A Detailed Spiti Valley Itinerary from Manali

by Vargis.Khan

People often wonder the way they should travel to Spiti from, if they should prepare their Spiti valley itinerary from Manali or Shimla. In my opinion, If you are planning to visit Spiti, it is always better to plan the journey from Shimla and exit at Manali after completing the circuit. It is so primarily because of two reasons.

The first and the foremost is that if you are coming from Shimla, you get to avoid the entire hassle of obtaining permits to visit or cross Rohtang Pass. Getting these permits can sometimes mean a pain and waste of entire day in Manali which is best avoided. If you are going towards Spiti valley from Manali, you will have to spend some time or even a day in Manali arranging permits to get to the other side of Rohtang Pass. This rule however only applies if you are travelling from Manali towards Rohtang top however no such restriction is in place for traffic coming from the other side of Rohtang towards Manali. So if you were coming from Shimla and exiting at Manali, there is no need to obtain any permits at all.

Second reason is of acute mountain sickness. Going to Spiti valley from Manali means that one day you are in plains, second day you are in Manali at a height of 2,050 meters above sea level, and the next day you are either at Chandratal at a height of 4,250 meters or at Kaza at an elevation of 3,800 meters. Each day there is a 2,000 meters gain in altitude with very little time for your body to adjust. However, if you travel from Shimla towards Spiti, the gain in altitude is gradual and gives your body ample time to acclimatize.

spiti valley itinerary from manali

Spiti Valley Itinerary From Manali

With that being said, a lot of people still prefer to complete the circuit starting from Manali. Even I have done the same but only because I had already travelled from Shimla side and wanted to try something different during my second visit to Spiti. I have also known people who included Spiti with their Ladakh trip and on their way back, rather than coming from Keylong to Manali, they continued straight towards Spiti valley. Whatever the reason maybe, if you too are planning a trip to Spiti valley from Manali, below is a sample Spiti valley itinerary from Manali that you can follow.  Your final travel plan will of course depend on how many days you have in hand, how you are traveling and if there are any budget restrictions but in this itinerary, I tried to include all places that are worth visiting in Spiti valley while limiting every travel to not more than 8-10 hours. Depending on your plan, you can add remove places from the list.

A Sample Spiti Valley Itinerary from Manali

For the sake of this article, I would assume that you are starting your journey from Delhi. The itinerary can be as below.

Day 1. Delhi to Manali – 540 kms, 12 to 14 hours
Day 2. Manali to Chandratal, 145 kms, 8 to 10 hrs
Day 3. Chandratal to Kaza, 90 kms, 6 hours
Day 4. Kaza to Kibber, Kaumik, Tashigang, to Kaza
Day 5. Kaza to Tabo / Nako – 140 kms, 6-8 hours
Day 6. Tabo / Nako to Kalpa, 120 kms, 6-8 hours
Day 7. Kalpa to Chitkul, 80 kms, 4-6 hours
Day 8. Chitkul to Sarahan, 110 kms, 6-7 hours
Day 9 . Sarahan to Narkanda / Shimla, 170 kms, 8 hours
Day 10. Narkanda / Shimla to Delhi,

The most important thing that you need to keep in mind while travelling to Spiti valley is that it is not the distance that you should be worrying about but condition of the roads. Even small distances here can you take forever to cross, thanks to the terrible state that Spiti roads are always in. So it is better to start early in the day so that you have sufficient time to reach your destination before dark.

Day 1 – Delhi to Manali: Nothing more than a long monotonous drive. Start early from Delhi as this drive can take anywhere between 12-15 hours depending on your mode of travel, speed and breaks you take. Road conditions are excellent until Kiratpur Sahib; post which it will be a mix of good and bad all the way to Manali.




Day 2 – Manali – Rohtang Pass – Gramphoo – Batal – Chandratal: As I mentioned above, you need to obtain permits in order to cross Rohtang Pass. If you have time and plan to stay in Manali, then you can spend this day arranging the permits or else, a better way would be that you contact a hotel in Manali and ask them to arrange your permits in advance. If they agree then book a room with them. This way, you will have the permits ready and waiting for you when you reach the hotel at Manali on Day 1. It is important because I would strongly advise against starting late from Manali. Journey from Manali to Chandratal can easily take upto 8-10 hours. Stretch from Gramphoo to Batal is a nightmare with multiple water crossing and non-existent roads. Experience the mighty Rohtang Pass on the way, the natural beauty of the region, the adventurous feeling of driving on challenging roads and stay overnight at Chandratal at any of the multiple camp sites available.

Day 3 – Chandratal – Kunzum Pass – Losar – Kaza: This is a relaxed drive of 5-6 hours at max. Take a morning walk around Chandratal and be on your way to Kaza. Enjoy the beauty of beautiful Kunzum Pass on the way. Kaza has multiple hotels so finding one will not be a big challenge.

Day 4 – Kaza – Kibber – Tashigong – Langza – Koumik – Kaza: You will spend this day in Kaza, travelling the places around. Visit the famous Ki monastery and take a drive to the nearby villages of Kibber, Tashigong, Langza, Kaumik and return to Kaza by evening. This area is famous for some very old fossils that were found here. Tanggyud monastery in Koumik is worth a visit.  Langza offers a great view of Chau Chau Kang Nelda peak. There is also a large Buddha statue here which is quite magnificent. Please do note that if you are short on time, you can skip this day.

Day 5 – Kaza – Dhankhar – Dhankhar Lake – Tabo – Giu – Sumdo – Chango – Nako: Start early from Kaza. Visit Dhankhar monasteries and Dhankhar Lake in the small town of Dhankhar. Take a small diversion just before Sumdo and see the 500 year old Mummy there. Just before Nako is the much dreaded and famous Malling Nallah. Nako has a few hotels where you can check in. Enjoy a stroll around the Nako Lake in the evening.

Day 6 – Nako – Kalpa: See the confluence of Spiti and Satluj rivers at Khab. The bridge at Khab also offers a great view of Leo Purygal Peak. Drive straight to Kalpa from here and stay there for the night. Experience the majestic view of Kinner Kailash peaks from Kalpa.

Day 7 – Kalpa to Chitkul: Drive till Karchham and take the diversion from there towards Sangla. See the famous Kamru fort at Sangla and continue further for another 25-30 odd kilometers to reach the end of the road at the village of Chitkul. Enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of this village and stay for the night.

Day 8 – Chitkul to Sarahan: Drive back from Chitkul to Karchham and from there continue towards Jeori. From Jeori, leave the highway and turn on the 16 kms long stretch towards Sarahan. This small town is famous for Bhimkali temple and a bird sanctuary, both of which are worth a visit. Please note that if you are short on time, you can skip this day and continue driving straight towards Shimla.

Day 9 – Sarahan to Narkanda / Shimla: From Sarahan, drive down again to Jeori and from there continue on the highway towards Shimla. Depending on your preference, you can chose to stay at either Shimla or Narkanda. Personally I would prefer a stay at Narkanda any day over Shimla.

Day 10 – Narkanda / Shimla to Delhi: Drive back home. An easy 8-10 hours’ drive on mostly good roads.

This is just a rough layout on how you can complete this journey. Depending on your plan, you can add or remove days from here.  If you have more time in hand, you can chose to either spend a day more at Kaza, or stay at Mud village and enjoy the beauty of PIN valley, or stay at Mane village and trek to beautiful Sopona Lake.

I hope this information regarding a spiti valley itinerary from Manali was helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below and I would be glad to answer.

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40 comments

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Kunal Singh September 26, 2019 - 3:21 am

I am planning for a no time-bound solo budget trip to Himachal. My desired itinerary is as follows:
Delhi-Shimla-Spiti circuit (the route, as mentioned in your articles)-Manali-bhrigu lake trek and hampta pass trek- Kullu-Kasol-Tosh and Kheerganga trek-kullu-mandi (parashar lake)-Shimla.
In order to explore the above mentioned places, can you suggest me the best time to start the trip from Shimla? And which route would be better…starting from manali or shimla for the spiti trip??

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Vargis.Khan September 26, 2019 - 4:14 pm

May end would be the best time to start. If you mean this year then a lot of places would have to be left out coz the roads have started closing.

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Riley May 14, 2019 - 9:11 am

Vargis,
Thank you SO SO SO much for your articles. Planning a trip like this can be difficult and you have already saved me from making mistakes before ever leaving Delhi. You are amazing!
Thanks,
Riley

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Vargis.Khan May 14, 2019 - 2:02 pm

Hi Riley – Thank you so much for taking the time to drop a note. I am glad that the information posted was of help.

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Fatema Lakdawala September 14, 2018 - 11:49 am

Hello,

I m planning a trip to Spiti from Chandigarh for 9 days starting from 1st Oct to 9th Oct.
Could you help plan a itinerary

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Vargis.Khan September 14, 2018 - 2:10 pm

How are you traveling?

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Sarbari Dutta April 18, 2019 - 11:03 am

Hii vargis..well i am reaching Delhi airport on 26/may at 1.30 am..from there want to reach Manali as early as possible..my return ticket is on 2/june evening from delhi.Iam from Kolkata and we are four of us..can you plan the trip covering spiti lahual chandratal ..likewise manali to manali…where can we hire our vehicle for the entire trip with one reliable driver…thanks to you in advance.

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Vargis.Khan April 18, 2019 - 1:39 pm

Hi Sarbari – You can talk to Binny Thakur @ 9816300804 for vehicle for the entire trip. He is a reliable driver.

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Anupama Basak August 22, 2018 - 10:10 am

Hi Vargis,

Me and my friend are planning to cover the complete Spiti circuit between September 29 and October 7. Would like to know which one would be a better route, starting from Manual or Shimla? Also we would be 2 women traveling together, so would it be safe enough?

Thanks,
Anupama

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Aman patel July 24, 2018 - 3:13 am

Hello sir ,

We are planning to visit spiti on bike in 2 weeks from now (group of 6-8)
We have 5 days of time (4.5 days from manali to manali)
we want to atleast cover major attractions like chandratal
Can you please provide a brief itenary and also please suggest if this is a safe time to visit

It will be of great help for us
Thank you

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Vargis.Khan July 24, 2018 - 12:18 pm

Hi Aman – You have 5 days from where to where?

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Aman patel July 25, 2018 - 3:47 am

Hi sir ,
It’s from Delhi to Delhi

We plan on reaching manali by bus on Friday night to Saturday morning

Then we have sat , sun ,Mon , Tue and wed

We need to take an bus from manali on wed night for delhi

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Vargis.Khan July 25, 2018 - 3:58 am

Assuming that you reach Manali on Saturday in time to catch the Kaza bus, the journey can be as below.

Sat – Manali to Kaza
Sun – Rent a bike in Kaza and explore places like Kibber / Komik etc
Mon – Kaza to Tabo, Dhankar, Mud in Pin Valley and back to Kaza
Tue – Kaza to Chandratal. Catch the morning bus from Kaza, get down at Batal and then either walk or hitchhike to the lake
Wed – Chandratal to Manali. Walk or hitchhike back to Batal in time to catch the Kaza Manali bus and reach Manali by evening. Catch the night Volvo for Delhi.

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Satyam Anand June 13, 2018 - 2:22 pm

Hi,

We are 10 people and planning to visit spiti in June. However, we will be planning for 3 days complete trip starting from Delhi to Kaza via Manali and Kaza to Delhi Via manali. We are planning to rent bikes from Manali, so please confirm if those guys can provide us some help in getting permits. Also please tell me if 3 days of trip is fine for Kaza trip.
Suggest, if you have reference where we can rent good conditioned bikes or if anyone can give us short trip package.

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Vargis.Khan June 13, 2018 - 3:55 pm

Delhi to Spiti and back to Delhi in 3 days is impossible. Can’t do it.

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Ranjeet Bhattacharya June 8, 2018 - 6:04 am

Oh! It is a bit late as I have already booked my accommodation in Hotel Delek House. Next time I shall sure abide by your suggestion.
Thanks for your valuable suggestions and guidance.

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Vargis.Khan June 8, 2018 - 11:51 am

No worries Sir. Have a great trip. Do let me know how it went upon your return.

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Ranjeet Bhattacharya April 14, 2018 - 6:35 am

Yes. Up to that extant we can stretch the iternery .

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Vargis.Khan April 15, 2018 - 10:31 am

For 9 days you can travel like this Sir.

1. Manali to Kaza
2. Kaza to Nako
3. Nako to Mud Village (Pin Valley)
4. Mud to Kaza
5. Kaza to Kibber / Komim / Langza / Hikkim to Kaza
6. Kaza to Chandratal
7. Chandratal to Manali
8 & 9 – Buffer days you can spend at any of the places I mentioned above.

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Dr. Ahmed Faraaz Patel April 6, 2018 - 10:53 am

extremely grateful for such a detailed itinerary. i’ve been scouring your site for the past few days to plan my spiti ride. i’m gonna start from kanyakumari and ride till chandigarh where im meeting my friends and then we ride to manali and then spiti (taking the tougher route coz of time constraints from my friends). me and my friends are following your advice to the letter.. Thamks so much.

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Vargis.Khan April 7, 2018 - 10:01 pm

Hello Dr. Patel,

Thank you so much for taking the time to drop a note. I appreciate it and glad that the information provided was of help.

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zeeshan siddiquie April 5, 2018 - 12:47 pm

This is my plan can you please help on this,we are going to do the whole trek our-self,
please do advise.

10th August : Plane Mumbai TO Delhi : 2700 : Bus from Delhi to Manali : Manju Ka Tital : 22:00 : 1,137RS : time 14Hr
11th August : Manali : Stay in manali : 500 Rs
12th August : Bus from manali to Kaza: 300RS + stay 300Rs
Max 1000 Per day
13th August : Kaza to Ki Monastery – Kibber – Langza Trek and share Taix
14th August : Trek from Langza – Komik:
15th August : Trek from Komik – DemuL
16th August : Trek from Demul – Lalung
17th August : Trek from Lalung – Dhankar
Coming still figuring out
20th back to delhi

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Vargis.Khan April 5, 2018 - 1:52 pm

Zeeshan Bhai your plan looks great. For return journey, catch a shared taxi from Dhankar to Kaza, hardly 2 hours journey. Then the next day, catch the daily morning Kaza to Manali bus.

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Tania Pal April 3, 2018 - 3:54 pm

Hello Mr. Khan, thank you for all the helpful comments.

We are planning to travel on 27th April from chandigarh and return on 4th May.

Is there a way we can cover manali and pin valley?
We had visited narkanda kalpa chitkul sangla earlier and hence do not wish to visit those places again. Request you to help with itinerary.

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Vargis.Khan April 3, 2018 - 4:01 pm

Hello Ms. Pal,

Yes you can definitely cover Pin Valley, it is open but not Manali route. You can travel like this.

27. Chandigarh to Sarahan
28. Sarahan to Nako
29. Nako to Mud Village ( Pin)
30. Mud to Kaza
1. Kaza to Kibber / Komik / Langza / Hikkim to Kaza
2. Kaza to Kalpa
3. Kalpa to Chandigarh
4. Buffer Day

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Tania Pal April 3, 2018 - 3:53 pm

Hello Mr. Khan, thank you for all the helpful comments.

We are planning to travel on 27th April from chandigarh and return on 4th May.

Is there a way we can cover manali and pin valley?
We had visited narkanda kalpa chitkul sangla earlier and hence do not wish to visit those places again. Request you to help with itinerary. Thank you.

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Vargis.Khan April 3, 2018 - 4:02 pm

Hello Ms. Pal,

Yes you can definitely cover Pin Valley, it is open but not Manali route. You can travel like this.

27. Chandigarh to Sarahan
28. Sarahan to Nako
29. Nako to Mud Village ( Pin)
30. Mud to Kaza
1. Kaza to Kibber / Komik / Langza / Hikkim to Kaza
2. Kaza to Kalpa
3. Kalpa to Chandigarh
4. Buffer Day

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Ranjeet Bhattacharya March 31, 2018 - 5:56 am

As I live in Lucknow both options are open to me. The road journey would certainly like to be minimum.
After going through your blogs I think it will not be feasible before May end /June start. As you suggest.

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Vargis.Khan April 2, 2018 - 3:02 pm

Hello Mr. Bhattacharya – You are correct. I will recommend sometime in June only, not before that.

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Ranjeet Bhattacharya April 3, 2018 - 5:54 am

Thanks dear.

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Vargis.Khan April 3, 2018 - 2:21 pm

You are welcome Sir

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Ranjeet Bhattacharya April 13, 2018 - 5:18 am

Hello dear once again.
I intend to undertake the trip some time around 13th June onwards taking Chandigarh(say day1) — Manali-Chandigarh( say day 8/9/10) route. Please suggest a NON HECTIC(comfortable) iternery.
Thanks.
Ps: I have already covered Shimla, Sarhan, Sangla (Rakchham),Chitkul,Kalpa circuit.

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Vargis.Khan April 13, 2018 - 6:58 pm

Hello Mr. Bhattacharya – You mean Manali – Spiti – Manali and a total of 9 days?

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Ranjeet Bhattacharya March 31, 2018 - 3:41 am

Thanks once again .
As I live in Lucknow both options are open to me. The road journey, obviously , would like to be minimum.
After going through your blogs I understand it should not be before May end/June start. As you suggest.

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Ranjeet Bhattacharya March 29, 2018 - 4:02 pm

Dear Vargis
I have been going through your magnificent blogs which have tempted me to seek your suggestion and guidance.

I wish to visit Lahaul- Spiti valley(including Chandra Tal) and place the personal information below to facilitate your response.
1. I (we) am a retired person and as such duration(won’t exhaust due to hectic schedule) and dates shall not be much hindrance.
2. Would love to go via Manali as have already covered ( Lucknow) Chandigarh -Shimla- Narkanda-Sarhan-Raksham-Chitkul-Kalpa -Shimla- Chandigarh -(Lucknow) by hired vehicle 2-3years back.
3. Except that would AVOID “treking” no major inconvenience experienced due to height or other factors in the past.
4. We (group of 2-3 senior couples) prefer to travel in hired Innova (or similar)

Please guide.

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Vargis.Khan March 29, 2018 - 9:00 pm

Hello Mr. Bhattacharya,

I will be happy to help. Where are you traveling from Sir, Delhi or Chandigarh? I will recommend that you have a word with Jamaica at 09418200183. He is a local from Kaza and owns a hotel there. He also run a camping site at Chandratal and is a good friend of mine. Please give him my reference and have a word. He will be able to help you with an Innova for the trip, your accommodation at Chandratal and Kaza both and any other assistance you need.

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Ranjeet Bhattacharya March 30, 2018 - 6:17 am

Thanks dear Virgis.
I am overwhelmed to get such a prompt response (2.30am !)

As I shall commence my journey from Lucknow and from Delhi also we have to pass through Chandigarh, I think it will be better to start from Chandigarh. However please suggest.

The most important thing, I believe is, there is no problem ( given the composition of the group) In undertaking this trip. If feasible, Please suggest the iternery.

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Vargis.Khan March 30, 2018 - 10:34 pm

Thank you for your kind words Sir. Chandigarh will be a good place to start but then you will have to wait until the Manali Kaza route is declared open. Once that happens, you can in fact cover both Lahaul and Sipti valleys. May I know the approximate dates of your travel Sir?

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Ranjeet Bhattacharya June 7, 2018 - 6:37 am

Hello dear Virgis once again.

Consequent upon long conversation with you, I am FINALLY starting my tour of Spiti valley as per iternery below :

22nd June :
Scheduled arrival Chandigarh 10.30am. After refreshing, departure for Manali by 12 noon. Night stay Manali.

23rd June: Rest and stay at Manali.

24th to 26th June: Kaza and around as per your suggested iternery.

27th June : Tabo

28th June: Chandratal

29th June: Manali

30th June : Chandigarh to Lucknow (night train )

Considering the water scarcity in Himanchal this season, I think We shall carry SUFFICIENT quantity of Bottled water from Chandigarh itself.
I think this is according to your valuable guidance. Shall be glad if you will please advise any special precaution to be taken considering our AGE group (I am 66+We shall take Diamox tabs at Manali. And also carry oxygen cylinders/ inhalers as a precautionary measure)
Anything else please?

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Vargis.Khan June 7, 2018 - 11:25 pm

Hello Mr. Bhattacharya, The water problem is actually limited to Shimla city. I was just there in Manali for couple of days last week and no such problem there. In Kaza, stay at Hotel Spiti valley. It is located right opposite Kaza monastery on main road. Good place and highly recommended by me. Let Mr. Tanzin there know of me and he will take good care of you. You are spending a day in Manali so AMS should not be that big a problem.

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