Spiti Valley Winters Itinerary: Unplanned 6 days trip under ₹7000
Right from the time I discovered my love for traveling, Kaza, Spiti Valley had been one of the top places on my list. And I wondered, what better way to end the year than to cut it right off? For some reason, I wanted to explore Kaza with my friends and so there they were. I met Ajay and Nikhil during my 18-day long trip to Leh-Ladakh in October. Being travelers themselves, they didn’t have to think twice before coming along. This trip lasted for 6 days and I completed the trip for less than ₹7,000. I will share the details below, and based on my trip, you can prepare a spiti valley winters itinerary.
For 10 days trip:
My trip lasted for 6 days, if I had more time I would have done it this way:
Day 1: Delhi to Reckong Peo (stay for 1 night in Reckong Peo).
Day 2: Reckong Peo to Nako (explore for a while), Nako to Tabo (stay for 1 night in Tabo).
Day 3: Explore Tabo early in the morning and leave for Kaza (night stay in Kaza).
Day 4: Explore Kaza (night stay in Kaza).
Day 5: Take a day tour/shared cab to Key, Kibber and Chicham, come back to Kaza by evening (night stay in Kaza).
Day 6: Go to Pin Valley, you can either stay in Mud Village there or Sagnam (recommended).
Day 7: Come back to Kaza by evening and stay for another night.
Day 8: Leave for Reckong Peo early in the morning (stay for 1 night in Reckong Peo).
Day 9: Reckong Peo to Chitkul (stay for 1 night in Chitkul).
Day 10: Chitkul to Reckong Peo, Reckong Peo to Delhi.
My Spiti Valley Winters Itinerary:
Day 1: 22nd December 2017 (Kashmere Gate to Shimla)
I started my journey with Ajay and Nikhil from ISBT Kashmere Gate, Delhi. We planned to go through the Shimla- Peo- Kaza Route, and boarded the bus to Shimla at 8:30 pm.
Day 2: 23rd December 2017 (Shimla to Reckong Peo)
We reached Shimla ISBT by 5:20 am and bought tickets for the next bus to Reckong Peo, which was leaving in another 10 minutes. We boarded that bus and decided to get some sleep in the bus itself. The bus dropped us at Reckong Peo at 3:30 pm and Ajay had pre-booked our stay at a PWD rest house there. We left our luggage in the room and boarded a bus to Kalpa. After getting off the bus, we went to Kalpa’s Suicide Point and the view from there was amazing. We later asked a local person for a ride back to Peo.
Dinner at the rest house was Rs. 70/- per person, but we decided to eat out in Reckong Peo’s main market instead. We paid Rs. 40/- per person for the stay at the rest house. Yes, it was dirt cheap! The stay was nice and comfortable. Hot water, towels and extra blankets were provided to us.
Day 3: 24th December 2017 (Reckong Peo to Pooh to Dubling)
I had a rough start to the third day as Ajay, being a biker, did not get that kick by traveling in the buses and we split. Here’s an advantage of traveling with travelers, you can travel with them for as long as you want and then set out on your own respective journeys without having to worry. Nikhil and I however decided to keep going.
At first we planned to go to Nako River from Rackong Peo, spend the night in Tabo; and finally go to Kaza on 24th. But as traveling works, it’s best not to have a plan. Spontaneity always takes over. Just as we were about to board the only bus to Nako at 12:30 pm, our no-MAD souls realized that the bus’ windows won’t be able to satisfy our explorer eyes. And so, we decided to hitchhike instead. Not a pro in hitchhiking, still I was somehow sure that we would be able to get a lift.
At around 1 pm, we got a lift not to Nako but Pooh, where we reached at about 4 pm. I believe that when you’re traveling, there always is a higher power looking after you; and everything happens for the best. While enjoying the view, I wondered if Ajay had stayed, getting a ride would have been slightly difficult. Anyway, after reaching Pooh, not wanting to waste any time, we started walking further, hoping to get another lift. We kept walking for 5 kms with our heavy bags, with no lift and made it to the Dubling bridge at around 4:40 pm. I realized it was late and that we won’t get a ride anywhere. We dropped the Nako and Tabo plan and reached the only guest house there.
Dubling Bridge Guest House is exactly the type of guest house that no matter how tired you are after a long 5 km walk, you wouldn’t mind walking right back just to find another place to crash. However, it was already getting dark so we decided to stay. The price was just 100/- rupees each, and given the room conditions, we made it a point to not even check the washrooms. We just had some maggi and called it a night.
Day 4: 25th December 2017 (Dubling to Kaza)
Christmas day for us started around 6:30 am with biting cold weather. We set out for hitchhiking at 7:30 am and around 8 got a free ride in a tempo traveler directly to Kaza which is almost 135 Kms from Dubling. The driver was really friendly and told us many stories about his life and experiences. As we got a ride directly to Kaza, we decided to drop Nako and Tabo altogether unless we felt like exploring them on our way back. Nikhil and I reached Kaza around 12 pm and shared breakfast with the driver as he was so kind to us.
At first, we checked into a guest house and negotiated the tariff to rupees 750/- from 1000/- per person. We were asked to volunteer there in exchange for the discount, which we were pretty excited for. After dropping our luggage into our respective rooms, we headed out to explore Kaza. We visited the Kaza Monastery, which was all covered in snow and looked so beautiful. We also met some kids there, and played with them. For a while, we forgot our identities and cherished being a kid, away from the city life, in peace.
When we came back to the guest house, we decided to find another place to stay due to some conflict of opinions with the owner. I inquired a little, and found a local home stay nearby at just rupees 650/- each (including 3 meals a day). It was perfect for us as we could interact with the locals, and get to know more about their culture. There we met the lady owner, her 2 kids and mother in law. All of them were very welcoming and considerate.
We also met another fellow traveler, Swaroop and immediately hit it off with him. All of us had a delicious dinner together (except for the chicken, which was getting worse as we were traveling further) and had an amazing conversation. After filling our bellies, it didn’t take much time for our tired bodies to crash in the sack. It was one of the best Christmas days that I have ever had.
Day 5: 26th December 2017 (Day Tour from Kaza to Key-Kibber-Chicham-Kaza)
We woke up early and ate breakfast at the homestay. All three of us (including Swaroop) set out to explore Spiti in a shared cab. The first stop was the Key Monastery, where I was spellbound by the view itself and how snow decorated the whole place. I also got to talk to a monk at Key Monastery and I was fascinated by his serenity. That ever so peaceful smile on his face made me wonder how beautiful this world would be, if all of us smiled at each other!
After that we went to Kibber and Chicham village, where I visited the Kibber-Chicham Bridge which is Asia’s highest bridge and recently became operational in September 2017. In Chicham, some very kind locals invited us over for chai (tea) and snacks at their home and I was overwhelmed by their gesture. They were so excited to talk to us, share their stories and listen to ours. While on the ride back, I was absolutely delighted to catch a sight of the Himalayan Blue Sheep and Himalayan Ibex. We were back to Kaza by 3:30 pm, and had lunch in the Kaza market. For rest of the day, we explored Kaza and then we went back to the home stay, dined and slept.
Day 6: 27th December 2017 (Day tour from Kaza to Mud Village in Pin Valley and back to Kaza)
Just like the day before, all three of us once again set out to explore the nearby places. We went to Mud village in Pin Valley, which is the last village connected to the road. We came back to Kaza around 3:30 pm and leisurely traversed it for the rest of the day. I wasn’t feeling very well so I skipped the lunch and dinner for the day.
Day 7: 28th December 2017 (Kaza-Reckong Peo-Shimla)
Despite the cold, I got up around 5:30 am and enjoyed the view outside. Around 7 am Nikhil and I were all set to find a ride for the way back. The world is a small place, and Kaza being a smaller place, we found the same tempo traveler we came in, but with a different driver. He offered to take us to Reckong Peo at 800/- rupees each, but we convinced him for 500/- each and set on our way back around 7:30 pm. We reached Reckong Peo around 3 pm.
After lunch, both of us decided to split as I wasn’t feeling very well and felt like ending the trip. We bid adieu, Nikhil decided to stay in Reckong Peo and I boarded the bus to Shimla hoping to meet one of my friends who stays there. Turned out, she was back to her parents’ home in Panchkula and invited me there. And so, even after the whole day of traveling, I took another ticket for Panchkula.
Day 8: 29th December 2017 (Shimla-Panchkula-Delhi)
I reached her home in Panchkula around 5:00 am. After being unwell for a while, I felt like eating some delicious food. My friend is a chef and she served me the best pasta of my life. I had an amazing conversation with her mother; my friend was insisting me to stay there and she had already made plans of showing me around, but despite my lack of sleep and rest, I set out for Delhi around 9 am. I took shared autos from Panchkula to Zirakpur for just rupees 20/- and then shared cab at rupees 400/- directly to Jahangirpuri, Delhi. From Jahangirpuri, I took a cab to my home and reached back at around 1 pm.
Note: If you are planning a trip to Spiti Valley in winters, always keep 2-3 days as buffer time. At times, roads are blocked because of heavy snowfall.
And that’s how I carried out my effectively 6-day long trip in less than 7000 rupees. I had originally intended for this trip to be at least 12 days long, but that obviously didn’t happen. However, I don’t have any regrets. I believe that travel duration doesn’t matter that much, it’s the journey and the experience that stays with us long after it’s over. And that’s all that matters. For me, traveling allows me to forget myself for a while, or rather be truly myself, forgetting everything else. I hope to have inspired you to travel in some way.