Spiti Valley Cultural Tour 

The Spitian lifestyle is an everyday survival story of the locals which has become a hotbed for tourism. If you want to explore Spiti inside out, try stepping into shoes of a Spitian for a couple of days and see what living in the Himalayan villages feels like.

The cold desert of Himachal Pradesh, India, the Spiti Valley is home to the highest villages in the world, 1000-year-old monasteries and the splendid landscapes well-accompanied by high Himalayan lakes. The average altitude of the Spiti Valley is around 4200 m, which equals to 14000 ft. The huge number very well defines the lifestyle of the villagers living in the high Himalayan villages. The Spitian lifestyle is an everyday survival story of the locals which has become a hotbed for tourism. Apart from cultivation, husbandry and jobs in nearby towns, tourism in the valley have become beard & butter of the locals. So, paying a visit, no matter short or extended, to the rugged and unexplored terrains of Spiti Valley is no less than extending a helping hand toward tribespeople.  In return, the Valley will offer you breathtaking views of beautiful landscapes, high passes and glacial lakes and an unmatched hospitality you won’t get elsewhere.

It has been 25 since the tribal district of Spiti bordering China is open to overseas visitors. If you are still skeptic about venturing into the valley, this is your chance. Go grab your backpack, take a break from the wild-goose chase, and listen to the symphonies rivers, mountains, and lakes are resonating.

Ditch your upcoming assignment and experience what it feels like standing in front of Chandra Taal, or watching confluence of Sutlej and Spiti River at Khab in real time.

Tour Highlights

  • Drive through one of the most treacherous roads in the world, well-accompanied by extended landscapes and beautiful Himalayan lakes
  • Staying at traditional homestays and tapping into culture of Spiti
  • Visiting century-old temples and Buddhist monasteries
  • Watching confluence of Sutlej and Spiti River
  • Camping and stargazing at Chandra Taal

Region: Spiti, Himachal Pradesh

Duration: 6 Nights/7 Days 

Cost: Rs 26,500

Day Plan

Day 1: Chandigarh to Kotgarh (180 km, 6 hrs)

Day 2: Kotgarh to Tabo (290 km, 8 hrs)

Day 3: Tabo to Dhankar Village to Kaza (60 km, 3 hrs)

Day 4: Kaza to Key Monastery to Kibber to Hikkim to Koumik to Langza (65 km, 3.5 hrs)

Day 5: Langza to Chandra Taal (105 km, 4 hrs)

Day 6: Chandra Taal to Manali (120 km, 5-6 hrs)

Day 7: Manal to Chandigarh

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Chandigarh to Kotgarh (180 km, 6 hrs)

Apple Valley, Kotgarh

Apple Valley, Kotgarh

We will start our journey from Chandigarh in the morning through the Himalayan Express Highway and NH 22 into the heart of the Himalayas. Initially, we drive along the low hills and eventually gain an altitude of 6500 ft to reach Shimla. Beautiful road snaking through forests of pine, deodar, and oak trees offer glimpses of beautiful small villages on the way. We reach Kotgarh by evening, which is the place for an overnight stay at a beautiful cottage offering stunning views of apple valley and Sutlej River.

Day 2: Kotgarh to Tabo (290 km, 8 hrs)

Tabo village, Spiti

Tabo Village, Spiti

After breakfast, we hit the NH 22 to drive along the right bank of Sutlej River. We drive along the Sutlej for about 80 km. The journey is full of excitement and thrill as gushing water paints the muddy river white. The mother nature reveals its first marvel as soon as we reach Taranda to see a deep gorge on the left-hand side of the road. The road roofed by multiple rock tunnels ushers you into Kinnaur Valley.

Another four hours of drive and we reach the village of Tabo through Khab and Nako. Khab is the confluence of Sutlej and Spiti River. From here the road ascends till you reach an elevation of 12000 ft to a place called Nako. Nako is a picturesque village with amazing views of snow-covered Manerang Ranges. There is also a lake in the center of the village. This place is the base camp for climbing Reo Purgyil – the highest peak in Himachal Pradesh. Then we proceed further to reach Tabo village by evening for an overnight stay in a homestay/hotel.

Day 3: Tabo to Dhankar to Kaza (60 km, 3 hrs) 

Kaza, Spiti Valley

Kaza, Spiti Valley

Tabo has an ancient monastery which is about 1000 years old. We spend the morning exploring the monastery and surrounding area. Then we head for Dhankar on the Tabo-Kaza road. We reach a place called Shichling, where a 10 km-long road ascends toward Dhankar. Dhankar village and monastery are perched on the edge of a mountain, and the landscape looks just out of a fairy tale setting. After exploring monastery and surroundings, we head for Kaza and reach there by evening for an overnight stay at a homestay.

Day 4: Kaza to Key Monastery to Kibber to Hikkim to Koumik to Langza (65 km, 3.5 hrs)

Langza Village, Spiti Valley

Langza Village, Spiti

Key Monastery is one of the most famous and the oldest monasteries in the entire Spiti Valley. After exploring the monastery and Lama culture at Key, we drive further to discover another great hidden gem of Spiti called Kibber. The village perched at an altitude of 4270 m (14,200 ft) is the place where life runs at a comparatively slow speed. After exploring the flea market and beautiful surroundings of Kibber, we start driving downhill on the same road to reach Kaza gate where we take a left to reach Hikkim village. Hikkim has the world’s highest post office. Picture perfect village is connected to the outer world through a motorable road ascending over high barren land into the heart of the village.

That is not all; we venture further into the mountains on the same road to reach Koumik – the world’s highest village connected through motorable road. Reaching here is a completely other-worldly experience no other place can offer. Apart from being tucked so high in the mountains, the village is so beautiful and culturally so rich that you will feel like betting everything you own to live in this village.

The village has an ancient monastery which is believed to have some hidden treasures in the form of a dragon egg, the horn of a unicorn, and the upper tooth of a sheep that are made public once every 60 years.

The day is not over yet as you are about to discover another jewel of the Spiti Valley, i.e., Langza. Langza is a small Himalayan village known for its pristine beauty and century-old mud craft. The art of mud craft is alive to this day. You can see villagers crafting vessels out of mud and cultivating fields. The huge golden Buddha statue which you might have seen on the internet while Googling Spiti sits atop the village for more than 1000 years. Langza is a stopover for the night at a traditional homestay.

Day 5: Langza to Chandra Taal (105 km, 4 hrs)

Chandra Taal, Spiti

Chandra Taal, Spiti Valley

After enjoying high altitude delicacies at Langza, we descend to Kaza and then drive on the Kaza-Manali road to reach 4550 m (15,060 ft) high Kunzum Pass. Kunzum Pass connects the Spiti Valley with Lahaul. Kunzum pass has amazing views of the Chandrabhaga Ranges. It has a Hindu temple and a Buddhist Chorten dedicated to the Goddess Kunzum Mata. After a short descend past the pass, we take a narrow road leading to Chandra Taal. Chandra Taal – also known as the moon lake – is a beautiful lake at an altitude of 14100 ft nestled between mountain ranges of Chandra Bhaga and Kunzum top. This is one of the most beautiful destinations in the Himalayas. After enjoying beautiful lakeside views, we settle for overnight camping at the lake.

Day 6: Chandra Taal to Manali (120 km, 5-6 hrs)

Manali

Manali

After stargazing and camping at one of the most beautiful places in the world, we are up for a beautiful morning at Chandra Taal. Then we drive toward Batal. After a short halt at Batal, we drive along the Chandra River till a place called Gramphoo. Then we drive up through lots of hairpin bends until we reach Rohtang Pass. You are treated with some amazing visuals of the snow-covered Lahaul Ranges on the way. Rohtang Pass at 3990 m ((13,050 ft) welcomes us with snow chills and 360-degree views. Manali is 49 km from here. We reach Manali by evening. Overnight stay at a hotel/cottage.

Day 7: Manal to Chandigarh (29o km, 7 hrs)

In the morning, we say goodbye to the high mountains and lakes and drive back home after spending a wonderful time in Spiti Valley.

Tour cost includes

  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis
  • Camping at Chandra Taal
  • Transportation on all days of the tour
  • Meals
  • Qualified tour leader
  • Vehicle: Innova or equivalent

Tour cost does not include

  • Additional food or beverages ordered, room service, porter
  • Insurance
  • Anything not mentioned in inclusion list

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is this trip for me?

A: If you are crazily in love with the Himalayas, then this trip is for you. If you have never felt how driving through the world’s most treacherous road and standing on the world’s highest inhabited village feels like, then this trip is for you. Ear-deafening noise coming from furious Sutlej and Spiti Rivers and calmness and beauty of Chandra Taal will get you high.

Q: How is weather out there?

A: Temperatures might be as low as -2 °C or even lower while crossing Kunzum Pass and Rohtang Pass. And, the only mantra to enjoy this trip is to be well equipped. It’s perfectly fine to fill your bag with an extra pair of woolen socks, cap, warm jacket and thermals.

Q: Can I bring my spouse/friend with me?

A: Of course, you can. We will be visiting many beautiful villages, lakes, and monasteries during the course of our journey; which implies, we will be having a wonderful time during the trip.

Q: Is there any trekking involved in the trip?

A: No. All destinations you are visiting are accessible by the vehicle. At a couple of places, you might have to take short walks, but they cannot be categorized as treks. Anyone with reasonable fitness level can do most of the activities during the trip.

Q: What is the maximum altitude we will hit?

A: 15,059 ft (4,590 m) at Kunzum Pass

Q: What about the level of physical fitness?

A: A person with reasonable fitness can join the group because there is no trekking involved throughout the trip. Still, it is always good to be fit when going to high altitudes.

Q: Does physical fitness protect against altitude sickness?

A: As suggested it’s always good to be physically fit when you plant to go in high altitudes. But there is no evidence that people with high physical fitness level don’t fall prey to AMS (acute mountain sickness). Rather they might challenge themselves to exert more, hence increasing the probability of becoming AMS victim.

Q: Can I drink alcohol at high altitude?

A: Drinking alcohol at high altitudes is a practice you should avoid in all possibilities, because alcohol can obstruct your breathing, directly hampering acclimatization process of your body. Furthermore, alcohol may cause dehydration.

Q: Should I take Diamox when going to high altitude?

A: There is no need to take Diamox until or unless your body has enough time for acclimatization. We have planned the trip in stages to offer your body sufficient time for acclimatization during the ascent. Hence taking drugs in the mountains need to be avoided. You should consider taking Diamox only if you are gaining altitude very quickly (flying to high altitude locations), that too only if you have no history of allergy to the drug.

Cancellation Policy

In the event of cancellation of tour/trek/adventure activity/services due to any avoidable/unavoidable reasons, we must be notified of the same in writing. Cancellation charges will be effective from the date we receive the information in writing (email), and cancellation charges would be as follows:

  • 30 days or more prior to the departure date: 90% of the total package fee refundable
  • Between 21-30 days prior to the departure date: 60% of the total package fee refundable
  • Between 20-11 days prior to the departure date: 30% of the total package fee refundable
  • Less than 10 days prior to the departure date: No refund
  • No show: No refund
  • No refund will be made if a participant is unable to complete the tour/trek/adventure activity owing to medical conditions or any other reasons, after starting the tour/trek/adventure activity

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