Tabo, Dhankar Lake, and the Pin Valley are the hot favorite tourist places in Spiti Valley. No trip to Spiti can be considered complete without visiting these places. In case you have missed any of them, you have a reason to plan a new trip to this middle land soon.

Sightseeing in Spiti Valley - Tabo, Dhankar & Pin Valley
Sightseeing in Spiti Valley – Tabo, Dhankar & Pin Valley

Hence, continuing on my efforts in completing the comprehensive travel guide of Spiti Valley, today I will cover these places as the third part of local sightseeing around Kaza in Spiti Valley.

I have already written about Ki – Kibber – Gette – Tashigang and Langza – Komic – Hikkim.

Local Sightseeing in Spiti Valley

You can explore these places while traveling to Kaza from Kinnaur side at an easy pace. As recommended already in the most common itinerary, when you start from Kalpa, you should stay overnight at Tabo as your first stoppage in Spiti Valley.

Then, the next day you can explore Tabo locally – Stroll in the village, visit Tabo monastery and hike to meditation caves. Then move to the Dhangkar monastery and trek to Dhangkar Lake. After doing the Dhangkar Lake trek and having lunch, you can traverse the 20 KM road into Pin Valley to Mud village.

Finally, you can travel to Kaza from Pin Valley the next day, maybe covering Lingti Valley – Rama village and Lhalung village. So, you must know that there is so so so much to cover in Spiti Valley. And the best part is, all these places are about a day’s drive from each other.

However, for the brevity of this article I will keep myself focused on Tabo – Dhangkar – Dhankar Lake – Pin Valley and cover others in the rest of the articles of this amazing series on the comprehensive travel guide of Spiti Valley 🙂 …

That’s me, Lost in the solitude of Dhankar Lake
That's me, Lost in the solitude of Dhankar Lake

Tabo Village

Tabo is 47 km from Kaza and houses an ancient monastery, which, according to legend, is said to be over a thousand years old. The HH Dalai Lama has expressed his desire to retire to Tabo since he mentions that the Tabo Monastery is one of the holiest.

Tabo Monastery had to come under the World Heritage Site, but I am not sure if that survey was successful or not. You can also hike to the caves up on the hills in Tabo, where monks used to meditate. You can learn more about Tabo monastery at the wiki as well.

Tabo is the second most important village in the Spiti Valley after Kaza. It is the perfect place for people coming from Kinnaur Valley for an overnight stop because it is low in altitude (about 3280 Mtrs) than Kaza and helps in acclimatization very much.

Tabo also has numerous stay options now and some of them you can check under Good Hotels or Accommodation options in Spiti Valley – Kinnaur Valley. This also makes Tabo one of the hot favorite spots for tourists. I always recommend spending a day in Tabo whenever you make a trip to Spiti Valley.

Prayer Wheels at Tabo Monastery
Prayer Wheels at Tabo Monastery
Inside Tabo Monastery Complex
Inside Tabo Monastery Complex

Inside Tabo Monastery Complex
The Roar from Tabo Monastery
The Roar from Tabo Monastery
Another Chorten at Tabo Monastery…
Chorten at Tabo Monastery at Tabo Village

Dhankar Monastery

Dhankar monastery is situated at an altitude of 3894 Mtrs. Dhangkar is about 32 km from Kaza (31 KMs from Tabo) including 8 Kms of diversion road from Shichilling. It is located at a 1000 feet hilltop much like a fort overlooking the confluence of Spiti and Pin Rivers in Spiti Valley. It can easily be visited when traveling from Kinnaur Valley to Spiti.

By the native language, Dhang means a cliff, and Kar or Khar means a fort. Hence, Dhankar translates to a fort on a cliff.

Well, Dhankar monastery is getting ruined by the age of the cliff on which it lies. The cliff does not have much of a remaining lifespan. Various initiatives are going on towards saving this monument at present, and you can get in touch with Tsering at Sakya Abode if you wish to contribute. You can read more about Dhankar at the Wiki.

On my visit, the highest vantage point from where the Spiti – Pin River confluence is closely visible was a point to remember. The wind was powerful, and that little space with low fencing gave jitters in my body with a feeling of flying down with the wind.

Dhankar Lake

Dhankar lake is about a 1.5 Hrs high-altitude trek from the Dhankar monastery. The initial ascent of about 30-40 minutes is pretty steep for someone less fit like me. Then, the path is uniform till the time you reach the lake. The beauty of the lake is not the lake itself but the extreme feeling of solitude it offers.

The words fall short of describing the feeling of being beside Dhangkar Lake and sitting beside that magical setting of the Dhangkar lake in complete silence with a large view of the mighty Manirang Pass range in the backdrop.

The lake sometimes does not have much water due to less glacial melt, but you will not be disappointed with the views. Dhankar lake remains frozen if you make the trip in early May and try to hike to see its view. No guide is required to make this trek, and the path is well marked.

However, still, I will not suggest trek to the lake alone. In all high-altitude treks, it is crucial to have company with you. I suggest you carry a water bottle, dry fruits, eateries, etc.. and keep yourself energized and hydrated with glucose water.

Do not forget to read these special tips on first-time trekking in the Himalayas.

Trekking down from the Dhankar lake is not that difficult on the body, but again the last half is a high gradient, at every step caution, was required for an assured grip of the foot so that you do not fall or slip down on others on the trail 🙂

The confluence of Spiti and Pin River with Dhankar Monastery
The confluence of Spiti and Pin River with Dhankar Monastery
Dhankar Lake, reflecting colors of heaven
Dhankar Lake, reflecting colors of heaven
An aerial view of Dhankar Monastery
An aerial view of Dhangkar Monastery
On the move to Dhankar Lake from Dhankar Monastery
On the move to Dhankar Lake from Dhankar Monastery
The high and handsome Manerang Range in the background
The high and handsome Manerang Range in the background
Dhankar Monastery – Frozen View
Dhankar Monastery - First View

Pin Valley – Mudh Village

Pin valley is the base for Pin Valley National Park, which got established in 1987. It is the home for several endangered animals, including the Snow Leopard and Siberian Ibex. The views in the entire Pin Valley, including Mud village, are just majestic, and the entire valley is mostly virgin, serene, barren, and beautiful.

The elevation of the Pin Valley national park ranges from about 3500 Mtrs near Ka Dogri to more than 6000 Mtrs at its highest point. In summer, rare birds such as the Himalayan Snowcock, Chukar Partridge, Snow Partridge, and Snowfinch can be seen in the park. You can read more about it at the Wiki as well.

As you come down from Dhankar monastery and move towards Kaza, the Pin Valley diversion comes at the Attargoo bridge. You take a left and traverse the 20 km diversion road through Pin Valley villages, starting from Gulling to Sagnam to Tailing to Mud Village.

There are a few important monasteries in Pin Valley, including the Kungri monastery, which is around 10 km from Attargo and 3 km from Gulling. Sagnam village has a PWD rest house in case you are interested in staying in the Pin Valley.

Mudh village is the last village connected by motorable road in Spiti Valley though the road continues towards Bhabha pass ahead of it. Over the years, Mud village has become the base for tourists, travelers, and backpackers. It is the very reason that you find many guest houses present at Mud Village and some under development for the coming years. The major reason being Mudh village also acts as the base for the trekking route towards or from Pin-Parvati Pass or Bhabha Valley.

Vistas worth dying for at Pin Valley…
Views between Kaza and Pin Valley
Beauty keeps getting better in Pin Valley
Views between Kaza and Pin Valley
Sagnam Village in Pin Valley…
Views between Kaza and Pin Valley
Beauty keeps getting better in Pin Valley…
Views between Kaza and Pin Valley
Tailing Village bridge in Spiti Valley…
Tailing Village bridge in Spiti Valley
A Chorten at Mud Village in Pin Valley
A Chorten at Mud Village in Pin Valley
A splendid view at Mud Village…
A splendid view at Mud Village in Pin Valley
That is Mud village for you…
Mud Village in Pin Valley


In the end, I will surely recommend you visit these tourist places in Spiti Valley. Once, you will witness these magical yet beautiful places with your naked eyes; I am sure you will feel your soul got lost in the Himalayas. It is true for every place in Spiti Valley.

Have a travel question?? You can subscribe to my YouTube channel and leave a comment to ask your travel questions about traveling to the Himalayas.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions. If you have visited these magical places in Spiti Valley and wanted to share some insights on them, do leave some suggestions to help other fellow travelers as well.

Also, feel free to share this article with your friends and family who are interested to know about the local sightseeing places in Spiti Valley for their trips 🙂 🙂 …


I am Dheeraj Sharma - a traveler, techie, and Himalayan lover. Since 2009, I have been helping thousands of travelers every year plan memorable & budget-friendly trips to the Himalayas - Smartly, Safely, and responsibly.


  1. Comments section gets closed in 90 days. To ask your travel questions, you can follow my YouTube Channel for a faster reply or for a much slower reply follow me on Instagram. :)

  2. Savi Kumar on

    Hi Dhèeraj,

    Your post is quite informative and has helped greatly in finalizing my trip to spiti.. Am plaing a trip this october for the shimla-spiti-manali circuit. My itinerary goes as follows:

    1 night stay at sarahan
    1 night at kalpa
    1 night at tabo
    1 night at mud village covering dhankar monastery and lake on the way
    Leave for kaza the next day covering komic, hikkim , langza. Overnight stay at kaza
    Leave for Chadratal lake the next day covering ki, kibber. Overnight stay at chadratal lake
    Leave for manali the next day.

    Do you think its doable? Should I skip stay at mud and leave for kaza the same day with 2 days stay at kaza and covering langza, hikkim, komic from kaza then?

  3. Shubhda Garg on

    Thank you for such an informative write-up.. We are planning a trip in mid-October and have added Dhangkar Monastery on your recommendation..

    • Awesome, you can skip the Lake as there may not be plenty of water in it but yes surely visit the Dhangkar monastery for some wonderful aerial views

  4. Birinder singh on

    I am from Chandigarh and have 4×4 ford endeavour and wanted to visit spiti valley with my family (wife and two 12 years old kids) I am confused about back journey i.e loser (chandertal lake) to Chandigarh. Some one suggested me to come back via Shimla to Chandigarh as via losar – Manali road is very bad. So please suggest me what should I go for ? One more thing please suggest me regarding good tent accommodation near chandertal lake. Also suggest me where to stay one night halt at nako or tabo on the way to Kaza from sangla?

    • Your car should not have any issues when traveling from Chandratal to Manali, so it should not be a problem. You should stay at Tabo.

  5. We are planning to do the spiti circuit from shimla to Manali in July 2018, i would like to know about the road from tabo till mud & from mud to kaza, around how much time should we expect to cover the distances. Also we will be going with two 5yr old kids. Will it be possible to trek till Dhankar lake or should we give it a miss?
    Thanks in advance.
    Your help is highly appreciated.

    • Anil, with the 5 yr old kid, you should surely give Dhangkar lake trek a miss. Tabo – Mud is around 45 odd KMs, and similarly it is Mud – Kaza. Tabo to Mud will take about a couple of hrs and Kaza – Mud also takes a couple of hrs. Roads are in average conditions.

      In general, it is fine to take the children of such age group because AMS do not matter with respect to age or sex or any fitness level. It can happen to anyone of any age or sex or fitness I shall say.. The issue with children is that they tend to exert the body considering it the same kind of place they belong to and this elevates the chances of getting struck with AMS. Secondly, they are not much expressive about their uneasy feelings, so it is parents who need to watch out and take care that the child is not suffering from uneasy feelings, headache or nausea and is behaving properly. With 5+ year child, I think he/she would be able to convey the uneasiness with little efforts. If you notice any such feeling or he/she tells you about such a feeling then please do not ascend anywhere, either descend to lower altitude or stay at the same place to watch things overnight and if symptom increase then start descending immediately. Same is applicable for any adult as well. And yes, do keep the body adequately hydrated!!

      • Thanks Dheeraj, for the advice. Will surely be on the look out for AMS. Would like to go slightly off topic, we would be on a self drive trip & plan to spend atleast 5 days in sangla valley, before reaching spiti. Is weather a matter of concern in around for drive around sangla valley, as i have read there are lots of landslides there.
        Thanks in advance.

        • Well, yes, Sangla, in fact, all of Kinnaur is quite a landslide-prone region so the concern is valid for the whole trip, not just Sangla in particular. So, I will suggest just keep an eye on weather updates and in case it says heavy rainfall, avoid else with low risk it is fine to travel as other folks travel too every year with this risk.

  6. Chandro Samadder on

    Hi Dheeraj,
    We’re planning to visit Spiti by middle of September, which includes overnight stays at Tabo, Dhankar, Komic, Langza and Kye monastery. As per your information I wish to add the Pin valley stretch on my way to Kaza from Dhankar. Are there any vehicles available from Dhankar to do the same? Regards

    You’re an inspiration to us, the detailed infos you provide helps us to get deeper into the voyage. 🙂

    • There will not be any dedicated taxis that will be running from Dhangkar to Pin Valley. You need to reach Atargoo bridge and wait for vehicles going into Pin Valley to reach there. Are you planning all these places on shared vehicles or public transport?

      Thank you for the kind words, Chandro !!

      • Chandro Samadder on

        Yes, I’m planning to do the entire stretch mostly on public transport including bus from Delhi to Peo, from there bus to Tabo, and so on.
        Is there any public transport or shared taxi available from Kaza to Key?
        I heard about a bus that leaves Kaza at 5pm for Key, are there any public transport available before 5pm? Or I have to take a shared cab!
        Regards. 🙂

  7. Hi Dheeraj,
    Can you shed some clarity on the queries below:

    -How many Km of trek are we talking about to reach till – Dhankar lake?
    -Is it doable if we are accompanied with a 3 year old kid?
    -Also would the roads be open till late October ?
    -Lastly how much time would it take to reach Mud village from Tabo (do u know the distance between the two places)?

    As always your site offers the best write-ups for Himalayan road trips 🙂

  8. yashodhara on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    we are planning to go to kaza from tabo via mud, in sep, without stopping at mud for the night. is this feasible? can you provide any pointers on how long it would take from tabo to mud and from mud to kaza?
    thank you

    p.s. very informative posts. helping us a lot in planning our trip 🙂

  9. shilpashravge5 on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    As per the article, Mud village is the last stop for tourist ? or can we see Pin Valley national park as well?

    • Shilpa, now the road goes further about 12-15 odd KMs from Mud Village but not any further. So, technically it is the last stop and Pin Valley National Park you need to do trekking for it.

      • Kalyan Kumar Ray on

        Is it possible to reach Dhankar lake by a pony or yak? i am visiting the place with the companion who do not want or able to trek, and i cant risk my team by going solo. my ability is questionable without a companion (human or animal- a dog may be helpful). i have shortage of time as i like to travel mud village to Kaza in the same day. please advice.

        • No Kalyana, there are no ponies available to take you to Dhangkar lake unless you want to have a very special arrangement. You can check at Dganhkar village if someone is ready to accompany you for the trek up or your driver. You can pay them for the services.