- When is the best time to come to Spiti? When are the passes open?
- What are some things I should bring?
- Is there any training or experience necessary to go on a trek?
- Do we require a permit to enter Spiti?
- What are the potential health hazards related to high altitudes?
- What range of temperature will we experience from day to night?
- What facilities are available in the tents? Are there different categories of tents?
- What are Spiti Valley Tours credentials?
- What accommodation options are available in Spiti?
When is the best time to come to Spiti? When are the passes open?
This varies from year to year but in general, if you are coming from Manali, Kunzum La and Rohtang Passes are open around mid-May.
Coming from Shimla, the Reckong Peo road is all weather and the Border Roads Organization do their best to keep this route open all year round.
The best time to come to Spiti is the Summer months between May and October when temperatures are perfect, roads are (mostly) clear and the sun is shining!
What are some things I should bring?
In terms of personal gear bring whatever you need to comfortably walk in the sun, while having warm clothes for evenings. While it does get cold in Spiti in the spring and autumn(mar/apr and sept/oct) it is usually warm and sunny during the summer months and can get quite hot. In the evenings it can get quite cold though so you should bring at least a warm long sleeve jacket or sweater and a shawl.
Always remember the maximum weight your porter will carry is 18kg.
For trekking and camping we always provide tents and sleeping bags, a toilet tent and a kitchen with lights but it is still a good idea to bring a torch or flashlight for evenings. It can be dusty and dry in the high altitude desert so it can be a good idea to bring chapstick or lotion and some extra tissues! You should also be prepared for bright sunshine and bring sunglasses.
For medical conditions such as asthma the high altitude can cause mild difficulty breathing– so bring an inhaler.
Always remember - if you buy new equipment for your trip it is important to try it out before you bring it on trek!
Is there any training or experience necessary to go on a trek?
We provide a range of treks for all levels of traveler. The tour packages are categorized by difficulty level.
- all levels - these tours are suitable for all age groups and level of ability.
- beginner - these tours involve a small degree of walking - no more than 4-5 hours in a day and never far from a warm bed so can be shortened if need be!
- intermediate - these tours are for people with prior experience or high degree of fitness who are ready for a multi-day trek in the Trans Himalayas!
- advanced - our advanced tours are for experienced mountaineers capable of lengthy treks and climbs to altitudes of 6000m or higher.
Do we require a permit to enter Spiti?
For foreign (non-Indian) passport holders:
Coming from Manali over the Rohtang Pass requires no Inner Line Permit or paperwork, the border police will register your passport number at the entrance to the valley and it will rarely take longer than 5 minutes.
Coming from Shimla does require an Inner Line Permit which can be arranged in advance at the District Collectors office in Shimla or at the Reckong Peo border post.
Experienced India travelers always have photocopies of their passports and spare passport photos ready at all times!
For Indian citizens:
No permits required.
What are the potential health hazards related to high altitudes?
Individuals not used to higher elevation may be at risk of of altitude sickness. Symptoms of AMS include:- 1. Light Symptoms :
- Loss of appetite
- Sleep disturbance
- Difficult to pass urine
2. Moderate Symptoms :
- Headache which is bad
- Irregular breathing
- Nausea Mild weakness
3. Serious Symptoms :
- Swelling of hands and face
- Difficulty standing
- Chest gurgles
- Zero energy
It can be alleviated or avoided by slowing the pace of ascent - for this reason we usually recommend a minimum of 7 days for a tour of the valley, allowing plenty of time to ascend gradually.
Should someone in the group still feel unwell there is sufficient time in the itinerary to have a relaxed morning until they feel better!
Painkillers and extra fluids can usually reduce the discomfort of altitude sickness but if a guest ever shows persistent symptoms we always descend to a more comfortable altitude to be safe.
What range of temperature will we experience from day to night?
Because it is a high altitude desert, the weather in Spiti can be quite extreme with conditions varying from bright, hot sunshine to sudden snow in the higher passes as early as September! In general though, the summer season (May - Oct) is a perfect time to visit with temperatures rarely exceeding 20-25 centigrade by day and cooling off to a comfortable 18 to 20 by night.
During the winter months between November and April the temperature dips to as low as -12 to -22 degrees centigrade and reaches a maximum of 11 to 13 degrees in the sun.
In Summer from May to October the temperature can soar up to 29 degrees in the day and at night, the temperature drops to between 2 and 12 degrees centigrade.
What facilities are available in the tents? Are there different categories of tents?
All of our camps come equipped with a kitchen / dining tent, a toilet tent and sleeping tents which can comfortably fit 2 people.
We have two categories of tents - standard, Indian made comfortable tents and Sports Luxury tents made in Europe or North America which are of a superior quality but more costly.
What are Spiti Valley Tours' credentials?
Spiti Valley Tours have been providing high quality services to a range of international clients for the past 10 years and is fully accredited by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Board.
Our team are experienced and professional and 100% drawn from the local community, they all have a detailed knowledge of the valley and local environs and our excellent community relations means in every village in Spiti there is a friendly face, a warm house and a helping hand should we need it. Often we stop for tea or lunch in the traditional village homes to get an inside look at the picturesque high altitude hamlets dotting the landscape.
You will love it!
What accommodation options are available in Spiti?
Spiti is one of the most remote valleys in India and was only opened to tourism in 1992. As such, the accommodation options here are not as advanced as in the lower Himalayas. This is Trans-Himalaya and a desert, so water shortages may occur and electricity may also be quite erratic, regardless of hotel.
That said, there are a number of very comfortable, professionally run hotels and guesthouses in Spiti. The majority of these are located in Kaza or Tabo. Outside of these areas, there are 2 options - camping or village homestay. Unlike non-local tour operators, we favor the latter as it is the best way to ensure an equitable share in tourism revenue at a community level.
As such, unless we are trekking we tend to provide accommodation in a mixture of comfortable guesthouses and the best village homestays, professionally run by our own ex-guides and their families who are all extremely experienced mountaineers and always have great stories to tell, as well as understanding tourists.
In village homestays you will have a shared traditional spitian / indian bathroom and private bedroom. Warm water can always be provided for bathing and your entire meal plan is included- Be prepared for a regular vegetarian feast! Spitian households are very hospitable and you will always be over-fed and offered plenty of tea, biscuits and enormous warm blankets!
For Deluxe customers, we provide a more full suite of service and arrange accommodation at the finest hotels and sports luxury safari camps in the area. Sports Luxury camps have beds and en-suite bathrooms with full european toilets and a full meal plan is also included. Parasol Camps and Banjara Camps are our two primary providers of deluxe accommodation in Spiti and Kinnaur regions and we utilize them regularly for deluxe clients.