Rekong Peo is the main administrative and commercial centre for Kinnaur and a transport hub, but the main reason to visit is as a stepping stone to the pretty village of Kalpa, or to obtain an inner line permit for onward travel to upper Kinnaur and Spiti. Known locally as ‘Peo’, the town spreads along a looping road about 10km above Hwy 05.
Rekong Peo to Sumdo
The road into Spiti is a continuous procession of awe-inspiring vistas, with the road often clinging precariously to cliffsides and the river flashing hundreds of metres below. Foreigners must show their inner line permits at the Akpa checkpoint, 17km past the Rekong Peo turn-off. About 7km beyond, look for the fort-like temples across the river at Moorang.
The gateway to Kinnaur, this bustling bazaar town was the winter capital of the Bushahr rajas who ruled Kinnaur. Today, Rampur is mainly a place to change buses, but if you have time check out the delightful, terraced and turreted Padam Palace, built for the Maharaja of Bushahr in the early 20th century; only the garden is open to visitors.
Reached by a winding 7km road up through pine woods and apple orchards from Rekong Peo, Kalpa is a little gem of a village. Majestic views of the Kinner Kailash massif grab your eyeballs and don’t let go. There are several guesthouses in Chini, the main part of the village, plus a number of modern hotels on Roghi Rd, a half-kilometre walk or longer drive above the centre.