Is it possible to do Spiti Valley in 3 Days? Well, straight answer to this particular question is simply “No”. However, proper planning, starting point and places to visit are the key factor to decide if you can do a 3 Days Spiti Valley Trip. In fact , if you want to do Spiti valley in 3 days from your home town, then to be honest it’s not possible at all. Another route, If you want to do Spiti Valley trip in 3 Days from Shimla, then again it’s a “No”. Contrarily, if you start your trip from Manali for Spiti valley in 3 days then the answer changes to yes. Yes, you can do the Spiti in 3 days from Manali, however, this will become rushed and hectic to complete. But one can experience the beauty of Spiti Valley in such a short time span, let’s discuss how to.
The major concern while doing Spiti Valley Trip in 3 days is the acute mountain sickness (AMS). Our starting point is Manali which is on the elevation of 6398 feet which is 2,050 meters. On the other hand the altitude of Kaza in Spiti Valley is at 12,470 feet which is 3,800 meter. Now the point to understand is the altitude of Kaza in comparison with Manali is almost double. The concern is one would be travelling from Manali to Kaza in a single day. The gain in altitude in just few hours which is too fast for anyone will eventually leads to AMS. Well, in any case you have to reach Kaza and manage the impact of AMS.
Generally, the impact of AMS lasts a day and next morning you should feel fine to proceed further. Just in case if you still not feeling good, then you should visit local hospital in Kaza without wasting time. For more details about the impact and symptoms of AMS and how to handle it properly, you can read How to Deal with AMS.
Spiti Valley in 3 Days
For Spiti Valley in 3 Days trip you have to reach Kaza on Day 1 from Manali. Second day, from Kaza to Chandratal; camps accommodations are easily available. On third day return from Chandratal to Manali.
Day 1 : Manali to Kaza
Make sure you start your journey as early as possible from Manali. An early start will help you reach Rohtang Pass on time and without much traffic. Because to reach Rohtang Pass you have to cross Gulaba Check Post, where you have to show your permit to visit Rohtang Pass. Early start helps you to manage this check post and bad roads to visit Rohtang on time. As it takes entire day from Manali to reach Kaza.
Another benefit of starting early from Manali will help you to save time for sightseeing on the way to Kaza before dark. In fact because of early morning, one can enjoy the amazing vistas. We can even say early morning towards Rohtang is like feast for the eyes. Specially, when the sun starts to rise.
This entire Journey is relatively simple. To start off from Manali, take a road towards Rohtang Pass and cross the pass and drive towards Lahaul Valley. After crossing the Rohtang Pass, you will reach Gramphoo and there is a right side diversion towards Batal, Spiti Valley. This is a tough, small, dirt and bad condition road for Spiti Valley. Take this diversion and drive from here to Batal. I am sure you will feel and see one of the worst ever stretch you have seen. You have to cross numerous water streams, nallah’s, slush and big boulders and loose stones to drive on this terrain. As soon as you reach Batal, now you have to drive towards Kunzum Pass Top. After crossing Kunzum Pass you will decend towards Losar. Now the road condition post Losar will be little better. From this point it takes around 2 hours to reach Kaza.
Day 2 : Kaza to Chandratal
Second day, plan is to reach Chandertal from Kaza. While starting your journey from Kaza, you can visit Key Monastery, Hikkim, Langza, Kibber towards Chandertal via Losar & Kunzum. There are many options available for Night stay in Chandertal. As there are no hotels so you have to stay in camps for the night.
From Kaza, take the same road back towards Manali via Kunzum Pass. As soon as you reach Kunzum Pass, from this point around 3 KM towards Manali on the descent; you will see another diversion for Chandertal road. From this starting point, Chandertal is like 14 KM long. This road is way much narrow and hard for two vehicle to cross each other. Totally dirt road with lots of water crossing enroute. It’s better to drive slowly and with patience to reach safely. This road ends up just before 1.5KM from Chandertal Lake, you have to walk rest of the distance from parking. As per directions from government officials, camps are not allowed on the banks of lake. The nearest camp for Chandertal Lake is like 3 KM away from lake itself.
On the other hand, if you have your camps, you can do self-camping there as well. Make sure not to place your camps near the lake and on some random place. It’s advisable to speak with some camp owner and take permission, they will allow you for a nominal price. You can use their washroom, which can be of great help in those barren lands. This is area also a part of wild life, which is another reason why one should not place their camps randomly in isolated area.
Day 3 : Chandratal to Manali
Now it’s time to head towards back to Manali from ChanderTal. You will return back from the same route that you took to reach Kaza. Total today’s journey is around 8 hours from ChanderTal to Manali via Rohtang Pass. The view and color of lake in the morning is altogether different from evening time. You can visit again to lake for a morning view for better photography. As the water in the morning is almost still and one can see the reflection of mountains in the Lake.
From ChanderTal drive back to Kunzum Road, then take a right turn descent side towards Batal. From Batal reach Gramphoo, which is place to reach Leh Manali Road to Climp up Rohtang Pass. After crossing Rohtang Pass descend down back to Manali. While coming back from other part of Lahaul-Spiti to Manali side, no permit is required.
How to Reach Spiti By Public Transport?
The above information for 3 Days Spiti Valley Itinerary was considered that you were coming by your own vehicle or rented vehicle. Another option is visiting spiti valley by public transport. Again, that is very much possible but require some perfect schedule and can be bit of tricky part as well. From Manali there is a regular bus service for Kaza on daily basis at 5 AM from Manali. And from Kaza Side to Manali, bus starts at 4 AM. Around 10 hours these buses takes from one point to another.
On Day 1 while travelling by bus, you will reach directly to Kaza from Manali. On 2nd Day, you will take the bus from Kaza to ChanderTal Diversion near Kunzum Pass. Now, make sure you note the time when you reach this place, so you can catch the bus next day while going back to Manali.
As soon as you reach the starting point of the road to ChanderTal, you have two options to reach there. You can wait for a shared taxi to arrive; chances for this option is way much lesser. Second option is to start walking instead of waiting and wasting the time on the intersection. In peak season, lot many travellers come by their own vehicle and sometime camp owners also comes by their own vehicle, so chances are better to get lift from these vehicle. Else, keep walking and look for shared taxis. In worst case scenario, at least you are not standing on a single place and walking towards lake. On 3rd Day, come back to the same place after visiting ChanderTal to catch the bus back to Manali. Make sure you should reach that intersection at least half an hour before the bus dropped you.
Spiti Valley by Shared Taxi
Apart from Roadways Bus, one can opt for Shared Taxi for Spiti Valley from Manali. You can easily find shared taxi from Local Bus Stand in Manali only, those ply on the same route. The only issue with shared taxi is that Manali to Kaza and Kaza to Manali its easy, however, but for ChanderTal its hard to get one. So, board a shared taxi from Kaza to ChanderTal Intersection and then either walk or seek some lift from others.
Manali to Kaza via ChanderTal
I am sure you must be wondering, is it possible or a good idea to visit ChanderTal from Manali then to Kaza. I mean on Day 1 from Manali to ChanderTal then Day 2 to Kaza and Day 3 from Kaza to Manali. No issue in such thought actually, however, the only problem is the height of ChanderTal is even higher than Kaza, which is about 400 meters more. There is nothing at all there for medical emergencies. Chances of being AMS hit lot more than Kaza. If your condition get worst, take my words you won’t be able to tackle that situation. Kaza is on the lower altitude than ChanderTal, there are medical facilities available and there are better accommodations available. So, its better to go directly to Kaza to get your body adjusted to the weather and altitude. And Day 2 visit to ChanderTal.
Important point which needs to be consider is that this schedule is only applicable from the month of May second half to first half of September. As the roads from May to Sept from Manali to Kaza remains open. Later on Kunzum start experiencing the fresh snow for the next season and the roads get blocked. Then to visit Spiti Valley you have to come from Shimla side and from there 3 days Spiti is not possible at all.
What Permits are Required for Spiti Valley?
If you are an Indian citizen, you will be required to have a permit to cross Rohtang Pass. And that is also only when you are travelling by your own vehicle. On a shared taxi or public transport no permit is required. No other permit is required except Rohtang if you are on your own vehicle. On the other hand, foreign nationals are required to apply for an Inner Line Permit to visit Spiti Valley.
Clothing for Spiti Valley Trip
Cold Desert : Spiti is an another cold desert on high altitude. Consider the cold weather throughout the year in Spiti Valley. Normally, the temperature goes even more down at night. So the early morning and evenings are bit colder than day time. To manage this, best way is to wear clothes in layers. For example layer of thermals, regular t-shirts, woollen and a jacket above all. By this way you can take off the layer if you feel warm and add on some more if the required. In fact, you won’t get into trouble where you have to keep wearing woollens if you are feeling hot.
Rented Motorcycle for Spiti Valley
Bike rent from Manali is really easy to get one and you can do this trip on motorcycle as well. There are many bike vendors and bike shops in Manali from where you can get bike easily. Just walk around the market and you will be able to find many mechanics and bike rental agencies. Generally, they charge somewhere around 1000 to 1500 per day depending on the model of the bike you select. Make sure the bike should be in good condition and should not be an old model. One should take a test ride before finalizing a bike for the trip to make them self comfortable. The best part is as soon as you start your journey the elevation of Rohtang itself will take a test of your machine. And make you confident to take it further or not towards Spiti Valley.
I hope as per the above detailed information one can easily plan their visit to Spiti Valley in 3 Days. We have a some customised options available for riders for Spiti Valley Trip. For questions or suggestions please post your comments below, will try to answer as much as we can.