Why you should Travel to Spiti Valley from Manali

by Vargis.Khan

The question of whether to journey to Spiti valley from Manali or Shimla is probably one of the most common ones that people wonder about while planning their trip. Both of these choices have their own pros and cons and in most of the cases, it is usually Shimla that comes out as preferred choice but make no mistake, even travelling to Spiti valley from Manali is no less fun. Even this route has its own advantages which I will detail in this article but before we go any further into this discussion, I must admit that none of these routes is lesser than the other in any way. The advantages or disadvantages of one route over another will differ on your own personal preferences but no matter where you are starting from, you must cover both sides of the journey to truly experience the “Spiti Circuit”.

spiti valley from manali

Spiti valley from Manali

Why you should travel to Spiti valley from Manali

So why and when should Manali be your preferred choice of a journey to Spiti valley? It will mostly depend on the following factors,

Second trip to Spiti:

This will probably be on top of the list. For most people, their first trip to Spiti stars from Shimla and ends at Manali. If you too have been to Spiti once before from Shimla, then for your second trip, you must journey to Spiti valley from Manali. Places will be the same, vistas will be the same, journey will be the same but trust me, it will be an entirely different experience doing it the other way around. Practically everything feels different and it would feel like you are visiting a new place altogether.

Adrenaline Rush:

Agreed, that for a comfortable trip you should start from Shimla letting your body get used to high altitude at a gradual pace.

But if it is instant adventure and thrill you seek, then Manali to Spiti is the route for you. Right from Manali, you start on your ascent towards Rohtang, riding through the slushy roads and water streams. As you descend Rohtang, your encounter the nightmarish Gramphoo to Batal stretch, enough to make anyone’s heart pounding.


A lot will depend on your itinerary as well. If it is only Spiti on your mind and you do not care about the Kinnaur valley, then you should travel to Spiti valley from Manali. Starting from Shimla, you will have to travel across the entire Kinnaur valley before you finally reach Spiti, however if you start from Manali, it will put you in Spiti valley right on day 2. For your return journey, you can chose to return via Manali itself or if you have time, take the Shimla route while coming back home.

Time of Travel:

This is another important factor but kind of related to the one I mentioned above. If it is a quick trip to Spiti that you are planning, then your only option is to travel from Manali and return via the same route. For example if you are starting from Delhi, on Day 1 you can do Delhi to Manali, on Day 2 Manali to Kaza. Return again to Manali and you can do a Spiti ride within four days of time. If however you start from Shimla, it becomes a week long trip at minimum.

Ladakh & Chandratal:

Manali Leh highway is always the preferred choice to reach Leh and a lot of people wonder if they can somehow add Chandratal to their itinerary without extending total days of travel or adding one day at most. This can be done if you are willing to do a bit of long journey for 3 days while on your way to Leh. On Day 1, reach Chandratal from Manali and stay there for the night at any of the camps. On Day 2, start early from Chandratal and make it to Jispa. On Day 3, once again start as early as you can from Jispa and reach Leh by late evening. So If you are also planning to travel to Ladakh and would like to throw in a light flavor of Spiti as well, Manali is the closest place you can do it from.


The entire Spiti valley is notorious for the terrible roads it presents to its travelers and surprisingly this is also a reason why a lot of people travel here for. If you just bought that new shiny 4×4 and cannot wait to experience the thrill of off-roading in it, then you must start from Manali. The Shimla route will see you traveling through some very good roads, average roads, broken but flat roads but nothing that can be termed as off-roading. Take the Manali route and drive through the Batal stretch, then to Chandratal and the road will remain non-existent.


Chandratal is becoming quite a popular place and several people travel here for the purpose of camping. It is not really Spiti valley that they seek but just spending a couple of night in a camp at Chandratal. The closest place for this purpose too is Manali where you can easily drive to Chandratal from in a day. Shimla however is at least 3 days of journey away from Chandratal

Budget trip to Spiti by public transport:

If you are planning a budget trip to Spiti and intend on traveling by a Bus, then you should do it from Manali. There is a regular daily bus service from Manali to Kaza, In fact there are two HRTS buses from Manali every day. The bus from Shimla takes two days to reach Kaza with a night halt at Reckong Peo which will mean that you will spend more on travel charges. Traveling from Manali will reduce your travel cost and will also avoid the money you will spend for night stay at Peo.

In the next part of this article, I will provide a sample Spiti from Manali travel itinerary that you can follow; covering all the major tourist attractions while ensuring that you do not travel too much or too less on any given day.

Also read: A detailed Spiti valley Itinerary from Manali

I hope this information regarding traveling to Spiti valley 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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Keyur Kansagra August 11, 2021 - 6:29 am

Will it be possible to travel to manali to chandratal (night stay) to kaza on 6 nov 2021?

Vargis.Khan August 12, 2021 - 10:15 am

No, the road will be closed by then

Diwanshu March 3, 2020 - 5:09 pm

How can I go back to Manali from Spiti valley?

Vargis.Khan March 4, 2020 - 1:06 am

via Kunzum and Rohtang Pass

Aruna October 31, 2018 - 7:05 am

Hi Ian planning to travel from Delhi to Manali on 11/11/18 2pmand cover spiti how can I plan as I have return flight on 15 by 8pm from Delhi ill use pvt taxi how about acquiring permit to rothang ive 8 years kid with me

Vamsi Vinta July 13, 2018 - 3:26 am

Hi Vargis,

We are planning a trip to Spiti valley during 10-19 August,2018. Initially we planned Manali – Kaza – Manali side of the circuit because we were informed that Shimla – Kaza route is prone to landslides during that period. However, we are hearing that even Manali – Kaza route is prone to landslides. Could you please guide us on that? Thanks a lot

Vargis.Khan July 13, 2018 - 1:34 pm

Hi Vamsi – In Monsoon season, the entire Spiti circuit is prone to landslides. If possible, push your trip by a couple of weeks towards late August or early September to be on a safer side.

Vamsi Vinta July 13, 2018 - 2:59 pm

Oh! Sadly we cannot do that Vargis! Have done some bookings. Could you please suggest a better evil of both? (Manali- Kaza or Shimla – Kaza)

Vargis.Khan July 13, 2018 - 5:28 pm

There is no better evil really. If you are headed that way than you should and must cover both routes. Do not miss out on either side of the journey.

Vamsi Vinta July 15, 2018 - 3:42 am

Ok, Thanks Vargis! Will do the complete circuit, starting from Shimla.

Vargis.Khan July 15, 2018 - 5:45 am

You are welcome brother. Don’t forget to let me know how your trip went and share some pictures.

Jack July 12, 2018 - 12:06 pm

Hi Vargis

Day1 Shimla to Solang valley
Day2 Solang valley sightseeing
Day3 Solany valley to Rohtang pass to Kunzum pass to Kaza (stay overnight at Kaza)
Day4 Kaza to Chandratal lake(stay overnight at Chandratal camps)
Day5 Chandratal lake to Manali


Day1 Shimla to Solang valley
Day2 Solang valley sightseeing
Day3 Solany valley to Rohtang pass to Kunzum pass to Kaza (stay overnight at Kaza)
Day4 Kaza to Chandratal lake to Manali

From among the top 2 which is convenient
I have already planned from Chandigarh to Shimla along with stay before hand
I am confused among the top 2 as i will be gng with my Mom, so will book pvt cab nly

Vargis.Khan July 12, 2018 - 1:47 pm

Hi Jack, Definitely go for the first plan Bhai. Kaza to Chandratal to Manali same day will be a bit hectic.

Jack July 13, 2018 - 5:16 am

Thnkx alot for advice 🙂

Vargis.Khan July 13, 2018 - 1:32 pm

You are welcome !!!

Naveen Patro June 29, 2018 - 5:21 am

Planning to go spiti from dharamsala in july….Is it possible for a bike to r each out there
without any hassle….

Vargis.Khan June 29, 2018 - 2:27 pm

Yes it is possible.

Poonam Sharma June 6, 2018 - 4:46 pm


Please suggest which car is better between I 10 or skoda fabia for trip to spiti via Shimla route
Is June 21-25 right period n can avoid landslides ?

Or we should take manali side during this period in either of these cars

Vargis.Khan June 6, 2018 - 6:28 pm

Both cars are not suitable for Spiti actually but i10 will be slightly better because it has better ground clearance. June 21-25 is fine but the road from Manali to Kaza will still be bad

Niraj May 23, 2018 - 11:46 pm

Is it possible to travel in this route with child age group of 3-4 years during first week of June

Vargis.Khan May 24, 2018 - 5:37 am

Yes it is but I would recommend that you go via Shimla and not Manali.

Amey Narawad April 1, 2018 - 6:11 am

is it possible to complete delhi to manali then spiti to Kinnaur valley to shimla to delhi within 9 days ??? or we should go delhi to manali to spiti to manali to delhi ??? which will be better please suggest

Vargis.Khan April 2, 2018 - 2:43 pm

No you can easily complete the entire circuit in 9 days provided that you are traveling by your own vehicle.

W January 29, 2018 - 9:31 pm


Is it possible to travel to spiti from either Manali or Shimla in early-mid april?



Vargis.Khan January 29, 2018 - 9:48 pm

Hello – From Shimla yes but not from Manali

Atish Gupta October 10, 2017 - 6:57 pm

Can we travel to Manali from Spiti valley via chandratal lake (night stay) in the 2nd week of October 2018 ?

Vargis.Khan October 10, 2017 - 8:27 pm

It depends on the weather next year but but chances are that you should be able to.

Krishna September 13, 2017 - 7:34 am


Can we travel to spiti valley from Manali in the first week of October?

Vargis.Khan September 13, 2017 - 11:58 am

Yes you can

Riken solanki July 9, 2017 - 7:50 pm

I need a help regarding transportation. I along with my other office colleagues, we have planned a mini vacation. We are looking for a taxi or shared public transportation from Kaza to manali – one way trip. Private taxis are not pocket friendly at all.
So can you please help us to find out a local taxi or give an accurate information about kaza to manali shared buses/taxi.

Vargis.Khan July 10, 2017 - 4:43 pm


There is really no accurate information here. It is a “hunt for taxi” situation because there is no schedule to these cabs.They wait for passengers and once they are full, taxi is on its way. You will have to reach at Manali Bus stand and ask around for the next taxi going that way,


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