Spiti Valley in 10 Days – How to Plan your Itinerary?

by Vargis.Khan

Continuing from the previous article where I talked about how you can plan your trip to Spiti Valley in 9 Days; in this post I will detail a few examples of a 10 day itinerary. Though it may not sound like much of an addition at all; you will see that by putting in just one more day to the trip will make things much easier. Usually 9 days is what I suggest as minimum time needed for Spiti valley, but with 10 days in hand you can definitely explore more areas without making the journey hectic on any given day. What is the best way to make the most out of your time while visiting Spiti valley in 10 days is what I will provide details on in this post.

Your final itinerary will of course depend on several factors like where you are traveling from; what is your mode of travel; is there any budget constraint etc; but the details below should at least get you started on drafting your own travel plan. Or if it works for you, then can just follow one of the itineraries provided below as it is.

spiti valley in 10 days

No matter where you are coming from, there are two ways to enter Spiti valley. You can either reach Kaza via Shimla or via Manali. Of these two, the road from Shimla remains open all year long, even in peak winter season. So yes, contrary to common belief, Spiti valley actually remains open through the year.




There of course could be a temporary road block caused by extreme weather, like heavy snowfall or landslides caused by rain. Depending on the severity of the situation, this may last from a few hours to a few days; but authorities clear the road and restore the connectivity just as soon as they are able to.

Also read: How to Plan a Trip to Spiti Valley?

Biggest reason behind this is that there are no high altitude passes on this route. Starting from Shimla, the road goes through towns like Rampur, Reckong Peo, Pooh, Nako, Tabo and Dhankar; increasing gradually in altitude. There is not even a single pass that you cross anywhere in between due to which, this road is considered as the easier way to reach Spiti valley. However, it also is the longer one. Total distance traveled between Shimla and Kaza will be close to 500 kilometers depending upon your itinerary; and it will take you at least 2 days to cover.

On the other hand, the road from Manali is the shorter one. It is a total of about 200 kilometers that you can travel on in a single day. However, this 9 to 10 hours of journey will also have you crossing two high altitude passes in between; Rohtang and Kunzum Pass; both of which are notorious for receiving heavy amounts of snow each year. This route is open only for 4 to 5 months a year; between June till September; and remains in extremely bad conditions. It is mostly a dirt trail; with boulders on the road and a non-stop series of water crossings.

How to travel to Spiti Valley in 10 Days?

So keeping the above in mind, I will suggest three different sets of itineraries. The first set will cover the entire Spiti circuit, starting from Shimla and ending at Manali. This however can be followed only in the months of June till September; when the entire circuit is open.

The second set will have you start the journey from Shimla and circle back to Shimla only. This itinerary can be followed for all 12 months in a year; irrespective of your time of travel. The third and the last set will be for someone who wants to start and end the journey at Manali only; thus only covering Spiti valley and leaving the Kinnaur part out.

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.

Spiti Valley 10 Days Itinerary

I will first suggest and detail an itinerary that I recommend; followed by a few other variations of the same journey.

  • Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda – Day 1
  • Shimla / Narkanda to Chitkul – Day 2
  • Chitkul to Kalpa – Day 3
  • Kalpa to Nako – Day 4
  • Nako to Mudh Village (Pin Valley) – Day 5
  • Mudh Village to Kaza – Day 6
  • Kaza – Day 7
  • Kaza to Chandratal – Day 8
  • Chandratal to Manali – Day 9
  • Manali to Delhi – Day 10

For the sake of this article, I will assume that you are starting from Delhi. If you are coming from a different city, then your journey for Day 1 and 10 will be different; rest of the details will still apply.

Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda

There is not much to write about this day really. It will be a long and monotonous journey of about 9 to 10 hours; depending upon your speed and breaks. Total distance traveled will be slightly over 400 kilometers; and the only good part is that the road conditions will be smooth. There is some road widening work going on between Shimla and Chandigarh so you may face some slow traffic in between. Then of course, you will be stuck in the crowded city of Shimla and its traffic.

I personally prefer staying at Narkanda because I find Shimla a bit too commercialized these days. It does not really give the feeling of a tourist destination anymore. You can chose to either stay at Shimla or Narkanda but I will recommend the latter. If you reached well in time then you can also visit Hatu Peak at Narkanda before sundown. There are good amount of hotels at Narkanda and you will easily find a place to stay.

Shimla / Narkanda to Chitkul

Destination for today will be the tiny yet highly scenic town of Chitkul. Road conditions will be mostly OK on a total distance of about 185 kilometers. Travel time will be between 6-8 hours so an early start is recommended. From Narkanda, you will travel downhill all the way to the banks of Sutlej and then continue towards Karcham via Rampur.

In between, you will also cross the small town of Jeori. If you were planning to stay at Sarahan on Day 2 and not go to Chitkul, then you will have to take the narrow uphill road towards your right from Jeori main chowk. If you weren’t planning Sarahan then continue straight towards Chitkul; do not take any turns.

Once you reach Karcham, you will have to cross the bridge to your right in order to reach Chitkul; as it is not really on the way to Spiti. Here you will leave the highway, and travel about 40 kilometers to Chitkul via Sangla and Rakcham. Next day, you will have to travel back 40 kilometers again to Karcham and then continue to Spiti.

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

Road from Karcham to Chitkul is a mix of good, bad and ugly and will easily take you 2 to 3 hours to complete. There are plenty of hotels at Chitkul where you can stay.

Chitkul to Kalpa

On Day 3, your travel time will be significantly less which I think is required considering the long distances traveled on Day 1 and 2. On this day, you will travel only about 65 kilometers and the destination will be Kalpa. Road conditions will be mostly OK and travel time will be no more than 3 to 4 hours at most.

Take your own time to start from Chitkul in the morning. Travel all the way back to Karcham, cross the bridge again and continue towards Reckong Peo. Now like Chitkul, Reckong Peo and Kalpa as well are not on the main highway. A few kilometers after Powari, there will be a petrol pump where you may tank up as the next petrol pump will be in Kaza. A few kilometers after this petrol pump, there will be a road going uphill to your left. Take this road and you will first reach Reckong Peo and then another 10 kilometers to Kalpa. This is a steep climb and very steep at some places in Kalpa; but the majestic view of Kinner Kailash that you will get from Kalpa makes it all worth it.

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

There are a lot of hotels in Kalpa and you will easily find a place to stay. In order to get to the hotels though, cross the main Kalpa chowk and keep climbing up. There will be a couple of very narrow roads in between but keep moving up and you will start seeing all the hotels.

Kalpa to Nako

The journey for this day as well will be not too long but will be on some really bad roads. You will travel slightly over a 100 kilometers but because of the road conditions, it can very well take you up to 5 hours. I have been to Spiti multiple times and on this particular section of the road, there is always restoration work going on; that is how bad it gets here. This area is mostly all “shooting stones” region so if you were on motorcycles, be careful about where you stop. Even a small stone falling from the hill above could kill you if it hit your head.

From Kalpa, drive down again to the main highway via Reckong Peo. Last petrol pump as I mentioned is at Peo and after this, the next one is at Kaza so don’t forget to tank up if you did not the previous day. From Peo, continue towards Khab and then climb up to Nako via Ka. Hotels in Nako as well these days are in ample amount so you will have no problem finding a place to stay.

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

Nako to Mudh Village (Pin Valley)

It is time to take a small diversion and explore the beautiful Pin Valley before you finally reach Kaza. From Nako, continue traveling towards Tabo and Dhankar. On the way, to your right, there will be a road going to the famous Giu village near Sumdo. This village is famous for 500 year old Mummy found here and is worth a visit. The villagers have that spot marked with a few pictures of the Mummy where you will take the turn.

After visiting Giu, you will cross the towns of Tabo and Dhankar and can visit the local monasteries here. After Dhankar, and about 16 kilometers before Kaza, you will reach Attargo Bridge. Cross it over to the other side of the river to enter Pin Valley; and then continue traveling another 34 kilometers to the small town of Mudh Village. At Mudh, you can stay at any of the local guest houses. I will recommend either Tara Home-stay or Ibex Home-stay.

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?

Mudh Village to Kaza

Destination for today will be Kaza, headquarters of Spiti Valley. Distance traveled will be just about 50 kilometers so you are in no rush to start early. From Mudh, drive back to Attargo Bridge, turn left and then continue 16 kilometers to Kaza. Goes without saying, there is no shortage of hotels in Kaza and no matter what your budget is, you will easily find a place to stay. I will recommend staying at Hotel Spiti Valley, right opposite Kaza Monastery. It is on the main road itself so you won’t even have to enter the narrow streets of Kaza. Contact person is Tanzin and his number is 9418927312. Give my reference and he will take good care of you at discounted rates.

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

While you are in Kaza town, do not forget to visit the beautiful Kaza Monastery. If you were staying at Hotel Spiti Valley, then the monastery will be right in front of the hotel, on the other side of the road. You should also take a walk at the local Kaza market at evening.

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 10 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.

10 Days Itinerary for Spiti Valley
Itinerary # 2
  • Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda – Day 1
  • Shimla / Narkanda to Sarahan – Day 2
  • Sarahan to Chitkul – Day 3
  • Chitkul to Nako – Day 4
  • Nako to Mudh Village (Pin Valley) – Day 5
  • Mudh Village to Kaza – Day 6
  • Kaza – Day 7
  • Kaza to Chandratal – Day 8
  • Chandratal to Manali – Day 9
  • Manali to Delhi – Day 10
Itinerary # 3
  • Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda – Day 1
  • Shimla / Narkanda to Sarahan – Day 2
  • Sarahan to Chitkul – Day 3
  • Chitkul to Kalpa – Day 4
  • Kalpa to Nako – Day 5
  • Nako to Kaza – Day 6
  • Kaza – Day 7
  • Kaza to Chandratal – Day 8
  • Chandratal to Manali – Day 9
  • Manali to Delhi – Day 10
Itinerary # 4
  • Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda – Day 1
  • Shimla / Narkanda to Sarahan – Day 2
  • Sarahan to Chitkul – Day 3
  • Chitkul to Kalpa – Day 4
  • Kalpa to Nako – Day 5
  • Nako to Mudh Village (Pin Valley) – Day 6
  • Mudh Village to Kaza – Day 7
  • Kaza to Chandratal – Day 8
  • Chandratal to Manali – Day 9
  • Manali to Delhi – Day 10

10 Days Spiti Valley Itinerary from Shimla Only

Thing with above mentioned all 4 itineraries is that they can only be followed if the entire Spiti circuit is open; that is from the month of June till early October. But what about rest of the months? How do you travel if the Manali Kaza stretch is not yet open? I will suggest an itinerary for this journey as well.

  • Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda – Day 1
  • Shimla / Narkanda to Chitkul – Day 2
  • Chitkul to Nako – Day 3
  • Nako to Kaza – Day 4
  • Kaza – Day 5
  • Kaza to Mudh Village – Day 6
  • Mudh Village to Kalpa – Day 7
  • Kalpa to Sarahan – Day 8
  • Sarahan to Shimla / Chail – Day 9
  • Shimla / Chail to Delhi – Day 10

10 Days Spiti Valley Itinerary from Manali Only

Some people tend to skip the Shimla route entirely and only focus on traveling to Spiti from Manali only. When you have 10 days in hand, I would not really recommend doing so because then you have a bit of too much time on your hand. Starting and ending at Manali is actually suggested only you are a bit short on time. However, if you have already been to Kinnaur side on Himachal and would rather spend all your time in Spiti only, then you can travel in the following manner.

  • Delhi to Manali – Day 1
  • Manali – Day 2 (Arrange Rohtang permits and local sightseeing. Get acclimatized)
  • Manali to Kaza – Day 3
  • Kaza to Kibber / Komik / Langza / Hikkim to Kaza – Day 4
  • Kaza to Mudh Village – Day 5
  • Mudh Village to Dhankar – Nako to Kaza – Day 6
  • Kaza to Chandratal – Day 7
  • Chandratal to Jispa – Day 8 (Explore a bit of Lahaul valley and spend a day in Jispa)
  • Jispa to Manali – Day 9
  • Manali to Delhi – Day 10

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

How to travel to Spiti Valley by Public Transport?

Apart from Delhi as the starting point, another assumption I made in the itineraries above is that you were traveling by your own vehicle; either a car or motorcycle. If you were however thinking of visiting by public transport, then too you can easily follow the itineraries suggested. There is a daily bus from Shimla to Kaza with a night halt at Reckong Peo which you can board and get down at any of the towns in between. Next day, just board the same bus again at the exact same time and move on to next destination.

Same way, Manali to Kaza is again connected by 2 daily HRTC buses. Places like Chitkul, Sarahan, Kalpa too have daily buses from Reckong Peo and Jeori. If the timing of the bus was not matching yours, then you will easily find a shared taxi that locals use to move around.

Visiting the nearby villages of Kaza like Komik and Hikkim etc by Bus could be a little challenging because the frequency of public transport is not that great. For this purpose, I will recommend that you either rent a two wheeler from Kaza; or rent a private cab which will cost about Rs. 3000 to Rs. 4000 for a day trip.

Same logic applies for Pin Valley as well. For exploring Pin, I will recommend first reaching Kaza and then renting a private cab or two wheeler. There is also a daily evening bus from Kaza to Mudh Village that you can board.

Also read: How to Plan a Trip to Spiti Valley by Bus and Shared Taxis

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 thus 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

While covering Spiti valley in 10 days; your travel time on first and last day will still be slightly higher; but on rest of the days, you will be spending more time enjoying the scenic beauty around you; rather than focusing on the road ahead and looking at your watch to make it to your destination well in time. I hope the information above 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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12 comments

Avatar
Sudeep June 8, 2019 - 2:01 pm

Hey,

We are planning a trip to Spiti from 14th-19th June from Delhi. We had actually planned Delhi-Manali-Kaza-Chandratal-Delhi. But looking at the status of Kunzum Pass, we have decided to drop the plan.

Can you suggest if the following plan via Shimla is viable or should I consider dropping a few places. We are short on days and want to cover this part of Himachal.

14/6 – Delhi – Rampur/Jeouri via Shimla
15/6 – Jeouri – Kaza. Overnight in Kaza
16/6 – Kaza-Ki-Kibber-Hikkim-kaza
17/6 – Kaza-Dhankar-Tabo-Nako
18/6 – Nako-Shimla
19/6 – Shimla – Delhi (Flight at 10pm from Delhi to Mumbai)

I know we are quite 1-2 days short but is this itinerary feasible. I have contacted a few drivers who said it can be done others are refusing. Quite confused due to it.

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Avatar
Vargis.Khan June 8, 2019 - 8:13 pm

Better plan like this Sudeep.

14/6 – Delhi – Rampur
15/6 – Rampur – Kaza
16/6 – Kaza-Ki-Kibber-Hikkim-kaza
17/6 – Kaza-Kalpa
18/6 – Kalpa-Shimla
19/6 – Shimla – Delhi (Flight at 10pm from Delhi to Mumbai)

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Avatar
bishwarup dasgupta May 21, 2019 - 8:39 am

Vargis sir,
I am planning a Spiti tour this October (2019). The youngest person of my team is 6years old and the oldest is 72years old. So is it wise to plan a night stay at Chandra taal? Though both of them have gained altitude of about 3500mt (Chitkul), Keylong and Barlacha la.
Can I have a horse or pony for Chandrataal? One of my team members is a victim of a road accident and her right leg is affected. But she is very enthusiastic and we are planning a trek to Chandratal if horse or pony be available.
I find you prefer Nako to Tabo for a stay. Why?
I give you my plan. Please give me your wise advice.
D1 delhi to shimla/narkanda
D2 narkanda to chitkul
d3 chitkul to kalpa
d4 kalpa to nako
d5 nako t mudh village
d6 mudh village to Kaza
d7 kaza
d8 kaza to chandratal (trek from batal)
d9 chandratal to batal (trek)
d10 batal to manali
d11 manali to delhi

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Avatar
Shivanshi Gupta May 16, 2019 - 8:14 am

Hi sir,
Can vehicle( with driver) be hired at shimla for spiti circuit? If yes, from where?
What would be approx charges for 10 days vehicle, which vehicle is best ?
If you know any good driver , please give details . Thanks

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Avatar
Shivanshi Gupta May 16, 2019 - 8:07 am

Hello sir,
Can we get the Cab at hire ( with driver) at shimla to complete spiti circuit?
If yes , where? And what would be approx charges for 10 days?
Which vehicle would be best to hire. If you know any good driver, please give good details. Thanks

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Avatar
Sumana May 15, 2019 - 10:06 am

Hi,

Finalizing our Spiti Valley plan. We will reach Shimla on the 12th of June, and fly out of Shimla on 21st June morning. So, 12th and 20th we stay at Shimla. We are booking car with Jamaica for eight days (13-20). What would be the best itinerary? Is this do-able? Or the journeys will be too long ?
13/6 Shimla-Chitkul
14/6 Chitkul-Tabo/Dhankar (will this again be a long day?)
15/6 Tabo/Dhankar-Mud
16/6 Mud-Kaza
17/6 Kaza
18/6 Kaza-Nako
19/6 Nako-Kalpa
20/6 Kalpa- Shimla.

WIll Kalpa to Shimla on last day be too long or risky? We got to catch an early morning flight next day.

In that case, should we plan:
13/6 Shimla-Chitkul
14/6 Chitkul-Tabo/Dhankar (will this again be a long day?)
15/6 Kaza
16/6 Kaza
17/6 Mud
18/6 Kalpa
19/6 Sarahan
20/6 Kalpa- Shimla.

Which is a nicer place to stay? Tabo or Dhankar? ALso, is Mud to Kalpa doable in one day?

Thanks a lot.
regards,
Sumana

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Avatar
Vargis.Khan May 15, 2019 - 12:55 pm

Go with the first itinerary, that one is better. Both Dhankar and Tabo are more or less the same but Tabo will be better to stay at for the night.

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Avatar
Sumana May 17, 2019 - 5:10 am

Thank you so much for your reply. Could you kindly give us contact details of Tara home stay at Mudh, or any other place there? At Tabo, Dewachen retreat is charging us 5K, is that worth it? If not, what could be the alternative?
Thanks and regards, Sumana

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Avatar
Kiran mody July 6, 2018 - 6:38 pm

Suggest to mention dd/mm/yyyy in each photograph enabling to know as to when it was taken. If a picture is taken in may and you are writing for travel in september, gives a wrong msg to reader.

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Avatar
Vargis.Khan July 6, 2018 - 7:06 pm

This article is not really specific to traveling in a certain month of the year but yes, it is a good suggestion. I will start time stamping the photographs.

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Avatar
Amit Ghosh April 27, 2019 - 6:36 pm

If I enter through Shimla and trip ends in Manali as you said in your 9 days plan then also need permit for Rotang la? Also I can not get any info regarding the opening time of Manali kaza road in this year, 2019. Is it open after 7th June? If not then I need to change my travel plan. Need your assistanc Vargis.

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Avatar
Vargis.Khan April 27, 2019 - 7:26 pm

1. Permit – No you don’t
2. Road opening – Please see the thread below.

http://roadragas.com/index.php?threads/lahaul-spiti-valley-road-status-2019.4255/

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