Two routes can reach Spiti valley through Manali or Shimla, but the Manali to Spiti valley is shorter and safer. The cold desert valley in the high altitude of the Himalayas is a miracle of nature with adventurous roads and the implausible wild beauty of the cold desert.
Spiti has an amalgamation of Tibetian and Indian culture as it is both countries’ ‘ middle ground’. Its unique culture, the heritage of the monasteries, and unearthly beauty have made the travellers put their foot down.
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How to Travel to Spiti Valley?
There are two routes to reach Shimla through National Highway 505 from Manali to Spiti Valley or Shimla to Spiti Valley. Manali to Spiti valley distance is approximately 196km by road.
To proceed from Manali, you have to take Manali-Rohtang pass-Khazum Pass- Losar-Kaza and travel through Shimla; you have to take the Shimla-Kinnaur Valley-Tabo-Kaza road.
Most travellers plan the road trip to enter from the Manali side and exiting through the Shimla side to cover the entire circuit.
The best transport for the Spiti Valley road trip is either Manali to Spiti bike trip or taking a bus that reaches Spiti through Rhotang and Khazum pass. You can board the bus from the main Manali Bus Station, and it will take around 10 to 12 hours to reach Spiti Valley.
Available routs to Spiti Valley and required permits
Permits and Documents to travel to Spiti valley:
Domestic travellers don’t require any permit to travel to Spiti valley, but it’s recommended to carry a valid photo id while travelling. But for foreign travellers, a protected permit is required for the route from Kaza to Reckong Peo. As a foreigner, you can obtain a permit from Naka, Tabo, Dhankar, Kaza.
All travellers have to self-register at the checkpoint near Reckong Peo.
Route Options from Manali to Spiti Valley
The best travelling route from Manali to Spiti Valley is the Manali-Kaza road which is safe and accessible from June to October.
By rented car or cab: You can prearrange your complete road trip in a cab that you can book through any local or online tour operators to Spiti.
Spiti Valley Bike Trip: For the doughty bikers out there, the Spiti Valley trip is one of the greatest of all time. You can take a memorable bike trip from Delhi to Manali, explore the Spiti valley and enjoy a thrilling offroad biking expedition.
Bike rent: Himalayan Royal Enfield costs around $23.34 to USD 30 along with a deposit
Days required: 10 to 11 days.
Quick Route: Manali-Jhibi-Rampur-Chitkul-Kalpa-Kaza-Khunzum La-Chandratal-Manali
Manali to Spiti Bus: Two buses are active between Manali Bus station to Kaza through Rohtang La and Kunzum La to Kaza.
Bus Fare: INR250
Manali to Spiti Valley Distance: 196 km by road
Travel Options from Shimla to Spiti Valley
Though Shimla to Spiti Valley route is longer in the stretch it is accessible throughout the year and has less traffic compared to the route from Manali. There are few routes to travel from Shimla to Lahul or Shimla to Kaza.
Car rental or taxi: It takes around 17 to 18 hours to reach Spiti valley from Shimla or more depending on the road condition. Shimla to Spiti Valley distance by road is 414 km. You can break the journey in two or three days.
2 day Shimla to Spiti route:
Day 1: Shimla to Kalpa, through Rampur and Saharan, overnight stay at Kalpa
Day 2: Kalpa-Nako-Giu-Tabo Village- Kaza
Bus: Two state government HRCTC buses are available to reach Kaza from Shimla. One departs Shimla at 7 in the morning and one in the evening. It takes around 19 hours to reach Kaza and it’s best to book your tickets through phone calls one or two days early.
Bus fare: INR 400 per person
Shimla to Spiti Valley distance: Almost 415 Km
Itineraries to Spiti Valley
Itinerary: Manali to Spiti Valley Full Circuit
Manali to Spiti valley tour package is an enthralling journey through the rugged valleys with the snow-clad mountain ranges of the Himalayas in the backdrop.
Here are 4 nights 5 days itinerary of the Spiti valley tour.
Day 1: Arrival in Manali and Sightseeing
Day 2: Manli to Kaza via Kunzum La
Day 3: Sightseeing in Kaza( Komik village, Ki monastery, Lang temple, Chicham bridge, Kibber)
Day 4: Visit Kunzum La and Chandrataal Lake
Day 5: Return to Manali
Itinerary: Shimla to Spiti Valley and Returning through Manali
If you plan to visit Shimla, Kinnaur and Spiti valley in one tour or planning to visit Spiti and Lahaul valley from Shimla here is the perfect one-week itinerary for you. In this itinerary, you can visit each astounding landmark within the whole circuit of Shimla, Rohtang, Kullu, Kaza and Manali.
Day 1: Arrival in Shimla and sightseeing in the mall road and Shimla ridge.
Day 2: Travel from Shimla to Sangla and visit Kufri, narkanda, Taranda Dhank
Day 3: Move from Kalpa to Tabo and sightseeing in Reckong Peo market, Tabo monastery.
Day 4: Visit Dhankar and Pin valley and transfer to Kaza
Day 5: Sightseeing in Kaza( Key Monastery, Hikkim village, Lahlung monastery
Day 6: Driving to Manali and visiting rhotang pass and chaatru en route.
Day 7: Sightseeing in Manali
8 Best Sightseeing Places in Spiti Valley
1. Key Gompa
At an altitude of 4166m along the bank of the Spiti river, Key Gompa or monastery is a renowned monastery within Lahaul and Spiti as well as the local lama community. The picturesque hilltop monastery was founded in the 11th century by Dromton, the pupil of famous Buddhist monk Atisha.
Enshrined Budha idles, murals and the ambience of this monastery is enchanting enough to make it one of the must-visit sight in Spiti valley. Ki Gompa has withstood historical attacks, earthquakes and still continuing the Buddhist heritage as almost 300 lamas come here for their education.
2. Chandratal Lake
With crystal clear water and the reflection of the beautiful sapphire sky and the Himalayan range Chandrataal lake literally means ‘ the lake of the moon’. At an altitude of 4300m in the Samudra Tapu Plateau, the crescent-shaped Chandrataal lake is popular because according to Hindu mythology this is where Indra came down to take Yudhisthir to heaven.
Witness the changing colours of the lake throughout the day and you can pre-book a campsite nearby for an overnight stay and star gazing. For visiting Chandrataal lake you have to register online first.
3. Sakya Tangyud Monastery
Being one of the high altitude Tibetan monasteries in the world situated at 4520m above sea level Sakya Tangyud monastery is a delight to the eyes against the cold desert’s landscapes. Sakya Tangyud monastery’s fortified castle building on the edge of a canyon and you can enjoy the evening prayer there.
4. Chicham Bridge
Observe the astounding landscape from Asia’s highest bridge. Chicham bridge connects the two villages of Kibber and Chicham and while you cross the bridge you can see the wild and barren Samba Lamba Nalla gorge which is about 1000ft. Deep.
5. Kunzum Pass
One of the best experiences anyone going for a road trip or bike trip to Spiti is visiting the Kunzum pass. Connecting the Lahul valley and Spiti valley, the Kunzum pass is one of the highest passes in the world. As you pass the vast valley on the route from Grumphoo towards Kaza you will see the implausible beauty of the Kunzum range.
Opening time: June to end of September
Visiting hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
6. Pin Valley National Park
Located in Kaza, Pin Valley National park is definitely worth visiting. You can reach there by Manali-Rohtang pass-Kunzum la-Kaza-Mikkim route and once you reach the Mikkim terminus you have to walk to the national park. Pin Valley National Park is home to the endangered snow leopard, Siberian Ibex and birds in Summer, Himalayan Snowcock, coughs, finches and chukar partridge etc.
7. Tabo Monastery
The oldest operating Buddhist enclave in the Himalayas, Tabo Monastery is a heritage site. The display of Murals and frescos on the wall of its buildings depicting the Buddhist stucco. The stucco sculptures are unique and the rich history of this monastery established in 996AD is definitely worth a visit.
8. Lahlung Monastery
One of the first few monasteries established in Spiti Lahlung monastery is founded by the great Rinchen Zangpo. You will visit shrines of deities, the chapel and the gold leaf idol statues which gives it the name golden temple.
Is the route from Manali to Spiti valley safe?
The Manali-Kaza road is one of the highest motorable roads in the world and only experienced riders and bikers are advised to drive for safe travel. The Manali Kaza road is operational between June to September.
What is the Manali to Spiti Valley distance?
The distance between Manali to Spiti valley by road is 177.2 km by road and the journey from Manali to Spiti valley takes around 4 and half hours through national highway 505.
What is the taxi fare from Manali to Spiti valley?
The taxi fare from Manali to Spiti valley is approximately 3200 INR to 4000INR for any well-conditioned SUV. As the roads are quite tough, SUV is the most affordable best car but small cars like Etios, Desire may be of lesser rent.
How long does it take from Shimla to Spiti valley?
The road between Shimla to Spiti valley can take 12 to 14 hours and the stretch is almost 413.3km. It is advisable to break the journey into two days with an overnight stay in any of the stoppages.