Congratulations on your decision to visit Spiti Valley. You are definitely up for some amazing times of your life.
Travel via Shimla – Kinnaur – Spiti – Manali Route
This route has many advantages over Manali – Spiti route but the foremost one which I can think of is acclimatization. The NH 22 provides a gradual ascent to Spiti valley thus reducing chances of acute mountain sickness (AMS) caused due to sudden change in high altitudes. In other advantages, you won’t have to haggle for permit for Rohtang Pass and further get stuck in heavy on wards traffic towards it.
You will hardly find any ATM in the route except a few in Kaza. So it is strongly advisable to carry cash. There are no money exchangers in Spiti.
Hire a driver with rich regional riding experiencing
I would say this is most important thing as far your trip is concerned. The roads in the valley are killers and an inexperienced driver can potentially ruin your trip.
We hired Deepu through Vinkhal. Both of them have more than 12 years of driving experience in Spiti valley and owns an Innova. Read more about him here
Absolutely zero connectivity for the Non-BSNL users and which is good thing. Right? I used to call home everyday once using Deepu’s (our driver) phone. Trust me it was so peaceful. Only purpose of phone was to click picture and navigate.
Homestays and Hotels
The best accomodations in the valley are the local homestays. We had some of our most memorable moments at homestays. Plus they are cheap.
Google offline Maps
I am sure you must be knowing about the offline feature of google maps. Download the Himachal Pradesh map on you device using your home wifi. It would take around 150 MB space. It came in handy at multiple occasions
It not advisable to camp anywhere as you wish in the valley. Ask locals for the safe camping grounds.
In Chandratal, by rule of forest department it is not allowed to pitch your tent within 2 km radius of the lake. Moreover it is extremely dangerous owing to temperature drop and wildlife. Pitch your tent at the camping ground or rent one.
Shades and Sunscreen
Both are a must as the sun rays can actually burn your skin. Moreover Hugh Jackman has advised everyone to wear sunscreen anyday
Not required for Indian identity holders if travelling via Shimla route. Foreign identity holders however require inner-line permits. Permits can be obtained at Reckong Peo near Kalpa, and it usually takes up to couple hours for permit to be issued.
If travelling via Manali route, permit is must for all travelers plus vehicle. And they are limited (per day) as per rule for Rohtang Pass.
Old Monk !!!
Drink and altitude doesn’t mix well. Trust me. Air is so thin that you will feel a lot more dizzier and uncomfortable in just 60 ml. We brought two monks but could not finish even half in the valley. Still you would want to try, right? Then buy it at the very beginning of your trip – at Chandigarh or Shimla