“Spiti Valley”- The real destination for adventure, fun, and homestays. It is located at an altitude of 4000 meters in the lofty mountains of Himalaya. There is ample scope of activities to do in some major villages of Spiti valley.
Thousands of people visit here to see the awesomeness of this offbeat adventure destination and to enjoy trekking at high altitude with the full flow of adrenaline rush inside the body. In this article, you will learn 15 things you should know before planning Spiti valley tour.
15 Things you should know before planning Spiti valley tour
1) Clothing in variable seasons
It is very important to take care of the clothing options before you plan for Spiti valley tour. Though, the perfect cloth to be wear for this tour varies with changing seasons.
First of all, you must know that the Spiti valley is located high in Himalaya Mountains where the temperature remains relatively low and gets pretty cold throughout the year, so make sure you wear a warm cloth which may also prevent you from Acute Mountain Sickness.
Below are some suggestions which could help you in choosing suitable clothes for Spiti valley tour according to different seasons:
In summer season: In the summer months of April to June, the atmosphere of Spiti valley seems favorable for an outing and getting most from the trekking experience during the sunny days.
But, one should know, the temperature in some major part of the Spiti valley keeps on fluctuating. Therefore, you should always wear a light jacket or fleece that can protect you from the unwanted cold breeze hitting your body and harm you in any way once you enter in the shady region of the Spiti valley.
In winter season: The season between mid-Novembers to mid-January is the most challenging period for a Spiti Valley Tour. You must wear proper layer clothing in both upper and lower part of the body like warm inner, Sweater, neck covered jackets, light warm lower, Ice proof shoes with good quality socks, caps/hats, sunglasses and other important warm cloths which you feel worth carrying and can protect you completely from the lowest -40 C temperature in the high altitude of Spiti Valley.
2) Highway conditions & routes
The highway condition depends on which season you are traveling. Mainly, there are two specific routes to Spiti Valley:
- Manali to Spiti (via Rohtang pass- Gramphu- Chattru-Kunzum Pass- Spiti valley)
- Shimla to Spiti (via Kinnaur valley- Nako- Spiti valley.)
The second route is popularly known as “Hindustan Tibet Highway”. This route is open throughout the year, even in winters and are the most challenging time to travel Spiti valley.
The highways are covered with snow, due to which the busses and other modes of travel pass with the average speed through this Snow packed highway and thus it becomes a bit hard for the Spiti tourists to reach the destination by following this route in winters.
Though in summer, this is the best route to travel Spiti valley which passes through various ON ROAD villages.
The first route is mostly less preferable as this open only few months (5-6 months) throughout the year.
This route (Manali- Spiti) passes through three main villages- Rohtang pass, Gramphu and Kunzum and to travel through this, the tourists have to wait till the opening of some important routes of these villages.
3) Stunning Monastries to see in Spiti valley
Spiti Valley is a beautiful nature blessed destination in the Himalaya and it has vibrant monasteries, glorious Lakes, Lofty Mountains & passes in nearby villages.
4) Pristine Lakes to see in Spiti Valley
Surajtal Lake, at approx 4800 meters above sea level
5) Passes to see near Spiti valley
6) National Park in Spiti Valley
Pin Valley National Park
7) Trekking precautions at high altitude
Trekking in Spiti is one of the most thrilling and daunting tasks. It involves tackling dangerous roads as well as experiencing the magnificent beauty of nature which comes in the form of panoramic view of lofty mountains and Live Clouds.
But you should be well aware of some precautions while getting ready for trekking in approximately 5000 meters high altitude.
- Always book a guide who is well aware of the challenges during trekking in Spiti valley.
- Be careful with the chance of being sick during trekking and don’t forget to consult with the doctors for any form of cautions that your body needs before going for trekking in Spiti valley.
- Make sure that you have to carry enough food and water before starting the journey as most people got stuck in the middle of the terrain due to unavailability of sufficient amount of drinking water and food facility in the peak of the path.
8) Breathing problem & Acute Mountain Sickness
It is more important to take care of your health as most people could not adapt to the climatic changes in the high altitude of Spiti valley.
Not being a doctor but as an adviser, I would suggest you be prepared for medical emergencies like breathing problem and Acute Mountain sickness (AMS) especially when you are climbing in places like Chandratal, Kunzum Pass, Kaza, Nako, where the oxygen level is relatively lesser than the normal.
There are certain preventive measures and medicines which help you in surviving in the low oxygen region of the Spiti valley and being protected from AMS.
Diamox, (chemical name is Acetazolamide) is the best medicine that makes your body survive for a long time in high altitude regions.
But, do concern with doctors about the dozes and possibility of side effects before taking the medicines.
9) Availability of Transport medium
The challenges begin here for the tourists who visit Spiti valley, especially for ‘Snow adventures’. They need transport to reach the destination safely, but it is quite difficult to find buses or any public transport from both the routes especially in winter.
You only have two ways to reach your destination by either route:
Shared taxis: This is the best way to reach different villages that come on the way towards Spiti Valley. The shared taxi costs you less and it also provides the opportunity to make a short relationship with the local community of different villages.
Hire Private vehicle: This is another way to reach your preferred location in Spiti valley, but the only thing is that it will cost you very expensive and there is also less chance of making a fair relationship with the villagers who could help you in making your Spiti tour more interesting.
10) Homestay facilities
The tourists need hotels or rest houses for staying in the villages. But most of the rest house is closed in winter season. Moreover, there are no star hotel facilities in the villages.
Homestay is the best option for tourists staying in rural places. Staying in homestays will make tourists aware of the local culture and heritage of the village along with the taste of local food.
It is best to reach villages with shared taxis where the local villagers will make you aware of the current homestay facility in the village.
There are few homestays in villages like Kaza-Sakya Abode, Anmo in Lhalung, Tanzi in Langza, Komic Gomsa in Komic, Norling homestay. All these offer tourists to stay with them and learn their way of life along with enjoying food and Spiti valley adventures.
In Kibber, Losar and Tabo villages, you can find most of the homestays opens in winters as well.
11) Network facilities
Unfortunately, the mobile network facilities in these areas are not available for all the network providers. You will only get BSNL network in most parts of the Spiti valley.
In some village like Kaza, there is no network for mobile communication. But, for tourist convenience, STD calling facility is available in these regions so you could enjoy your trip by recalling 90’s era.
12) Sanitary facilities
There is toilet facility but no water supply as it gets frozen due to extreme cold in winters.
13) ATM and Cash facilities
Pack your pockets with enough money according to your budget for the tour. You will rarely find any ATM in these regions. The Only ATM located in Kaza but there no surety of available cash there.
14) Establish a relationship with local villagers
Spiti valley is the place where the local people dominate most of the regions. It is good to establish a short-term relationship with them as they are very helpful and kind in nature.
They will help you in finding homestays and adventure places to visit in Spiti valley. You could have a great time exploring places and taste of local food in their fellowship.
15) Best time to travel
It depends on your mood and activity you want to do in Spiti valley. Normally summer season from March to May is a good time to visit Spiti valley to enjoy the sunny ambiance with cold breeze where you will not face any issue with the opening routes, particularly in this season.
Most of the tourists prefer to visit in the summer-winter period between June to September. This period ensures tourists an ideal climatic condition with the normal temperature of 25 C in the daytime which drops down to 2-3 degree in the night.
How to reach Spiti valley
The best way to reach Spiti valley is by Road which cuts through lofty mountains and picturesque hamlets. Once you book a ticket from Delhi to Shimla or Manali, ask for a shared taxi which can take you to your final destination.
These are the 15 things you should know before planning Spiti valley tour. You can go and enjoy your tour with family, friends or couple. Some people like to travel Spiti valley independently to explore the new possibility of adventures.