The snow season is here and the land of high passes are already shining in white. It’s that time of the year when all the adrenaline rush seeks out in search of some adventure in the form of road trips or may be hitchhiking to the winter wonderla. After Ladakh, Spiti is in the limelight of bikers and trippers. Now, as thrilling as it sounds, a trip to such solitude places must be planned very crucially. For all those first timers planning to witness the frozen world of the trans himalayas, here’s an answer to the question “How to plan a winter road trip to Spiti valley”. What if you are a pro in such trips? Well, then there’s no harm in reading through the lines and maybe you get to learn something new through this short write-up.
Know where you are going
Spiti is mass of land, no matter how much you know about the place it can easily add twist and turns to your plans. So be PREPARED! Prepared to face road closures be it due to landslides, heavy snow or anything and everything. You need to be ready not just physically but mentally too. It’s good to be on unplanned road trips and it can’t get any better but being prepared can make your experiences only better.
Know your driving capabilities
Now you must be thinking that you are a pro at driving but my dear friend driving in the city on the metalled roads is way lot more buttery then driving on the roads of Spiti. The valley of spiti is well gifted with beautiful sights that comes with deep valleys, serpentine turns and patches where you won’t be able to find a road but still have to drive forward. Yes, there are a lot of patches where you will just see boulders all around and have to make your way across and also cross rivers which at times can be harsh against you. So make sure to face it all while don’t let it ruin the mesmerizing views and enjoy the ride rather than being tensed.
Know where you will be staying at
A lavish bungalow with a huge patio, heated pool and all time hot water supply is what you won’t have access to here. Winters are the days when only a handful of human life exist in Spiti and most of the hotels and guesthouses will be shutdown. So, this the time when you get to feel the warmth of the locals, stay at their homestays, sit with them and know about the life in Spiti, its culture and much more. If you dream of a lavish seven course meal surrounded by white snow then it might be possible. It’s just that you won’t get a menu of your choice.
Know about the public transports
Since the influx of tourist in winter is zero to bare minimum don’t expect those shared taxis and buses plying on the route on a regular basis. Moreover, if the driving conditions are too harsh then buses park on either side of the patch and you will have to walk through the patch to catch the bus on other side. So, be prepared to walk and don’t risk to miss the only bus that ply from either side.
Know about sightseeing options
Heavy snow leads to closure of roads to many of the places like Langza, Demul, Dhangka and even if possible then the only way to reach there is to walk. Also, it is the time when most villages are in their hibernation mode and if you plan to visit then make sure to have a local villager or guide with you.
Know what all to pack
First most important item to pack is some dry snacks that you can munch on if stuck somewhere. If you can’t live without social buzz then make sure to keep enough power backup as light cut out is quite common and batteries discharge at lightning speed in low temperature. Bare minimum medical help is available which means a medical kit with all essential medicines should be kept handy all through the trip. Next, crucial item if you are travelling by your own vehicle is having knowledge of your car/bike’s mechanical functioning because again it mechanics won’t be readily available. That’s all besides some courage and a strong determination to even enjoy even in the downfalls if comes.
So, here’s all you should know while planning a trip of you dream and witness the wonderland of India. Though everything is mentioned in the above lines but still I believe experience speaks more than the write-ups. Hence, just don’t give up and always trust your gut feelings and please don’t do anything that your body doesn’t allow.