Manali Tourism Guide: Travel Tips On Food, Stay & Attractions
Mesmerizing Manali is a terra firma of contrasts. On one hand, the enduring high peaks, stunning natural landscapes, amazing weather and peaceful temples cleanse our mind and soul. And on the other hand the awe-inspiring adventure sports, fun-loving people and lip-smacking Himachali food add some spice to our lives. So basically, Manali is full of life and if you are eager to know more about this vivacious place, here is our Manali tourism guide to help you.
Manali Tourism Guide
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Best Time To Visit Manali
Planning a Manali trip? Keen to know the best time to visit Manali? Well, Manali is one of the most popular hill stations in India and the weather is blissful throughout the year except in the monsoon season when the hills turn treacherous. Here is a snapshot of Manali weather which will enable tourists to find the season-wise best time to visit Manali, depending upon their budget and interest.
Summer (March to June): The summer season is considered to be one of the best seasons to visit Manali. The weather is quite pleasant during the day and cold at night. Tourists can enjoy activities like paragliding, river rafting, rock climbing, zorbing and trekking. Summers are also a good time to take pleasure in festivals like Basantotsav, celebrated in the month of April. With bright colourful flowers, lush greenery, an extremely pleasant weather and a plethora of stimulating activities, summer in this quaint hill station is certainly a tourist ecstasy.
Manali Tourism Guide Tip: Be sure to carry light woollen clothes.
Wish to explore Manali?See Manali Tour Packages
Monsoon (July to September): Manali experiences heavy rainfall during this time which often leads to frequent thunderstorms, landslides and road damage. This is certainly not a good time to visit Manali. But, if you are looking for a budget trip, this season offers great discounts on accommodations.
Manali Tourism Guide Tip: Be sure to carry your raincoats and an umbrella.
Winter (October to February): The monsoon starts fading in September and with the onset of winter, Manali looks absolutely enchanting. The weather is extremely cold and it is the best time to enjoy the snowfall and spend some great time watching the snow clad mountains. Tourists can enjoy adventurous activities like trekking, ice-skating and skiing. Manali also hosts an exciting Winter Carnival every year which is a five day feast for the visitors. With temperatures going below zero degree, it is also an awesome time to visit Manali for honeymoon.
Manali Tourism Guide Tip: Be sure to carry all your woollens.
Well, all’s said and done, the best time to visit Manali is the time when you actually visit it!
How To Reach Manali
The captivating hill station of Manali is very well connected to the different parts of the country by various modes of transport.
Air: Bhuntar Airport is the nearest domestic airport which is located at a distance of about 50 km from Manali. Regular flights operate to the airport from major cities like New Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla and Dharamshala. Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi is the nearest international airport which is located at a distance of approximately 556 km from Manali. Taxis, cabs and buses can be hired from the airport to reach Manali. However, due to the weather conditions flights are not a dependable option.
Train: Joginder Nagar Railway Station is the nearest railway station from Manali that connects the hill station with Chandigarh and Ambala. It is located at a distance of 162 km and tourists can easily take a taxi or a bus after reaching the railway station.
Road: Travelling by road is the best way to reach Manali as tourists can enjoy picturesque views. The hill station is very well connected to the major cities of India by road. Both Himachal Pradesh state bus service and private buses operate regularly between Manali and other regions of the country. Although most visitors prefer self-drive, it is always advisable to hire a taxi so that you can sit back and enjoy the scenic beauty.
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Travelling Within Manali
Manali has an organised system of buses that take you to popular locations at an extremely nominal price. Tourists can also hire a taxi to travel within the hill station. Taxis are quick, convenient, reliable and very easily available. Taxis can be booked for a specific route or for an entire day. Walking is also a great way to explore Manali as it gives you an opportunity to immerse in the natural landscape.
Where To Stay In Manali
Manali offers an array of accommodation options to all its visitors. From mind-blowing luxury resorts and hotels to small budget hotels, this place has it all. If you are looking for basic mid-range accommodation, staying on the Mall Road is a good option. Himanshu Resorts, Hotel Ambika and Hotel New Monarch are the best budget hotels in Manali. Romantic couples and laid back travellers who like the old world charm and a traditional set up should consider staying in Old Manali. Hotel Satkar Residency, Sneak Peak Retreat, D’Chalet Manali and Golden Tulip Manali are some of the best hotels in Old Manali. For travellers who like utmost luxury, Hotel Manu Allaya, Rock Manali Hotel and Spa, La Ri Sa, The Himalayan Resort and Spa and Span Resort and Spa are the best resorts in Manali.
Places To Visit In Manali
1. Hadimba Temple
Nestled amidst the snow covered hills and the cedar forests of Manali, Hadimba Temple is dedicated to Hadimba Devi, the wife of Bhima and the mother of Ghatothkach. The temple was constructed in 1553 and is one of the most popular places to visit in Manali. It is built on a huge rock and consists of four wooden storeys. The interior of the temple is simple with walls decorated with stone and mud impressions and figures of animals and goddesses. The temple does not contain any idol of Devi Hadimba, it only consists of a rock where she sat for meditation. The pagoda shaped temple with 24 metres tall tower is very famous for its religious values and no less than a wonder for peace lovers and devotees.
Manali Tourism Guide Tip: The temple is open on all days from 8 AM to 6PM.
2. Rohtang Pass
Rohtang Pass, located at an altitude of about 4000 metres above sea level is one of the most exciting Manali tourist places. It falls on the Manali-Keylong Highway and connects the Kullu valley with Lahaul and Spiti creating a beautiful blend of Hindu and Buddhist cultures. The gorgeous views and the fresh crisp snow provide an excellent opportunity for activities like skiing, paragliding, skating and snow scooter. A mandatory Rohtang Pass permit is required by all visitors and you also need to show a confirmation voucher of your hotel. The breath-taking views and the stupendous and sprawling landscapes of the pass have a mesmerising effect that is certainly worth experiencing. Moreover, shooting of films like Jab We Met and Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani have made Rohtang Pass an absolutely must visit tourist attraction in Manali.
Manali Tourism Guide Tip: Considering the high altitude and low temperature of the area, the pass is best visited in daylight.
3. Vashisht Hot Water Spring
Temples have the power to spiritually invigorate our minds and souls. But, Vashisht Temple is renowned for its hot water springs and baths that not only refreshes us but also makes us healthy. Located about 3 km from Manali, this temple has sulphur springs which emit hot water all through the year. The hot water is believed to have a number of medicinal properties and has the power to cure various skin diseases. There is a separate bath for both men and women and they also have Turkish style showers allowing tourists to regulate the flow of hot and cold water. Relax your mind and body by taking a dip in the water and visit the pyramid shaped stone temple to seek the blessings of Sage Vashisht. The temple is surrounded by various shops where you can also buy souvenirs.
Manali Tourism Guide Tip: The temple is open on all days from 7 AM till 9 PM. Bathing is allowed from 7 AM to 1 PM and then from 2 PM to 9 PM.
4. The Great Himalayan National Park
The Great Himalayan National Park is located at a distance of 70 km from Manali and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spread over an area of 754 square kilometres, this park is popular for its natural and scenic beauty. Surrounded by Himalayan Mountains, Oak and Deodar trees, this national park is home to more than 375 species of fauna, 181 species of birds and 31 species of mammals. The eco zone of this park consists of 160 villages and each village has a deity of its own. Gaming and hunting of animals is strictly prohibited. The Great Himalayan National Park trek is also very popular among adventure enthusiasts. There are four trekking routes; Sainjh Valley, Sainj to 6 meadows, bird watching, Gushaini to Parvati Valley and trout fishing. Manali sightseeing is incomplete without visiting this park.
Manali Tourism Guide Tip: Be sure to carry dry food, essential medicines and water.
Things To Do In Manali
Manali is an adventure lover’s paradise offering a wide variety of adventure sports and activities. Out of all the exciting activities, paragliding is the most loved and pursued activity. Soaring high in the sky on a glider and watching the landscaped beauty of the Dhauladhar mountain range and the Beas River is one of the best things to do in Manali. The flying time generally varies according to the winds and Solang Valley is the best place to enjoy paragliding.
Manali Tourism Guide Tip: The activity is normally non-functional during the monsoon season.
2. Beas Kund Trek
Beas Kund is one of the most amazing places for trekking. Trekking and hiking buffs should certainly add this place in their itinerary. Get really close to nature and be charmed by the magnificent views of the Pri Panjal ranges over the Beas River. Let your soul get flattered by the impressive pastures of Dhundi and Bakarthach and the glacial lake at Beas Kund.
Manali Tourism Guide Tip: Avoid this trek in the rainy season.
3. River Rafting
If you are looking for gripping white water rafting in icy cold water, Manali is the place for you. River Beas along with its tributaries assure to offer a thrilling rafting experience. This activity is done with a trained guide for safety purposes and there are a number of packages to choose from. In fact, there are short stretches for beginner’s level and challenging ones for the experts. The best time to enjoy rafting is from April to June.
Manali Tourism Guide Tip: Minimum age for rafting is 14 years. Do not forget to carry an extra pair of clothes.
4. Arjun Gufa
Located on the left side of River Beas, very close to Prini village, Arjun Gufa is the place where the Pandava Arjun meditated to earn the powers of Pashupati Astra from Lord Indira. Religious beliefs and the mythological significance of the place attract tourists from all over the world. The natural surroundings and the climb up to the cave is unbelievable. With no light entering after a point, one has to explore and find way with the help of a flash light. The uneven passage makes the exploration even more exhilarating. It takes about 45 minutes to discover the whole cave. The silence, the calmness and the serenity of this cave makes it one of finest things to do in Manali.
Manali Tourism Guide Tip: Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and do carry a flash light.
Wish to explore Manali?See Manali Tour Packages
Nightlife In Manali
Manali is extremely popular for its picturesque beauty and spine-rattling adventure sports. Though there is not much of nightlife in Manali, but drinking in a cosy bar amidst chilly weather is certainly one of the top things to do in Manali. Here is a list of the places where you can unwind and relax when the sun goes down.
- Cafe 1947: Located in Old Manali, this cafe is the perfect place to chill out, sing and dance. With a full-fledged bar, a stream of river beside it, a cosy library, live music and delicious food, this place is a must go.
- Johnson Cafe: If you are looking for a classic bar with excellent service and a wide variety of wine, Johnson Cafe is the place for you. The traditional wooden furniture, dim lights and an awesome ambience makes it a perfect place to hang out with friends and family.
- Lazy Dog Lounge: With appetizing food, feet tapping music and an amazing mix of liquors, Lazy Dog Lounge is guarantees a great experience. Serving delicious Thai, Japanese and Korean cuisines, this place has both indoor and outdoor seating arrangements.
- Khyber: Khyber is a popular restaurant and bar located on the Mall Road. This place is simple and has a multi-cuisine menu and the best part is that it is open till midnight.
Apart from the various restaurants and bars, the Mall Road also becomes quite trendy and happening at night. It turn out to be a cheerful place which is bustling with crowds, street vendors selling food and souvenirs and small shops selling handicrafts, clothes and other knick-knacks.
What To Eat In Manali
Manali is not only famous for its spellbinding beauty; it is also very famous for its luscious food. Make sure you try the following delicacies in your Manali vacation.
- Start your Manali gastronomic journey with a very popular dish, Dhaam. It is a complete meal which includes rice, dal, curd, rajma along with some jaggery. This dish is usually prepared for celebrations and festivals.
- Do try Sidu, an admired wheat bread stuffed with boiled, mashed green peas, crushed walnuts, peanuts and paneer. It is usually paired with dal, ghee and green chutney.
- Chana Madra is also a well-liked delicacy. It is basically chick-peas cooked in a yoghurt based gravy.
- You have to try Bhey or Lotus stems. Thinly sliced lotus stems are sautéed with herbs, spices and gram flour.
- Do not leave Manali without trying trout. This unique fish delicacy is prepared by marinating the fish in spices and herbs and then pan-frying it in mustard oil. It is often served with boiled vegetables and steamed rice.
- People with a sweet tooth should certainly try Mittha, which is a sweet delicacy comprising of rice and raisins.
- Do try lugri, a local rice beer.
- Other interesting delicacies include Chha Gosht, Tudkiya Bhaat, Patande, Thukpa, Thenthuk and Babru.
- Apart from the Himachali cuisine, Manali has numerous restaurants that serve Indian, South Indian, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Thai, Continental and Mexican cuisines.
So, food in Manali is not only mouth-watering, but also an experience that is delightful and soul-satisfying!
Money In Manali
The currency of Manali is same as that of whole India, Indian Rupee. The Rupee comes in the denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 2000. Almost all major debit cards and credit cards such as American Express, Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. ATMs are widespread. Currencies can be exchanged at the airports, banks, hotels and money exchangers.
Useful Manali Tourism Tips
Our Manali tourism guide is full of insider tips and useful information.
- Keep your identity proofs and other important documents handy.
- Keep a digital copy of all your important documents in your mobile phone in case of an emergency.
- Although the local language of Manali is Mandiali, but Hindi and English are widely spoken.
- Electricity is 220-240 Volts.
- Carry your personal medication with you.
- Avoid travelling late due to visibility and safety issues.
- Eat light while travelling to higher altitudes as it might cause nausea and vomiting.
- Wear decent clothes while visiting temples and other places of worship.
- Do not use plastic bags as plastic is banned in Himachal Pradesh.
- In case of an emergency, dial 100 (Police) or 102 (Ambulance).
Already started dreaming about Manali? Wake up! Hurry, mountains are still calling! Plan your Manali trip soon and let our Manali tourism guide be at your service.
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