Spiti valley and Parvati valley are two of the most loved and visited places in Himachal which travelers go gaga over. And if you are having a tough time deciding where to visit I have perfect a Spiti Valley Vs Parvati Valley comparison post for you.
I’ve personally have visited both the valleys and based on the observations and experience I have curated an in-depth Spiti valley Vs Parvati valley blog where in I have compared several aspects of the valleys like ease of reach, stay options, places to visit, trekking options, culture etc.
Spiti Valley Vs Parvati Valley – 13 Crucial Points To Help You Decide
Spiti valley and Parvati valley except for being a part of Himachal Pradesh have almost nothing in common. From culture to landscapes both valleys have quite contrasting characteristics.
I personally made a road trip to Spiti in 2018 and was enamored by Spiti, that it actually made me want to explore actual culture and beauty of remote corners of Himachal Pradesh. Well, this eventually resulted in backpacking nomad being born.
And coincidentally Parvati valley was my first backpacking trip. The travel style I have now embraced. So based on my personal experiences and observances I have decided to help out my fellow travelers who can’t decide between the two.
If you ask me choose between Spiti and Parvati valley I would without a doubt choose Spiti without any second thoughts. Such is the beauty of the middle land.
1. Is Spiti Valley Easier To Reach Or Parvati valley
Parvati valley is clear winner here when it comes to the ease of reach. Parvati valley is located quite close to the main Delhi-Chandigarh-Manali highway, while reaching Spiti valley is not easy at all.
To reach Parvati valley, you just have to take a diversion from Bhuntar (a major town in Kullu) towards Kullu and you’ll reach Parvati valley within minutes. So It will take around 14 hours to reach by road from Delhi.
But to reach Spiti valley, you’ll require at least two days from Delhi if you take the shortest via Atal Tunnel and Kunzum La. Or if you go to Spiti via Kinnaur it will at least 3 days because have to stop at certain places in Kinnaur before entering Spiti.
Plus the shortest route via Atal tunnel and Kunzum La on Manali-Kaza route is only open from June to October. For the rest of the months due to heavy snow at Kunzum La, the Manali-Kaza route is out of bounds for travelers. By the way you should definitely check out my blog best routes for Spiti.
Even with connectivity to Spiti improving many folds in the past years, it still is quite remote. So for those you want to make a short trip I think Parvati valley is a better option it takes less time and is easier to reach.
2. Parvati Valley Vs Spiti – Which One is More Safe
Parvati valley is quite safe for solo travelers, backpackers, couples. But as you might have known, Parvati valley is infamous for its Hash consumption with authorities turning blind eye, Parvati valley being in the news for the wrong reasons is not uncommon.
On the other hand, Spiti is one of the safest places if not the safest in India devoid of any drugs issue that we have with Kasol. The locals of Spiti are quite amiable and extremely helpful in nature. Spitians committing even petty crimes is unfathomable let alone a heinous one.
Spiti being a closely knit community due to harsh conditions and brutal geographic location, the locals are wired to help each other. And their helping nature quite conspicuously seen the way they treat travelers. By the way here is a detailed blog on safety aspects on spiti valley.
So clearly, I would pick Spiti anyday over Parvati above Spiti due to aforementioned reasons when it comes to the safety of the travelers. By the way, I have detailed blog how safe is Kasol a major tourist spot in Parvati valley for solo travelers
3. Is Spiti Better Or Parvati Valley For Budget Travelers
Parvati valley is known to be a budget travelers paradise. But in my opinion, Spiti has a slight edge over Parvati valley. Of course, this depends on an individual but there are some places which are naturally budget friendly.
So as you known most of the tourist places in Parvati valley are commercialized. So accommodation will surely cost you around Rs 500 per day in Kasol, Tosh or Kalga. Plus the food will cost you around Rs 200-300 or more if you eat only at cafes. So the whole day’s cost would be at least Rs 800-900.
While in Spiti, most of the villages are still not commercialized. Apart from places like Kaza and Tabo, most places only have homestays as accommodation options. And most of such homestays in a typical Spitian villages will cost you around Rs 400-700 room to stay and food all included between.
For instance, on my Spiti trip we stayed at a homestay cum guesthouse in Mudh village where we had to just spend Rs 250 for a basic room which me and my friend shared. And the food was also nominally priced. Plus, some monasteries of Spiti also allow you to stay at a nominal price.
Therefore, I personally feel that Spiti has a slight edge over Parvati valley, but again it depends from individual to individual. By the way here is blog on how to visit spiti on budget.
4. Which Has Better Landscapes – Spiti Valley Or Parvati Valley
Comparing landscapes of Spiti and Parvati valley is like comparing oranges and apples. Spiti has rugged terrain with high peaks all around. While Parvati valley lies in mid Himalayas which means beautiful deodhar forests, pretty meadows.
But despite the stark difference in landscapes, most of the people that I have met, who visited both Parvati and spiti valley always reply with Spiti. Because the landscapes Spiti are truly otherworldly with incredibly gargantuan peaks, some of the highest villages in the world, incredible glacial lakes like Dhankar lake.
Just because of unique mars like landscapes Spiti will win by a landslide margin if we conducted a poll amongst those people who have visited both the valleys. And due to my personal bias towards high altitude valleys I’ll anyways side with Spiti.
5. Spiti Valley Vs Parvati Valley – Which is Less touristy and Less crowded
So if you are someone who detests popular and touristy places, then you are better off visiting Spiti valley instead of Parvati valley. Apart from a few months, Parvati valley remains inundated with travelers throughout the year.
Places like Tosh, Kasol, Kheerganga, have become too popular for their own good. Even the lesser known villages have like Grahan, Rashol, Kalga etc have become popular and you can see even guesthouses in these remote villages.
But Spiti on the other hand despite its surging popularity amongst the travel circles has not been affected much by tourism. Only places like Kaza and Tabo have hotels. guesthouses. So most of the villages are still pristine and devoid of hordes of crowds.
Also, harsh weather conditions implies that most people visit Spiti only in the summer months and Autumn months of June to October when the weather is favorable. While during the rest of the months there are not many travelers.
So if you are looking to visit places which are still true to its roots and are proud to showcase it to the world, then you must visit Spiti without any second thoughts. Or if you like the comfort and luxury that a touristic place provides, then definitely head to Parvati valley.
6. Is Spiti valley Better or Parvati Valley – In Terms Of Places To Visit
I personally think that Spiti valley has better places to visit than Parvati valley. Of course both have different landscapes, culture, religion. But the pretty high altitude villages, incredible Buddhist Gompas, Otherworldly landscape are few reasons
Famous places to visit in Parvati valley include Kasol, Tosh, Kheerganga, Malana, Kalga, Pulga, Tulga, Rashol, Grahan, Shila. Of course these places are quite picturesque but most of them have become too popular for their own good.
Kasol and Tosh literally feels like a cluster of concrete that you were trying to escape with all the hotels and guesthouses. This is one of the11 reasons why I find Kasol, a major tourist spot in Parvati valley so overrated.
The places to visit in Spiti valley include Kaza, Tabo, Dhankar, Lhalung, Demul, Langza, Hikkim, Komic, Pin valley, Losar, Giu, Key Monastery, Kibber and many more. Apart from places Like Kaza, Tabo, Key, Kibber most of the places are not touristy.
7. Spiti Valley Vs Parvati Valley Based on Stay Options
So if you like staying in hostels, hotels, guesthouses and experience luxury or comfort of a touristy place, then Parvati valley has much better options of stay in my opinion. By the way, here is a blog on where to stay under 1000 INR in Kasol, A major tourist spot in Paravti valley
But if you have inclination towards witnessing the life of locals, stay with them, experience the culture then Spiti valley is the perfect place to be at.
Stay options in Parvati valley mainly include Hostels, hotels, guesthouses to cater high tourist footfall. Homestays in their true sense are very rare to find in Parvati valley as locals have leased out lands to outsiders or opened guesthouses and hotels themselves.
While Spiti valley has tried to stay true to its roots but have also developed strong tourism infrastructure in rural setting with homestays where you actually stay with the locals and experience the local life. Although there are hotels, guesthouses, hostels in Kaza, Tabo, Mudh, but that’s about it.
Most of the rustic Spitian villages like Langza, Demul, Losar, Komic, Lhalung, have homestays where you actually stay with locals. So depending on what kind of traveler you are you should be now able to easily decide where should you head.
8. Which is A Better Winter Destination – Spiti Valley Vs Parvati Valley
Now the thing is, winter trips to Himalayas are never easy. But if you want to witness a winter wonderland, then you have to venture in the mountain during the bone chilling winters months.
Winterscapes of Parvati valley are kind of similar and you can see across a lot of places in Himachal, Uttarakhand. But Winterscapes of Spiti are just on a different level with all the high mountains donning an impeccable white blanket.
There are a few problems with making a trip to Spiti during winter. One is the terrible cold. The temperatures drop to around -25 degrees in Kaza and even more in the upper villages. Second, not many stays are open during winters as well it is not easy to reach Kaza due to a lot of snow.
But then if you truly want to see something amazing and exhilarating you have to sacrifice a lot of things. Though nothing to take away from Parvati valley, the winter landscapes in Upper villages like Tosh are quite stunning to say the least.
So if you can really bear bone chilling temperatures you should definitely make a visit to Spiti during winters. Or Parvati valley is also decent option. I personally visited Parvati valley during winters and I was awestruck by the white wonderland I got to witness.
9. Spiti Valley Vs Parvati Valley – As a Trekking Destination
Well as we all known both Spiti valley and Parvati Valley have drastic landscapes. With Pavati valley having greenery even in Upper reaches while Spiti valley having barren landscapes as Spiti is a cold desert.
But did you know you can actually crossover to from Parvati valley to Spiti or vice versa via Pin Parvati Pass. You get the best of both worlds while witnessing some drastic change in the scenery, But let me tell you that its a moderate to difficult trek with over 100 kms across 8 days.
Other treks in Parvati valley include Sar Pass Trek, Kheerganga Trek, Mantalai lake, Animal Pass Trek, Sara Umga La, Rashol Pass, Dev Ropa, Chanderkhani Pass. You’ll find a lot of trekking companies organizing all of the above for trekkers.
Treks in Spiti valley include Pin Parvati Pass trek, Pin Bhaba Trek, Mount Kinamo trek, Dhankar lake trek. Apart from these there are certain 5000 m pass treks which take you from Upper Kinnaur to Pin valley in Spiti.
And mind you apart from Sar pass, Kheerganga and Dhankar lake treks all the other treks are kind of moderate to difficult and are absolutely not recommend for novices. So if you are planning to hike in Spiti or Parvati valley your fitness game should be on point. Plus, you need a good amount of experience in hike altitude trekking.
10. Spiti Valley Vs Parvati Valley – Which is A Better Family Destination
Due to the perpetual problem of hash in Parvati valley, I don’t think visiting Parvati valley with your family is a good idea. Hash is consumed very casually in most of the places of Parvati valley even in cafes, public places etc.
On the other hand, Spiti valley is one of the best family destinations like Ladakh. Families can spend quality while admiring the beautiful villages, impeccable landscapes, witnessing the harsh lives of locals. Of course, if your family is fit (Potential AMS danger).
So if you were to ask me I would definitely suggest you to head to Spiti valley for an epic adventurous family trip instead of Parvati vally. By the way, here are 8 reasons why I think Kasol a major tourist destination in Parvati valley not family friendly. The same applies for most of the places in the Parvati valley.
11. Is Spiti Valley Trip A More Challenging One Than Parvati Valley
A trip to Spiti valley for most people is filled with challenges. Traveling to a remote high altitude valley is not as easy as it seems. The danger of AMS always looms large if not properly acclimatized as the average elevation is around 11,000 ft.
Even doing small petty things like walking can be cumbersome due to the altitude. Weather in high altitude valleys is even more whimsical than mid hills. Unexpected road blocks due to landslides etc are quite common occurrences during trips to Spiti.
So in case of any extreme weather events chances of you getting stuck there without electricity, mobile connectivity are much higher in Spiti valley. By the way here is a blog on how to tackle AMS in Spiti.
But most of the places interests in Parvati valley are located in mid hills. Plus there is no danger of AMS as the altitude is not high enough. Unless you go hiking or trekking in the upper reaches. So a trip to Parvati valley is not as challenging or filled with dangers as Spiti valley.
Only time when a trip to Parvati valley might be challenging is during the winter months and that too in Upper villages like Malana or Tosh. Due to heavy snowfall you might have to hike a lot to reach your destination. And that’s exactly what happened during my Parvati valley.
So you need to be very fit and have no serious ailments if you want to make a trip to the middle land.
12. Is Spiti Valley Better OR Parvati Valley – In Terms Of Internet Connectivity
So if you are looking to stay connect with the outside world throughout your trip, then Parvati valley serves better. Except for places like Grahan, Rashol, Kheerganga, Jio works the best with decent 4g internet while Airtel is the second best.
But if we talk about Spiti there was high speed internet until 2020. And only BSNL sim used to barely work for calls that to only around Tabo and Kaza. It is safe to say that mobile connectivity was terrible before 2020. When I was there in 2018 my Vodafone sim had no network in Spiti.
But things changed for good in 2020 when Jio installed towers in and around Kaza and a few areas. So you will for sure get Jio 4g in Kaza. I am not sure about the rest of the villages like Kibber, Dhankar, Langza etc but I am sure things are way better than it were before 2020.
But even then a lot of places of interests in Spiti are quite remote and devoid of internet connectivity so I’ll advise you to choose Parvati valley over Spiti valley if staying connected to internet is your priority. By the here is a blog on the best mobile network for Himachal Pradesh.
13. Spiti Valley Vs Parvati Valley – Based On The Duration Of Stay
7-10 are the bare minimum to cover places of interests in Spiti. If you are looking to explore Spiti extensively then even a month might feel short. So anything less 7 days is a big no for Spiti as reaching Spiti will take 2 days.
In case of Parvati valley you can cover most of the popular places in 5-7 days. You can even get away with a weekend trip to Parvati valley. But again if you want to have a complete experience I would suggest at least a week.
Well like Spiti if you wish to explore Parvati valley extensively then even a month might not suffice. But not many have such luxury. By the way, if you still want to make only a week long visit to Spiti, I have got a perfect 7 day itinerary for Spiti
So in my opinion keep at least 10-12 days spare for you Spiti valley trip if you can extend it to 15 days then nothing like it. For Parvati valley trip 5-7 days trip can be a decent one but if you can extend it to 10 days then you’ll be able to explore a lot more.
To conclude, I hope that I have fully explained all the aspects between Spiti valley and Parvati. If you like unique landscapes, incredible culture, rustic high altitude villages, staying with locals, learning about Buddhism, then visit Parvati valley.
But if you like comfortable stays, popular touristy places, cafes amidst pretty landscapes, pretty hiking trails, then you should head to Parvati valley. In case you have any doubts regarding Spiti Valley Vs Parvati Valley, please drop them in the comments and I’ll be happy to help.