Once a place almost unheard of, Sach Pass has quickly risen in popularity in the motorcycle touring circle. With Sach Pass, a lot of bikers also plan to cover Chandertal and Spiti Valley these days.
This ride plan will not only give you a basic itinerary to cover Sach Pass, Chandertal, and Spiti Valley circuit, it will also help you prepare your motorcycle for the ride and give you a few tips about the ride as well. In case you’re just looking for a ride plan, skip to the bottom of the article.
So let’s get started.
When is the best time to visit Sach Pass, Chandertal, and Spiti Valley?
Even though Spiti Valley remains open from Shimla side throughout the year, Kunzum and Sach Pass open in the second week of June or at times later, depending on the weather. Chandertal normally opens towards the last week of June. (You can track status of these roads on BCMTouring.com.)
July and August are monsoon months and even though Himachal Pradesh looks beautiful in monsoon season and you can certainly do this circuit at that time. Landslides occur on a regular basis, closing roads for a few days at a time.
Once the monsoon abates in the first week of September and even the post monsoon showers die down, it becomes easier to cover this route. So from the second week of September to the first week of October, Sach Pass becomes easier to pass through and it is the best time to cover this circuit.
The second week of October onward, the chance of snowfall at Sach Pass, Kunzum Pass, and Chandertal increases considerably and it is almost time for these routes to close. So avoid riding around this time or later on in the season.
How to prepare your motorcycle for this ride?
Since motorcycle service centers and mechanics are hard to find on the tough sections of this circuit, it is best to make sure that your motorcycle is performing at it’s best.
A week or two before the ride, get your motorcycle serviced and make sure to get the clutch plates, timing chain, drive chain, brakes, con set, suspension and battery thoroughly checked. If in case these will likely need replacement in the next 3,000 km, then get them changed before the ride. You can read an in-depth article on how to prepare your motorcycle for Ladakh, written by me on BCMTouring for reference as well.
While riding, make sure to carry OEM toolkit, puncture repair kit, portable compressor, spare tire tube (even if you have a tubeless tire), chain links, spark plug, spare fuses, half a liter of engine oil, clutch and front brake levers, clutch and accelerator cables along with m-seal.
The ride plan:
Even though ride plan would vary greatly based on your riding speed, group size and motorcycle/scooter being used, this ride plan is doable for most people, with only the first and last day being rather long.
Day 1, Delhi – Ambala – Zirakpur – Shimla – Narkanada – Sarahan (515 km): This portion of your ride will likely take 12 hours or more, based on your riding speed. In case you cannot ride that long, you can split this journey into 2 days, with a night stop at either Narkanda or Rampur Bushahr.
Fuel: Make sure to tank up at a petrol pump in Rampur. Next fuel pump would be at Sangla.
Day 2, Sarahan – Sangla – Chitkul – Reckong Peo – Kalpa (200 km): Another long day, however, not as long as yesterday. There is a lot to see and explore today, starting with the Bhimakali Temple in Sarahan.
In case you’re a foreign national or an NRI, you will need to get inner line permit for Spiti Valley from the SDM Office in Reckong Peo. In such a scenario, skip Sangla and Chitkul and head straight for Reckong Peo to get the permit.
Fuel: Tank up at Reckong Peo, this is the last fuel pump before Kaza. So make sure you have enough fuel for the journey.
Day 3, Kalpa – Reckong Peo – Nako – Gue – Tabo (190 km): First order of the day is fuel, in case you didn’t tank up last evening.
Starting from Kalpa, your next major stop would come at Nako Lake, a short diversion from the route. Have your lunch here, before riding ahead. Malling Nallah also comes after the village and based on weather, it may or may not matter.
Take diversion for Gue Village after Sumdo, in order to see the mummy of a Buddhist monk, who died while meditating and his body got mummified naturally.
Day 4, Tabo – Dhankar Monastery – Pin Valley (Mud Village) – Kaza (140 km): After visiting the beautiful Tabo Monastery, start for Kaza. Take diversion to Dhankar Monastery for the panoramic views as well as cultural and religious sightseeing. After Dhankar Monastery, head to Pin Valley and ride till Mud Village, before heading to Kaza for the night.
Kaza is your best bet for finding a mechanic and puncture repair guy. So get anything that needs attention, checked.
Fuel: Get your tank full at Kaza, next fuel pump is at Tandi.
Day 5: Kaza – Key Monastery – Kibber Village – Losar – Kunzum La – Batal – Chandertal (140 km): Today is a hard riding day, due to terrain involved. So start early in the morning from Kaza. This will also give you more time at Chandertal Lake.
First, head to Key Monastery and Kibber Village, before heading towards Kunzum La. Take a break at Losar for food, if you’re hungry. Next food stop is Batal. After Kunzum La, descend to Batal. Take a breather here and have some food, get info about the status of the road to Chandertal and start riding.
Reach the Chandertal camping site. This is where you can pitch your own tents, though already pitched tents are also available. The road ends here and rest of the distance has to be covered on foot, in order to reach Chandertal.
Day 6, Chandertal – Batal – Gramphoo – Sissu (90 km): If you’re feeling well, go for a morning view of Chandertal, before starting your ride to Sissu. Ride till Gramphoo is in bad condition, however, you won’t have to ride a lot today, so you can afford to take it easy.
Day 7, Sissu – Tandi – Udaipur – Killar (155 km): Today you leave the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys behind and enter the Pangi Valley, where only a handful of riders go. The first task of the day is to get fuel from the Tandi petrol pump. Since this is going to be the last fuel pump till Bhanjraru.
After refueling at Tandi, take the diversion for Pangi Valley. At Udaipur, you can visit Triloknath Temple, before proceeding to Killar. You also have the option of spending the night at Cherry.
Fuel: Only available at Tandi petrol pump and in black at various villages, including Killar.
Day 8, Killar – Sach Pass – Bhanjraru – Chamba (170km): It is going to be a long day of hard riding today, and also the last day when you have to ride off road. So make sure to start early in the morning from Killar.
Ride till Sach Pass in not only tough but also scary. So take it slow and ride carefully. Most importantly, don’t ride fast in order to reach Chamba at all costs. You can also spend the night at Bairagarh or Bhanjraru, in case you get late.
Fuel: Easily available after Bhanjraru.
Day 9, Chamba – Pathankot – Delhi (615 km): A fairly long day of riding will get you from Chamba to Delhi in a single day. Alternatively, you can break this journey into two days by either spending the night at Dalhousie and next day riding to Delhi or taking a diversion to Dharamshala and spending a night there, before proceeding to Delhi.
Fuel: easily available, no need to worry anymore.
While it is certainly possible to save a day or two by riding a bit faster and skipping a few places. For most people, this is likely going to be their only ride to Sach Pass and Spiti Valley. Hence it is best to take it easy and explore it properly, rather than just ride through it at a fast pace.
In case you have any questions or you wish to share any feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below.