Today, we bring yet another exciting and adventurous road trip of our lives to Spiti Valley along with our seven-year-old daughter, Sarah in the month of May 2022. Yes, you read it right; this is the post about nine days trip from Delhi to Spiti Valley and back in our car (Hyundai i-20) and the adventurism of the journey was well complemented by Sarah!!!
In this post, we shall also share the key takeaways for undertaking such trips with kids:
- Worried about the feelings of nausea/vomiting in hilly regions? Here’s the guide to overcome the same.
- Concerned about the road conditions? Here’s how you would need to better plan for the day.
So, guys, we present to you an amazing rendezvous with Mother Nature in its most unruffled glory!!!
- Since network can be an issue in remote areas, strongly advise downloading Google maps in advance for places like Kaza, Tabo, Nako & Kalpa. It will save you from the problem of going offline where there isn’t any network available.
- Go to Google maps, and type the place you would like to download the map for. Swipe up the screen, click 3 dots in the upper right corner and ‘Download offline map’. It won’t take up much space from phone memory.
Day 1: Delhi to Shimla
We started early morning on Saturday from Delhi towards our first stop in Shimla, which is approx. 360km on the Delhi-Ambala route and it took us nearly 8.5 hours to reach our first here. Our hotel here was Hotel Victory. The road is very good all the way from Delhi to Shimla. Leaving early was a good decision since Shimla roads are full of rush on weekends, particularly during evening/ afternoon hours.
We stayed here for a day and thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Mall Road, Lakkar Bazaar, and Church at night. The central Shimla is very lively from evening until 10 P.M. (shops start closing at 9 P.M. though). After having enjoyed the local delicacies, we walked back to our hotel for a good night’s sleep after a long journey.
Day 2: From Shimla to Kalpa
We started at 6:35 am in the morning for our much-anticipated journey towards Kalpa in Kinnaur. This is a beautiful place landlocked with mountains on all sides and the lower mountain ranges are covered under the sheet of beautiful apple and cherry trees. The ride from Shimla to Kalpa is approx. 225km and passes through Kufri, Theog, Narkanda, Rampur Bushahr, Sarahan and Kalpa.
We had a memorable journey which was a mix of changing weather conditions, a visit to the Hanuman Temple en route, and delightful lunch at ‘Café Satluj’.
The staff at the restaurant was very cordial and greeted us with yummy lunch.
We covered our journey in nearly 8 hours with various stops totalling 2 hours in between.
Starting early from Shimla shall save you from the Shimla traffic/rush which starts to build up slowly.
Our hotel in Kalpa was Hotel Rollingrang. The staff here was very good and we had 3 plates of Maggie in the evening. The hotel room was very nice with excellent panoramic views from the balcony of the entire Kailash Parvat range.
After dinner, we slept having watched Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge movie at night before starting out early morning for the next stop, Tabo in Spiti Valley.
Day 3: From Kalpa to Tabo
We started early at 7 in the morning to start towards Tabo, Spiti Valley. On our journey, we were fortunate to discover and relish mouth-watering breakfast at ‘Punjabi Dhaba’. The Punjabi Dhaba was being operated by a retired Punjabi couple who had amazing stories to tell about life in the hills, kids, and future plans. We even clicked pictures with the owner here and felt like a quick bond was being established.
The road from Kalpa towards Tabo is good until Nako Village. Nako Village was a small village locked by mountains from all sides which had quite many food joints/dhabas where all the vehicles plying on Kaza/Kalpa routes would generally stop. This village boasts of Nako Lake which in our opinion was a total disappointment. The landscapes enroute Nako village were more beautiful and would highly recommend halting in between to soak in the beauty of mountains.
Please do not take your car through the village to visit Nako Lake, it is one serpentine kutcha/unmade road which can easily block vehicles moving in opposite directions. Instead, if at all you would like to visit this lake, please WALK!!! You can park the car where there are dhabbas and the walk from there is approx. 750 mts.
After having lunch (the ubiquitous – Rajma rice) at one of the dhabas, we hit the road again towards Tabo. The road from Nako Village till Tabo Village which is approx. 65km is bad (approx. 23km road is very bad), so this was a journey where we ended up driving our car slow.
To know the average time, it would take for you to reach a destination in hilly terrain, multiply the distance in km with 2 to arrive at the approx. minutes. The time it took us to reach Tabo was nearly 2.5 hours from Nako.
Tabo is a small village with beautiful people living here in their nice Victorian huts, homestays, hotels, and monastery. After having reached Tabo, we started looking out for a place to stay as we could not book in advance our stay accommodation on account of the entire Tabo Village being fully booked. Luckily, we found a guy named Tenzin, who was gracious enough to open the PWD Guest House for us and let us stay for a night.
After having checked in, we had a very homely dinner served in our room.
Day 4: Trip to Kaza, Spiti Valley
Next morning, before checking out, we roamed around the entire village and visited one of the oldest monasteries in the region.
We also visited the Tabo caves which were quite a fascinating place to visit with an existential meaning of its own. It is believed that monks used to stay in these caves during winter season for meditation.
At around 12 PM, we started for our final leg towards the dream destination, Kaza in Spiti Valley.
Before heading towards Kaza, on the route, we visited Dhankar monastery, which was quite enthralling as it was built on top of a mountain. It was in fact so high, that we experienced snow and rainfall by the time we reached. The valley views from here were quite a vision to behold.
After having visited the monastery, we started for Kaza.
- There are two ways to reach Kaza from Dhankar monastery. The shorter way is to move forward from the monastery but the road condition is very rough & patchy and would easily take 1 hour for you to reach Kaza. There is a signboard near the car park to move ahead for Kaza (this route isn’t on Google maps and the first 30 km are the worst). Please do not follow this route. The other route is going back from Dhankar Monastery and continuing the journey towards Kaza. Unfortunately, we took the route up ahead from Dhankar monastery,
We reached Kaza in the evening, and this place was our final destination.
We had our stay booked at Phuljang Homestay which was the very last homestay in Kaza offering magnificent views of the mountains from three sides. We met the owner, Sonam, here who greeted us and showed us our room.
3 nights stay in Kaza:
Day 1: We were quite excited to reach a place which had a mix of Swiss and Icelandic look in territorial features. Unfortunately, our excitement was arrested on account of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) I suffered from and I started feeling nauseated and uneasy with severe headache. I got up at 4 in the morning and felt uneasy. I had 6 glasses of fresh water and Saradon tablet to relieve myself of headache and discomfort.
Please note that you need to be adequately hydrated otherwise AMS can hit you as a silent killer and can get very bad quite quickly.
Keep your kids hydrated by feeding milk/water/juices. The juices are easily available in Kaza market.
Later, we had delicious breakfast aloo-pyaaz paranthas at homestay which were prepared by Binod and his wife, Sarita.
World’s Highest Post Office, Hikkim:
We got ready and started our day by visiting the highest post office in the world in Hikkim at a height of 44410m. This post office is approx. 15km from our homestay and took us nearly 45minutes to reach here. This is a beautiful place where we witnessed snowflakes falling all over and Sarah got to post various postcards to her grand-parents and back home. The postal staff informed that it may take 2-3 weeks for the postcards to reach at the destinations.
Next, we went to the Komic Village, the highest motorable village in the world which was a further 10 minute car ride.
After having seen the village, we visited Langza, a beautiful destination, and located in one of the most majestic valleys of ‘Spiti Valley’. This village is blessed with a mix of green pastures, snow-clad mountains, and cold ‘n’ dry landscapes all around. The village is blessed by the grand statue of Lord Buddha, overlooking the valley, quaint mud houses, and café. The village is also famous for the fossils and attracts many researchers here.
After having spent the entire day here, we went back to our homestay in the evening. We had loads of fun at Café Spaceship where we had yummy sandwiches, sea buck thorn tea and egg-bhurji. Do try sea buck thorn tea, it has an amazing aura and taste!
We were so mesmerized by the Buddha statue, that we created a timelapse video of it and just stayed there looking at its beauty for few hours.
Today, we visited Chicham Bridge, which is the highest bridge in Asia and quite an engineering marvel to witness.
After having visited the Chicham Bridge, we visited the much-awaited Key Monastery.
Key Monastery was at approx. 6km from Chicham Bridge which took us 30 minutes to reach. We saw many monks playing volleyball here before visiting the monastery. Later, we had an amazing lunch at the monastery restaurant and froze a period of our lives through the lens of our camera.
Later, we visited the Kaza Bazaar and bought shawls and stoles here. After having spent a major portion of a very calm and composed day at the monastery, we retired the day at our homestay.
Another highlight of the day was star gazing at night. We could capture a glimpse of it in the time-lapse video shown above.
Day 7: Return to Delhi
We started back from Kaza early in the morning for our return journey towards Kalpa.
Here are the expenditure details for the entire trip:
|Day1||4,200||Hotel Victory, Shimla|
|Day2||3,360||Hotel Rollingrang, Kalpa|
|Day3||500||Tabo Guest House|
|Food (9 Days)||9,242||Food (9 Days)|
|Toll Charges||1,060||Toll Charges|
Hope you enjoyed reading it. Do like and comment for any further information if needed.