Plan That Holiday: 19 Things To Do In Manali For The Best Vacation Ever

    Manali is one hill station that has been immortalized as one of the best tourist destinations in India, and we know it’ll continue to rule the list. So, scroll down to virtually explore the mountain city before you visit this modern yet rustic beauty.

    Also, the best time to visit Manali for you would be around September to October and March to May. If you want to see the snowfall and try adventure sports like skiing, drop by between November to February. We recommend that you avoid making a trip to Manali between June to August as heavy landslides and floods are common here during the monsoon season. You can also hire bikes and scooters for exploring the different places in Manali. Now, let's begin, shall we?

    Mall Road

    Like every mountain town, Manali too has a famous ‘mall road’ lined with shops that sell everything it is famous for and more. Buy shawls, cute winter hats, eat softy ice-cream, and just see the hustle of this crowded, vibrant town in one place. Many like to simply stroll through the lanes on a sunny day. 

    Don't Leave Without: Do explore the local shops and streets behind the mall road.

    Manu Market

    Located next to the ‘mall’ is Manu Market. With a similar vibe but narrower lanes, this market is good for jewellery and clothes. It also has stalls to eat local food at if you’re on a shoestring budget.

    Don't Leave Without: Check out their local stores for Tibetan jewellery and other artifacts. 

    Old Manali

    Old Manali

    Manali, Chennai

    The other side of town, this is where you can walk and not get tired. Predominantly known for its cafes and bakeries, this part of Manali has a lot more to offer. With cafes on both sides of the road, and quaint little shops inviting you in to buy products made out of hemp, you really will never get bored here. This is the hippie part of town where most travellers like to chill at. It's also where you'll find hostels and cutesy homestays.

    Don't Leave Without: While climbing up the lanes of Old Manali, do visit Cafe Shed that is ornamented with quirky art pieces by the owner! 

    Van Vihaar

    Van Vihaar National Park is a stone’s throw away from Mall road and is a haven for all nature lovers. In an attempt to preserve the lush deodar forest, this park serves its purpose well amidst the many markets. One can spend hours sitting inside with a book or just aimlessly strolling to admire the sky high trees for a minimal entry fee of INR 5. Boating in the man-made lake would cost you INR 30 for fifteen minutes. 

    The park timings are 8am-7pm in summers and 8am-5pm during winters. 

    Don't Leave Without - The sunset view is said to be phenomenal from the national park, don't miss it!

    Vashisht

    A village close to downtown Manali, this place still has a serene ‘pahadi’ charm. The temple here is where devotees and travellers come to pay their respects. Near the temple are auspicious hot springs known to have healing medicinal properties that are believed to cure skin-related allergies. Fancy a dip, anyone?

    Don't Leave Without: A hot spring shower sure sounds exciting but don't forget to take a tour of the temple from inside to see the intricate wooden carvings and antique paintings. 

    Hidimba Temple

    Built in Himachali style, this temple in Manali is dedicated to the wife of Bhima, Hidimba Devi. Surrounded by dense forest, you might want to spend some time absorbing the view and learning about the temple's rich history. Wooden structure with a pointy roof, it’s unlike any other temple of the community. It looks its best during winter when it’s dressed in white with snow.

    Don't Leave Without: Just spending 15-20 minutes in the thick Cedar forest near the temple is going to refresh you from within. A little soul cleansing anyone?

    Rohtang Pass

    Closed for about half a year, Rohtang pass is a sight to behold with the breathtaking views that it offers. Surrounded by mountains, a two-hour drive from Manali till the pass will be splendid if not for any traffic jams on the way. From June to October you can go to Ladakh, Lahaul, and Spiti via this pass. Eating options are limited to small dhabas and stalls that serve Maggi, rajma chawal and a few other options. 

    Don't Leave Without: The hub for all the adventure sports, this is the right place for skiing and snow scooter riding. 

    Rafting

    Manali is one of the best places in Himachal for rafting. The current of Beas River keeps the conditions suitable for a day out in the river. There are multiple operators which conduct this adventure sport for INR 1,200-1,500 for 9-12 kms.

    Trekking

    Manali is the base camp for treks like Bhirgu Lake, Hampta Pass, Beas Kund, Chandratal, Pin Parvati and so on. If trekking is what you fancy, Manali is the place to start them. There are plenty of backpacking operators that offer curated treks that include camping, food and other facilities. The price depends upon the trek you opt for. Mostly it ranges between INR 1,500 to 3,500.

    Paragliding

    After Bir, Manali is the place for paragliding. Though the activity is more popular in Solang Valley, Dhobi is the less crowded spot to be at for the same. Starting from INR 1,500 or so, you could paraglide for a good 15 minutes in tandem. Get your cameras ready!

    Naggar Castle

    Another unexplored part of Himachal near Manali is Naggar that is famous for the castle there. The Himachali vibes and architecture are still retained inside this heritage hotel. Naggar is also a good  spot for those who want a slice of luxury amidst the mountains. The castle holds a quaint in-house cafe that overlooks the valley. Make sure you check out the Naggar Delight Cafe for scrumptious cheesecakes and pastries.

    Don't Leave Without: The castle displays the artwork of a famous Russian painter, Nicholas Roerich, which is worth checking out.

    Fat Plate

    Located 15 minutes away from the main town, this isolated restaurant is located inside the beautiful Gurung Cottages where one can book their stay too. The cuisine served here is fresh, organic, and home-cooked. Their breads, vegetables, herbs – everything is grown and made at the property itself. Sit in the garden with the views around you and eat a hearty meal here.

    Don't Leave Without: The man behind the Cafe, Anubhav Gurung, is a hiker and explorer himself, so if you get a chance to see him make sure you learn some tips and tricks. 

    The Lazy Dog

    The is one of the best restaurants in Old Manali; no trip is complete without a meal here coupled up with the local apple cider beer. Order the hummus platter, pasta, and the pan-fried trout for the perfect meal. The outside stair area is perfect for groups, especially during dinner time. Oh, it’s absolutely gorgeous.

    Don't Leave Without: Just one word - Beer!

    The Johnson's Cafe

    This is another property that tops the list for the best venues to stay at in Manali. Their in-house restaurant is remarkable with huge indoor and outdoor seating with vibrant furniture to lighten anyone’s mood. Pour your favourite poison here, enjoy the fabulous ambience, live music, and a great evening.

    Find more info here. 

    Don't Leave Without: Buying a jar of organic jams and a glass of wine. 

    Chopsticks

    Situated bang in the middle of the busy mall road, it is your best bet for a satisfying meal after a tiring day of shopping. Good ol’ yummy Chinese with Tibetan cuisine, momo, and noodles here are an absolute must-have.

    Find more info here.

    Il Forno

    If you take the road towards Hidimba Temple from the Mall Road, you will find a cute cottage-like café in the middle, get down there to have delicious wood-fired pizza and pastas while sitting in their garden gazebo. Also, makes for a pretty spot to click hundreds of pictures at.

    Dylan’s Toasted & Roasted Coffee House

    Old Manali has a plethora of cafes as we mentioned before, but sometimes all you want to do is sit by the roadside, observing the happy shoppers with a cup of coffee, and for that Dylan’s is there for you. The Depth Charger and Irish Coffee here sound like heaven to us. 

    Don't Leave Without: You just cannot miss their cookies.  

    Café 1947

    Cafe 1947

    Manali, Chennai

    As soon as you enter the old side of Manali, you’ll see boards with the words Café 1947 written that’ll tempt you to go visit this eatery. And you won’t be disappointed. Always brimming with people, the trout here is a major hit. They've also opened up a new branch in Bahang right next to Beas river that's makes for a stunning view.

    Don't Leave Without: Stay back for their live music sessions! 

    Drifter’s Café

    At the other end of the festive Old Manali road is this popular café where everything on the menu is delectable and meant for super long conversations. Great for a warm, romantic date too!

    Find more info here.