Spiti Valley 9 Days Itinerary : An Ideal Travel Plan

by Vargis.Khan

When I get asked about minimum time needed to visit Spiti valley, my answer always is 9 days. With this much time in hand, you can be sure that you will be able to cover almost all of the must visit places in the valley. You will neither travel too much on any given day, nor will your journey be too relaxed. A trip here of course can be planned with a lesser number of days as well; but with at least 9 days, you will be able to enjoy the journey better; and get a real taste of the magic that Spiti is. In this article, I will share a few examples of a Spiti valley 9 days itinerary that you can follow.

I will first explain an itinerary that I recommend; and then a few different versions of the same journey. Depending on your own preference, you can pick either of these travel plans. Your final travel plan will of course depend on several factors like how you are traveling; where are you traveling from; are there any budget constraints etc; but the details below will at least give you an idea on how you can plan your trip. If after reading the article you have any further question; or need my advice on drafting an itinerary for you, please feel free to ask in the comments section towards the bottom of this page.

spiti valley 9 days itinerary

Kaza is the headquarters of Spiti valley and is mostly considered as the base for anyone wanting to spend a few days here and explore the areas around. Now there are two ways that a person can reach Kaza. One is via Shimla and the other route is via Manali. Of these two, the road via Shimla is the longer but also the easier one. The route via Manali is way shorter than the Shimla road but is also several times difficult and challenging.




Contrary to common belief, Spiti valley actually remains connected with rest of the country for all 12 months. You can plan a road trip and reach here at any time of the year. Unlike Ladakh where the road connectivity gets disrupted for the entire winter; the road to Kaza via Shimla remains open throughout the year.

Also read: How to Plan a Trip to Spiti Valley

There could be a temporary closure if the weather turned extreme and if it snowed too much; or if it rained too heavily resulting in a landslide along the route; but authorities get into action immediately and restore connectivity just as soon as they are able to. The biggest reason why this road remains open entire year is because there is no high altitude pass in between. The entire distance between Shimla and Kaza is about 415 kilometers and it will take you a minimum of 2 days to complete; with a night halt at either Reckong Peo or Pooh.

On the other hand, the route via Manali is only about 200 kilometers and can easily be covered in a day. However, in this one day, you will cross two high altitude passes on the way; Rohtang La and Kunzum La. Both of these passes are notorious for receiving high amount of snow each year due to which, this road remains open only for about 4 to 5 months a year. For rest of the time, it remains snowed out and blocked. Not only this, but this entire stretch is also probably one of the worst roads that you have ever encountered in your entire life.

So while suggesting the itineraries below, I will start with one that will cover the entire circuit from Shimla to Manali but this can only be followed when Manali Kaza road is open; from June till September. I will suggest another itinerary that will both start and end at Shimla. This itinerary can be followed throughout the year. For someone only wanting to cover Manali to Kaza road, I will note down a travel plan both starting and ending at Manali.

For a list of places to visit at all of the towns mentioned below, please read Tourist Attractions in Spiti Valley. I will run you through the itinerary and you can refer to this article for places that you must visit while traveling through the circuit.

For the sake of this article, I will assume that you are traveling from Delhi. If you are coming from a different city then only the travel for first and last day will be different. Rest of the details will still apply.

Spiti Valley 9 Days Itinerary

Let me first begin with a travel plan that I recommend. This one will cover the entire Spiti circuit. The journey will begin from Shimla and end at Manali. This itinerary however can only be followed in the months from June till early October.

  • Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda – Day 1
  • Shimla / Narkanda to Chitkul – Day 2
  • Chitkul to Kalpa – Day 3
  • Kalpa to Nako / Tabo – Day 4
  • Nako / Tabo to Kaza – Day 5
  • Kaza – Day 6
  • Kaza to Chandratal  – Day 7
  • Chandratal to Manali – Day 8
  • Manali to Delhi – Day 9

This of course is just a sample travel plan. The journey can be changed and laid out in multiple other ways. A detailed description of the journey is as mentioned below.

Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda

There is not much to write about this day except for that this will be a long journey of about 9 to 10 hours depending upon your speed and breaks. From Delhi, you will reach Ambala traveling on NH1; and then just before Chandigarh, you will turn on the Chandigarh Shimla highway. There is some road widening work happening on this route for last couple of years so it is possible that you may face some slow traffic until Shimla. And then of course, at Shimla, you will also be stuck in the traffic jam of what once was a tourist destination; but now is a commercial and residential city.

Also read: Why you should travel to Spiti via Shimla?

I personally prefer staying at Narkanda as opposed to the crowded Shimla. You may also chose to do the same as this will also reduce your travel time on Day 2. There are a few hotels at Narkanda where you can stay at for the night.

Shimla / Narkanda to Chitkul

Destination for today will be the small yet highly scenic town of Chitkul. You will also be crossing another famous tourist spot Sangla on the way, which is about 20 kilometers before Chitkul. Roads will be a mix of good and average but I will recommend an early start from Narkanda. Distance traveled will be about 185 kilometers and this journey can very well take you up to 8 hours. There are several hotels at Chitkul and you will have no problem finding accommodation here.

To get to Chitkul from Narkanda, you will have to first reach Karcham, via Rampur and Jeori. At Karcham, you will then leave the main highway and take the diversion that takes you to Sangla and Chitkul. Yes, it is a 40 odd kilometers long road that takes you deep in to Sangla Valley. Chitkul is not really on the main highway but a little off route.

Also read: How to Prepare your motorcycle for Spiti Trip?

Chitkul to Kalpa

After long traveling hours on Day 1 and 2, take a bit of a day off on Day 3. You will be traveling today as well of course but the journey will be short and very relaxed. Kalpa is merely about 65 kilometers from Chitkul and you can easily cover the journey in no more than 3 to 4 hours. Take your own time while starting from Chitkul in the morning; reach Kalpa, check into a hotel, relax and enjoy the scenic beauty around you.

To reach Kalpa from Chitkul, journey back to Karcham where you turned yesterday towards Chitkul. Continue following the highway till Reckong Peo. Like yesterday, you will be leaving the main highway today as well as both Reckong Peo and Kalpa are on a steep ascent towards your left.

Kalpa to Nako / Tabo

The road between Kalpa and Nako always remains in a bad state and will limit your speed terribly at several places. Depending on your own choice, you can chose to stay at either Nako or Tabo. Personally, I prefer to stay at Nako because I find it way more scenic than Tabo. Journey for this day as well will not be way too long. Distance covered will be slightly over 100 kilometers and travel time will be around 5 hours. Reckong Peo has the last petrol pump on the route so do not forget to tank up here. After Peo, the next gas station will be at Kaza only.

Also read: How to Prepare your Car for Spiti Trip?

Nako to Kaza

Distance between Nako and Kaza too is about 115 kilometers so your travel time will not be more than 4 to 5 hours in a relaxed manner. This will give you plenty of time for sightseeing, breaks and photography; to truly appreciate the scenic beauty around you. You will cross the towns of Tabo and Dhankar on the way and can visit the monasteries here.

If you like, you can also stop at Dhankar for a while and trek to Dhankar Lake. Keep in mind though that you will have to leave your vehicle at the monastery and then walk through a steep trek. Going to the lake and back will easily take you a couple of hours. Roads will be a mix of average and bad.

Kaza

You will spend this day at Kaza itself  and explore the nearby villages of Komik, Kibber, Langza, Hikkim, Tashigong and Chicham. On the way, you will also visit the famous Kye Monastery which is the largest and oldest monastery in Spiti; and is one of its prime attractions. For more details on how to visit these villages and a road map, please read How to Plan a Trip from Kaza to Kibber, Gette & Tashigong AND How to Plan a Trip from Kaza to Komik, Hikkim and Langza

Kaza to Chandratal

Next destination in the itinerary is the famous Chandratal Lake which is also the star attraction of this entire journey. Spending a night here at the camps is must for everyone. In my opinion, a journey to Spiti valley is incomplete if Chandratal is not a part of it.

With that being said, after Kaza, you will truly understand the definition of the term “bad roads”. The entire stretch until Manali is a joy ride; but the 14 kilometers long road to Chandratal will have your heart jumping to your mouth if you were in a car. This entire stretch is extremely bad and is barely wide enough for a car.

After Kaza, you will take the road towards Losar and then climb up to Kunzum Pass. After crossing the top, as you climb down and about 2 kilometers before Batal, you will notice a narrow road towards your right. This is the road you need to take to reach Chandratal. There is also a board there marking this road.

Also read: How to Plan a Trip to Chandratal?

Chandratal to Manali

After staying for the night at Chandratal, drive back to the point where you took the diversion near Batal. Your fun on bad roads will reach its prime today. The entire 60 kilometers long stretch between Batal and Gramphoo is a non-stop series of water crossings with huge boulders on the road. After you reach Gramphoo, you will climb up Rohtang Pass and from there, until Manali; you will experience the sheer joy and pleasure of what is commonly known as “traffic jam at Rohtang Pass”.  After enjoying the Rohtang traffic and a few hours of biting our nails and pulling your hair in agony, you will reach Manali by evening and stay for the night here.

Manali to Delhi

Once again, nothing much to say about this day of the trip. It will be a long and tiring journey of 14 – 15 hours of driving back to Delhi; unless you are really lucky and live in a closer city like Chandigarh.

And that will be your 9 days of travel to Spiti valley, completing the entire circuit. This covers majority of the must visit places on the route and ensure that you do not travel too much except for first and last day. There however can be different versions of this itinerary and I will mention a few below.

Spiti Valley in 9 Days

Itinerary # 2
  • Delhi to Narkanda
  • Narkanda to Sarahan
  • Sarahan to Chitkul
  • Chitkul to Kalpa
  • Kalpa to Nako
  • Nako to Kaza
  • Kaza to Chandratal
  • Chandratal to Manali
  • Manali to Delhi
Itinerary # 3
  • Delhi to Narkanda
  • Narkanda to Chitkul
  • Chitkul to Nako
  • Nako to Mudh Village (Pin Valley)
  • Mudh Village to Kaza
  • Kaza
  • Kaza to Chandratal
  • Chandratal to Manali
  • Manali to Delhi

If you would like a different plan that the above three, please comment and ask at the bottom of this page. For more details on the road that goes to Pin Valley and you can travel on it, please read How to Plan a Trip to Pin Valley?

9 Days Itinerary for Spiti Valley

The itineraries above can only be covered when the entire circuit is open for tourists which is for just about 4 to 5 months a year; from June till early October. For rest of the time, you will have to start your journey from Shimla and exit via Shimla only. In that case, you can travel like this.

Itinerary # 4
  • Delhi to Narkanda
  • Narkanda to Chitkul
  • Chitkul to Nako
  • Nako to Kaza
  • Kaza
  • Kaza to Mudh Village (Pin Valley)
  • Mudh Village to Kalpa
  • Kalpa to Shimla
  • Shimla to Delhi
Itinerary # 5

Or you can also travel like this.

  • Delhi to Narkanda
  • Narkanda to Chitkul
  • Chitkul to Nako
  • Nako to Kaza
  • Kaza
  • Kaza to Kalpa
  • Kalpa to Sarahan
  • Sarahan to Chail
  • Chail to Delhi

Spiti Itinerary from Manali

A lot of people tend to skip the Shimla route entirely and cover only the Manali Kaza road. Most of these people are someone who has already covered Kinnaur valley and have visited places like Sarahan, Chitkul and Kalpa. If you too would like to reach Spiti via Manali and come back the same way, then you can travel like this.

Also read: Why you should travel to Spiti from Manali?

Itinerary # 6
  • Delhi to Manali
  • Manali to Kaza
  • Kaza to Kibber / Komik / Tashigong / Hikkim / Kaza
  • Kaza to Mudh Village (Pin Valley)
  • Mudh Village to Nako
  • Nako to Kaza
  • Kaza to Chandratal
  • Chandratal to Manali
  • Manali to Delhi
Acute Mountain Sickness in Spiti Valley

For a trip to Spiti valley, starting from Shimla was always considered better. Biggest reason behind this was of altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness. As you travel from Shimla and reach Kaza, the gain in altitude is gradual and spread over 3 to 4 days of journey. In this case, your chances of suffering from mountain sickness are next to none.

On the other hand, if you reached Kaza via Manali, then the gain in altitude is sudden and faster than the body can comprehend. One day you are at plains in the morning and reach a height of 2000 meters by evening at Manali. The next day, the altitude doubles again and you reach 4000 meters at Kaza. This sudden increase in altitude may cause your body to start suffering from AMS.

It is however recommended that you start your journey from Shimla and end at Manali. If you are traveling with family consisting of children and elders, then you must keep Shimla as your starting point. For more details on what AMS is, what its symptoms and prevention are; please read How to Handle Acute Mountain Sickness in Spiti Valley?

Permits for Spiti Valley

Another point I would like to mention here is of permits required. For Indian nationals, you do not need any permit for visiting Spiti valley. If however you went via Manali, then you would have to acquire a permit for crossing Rohtang Pass. This permit can either be obtained in person from DM office Manali; or can be applied for online. For more details, please read How to Obtain a Permit for Rohtang Pass.

If however you are a foreign national, then you will have to get an Inner Line Permit is needed for traveling to Spiti valley and beyond. For more details and step by step instructions, please read How to Obtain an Inner Line Permit for Spiti Valley

Conclusion

I hope the information above on Spiti valley 9 days itinerary was of help. If you have any further questions; or need any further 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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24 comments

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Krishnendu Ghosh February 26, 2020 - 5:29 pm

Hi,
June 13 reaching Ambala at 7 am and leaving Ambala on June 23, 5 pm. From Ambala Cant will start our journey for Himachal. We are a small family of three, daughter is 12 year old. First time in Himachal, last year we have been to munsiyari. Please suggest us a tour plan
Going through your blog we have decided to take the 9 day spitti route on the 8 day reaching Manali would spend there the 9 and 10 day doing the adventure sports and rest and on the 11 day back to Ambala Cant from Manali

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Kirti January 6, 2020 - 7:28 pm

Hi vargis,
Planning spiti valley a couple trip by end of this month. He is more of interested in visiting the monasteries in this trip. Please help which can we include in your 8-9 days plan of visit.

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Ritesh Narayan December 10, 2019 - 10:40 am

Hi Vargis,
Thanks for the detailed itinerary. I am planning a trip to Spiti Valley from 23rd May to 31t May 2020. Can I include Sarahan also in the first itinerary suggested by you or should we skip this and do it some other time. Also, would this be a good time to visit these places? Also, please suggest good places to stay during the entire journey. Can two families (4 adults and 4 kids) go in my Honda Mobilio Diesel variant considering the rough terrain from Battal to Chandratal & Chandratal to Manali. Please guide
Thanks,
Ritesh Narayan

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Ashish Garg August 9, 2019 - 7:35 am

Hi Vargis! Pretty detailed plans here.. I am planning to leave for Spiti on a 9-10 days ride around 12th September with a few friends.. Few questions here – Is it okay to travel around this time? What route would you personally take in September? As first timers to Spiti, what route would you recommend us to take? How early can we book ‘Beyond Rohtang’ permit from online portal?

Look forward to hear your answers!

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Vargis.Khan August 9, 2019 - 2:47 pm

Hi Ashish, Yes September is a good time to go. You should take the Shimla route to get there and return via Manali. Rohtang Permit won’t be needed if you start from Shimla

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Ashish Garg August 9, 2019 - 3:37 pm

Thank you Vargis for your prompt reply.

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Chazat June 20, 2019 - 10:41 am

Hi Vargis,thankyou for such a detailed and informative blog.
I have plans to do the first itenerary solo and without bike or car . So is the entire route easy to cover by buses or there are points where I will need to hire cars especially the chandrataal portion. Kindly let me know .
Thank-you again

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Vargis.Khan June 20, 2019 - 11:03 pm

Hi Chazat – It is doable by public transport entirely. That is why I listed as the first and recommended one.

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Guru June 10, 2019 - 9:05 pm

Hi Vargis,
Amazing write up, very informative.
I was planning to Spiti in 2nd week of July, I understand it would be partly rainy and snow covered. If we are riding bike do we need tyre chains? Also I was planning to start from Manali cover Spiti then forward to Gangotri and back to Dehradun. Planning to courier our bikes. Could you please let me know if you are aware about any courier service and cost to ship from Bangalore.
If you are aware about the above route then what would be the days needed to cover. Any other information it be much appreciated!
Regards
Guru

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Vargis.Khan June 20, 2019 - 11:02 pm

Hi Guru,

1. Snow chains – Not at all
2. I am not aware of any courier service but the best and cheapest would be Indian railways. See the post below.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/transport-motorcycle-by-train-india/

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Jagbandhu March 4, 2019 - 11:30 am

Very detailed and comprehensive explanations. Really looks like you have put lots of effort in making this itinerary. Thanks for making our life easier.

I have couple of queries:
1. Can we add pin valley national park to the itinerary.
2. Is it possible to hire cab from manali or shimla to kaza. We are planning to visit in first week of june and we are not expert drivers so thinking of hiring cab.
Could you give a rough estimate of what could be the charges for hiring the cab. Also, the same cab can show around places in spiti/kaza

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Vargis.Khan March 4, 2019 - 5:38 pm

Thanks Jagbandhu.

1. Yes. Itinerary # 3 above includes Pin Valley
2. Hire from Shimla. Cabs in Manali are crazy expensive.
3. Talk to Binny Thakur @ 9816300804. He can tell you how much it is going to cost. He is a driver himself so if you like what he is quoting, you can hire him too.

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JAGBANDHU March 7, 2019 - 8:56 am

Thanks

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Vargis.Khan March 7, 2019 - 7:27 pm

You are welcome !!!

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Biswanath Chattopadhyay February 2, 2019 - 8:46 pm

When are you expecting the Kaza, -Chandratal-Manali route to be open this year?

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Vargis.Khan February 2, 2019 - 11:40 pm

Not before Mid-May

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MACK July 8, 2018 - 6:32 am

How about not touching Shimla,,instead reaching Kufri Via Chail in route to Rampur on my Day 1 Plan when coming from Chandigrah?…Is that Road wil be fine on the Chail – Kufri Stretch(in Bike).

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Vargis.Khan July 8, 2018 - 7:38 am

That will be fine as well. Chail road is a bit narrow and bad around Sadhupul but good after that until Kufri.

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Jayashankar July 7, 2018 - 9:03 am

Sir Thanks a lots and Noted.
My planning asap:)

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Vargis.Khan July 7, 2018 - 8:49 pm

You are welcome 🙂

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Jayashankar July 7, 2018 - 5:43 am

Sir Thanks Valuable Info
I will noted my plan
Is september open both Manali Kaza and Chandratal?

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Vargis.Khan July 7, 2018 - 8:07 am

Thanks Jayashankar. Yes both the routes will be open in September.

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Jayashankar July 6, 2018 - 5:47 am

Thanks Sharing Valuable Info
Possible visit in October to November?

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Vargis.Khan July 6, 2018 - 3:13 pm

Thanks Jayashankar. Yes you can visit in October or November but will definitely have to keep Manali Kaza highway and Chandratal out of the plan.

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