During the summer the days can be hot and the nights are usually refreshingly cool. Day temperatures vary from 20-30°C and could dip to a minimum of 0-10°C at night. It’s best to be prepared for lower temperatures due to wind chill or the weather turning bad especially in the months of May and September/October, when temperatures could dip to – 5°C at night.
Spiti gets bitterly cold in the winters. Day temperatures vary from +5 to -10°C and could dip to a minimum of -30°C at night. It’s best to be prepared for lower temperatures due to wind chill or the weather turning bad and sudden snowfall.
The table below gives an average month wise description of the prevailing weather conditions in Spiti.
Foreign Nationals require an Inner Line Permit to enter or exit Spiti if traveling via the Shimla/ Kinnaur side and for visiting Tabo in Spiti. This can be obtained from the District Commissioner’s Office in Shimla ((minimum of 4 persons required to make a permit in Shimla), Rekong Peo, and the Additional District Commissioners Office in Kaza.
Visit the office of the DC (Deputy Commissioner) at Shimla or Rekong Peo with your passport to get your permits issued. A fee is charged by the Government office to make the inner line permits. Government offices are not open on Sundays, second Saturdays, and public holidays.
Spiti falls under a Protected Area in India and often a Restricted Area Permit is issued while applying for your visa. Kindly apply for your Visa accordingly. Please note certain nationalities like Pakistani, Chinese, Bangladeshi, to name a few; cannot obtain an Inner Line Permit and will not be allowed to enter Spiti from the Shimla/ Kinnaur side and will not be allowed to visit Tabo.
BSNL/MTNL and Jio mobile networks have the most outreach in Spiti. On Jio you can access the internet. The other network in Spiti is Airtel which works mostly in Kaza & Tabo. There will be intermittent phone access in many of the highland villages, in Pin Valley, Chandratal and enroute between Kaza & Manali.
State Bank of India has ATM’s in Kaza & Tabo and Kangra Central Co-operative Bank has an ATM in Kaza, however these are not the most reliable. It is advisable to carry enough cash and/or change currency en route in Shimla or Manali, as no official currency exchange is possible in Spiti.
Commonly visited areas in Spiti Valley vary between altitudes of 3300 mts to 5000 mts, hence it is advisable that people with pre-existing problems of the heart, lungs or anemia should consult their doctor before coming to Spiti. Acute Mountain Sickness (High Altitude Pulmonary/Cerebral Edema) is a major threat for those having serious lung and heart problems. If you’re planning to trek in Spiti, your fitness levels should be above average.
Kaza (the headquarters of Spiti) has a hospital with basic facilities. There is 1 chemist in town. It is best to bring with you any medication you may need during your time in Spiti.
There are local doctors also available known as Amchis in most of the villages. Their practice is based on the Tibetan system of medicine known as Swa Rigpa, which is based on the principles of Ayurveda.
As a general precautionary measure, please consult your doctor before visiting Spiti. For those with lung and heart related problems, Spiti is not the ideal destination and it is advisable to get a clean chit from the doctor before coming to Spiti.
AMS: A person suffering with Acute Mountain Sickness or Altitude Sickness is likely to experience headache, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, and shortness of breath during easy activity or rest.
HAPE and HACE: High Altitude Pulmonary Edema and Cerebral Edema are severe states of AMS identified by growing clumsy, slurring speech, disorientation, extreme fatigue, and generally looking drunk. Both HACE and HAPE are LIFE-THREATENING – please DESCEND IMMEDIATELY 600 to 1200 meters if you experience these symptoms.
The key to prevention of AMS is to increase altitude gradually. Once you reach altitude please remember to take it easy and rest. Do not head out on a long walk as soon as you arrive. Drink plenty of water and Seabuckthorn beverages (seabuckthorn is know to oxygenate the body in high altitudes) and avoid alcoholic beverages especially for the first few days after arriving at altitude. Going to higher elevations during the day is fine if you are not experiencing severe symptoms. After visiting higher altitudes, sleeping at a lower altitude is always better to help the body acclimatize.
Most visitors coming to Spiti are likely to experience some symptoms of AMS, however if you follow the above suggestions you will be able to prevent AMS from advancing to the life-threatening conditions of HACE and HAPE.
Please remember DON’T GO UP UNTIL THE SYMPTOMS GO DOWN.
Medication can also be taken to help the body acclimatise. This is usually taken a few days prior to reaching altitude and continued for a few days after reaching altitude. Please take any medication only after consulting a doctor.
We have found in our experience that it is safe to travel with children. It is important that they are at an age where they can communicate any sypmtoms easily. However, it is advisable to carry medication or other provisions that you feel the children might need during the trip
Roads to Spiti and within Spiti are rough and mostly un-metaled hill roads. Please be warned that while the experience is exhilarating it is not the most comfortable. Persons with medical conditions that could worsen with such road travel are advised they consult their doctor.
Ecosphere takes great care to ensure you are safe and comfortable on our trips. Our guides are first aid trained and can manage most emergency situations. In case of an emergency try and locate your guide or driver immediately and inform them of the problem. Alternatively you can reach the Ecosphere team here or use these numbers below.
Spiti has a very dry climate and the months from May to October are the ideal months to travel here as the temperature is warm and conducive to trekking and travel in general. The days are warm and the nights are cool.
One must carry long sleeve shirts, scarves, caps/hats and good sunglasses, sunscreen (40-50 SPF) as the sun has high UV. The sun’s rays are strong and can really burn without the above-mentioned items.
A light jacket and a warm jumper are also advisable for the summer months. May to mid-June and mid-September to October can be cold and temperatures can at times go below freezing. One must carry enough warm clothes, along with woollens and thermals.
The most important item to bring to Spiti is a pair of good comfortable walking shoes.
Detailed Packing checklist shall be provided to you upon booking a trip.
During your travel with us to Spiti, you will be staying in hotels, family run guesthouses, traditional homestays or permanent camps. If you’re trekking in Spiti then you will be camping out in the wilderness.
Homestaysprovide you with a clean and comfortable room in a local house with environment friendly dry composting squat toilets.
Hot water can be made available on request for washing up. Having a full bath can be challenge while in the homestay so please be mentally prepared for that. Please ask your guide or the lady of the house for the possibility of having a bath.
Hotels and guesthouses comprise a clean and comfortable room with attached bath (running hot and cold water) and western toilet.
Homestays allow you to live with a local family and immerse yourself in local life, culture, and daily activities. Most houses are made from mud and contain an eco-friendly dry toilet, These quaint village homes have one portion converted into a clean and comfortable guest accommodation with sufficient bedding to keep you warm.
While the accommodation facilities are basic, the warmth and hospitality in homestays are unparalleled! As part of the family (even for just a few days), you will learn more about your hosts’ lives and stories. You will eat simple and delicious meals cooked by your hosts. If you’re keen, you can help with the meals or other household activities.
The homestays have been developed as a means of generating a sustainable livelihood supplement for the villagers. Guest accommodation is allotted serially from among our listed homestay accommodation providers in a particular village, to ensure rotation and equitable benefits.
Homestays provide you with:
Warm Spitian hospitality
A clean room with clean bed sheets and pillow covers
Boiled drinking water
Traditional Spitian dry eco-friendly toilet
Candle and lamps
Homestays can now be found in many villages across Spiti. Some of these are Langza, Hikkim, Komic, Demul, Lhalung, Dhankhar, Mudh, Kibber, Chicham and Mane. Set along its highlands at an average altitude of 4000 mts (the notable exception being Mudh in Pin valley and Mane), most of these villages fall close to the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary (except Mudh that lies close to the Pin valley National Park) and are home to rare and endangered species of wildlife and flora.
A dry composting toilet is a two-storied structure and comprises of two sections – the first floor and the ground floor. No water is used in a dry composting toilet. The first floor contains a hole in the middle of the room. A shovel and a mix of ash, soil and cow dung are placed in one corner. After each use, you need to throw in a shovel-full of the mixture into the hole. Your poo gets deposited on the ground floor which eventually decomposes and becomes manure. The compost thus generated is then used as manure in the fields. So while staying at a Homestay you are contributing towards a very precious resource in Spiti – Manure! 😊
Traditional Spitian toilets are a symbol of the optimal utilisation of every available resource. The toilets apart from being a source of precious manure for the fields, are extremely friendly towards the environment as they do not waste or pollute water like most water toilets do. Moreover as water is a scarse resource in Spiti and homes have limited to no direct water supply, dry toilets are an eco-friendly way of disposing waste.
Remember to not throw any non-biodegradables down the hole (please ask your host or guide for suitable disposal). If you have problems with squatting do let us know and we can make available a toilet seat on request.
While in homestays you will find traditional, organic Spitian food as well as North Indian meals. However, if you would prefer to stick to basic Indian meals (lentils, pulses, rice, chappati/ local bread) you can inform your hosts in advance. Kindly inform us in advance of any food preferences in case your on a trip with us. Travellers can expect to find vegetarian food in most homestays. Non vegetarian meals are usually reserved for the winter season when vegetables are difficult to find in the region.
Elsewhere in Spiti especially in the bigger towns of Kaza and Tabo, you can expect to find multi-cuisine restaurants and cafes. Ecosphere runs the famous Sol Café and popular restaurant Taste of Spiti, in Kaza. More details of these can be found here.
Filtered water is available in multiple locations in Spiti valley. It is advisable to carry a reusable bottle that you can refill with filtered water. Ecosphere has installed several water refill points in Spiti Valley.
Location of Ecosphere Water Refill points:
Kaza – Taste of Spiti, Sol Cafe
Kee – Kee Monastery
Komic – Spiti Organic Kitchen
Dhankar – Dhankar Monastery
Most family-run homestays across Spiti
Ecosphere helps reduce the plastic footprint in Spiti by gifting our travelers a reusable stainless steel water bottle to take back with them. We hope you will use this for all your future travels as well. 😊
Our guides are locals and apart from being amazing fun, they are a storehouse of information and stories about Spiti. They are immensely knowledgeable about the culture, trained as naturalists and in mountaineering and first aid. Given the remoteness of the region, believe us when we say you will know Spiti better because of them.
We offer both Fixed departures and Custom departures.
Fixed departures run on fixed dates through the year and have a fixed itinerary, where you join a group of like minded travellers. This is ideal if you’re on a budget, short on time and love to meet with like minded intrepid travellers. Fixed departures require a minimum number of participants.
Custom departures are tailor-made to fit your needs and requirements. It is a private and independent trip where you can select the dates and duration suitable for your trip. You will have an independent vehicle with you at all times. This is ideal for families, couples or friends that prefer their privacy and the comfort of following their own schedule. There is no minimum number of participants required for Custom departures.
You will be meeting various people from the local communities in Spiti and interacting with fellow travellers from across the globe. On our Fixed Departures, most of our travellers are solo travellers between the age group of 20s to 40s.
Our fixed departures give a good amount of time to explore each destination and in the evenings to relax and soak in the place. A custom departure will give you much more flexibility offcourse to soak in a place or to relax basis your interests and time schedules.
With incredibly warm and helpful locals along with a buzzing traveler/backpacker/biking community, Spiti Valley is one of the safest places for solo female travelers. Ecosphere’s founder and director is a woman who has travelled these regions for over 20 years solo.
Most of our travelers are solo female travelers and our guides and drivers are handpicked to ensure utmost safety.
A typical day starts early – usually between 8 to 10 in the morning depending on how far you are travelling on the day. We spend the day driving and sightseeing or take short hikes if this is part of the program. We reach our end destination by early evening where we relax or spend time exploring the new place.
If you are joining one of the Ecosphere treks, our day usually starts around 8 am and we continue trekking till the afternoon. The aim is to set up camp by afternoon so that we have enough time to explore the campsite and relax.
Travel & Volunteer – Our travel & volunteer programs are a great way to visit Spiti with friends or family and ideal to sign up for if you’re travelling alone. Most programs usually start in either Delhi or Manali on certain fixed dates every month. You will travel around Spiti covering most of the must see places and during your travels you will also spend a few days volunteering in a village in Spiti. The volunteering activity could be building a greenhouse or helping in addressing developmental or conservation needs of the village.
Volunteer Programs – Our volunteer programs aim to match your skills and passions to the needs of Spiti and our various initiatives and projects. These programs have a minimum commitment period usually starting with 1 week going upto 1 month based on the volunteer program selected. If you can come in for longer periods, we would love that and will also enable you to make a more substantial difference.
While volunteering should ideally be free, this is never really the case as organizations incur several costs while conducting volunteer programs.
These costs are magnified further in a remote location such as Spiti where the terrain is rugged and access to basic facilities is a challenge.
Moreover since Ecosphere is a social enterprise, we are unable to take on all costs for volunteers. Ecosphere charges a nominal volunteering cost basis the nature of the selected program and the volunteering duration.
The Volunteering cost covers a range of categories that endeavour to create a pleasant, comfortable, and memorable experience for our volunteers:
Healthy food and safe, comfortable shared accommodation while in Spiti. Most of our volunteer activities take place in Kaza or the highland villages where we organize food and accommodation in hotels, guesthouses, homestays, nunneries, or monasteries
Support with logistics, program planning, and coordination – both before placement and during the program
Detailed orientation on Spiti (life, culture, ecology, challenges, insider tips, dos and don’ts) and insight into all of Ecosphere’s initiatives and projects in the Valley
Assistance in Spiti (getting around, safety, emergencies, help with language if required)
Wherever applicable, the fee also supports the cost and materials for a particular volunteering project
Over the years, volunteers have played a crucial role in making the Ecosphere world go round! From assisting with existing initiatives to spearheading new initiatives, volunteers have made a world of a difference in Spiti. Your support helps Ecosphere to work on various community projects that focus on conservation, livelihoods, and sustainable development in Spiti Valley.
While this will vary based on the volunteer program you select. A typical day starts between 7 to 9 am and you spend the day volunteering with your hosts or the Ecosphere team. The day usually ends between 6 to 8 pm with plenty of time in the middle for breaks and meals. Meals are had with your host family or the Ecosphere team. In general, you will be based in one location for the majority of your volunteering period. This would be in a village homestay, nunnery/ monastery or at the Ecosphere guesthouse in Kaza.
If it becomes necessary to cancel, you must notify Ecosphere immediately in writing. Once we receive your notice, cancellation will take effect. Please note that the following charges will apply on cancellation:
If cancellation takes place more than 60 days prior to volunteer start date, 90% will be refunded
If cancellation takes place within 60 to 30 days prior to volunteer start date, 50% will be refunded
If cancellation takes place within 30 days to volunteer start date, no refund
For cancellations of Travel & Volunteer programs please refer to Trip Cancellation above.