy is in the position of a meditating Lama and that is why it is more of a mysterious experience to visit the place.

6.Important Places to visit in Spiti Valley

(i) Chandratal Lake – Crescent Shake Lake popularly known as Chandratal Lake is the centre of attraction for photographer’s adventure seekers. It is an official camping site where one can relax completely in the lap of nature.

Chandratal Lake Camping

(ii) Key Monastery – It is about 1000 yr. old Buddhist monastery located on a hilltop in spiti valley in midst of brown and white coated gigantic mountain ranges. It is also known as key gompa which has spectacular idols of Buddha in Dhyana, collection of ancient books and murals (paintings on walls). Everything will leave you amazed from ancient murals to the wonderful architecture of monasteries.

visit Key Monastery

(iii) Kunzum Pass –The pass looks extremely eye pleasing as you will notice different landscapes like huge glaciers and irregular mountains. The turquoise river of Spiti and dry Barren Mountains are worth seeing once in a lifetime.

(iv) The Pin Valley National Park – Situated in the Lahul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh this cold desert biosphere reserve located on high altitude is home for the rare species of famous Himalayan Snow leopards and Ibex. Trekkers are attracted more to this place.

Pin Valley National Park Trek

Image source: wikimedia

(v) Dhankar Monastery –Between Kaza and Tabo cliff this classic, monastery is located. It displays magnificent sight of Buddhist religion and culture. One can see four Buddha statues seated in four different directions.

(vi) Tabo Monastery – Also known as Ajanta of Himalayas it is one of the oldest operating Buddhist enclaves in the Himalayas. It is famous for the stucco sculptures and murals carved on the walls like in Ajanta caves in Maharashtra.

visit Tabo Monastery

Image source: wikimedia

(vii) Langza – This place is rich in fossils of marine animals and plants. That is because Spiti was submerged underwater millions of years back. You should go on treks around Langza and you will probably be able to find a few of these fossils.

You can check out the itinerary below for your Spiti trip.


The places mentioned above are some of the important places to visit and things to enjoy in Spiti Valley. The most attractive thing about the place is that Spiti Valley is a research and cultural centre for Buddhists. It has a unique cultural heritage for centuries which is worth discovering along with fascinating cuisines. It is very different from the rest of India. People are very kind in this place and though they experience a harsh life, they are very hospitable.

The splendid serenity, stunning natural beauty, and enormous activities is a complete package to plan a trip with friends to Spiti Valley. Buying a travel package can make things easy. Check out the packing essentials you should carry for your road trip. 

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Ajay Thakur June 27, 2019 - 4:06 pm

Thanks for this wonderful and helpful information. It is one of the most visited tourist places in India. Spiti Valley such a beautiful place for a visit.

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Really detailed and nice post. Spiti is indeed heaven on earth.
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Pawan Ranta October 15, 2020 - 5:15 pm

Thanks for the tips, Arjun. There are a few petrol stations en route Spiti. The last petrol pump 200kms before Kaza is at Powari in Kinnaur. It is highly recommended to stop for a refill there.


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