Lahaul valley and Spiti valley are currently two of the most sought-after trips in India. While Spiti valley has been on the tourism map for a long time now, Lahaul is the new entrant. So what better time to compare Lahaul Vs Spiti, the two gems of Lahaul & Spiti district.
Both Lahaul and Spiti are high altitude tribal region being predominantly Buddhist practicing tribal communities, but there are differences in Geography, climate, culture (Only a few aspects are kind of similar) and many more.
So in this blog I am going to be comparing Lahaul Vs Spiti from a tourist destination point of view after having visited both of them. And this will help you decide where should head.
Lahaul Vs Spiti – Consider These 11 Important Points Before Deciding
Well if you ask me Lahaul and Spiti both are to be visited at least once in your lifetime if you love rustic villages, insane scenic landscapes, ancient monasteries.
But some of you might not have such liberty and cannot take much time out of your busy schedule. So based on my experiences in both the valleys I have curated this comparison blog.
I am quite hopeful that after reading this blog you’ll be able to decide where to head. But as I said earlier, you should visit both of them and that too separately. So lets get started.
By the way here is a detailed blog on 27 practical tips to Spiti in case you have never visited Spiti before.
1. Which Is More Easier To Reach Lahaul or Spiti
So if you would have asked me this question before the tunnel opened up, Spiti would have been a clear winner over Lahaul as it remained opened throughout the year.
Even though the route to Spiti is longer, but at least it was open the whole unlike Lahaul which used to get disconnected from the rest of the world for at least 5 months during winter.
But now the tables have turned drastically, with the Atal tunnel now operation Lahaul has not only achieved all-weather connectivity but also reduced the travel time.
So Lahaul in the current scenario is a clear winner here where you can reach Lahaul from Manali in a matter of 45 to 60 minutes. But of course, only a normal winter will tell how connected Lahaul will remain in winters.
Just to give you a bit of context, You need at least a whole day if you took Manali route to reach Spiti and at least a couple of days if you took the Shimla or Kinnaur route.
2. Lahaul Vs Spiti – Which has better places to visit
Pretty high-altitude villages, buddhist monasteries and ethereal lakes are the places you would visit both on your trip to Lahaul and Spiti. And both of them have a fair amount of insane monasteries, villages.
But when it comes to the lakes, the ultimate Jewel of Himachal, Chandrataal or Tso Chigma is in Lahaul and not Spiti. Yes Chandratal is not in Spiti as it is claimed by a lot of folks across the internet.
Places to visit in Spiti include Key Gompa, Kibber, Dhankar, Kaza, Tabo, Hikkim, Langza, Komic, Chicham, Demul, Lhalung, Pin valley, Losar, Kunzum La.
Places to visit in Lahaul include, Sissu, Khoksar, Kyelang, Jispa, Gundla, Khangsar Khar, Shashur, Kardang, Gemur, Tangti, Margul, Miyar (pronounced as Mayad), Dartse, Barlacha La, Suraj Tal, Deepak Tal, Chandratal, Shinku La.
By the way here is blog about traveling to 17 lesser known Himalayan villages in Lahaul. Do let me know your thoughts on this one.
So if you could see Lahaul has way more places to see compared to Spiti. But in terms of Landscapes both Spiti and Lahaul have quite pretty and unique vistas of their and so this one is a tie in my opinion.
3. Which One Is Safer Lahaul or Spiti
So when it comes to safety aspect, without a doubt both are equally safe. In fact Lahaul and Spiti valleys are some of the most safest areas in our country.
Being a tribal close-knit communities both Lahaul and Spiti are still devoid of even petty crimes let alone heinous one. So whether you are solo traveler, couple, women, the locals of Lahaul and Spiti valley will always welcome you and make you feel at home.
But of course geographically both valleys are quite dangerous so you should always keep this in mind. By the way here is blog on all safety aspects related to Spiti. And here is a one on Lahaul pertaining to safety aspects.
4. Lahaul Vs Spiti – Which one is better of Budget travelers
So in my personal opinion, both of them are actually cheaper than a lot of other places in Himachal. Your per day cost in Spiti and Lahaul would be around Rs 600- 800 including all the meals along. And you can use public transport and hike to reach maximum places.
Both Lahaul and Spiti are well connected by public transport across the valley. So budget travelers can opt for that as well.
So I think it will be tie in my opinion. Both are equally budget friendly and in fact are the best places to start you budget traveling Journey. By the way here is blog on how to visit Spiti on budget.
5. Lahaul Vs Spiti – Which Has Better Options to Stay
Spiti has been around on popular tourist map for at least 5 years if not more. Hence the infrastructure related to tourism has been well developed with homestays even in rural villages of Spiti.
Same cannot be said about Lahaul though. Lahaul has entered in the popular tourism circles only after the Atal tunnel opened in October, 2020. But In a few years like Spiti, Lahaul should be at par with tourism infrastructure even in rural setting.
But as of now I think Spiti clearly has an advantage here and a solid infrastructure for both famous and not so popular places in terms of options to stay.
6. Lahaul Vs Spiti – AMS Danger
So if you didn’t know, both Spiti and Lahaul are high altitude valleys. That means the dangers of AMS always looms large in such high altitude areas.
But Spiti comparatively has higher average elevation. Except Tabo, most of the places of interests and villages in Spiti are all above 12,000 ft above sea level. Some are even around 14000 ft.
Lahaul comparatively has most villages at around 10,000 to 11,000 ft. Only a few point of interests like the lakes of Lahaul valley are higher. But you can always make a day trip here and return back to one of the villages.
So overall I think Spiti poses a higher chance of one getting AMS than Lahaul, but if you plan your trip and get well acclimatized, then you are good to go. By the way here is detailed guide on how to tackle AMS in Spiti.
7. Lahaul OR Spiti – Which Is Better For A Winter Trip
Personally I think it would be Spiti. Yes it might sound ridiculous to you despite Atal tunnel making Lahaul accessible, but just here me out.
So it snows heavily in Lahaul when compared to Spiti. And if it snows heavily the tunnel stays closed for at least for a couple of days and the tourist movement is stopped for quite a few days until its safe again.
But in case of Spiti its snow less compared to Lahaul so there is no danger as such if you have a 4×4 even in peak winters.
And In case of Lahaul if its a normal winter that venturing beyond Sissu is always dangerous due to a lot of avalanche points. And in case of heavy snow chances of tunnel getting closed for a few days is also a possibility.
8. Lahaul or Spiti – Which is Better Trekking Destination
In my opinion, Lahaul as a trekking destination is quite underrated. And except for a Hamta pass trek all the treks are kind of off the beaten path.
Spiti on the other hand has a couple of famous treks. But Lahaul has a quite a lot of crossover treks along with some pretty unheard treks.
So Lahaul and Spiti are both awesome when it comes to venturing on truly adventurous hikes that test your skill as a trekker.
9. Which One Has Better Food – Lahaul or Spiti
So do not expect fancy food on your trip Lahaul or Spiti. You’ll get good food both in Lahaul and Spiti but it will be very basic. Yes Spiti fares a bit better here if you want to get cafe food because, there are in-house hostel cafes and separate cafes in Kaza.
But that’s about it. In most of the places in Spiti you must will have to eat at the homestay if you are venturing into the rustic villages.
In Lahaul, there are no cafes yet, but as I said you’ll be mostly staying in homestays where you would be also eating simple yet delicious home made food. Also you will find Dhabas in Kyelang and Udaipur but thats about it.
So Spiti is slightly ahead in terms of food with Kaza and Tabo and having cafes. But both in Lahaul and Spiti you get decent but basic Indian food like Roti Sabzi and Dal Chawal etc at homestays.
Plus advantage of eating at homestays is the local tribal food that you get to taste which you should definitely try if you are going to Lahaul or Spiti.
10. Which Has Better Internet connectivity Lahaul or Spiti
Well this question would have been irrelevant before 2020 as there was no proper high speed internet in both Lahaul and Spiti. Only BSNL would work properly in Lahaul and Spiti and that too only for calls. Any other network provider and you would have been doomed.
But with Jio and Airtel installing towers in Lahaul, you get insane high speed internet in Lahaul which I certainly experienced on my recent winter trip. I had both Airtel and Jio and both were working good.
Even in Spiti towers were installed near Kaza and other areas. But not sure about the network in the higher villages. But It has improved since I was there in 2018 when there was no network provider working except for BSNL.
So this one is a tie now. Lahaul and Spiti are now connected with decent internet connectivity. And I am sure you would remain connected to the world and your loved if you had a Jio Sim.
11. Lahaul vs Spiti based On Stay Duration
So a lot of people usually make just a day trip to Lahaul and come back to Manali. But according to me there is much more to Lahaul than a day trip. You need at least 10 days to experience the true beauty of Lahaul.
Same is the case with Spiti. You need to at least 10 days to experience the magic of the middle land.
But if you want to see incredible scenic landscapes, ancient monasteries, rustic villages but are on short on time, then you should definitely head to Lahaul. As Lahaul takes the least time to reach.
But for both if you have more days to explore then nothing better than that. By the way here is a 7-day itinerary for Spiti valley
To conclude now have a fair bit of understanding on Lahaul vs Spiti. And the 11 points I have provided in the blog have helped you decide between Lahaul and Spiti.
If you ask me I would suggest that you should visit both Lahaul and Spiti separately at least once in your lifetime. Both the valleys have pretty high altitude villages, ancient villages, scenic landscapes yet are different.