Spiti: Hidden Valley of the Himalayas

Group Tour

15 Days From £3,450

Overview

Steeped in Buddhist traditions and infused with a way of life that has remained largely unchanged for centuries, this remarkable journey takes us deep into the heart of the Spiti Valley of northern India.

Filled with experiences, this astonishing odyssey begins amongst the quintessentially Indian streets of Delhi, before heading towards the spectacular Himalayan landscapes of Himachal Pradesh. The days that follow are filled with a wealth of cultural encounters, as we take to the rails ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

14 x Breakfasts
15 x Lunches
14 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use minibuses, jeeps, a domestic flight and our own two feet!

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Moderate

BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE

Flexible booking conditions regarding transfers and cancellations

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will be in a combination of hotels, small locally run guesthouses and homestays. Please note that in the homestays you may need to share a room with another 2-3 clients. Given the remoteness of the regions we stay in small hotels and guesthouses some with dry composting toilets to provide ‘manure’ for the fields. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Book With Confidence

We understand that flexibility is now a key factor when booking a holiday, and we believe our Covid Promise and Covid Viable Test provide that.

We believe these terms and conditions for making a booking are amongst the most generous in the travel industry right now, and we hope they will give you the confidence, when you feel ready, to go ahead and book your next adventure.

Positive Impact of this Trip

Tree
Ten trees are planted per passenger on this trip
Community
Supports Wild Frontiers Foundation community projects
Wind Turbine
A contribution to renewable energy projects

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Spiti: Hidden Valley of the Himalayas
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN DELHI

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN DELHI

The journey begins in India’s bustling capital, where we have time to explore this most fascinating and historic of Indian cities. A vibrant fusion of colour and noise, Delhi is home to some of the country’s most iconic monuments, with its Mughal heritage and the grand architecture of the British Raj evoking memories of its role at the heart of two of the world’s most powerful empires.

Colonel’s Retreat or similar
Lunch, Dinner

DAY 2: DELHI – KALKA – SHIMLA (2206M)

DAY 2: DELHI – KALKA – SHIMLA (2206M)

Starting early we board the morning train to Kalka, lying amongst the verdant foothills of the Himalayas. Crossing India’s rural hinterland we arrive later this morning and swap onto the narrow gauge tracks of Shimla’s famed ‘Toy Train’ for the journey on to what was once described as the Queen of Hill Stations. Following a timeless route through some of the most beautiful scenery in the region, our journey gets us in to Shimla late this afternoon, in time to enjoy a stroll through town before dinner.

Woodville Palace Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: FULL DAY'S SIGHTSEEING IN SHIMLA

DAY 3: FULL DAY'S SIGHTSEEING IN SHIMLA

Sprawled across seven hills, Shimla still retains some of the faded charm that attracted the British here during the summer days of the Raj. Today we have an opportunity to enjoy a little something of its old colonial character with visits to the Viceregal Lodge and the Mall, before taking in the famed splendour of Jakhu Temple, the ancient Hindu temple that sits astride Jakhoo Hill, Shimla’s highest peak.

Woodville Palace Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: SHIMLA - KALPA (2960M)

DAY 4: SHIMLA - KALPA (2960M)

Departing early again this morning, we have a full day’s drive travelling by jeep through the apple-growing landscapes of the Satluj Valley towards Kalpa. Home to the Kinnauri people, Kalpa lies some 2,960 metres above sea level, at the base of the snow-capped peaks of the Kinnaur Kailash ranges. Negotiating the fertile vistas of the Satluj River Valley as far as Puwari we then begin the ascent towards Kalpa, following the road up through the forests as we enjoy the stunning mountain landscapes ahead of us.

Hotel Kinner Villa or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: KALPA - TABO VIA LAKE NAKO (3280M)

DAY 5: KALPA - TABO VIA LAKE NAKO (3280M)

Accompanied by the splendours of the Kinnaur Kailash, today’s drive takes us from the lush Satluj Valley and into the stark desert landscapes of the Spiti Valley. The drive is as spectacular as it is dramatic, as we make our way along what has often been described as one of the world’s most adventurous roads. The journey takes us close to the Tibetan border and the small village of Nako, where we may have an opportunity to stop and visit its picturesque lake.

Hotel Dewachan or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: TABO - DHANKHAR - PIN VALLEY (3800M APPROX)

DAY 6: TABO - DHANKHAR - PIN VALLEY (3800M APPROX)

This morning we visit Tabo Monastery, the oldest continuously operating Buddhist enclave in both India and the Himalayas. Continuing on to Dhankhar we then head towards what is considered one of the most endangered monuments in the world, Dhankhar Gompa. Much has been done in recent years by our local team to raise funds to support the restoration of the building and its treasures. From here we then head into the Pin Valley, to end our day at a unique village dedicated to Bhuchen tantric dance.

Hermitage Guesthouse or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: PIN VALLEY - DEMUL (4320M)

DAY 7: PIN VALLEY - DEMUL (4320M)

Today’s destination is the remarkable village of Demul, lying high up amongst the Spitian highlands 4,320 metres above sea level. The village is fast earning a reputation for its ground-breaking efforts at sustainability, with solar cookers, greenhouses and solar heated and electrified homes very much a part of Demul’s modern culture. Breaking the journey en route, there is an option to enjoy a hike up to nearly 5000 metres, to take in the panoramas across up to 18 different villages. If you prefer you can follow the same route experiencing a yak back safari which is optional and payable locally. Alternatively, you can continue the journey by jeep.

Homestay
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: CULTURAL ACTIVITIES AROUND DEMUL

DAY 8: CULTURAL ACTIVITIES AROUND DEMUL

Today provides an opportunity to fully immerse ourselves in village life, with a range of activities on offer. These include a chance to get up early and join the sheep herds up on the high pastures. You can learn how to make Spiti’s unique yak cheese, try your hand at making pure mountain arak, or alternatively join some of the locals in producing rope from yak wool. Demul offers a fascinating and unique insight into the traditional lives of these remote people.

Homestay
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: TREK TO KOMIK (4500M)

DAY 9: TREK TO KOMIK (4500M)

Trekking across a landscape of alpine grazing pastures we head up into the hunting grounds of the snow leopard today. Journey’s end is the settlement of Komik, at 4,500 metres above sea level the highest village in Asia. After visiting Komik’s monastery we’ll have a chance to get settled in to our overnight homestays before we head out to learn more about the intricate irrigation systems and farming practices of Asia’s highest community. There is the option to undertake the trek by yak if you prefer. Trekking 14-16km approx 5-6 hours

Homestay
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: TREK TO LANGZA THEN DRIVE ON TO KAZA (3650M)

DAY 10: TREK TO LANGZA THEN DRIVE ON TO KAZA (3650M)

Early risers can take a walk down into the fields before breakfast this morning, after which we’ll start our trek on to Langza (4300M). The four hour journey takes us by way of Hikkim, where we’ll find the highest post office in Asia! In Langza we’ll then have an opportunity to spend some time with the local potters, before continuing by road on to Kaza. Here we head to the market with our hosts to purchase ingredients before trying our hand at creating some typical Spitian cuisine for dinner. Trekking 8-10km approx 4 hours

Hotel Sakya or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: KAZA - PANGMO - KAZA

DAY 11: KAZA - PANGMO - KAZA

After breakfast this morning visit the iconic Kee Monastery, the largest of its kind in the Spiti Valley. Home to ancient murals, books and Buddhist imagery, the monastery is still a functioning school for lamas of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Continuing on to Pangmo from here, we spend the day at a Nunnery and enjoy the hospitality of the local nuns, a remarkable opportunity to witness first-hand their daily rituals and spend time in meditation, or simply enjoying tea with them.

Hotel Sakya or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: KAZA - MANALI (2000M)

DAY 12: KAZA - MANALI (2000M)

Leaving the Spiti Valley today, our journey takes us across the spectacular mountain passes of Kunzum and Rohtang, as we make our way to Manali near the northern end of the Kullu Valley. A long drive, the day takes us across some of the most dramatic scenery imaginable as we follow the old trade routes towards the “Valley of the Gods”. If time allows we may have a chance to stop en route at Chandratal, the beautiful moon lake that occupies the Samudra Tapu plateau.

Johnson’s Lodge or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13: MANALI - DHARAMSHALA (1450M)

DAY 13: MANALI - DHARAMSHALA (1450M)

Another long drive filled with spectacular landscapes and timeless vistas, today we head for Dharamshala, the capital of the Tibetan government in exile since the 1959 uprising. Nestling amongst the fertile tea plantations of Himachal Pradesh, the town lies encircled by cedar forest, snow-clad mountain and captivating monasteries. One of the finest and culturally most important hill stations in India, the town’s rich Tibetan culture and old colonial history instils it with a character all its own.

Serkong House Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: IN DHARAMSHALA

DAY 14: IN DHARAMSHALA

A full day exploring this fascinating town begins with a visit to the Dalai Lama’s Monastery, within whose confines we can find the Tibet Museum. Other points of interest around the town include the Tibetan Men-tse-khang Medical Centre, the charming little village of Dharamkot and the Norbulingka Institute, which is dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan art and culture. Later we will have some free time to explore the market at our leisure.

Serkong House Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15: DHARAMSHALA - DELHI

DAY 15: DHARAMSHALA - DELHI

This morning you will have some free time for personal exploration in the city before we take a late afternoon flight to Delhi where the tour ends. For those on the suggested group flights please note that you will be transferred to the International terminal where the group flight will depart in the early hours of Day 16.

Breakfast, Lunch

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

With local people, culture and eco-systems in mind, responsible travel and sustainable tourism are at the core of Wild Frontiers. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our travellers but also benefits the people and places we visit.

When designing our tours, we actively seek out experiences that have a positive impact on the communities and precious environments we visit - from supporting social enterprises; resting our heads in rural homestays; and eating at locally owned restaurants; to helping fund conservation projects that protect wildlife and their habitats. 

Visit the Responsible Travel area of our website to read more, including the work of the Wild Frontiers Foundation through which we fundraise to aid community empowerment and education projects.

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
BA 257 London Heathrow (LHR) 19:15 Delhi Airport (DEL) 08:20
BA 142 Delhi Airport (DEL) 01:50 London Heathrow (LHR) 06:45

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders currently require a visa for India.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

India

India

India is a huge continent full of possibilities depending on your interests

-    Spend some time in Leh visiting some of the local monasteries
-    Head up to Srinagar and spend some time on lake Dal
-    Take a few days to visit Amritsar, the Sikh spiritual centre of India

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

Summer months extend from May to mid-October, when the snow bound passes remain open. It seldom rains during these months and there should be lots of sunshine during the day. On average day temperatures in June are between 15 – 20ºC, and the days are warm, but the nights are cold. Given the altitude you need to prepare for fresh conditions and have layers available for sudden changes in temperature.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, as many of the activities are optional. However, please note that a significant portion of this tour is at an altitude of 3800m and some mountain passes over 4500m. There are some long driving days on challenging but spectacular roads. Whilst there are some walking elements you can ‘opt out’ of these if you choose.

This is a stunning and unspoilt region of India and any lack of facilities will be more than compensated by the stark beauty of the landscape and warmth and friendliness of your hosts.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation, but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement, we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour except days 5–11 due to the size and nature of the accommodation available in this remote region.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 8350 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.