Spiti Road Journey

Day Plan

Day 1: Chandigarh to Kotgarh (210 km, 7 hrs)
Day 2: Kotgarh to Rakcham ( 160 Kms, 6 Hrs)
Day 3: Rakcham to Chitkul and then drive to Kalpa (70 km, 4 hrs)
Day 4: Kalpa to Tabo (150 km, 6 hrs)
Day 5: Tabo to Dhankar Monastery to Kaza (58 km, 3-4 hrs)
Day 6: Kaza to Key Monastery to Tashigang to Gette to Chicham to Kibber to Kaza (38 km, 3-4 hrs)
Day 7: Kaza to Komik to Langza to Kaza (50 km, 3 hrs)
Day 8: Kaza to Kunzum Pass to Chandra Taal (90 km, 4-5 hrs)
Day 9: Chandra Taal to Manali (134 km, 6 hrs)
Day 10: Manali to Chandigarh (290 km, 7 hrs)

Day 1: Chandigarh to Kotgarh (210 km, 7 hrs)

We will start our journey from Chandigarh in the morning through the Himalayan Express Highway and NH 22 into the heart of the Himalayas. Initially we drive along the low hills and eventually gain an altitude of 6500 ft to reach Shimla. Beautiful road snaking through forests of pine, deodar and oak trees offer glimpses of small beautiful villages on the way. We reach Kotgarh by evening, which is our halt for the night. Overnight stay is at a homestay amidst the orchard of apples and cherries.

Day 2: Kotgarh to Rakcham (160 km, 6 hrs)

After breakfast we take a narrow road descending through orchards of apples and cherries until we hit the NH 22 to drive along the right bank of Sutlej River. We drive along the Sutlej for about 80 km. The journey is full of excitement and thrill as gushing water paints the muddy river white. The mother nature reveals its first marvel as soon as we reach Taranda to see a deep gorge on the left-hand side of the road. The road roofed by multiple rock tunnels ushers you into Kinnaur Valley. Rakcham is a beautiful village at an altitude of 3050 m. This place has charm of its own. Green forested mountain beautifies the landscape on either side of glacial waters of the Baspa River.

Day 3: Rakcham to Chitkul to Kalpa (70 km, 5 hrs)

After breakfast we drive to the last village of India along the Tibetan border. We continue our journey for another 20 minutes to reach the last inhabited village near Indo-Tibet border called Chitkul – 13 km from Rakcham. This place is at an elevation of 3450 m. So don’t be surprised to see big snowflakes falling from the sky in the month of May as soon as you raise your head to look up. This place is the starting point for some popular treks leading to Rupin and Lamkhaga Pass. We spend morning hiking along the river and enjoying a blissful day in solitude. After Lunch drive toward the village of Kalpa. Kalpa is more famous for the views it offers of the snow-covered Kinner Kailash Ranges. This is the place for an overnight stay in a hotel.

Day 4: Kalpa to Tabo (150 km, 6 hrs)

Today we drive along the Sutlej until we reach a place called Khab. Khab is the place where Sutlej and Spiti River meet. From here the road ascends till you reach an elevation of 12000 ft to a place called Nako. Nako is a picturesque village with amazing views of snow-covered Manerang Ranges. There is also a lake in the centre of the village. This place is a road head camp for climbing the highest peak in Himachal Reo Purgyil. We then proceed toward Tabo village to reach there in the evening for an overnight stay in a homestay/guest house.

Day 5: Tabo to Dhankar Monastery to Kaza (58 km, 3-4 hrs)

Tabo has an ancient monastery which is about 1000 years old. Then from a place called Shichling, a road of about 10 km ascends toward Dhankar. Dhankar monastery is perched on the edge of a mountain and the landscape looks just out of a fairy tale setting. We reach Kaza by evening. The stay at Kaza will be in a hotel/homestay.

Day 6: Kaza to Key Monastery to Tashigang to Gette to Chicham to Kibber to Kaza (38 km, 3-4 hrs)

We start in the morning by visiting the famous Key monastery. After an enchanting interactive session with the monks at Key, we drive to the villages of Tashigang, Gette, Chicham and Kibber – which is one of the highest inhabited villages in the world. By evening we return to Kaza for an overnight stay at a guesthouse or homestay.

Day 7: Kaza to Komik to Langza to Kaza (50 km, 3 hrs)

Today we drive through 4400 m high Langza village. After Langza, we head further to the village of Komic, following the route to offer mesmerizing view of handful peaks (all above 6000 m). Situated at an elevation of 4513 m is one of the highest villages in Asia and literally means the eye of a snow cock.

Day 8: Kaza to Kunzum Pass to Chandra Taal (80 km, 3-4 hrs)

We start the day early as it’s a journey across the 4550 m (15,060 ft) Kunzum Pass. Kunzum Pass connects the Spiti Valley with Lahaul. Kunzum pass has amazing views of the Chandrabhaga Ranges. It has a Hindu temple and a buddhist Chorten dedicated to the same Goddess Kunzum Mata. After a short descend from the pass, we take a narrow road which goes to Chandra Taal. Chandra Taal – also known as the moon lake – is a beautiful lake at an altitude of 14100 ft nested between mountain ranges of Chandra Bhagha and Kunzum top. This is one of the most beautiful destinations in the Himalayas. After enjoying beautiful views we will settle for a lakeside overnight stay in tents at Chandra Taal.

Day 9: Chandra Taal to Manali (134 km, 6 hrs)

Experience the nature at it’s best in the morning at Chandra Taal. Then we drive toward Batal. After a short halt at Batal, we drive along the Chandra River till a place called Gramphoo. Then we drive up through lots of hairpin bends until we reach Rohtang Pass. You are treated with some amazing visuals of the snow-covered Lahaul Ranges on the way. Rohtang Pass is 3990 m ((13,050 ft) high. Manali is 49 km from here. We reach Manali by evening. Overnight stay at a hotel.

Day 10: Manali to Chandigarh (290 km, 7 hrs)

Time to bid farewell. Drive through Chandigarh to Delhi.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is this trip for me?

A: If you are crazily in love with Himalayas, then this journey is meant for you. If you have never felt how driving through the world’s most treacherous road and standing on the world’s highest inhabited village feels like, then this road trip is for you. Ear-deafening noise coming from furious Sutlej and Spiti Rivers and calmness and beauty of Chandra Taal will make you trip worth it.

Q: How is weather out there?

A: Temperatures might be as low as -2 °C or even lower while crossing Kunzum Pass and Rohtang Pass. And, the only mantra to enjoy this road journey is to be well equipped. It’s perfectly fine if maximum space of your bag is eaten up by an extra pair of woolen socks, cap, warm jacket and thermals.

Q: Can I bring my spouse/friend with me?

A: Of course, you can. We will be visiting many beautiful villages, lakes and monasteries during the course of our journey; which implies, we will be having a good time during the trip.

Q: Is there any trekking involved in the trip?

A: No. This is a road journey. All destinations you are visiting are accessible through vehicle. At couple of places you might have to take short walks, but they cannot be categorized as treks. Anyone with reasonable fitness level can do most of the activities during the trip.

Q: What is the maximum altitude we will hit?

A: 15,059 feet (4,590 m) at Kunzum Pass

Q: What about the level of physical fitness?

A: A person with reasonable fitness can join the group, because there is no trekking involved throughout the trip. Still, it is always good to be fit when going to high altitudes.

Q: Does physical fitness prevent altitude sickness?

A: As suggested it’s always good to be physically fit when you plant to go in high altitudes. But there is no evidence that people with high physical fitness level don’t fall prey to AMS (acute mountain sickness or altitude sickness). Rather they might challenge themselves to exert more, hence increasing probability of becoming AMS victim.

Q: Can I drink alcohol at high altitude?

A: Drinking alcohol at high altitudes is a practice you should avoid in all possibilities, because alcohol can obstruct your breathing, directly hampering acclimatization process of your body. Furthermore, alcohol may cause dehydration.

Q: Should I take diamox when going to high altitude?

A: There is no need to take diamox until or unless your body has enough time for acclimatization. We have planned the trip in stages to offer your body sufficient time for acclimatization during the ascent. Hence taking drugs in the mountains need to be avoided. You should consider taking diamox only if you are gaining altitude very quickly (flying to high altitude locations), that too only if you have no history of allergy to the drug.

Tour Cost

Rs. 32,000/- per person

Tour cost includes

1. Accommodation on twin sharing basis
2. Camping at Chandra Taal
3. Transportation on all days of the tour
4. Meals (breakfast, dinner)
5. Qualified tour leader
6. Vehicle: Innova jeep or equivalent (maximum number of travelers per vehicle are four)

Tour cost does not include

1. Travel to Chandigarh from your location
2. Additional food or beverages ordered, room service, bottled water, porter
3. Insurance
4. Anything not mentioned in inclusion list