Adorned by the high-altitude mountain peaks of the Himalayas, Spiti Valley is one of the most exotic and less-explored destinations in the country. This is an amazing tourist destination for peace seekers and nature lovers. To learn more about this place, take a look at the Spiti Valley travel guide, which comprises all the details of the place.
Tucked away in the lap of the mighty Himalayan ranges and embellished with the glistening river, Spiti Valley is a gem of Himachal Pradesh. Echoing spirituality and tranquility, this picturesque valley is popularly known as a cold desert mountain valley. Boasts about ancient monasteries, glacier lakes, quaint villages, and pristine valleys, Spiti is a mystical land that offers a unique experience to travelers. The fluttering prayer flags, the monks in their maroon robes, and the crystal clear sky enhances the charm of Spiti and makes it appear like a reflection of heaven.
Literally meaning ‘the middle land’, Spiti is surrounded by Tibet in the east, Ladakh in the north, Kullu and Lahaul in the south, and Kinnaur Valley in the South East. It is one of the remotest sites of the country and usually remains cut-off from most of the tourist maps. The valley remains accessible throughout the year from Shimla and from Manali it gets virtually disconnected with the arrival of winters. The summer season is the best time to visit Spiti Valley as the region experiences harsh cold during the winter season. However, the valley is covered in snow, which looks like a wonderland in winters. It is a great place to witness the true marvels of nature being discovered in front of your very eyes.
Perched at an altitude of 3,800 above sea level, Spiti is located on the banks of the Spiti River and reverberates with pristine culture and paradisiacal natural beauty. The place is usually accessed by trekkers and bikers as its surreal landscapes, glaciers and relatively untouched environment is too much of a temptation. Every village of this incredible valley appears like a fantasyland. Here is the Spiti Valley tourist guide with which one can gather detailed information about the place including how to reach, the best time to visit, things to do, places to visit, accommodation facilities, and tips.
This is a cold desert mountain valley snuggled amidst Tibet and India. Flanked by the Spiti River, the valley is renowned for Vajrayana Buddhism similar to that found in Tibet and Ladakh regions. Spiti Valley has had an introversive culture for centuries where the lives of the locals remained focused around its monasteries. It was ruled by hereditary Waziers, a self-styled 'Nono'. In brief periods, the valley was also attacked by an invader from neighboring kingdoms. An army of Jammu and Kashmir led by generals Ghulam Khan and Rahim Khan invaded Spiti in 1841 AD. A few years later in 1846, the Sikh army also raided the valley and finally, the East India Company took control of Spiti in 1846. However, nothing changed after this also, as Nono of Kyuling continued to rule as the hereditary Wazier of Spiti.
In 1960, Lahaul Valley and Spiti Valley merged to make the 4th least populated districts in India. These two valleys are connected through Kunzum Pass, which is located at an altitude of 4,551 m above sea level. In the last two decades, tourism in the valley has risen at a drastic rate owing to its breathtaking landscape and jaw-dropping locales.
Why visit Spiti Valley?
Blessed with the jaw-dropping locales, breathtaking landscapes, gurgling rivers, gushing cascades, and emerald blue rivers, Spiti Valley is a perfect holiday retreat for vacationers. The tranquil environs, unexplored hamlets, pristine beauty, and untouched nature of the valley make it a paradise for nature lovers. It is also home to a plethora of trekking trails and hidden gems, which attracts thrill seekers and adventure enthusiasts. Some of the amazing places of Spiti Valley are Chandertal, Kibber, Kaza, Hikkim, Komic, Langza, Kunzum Pass, Tabo, Nako, and Dhankar.
Spiti Valley is proudly home to the world’s highest village connected by a motorable road that is Komik Village and the world’s highest post office which is located in Hikkim. Langza is known as the fossil village of the country where one can easily find the fossils of marine animals and plants that were submerged under the Tethys Sea. The monasteries of the region are among the oldest Gompas in the country, which comprises the oldest relics, thangkas, murals, and artifacts. Some of the renowned Gompas of the region are Key Monastery, Dhankar Monastery, Tabo Monastery, Komik Monastery, Sakya Tangyud Monastery, and Kungri Gompa. The winding roads and hairpin bend with the backdrop of the unique landscape of the Spiti Valley make it a favorite destination for bikers. Chandratal Lake is a gem of Spiti Valley, which is located in the lap of the mighty Himalayas and is blessed with incredible landscapes.
How to reach Spiti Valley?
Spiti Valley is well-connected with the major cities and towns of the country by different modes of transport. However, it does not have its own airport and railway station. The nearest airport is Bhuntar Airport in Kullu and the nearest railhead is Shimla railway station. There are two routes to visit Spiti Valley – Shimla and Manali. Spiti Valley is accessible from the Manali side only for six months as in winters, the mountain passes get blocked due to heavy snowfall. From the Shimla route, Spiti Valley is accessible throughout the year. Here is the detailed information about how to reach West Sikkim.
The nearest airport from Kaza, which is the capital of Spiti Valley is Bhuntar Airport, which is the major airport of the Kullu region. The Bhuntar Airport is situated 234 km away from Kaza. It is well-connected with the major cities of the country including Delhi, Chandigarh, Kangra, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai by direct and connecting flights. Several airlines serve on this route and tourists can reach there without hassle. From the airport, travelers can hire a private taxi or board a bus for Kaza, which ply on the daily basis.
Shimla railway station is the nearest railhead, which connects Kaza from the rest of the country. The railway station is situated approximately 400 km from Kaza, which takes almost 12 hours to reach. From the railway station, tourists can board a bus or hire a private taxi from the railway station to Kaza.
The nearest major town from Kaza is Manali and Shimla, which are well-connected with the major towns and cities of the nearby states including Delhi, Jammu, Chandigarh, Haryana, and Punjab. There are regular buses ply from Shimla and Kullu for Kaza. Tourists can reach these towns and board the government-run buses or shared jeep that runs on the daily basis. Also, travelers can hire a private taxi from their respective cities or Shimla and Manali.
How to get around in Spiti Valley?
In Spiti Valley, the most convenient option to travel within the city is by private taxi, which is easily available. Shared taxis and government-run buses are also available in Kaza. However, it is recommendable to confirm the timings in advance. Otherwise, hire a private taxi to travel in the valley and to explore the tourist places of the region. Trekking is also a good option here.
Best time to visit Spiti Valley
The best time to visit Spiti Valley is in the summer season. For half of the year, the valley remains virtually disconnected from the other parts of the country. However, tourists can visit her from the Shimla side in winters but from the Manali side, the roads get blocked owing to heavy snowfall. From May to September, the weather of the region remains comfortable for the excursion. Here is the detailed season-wise information about the region.
Summers (May to June)
In summers, Spiti Valley experiences comforting weather, which makes touring and outdoor activities easy. The average temperature ranges from 8⁰C to 15° C in summers in Spiti Valley. This is the peak season of trekking and adventure activities in the region and the most popular trek is the Pin Bhaba Pass Trek, Chandratal trek, and Langza Dhankar trek. The region becomes easily accessible from the Manali and Shimla route.
Monsoon (July to September)
Spiti Valley is located in a rain shadow region and receives practically little to no rainfall. This is an ideal time to visit Spiti Valley from either of the routes as the snow has already melted from the Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass, which makes the excursion possible from the Manali side. In this season, tourists can indulge in trekking, mountain biking, cycling, camping, and other adventure activities. It is a perfect time to visit Spiti Valley away from the hustle-bustle and enjoy the time in seclusion in the lap of the mighty mountains.
Winters (October to April)
The winter season starts in October till April and the temperature dips up to -15⁰C. The hard weather conditions make the sightseeing tour difficult. However, the region transforms into a wonderland in this season. The frozen lakes, icy waterfalls, and snow-clad mountains make Spiti Valley look like a fairyland. This is the perfect time for the Snow Leopard trek to spot the Snow Leopard, which is an endangered species. If someone is looking to indulge in snow trekking, frozen waterfall climbing then they can choose to visit here in winters, otherwise, it is not recommendable to visit here.
Tourist Places to visit in Spiti Valley
Spiti Valley is a captivating hill town, which houses a plethora of tourist attractions. Replete with ancient monasteries, idyllic hamlets, high altitude lakes, jaw-dropping trekking trails, gurgling cascades, and breathtaking landscapes, Spiti Valley is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure junkies. This offbeat destination is a gem of Himachal Pradesh, which is a popular place among bikers and avid travelers. Some of the popular attractions of Spiti Valley are the Tabo Monastery, which is one of the oldest Buddhism centers in Western Himalayas and is known for a great charm. It is home to some fabulous Ajanta-like paintings and Buddhists Lamas can be seen singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments while chanting their mantras. Dhankar Monastery, Key Monastery, Komik Monastery, and Kungri Gompa. Hikkim, Langza, Komik, Key, Losar, Dhankar, and Mane are the quaint villages of the valley that offer deep insight into the lifestyle of the locals and unparalleled experience.
Things to do in Spiti Valley
Popular for its jaw-dropping locales, breathtaking landscapes, snow-clad mountain peaks, and placid lakes, Spiti Valley is a haven for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and shutterbugs. There are a plethora of activities in which you can participate during the Spiti Valley tour. In winters, tourists can indulge in the Snow Leopard Trek, which allows visitors to spot this endangered species. Take a look at the best things to do in Spiti Valley are:
- Rock Climbing
- Bike Riding
- Mountain biking
How many days are enough for the Spiti Valley trip?
8-10 days are enough to explore Spiti Valley. This is a vast place to explore along with a plethora of tourist places so it takes time for an excursion. It is an ideal duration to explore the renowned places of Spiti Valley as well as to get glimpses of the vibrant lifestyle and immense beauty of the valley. However, the duration of the trip can vary as per the activities in which tourists wish to indulge in such as trekking, camping, and rock climbing.
Accommodation in Spiti Valley
Spiti Valley is becoming a tourist hotspot and to cater to different kinds of travelers, it houses a plethora of accommodation options. From hotels, homestays, guest houses to lodges, Spiti Valley has everything to make the vacations memorable. Equipped with basic amenities, the accommodation options of the valley offer glimpses of scenic vistas and enchanting landscapes. Here are some of the best options to stay in Spiti Valley:
- Red Rock Spiti, Kaza
- Hotel Winter Wind Andys, Kaza
- Hotel Deyzor, Kaza
- Norbuling Guesthouse, Kaza
- The Alpinist Café and Resort, Kaza
- Spiti Village Resort, Kaza
- Hotel Zangchuk and Restaurant, Kaza
- Moustache, Kaza
- NotOnMap – Sonam’s House, Kaza
- Tethys Himalayan Den, Chicham
- NotOnMay – Mulche House, Lara
- Kesang Homestay, Tabo
- Nima Regency Homestay, Tabo
- Dhankar Guest House, Dhankar
- Bairagi Hostel, Nako
- Lovon Hotel and Restaurant, Nako
Where to eat in Spiti Valley?
Located in Himachal Pradesh and in the proximity of Tibet, Spiti Valley is a mix of various cultures. The rich cultural heritage of Spit Valley can be witnessed in the diversity of their cuisines. The ingredients and flavor of this region are influenced by North India and Tibet. The staple items of this region are Momos, Thukpa, butter tea, and a local beer 'Chang', fermented foods are popular given the natural conditions. Arkah is another popular drink of the valley, which is a locally made whiskey. The villages of the valley are swayed with barley, which is almost essential in each meal. Also, authentic and aromatic teas, along with a handful of meat, and vegetable delicacies added charm to the delectable meals of the valley. Some of the best restaurants and eateries in Spiti Valley to tantalize your taste buds are:
- Sol Café
- The Himalayan Café
- Café Kunzum Top
- Dragon Restaurant
- Taste of Spiti
- Kelsang's Kitchen
- Kazpian Kafe
- Spiti Horizon Café
- Café Zomsa
- Rangyul Café
- Sherab Food Corner
Shopping in Spiti Valley
Spiti Valley is popular for winter clothes and handicrafts such as carpets, pure wool shawls, and local jewelry. Barley Powder and Sea Buckthorn Tea are some of the most common things to buy in the valley. There are plenty of markets and shops in Spiti Valley from where you can enjoy street shopping and buy some souvenirs for your loved ones. Some of the best shopping places in Spiti Valley are:
- Kunzum Shopping Complex
- Spiti Souvenir Shop
- Sanjay Handloom Shawls
- Spiti Ecosphere
- Kaza Garments
Useful Tips for Spiti Valley
- Spiti Valley is an offbeat and idyllic tourist destination. The valley is now receiving the large number of tourists, however, accommodation facilities are limited. So it is advisable to book your accommodation in advance to avoid the last moment hassles.
- To explore the unique charm and know about the hidden gems of this place, it is advisable to travel in the valley with a certified guide so that you will not miss important information about the region.
- Private taxis are the most convenient option to get around the valley. However, you can also trek to some of the places and board the buses, which have limited service.
- Maintain the decorum of the monasteries and the tourist places.
- Spiti Valley is an ecological critical place, so it is advisable not to litter.
- Wear decent clothes and cover yourself properly while visiting religious places. Cover your shoulders and knees.
- Check the weather conditions while packing and make sure to carry light woolens during summers as well.
Nearby tourist Places to Spiti Valley
There are many places around Spiti Valley that are worth exploring. Some of the popular nearby tourist places to Spiti Valley where you can visit during your tour:
- Pin Valley
- Lahaul Valley
- Suraj Tal Lake
- Reckong Peo
Fairs & Festivals in Spiti Valley
Fairs and festivals in Spiti Valley are an integral part of their day-to-day life. These ceremonies are celebrated here with great zeal and vigor, which also depicts their local lifestyle. These celebrations provide the tourists with opportunities to get glimpses of the rich cultural heritage of the region. There are other festivals that are celebrated all over the Spiti Valley are:
- Dechhang Festival
- Losar Festival or Halda Festival
- Gochi Festival
- Fagli Festival
- Tshechu Fair
- Ladarcha Festival and Fair
- Gataur Mela
- Chakhar Mela
- Kalachakra Festival at Key Monastery
- Ki Cham Festival at Key Monastery