Divided from the fertile Lahaul Valley by the 4551m Kunzum La, the Spiti Valley is another piece of Tibet transported to India. Buddhist monasteries and tiny villages of whitewashed houses are dotted here and there along the arid valley floor, dwarfed by the sheer scale of the surrounding landscape. Local farmers eke out a living on the small strip of greenery that hugs the banks of the Spiti River.
In many ways Spiti is even more rugged and remote than Ladakh, but buses run over the Kunzum La from Manali from July to October, and the Hindustan–Tibet Hwy to Tabo is theoretically open all year. A steady stream of motorcyclists and mountain bikers pit their machines against some of the most challenging roads in India. Most people start in Manali or Keylong and exit the valley at Rekong Peo in Kinnaur, but a few travellers go against the flow and travel west to Keylong or Ladakh.