Alright folks, So this is Part 2 of The Ultimate Travel Guide to Spiti Valley. You can read Part 1 here. As I mentioned in Part 1, At the beginning of July month, I had the opportunity to visit the Spiti Valley again. The only difference was now we were in the summer as compared to my previous visit to Spiti Valley during Winter. This time I followed this route: Manali- Chandratal Lake- Kunzum Pass- Losar- Kaza- Hikkim- Komic. Please note this route is closed during winter season due to excessive snowfall.
VISITING SPITI VALLEY IN SUMMER: CHANDRATAL LAKE, KUNZUM PASS, LOSAR, KAZA, HIKKIM, KOMIC
After spending around 2 and a half months in Himachal Pradesh, I decided to travel to Ladakh. Before leaving for Ladakh, I wanted to travel to Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh from the Manali side. Summer in Spiti valley consists of cool mornings, hot afternoons and cold nights. Except for Kaza, I visited totally different places in Spiti valley this time around. The thing with Spiti valley is you don’t need to reach a particular place to see a beautiful attraction. Once you reach Spiti valley, just look around to see beautiful attractions all around 🙂 Here’s the Ultimate Summer travel guide to Spiti Valley. Happy Reading 🙂
MANALI TO BATAL: CHANDRATAL LAKE
Chandratal lake is a beautiful pristine lake situated at an elevation of approx. 14000 feet. It lies in the Lahaul valley of Himachal Pradesh. I wanted to visit Chandratal lake before going to Spiti Valley but there was no direct bus to Chandratal lake at that time. The inaugural bus service from Manali to Chandratal lake started just a days few later from my travel date. So I took an early morning bus from Manali bus station to reach Batal. Manali to Batal is around 100 km. Due to the new constricted Atal Tunnel, the journey from Manali to Batal was cut down by more than 2 hours. Atal Tunnel was opened last year in 2020 for public use as a quicker route instead of going via Rohtang Pass. After soaking in the adventurous and beautiful route from Manali to Batal, I left my backpack at “Chacha Chachi Ka Dhaba” in Batal before boarding the same bus. I got down at the intersection where the road leads to Chandratal Lake. It is a 30 mins drive from this intersection. I start walking in the direction of the lake hoping to hitchhike to the lake. Finally, a couple from Bangalore gave me a ride to the lake and back to Batal! I was in awe at the first sight of the lake. I didn’t want to leave the place! Camping near the lake is no longer allowed. There are several campsites available within the proximity of the lake. After returning back to Batal, I met two curious young lads from South India. Full of energy. I love being around people who exhibit positive radiant energy. We shared a sort of “brick hut” @ INR 300/- each at “Chacha Chachi Ka Dhaba”. You can have dinner @ INR 100/- (Rajma/ Dal + Rice). Uncle(Chacha) and Aunty(Chachi) of the Dhaba(restaurant) has been awarded many times by the Government for helping out people in need. Feel free to subscribe to my blog if you are enjoying reading the ultimate travel guide to Spiti Valley 🙂
BATAL TO LOSAR via KUNZUM PASS
The next day, I took a bus from Batal to continue my journey to Spiti Valley. We have to go via Kunzum pass to reach Losar in Spiti Valley. Batal to Losar is 30 km but the time taken to reach the destination and the distance to the destination is never directly proportional in the mountains 🙂 Losar is the first village in Spiti valley if you are traveling from the Manali side. Kunzum pass separates Lahaul and Spiti Valley. It is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 15000 ft. 120 km from Manali. Driving on the Kunzum pass range is not for beginners or better Driving from Manali to Kaza. Our bus made a halt at Kunzum Mata Temple located at the summit of Kunzum pass. Every vehicle crossing Kunzum pass makes a mandatory halt at the temple to avoid any bad luck as per the local legend.
LOSAR- MOUNTAIN PAINTINGS
Losar is the coldest place in Spiti Valley. During winters, the temperature drops to minus 30-35 degrees. After reaching Losar, I checked into a room @ INR 300 per night. Without wasting any time, I left to explore the village. I hiked to the monastery situated on a mountain. A beautiful panoramic view of the village can be seen from the monastery. I kept going further from the monastery. I saw mesmerising views of mountains like someone has painted on them with many different colours. I kept chasing those views further and further until I was sweating profusely haha. I sat down there for a couple of hours just soaking in the wonder of nature around me. I got down from the mountain and went into the village while exploring it through cobblestone lanes. A beautiful little village! A gem of a place. At night, I tried my hand at stars photography. You can see the result above 🙂
HIKKIM- HIGHEST POST OFFICE IN THE WORLD
Hikkim is 15 km from Kaza. I with 3 more guys hired a sharing taxi for Hikkim and Komic from Kaza @ INR 1500 in total. Hikkim is renowned for having the highest post office in the world. Luckily, the day I traveled to Hikkim was also the birthday of my brother. So I send him the birthday postcard from the highest post office in the world 🙂 I suggest you buy postcards, post stamps and envelopes from Kaza itself to avoid any inconvenience at the post office in Hikkim. The post office is now a tourist attraction as only tourists use it to send postcards to different parts of India. Mr Rinchen is the postmaster of the Hikkim post office since its inception in 1983. Such an amazing person!
KOMIC- TANGYUD MONASTERY
Around 4 km ahead of Hikkim, lies the small village of Komic. It is one of the highest settlements in the world like Hikkim at an elevation of around 15000 ft. Kaza town elevation is around 12000 ft. Hikkim is famous for the Tangyud monastery. It is built like a fortified castle. I meditated at the monastery for a while before playing a match of volleyball with monks. It was great fun! The journey to Hikkim and Komic from Kaza offers such dreamy views.
KAZA: IS THIS A DIFFERENT PLACE?
When I reached Kaza, it looked completely different from my time during winter. It was kinda fun visiting the same sites in Kaza and being surprised by it. There was a few patches of snow high on the mountains. A lot of greenery for a desert mountain valley. I have been to so many places all around the world but there are some views that are still etched in my memory. The landscapes I witnessed between Kaza and Losar fits the bill. I was so hypnotised by those views that I just wanted to keep looking at them without wanting to point a camera and click pictures.
Mud is a small village located on the Pin River (A tributary of the Spiti River) in Spiti Valley. I missed visiting this village during my trips to Spiti Valley in Summer and Winter. It is best to visit Mud village during summer as it receives a lot of snowfall during the winter season. It is located at an elevation of 12500 ft. There’s a famous 10 days-long summer trek which begins from Pulga village in Parvati Valley and ends in Mud village in Spiti Valley. There’s a bus service to reach Mud village from Kaza. I hope you enjoyed reading the Ultimate Summer travel guide to Spiti Valley!
THINGS TO PACK/KNOW BEFORE VISITING SPITI VALLEY DURING THE SUMMER SEASON
- May to July is generally considered the Summer season in Spiti Valley
- Summer in Spiti valley consists of cool mornings, hot afternoons and cold nights. Therefore, pack your clothes accordingly
- To protect your skin against strong UV rays wear Hat with Flaps and apply Sunscreen (SPF- 50+) on your face and any other exposed body part.
- Your boots will be a lifesaver. So it is really important to wear comfortable and good trekking shoes.
- Consult your doctor for AMS related medicine. You will be traveling up to 4500 m elevation.
- Do not start climbing mountains on the first day(if you are coming directly from the airport which is not advisable too). Your body should gain elevation periodically especially if you are traveling/flying from the lower elevation regions. Go for short walks. Get your body used to the elevation.
- There’s an ATM in the town of Kaza.
- Only Jio and BSNL mobile network works in Spiti valley as of July 2021
- As for accommodation, there are more homestays than homes in Kaza. Summer season being the high season, the prices will be high as compared to the Winter season.
- Drink lots of water. Since Spiti valley is a desert mountain valley. It is necessary for your body.
- The nearest airport to Kaza is Bhuntur Airport near Manali. The road from Manali to Kaza remains open during the Summer season.
- Transportation: This is for the people who have no interest in riding a motorcycle like me. There’s a bus between Kaza and Manali. Also, sharing taxis ply between Kaza and Manali. Local buses ply to Hikkim, Komic and Mud village from Kaza but due to the pandemic, the services have been disrupted. You can either hitchhike, take a sharing/private taxi. Go to the taxi union office near Kaza bus station and look for people who are going to your destination. You will be pleasantly surprised at your luck There’s a walking trail (moderate to hard difficulty) from Kaza to Hikkim.
- Please take note that Journey time from Point A to Point B shown in Google maps never work out in real-time in this region. Thanks to its mountainous terrain and narrow roads. Be ready for patient waitings Always consider extra time while commuting.
- City folks, Please take your garbage back to your city. Let’s preserve our prestigious Himalayan region. For us and the future generation to enjoy. Party hunting people, please visit Goa instead