It was either Ladhak or Spiti for my first bike trip, I decided to go with the later as the place is still unexplored. Spiti is still untouched unlike Ladhak where you will find a lot of bikers and tourists to the extend that sometimes you will feel crowded.
There is no reason why a trip to Spiti should not be called as a trip of lifetime. The beauty of Spiti is so mesmerizing that you will fall in love with it in minutes. The beauty of Spiti starts right after entering Kinnaur valley after a few hours from Chandigarh, and continue towards Nako, Tabo, kaza the headquarter of Spiti, to kunzum pass and not to mention the Chandratal lake whose color changes depending on the sunlight, mountain, sky and grass.
There are 2 routes to cover Spiti Valley one is via Manali – Chandratal – Kunzum Pass – Kaza – Pin Valley – Tabo – Nako – Chitkul – Shimla and another is to start via Shimla and enter Spiti Valley from Chitkul. Although both the routes are equally preferred i would suggest to start from Shimla. Spiti Valley is at a height of about 12,500 feet (3,800 m) Going via Shimla will help you gradually increase the altitude and helps your body to get acclimatize properly, hence less chances of getting hit with Acute Mountain Sickness commonly known as (AMS). If you enter from Manali you will gain a height of around 4000 meters (Chandratal Lake) within 2 days which will increase your chances of hitting AMS. Although its difficult to name one highlight of the trip but its best to end the trip at epitome with Chandratal Lake. Another reason is the drive from Kaza to Chandratal is spellbinding while you will not get the same views of Kunzum Pass if you are coming from Chandratal.
Day 1: Delhi to Shimla
Delhi to Shimla via Chandigarh. Drive from Shimla to Chandigarh is almost 8 hours. Try leaving early from Delhi to avoid the traffic plus if you reach Shimla early you can go ahead stay at Kufri or Narkanda. Narkanda is another 2 hours from Shimla.
Leave early, Shimla to Chitkul is a drive of around 8-9 hours. You can easily reach by 4 if you leave on time. Enjoy your day exploring the beautiful village. The drive on Hindustan – Tibet Highway is one of the most adventurous but dangerous as well. Stay Overnight at Chitkul.
As we had to cover the trip in 9 days we went straight to Tabo visiting Nako Lake, Nako Monastery and Geyu Mummy. Chitkul to Tabo will take 11 hours including your time to cover Nako and Mummy. Nako to Tabo will take you around 1 hour and another 1 hour to take a detour to visit Geyu Mummy.
Visit the the oldest continuously operating Monastry in both India and the Himalayas, Tabo Monastery. Leave from Tabo after visiting the Monastery which opens at 9:00 AM. Visit Dhankar Monastery and Dhankar Lake, have lunch in the Dhankar Monastery. Traverse the Pin Valley via Kungri – Sagnam to Mud village. Overnight at Mud Village in Pin Valley.
Mud village to Kaza is a drive of around 1 hour. Have breakfast in Kaza and head out towards Kibber Village, don’t forget to take a ride on the rope-way to Chichum, Drive towards Gette and Tashigang which is where the road ends. Try spending the evening at Ki Monastery. Staying in Monastery is always an experience in itself.
Enjoy the for local sightseeing in Kaza Traverse though the world’s highest motorable village: Komik, Worlds highest Post office Hikkim and langza, Statue of the Buddha near Langza looking down the valley. You will mostly cover these in the first half of the day. Spend the Second half in kaza sipping coffee in one of the cafe of Kaza.
Start early so that you can spend more time at Chandratal lake. Kaza to Chandratal is a drive of around 5 hours. The drive from kaza to losar is the most scenic drive of entire Spiti Valley and the drive through through Kunzum pass is something you will never be able to forget. There are tents available around 2.5 Km from Chandratal but i would suggest to come down to Battal to spend the night.
Day 8: Battal to Manali/Mandi via Rohtang Pass
After Battal it’s more about completing the trip apart from Rohtang Pass. If you are travelling from Delhi try coming down as much as possible till Mandi or even more else next day is going to be hectic. Manali to Mandi will take you around 2 hours. If you are going in winter, crossing Rohtang pass might take a lot of your time.
Day 9: Mandi to Delhi
There is nothing exciting in the route you just have to drive back to home.
We had 9 days to cover Spiti from Delhi to Delhi, if you are starting from Shilma or have a day or 2 in advance try spending a day in Monastery or one of the village near Kaza depending upon your interest. You can even explore more of Kinnaur Valley depending upon the time you have.