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A Trip To Spiti's Left Bank (Part 2) - Information

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Information

How to get there

Spiti valley is only approached via road from Shimla (Kinnaur) or Manali (Kullu road). It takes nearly 2 days driving from Shimla to Tabo or Kaza. We did take a taxi from Shimla (try services from Bandbox Height & Valleys; for $23.5-$25.5 per day including fee of petrol and driver). Bus goes from Shimla to Rekong Peo, where you can take another bus to Tabo or Kaza in the next day. While Kinnaur road is highway opening all time, bus service may be infrequent.

Kullu road from Manali via Rohtang pass is shorter and it took one day (for $74). However, it only opens from June to October’s middle. Time allotted to drive from Tabo to Kaza is 2 hours.

Description: Spiti’s left bank

Spiti’s left bank

Description: Spiti valley

Spiti valley

The trip

Day 1: Kaza (3,600m) – Lhangza (4,400m) – Komic (4,500m): 3-4 hours

The road from Kaza to Lhangza allows jeeps and takes around 1 hour. From Lhangza, the path leads to hill in 1 hour then goes down until it meets the only path from where you can see Hikim village and Komic monastery. That road goes through appealing grassland. After that, it leaves the only path and heads towards Hikim village. From here, there is a sloping trail to Komic monastery precariously hung on a hill. You can also follow the jeep-road (how boring!) to get to Komic monastery and the village.

Description: Kaza

Kaza

Day 2: Komic (4,500m) – Demul (4,300m): 7 hours

The road from Komic to the only path of Charmay Lapzey (4,700m) takes 2 hours. Then, this road travels through a valley and after a few hours, you will meet a clearing where you can enjoy lunch (packed at your homestay). Ibexes can be seen faraway. Farther on hill, you will cross a nomadic people’s hamlet having only one house called Doksa before you reach Yang Lapzey’s final path. From here, it takes 1 hour going downhill to get to Demul village.

Day 3: Demul (4,300m) – Lhalung (3,700m): 6-7 hours

Road from Demul going right down to an 800-meter canyon, watch out these loose rubbles. After 3 hours, the road meets Khunka River. Sanglung village (3,500m) – a great stop for lunch – will appear right in the next hour. At Sanglung, we did notice the bridge below Lhalung and on Lingti river had been broken. Thus, instead of turning left from Sanglung, we had to take a long trip on the right with a jeep-road for 2 hours before reaching Lhalung.

Description: The trail between Demul and Lhalung

The trail between Demul and Lhalung

Day 4: Lhalung (3,700m) – Dhangkar (3,800m): 5 hours

The road on our trip’s last day seemed rather smooth to get to Dhangkar. After leaving Lhalung, let’s follow the jeep-road over Lingti River. 1 hour later, there will be a path turning left from the main road and heading towards hills. This path full of foot-prints meets the main road joins the road before encountering Dhangkar. You can stay at Dhangkar at night and we recommend monastery’s guesthouses. Dhangkar is nearly 1 hour driving and 2 hour driving from Tabo and Kaza respectively. You must arrange means of transport from Kaza or Tabo to pick you up from here.

Where to stay

There are many hotels and guesthouses in Tabo and Kaza. In Tabo, we stayed at Tiger Den near the monastery and in Kaza, we chose Sakya Adobe. A double room cost $6.5-$8.5.

On the way, each village has numerous homestays offering food and room for $4.5-$5.5 per night for one person. In Komic, we slept overnight at Kunga Homestay run by Kunga Chorden and family. In Demul, Norbu can help arranging rooms. In Lhalung, you can stay at Tashi’s Khabrick Homestay.

When to set off

The best season for the trip ranges from June to mid-October. We went in late-September and did enjoy deserted trail and excellent weather.

What to bring with

Bring enough water (2 liters at least) for the whole day and iodine/chlorine pills to purify the water. You can also carry a walking stick in case hills may be rough due to pebble and gravel. Though homestays provide bed and blanket, a sleeping bag is till useful.

Although the trip includes staying at house in village every night, don’t underrate the effect of the altitude as well as the walk. The average altitude is above 4,300 meter and even the lowest one is 3,500 meter. It is a good idea to stay at Tabo (3,000m) at least one night and spend two more night at Kaza (3,600m) before any further walk. Fitness with climatic adaptation is the key – so make daylight trip to Ki (3,800m) and Kibber (4,200m) if possible.

Map

There are various types of map. We chose Indian Himalaya Maps Sheet 6 of Leomann Maps.

Description: The map

The map

Tour managers

It is possible to go the trip with no tour manager if you can bring stuff along and find way yourself. This was our intention when starting from Kaza but we decided to get a guide from Komic because path may be disordered and it was often that no one there to ask for directions. Spiti Holiday Adventure (www.spitiholidayadventure.com) and Spiti Ecosphere (www.spitiecosphere.com) have their office in Kaza so they can arrange for a guide and a donkey carrying stuff. We travelled with Kunga Chorden, who suggested by Spiti Holiday Adventure.

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