How to reach Spiti Valley by Road, Air, Train & Bus

by Vargis.Khan

How do I get to Spiti valley? This is one of the first questions asked by people planning a trip to the valley. Spiti has come up as a major tourist magnet in last few years; but how to get to Spiti Valley is still a question of much doubt. Most of the confusion is because there is little information available about it anywhere. Add to it the fact that a trip to Spiti means you will be covering a vast area over a period of many days. It is not just one city where you reach and spend time exploring it. Rather, you will be jumping from town to town, visiting numerous places, and trying to make the best out of your time and money. And in order to do so, you must be well aware of how to reach Spiti Valley and how to move around locally.

Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Spiti Valley: A Complete Travel Guide

Contrary to common belief, Spiti actually remains open throughout the year. Depending on your convenience, you can travel here at any time of the year either by your own vehicle or public transport. But which route to take will entirely depend on your time of travel. In the post below, I will elaborate on these details explaining how to reach Spiti by road, car, bike, bus, train or flight; and which road to take and when. If, after reading the article, you need further clarification on any other details; you may comment and ask towards the bottom of this page.

How to Travel to Spiti Valley

In a nutshell, you can travel to Spiti Valley from either Shimla or Manali. The route from Shimla is longer but easier whereas the road from Manali is much shorter but also more challenging. From Mid-October to Mid-May, you can travel only via Shimla. For the rest of the year, you can choose either of the two roads. From both sides, a trip can be planned by your personal vehicle, private or shared taxi or by Bus. Spiti Valley does not have its own train station or airport so you cannot directly reach there by either rail or flight.

A journey to Spiti valley is also termed as Spiti Circuit because that is how you complete your trip. Chandigarh, in this case, becomes your center point. You start from Chandigarh, travel through Spiti and end at Chandigarh, hence completing the circuit. An ideal way to travel is to approach Spiti from Shimla side and exit from Manali because it helps tremendously in terms of altitude acclimatization and getting familiar with the terrain. To know more about altitude sickness in Spiti, please read How to Handle Acute Mountain Sickness in Spiti Valley.

Let us take a look at these choices one by one and in more details.

How to reach Spiti Valley by Road

Kaza is the headquarters of Spiti District and it is the area around this town that is known as Spiti Valley. Places like Tabo, Dhankar, Chandratal, Batal, Hikkim, Langza, Komik, and Kibber are all in Spiti Valley. In a more simplified term, it is Kaza which is mostly used as a synonym for Spiti Valley. So when you have reached the town of Kaza, you have arrived in Spiti Valley. Now there are two ways of doing that by road. You can either approach Spiti valley from Shimla or via Manali.

Also Read: Things to do in Spiti Valley | What to do in Spiti Valley

How to reach Spiti Valley from Shimla 

Let us first talk about how to go to Spiti valley from Shimla by road. Traveling to Spiti from Shimla side is considered better because then the increase in altitude happens gradually. Since it is the longer of the two routes, it gives your body ample time to adjust and acclimatize properly before you arrive in Kaza. The second reason could be the condition of the roads. Spiti is notorious for its bad roads and maximum of that is between Kaza and Manali. The road from Shimla side is much better in quality. So if you started from Shimla, you will get a bit of a practice of maneuvering the vehicle before the road turned absolutely nightmarish.

Starting from Shimla, the route of the journey will be as mentioned below.

Shimla – Narkanda – Rampur – Jeori – Karchham – Reckong Peo – Puh – Nako – Tabo – Dhankar – Kaza

Until Nako, it is the Kinnaur Valley and after that, you enter the Spiti Valley arriving at Kaza which is the biggest town here. All the places I mentioned above have accommodation options available. If you want to include Sarahan, you will have to take a 12 kilometers diversion from Jeori. Same way, for Chitkul, you will have to take a 40 kilometers diversion from Karcham. For Kalpa, you will have to divert 10 kilometers from Reckong. After visiting all these three places, you will again have to return to the highway to the same spot you diverted at.

How far is Spiti valley from Shimla? 

Spiti Valley is located at a distance of 410 kilometers from Shimla and you will need at least 2 days to cover it. That is assuming Kaza as the destination and following the route I suggested above. If you also included Sarahan, Chitkul, and Kalpa to the plan, then the distance will increase to about 540 kilometers and will need 3 days dedicated to it.

how to reach spiti valley from shimla

How to reach Spiti valley from Manali

Now let us take a look at how to get to Spiti valley from Manali. This route is a total of slightly of 200 kilometers which makes it way shorter than the Shimla to Kaza route. With that being said, the condition of the road from Manali to Kaza is totally horrible. Please take a look at Spiti Valley Road Conditions article where I have posted a few pictures of this route. There are two high altitude passes between Manali to Kaza, Rohtang La and Kunzum La, due to which this road remains closed from Mid-October to Mid-May. Increase in altitude from this side too is a bit too sudden which makes a journey here prone to altitude sickness.

Manali to Spiti Valley route will be as mentioned below, assuming Kaza as the desired destination.

Manali – Rohtang Pass – Gramphoo – Chhota Dhara – Batal – Kunzum Pass – Losar – Kiato – Kaza 

This is the best route to reach Spiti valley from Manali and also the only one; unless you decide to take the road via Chicham after Kunzum Pass which I will not really recommend. Rohtang Pass gets declared open sometime in April followed by Kunzum Pass towards the end of May after which civilian and tourist vehicles are allowed on this road. For an estimated date, assume June 1st as the opening date of Manali Kaza route and October 15th as the closing date.

In order to complete the circuit, after you reach Kaza, just continue traveling to Shimla. If you were coming from Shimla, arrive at Kaza and follow this route the other way around to reach Manali.

How far is Spiti valley from Manali? 

The total distance between Spiti Valley and Manali is a total of 202 kilometers, assuming Kaza as the destination. This distance can easily be covered in a total of about 8 hours depending on your speed and breaks. If you include a trip to Chandratal as well, then the distance will increase to a total of 230 kilometers and will take 10 hours at least to complete.

how to reach spiti valley from manali

How to reach Spiti Valley by Bus

After personal vehicle, let us discuss how to visit Spiti valley by Bus. HRTC maintains a daily and regular Bus service to Spiti and its internal areas. If you weren’t planning a trip by your personal vehicle, you can still easily manage the entire journey by Bus. Apart from the Bus, there is also a regular shared taxi service in Spiti that the locals use to move between places here. In most cases, it is either a Sumo or a Bolero and is a great way to travel here. By public transport as well, Shimla and Manali will again be your starting points.

From Shimla 

There is a Bus from Shimla that leaves for Kaza at 6:30 PM. This Bus is a direct Bus from Shimla to Kaza. It travels all night and reaches Reckong Peo at around 4:30 AM. At Peo, the conductor would ask the passengers for anyone who wants to continue traveling to Kaza and give out tickets to whoever is continuing and assign a seat number as well. The Bus here may or may not change but the driver and conductor definitely will.

Also Read: What to See in Spiti Valley | Sightseeing in Spiti Valley

At 5:30 AM, this bus would again start from Reckong Peo for Kaza with new passengers who boarded from Peo. It arrives at Kaza sometime in the evening at around 5 PM. Below is a breakdown of fares per person.

  • Delhi to Shimla: Rs. 420
  • Shimla to Reckong Peo: Rs. 436
  • Reckong Peo to Tabo: Rs. 312
  • Tabo to Kaza: Rs. 88

From Manali

There are two daily buses from Manali to Kaza by HRTC. One leaves at 5 AM and another at 5.30 AM. Fare is around Rs. 200 per person. This bus reaches Kaza around 4 PM the same day.

how to reach spiti valley by bus

How to reach Spiti valley from Delhi by Bus?

There is no direct Delhi Spiti Bus available. If you want to travel from Delhi to Spiti Valley by Bus then you would have to break the journey in 3 parts and use three different buses. You would first board a Bus from Delhi to Shimla, then Shimla to Reckong Peo and finally Reckong Peo to Kaza. Your Delhi to Spiti Bus Fare total would come out to be approximately Rs. 1,000 for all these three ordinary buses. There is also a direct bus from Delhi to Reckong Peo that you can board. Traveling this way, you won’t have to break the journey in Shimla and will directly reach Peo in about 18 to 20 hours.

Or you can board a bus from Delhi to Manali and then take the morning bus from Manali to Kaza. There is also a direct Delhi – Sangla bus at 9:45 pm from ISBT Delhi which anyone can take till Tapri. From Tapri reaching Peo which is fairly easy. Next day take 5:30 AM Bus to Tabo/Kaza from Peo.

How to reach Spiti Valley from Chandigarh

There is no direct bus from Chandigarh to Spiti Valley. You will either have to reach Shimla, Manali or Reckong Peo first from Chandigarh and then board a bus from Kaza. Regular HRTC buses ply from Chandigarh to all these three destinations. A semi-deluxe HRTC bus runs from Chandigarh at 17: 50 in the evening for Reckong Peo and reaches Reckong Peo before 8 AM. Fare is Rs. 780 per person and its seats are little better than the ordinary ones. It’s a 14-hour journey in total.

How to Reach Spiti Valley by Air

Spiti Valley does not have its own airport yet. If you want to travel to Spiti Valley by flight, you will either have to catch a flight to Chandigarh, Shimla or Manali. Chandigarh is the biggest airport of all and once you get there, you can either catch a bus for Spiti as I explained above. Or you can book a private taxi for the tour, the total cost of which will depend on your itinerary and number of days.

The second choice would be the Jubbarhatti airport, which is about 23 kilometers from Shimla and is also referred to as Shimla airport. There are regular flights available for Jubbarhatti to Chandigarh and Delhi but finding one from some other city may be tough. If you flew to Jubbarhatti, you will have to board a cab from the airport to Shimla and then travel from Shimla to Spiti as I explained above.

The third choice would be the Bhuntar Airport, which is about 50 kilometers from Manali. There are regular flights by Air India, IndiGo and SpiceJet from both Delhi and Chandigarh to Bhuntar. Once you land here, you can board a taxi from the airport to your hotel in Manali. From Manali, you will then travel to Spiti Valley by either a Bus or a Taxi.

Also Read: Tourist Things to Buy in Spiti Valley

How to reach Spiti Valley by Train

Much like the flight, your options of traveling to Spiti valley by train are again limited to three. You will either have to catch a train to Chandigarh, Shimla or Jogindernagar. Best of these three would be to reach Chandigarh by Train and then travel from there towards Spiti valley by either a Bus or Taxi.

The second choice would be the Kalka – Shimla Toy train. Yes, I am referring to the famous toy train that travels between Kalka and Shimla. But in this case, you will either have to reach Delhi or Chandigarh first, then travel to Kalka by train, and then board another train from Kalka to Shimla and then go to Spiti Valley from there by Bus or Taxi

The third choice would be the Jogindernagar Railway station which also is a narrow-gauge railway like Shimla-Kalka. It is located about 160 kilometers from Manali. For this train, you will first have to reach Pathankot. From Pathankot, you will then board the Toy train to reach Jogindernagar. You will then board a Bus to get to Manali and then from Manali to Spiti valley.

As you can see, traveling by train from either Shimla or Manali will be confusing, time-consuming and not fun really. This is the reason why I said that it would be best to just reach Chandigarh by Train and catch a Bus for Spiti Valley.

how to reach spiti valley by train

How to reach Spiti Valley by Car

If you were bringing along your own car for the trip, the journey in terms of the route will be the same as I explained above. You will first have to reach Shimla or Manali and then continue to Spiti Valley. The condition of the road between Chandigarh to Shimla and then till Reckong Peo is a mix of good and bad but mostly good. Things get a little bad after Peo but only for a short while. The road is super smooth near Nako till Sumdo but then starts to deteriorate. Until Kaza, it is a narrow and average at best road.

The real fun, however, is between Kaza and Manali, specially on the stretch from Chandratal to Manali. Once you start from Kaza, the road continues to get worse by every passing kilometer. This entire stretch is a badly broken dirt trail full of water crossings, slush and loose boulders on the road. I once counted 41 water crossings on a stretch of 60 kilometers here. That is how bad it is. Hence, it is absolutely necessary that you bring a car with good ground clearance. It does not necessarily have to be a 4×4 but good GC is a must.

You would also need to get your car ready for the harsh journey ahead. Get it serviced and prepared at least 2 weeks in advance and then drive around in the city to ensure everything was working up to the expectation. You would also have to bring in some spares along because you will not get those in Spiti. For more information on this topic and a list of necessary spares, please read Preparation for Spiti valley Trip by Car for more details on the topic.

how to reach spiti valley by car

How to reach Spiti Valley by Bike

If it is ground clearance for a car, it is the engine size which becomes important when you decide to travel to Spiti Valley by motorcycle. You need to choose a bike that is comfortable for you to sit on for long hours every day. A Royal Enfield would be the best bike for Spiti Valley in my opinion (but people have different views about the same). It has a large enough engine to handle the incline, has a comfortable seating position and is also easier to mount the luggage on. For more details on this topic, please read Which is the Best Bike for Spiti Valley Trip.

With that being said, people have completed their Spiti journey even on 125 CC Bikes and scooters as well. All that you need to make sure is that your bike is well serviced and checked at least 10 days before the trip. Remove or repair anything that seems dicey and bring along some essential spares. For more details on the topic, please read Preparation for Spiti Valley Trip by Bike.

If you were riding with a Pillion, it would be best to choose a large engine bike. You also need to consider the fact that it won’t be just 2 people on a bike but all their luggage as well, which is almost like a 3rd person. If you were coming on a 125CC or a 150CC bike, it would be best to travel solo and as light as possible. With a pillion on an inclined seat will definitely make it impossible for 2 people to ride it all day long on bad roads.

how to reach spiti valley by bike

How to reach Spiti Valley in Winters

There are two things that would have to be factored in for a winter trip to Spiti Valley. The first one is the route. As I mentioned above, Manali Kaza route remains closed during the winter season so you can only reach Spiti valley via Shimla. You will travel from Shimla to Kaza and return the same way. Places like Kunzum Pass, Chandratal and Chitkul would have to be kept out of your itinerary. Even though Shimla to Kaza road remains open in winters, there is a high chance that it may be temporarily closed if the weather turned extreme. Due to heavy snowfall, the road around Nako and near Kaza can get completely blocked for a few days. If it happened while you were in Kaza, you may get stuck there for a few days.

The second thing that you need to give a serious thought to is the mode of commute. There are several risks involved in visiting Spiti during the winter season of which, black ice and snow on the road would be the biggest. Bring along your car or motorcycle only if you are 100% confident of your driving skills and vehicle’s capability. If not, it would be best to hire a local taxi and driver for the trip. You can also travel by Shimla to Kaza Bus but that too can be sometimes unavailable due to extreme weather.

Best way to reach Spiti Valley

The best way to travel to Spiti valley will depend on a lot of things and will be different for everyone. Factors like the budget for Spiti trip, who were you traveling with and from where would have to be factored in. If time and money was not a problem then traveling to Spiti by road and in your own vehicle will be the best option. This is how you will enjoy the journey most because Spiti is not a place where the destination matters. Rather, it is the journey that you should look forward to. Every turn of the road here will present you with a different vista and it can be best enjoyed if you were traveling by your own car or motorcycle. That way, you can take a break anytime and anywhere you want and travel at your own pace.

If time was a problem, then you would have to seriously give a thought about your itinerary. If you were coming from a far off city; like Chennai, Jammu, Indore, Bangalore, Kolkata, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Pune or Ahmedabad; then the best way would be to catch a flight to Chandigarh and rent a taxi from there. If you were traveling from a city like Delhi, Amritsar, Jaipur, Dehradun or places at a similar distance; you should try to travel by road only. If you were in a place like Kasol, Kullu, Shimla or Manali then reaching Spiti by road is your only option.

Cheapest way to travel

Traveling by public transport will be the most cost-effective way to travel to Spiti. You can easily manage your entire journey by bus and shared taxis. For a detailed version of this information, please read How to Travel to Spiti Valley by Bus.

Easiest Way to Travel

The easiest way to travel to Spiti will definitely be by a private taxi, if within budget. This way, you get to travel at your own pace, take a break anywhere you want and do not have to worry about driving through the tough roads. If a taxi wasn’t within budget then you can choose to go by either public transport or your own vehicle; they both will be almost the same in terms of being easy.

How to reach Spiti Valley from Delhi?

For someone traveling specifically from Delhi, let me make things a little more easier and give you the very specific details on how to visit Spiti valley from Delhi.

Also Read: Spiti Valley With Kids – What to Know Before You Go !!

How to reach Spiti Valley from Delhi by road?

From Delhi, you can reach Spiti by car either via Shimla or Manali. Shimla route can be taken throughout the year but the Manali route can only be traveled upon between June and October.

How to reach Spiti Valley from Delhi by Car?

In order to complete the entire circuit by Car, your route for the journey will be like below.

Delhi – Panipat – Ambala – Shimla – Narkanda – Rampur – Jeori – Sarahan – Jeori – Karcham – Sangla – Chitkul – Sangla – Karcham – Reckong Peo – Kalpa – Reckong Peo – Puh – Nako – Sumdo – Tabo – Dhankar – Attargo Bridge – Mud Village (Pin Valley) – Attargo Bridge – Kaza – Chandratal – Manali – Chandigarh – Delhi

Please make sure that your has a good ground clearance to survive the trip. An ideal GC would be 200MM or above but the minimum number would be 180MM. Anything under that and you will risk damaging the underbelly of your car.

Best route to Spiti Valley from Delhi

Going via Shimla, as I explained above, is the best way to go to Spiti Valley. If you were however short on time, then the best route would be via Manali.

How to reach Spiti Valley from Delhi by Bike?

If you are traveling to Spiti by bike of a smaller engine, then please make sure that you are traveling Solo and as light as possible. For pillion, it would be better to travel by a bike that is at least 200CC or above and has a comfortable sitting position. Route of the journey will be the same as I mentioned above. Another thing you would need to be careful about is to waterproof everything irrespective of the month of your journey.

How to reach Spiti Valley from Delhi by Air?

For traveling to Spiti Valley by flight, it would be best to reach Chandigarh by flight and reach Spiti from there by either a private taxi or Bus.

Also Read: Spiti Valley Bike Trip with Pillion or Solo ?

How to reach Spiti Valley from Delhi by Train?

In order to get to Spiti by train, you will first have to board a train for Chandigarh. From there, you can reach Spiti by either Bus or taxi. Another choice would be to extend your train journey and travel from Chandigarh to Shimla by Toy Train. From Shimla, you can then continue towards Spiti Valley by road.

How far is Spiti Valley from Delhi?

Spiti Valley is located at a distance of 750 kilometers from Delhi.

Time to reach Spiti Valley from Delhi

From Shimla, it will take you at least 2 days to reach Kaza. From Manali, the journey is of 8 hours. If you were coming from Delhi, it will take you 3 days to go to Spiti valley via Shimla and 3 days via Manali.

Best way to reach Spiti valley from Delhi

How to go to Spiti Valley from Delhi will entirely depend on your convenience, budget and time in hand but the best way to complete this journey is by road and from June to September. Either by a car or motorcycle, you should enter Spiti from Shimla side and exit via Manali.

Best route to reach Spiti Valley

It will entirely depend on where you were coming from assuming that you have reached Shimla, following is the best route to reach and visit Spiti Valley.

Shimla – Narkanda – Rampur – Jeori – Sarahan – Jeori – Karcham – Sangla – Chitkul – Sangla – Karcham – Reckong Peo – Kalpa – Reckong Peo – Puh – Nako – Sumdo – Tabo – Dhankar – Attargo Bridge – Mud Village (Pin Valley) – Attargo Bridge – Kaza – Kibber – Komik – Hikkim – Langza – Kaza – Losar – Kunzum Pass – Chandratal – Kunzum Pass – Manali

Traveling this way, you can be sure that have covered all major tourist spots in Spiti Valley and did not miss anything.

Best time to go to Spiti Valley

The best time to visit Spiti would be in the months from June to September.

Also Read: Spiti Valley Road Condition : Shimla to Kaza to Manali

Best Place to visit in Spiti Valley

Kunzum Pass, Chandratal, Kaza, Kye Monastery, Tabo and Dhankar are some of the best places to visit in Spiti Valley.

FAQs

Below are some other commonly asked questions about reaching Spiti Valley.

Q1. How to reach Spiti Valley from Leh?

If you want to extend your Ladakh trip and would like to reach Spiti Valley from Leh, then the route of the journey will be as mentioned below.

Leh – Tanglang La – Pang – Nakeel La – Lachulung La – Sarchu – Baralacha La – Jispa – Keylong – Gramphoo – Batal – Kunzum La – Losar – Kaza

If you want to cover this distance by Bus, then you would first board the Leh – Manali Bus and get down at Keylong. From Keylong, you will board the Manali Bus again and get down at Gramphoo near Spiti diversion. From here, you will then have to look for a shard cab that can drop you at Kaza.

Q2. How far is Spiti Valley from Leh?

Spiti Valley is located at a distance of 550 kilometers from Leh.

Q3. How to reach Spiti Valley from Kullu?

You can only reach Spiti Valley from Kullu by road. You will first have to board a Bus for Manali and then catch the daily Manali Kaza Bus.

Also Read: The Folk Tales of Spiti Valley – Gods & The Prophecies

Q4. How to reach Spiti Valley from Kasol?

You can only reach Spiti Valley from Kasol by road. You will first have to board a Bus for Manali and then catch the daily Manali Kaza Bus.

Q5. How to reach Lahaul and Spiti Valley

Let me also clarify between Lahaul and Spiti Valley. Lahaul valley is the area around Keylong whereas Spiti is the area around Kaza. You can reach Spiti by either of the ways I explained in the article above. But if you want to reach Lahaul Valley, you will have to go via Manali only. Lahaul Valley can also only be reached from May to October and remains closed during the peak winter season.

Conclusion

This should be able to answer most, if not all, the questions on how to reach Spiti Valley. I hope the details above were of help. If you have any questions, or need any other details, please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum, and I will be glad to answer.

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8 comments

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Kavita February 24, 2020 - 11:34 am

Around 15 days trip. Yesterday Nancy Nagwekar wrote on your Lahul thread ( https://vargiskhan.com/log/lahaul-valley-plan-your-tip-what-to-see/ ). She has given more elaborated route. We both are talking about same trip (she is one of sister I mentioned in our trip).

Thank you
Kavita

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Vargis.Khan February 25, 2020 - 1:33 am

I just replied there Kavita

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Kavita February 26, 2020 - 3:33 am

Yes, Just read it. Thank you !

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Kavita February 24, 2020 - 11:31 am

Around 15 days. Yesterday Nancy Nagwekar has posted on your Lahul Spiti thread (https://vargiskhan.com/log/lahaul-valley-plan-your-tip-what-to-see/). We with are asking for same trip (she is one of sisters I mentioned). I think she has sent much elaborated route.

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Vargis.Khan February 25, 2020 - 1:33 am

I just replied there Kavita

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Kavita February 26, 2020 - 3:32 am

Y es, just read it. Thank you very much !

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Kavita February 21, 2020 - 7:27 am

Hi Vargis, we (my sisters & myself) are planning this year from 10 Sep to 25/26 Sep Lahul-Spiti road trip in our Thar. We are thinking of route as Mumbai to Chandigarh, Chandigarh to kufri, kufri to kalpa, kalpa to chandra taal, chandra taal to tabo, tabo to kaza, kaza to keylong, keylong to killar, killar to kishtwar to Dalhousie, dalhousie to Chandigarh, Chandigarh to Mumbai. Does this plan looks ok or need any change? What will be road conditions in this time period especially Killar to Kishtwar road? How is Killar to Kishtwar road to drive?

Thank you !

Kavita

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Vargis.Khan February 21, 2020 - 2:43 pm

Your routes are a little off Kavita. How many days do you have for this?

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