To camp in Spiti Valley adds a lot more fun to an already adventurous trip. You can either bring your own camping gear or stay at a campsite. Either way, it will definitely be an evening to remember and an experience to cherish. In this article, I will provide details on where can you camp in Spiti valley and which ones are the best spots to do so.
Please note that in this article, I will only talk about camping in Spiti Valley. If you want to get more details like how to reach, what to see, things to do, what to pack, altitude sickness, and other safety tips, please read How to Plan a Trip to Spiti Valley.
Where can you Camp in Spiti Valley?
Spiti is definitely a great place to camp however the options in terms of camping sites were severely limited until a few years ago. With the recent boost in tourism in the valley, even several remote villages have a choice of camping now. At some places, campsites are readily available whereas, at others, it will either on done or request or you will have to pitch your own tent.
Chandratal is the most favorite place to camp but is definitely not the only one. I will run down the Spiti circuit place by place, covering major tourist stopovers, and will suggest where you can camp there or not.
For the sake of this article, I am going to assume that you are starting from the Shimla side and circle your way through Spiti to end at Manali.
Camping in Shimla
There is neither a site nor any logic in looking to camp in Shimla. It is really a residential city now more than a tourist destination. While you are in Shimla, stay at a hotel and prepare for your trip ahead.
If you do want to camp though, you will have to look for a place towards Kufri. There are some campsites in Shimla but they are on the outskirts. Since you are here just for a night and you will move on the next day, a preferred choice of accommodation here should be a hotel.
Another thing to do is take the Chail Shimla route instead and find a camping spot there. That road runs through a forest and there are several places where you can pitch your tent. For more details, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Shimla.
Camping in Narkanda
Narkanda is a great site to camp if you are carrying your own camping gear. The place has a large meadow right next to it which serves as a ski area in winters. If you wanted to, you can pitch your tent in the meadow there. You will have to walk a little, approximately a kilometer or so in order to find the spot. Ask any of the locals and they can guide you.
Another place where you can find a camping spot is the road towards Hatu. Just drive on it for a kilometer or two and you will come across a few clearings good enough for camping.
There is no existing campsite in Narkanda. The only one available is on the outskirts, about 3-4 kilometers out of the village on Hatu peak road. You will have to pass through the gate in the picture below to reach the campsite.
My advice would be to not worry about camping in Narkanda and stay at a hotel instead. It is too much of a hassle here. For more details, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Narkanda.
Camping in Sarahan
Sarahan is a little off the main route but a must-visit town. You will not find a good spot to camp within the village but there are several places where you can do so on the road that goes from Jeori to Sarahan.
Once again, you will not find a camping site and will have to bring your own gear. This is another place where you are better off staying at a hotel. For more details, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Sarahan.
Camping in Sangla
There are a lot of places where you can camp right next to the river. It is however advisable to find a spot where there is a house nearby. Most of the land here is owned by the locals and you may be trespassing on someone else’s property. Find a spot where there is a house nearby, speak to the owner, and camp with their permission. You may also have to pay off a little money as rent for the night.
There are campsites in Sangla near the Baspa River where you can stay if you weren’t carrying your own gear. For more details, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Sangla.
Camping in Rakcham
This is another great spot to camp on Karcham Chitkul road. It is a little ahead of Sangla and is a perfect spot for camping. There are a couple of existing campsites in Rakcham near the river that you can choose from.
Camping in Chitkul
This is my favorite place to camp. The same thing that I mentioned for Sangla applies here but it is far better in terms of camping than Sangla primarily for two reasons. One is that it is a smaller village and you will find more secluded places to camp. The second is that it is far more beautiful than Sangla.
There are campsites in Chitkul as well but you may not find the tents pitched in already. Speak with any of the hotels and they can arrange camping for you on request. For more details, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Chitkul.
Camping in Nako
This village looks like in the middle of nowhere. There are plenty of places to camp around the village and you can dig anywhere you want. There is a helipad outside the village and the area around it can serve as a good spot for self camping. The important thing to know is that you cannot camp inside the village or even on its outskirts. The villagers do not allow it so you will have to pitch your tent at a distance.
There is a campsite as well in Nako, near the lake but it is way too expensive. The last time I was there, they asked me for Rs. 4000 per person. Unbelievable, isn’t it? For more details, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Nako.
Camping in Tabo
It is not advised to look for a camping site here. If you are breaking your journey in Tabo, you should stay in a hotel. But if you do want to camp, you can easily find a spot to do so. I noticed a couple of campsites as well in Tabo the last time I was on the circuit but the whole setting just wasn’t too pretty or inviting. For more details, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Tabo.
Camping in Dhankar
It is not really a place to stay so just visit the monastery and move on. But if you intend to stay for the night, I will recommend staying at a guest house or homestay.
Dhankar lake near the village is considered sacred and camping on its shores is prohibited so I will discourage you from doing that. The lake is also about 2 hours away from the village so carrying all the gear will also be a pain that you should rather avoid. For more details, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Dhankar.
Camping in Kaza
Kaza is probably the worst place to go camping on the entire circuit. Do not look for a camping site here, you won’t find any. You should just stay in a hotel while at Kaza.
Camping in Losar
There are no campsites in Losar. It is not also advised to stay here as well. You are better off staying in Kaza and if you need a remote kind of location away from the crowd, you should go towards Kibber or Komik villages.
Camping at Chandratal
This is the best place to camp in Spiti Valley. The only catch is that you cannot camp right next to the lake. Chandratal is a wetland reserve and camping on its banks is prohibited by the law. All the campsites are at a distance of about 3 kilometers and that is the closest that you can get as well.
Self camping at Chandratal is definitely a possibility. You will come across numerous spots on Chandratal road where you can camp. Do not camp near the parking area as well and make sure that your tents are no further than the other campsites.
If you were not carrying your own tent, you can stay at campsites which are plenty here. The average charge is around Rs. 1500 to Rs. 2000 per person. For more details, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Chandratal.
Camping in Batal
Batal has two kinds of campsites available. First is the famous Dhaba that offers dormitory type accommodation for a nominal price. The second is the tents set up by the son of the Dhaba owner along the banks of Chandrabhaga River. This is probably the best spot on the entire circuit for self camping. You can camp near the river and there is a Dhaba right there to buy food or snacks.
Camping at Chhota Dhara
Chhota Dhara has a Chadar tent / Dhaba where you can get a bed for the night. There are also a couple of spots here where you can camp for the night.
Camping in Chhatru
Chhatru also has a Chadar tent / Dhaba where you can get a bed for the night.
Camp in Spiti Valley – Conclusion
I hope the information above on where can you camp in Spiti Valley was 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.