Finally I am starting with my Spiti posts. I have previously talked about my stay in Shimla in detail here and here. Since I have a lot to talk about in this blog I will straight away get to the point and get started.
1. TIME required to plan the “Spiti road trip”
People generally don’t consider the fact that one needs atleast 8-10 days if you are planning a trip to Spiti. You would take about 3 days to reach Spiti from Shimla if you take one day stop at Shimla. Travelling to Spiti directly Shimla without any stops is not advisable because body needs time to aclimatize to the increasing altitude and the decreasing oxygen levels.
2. CLOTHES to pack
Since I travelled to Spiti in second half of April, Shimla and Narkanda were pleasant and did not require any warm clothes. Woollen clothes were needed mainly for Kalpa and Spiti. I carried two heavy jackets, 3-4 pair of thermal sets, 2 sweaters/ hoodies, 2-3 pairs of trackpants/jeans, 2-3 pair of t-shirts. Mix and match should be your motto. A warm shawl or muffler is a must, carry a warm woollen cap and woollen gloves. For shoes, I carried two pair of sneakers in case one got dirty but you can also make do with one!
Don’t forget to carry a lip balm, a very hydrating moisturizer ( I carried dermafique aqua cloud and it worked like magic), a heavy duty sunscreen and pair of sunglasses.
3. Planning the ITINERARY for your Road Trip
You should plan all 8 days of your trip well in advance so that you can visit all the places you want to visit. For the itinerary you can do your bit of research on internet and hot down places you want to visit. We stayed in Kaza in Spiti and visited:
- Khab (where Satluj and Spiti rivers meet)
- Gue Village which houses the famous Gue Mummy of Lama,
- Tabo Monastery in Tabo village
- Langza Buddha Statue
- Key Monastery
- Comic Village (world’s highest village connected by Motorable road),
- Nako Lake in Nako Village,
- Hikkim village which houses the world’s highest post office
- Chicham Bridge, Asia’ s highest bridge
- Dhankar Monastery , you can also trek for about 1 hour to see the Dhankar Lake
You can add more places or remove some according to your convenience. I would also be doing separate blog posts for each of these places. You can also check out the part 1 and part 2 of my Spiti vlog here.
4. Booking the TAXI for the Roadtrip
Since we were travelling in a group of three, we decided to book the taxi for a round trip from Shimla to Spiti and back. When booking a taxi, it is advisable to go for drivers who have already gone on the circuit, someone is a local and knows the way and all the tourist places pretty well. We were lucky enough that one of out friend’s suggested a driver that he gone with on his trip to Spiti. We were suggested to go with the The himalayan boy but since he was busy he suggested us to go with Narender bhaiya aka Ajay Bansal ( you can contact him here : 08894355255 ), if you do travel with him tell him that Charuta from Delhi suggested his name. I can personally vouch for him because when it started snowing and most taxi’s turned back, he was ever so enthusiastic to take us to places we had planned to go. He knows the roads extremely well and not even once we felt unsafe while road tripping on the world’s most dangerous road.
We booked the taxi for 5 days which included pick up and drop at Mall Road Shimla and full Spiti tour. It costed us about INR 25000, Narender bhaiya’s stay and food was included in that amount.
If you don’t want to hire a Taxi, you can travel by local buses, however there are only 2 buses that leave from Kaza, one in the morning and one in the evening, so you would need more days to travel to all of the destinations I have mentioned.
5. Where to STAY in Spiti
We decided to stay at The Traveller’s Shed because we wanted to book our stay online and well in advance in Kaza. It is a beautifully made hostel with gorgeous decor, something I totally wasn’t expecting in Kaza. We booked 4 rooms there, they had clean rooms with clean washrooms and running water. We had our breakfast and dinner at the hostel, they serve very simple but delicious food at very nominal prices. The owners are super friendly and the best part about staying at this place is that you get to meet a lot of fellow travellers. Also did I mention they provide free WiFi too!
There are also a lot of great home stay options in Kaza which help with the money flow in this isolated part of India and are a source of income to the locals. So you can also check those out if you aren’t travelling in a big group.
6. Total BUDGET for the Delhi to Spiti Trip
If you are a backpacker and you have time on your hands, you can complete the trip under INR 10,000 if stay at home-stays and travel by local transport.
However, I was travelling in a group of three, with two of my best friends, so the whole trip costed around INR 22,000 per person, including food and stay at shimla, kalpa and Kaza, taxi cost and the volvo cost.
There’s the Budget breakdown per person ( if travelling in a group of 3) so that you get a better idea about the expenditure :
1. Volvo (Delhi to Shimla and Shimla to Delhi) : INR 2600
2. Stay and food (Shimla for 2 days) : INR 3500
3. Taxi expenses (Shimla to Spiti for 5 days) : INR 8300
4. Stay and food in Kalpa : INR 2200
5. Stay and food in Kaza : INR 3200
6. Food cost while on the road : INR 1500
7. Miscellaneous expenses : INR 700
If you travel in a bigger group, the expenses will decrease.
I will be breaking down each day of the Spiti road trip and writing about all the places you should visit, where you should stay etc. So stay tuned for that next!
Until Next Time