THE OLD HINDUSTAN–TIBET HIGHWAY (built by the British as a sneaky invasion route into Tibet) runs northeast from Shimla through Kinnaur, providing access to mountain villages with slate-roofed temples and vast orchards of apple trees that provide Himachal’s most famous export. The Kinnauris, or Kinners, are a proud, Aryan people who mainly survive from farming and apple growing. Further north, in the state of Himachal Pradesh along the Western Himalayas, Spiti Valley has Ladakh in its Northern side and Tibet to its east. Originally known as “Piti” before the Tibetan dialect influenced the local language, Spiti is a land of stunning beauty. With a population of around ten thousand people, the valley is immersed in Buddhist traditions and the influence of neighboring Tibet is quite visible. This trip takes you through the landscape, its people, immerse you in its culture and you can walk through the wilderness. Visit some of the oldest monasteries of the region, perched on top of some of the highest villages in the world. Here, subsistence farmers cultivate small plots of land using snow melt from the Himalayas, while their sheep and yaks roam the valley slopes. Staying in traditional home stays, eating with locals in their households, trekking to distant monasteries and watching performances by traditional artists make for an unforgettable experience.