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10 days Itinerary for Lahaul Spiti Road trip

Ask anyone in India, which is your dream destination, and for sure majority will say road trip to Leh Ladakh and only few will answer Lahaul Spiti. A year back; the same notation was true for us too. So, we did both a 13-day road trip to Leh Ladakh and 10 day Lahaul Spiti road trip. Honestly, both the God lands left us speechless and Lahaul Spiti valley became our favorite. It is raw, lesser commercialized, lesser densely populated and more enigmatic than Leh Ladakh; where only wind and water play at their best to carve and decorate the valley.

10 Days travel Guide For Lahaul Spiti Road Trip

The word “Spiti” means middle land between India and Tibet. So, Spiti Valley is the extension of mesmerizing landscapes of Tibet with challenging terrains and adventurous hairpin bend roads everywhere. The place has calming vibes and also can see the perfect combination of Hindu and Buddhist culture.  A true tourist or traveler, photographer, and adventurist cannot delight his eyes and soul just by traveling through this mystical land once. Indeed, he will long for more and start planning his next visit. Take a second visit and still, you will feel the valley is new and it will be exactly like a first visit.

Check 13 days itinerary for Leh Ladakh Road Trip from Delhi

The route for Lahaul Spiti Road trip:

There are two routes to reach Spiti Valley. One can enter from Shimla and exit from Manali or vice versa. We did a complete circuit, starting our journey from Manali and taking an exit at Shimla.

Route AllGudThings followed: Delhi – Chandigarh – Mandi – Manali – Rohtang Pass – Gramphu- Kunzum La- Kaza – Tabo – Nako – Sangla – Rampur – Shimla – Chandigarh – Delhi

Route: Lahaul Spiti Road Trip
Route: Lahaul Spiti Road Trip

Total time to reach Kaza in Spiti Valley from Delhi: 17 -18 hrs. We advise to break this journey into 3 days and halt at first Chandigarh or Mandi and if not here in-between, then Manali.

Best time to take Lahaul Spiti Road Trip

The best time to do Lahaul Spiti road trip circuit starting from Manali and exiting at Shimla is between June-September. During this period both Rohtang Pass (opens in May) and Kunzum Pass (opens in June) gets functional. Whereas the other route via Shimla till Kaza is open throughout the year. Travelling in winters to the valley is extremely adventurous but surely tough too. For month wise details, you can refer the article here.

Condition of Lahaul Spiti Roads

Just forget the highways after Manali. There are bumpy and mud roads with potholes all around, most of the journey is like off-roading. At the passes ice will be melting down so additionally the roads will be wet too. Expect huge traffic jams during mid-July to August as there is apple crop transportation too.

Way to Kaza from Manali: Travel guide for Lahaul Spiti Road trip
Way to Kaza from Manali: Travel guide for Lahaul Spiti Road trip

Itinerary for Lahaul Spiti Road trip

While taking the Spiti Valley road trip, vistas change at every turn. If you think to blink your eyes or relax for a while, you will surely miss something worthy. So be awake during the whole journey to get soaked in the adventure.

Day 1 (Delhi – Chandigarh or Delhi – Mandi / Manali)

Leave early morning from Delhi to reach Chandigarh/ Mandi or Manali, according to your driving skills and capacity. From Delhi, Chandigarh can be reached in just 5 hrs and further till Manali it will take another 8-9 hrs, so totally journey coming to 13- 14 hrs. The terrain is plain till Mandi and changes after that. From here, the route becomes worth admiring. After reaching Manali rest in your hotel room, and walk to old Manali to enjoy scrumptious dinner.

Evening at Old Manali: Travel guide for lahaul Spiti Road Trip

We usually start our drive from Delhi in the late evening and reach Manali by next morning. After resting for some time, we go to Manali DC office to take the permits for next day.

Attractions on the way: Anandpur Sahib Gurdwara and Rewalsar Lake in Mandi district.

Must try: Do try Siddu and famous Bedawi Chapati / Puri in Mandi.

Day 2 (Manali to Chandratal Lake)

Leave around 7:00 am from Manali for Chandratal Lake. The Lake of Moon lays just 140 km from Manali but it takes almost 7-8 hrs to reach the place. The road to Chandratal Lake has only dirt and stones and no sign of tartar anywhere. On the way, you get to see waterfalls and the so-called Pagal Nallas (unexpected water comes through these). So, be really cautious.

Chandratal Lake: Travel Guide for Lahaul Spiti Road trip
Chandratal Lake

There are several tents nearby lake for accommodation. We stayed with Tenzin at Tenzin camps which lays almost 3 km from the moon lake. From here the lake can be reached by trekking or driving till one point.

Attraction: Rohtang Pass, also known as pass of dead corpuses and Chandratal Lake

Must Try: Chandra Dhabha at Batal run by a couple Chacha Chachi

Day 3 (Chandratal – Kaza)

After having breakfast and good tea, leave for Kaza which lies almost 100 km. Kaza is the headquarters of Spiti Valley. Along the way, you will cross Kunzum pass, located at 15,600 feet and village Losar.

Kunzum Pass: Travel Guide for Lahaul Spiti Road Trip
Kunzum Pass: Travel Guide for Lahaul Spiti Road Trip

Attractions: Kunzum Pass on the way, Key Monastery in Kaza, Sakya Tangyud Monastery, and the surrounding villages.

Must Try: Hotel Deyzor for its awesome food and worthy location

Day 4 (Kaza)

Stay at Kaza and explore the surrounding villages like Kibber, Tashigong, Langza for fossils, Gette and Kaumik / Komic village. Also plan to visit the Pin Valley National park, which comes under protected area for wildlife.

Day 5 (Kaza – Tabo)

Start your day early from Kaza and head towards the green village Dhankar (34km) known for one of the oldest monastery and palace on the hilltop. From there 34 km ahead lays the beautiful village Tabo. Roads are both good and bad and with sightseeing, you will reach by evening.

Village Dhankar: Travel Guide for Lahaul Spiti road trip
Village Dhankar: Travel Guide for Lahaul Spiti road trip

Attractions: Dhankar Village, Dhankar Monastery, Dhankar Lake, Dhankar Palace, old and new Tabo monastery, Tabo caves, Tabo Helipad.

Must Try: Stay at Tabo Monastery. They have mud lining rooms which are super cozy and dirt cheap. You can spend one night here in just Rs 500/-.

Day 6 (Tabo – Kalpa via Village Gue, Nako & Rekong Peo)

This day is going to be long as you will be covering 3 -4 attractions on the way before reaching Kalpa. The village Gue lays 8 -10 km inside from village Sumdo (24 km from Tabo) and is known for the sitting 500 years old mummy.

The Village Nako lies 33 km ahead from Sumdo. It is the highest village in the Hangrang Valley and here the bumpy road ends and the perfect tarred road starts. Do read the complete post a walk to the Nako village, to know more.

Kalpa & Rekong Peo lies 103 km from village Nako, which is almost a journey of 3-4 hrs. There is nothing much in Rekong Peo but for sure you will be mesmerized by the views of Kinner Kailash and apple orchards in Kalpa.

Kalpa Village : Travel Guide for Lahaul Spiti road trip
Kalpa Village: Travel Guide for Lahaul Spiti road trip

Attractions: Mummy at village Gue, Nako monastery, Nako Lake, Chango Gompa, Kinner Kailash from Kalpa, Suicide point, Narayan Nagini Temple, Kalpa Monastery, Sapni fort and Kamru fort.

Must try: Stay with Himachal tourism guest house at Kalpa, for the best views and food.

Day 7 (Kalpa – Sangla)

After watching the first ray of sunrise at Kinner Kailash and having filling breakfast, leave to check the attractions of Kalpa. By afternoon leave for Sangla, which lays 40 km ahead of Kalpa. Check into your hotel and get lost in the evening beauty of Sangla. Listen to birds chirping and the flowing Baspa River along.

Sangla Village: Travel Guide for Lahaul Spiti Road Trip
Views from Sangla village

Attractions: Kinner Kailash, Suicide point, Narayan Nagini Temple, Kalpa Monastery, Sapni fort.

Must Try: Tents at Kinner Camps, Sangla. We really enjoy staying with them because of their extraordinary hospitality and comfort.

Also read the post about Sangla valley, Kinnaur.

Day 8 (Sangla – Chitkul- Sangla)

Next day, after breakfast drive 22 km from Sangla to the village Chitkul.  It is the last Indian village and the first glimpse of it is enough to leave you transfixed and speechless. On one side you can see the snow-capped arid mountains while on the other side there is a lush green valley with the Baspa River flowing in between.

Chitkul Village: Travel Guide for Lahaul Spiti Road Trip
Chitkul Village

Attractions: Chitkul, Baspa River, Sangla meadows, 1000 years old Kamru fort, Bering Nag Temple, & Sangla Monastery.

Must try: Evening long walks and apple orchards

Also check the post on Sangla valley, Kinnaur.

Day 9 (Sangla – Shimla)

From Sangla, it is time to cover the last part of the circuit and the last day in hills too. Start early around 7:30- 8:00 am to cover 225 km. Roads are perfectly tarred and in excellent condition. If you have an extra day, do cover Sarahan & Narkanda on the way.

Highway from Sangla to Shimla: Travel guide for Lahaul Spiti Road trip
Highway from Sangla to Shimla

At Sarahan, check Bhimkali Temple and Bird sanctuary whereas in Narkanda visit Hatu Peak, Hatu temple and Jubbar Lake.

Attractions: Karcham Wangtoo Dam & cut out mountains forming ceilings on the highway near Rampur, Kufri.

Must Try: Buy red and golden farm fresh apples and plums.

Day 10 (Shimla – Delhi)

The day 10th is going to be the toughest day as it is the end of a memorable trip. But cherish up as there are so many memories to take back home and plan the next journey. Roads are in excellent condition and you will be covering 345 km in almost 8-9 hrs.

Attractions: Himalayan Expressway, Timber trail resort at Kalka.

Must try: Good Punjabi food on the Chandigarh- Delhi highway.

Driving next to river bed in the valley: Lahaul Spiti road trip
Driving next to river bed in the valley: Lahaul Spiti road trip

Points to Remember before taking Lahaul Spiti road trip

  1. The Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass are high altitude passes, so check the weather forecast with locals before heading out.
  2. In the mid-July – August, there are spells of rains in the Lahaul Spiti Valley, although being a rain shadow region. So, the drive can be tough as well as risky.
  3. Always keep a buffer for a day while taking Lahaul Spiti road trip.
  4. Get your vehicle properly inspected before hitting for 1600 km road trip.
  5. Carry proper car toolkit along.
  6. Avoid driving at night as the roads are narrow and valleys are deep. Moreover, the whole valley is serene and worth admiring during the day. Spiti valley: Travel guide for Lahaul Spiti Road Trip
  7. Certain places like Rohtang Pass in the Lahaul Spiti Valley can be visited only with permits, so get those arranged timely. The Permit can be taken online or by visiting the DC office in Manali. Check the detailed information here.
  8. Carry the additional photostat copies of a permit with you, during the trip.
  9. There is last and highest fuel station at Kaza after Manali. The next can be found in Rekong Peo and then in Sangla.
  10. ATM facilities are available in Sangla, Rekong Peo, Kaza, Manali & Shimla
  11. Take time to acclimatize and don’t rush in the valley.
  12. Basic Medical facilities are available at Sangla, Rekong Peo, and Kaza. Advance medical facilities can be availed only in Shimla and Manali.
  13. Don’t expect luxurious accommodation and food in the valley, especially during winters.
  14. Locals are really nice and ready to help. Do respect their traditions and cultures.
  15. Remember to keep the valley clean and don’t litter around. Practice responsible tourism.

 Trip Expert 2017 Awards

We have compiled this post for the nomination in “Travel Expert Awards -2017”.
Trip Expert Award Badge 2017

My nominees for the Trip Expert 2017 award are:

Saakshi Rajat from My Travel Recitals; Judy Morris from The other Brain Inc and Parampara from Awaradiaries

Check the contest rules here.



41 thoughts on “10 days Itinerary for Lahaul Spiti Road trip”

  • How interesting, didn’ know that “spiti” in Lahaul Spiti means a little land between India and Tibet. It makes it even more interesting to take the road trip there.
    I was wondering about the road conditions. Given such wonderful scenery along the way, it’s probably good that you can’t really go fast when the road is muddy and bumpy. Was stunned by the Dhankar village photos, what an incredible view! 🙂

  • I did the Spiti Valley trip from Shimla to Manali – took 17 days, moving less than 50 km a day. In July both the passes were open and we could camp at Chandratal. At Kinnaur, we missed the Apples by a couple of weeks, they were still not ripe enough to pluck and eat. My favorite places on this trip were Chandratal and Nako Of course, the road itself is a destination when you are in Spiti.

  • You seemed to have such an adventurous and interesting drive! Love how the landscape on every stop you did just keeps on changing, each one as unique as the last.. Great that you’ve listed some tips, too.. This will be pretty helpful for those who wants to try this too, especially about the permits .:)

  • I love road trips and this one looks awesome, thank you for sharing! It seems to go through many different kinds of landscapes and many villages. But I’d be freaking out on the Highway from Sangla to Shimla: your pic of the road looks scary!
    I love that you included responsible travel tips at the end of your points to remember. I wish it was obvious to everyone, but as it is not it is important to keep educating and reminding people about it.

  • Twice I had to call Jenn over to show her this post. Those villages look so exotic and the road cut into the side of the mountain was intimidating to say the least. I would love to take this drive someday. Your map was super helpful. I would hope to find a reasonable car rental outside of the city that would provide me with a reliable and appropriate vehicle for this task.

  • The road trip looks so exciting. However, I did not know you needed permit for Rohtang Pass. Did you feel safe during the trip?

  • This is a great itinerary and I am especially interested in Chandratal Lake! Thank you for the tips and for telling us to have a buffer day! That seems very helpful too!

  • Any place with calming vibes is good for me! A Lahaul Spiti road trip sounds like an amazing adventure. Mummies, lakes, monasteries, wildlife… I don’t think it can get any better for us. Indian destinations never seize to amaze me.

  • Love detailed road trip posts like this. We’ve done a handful of extended road trips, and it is great to get advice about the journey. The landscape in that area of India is simply beautiful and it must certainly make the long hours in the car worth it when you have those kind of views all day.

  • Lahul Spiti Valley sounds like my kind of road trip – we are all for regions which are raw in nature beauty, and not overly commercialized. It feels a lot more real of an experience that way. I didn’t realize that this was the region inbetween India and Tibet, but I’ve seen incredible images of both countries so would imagine it’s God’s own country out there.

    Thanks for sharing your itinerary for a road trip. Sometime in June next year with some time In Manali sounds like it would be a great trip. Chandratel Lake is very pretty, and we’re very big wildlife fans, so Pin Valley National Park sounds right up our alley. What type of wildlife is there in this region? Did you spot any?

  • I don’t think I’m brave enough for this road trip – you are so adventurous, but I can see the pay off is absolutely beautiful. You can only get scenery like that on the road for sure. Particularly love the look of Kalpa Village. maybe one day!

  • This is a wonderful itinerary for probably one of the most spectacular routes in the world. This road trip sets the benchmark for what a road trip should be. The varied and magical landscapes that bring the best of Tibet and India alive before your eyes are of course the star of the trip. This itinerary is really useful and will act as a guide for travellers planning a road trip to this magical land.

  • It’s an absolutely perfectly made itinerary. Kudos to you guys for penning down the details in the itinerary. Lahaul Spiti have been on my mind since forever. Hoping to be there next year.

  • Ooh, I love road trips! This would be unlike one I’ve ever embarked on. The best is how you can enjoy the gorgeous scenery the entire way. I love the views of the villages and the mountains. So pretty.

  • Hope to visit Ladakh soon for a long trek. I would like to do a road trip to Leh Ladakh or your Lahaul Spiti road trip but having only 2 weeks maximum we will have to reach it by plane. A pity because I would love to visit Kalpa village or Chandratal lake. I could not see any picture of your car, did you use “a normal” car for this trip or something ore robust?

  • This place is very foreign to me and i am glad that i visit your blog. It helps me to discover new places in India even virtually. Your blog is such a great help!

  • For me it has been the opposite to what most people prefer! Spiti over Ladakh any day!! BIG BIG fan of this entire circuit including Kinnaur and I can go back again and again and again! 🙂 Love the magic of these mountains and you have put together a brilliant guide. Chandrataal lake is LOVE <3

  • I’m not sure if I’ll get the chance to see this place, but at least I get to know about this place and see the beautiful landscapes through your pictures.

  • This road trip looks amazing. I had never heard of any of those places before so thanks for sharing. The Chandratal Lake and Kalpa Village really look like amazing places to visit. Such beautiful scenery.

  • Right away Lahaul Spiti sounds like my kind of place, since it is not as commercialized. The Chandratal Lake looks stunning. Since I am from the mountains, I always love seeing some beautiful ranges. All of your photos of the mountains are excellent and now I really want to visit this area of the world. I know the rough roads in the mountains were probably the hardest to navigate, but the highway from Sangla to Shimla looks so scary (of course I am afraid of heights)! Your tips at the end are really helpful for future travelers, thanks for the great article.

  • Such amazing landscapes in this area between India and Tibet. Not only do they look stunning, but there is something that feels very spiritual about them, even just looking at the photos. I love the detail you put into this — definitely a helpful trip guide. The Kalpa village and Chandratal Lake look very picturesque. I hope to visit next time I’m in India.

  • This part of the country is like another world altogether, with its unusual landscapes, culture and people. The road trip you describe sounds amazing. And Chandratal Lake is like paradise. I wonder how it would look on a full moon night.

  • Pretty extensive itinerary. I think I will give another day or two to Kaza because there are many villages around it. I think instead of staying at Kaza one can stay in one of the villages too. Thankfully they are building better roads to the inner villages now. Did you try the sandwiches and Seabuckthorn tea at Sol Cafe?

  • A road trip through Rahul Spiti seems almost like an off-roading adventure! And wow, the Chandratal Lake seems like a photographer’s dream! It’s so beautiful and good to know there is easy camping accommodation nearby. Dhankar looks like one of the most unique villages I’ve ever seen. And how cool that you can stay at Tabo Monastery! You give quite a lot of information in your article which I find very beneficial…good thinking on the bit about medical services!

  • We are big road trippers so none of this would faze me in the slightest. Loved learning about this land in between India and Tibet as I had no idea about this at all. I think your day 8 part of the journey would be the kind of moment where I would realise how wonderful it would be to be in a place with snow capped mountains and lush valleys all in the one view. Great to know the best times to drive here – think that is the most important piece of advice.

  • What a fantastic road trip. Lake of Moon looks like my kind of place. You managed to tell the story of your road trip extremely well through your photos. Some of the pics of the road look like they could easily be hiking paths.

  • Good for you for taking this scenic road trip! The views of Kalpa Village are stunning with the mountain backdrop! Looks like a peaceful place to stay for a few days!

  • The view from Kalpa Village is to die for! That is the stuff of my dream! Love this thorough summary of how to get to Lahaul Spiti and the vastness of the encounters. I’m not a fan of winding roads but I think I would bear it simply for these gorgeous views. And I wrote the quote down that you featured, its a gorgeous reminder of priorities.

  • Lahaul Spiti is such an amazing destination to experience. I love the majestic mountain ranges and the view. I haven’t been to India and will surely go here If I get the chance. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

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