Spiti Valley is a cold desert located in the upper reaches of Himalayas. Known for its other-worldly beauty, the place holds a special charm to it that can’t be replaced. Most of the villages in the valley are located above 12,000 feet and the cultural practices are also unique and worth experiencing. Here are a few things to remember before you plan your trip to Spiti Valley.
1. Pack Clothes in Layers
Spiti valley is a cold desert at an altitude of 12, 000 feet and above. It stays cold throughout the year. Even in the summer months, when during the daytime temperature hits up to 30-degree Celsius, endless winds keep the air cold. So make sure you pack good quality warm clothes. Carry at least 4 layers of clothing ideal to protect you from the cold. Thermal, fleece jacket, Woolen jacket, and Downs Jacket is the ideal order for layers to wear.
2. Seek the Uncommon In Spiti
Spiti has many strange attractions hidden in its innards. The mummy of Giu village, the ancient aquatic fossils in Langza village, and the Dhankar Lake are such lesser-known places you can reach. Besides, there are a few very rare species of animals in the valley such as the Himalayan Ibex and the highly elusive Snow Leopard.
Seek out these gems that are exclusive to Spiti, and the quest itself will take you through some experiences to remember. Some of these locations are only accessible through taxis. Make sure you plan your budget and number of days accordingly, as you have to wander a little far away from the mainstream towns to reach these locations.
3. Night Photography and Stargazing
Spiti valley is at a high altitude with no cities around to cause light pollution, meaning that you can see millions of stars spread out across the night sky. Watch the Milky Way spread its cloud over the Himalayas, observe the constellations and trace the shooting stars.
Therefore, pack equipment such as a tripod for your camera or mobile phone if you plan to take pictures of the night sky.
4. Camping Equipment
The Spiti river gives life to the entire valley, and the riverside is a good place to spend a or two night at.
Remember that this is possible only in summer months (June to September) when the cold is bearable. Having said that, you still need a good set of cold weather accessories to survive. The nights would be mesmerizing and the company of the river will give you a night to remember.
Hence, pack essential camping equipment such as a tent and sleeping bag if you wish to experience this.
5. Carry Enough Paper Money
Although there are two ATMs in Kaza, it is quite possible that these may malfunction at any time. Hence carry enough cash to meet your expenses in Spiti Valley.
6. Carry Recovery Bag for Waste
Spiti Valley is a pristine mountain region and it is the duty of every traveller to preserve its beauty for posterity.
Make sure you carry all the plastic waste back to your cities to be disposed of properly. It is better to bring along a carry bag to take the waste back.
Also, being a high altitude cold desert, Spiti valley faces scarcity of water. The water sources depend on melting snow and thanks to global warming, the patterns of snowfall have been altered. This has dried up several streams fed by the snow.
Make sure you use water judiciously while in Spiti. Also, try to use a refillable bottle for drinking water instead of single-use plastic bottles.
7. Public Transport and Shared Transport Options
There are a few Public transport buses plying to Spiti from both, Manali (only in summers) and Reckong Peo. You can save on your budget by travelling in these.
Besides, there are also shared taxis which will take you to Spiti Valley along with other travellers. These prove to be a better option than individual taxis if you are looking for an economic journey. Consider this as you plan your trip.
8. Sun Protection
Due to the high altitude of Spiti Valley, the exposure to Ultraviolet radiation is much higher here than in plains. Hence, make sure you carry proper sun-protection accessories.
Buy sun protection lotion(preferably above SPF 40) and keep a pair of goggles to protect your eyes from the blinding glare of the sun.
9. Keep A Few Extra Days
Roads to Spiti from Manali and Reckong Peo are perched amid some rugged mountains of the upper Himalayas. Besides, the weather is unpredictable and spontaneous here. Anything from landslides to snowfall is a possibility on any day.
It is better if you leave an extra day or two so that you can stay true to your schedule even if something unplanned happens along the way.
10. Be Prepared To Get Cut Off Literally
No mobile networks work in Spiti apart from BSNL. So be prepared to move into no network zone for a few days. Make sure you inform your family about this and tell them not to panic if you are out of coverage zone during your trip.
This blog is written by Sarun. Explore his profile here.