Everything you need to know about Spiti Valley bike trip. Delhi to Manali to Kaza, Spiti Valley.
Spiti Valley is an extraordinary destination known for its vast lands of frozen mountains and lakes, and all the travellers who plan to come here undoubtedly love adventure. As this place lies very close to Tibet, it is a high-security region and you have to maintain certain rules in order to visit this beauty. Let me take you through our Spiti Valley bike trip.
This expedition was in collaboration with Tripver. We were three bike enthusiasts on spiti valley bike trip ready to take up the adventure of a lifetime. We planned to visit Spiti Valley in September. I was riding my Trimph Tiger 800, and my buddies were on Royal Enfield Himalayan.
Once you have decided if you want to ride or drive to Kaza, this article will help you create a rock-solid itinerary. Keep reading to know more about my journey from Gurugram/Gurgaon, Harayana to Kaza, Spiti Valley and back in ten days. The best ever ride of my lifetime, Spiti Valley Bike Trip.
Day 1 – Gurgaon to Chandigarh
Gurugram, famously known as Gurgaon, is a city in Haryana, India, just outside New Delhi. Delhi and Haryana are known to suffer from extreme summers, which are extended well after monsoons. Which means, when it’s not raining it’s unbearably hot. Gurgaon is approximately 20 KMS from Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi.
We left from Gurgaon to Chandigarh in the morning by 11 AM, which was very late in comparison to our plan. Another route some of you might prefer would be going from Gurgaon to Shimla or Manali. However, keep up with the blog to know why we opted to take the longer route to Spiti Valley.
Chandigarh is a beautiful and colourful union territory and city lying between Punjab and Haryana. Chandigarh is one of the most visited cities in North India.
We reached later than anticipated, mainly because we started late. We were exhausted after riding for about 280 KMS in the sun. We checked in to our hotel in Chandigarh, ate whatever was served and fell into our beds thanking our stars that this ride was finally over.
P.S. Riding in the cities is exhausting because of the scorching heat. We are on the bike with the helmet, thick biking jacket, gloves and luggage which makes it gruesome.
Day 2 – Chandigarh to Jibhi – 250 KMS
Ride from Chandigarh to Jibhi was the relief we needed after the sizzling ride from Gurgaon to Chandigarh. Jibhi in Himachal Pradesh is a small paradise surrounded by lush greenery and cool breeze. Located in Tirthan Valley, this place is not a commercial destination, hence we loved it more. Less crowd, less pollution, less chaos, around 100 KMS away from Manali.
If you have been looking for another retreat like Manali, you should definitely give this place a visit. It was a love at first sight with this secret paradise in Himachal Pradesh.
Jalori Pass, Serolsar Lake, Great Himalayan National Park and Jibhi Waterfalls are some of the attractions near Jibhi. There’s also a temple, Shringa Rishi Temple, in case you want to spend some time meditating and connecting with yourself.
If you like markets, and prefer having multiple options for restaurants, you can also stay at Manali or Solang Valley, but we opted for a place closer to nature and away from commercialization.
PS. The real ride begins from here. We will be ascending towards mountains and larger altitudes, hence keep in mind to rest well and listen to your body.
Day 3 – Jibhi to Chitkul
We left from Jibhi, early next morning. It was a perfect hill station ride amidst cloudy mountains. Jhalori Pass was a scenic route, with green mountains and fog. There is a temple on the way, at a height of 10280 ft., which was crowded with tourists. We took a halt at Rampur to grab a bite, and then carried on to Chitkul.
Chitkul is also known as the last village of India at 11320 ft., has attracted many tourists in the last decade. This picturesque village, tucked in the laps of Himalayan range in Himachal Pradesh, is a different experience altogether. The village is not developed with concrete apartments and hotels, but that’s the beauty of the place. Everything is organic and pure.
PS. This is going to be a relatively tougher ride especially if this is your first time in the mountains. You will have to be extra cautious and careful when driving or riding through the slush, snow and water crossings.
Day 3 – Chitkul to Nako
We left at around 12 PM from Jibhi to Nako. The ride was overwhelming in the green valleys, and so much oxygen. The road started with landslide prone patches, and were very narrow with steep cliffs. I wouldn’t say these were the best roads, but they were manageable. The whole journey was spectacular with mind-blowing views. We stopped for a meal at Spellu. Even though we were behind schedule, we managed to reach Nako on time and had enough time to rest and restore our energy for next day.
Nako is the first village along the Kinnaur – Spiti Valley route, marking the start of valleys, and halfway to Spiti Valley. At a height of 12000 ft. above sea level, the village is a tiny cluster of homes, made of rocks and stones.
There are plenty of homestays available at Nako, with basic facilities. They also provide home-made food. If you plan to spend a day here, there’s a lot to explore, for example the lake, a gompa, and nearby area. The lake is believed to be the holy water of the glaciers, and you’re not allowed to enter it. If caught, you’ll be penalized with 5000 Rs.
P.S. In slush stretches, do not accelerate, instead maintain the required speed just enough to move.
Day 4 – Nako to Kaza
When you make a trip to Spiti via Kinnaur Valley, you need to know about its terrain, road conditions, accommodation, amenities available on the route, season to visit, and permissions. Kaza in Spiti Valley is a mountainous cold desert with a heavy influence of Buddhism and stark cultural similarities of the region into the valley.
The small villages in Spiti valley are small colourful oasis of prayer flags in an otherwise white washed landscape. Rudyard Kipling perfectly describes Spiti as ‘a world within a world’ and ‘a place where the gods live’ in his novel “Kim’. The last two decades have seen the tourism grow exponentially.
This adventurous route of over 111KMS, is a destination by itself. Since this road runs along the Tibetan border, you are not allowed to shoot videos or fly drones between Sumdo to Tabo. Sumdo marks the gateway of Spiti valley. We stayed overnight at Kaza.
P.S. When you travel to Spiti Valley from Shimla side, the altitude is increased gradually giving you enough time to acclimatize. This route is also longer and gives you a chance to explore many unknown destinations on the way.
Travelling from Manali to Kaza, increases risk of AMS, hence it is an ideal route to leave from Kaza to Manali, as the route is shorter. The road conditions both from Kinnaur Valley and Manali are dangerous, and there’s no way to escape.
Day 5 – Explore Kaza
When you reach Kaza, fill your tanks as soon as you spot a fuel station. The fuel here is always scarce. Kaza is an extreme adventure in itself. We visited Hikkim – the highest postal office. I sent a postcard to my mother from there. Orange tea or seabuck thorn berries tea is very famous here.
Another place that caught my attention was Komic village. It is known to be the highest village.
Owing to its high altitudes and sub-zero temperatures, Spiti remains cold throughout the year. The temperature during the months of May-June barely touch between 15-20 degrees celsius but in deep winter of december-february it can fall as low as -20 degree celsius. April – October is the best time to visit, but you will still need to carry warm clothes for extreme cold, especially in the evenings.
PS. It is always handy to ask your fellow co-travelers to get out of the car and push the vehicle from behind, in case, the car is struggling to pass through the slush or water crossing stretch.
Things to do in Spiti Valley
Key Monastery: One of the famous Buddhist monasteries located at an altitude of 4166 metres. It is the biggest monastery in the Spiti Valley and also functions as a religious training centre of Lamas. Surrounded by beautiful scenic mountains and a soothing view of mother nature this place is filled with peaceful vibes. I was sure that this Spiti Valley bike trip would be the most beautiful memories that I would keep in my veins.
Tabo Monastery: Founded 1000 years ago this monastery it is also known as the oldest Buddhist monastery in India. This place is a blend of history, culture and natural beauty. It is also famous by the name of “Ajanta of Himalayas”.
Kibber: A small but beautiful village which home to beautiful landscapes, mountains, meadows covered with varieties of wildflowers. This place will refresh you through its beauty.
Day 6 – Kaza to Chandra Tal
Kaza to Chandra Tal is an extremely landslide prone area, so, it is highly advised to step out of your car/bike, inspect with your foot and plan the path of exit before crossing a dangerous landslide or water crossing. You can also park aside and see how others are crossing the risky section to plan your route of escape.
The water crossings and road conditions from Gramphu to Kunzum Pass route make your heart pound like nothing else. Hence, it becomes important that you understand what to expect on this adventurous route to Spiti. or nallas especially between Gramphu to Kunzum Pass and almost up to Losar village.
Roads were gone, we were riding on gravel. Leave as early as possible, as the afternoon approaches, the glaciers melt, and the passes are flooded. Only camps at chandratal campsite, Stay at Chandratal.
Chandratal: Perched at a staggering altitude of 4200 meters above sea level, you have to witness the unparalleled beauty of Chandratal to believe it. A sanctuary from the lightning-fast city life, this lake is slowly becoming one of the most attractive tourist places in Spiti valley. With the spellbinding backdrop of majestic mountains and meadows covered with gorgeous wildflowers, the lake is the perfect place to click some Instagram worthy pictures for photography enthusiasts.
Also, it is always handy to learn little maintenance tasks of your vehicle before the start of this arduous journey to Spiti Valley from Manali. Knowing how to repair a puncture and other basic stuff to fix your car or bike will help you a lot in case of an unforeseen situation.
Day 7 – Chandratal to Manali
In every walk with nature, you will receive more than you seek. We ride for the thrill of it. Spiti valley can be considered as a piece of moon on earth. Over 21 watercrossing – 4 major ones, Landslides are very common, rains were a menace. Mucky roads are the worst. So, in the winter months from November to May, the road to Spiti Valley from Manali side remains closed.
The month of September is one of the best times to visit Spiti Valley from Manali or Shimla’s side. In September, the monsoon is gone from Northern India including the parts of the Himachal Pradesh like Kinnaur Valley and Manali to Kaza route. The roads get dry, free from mud, and water crossings are less ferocious too.
The snowfall starts in the month of late September or October on high mountain passes like Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass that comes on the route to Spiti Valley via Manali side. Hence, traveling on this route starts to become risky as winter starts to arrive. Late October and November are when the Manali to Kaza route seriously hibernates for the next six months, only to open in May end or June.
Day 8 – Manali to Delhi
Embark on an adventurous Manali to Spiti valley bike trip and get ready for the ride of your life through the mountains and valleys of Himachal Pradesh. From exploring the Spiti Valley to the Kee Monastery and the beautiful lake of Chandra Taal, the trip is an adventure that will leave you astonished at the beauty of the Himalayas.
Numerous factors such as weather, road conditions, the physical ability of participants, etc. May cause itinerary change. The operators reserve the right to change any schedule in the interest of safety, comfort and general wellbeing.
Day 9 – Delhi to Mumbai
After a very adventurous road trip, I was both exhausted and excited to get home. I couldn’t wait to go home and eat mom-made food. But at the same time, I didn’t want to leave this place. Riding in the Himalayas is and will be one the best experiences of my life.
Travellers also plan a road trip to Spiti Valley as a full circuit entering from Kinnaur Valley and exiting from Manali. Let me know in the comments below how your trip was.