Imagine taking a cold bath on a winter morning and then gobbling down ice cream. Does it not send a shrill down the spine? Well, a trip to spiti valley is many times the same. It can turn out to be the most succulent experience for adventure seekers, to those who crave of a lifetime experience, and to those who would like to feed their soul. But a trip to Spiti Valley is no cake walk and can turn out to be a strenuous one if not well prepared.
Prepare to carry a lot of woollen clothes. Woollen jacket, socks, head caps gloves, inner thermals, a warm woollen blanket and comfortable warm boots are a must. Take extra precautions because the temperature drops very rapidly after crossing Kinnaur Valley.
Take the trip when you are free and ready to flee
Spiti valley in winter is prone to road closures due to snowfall. Hence it is best to go on a tour to Spiti Valley with no essential work to get back home like a wedding to attend or an exam to study.
Carry a lot of Cash
Carry a lot of actual cash for your own survival. The ATM’s functioning depends upon your luck.
Prepare to adjust in terms of food and accommodation
Almost all of the hotels and restaurants will be closed. In winter the tourist can be accommodated in homestay only and only simple food will be available as the natives there are themselves trying to survive the winter. But they are warm and welcoming and you wouldn’t regret staying there. It is also an opportunity to get to know the difficulties the natives face during the winter.
Travel and Transport
Tourists riding or driving on their own have to be careful of the ice and snow on roads because the vehicle can skid. It is advisable to take your own transport if only you are an experienced driver. Most of the mechanic shops are closed and it essential that the vehicle is in good condition. The public transport facility is also very less and sometimes the buses get parked if it is not safe to travel on or near the points. Sometimes tourists have to go to the danger point by walk and it is advisable to be prepared for such strenuous and highly adventurous activities
Freezing of fuels
Diesel in the car will mostly get frozen. Hence the car must be started every few hours and the engine must be kept warm with some cloth. The ignition can be kept on for 15-20 minutes to keep the vehicle warm. It is necessary to wake up in the middle to do the above as it is not advisable to leave the vehicle overnight because the fuel might get frozen. Oils in the hosepipe of the vehicles might also freeze. Parking the car in an upright position might also help but not always.
No running water in the toilets
There is no running water in the toilets because the water in the pipes freezes as well. In winters most of the toilets remain locked. But dry pits (traditional toilets) are used. Sometimes water can be boiled and -used to a couple of times a day. This trip might not be very pleasant for people who use a lot of water a day for their personal hygiene.
Carrying Batteries and mobile network:
Since it snows heavily, the electric poles get buried in a load of snow. There might be disruption in electricity now and then. So, It is recommended to carry spare batteries and also to keep them warm somewhere to avoid freezing it. It is advised to keep phones inside the blankets/quills while sleeping to avoid freezing. The mobile network is also not very great and it is advisable to call the loved ones in a few places where there is a network. Only BSNL/MTNL network connections work.
Minimum medical help and support
Carry basic medicines in stock for a month as it is hard to find pharmacies.
Taking a trip to Spiti Valley might not be safe if you suffer from any problems in physical health conditions because there are not a lot of medical facilities. Shimla will be the nearest help that can be found and a helicopter has to be used to be dropped off in case of a medical emergency.
Expect to miss a lot of tourist destinations as they will be closed
Roads to a lot of the tourist villages in Spiti Valley like Dhangkar, Lhalung, Demul, Langza, Lhalung, etc.will be closed and can only be reached only by walk .Since the road toward Kaza remains closed the entire winter, Chandratal might be missed by the tourist. Although the trip to Spiti Valley in winter might be a strenuous one it can be a very challenging and adventurous experience to people who often go on adventurous trips.