Nestled in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, Manali and Spiti Valley are breathtaking Himalayan destinations perfect for an adventurous yet spiritual journey. This tour takes you from the bustling hill station of Manali, with its mix of nature and culture, to the rugged remoteness of Spiti Valley, dotted with ancient Buddhist monasteries and unique landscapes. Read on for the ultimate guide to planning and embarking on the Manali Spiti Valley tour.

Getting to Manali

Manali is accessible by road, rail, and air, with good connectivity from major Indian cities.

How to Reach Manali

The nearest airport is Bhuntar, about 50km from Manali. From here, you can easily find buses, taxis, and private vehicles to reach Manali. There are regular flights to Bhuntar from Delhi and Chandigarh.

By road, Manali is well connected to Chandigarh (310km), Delhi (550km), Dharamshala (235km), and Shimla (250km) via state-run and private buses. Opt for a self-drive rental car from these cities for a scenic drive.

The closest railway station is Joginder Nagar, which is about 160km away. Trains run regularly from Delhi and Chandigarh to Joginder Nagar. Taxis and buses easily connect Joginder Nagar to Manali.

Best Time to Visit

Mid-March to June and September to November are ideal for visiting Manali for pleasant weather, lush greenery, and clear views. Winters tend to be very cold with heavy snowfall. Summers can get quite crowded.

Top Attractions in Manali

With its natural bounty and unique culture, Manali offers plenty of memorable experiences for visitors.

Hadimba Temple

Built-in 1553, this ancient temple dedicated to Hidimba Devi is constructed with intricate wood carvings and has a pagoda-style roof. Surrounded by cedar forests, it provides a peaceful ambiance to admire centuries-old architecture and spirituality.

Solang Valley

Famous for adventure sports, the glacier-fed Solang Valley offers activities like zorbing, paragliding, horse riding, and skiing, depending on the season. The snow-covered slopes and apres ski vibes in winter especially attract tourists.

Rohtang Pass

The challenge of reaching the summit of this high mountain pass at 13,058 feet is thrilling. You are rewarded with spellbinding views of mountains and glaciers. It is ideal for mountain biking, photography, and nature walks. Requires permit.

Things to do in Manali

Trekking

With countless trails winding through verdant peaks and valleys, Manali is a trekker’s paradise for day hikes or longer adventures. Popular routes include the Beas Kund Trek and Hampta Pass Trek crossing glacial mountains and alpine meadows.

Rafting

Raft down the rapid waters of the Beas River as they wind through forests and rocky cliffs for the ultimate adrenaline rush. Graded from Grade II to IV, rafting trips last 1-3 hours, led by experienced instructors.

Paragliding

Soar high above Manali for panoramic bird’s eye views of snow clad mountains, green valleys and clear blue skies. Tandem short flights with trained pilots are pretty safe—best from October to June.

From Manali to Spiti Valley

The 150km journey from Manali to Spiti Valley across the Rohtang Pass, traversing high mountain roads, is an adventure.

By Bus

Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) buses ply from Manali to Kaza, Spiti. The bus journey takes around 12 hours, with early morning departures. Stops include Rohtang Pass, Gramphu, Lossar and Kunzum Pass.

By Bike

For bikers, the Manali – Spiti Valley route is one of India’s most thrilling mountain journeys across rugged terrain. Though challenging, the road conditions have improved, and the scenery is breathtaking. Permits for Rohtang Pass are required.

Top Attractions in Spiti Valley

Spiti’s unique arid mountainous landscape combined with Tibetan Buddhist culture makes it incredibly fascinating.

Key Monastery

Perched at 13,668 feet on a hill near Kaza, this 1000-year-old monastery is the largest in Spiti Valley. The ancient murals, stupas, and artifacts here showcase distinctive Tibetan Buddhist art and culture.

Chandratal Lake

The stunning ‘Lake of the Moon’ is set at an altitude of 14,100 feet amidst majestic mountains and meadows. Its crystal clear blue waters beautifully reflect the landscape and night skies. Camping in its pristine surroundings is unforgettable.

Kibber Village

Marvel at the untouched natural and cultural beauty in Kibber, which is considered one of the highest inhabited villages in the world at 14,200 feet. Explore its wildlife sanctuary, monastery, and handicraft center.

Things to do in Spiti Valley

Village Hopping

Staying in homestays across rustic villages like Demul, Dhankar, Lalung, and Komik provides insight into Spiti’s local culture and way of life through community interactions.

Fossil Hunting

Keep an eye out for fossils of aquatic animals, plants, and shells embedded in Spiti’s rocky terrain, dating back to millennia when it was submerged. The region is a treasure trove for paleontology enthusiasts.

Meditating in a Buddhist Monastery

Find inner peace by practicing meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, and chanting with monks at the many centuries-old Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the valley—an enriching experience.

FAQs

What is the best time to visit Spiti Valley?

From May to October, Spiti Valley is most accessible through mountain passes like Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass. Winters can be extremely harsh, with temperatures dipping to -20°C.

How many days are ideal for a Manali Spiti tour?

Around 7-10 days is ideal to experience the highlights of Manali and Spiti Valley without feeling rushed. Allow extra days for any trekking or adventure activities.

What essentials should I pack for Spiti Valley?

Warm layers, sunscreen, sunglasses, comfortable walking shoes, flashlight, water bottle, medication for altitude sickness, permits, and spare fuel if self-driving.

Can I do a solo trip to Spiti Valley?

Yes, solo trips to Spiti Valley by public transport or self-drive are pretty popular. Do get permits and emergency contacts handy and inform your family of your itinerary.

What mobile networks work in Spiti Valley?

BSNL has the most comprehensive coverage in Spiti. Most villages have a signal for basic calls and texts, but internet access is limited except in Kaza. Carry a power bank.

Conclusion

With its stunning vistas, thrilling adventures, and spiritual solace, a trip from Manali to Spiti Valley is nothing short of magical. Follow this guide to craft your epic journey exploring Himachal’s spectacular mountains, people, and culture at your own pace. The scenic drives, ancient monasteries, outdoor activities, and immersive local experiences will create memories to last a lifetime.