Separated from the fertile Lahaul Valley by the soaring 4551m Kunzum La, Spiti is another chunk of Tibet marooned in India. Villages are few and far between in this serrated moonscape and they arrive like mirages, with clusters of whitewashed homes huddled by green barley fields below monasteries perched on crags a thousand feet above.
In many ways Spiti is even more rugged and remote than Ladakh, but buses run over the Kunzum La from Manali from July to mid-October, and the Hindustan–Tibet Hwy to Kaza 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. Sections of the road are occasionally washed away by monsoon floods and landslides, especially between Nako and Rekong Peo, so build some extra time into your itinerary in case of delays.
In either direction, an inner line permit is required for the stretch from Tabo to Rekong Peo.