May 16, 2017 thepoornomad 1Comment

Lahaul & Spiti Valley Road Trip (a cheat sheet for budget travelers)

 

Spiti Valley is always on my bucket list. Have heard a lot but wasn’t sure how to plan a “Spiti Valley Road Trip”.
After completing my “Road Trip To Ladakh” in 2015, I was wondering about my next destination for my upcoming road trip. After a long R&D.. going through various blogs, travel guides, budget calculation, I finalized Lahaul & Spiti.
But this time, I was not interested in doing a Spiti Valley Road Trip by bike. Rather than, I was planning to do a road trip to Spiti Valley by using public transport by bus, shared cabs and staying at hostels / or budget hotels.

Oh yes…..it would be a solo backpacking trip. I was excited.
As after a long time, I was going for a Solo Backpacking Trip.
So let’s start and see how I planned this Lahaul & Spiti trip and

What You Will Be Getting With This Article: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Spiti Valley Road Trip

  1. How to reach Spiti Valley?
  2. How to plan a Spiti Valley road trip with the help of public transport?
  3. Places to stay
  4. Best time to visit Spiti Valley
  5. Travel meter
  6. Travel cost
  7. Suggested itinerary
  8. And finally how to complete this amazing road trip to Spiti Valley that too within Rs.10,000

How To Reach Spiti Valley?

road trip to spiti valley

Lahaul & Spiti are basically two different districts. Lahaul is more fertile, so you will find more greenery and Spiti is a barren land like Ladakh.  Both these amazingly beautiful regions are separated by the soaring Kunzum La Pass. This Trans-Himalayan region (Spiti) is also termed a part of the famous Tibetan Plateau.  So I guess now you might have an idea how beautiful Spiti is?

Both Lahaul & Spiti attracts a large number of travelers ranging from backpackers, professional trekkers, bikers and tourists during its peak time.

In fact, it is also known as “Mini Ladakh” due to its geography which resembles Leh & Ladakh region. But if someone asks me which one of them is better Ladakh or Spiti?
My answer would be Spiti.

Sooner or later, Ladakh will be going to be a hot spot for tourists and we can see it in the upcoming season only. But Spiti is still an unraveled hamlet from tourist’s footsteps. It is much quieter, simple and still holds its root culture and beauty.

I guess I have told you a lot about Lahaul and Spiti? So let’s focus on

How to reach Spiti valley?

There are two main routes to do a road trip to Spiti Valley

  • One is from Manali (Himachal Pradesh)
  • And the other one is from Shimla (Himachal Pradesh)

For both these locations, there are lots of buses which run throughout the day from Delhi to connect both these towns.
So reaching both Manali and Shimla is not a hard task.

But if you are looking for a suggestion, I would suggest you start your Spiti Valley road trip from Shimla and end it in Manali. There are two reasons for that

  1. Save The Best For The Last: Chandratal Lake is one of the famous and most visited spots on this route. And it is also near to Manali and Rohtang Pass. So it is always a better idea to plan the itinerary is such a way that you visit the most beautiful places during the end of your trip. To keep your adrenalin running.
  2. Manali Is More Beautiful: Everyone has their own taste but being an avid traveler, I always find Manali more beautiful and has a plethora of options to chill out, after you end a long journey.
    Who doesn’t want to have a beer just beside a river after completing this kind of exhilarating journey.
    By the way, it is all up to you…whether you start your trip from Manali or Shimla

Best Time To Visit Spiti Valley

If you are planning for a Lahaul & Spiti Valley Road Trip then you have to plan according to the season. As by April to mid may snow starts to melt in and by this time some roads start to open. But the whole route from Shimla to Kaza to Manali generally gets open by may mid to may last.
Note: There are no fixed dates so try to keep a track on it.

 

Ultimate Guide For A Road Trip To Spiti Valley  Under Rs 10,000

So how to plan this road trip to Spiti Valley under 10,000?
This question must be going on….in your head right?

Before answering this question let’s check out the itinerary first

Lahaul & Spiti Itineraray

Excel Pic

Day 01: Delhi – Shimla – Narkanda

First day of your Spiti Valley Road Trip

If you are traveling from Delhi then the best and the cheapest mode of transport to reach Shimla or Narkanda is to travel by HRTC State run buses. You can book it online or even you can go to Kashmiri Gate Bus Stand to book your seat or to enquire about the route. Most of these buses leave for Himachal during the evening or late evening and reach there by morning.
Note: The last stop of these buses is Reckong Peo

Departure Bus Stand: Kashmiri Gate (New Delhi)
Departure Time:  1700 hrs
Arrival City: Narkanda
Arrival Time: 0700 hrs
Ticket Price: 800 INR
Where To Visit: Hatu Peak, Tannu Jubbar Lake, and Mahamaya Temple
Where To Stay: There are various resorts, budget hotels & an Himachal Tourism hotel.
Room Rate: You may go for budget hotels which will cost you between 300 – 500 INR for a double room and a single room around 300 INR (if available)
Fooding Budget:
Note: For your per day fooding budget, I did a breakup of the 04 meals and the kind of cost you may incur. I did this calculation keeping in mind the average that I spent during my Road Trip to Spiti Valley trip. It is all an estimate of the average.
Breakfast: 60 INR
Lunch: 140 INR
Snacks: 50 INR
Dinner: 100 INR
Total: 350INR

Today You Spent: (800 for Travel + 400 for stay + 350 for food) = 1,550 INR
To book your bus online, you may visit this website.

 

Day 02: Narkanda – Sangla – Chitkul

road trip to spiti valley

On your second day of your Spiti Valley Road Trip, you are going to visit Chitkul which is also known as the last village of India.

Try to leave early and catch the first bus to Sangla (around at 7 am… the same bus coming from Delhi). Buses are not that frequent plus it takes around 06 – 07 hrs to reach Sangla, so try to leave as soon as possible. From Sangla, you have to change another bus to Chitkul. You can have your lunch in Rampur and then leave for Chitkul which is around 20 km’s from Sangla which takes an hour to reach.
Note: Chitkul is a small village covered by beautiful vistas.  

Departure Bus Stand: Narkanda Bus Stand
Departure Time:  0700 hrs
Arrival City: Chitkul
Arrival Time: 1500 hrs
Ticket Price: 130 INR
Where To Visit: Chitkul being a beautiful and a small scenic village, you can roam anywhere. Click pictures and chill.
Where To Stay: There are various small budget hotels in Chitkul which offers food too. So try to use that.
Room Rate: 400 INR for a double room
and a single room will cost you around 300 INR
Fooding Budget:
Breakfast: 50 INR
Lunch: 100 INR
Snacks: 50 INR
Dinner: 100 INR
Total: 300INR

Today You Spent: (130 for Travel + 300 for stay + 300 for food) = 730 INR

 

Day 03: Chitkul – Sangla – Kalpa – Reckong Peo

spiti valley road trip

On your third day of your road trip to Spiti valley, you will be visiting Reckong Peo which is also known as the entry gate to Spiti.
Leave early from Chitkul and visit Kamru Fort at Sangla. And then from Sangla take a bus to Reckong Peo.

Departure Bus Stand: Chitkul
Departure Time:  0700 hrs
Arrival City: Reckong Peo
Arrival Time: 1200 hrs
Ticket Price: 100 INR
Where To Visit: In Sangla you can visit Kamru fort. And in Reckong Peo, you may explore the market or can go for the small monastery located at the top of Reckong Peo.
Where To Stay: There number of small budget hotels in Reckong Peo is very less.
Room Rate: 300 – 400 INR for a double room
Fooding Budget:
Breakfast: 50 INR
Lunch: 100 INR
Snacks: 50 INR
Dinner: 100 INR
Total: 300INR

Today You Spent: (100 for Travel + 300 for stay + 300 for food) = 700 INR

Day 04: Reckong Peo – Nako

how to reach spiti valley

Road Trip To Spiti Valley fourth day: Today you are going to explore the little hamlet which is also known as Nako Village and its beautiful Nako Lake.

From Reckong Peo there is a bus which leaves for Kaza around at 06 am. So try to catch that bus as that is the best option to travel on this rugged and not so traveled routes. No need to do advance booking as most of the time you will find a seat for your onward journey.
To reach Nako, it takes around 04 – 05 hrs with a small tea and breakfast break in between. For Nako village, the bus will leave you in a small village from where either you can take a shared taxi (if available) or can do a small 01 hr hike to Nako village.

Departure Bus Stand: Reckong Peo
Departure Time:  0600 hrs
Arrival City: Nako
Arrival Time: 1200 hrs
Ticket Price: 100 INR
Where To Visit: Nako is a famous stop for many backpackers due to its Gompas, Monastery and Nako Lake.
Where To Stay: Home stays and budget hotels are available in Nako village.
Room Rate: 200 – 300 INR for a double room
Fooding Budget:
Breakfast: 50 INR
Lunch: 100 INR
Snacks: 50 INR
Dinner: 100 INR
Total: 300INR

Today You Spent: (100 for Travel + 200 for stay + 300 for food) = 600 INR

Day 05: Nako – Tabo

spiti valley road trip

On your fifth day of your Spiti valley road trip, you will be staying with the Lamas.

There are around 1 – 2 buses from Nako which leaves for Kaza and Tabo is located en-route.  Tabo is located just 65 km’s from Nako, so today you don’t have to rush to catch an early morning bus.
Tabo is basically a small village known for its monastery and caves. Plus there are lots of cafes and restaurants to experiment with your taste buds. Not only that, Tabo monastery offer tourists to stay in their guest house and trust me, it is a well-maintained guest house just located near to Tabo Monastery. Plus you can also visit the prayer session that happens inside the monastery 06 am and 05 pm (I would still suggest you ask the monks about the timing… as I cannot recall the exact timing of the prayer session). But do try to attend that as it is an overwhelming experience.

Departure Bus Stand: Nako
Departure Time:  0800 hrs
Arrival City: Tabo
Arrival Time: 1100 hrs
Ticket Price: 50 INR
Where To Visit: Tabo Monastery and Tabo caves. Plus you can also visit the river bank which flows just beside Tabo.
Where To Stay: Home stays, budget hotels are available in Nako village. Plus you can also stay at Tabo monastery Guesthouse.
Room Rate: 300 – 400 INR for a double room
Tabo Monastery Guesthouse: 400 INR for a double room
Fooding Budget:
Breakfast: 50 INR
Lunch: 100 INR
Snacks: 100 INR
Dinner: 100 INR
Total: 350INR

Today You Spent: (50 for Travel + 400 for stay + 350 for food) = 800 INR

Day 06: Tabo – Kaza

road trip to spiti valley

Who doesn’t like shopping and that too when you are in Kaza. And that is what you are going to do on your sixth day of your Lahaul & Spiti valley road trip.

It is just an hour journey to Kaza but as far I know, there are only two buses which run from Tabo to Kaza. One is in the early morning and one is in evening. So which one to go for is all up to you. I would suggest you go for the morning bus as it will give you an ample amount of time to search for a good hotel. As hotels are a little bit costly in Kaza. To get a good hotel within your budget, I would suggest you walk down towards the end of the Kaza market.  As the chances of getting a good hotel within your budget are high.
Plus reaching early will give you ample time to explore Kaza market which has a lot of stuff to offer to travelers. Plus if you reach early in Kaza you can also visit Key Monastery same day which is huge and beautiful at the same time. For Key monastery, there are shared cabs which run from Kaza bus stand. They charge around 100 INR per person

Departure Bus Stand: Tabo
Departure Time:  0700 hrs
Arrival City: Kaza
Arrival Time: 0800 hrs
Ticket Price: 50 INR for Tabo to Kaza and 100 INR for Key Monastery
Where To Visit: Key Monastery and shopping at Kaza market
Where To Stay: Home stays, budget hotels are available in Kaza.
Room Rate: 300 – 800 INR for a double room
Fooding Budget:
Breakfast: 50 INR
Lunch: 150 INR
Snacks: 100 INR
Dinner: 150 INR
Total: 450INR

Today You Spent: (150 for Travel + 400 for stay + 450 for food) = 1,000 INR

Day 07: Kaza Sight Seeing

spiti valley road trip

Spiti Valley road trip seventh day: Today you will explore Komic the highest village in the world.

Today you can go for Komic village trek. It takes around 02 hrs for locals to reach Komic. For a normal traveler, who is not very familiarized with trekking, it might take around 04 – 05 hrs.
In Komic you will find a monastery and a small monastery run shop for groceries like biscuits, cigarettes, and water. The view is exhilarating.
Komic village trek is must do for everyone. Even for those who is not fond of trekking or hiking, I would suggest you go for this small trek. But there is one thing you should keep in mind and that is the last bus from Komic to Kaza is around 1500 hrs. So make sure, you reach there before that or else you have to trek down. You can have your lunch in Komic only as the monastery also runs a small restaurant for tourists.

Departure Bus Stand: NA
Departure Time:  NA
Arrival City: NA
Arrival Time: NA
Ticket Price: NA
Where To Visit: Komic village and shopping at Kaza market
Where To Stay: Same as above
Room Rate: Same as above
Fooding Budget:
Breakfast: 50 INR
Lunch: 100 INR
Snacks: 100 INR
Dinner: 150 INR
Total: 400 INR

Today You Spent: (500 for stay + 400 for food) = 900 INR

Day 08: Kaza – Chandratal Lake

spiti valley road trip

On your second last day of your road trip to Spiti Valley, you are going to visit the jaw-dropping moon lake.

So Kaza is finally over. And now comes your final stop and that is Chandratal lake aka “The Moon Lake”
To reach, Chandratal there are two options one is state run buses, which leaves every morning for Manali. And the other is shared Sumo, which leaves around at 6 am every day.
There is one big issue which you might face and that is to reach Chandratal you have to get down at Battal. From Battal, you have to do a 2hrs trek to Chandratal. If you are not in a mood to do a trek then I would suggest you wait there (battal) and wait for cabs which are going towards Chandratal. Pay them or do a hitchhike. Whatever suits you.
Or you can even book a cab from Kaza only for the whole trip.
Kaza – Chandratal Lake (overnight stay at Chandratal) – Next day Manali
It can be a good option if you have a group or you can form a group with other travelers. I did the same thing… I, one more guy from Kerala and some other foreign backpackers formed a group and booked the whole cab so that we can stay in Chandratal for a night.
We were 10 guys and the whole Cab cost us around 10000 – 12000 I guess.
For m0re info: you can also check out this blog from Mridula Dwivedi: How To Reach Chandratal Lake

Departure Bus Stand: Kaza
Departure Time:  0600 hrs
Arrival City: Chandratal lake
Arrival Time: 1400 hrs
Ticket Price: 1200 by Cab / Sumo and 200 by bus
Where To Visit: Chandratal Lake
Where To Stay: There are various camping options in Chandratal Lake.
Room Rate: 600 – 1500 INR per camp.
Fooding Budget:
Breakfast: 100 INR
Lunch: 100 INR
Snacks: 100 INR
Dinner: 200 INR
Total: 500 INR

Today You Spent: (1200 for travel + 600 for stay + 500 for food) = 2,300 INR

 

Day 09: Chandratal Lake – Manali – Delhi

Have your breakfast and leave for Manali. En route you can have your lunch and by afternoon, you will reach Manali. And if not tired, you can book your tickets and can book your bus for Delhi.
Almost all of these buses leave Manali by evening and reach Delhi by early morning.

Departure Bus Stand: Manali
Departure Time:  1700 hrs
Arrival City: New Delhi
Arrival Time: 0600 hrs (next day)
Ticket Price: 1000 INR
Where To Visit: NA
Where To Stay: NA
Room Rate: NA
Fooding Budget:
Breakfast: 100 INR
Lunch: 100 INR
Snacks: 100 INR
Dinner: 100 INR
Total: 400 INR

Today You Spent: (1000 for travel + 400 for food) = 1,400 INR

So let’s calculate

spiti valley road trip

So I guess, know you might have an idea on how to reach Spiti valley and how to plan a road trip to Spiti valley in under 10,000 INR

 

Add Ons
ATMs:

After Reckong Peo, you will find ATM only in Kaza.  But these ATM’s work as per their mood. So try to keep a good amount of cash in your pocket.

Petrol Pumps
  • Thog
  • Narkanda
  • Tapri
  • Reckong Peo
  • And Kaza
Permits

Indian nationals don’t need any permits to visit Spiti.
But travelers with foreign passport holders do need an inner line permit to visit this region. You can get it done in Reckong Peo.
I know this above plan might not help you out in planning the whole trip. But I guess, it would surely help you out in understanding how to plan your Spiti valley road trip.
Do share your thoughts or questions or any doubts.
I would be glad to help you out.

 

Cheerz
ThePoorNomad

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