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Spiti Valley: 16 important What not to do in the cold desert 

Spiti Valley has suddenly shot to fame ever since Covid 19 has connected the cold desert with 4G network.  It’s a mind blowing road trip which is beyond words and one which will leave you with a life altering state of mind. 

To have a Spiti Valley experience which is flawless listed below are a few pointers which will come handy to iron out any bugs along your road trip.  

1. Don’t trash the already fragile ecosystem 

Spiti Valley is one such tourist destination which still does not have the garbage in terms of plastic and waste which has plagued nearly all of India’s tourist destinations. So when you travel to Spiti Valley, please make sure to carry the plastic garbage back to Shimla or Manali. Don’t end up throwing it out of a running vehicle or anywhere along the route or in the villages. 

2. Don’t smoke in public 

Like every other place in India, smoking in public places in Spiti Valley is banned too. Tabo and Kaza are the two places where smoking in public will lead to a fine of anywhere between ₹500 to ₹2000. At such a high altitude smoking isn’t advisable. 

Mane village

3. Don’t be rude to the locals 

The inhabitants of Spiti Valley are extremely warm and welcoming people and it’s very unlikely you will find anyone who will talk back or treat you with disrespect. But at the same time as a traveller or a tourist don’t take advantage of their goodness and speak badly to them. That’s one thing which will really not go down well with anyone from this valley. So just talk to them the way they talk to you with love and affection. 

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    4. Don’t expect 5 star service 

    Spiti Valley is all about the raw rugged Trans Himalayan experience which is 100 on 100 but at the same time you won’t get the service that you get in Ladakh and other such places. Consider Spiti Valley to be like McDonalds where its more of self service in all that you want to do and experience while in this cold desert. 

      5. Don’t wander at night alone 

      Spiti Valley is a extremely safe place in terms of human harm but at the same time the weather is so harsh and unpredictable that the cold or the wind will get you off guard. It can result in a fatal in the dark incident without any help that will reach you fast. So post sundown don’t wander alone. 

        6. Avoid having a bath daily 

        Taking a bath daily is the number one reason why people end up falling sick in Spiti Valley. Unlike the city that you come from, this isn’t home environment so understand the difference and hold yourself from having a bath daily. Especially when you reach Spiti Valley on day one. An alternate day bathing pattern is what’s recommended and have a bath only during the day time when the sun is out or you’ll end up catching a bad head cold.  

          7. Don’t rely on online banking 

          Internet is very good in Spiti Valley as of 2023 but at the same time the bank serves end up getting jammed during summer peak season due to the high volume of tourists at a given place.  The count of tourists has gone up and hence it’s always better to carry cash from the city since even the ATMs are mostly out of cash in Tabo and Kaza. 

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            8. Don’t ever skip a meal 

            Skipping meals is where you end up falling and feeling even more sick than what you started. Don’t eat to feast but eat enough that your body has energy to combat the high altitude cold and winds along with the scorching sun that is present all day. 

            9. Avoid drinking

              Consuming alcohol on a road trip is always a part of the blueprint but at the same time remember this isn’t a road trip to Goa or Rajasthan which is at sea level. These are the highest inhabited villages in the world. So a hang over in Spiti Valley will last much longer than what it does in the city and at the same time the daily road journey with an alcohol headache or hangover isn’t gonna do you any good. So drink alcohol but to your limit of maximum 3-4 pegs and not more. 

              10. Don’t enter any of the lakes 

              All the lakes in Spiti Valley are sacred and holy so don’t get into them and spoil your karma. Sit along the banks of the lakes and find peace and inner healing for the soul but don’t make it a beach party.  

              key monastery Spiti valley

                11. Never walk anti clockwise 

                Spiti Valley is a Buddhist territory and as per Buddhism everything moves clockwise, so even on the roads whIle you drive and come across road dividers, you have to go around the rock divider clock wise.  

                  12. Don’t roam in summer clothing 

                  It might be hot and sunny during the day time in Spiti Valley but the weather can change in a matter of seconds and catch you off guard with a storm out of nowhere. So before you are caught on the wrong foot, make sure you have your woollens easily accessible to pull on. 

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                    13. Acclimatise well before you wander 

                    This is the key to survival in Spiti Valley. The best way to acclimatise is to slowly ascend from sea level altitude to the highest village of Komic by gradually climbing a route which is conducive to your body adaptability. 

                    Spiti valley Oct ‘16

                      14. Don’t fly a drone at any cost 

                      Flying a drone in Spiti Valley is banned and can lead you in real trouble including a heavy fine and jail time. So before you fly your drone remember what the consequences are. 

                        15. Don’t waste time to start you day 

                        Time is everything when you are on a road trip. You start late, you reach late.  So to make the most of the time you have worked hard to collect for this road trip, start your day early by 8-9 am leaving your home stay or guest house and start the journey to your next stop. This way you will reach there before sun down and have enough time to explore the place.  

                          16. Don’t take back fossils

                          The villages of Langza and Hikkim are famous for its marine fossils which were once a part of the Indian Ocean. Trilobites which are over a million years old can be found around the village. Back in 2010-12 fossils could be found everywhere in the village but with each tourist taking a fossil back home as a souvenir it’s resulted in them all going away from their origin. Take a picture of a fossil but don’t buy one or go hunting for it.

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