The mountain passes leading to Spiti are only open from the beginning of March to the end of November, making for a very short visiting season but also creating the conditions which make Spiti so unique – isolated, the mountain passes act to preserve the cultural heritage of the mountain peoples.
Often road conditions are unlike anything you have ever seen before and require an experienced mountain driver and strong 4x4 vehicle. Nevertheless, there are always delays and landslides throughout the year.
There are two main routes leading into Spiti.
One approach is from Manali over the Rohtang pass and the Hampta pass(15,000 ft) in the Chandra valley and then over the Kunzum pass 4550m into Spiti. This route is usually only open June - October since the passes are quite high and get snowblocked easily. For latest information about opening of Rohtang Pass, contact tourist information centre at Manali, Ph: +91-1902-252175; 253531
The other route into Spiti is from the west on the All Weather Road (which is open all year) from Shimla to Kaza via Reckong Peo. This is a journey of 420km over paved but mostly unpaved road and can take as long as 16hrs - 20hrs depending on road conditions and is best split up with an overnight stay in Kalpa or Reckong Peo. This route requires an Inner Line Permit which is free and can be processed in Reckong Peo or Shimla.
Private and Public buses leave Delhi's Interstate Bus depot or the much quieter Chanderlok Building (near Connaught Place) hourly in the evenings and the overnight busride normally takes between 11 and 12 hours to reach Manali or Shimla. From both places onward public transport with HRTC is available across the passes to Kaza for very cheap.
Spiti Valley Tours are happy to arrange private taxis for you at the following rates(prices subject to seasonal change & vehicle type): -
- Manali - Kaza: Rs 8000 one way
- Shimla - Kaza: Rs 8000 one way
- Delhi - Kaza: Rs 30,000 one way
- Delhi - Manali: Rs 20,000 one way
- Delhi - Shimla: Rs 18,000 one way
Another option is to fly in to Kullu from Delhi for roughly 60 U$D one way. From Kullu, Manali is only a 2hr drive away and easily reached by taxi or frequent buses. Spiti Valley Tours can arrange your transportation from Delhi, Kullu, Shimla or Manali and one of the most adventuresome treks leaves direct from Kullu to Spiti over the Manikaran Pass.
There is also an airport in Shimla and flights from Delhi – Shimla and onwards transportation to Spiti can also be arranged.
Types of Vehicle Available:
Basic: Qualis or Sumo
Standard: Tavera, Mahindra Maxxx or Bolero
Deluxe: Toyota Innova, Xylo or Scorpio
Large Groups: Tempo Traveler can fit up to 12 pax
Foreign nationals will be required to provide their identification and visa information at various points when exploring in the trans-Himalayas. This is an effortless protocol which typically involves your taxi driver taking your passport in to a bored looking Border official in a cold room at the entrances to Spiti, Kinnaur, Lahaul and Ladakh. Note – there are no charges and few restrictions based on nationality although Pakistani nationals are typically not allowed in the border areas.
If you are entering from the direction of Shimla via Rekong Peo, Inner Line permits are required which can be purchased for a small fee from the District Collectorate's office in Shimla or Rekong Peo itself. When entering from Manali, only passport details will be noted and no permits are required.