Are you finding it difficult in choosing between between Spiti valley vs Harsil valley for your next trip to the the Himalayas. If that is the case, then let me help you decide based on my travels.
Both Spiti valley and Harsil valley are immensely popular travel destinations in Indian Himalayans. Based on aspects like ease of reach, stay options, cafes, budget travel & more both valleys will be compared.
Spiti Valley Vs Harsil Valley
Spiti valley also known as the middle located in Himachal is one of the sought after destinations currently.
While Harsil valley has quickly risen amongst popularity thanks to its surreal setting is the gateway to Gangotri Dham located in Uttarakhand.
By the way, if its your first time to the mountains, here is a detailed blog on what to pack for a mountain trip in India.
Spiti Valley Vs Harsil Valley – Ease of Reach
Harsil gets the win here as it takes considerably less amount of time to Harsil than Spiti. Otherwise, the road conditions are decent when it comes to both Harsil and Spit (Via Kinnaur).
To reach Spiti, you can either go via Kinnaur which is the longer route or go via Lahaul and Kunzum La. Although the later route shorter it is only open for 4-5 months. Here is detailed blog on best routes for Spiti.
Harsil is right on the way to Gangotri Dham in Uttarakashi district and is easily accessible via Rishikesh, Haridwar & Uttarkashi towns.
Reaching Harsil is not as time consuming as Spiti, You can reach Harsil in around 15-20 hours depending on what mode of transport you choose.
Harsil is around 512 km from Delhi. Kaza is around 780 km from Delhi via Shimla and around 722 km via Manali.
Spiti Valley Versus Harsil Valley – Which Is More Beautiful
I personally staunchly believe that beauty of region in terms of landscape is very subjective. And advise the same. But even if you compare Spiti and Harsil its like comparing apples and oranges.
The barren rugged mountains, negligible vegetation, lofty peaks forms the terrain of Spiti. Basically Spiti is a cold-desert like Ladakh. Spiti’s raw and rugged beauty certainly entices you especially if its your first time.
While Harsil is your typical Mid-Himalayan valley surrounded by towering pines, Pointy snowy peaks, beautiful rivers and rivulets with an impeccable setting.
By the way, if you were looking for a 7-day Spiti valley itinerary, here is one that’ll be of a great help to you.
Is Spiti Valley Better OR Harsil Valley – In Terms Of Stay options
Spiti easily beats Harsil when it comes to stay options. Hostels, hotels, guesthouses, homestays Spiti has all kinds of accommodation as per ones budget.
With popular hostels like Zostel, Moustache in Kaza and inexpensive homestays, guesthouses almost everywhere in Spiti, It is a solo travelers delight.
Even families, couples who seek semi-luxury and luxury accommodation will be not be disappointed in Spiti. With semi-luxury properties coming up even in villages of Spiti.
The same cannot be said about Harsil though. Although Harsil has plenty of hotels, guesthouses, homestays. absence of really inexpensive hostels, hotels, homestays really makes it difficult for a solo traveler on a budget.
Also, Luxury and Semi-Luxury properties are not that many in Harsil.
Spiti Valley OR Harsil Valley – For Budget Travel
Spiti again beats Harsil valley when it comes to budget traveling. Having traveled to both, I can safely say that if someone is looking for trip with a shoe string budget, Spiti is the place to visit.
I could easily limit my stay and food expenses in Spiti at around INR 500-700. For instance I was charged around INR 500 for food and stay at an extremely hospitable homestay in Lhalung.
Even finding inexpensive accommodation is easy in Kaza with plenty of guesthouses. Commute is also manageable if you for HRTC buses. But same was not the case with Harsil valley.
The room in Harsil will at least cost around INR 1000 and another 250-300 for food. I personally ended up paying around INR 1200 including both food and stay.
Spiti Valley Vs Harsil Valley – In Terms Of Places To Visit
Spiti valley and Harsil is home to some of the most beautiful and scenic places in the Himalayas.
Ancient monasteries, Pristine villages, lakes are some of the places of interests in Spiti.
Places to visit in Spiti incl like Hikkim, Komic, Langza, Demul, Lhahlung, Mane, Pin valley, Dhankar, Tabo, Key, Kibber, Losar, Dhankar lake, Chandratal (Located in Lahaul but close to Spiti).
Places to visit in Harsil include Mukhwa, Dharali, Jhala, Purali, Jaspur, Cholmi, Gartang Gali, Nelang Valley, Gangotri Dham.
Does Spiti Valley Have Better Cafes OR Harsil Valley ?
Back in the day, Spiti was never known for its cafes. But things have fast changed. Kaza now has plenty of cafes which serve different kinds of cuisines along with Spitian cuisine.
Some good cafes can be found in Kaza market area. The Himalayan cafe, Sol Cafe, Piti Cafe are some cafes you can try out when in Spiti.
Harsil on the other hand miserably fails in this department. Even though Harsil has risen amongst popularity and burst on to the tourist map, cafes are yet to pop up.
When in Harsil, you’ll have no other option but to stick to Dhabas, Restaurants or Homestay food if you are staying in a homestay.
Spiti Valley Vs Harsil Valley – In Terms Of Trekking & Hiking
Hiking and trekking like the landscapes will feel very different when it comes Harsil and Spiti. Relatively higher altitude of Spiti makes it very essential for one to be proper acclimatized before embarking on the trails.
Treks and Hikes in Spiti include, Dhankar Lake, Tea house trek, Kanamo peak trek. Crossover treks include Pin-Bhabha trek, Pin-Parvati trek.
Some short hikes in Harsil include, Lama Top, Satal hike, Bagori-Jhala-Purali-Jaspur hike, Lal devta mandir hike, Cholmi hike. Longer treks from Harsil include Lamkhaga pass, Kyarkoti hike, Dhumdhar Kandi etc.
By the way, here are 13 beginner friendly treks in Kullu and Manali that are really rewarding.
Which Is Better Spiti valley or Harsil Valley – In Terms Of Safety
Both Spiti and Harsil are some of the safest places in India. Solo travelers, couples. families should no have problems whatsoever. Locals in both the valleys are amiable and friendly.
In fact, I traveled to both Spiti and Harsil and never felt any issues as such. So be rest assured. But as a solo traveler you always have to be careful.
To ensure your complete safety make sure that you maintain the sanctity of the places and don’t get into altercations and arguments with the locals.
A word caution, beware of the threat of AMS in Spiti valley which is very real. Here is a blog to know more about AMS and how to tackle it. Harsil’s average elevations is considerably low, so AMS is not an issue there.
Is Spiti Valley Better OR Harsil Valley – Internet Connectivity
When it comes to Internet connectivity, Spiti valley is the recent recipient. That too high-speed internet is only limited to a select few places in Spiti valley.
But as of today main areas of Spiti and Harsil valley both have Jio and Airtel 4g. By the way, here is a detailed blog on how is the internet connectivity and mobile network in Spiti valley.
I personally don’t think that except for Kaza and Tabo remote working in Spiti is feasible. But in Harsil, you can easily work remotely. I personally worked from Harsil remotely.
But if we consider the Spiti valley, then surely Harsil has better connectivity. But again Harsil valley is not as big as Spiti. Carry Airtel and Jio and you should be good for both Harsil and Spiti.
Carry BSNL as backup for Spiti where Jio and Airtel does not work. But I expect most of the villages of Spiti to be connected by decent internet in a couple of years.
To conclude, I hope that I was able to put forth a decent comparison between Spiti valley vs Harsil valley. To be really honest both places deserve a visit at least once in a lifetime.
In case you have queries or questions, please leave them in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer them.