Duration of Spiti – 10 days
Budget – INR 10,000/-
Delhi – Reckong Peo – Nako – Tabo – Dhankar – Kaza – Kibber – Kee monastery – Pin Valley – Langza – Komic – Hikkim – Chandratal – Manali – Delhi
Spiti is also known as a “Middle land”, as it lies between Tibet and India! The most beautiful hill station I have visited on this Earth yet. The landscapes are so beautiful that you would like to see the entire 360 degrees’ view all at the same time. Below you will find a complete map for Spiti along with how to reach, Bus timings, itinerary, cost-cutting tips and stay options.
Also, if you are planning to explore Kinnaur along with Spiti – click here for its detailed guide.
Spiti Itinerary – (Route with bus details)
Fact: Ladies get 25% discount on their bus tickets *winks*
Day 1: Delhi to Reckong Peo
To reach Spiti Valley you first need to reach the Kinnaur district. I took an overnight HRTC bus from Delhi to Chandigarh and explored the little corners of Chandigarh in the morning. From Chandigarh, you can get a deluxe bus that leaves in the evening at 5:50 PM, 6 PM and 7 PM. Alternatively, you can also take a bus directly from Delhi at 8 PM to Reckong Peo. The price of the direct bus to Reckong Peo is about INR 600/- and takes almost 18 hours to reach.
Day 2: Reckong Peo to Nako
There are three buses that leave from Reckong Peo to Nako – 7 AM, 9 AM and 12 PM. The best would be to take the 7 AM bus as you will have more time to explore Nako and experience the golden hour (sunset).
Also, do make sure to buy the tickets as early as possible (preferably the previous day or whenever the counter opens). This is because the travellers who are travelling from Shimla, buy tickets while coming from Shimla itself. Well, if you do not buy the tickets early in advance, you will still be able to board the bus nonetheless, however, you will be deprived of the seat for the entire journey of 4 hours.
Duration and Cost
It takes about four to five hours to reach Nako from Reckong Peo and costs approximately 160 per person
The bus stops only once in between for breakfast for around 20 minutes. There will be many dhabbas and restaurants to choose from and all of them serves decent food
Nako – 3,600 meters
Nako is a part of Kinnaur district, however, since the village lies in a sensitive restricted region that lies along the Tibet border it is one of the lesser explored places. Also, only BSNL works here.
Insider News: Jio might come up with their tower in the Nako region soon
Top places to see in Nako
Nako is a holy lake and when the water is still you can get a reflection of the village. Go to the left of the lake and climb the stairs and follow the path that has Tibetan flags at a height to see the panoramic view of the entire village as well as a beautiful sunset
Founded by Ringchen Zangpo in 996 AD. It is believed by the villagers of Nako that the monastery built in 11th century, along with 108 other monasteries that stretch from Nako to Ladakh and all of them were built in one fortnight
Where to stay
I stayed in hotel Zambala, since from here I was able to see the entire lake from my room itself. Plus, during the night you can take out the chairs and make a bonfire with the lake view right in front of you.
Bonus: Hidden gems
I did not explore these places due to lack of time, but if you have some do explore these least explored places
Nako to Tashigang
The walk to this place is about four hours to this village which you can reach through Nako Pass
Tashigang to Somang Trek – 3,900 metres
You have to walk for two hours to reach Somang which has caves and a monastery is a hidden land which has stories saying that the place is visited by fairies and immortal people live here
Day 3: Nako to Tabo
There are two buses that leave from Nako and both has its own perks. Read on to find what!
A bus between 11:30 – 12:30 – This bus comes straight from Reckong Peo, due to which you will be able to reach Tabo by 4 PM. This gives you enough time to explore the beautiful village of Tabo, however, you will not be able to find any seats in it. Which I think is okay because the bus journey is just for about two hours which is manageable.
A bus at 2 PM – Well the downside of this bus ride is that it will reach later in the evening, due to which you will have less time to explore, but, the brownie for this bus is you will be able to get a bus seat easily!!
Duration and Cost
Approximately 2-2.5 hours of a bus ride through the beautiful valley of Spiti where you can see the steep valley below along with gorgeous Spiti river running amidst it and costs about INR 80/-
The bus stops once in between for lunch for around 20 minutes, where you can drink tea and chill for a while. Also BSNL signal comes in this place
Tabo – 3,280 meters
Tabo is the oldest and continuously functioning Buddha monastery in India that was built in 996 A.D. The renovation inscription tells that it was founded by the “Bodhisatva” and was renovated again 46 years later. In 1960 decade the condition of the monastery was very deplorable and seeing this, two monks came forward to revive the heritage. At the time of writing this article, the number of monks present in Tabo is 62.
Top places to see in Tabo
The rarest kind of stupa whose symbolism is not connected to Buddhism. Instead, it is a symbolism of the Kalachakra Tantra, created to protect against negative energies.
Previously, the caves located here were used as assembly halls as well as dwellings during the winters. Even today, some of the caves are used as a meditation place, for which they hung flags representing that somebody is meditating inside. To reach the caves you have to climb a few steps for 10 minutes.
Protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) the monastery was destroyed by the earthquake of 1975 which was later revived by the two monks. It is here that the 14th Dalai Lama held the Kalachakra ceremonies twice.
Where to stay
I stayed in a common room of the monastery itself. It is not only cheap but you are next to the monasteries as well. The bathrooms aren’t attached to the room, there is a common washroom just next to the rooms. Furthermore, at the time when I visited the place, the monastery was undergoing construction of their library, as well as building better rooms for the tourists.
Day 4: Tabo to Sichling Village to Dhankar Village
How to Reach
Next morning, take a 9 AM bus to Sichling Village and from here you can either hitchhike to Dhankar or hire a taxi. I was lucky enough to find a vehicle in which I hitchhiked. The bus takes an hour to reach Sichling Village and costs INR 30/-.
Dhankar Village – 3,894 meters
There are many interesting things about this place
- During old times, Dhankar served as the capital of Spiti
- Once upon a time, there was a fort here, but no trace of it now except for a big house on top of the hill
- From Dhankar you can reach to Kaza directly instead of going down to Sichling first because now there is a motorable road of 27 KMs amidst the mountains
- The place is rich with its history and I was told there was a Raja here who used to reside with his sons, however, he sold his cultivated lands to the villagers and his sons moved to Kaza
Top places to see in Dhankar Village
The complex is built on a 300-metre high spur overlooking the Spiti and Pin Rivers – one of the world’s most spectacular settings for a gompa, however, it falls in as one of the 100 most endangered sites in the world
Dhankar Lake – 4,140 meters
Dhankar Lake is a hidden gem lying amidst the tall mountains where you could see white peaks at the distance. It is not allowed to camp in here as the lake is considered a holy lake and a livelihood for people of the Dhankar Village for their farming and agricultural activities
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This was an absolute feast for the eyes. I mean, let me put you in my brain. 🌠 We hiked on a really stormy evening for which we were not prepared. With just one jacket on the piercing winds were killing us like needles. One, two, three, one, two, three; I was counting with every step taken forward. The sign board on the mid-way said “Dhankar Lake – 4200 meters’ altitude”. I had goosebumps on my skin because that is the highest wonder I am ever about to experience yet. After some minutes of pushing oneself forward and shivering, the start of the lake was rather peculiar. It overflowed on a mud land that was full of weed and wildflowers. I walked a little further to see the other end of the lake, without taking my eyes off the water. I have never seen something so blue and clear, I have never seen something so blue surrounded by nothing but white snowy mountains. Well if there is magic, I was seeing it right here. #Nomllers
Where to stay
You will find many homestays near the monastery that charges INR 800-1500/- per room, depending on the season you are planning to go. During the season, you can also stay in the monastery.
There are two monasteries in Dhankar – Old and New. The New one is situated right at the entry of the village and has the option to stay.
Day 5: Dhankar Village to Kaza
It is easy to trek down from Dhankar to Sichling. I found a shortcut in between the roads and reached Sichling Village in 1-1.5 hours. You can also hitchhike again from this place or hire a cab and take a bus to Kaza. Waiting for a bus is not an issue at all. There are cafes where you can relax, drink tea and wait for the bus.
How to Reach
There are two buses from Sichling Village. One is at 10 AM in which you will be able to get the seat, else you could catch a bus at 5 PM in which sadly there won’t be any seats as the bus comes directly from Reckong Peo. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to reach Kaza from here and costs INR 30/-
Where to stay
Kaza is the capital of Spiti. In here, you not only will be able to find a lot of civilization but also there is access to many amenities such as WiFi connection, a huge market where you will be able to buy materials which otherwise was not available in other locations.
Kaza acts as the centre point to other places, and from here you can rent a bike/activa to go around the places.
Winter White: This is the best place to stay in Kaza. Not only do they have free WiFi which is a sign of relief after long days without the internet but also the staff is friendly. They charge INR 800/- per room (excluding food) but have an amazing restaurant where they serve delicious food, from breakfast to lunch.
Day 6: Kaza to Kibber to Chichim Bridge to Kee Monastery
You can rent an activa to go to these places. The roads are very smooth and well-built and I rented the bike at INR 700/- per day cost.
Kibber – 4,270 meters
Kibber is famous for its snow leopards. The village actually lies in the Wildlife sanctuary, what I am trying to say here is that when you enter the area it welcomes you by saying “Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary”. Now there is no forest ground here and dedicated land for the animals, the entire zone is actually a sanctuary.
If you plan to explore this place in winters, there are sure shot chances of seeing the Snow leopard, along with other wild animals – ibex, blue sheep, etc.
How to Reach
There is only one bus that leaves at 4:30 PM from Kaza bus stand for Kibber and takes approximately an hour to reach this place. Midway you will be able to see the Kee Village and Kee Gompa at its best. The bus charges are again INR 30/-. Buses are so cheap, aren’t they?
Chichim Bridge – 4,400 metres
Explore Asia’s highest bridge between Chichim and Kibber Village. During the early days, villagers used to trek down all the way down in the valley and trek to the village later.
Kee Gompa – 4,166 metres
I do not want to sound dramatic on this information giving blog, but then again, in all honesty, I had goosebumps and tears when I saw this monastery. It is the most spectacular thing I have seen in my entire life.
This monastery has gone through a lot, destroyed in wars and then destroyed by an earthquake, but Archaeological Survey of India helped to revive the heritage back to what it looks like right now.
How to Reach
I trekked down from Kibber Village to Kee Gompa, which took an hour to one and a half hours, through the road. There is only one bus that leaves from Kaza for Kibber which is at 4:30 PM and then the bus leaves early in the morning from Kibber for Kaza at 8:30 AM. So the most sensible option was to walk down or hitchhike. But hey, if you have a bike you do not have to worry about all of this.
Where to stay
You can easily stay inside the monastery for just INR 250/- and in this minimal amount, they also serve you food (lunch, dinner and breakfast), along with tea. And what better way to explore Spiti than to actually live with the monks and see their experiences right in front of you.
Insider – Trek a little from Kee Gompa to see an ariel view of the valley. It takes an hour to trek but even if you trek even for just 10 minutes, the view becomes equally mesmerizing. Ask the monks of the trekking start point for the ariel view and they will guide you.
Day 7: Kee to Kaza to Pin Valley to Langza
How to Reach Kaza
From Kee a bus leaves at 8:30 AM and takes just half an hour to reach the Kaza bus stand.
With approximately 17 villages and only 1500-1600 people, it is the most beautiful valley to be ever experienced. Somehow I felt colder here as compared to the rest of the places in Spiti district. The last village is Mudh village which is 36 KMs from Kaza.
How to Reach Pin Valley
Even though there are buses running to this place, but I would highly recommend renting a bike/activa for this place (do it!). The valley is so beautiful and you would like to stop at every nook and corner to capture the valley. I was able to rent the activa for INR 700/- per day.
You have to take the road that takes you to Dhankar Village and take a right turn on a bridge. – Attargo bridge
Langza – 4,400 metres
The fossil valley. It is so peculiar that you can find fossils of sails in tons here. Once upon a time, fossil selling became a business here before it was banned by the government. Anyway, why I am saying you to come from Pin Valley to this place during the evening is because in Pin Valley finding stays is a little difficult, plus, in Langza you will be able to see/capture the famous pictures of the milky way along with the Budha statue.
Where to stay
You will be able to find many home stays here and all of them are equally good and the villagers here are very very friendly.
Day 8: Langza to Komic to Hikkim to Kaza
Early in the morning, leave for Komic. The route is really rugged and bumpy. There is a road that goes up towards Komic from Langza itself.
Komic – 4,587 metres
Komic is famously known as the world’s highest motorable village. From Langza there is a road that goes up to Komic. Due to its high altitude, the village is really cold and the winds are really harsh so do take an extra jacket. Furthermore, the accommodation is limited here with only a handful of homestays. Do not miss out on visiting the monasteries here, and do eat at the world’s highest restaurant which is right next to the monastery.
Hikkim – 4,400 metres
From Komic drive down to Hikkim. In here, the world’s highest post office is situated. It is such a surreal feeling to send postcards to your loved ones from here. There is a cafe right in front of the post office from where you can buy postcards. Alternatively, you can get your own postcards. Do not forget to stamp them before sending. There is an office right here where stamping happens.
Further, here you won’t be able to find any homestays to stay.
Furthermore, once you drive down from this village you will be able to see the ariel view of Kaza which is a surreal experience.
Day 9: Kaza to Losar to Kunjum Pass to Chandratal Lake – 4,270 metres
There are buses that run from Kaza to Manali, however, only in specific months, which is mostly from June to September; that is when the snow has been cleared from the Kunzum La pass. Alternatively, you can also opt for shared taxis or tempo traveller which you can book near the Kaza bus stand itself.
Get down at Batal and hitchhike on the jeep or dozer till Battal dhaba. You can also trek until Batal but what better way than to hitchhike and reach a little faster.
You can also get down at Losar, and from there you can rent your bikes which cost INR 800-1000/-. Due to this, you will be easily able to come back to Losar by evening and make an overnight stay in Losar itself.
Where to stay
Camping near the lake is not possible anymore due to a sudden jump in the number of tourists. I will suggest you come down to Losar the same day and stay at Kit Khang Homestay. You can contact the family at 9459685328 which is run by Lobsang. The family is very nice and their hospitality is commendable.
Day 10: Chandratal Lake to Manali to Delhi
From Losar, there are buses that to Manali, whose starting point is Kaza. It will take you directly to Manali via the beautiful Rohtang Pass.
From Manali, you can get buses to Delhi easily. From ordinary buses to Volvo, the cost varies from INR 700/- to INR 1500/-, depending upon your budget and comfort.
The Route I Followed – Map
Below, is the complete circuit that I was talking about above. As you see below, it is actually a circle that one goes through. This route can be followed either from Manali side or starting from Reckong Peo.
Things to Carry in Spiti
- Snow/Waterproof shoes
- A wooden stick for the trek
- Jackets and Lower
- 2-3 pairs of Woolens
- Woollen socks – carry some extra pair of socks in case it gets wet
- A small backpack in case you want to keep your gadgets
- A water bottle
Connectivity in Spiti
Do buy a BSNL sim (prepaid and postpaid) before coming to this place as no other telecom companies operate here.
Insider: In Kaza, Airtel might start functioning in two-three months from the time of publishing of this post
Typical Cost for Spiti
For a ten days trip, I was able to manage all my expenses in INR 8,000/-. Why I said INR 10,000/- above was after adding the expenses of Chadratal Lake.
Homestays – You will easily be able to find homestays for INR 1,000/- under which they serve food as well. I was able to share my room with a companion due to which my cost was cut to INR 500/-
Activa charges – Rent an activa for two days – for Pin Valley and for Langza-Komic-Hikkim circuit. The rent of the activa was INR 700/- per day and if you plan to rent a bike the cost is INR 1,000/- to INR 1,500/-
Bus cost – I took an ordinary bus from Delhi Kaza which totalled to approximately INR 1,000/-, which is really cheap considering the fact that the distance from Delhi to Spiti is a lot
Food – If you have opted homestays which offers food to you in INR 1000/-. The cost of food is cut down there itself, however, you will be able to find restaurants easily where per meal you will have to spend at max INR 150/-
I was so excited to write this blog. Spiti is my favourite place and I am sure it will be yours too. Let me know if this blog helped you in the comments below and ask any queries. I love answering questions 🙂