Manali is one of India’s most popular tourist destinations. Everyone, from trekkers to couples and families, like to travel to Manali at least once in their lives. It has been a top-rated tourist destination amongst Indians for as long as one can remember. So, it makes for an excellent choice to visit this beautiful town in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Plan your budget trip to Manali.
Manali is located in the Kullu Valley, also known as the “Valley of the Gods.” It is at the northern end of the Kullu Valley, formed by the Beas River.
Why are the names Kullu and Manali frequently used synonymously?
Due to their proximity, Kullu and Manali are frequently used together. However, Manali is approximately 50 kilometres from Kullu, and both are breathtakingly beautiful. So, when one visits Manali, they pass through Kullu, as both are on the same tourism circuit. More specifically, it is merged from a tourism standpoint: Kullu Manali.
By Air: The nearest airport is Bhuntar, about 50 kilometres from Manali. Many cities are connected by domestic flights from Bhuntar, and you can take a pre-paid taxi to Manali from the airport. However, flights might not be the most dependable way to get to or from Manali due to weather conditions.
By Taking the Bus: Manali connects to significant tourist destinations such as Leh, Shimla, Kullu, Dharamshala, and New Delhi via state-run and private buses. You should book your tickets mostly in AC Volvo coaches for affordable travel to Manali. They are also more comfortable than regular buses, especially when you know how far Manali is from most Indian cities.
By Road/Self Drive: The drive up to Manali is phenomenal! Almost every turn on the twisty uphill road provides a scenic view of the surrounding hills and valleys. Though many tourists prefer to drive themselves up to Manali, it is best to hire a taxi if you are not comfortable going in mountainous areas.
By Train: The nearest railway station to Manali is Jogindernagar, connecting the hill station to several important cities. Trains from Chandigarh and Ambala can also take you to Manali. Taxis and buses are available as well at reasonable prices from the railheads.
When it comes to where to stay and hotel costs, the expenditure is divided into solo travellers, couples, and groups. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Begin with solo travellers
Every Manali trip budget travel guide will tell you to stay in hostels if you’re travelling alone, and you will have a fantastic time. The hostel will cost you approximately INR 1800 – Rs.2500 ($25 – $35) per person for 3-5 nights.
You can stay in both hostels and hotels, such a room is less expensive than two bunk beds in a hostel/hotel. Regarding pricing, two bunk beds must cost around Rs.3600 – Rs.5000 ($50 – $56) for 5 nights, while a private room might also cost about Rs.4000 – Rs.5000 ($56 – $70). Booking a private room instead of two hostel bunk beds makes much more sense. The per-person cost for five nights would be Rs.2000 – Rs.2500 ($28 – $35). If you want to take a shorter trip, you can calculate the prices accordingly.
Finally, the groups
Hostels are a big no-no for the groups. Most hostels do not allow groups, and if they do, they will not offer you 5 bunk beds in just the same room. When going to travel in a group, always stay in a hostel. If you have a group of 5, two rooms will cost you around Rs.9000 – Rs.12000 ($126 – $168) for five nights. The cost per person would be approximately Rs.1800 – Rs.2400 ($25 – $33) for affordable hotels in Manali for groups.
A few go-to Accommodations in Manali are:
1. Zostel Manali
2. Hotel Greenfields
3. Moksha stays
4. Jagatsukh cottage
5. YOLO Backpackers Hostel
Let’s Talk about a 3 Days Trip cost To Manali.
Day 1: Old Manali – Hidimba Temple – Vashisht Hot Water Springs & temple – Jogini Falls
Day 2: Old Manali to Solang Valley and then to Rohtang Pass
Day 3: Old Manali – Naggar Castle – Jana Falls – Shopping on Mall Road
For Local travelling
Renting a motorcycle is the best choice because it is less expensive than booking a private taxi. Rental bikes will charge you around Rs. 600 and 1500 per day, depending on what type of motorcycle you choose. You can also hire a private taxi, which will cost you Rs. 1500 and 2500 per day OR approximately Rs. 400 for a one-way journey from Old Manali to New Manali (around 2 to 3 km). You can also take a shared rickshaw or a local bus, but their frequency is limited.
The Jogini Falls:
This lovely waterfall, also known as Jogni Falls, is about 7.5 kilometres from Manali’s bus station and 4 kilometres from Vashisht Temple. The trek from Vashisht temple to the waterfall takes about 1.5 hours. The entire hike is quite beautiful and peaceful, providing some of the fantastic sights of Manali.
This waterfall has no entrance fee.
Vashisht Temple and Hot Springs:
This 4000-year-old ancient temple is located about 5 kilometres from Old Manali and is devoted to the ancient Indian sage Vashisht, the Guru of Lord Rama and Lakshmana. This temple is well-known for its sacred hot water springs, which are thought to have body-healing properties. Men and women have distinct Turkish-style showering enclosures. You must deposit your footwear at the temple’s entry gate, which will cost you approximately Rs. 5 per sandal/shoe.
Free entry to the temple and hot springs.
Timings: Vashisht Temple is open from 7 am to 9 pm daily, and Vashisht Baths are available from 7 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 9 pm every day.
Temple of Hidimba
This prehistoric cave temple, built-in 1553, is located about 3 kilometres from Old Manali in the Dhungiri Forest. It is devoted entirely to Hidimbi Devi, the wife of Bhima, as mentioned in the Hindu mythological scriptures Mahabharata.
Timings: This temple has no entry fee, and it is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm.
The Solang Valley
This is a must-see for all adventure junkies and is approximately 14 kilometres from Old Manali. This valley is well-known for paragliding in the summer and skiing in the winter. If you have enough time, you can also enjoy the cable ropeway (Rs. 500 per person), snow scooter (Rs. 500 per person), and zorbing activities (Rs. 500 per person). Solang Valley can be reached via shared cabs and local buses that depart from the Manali bus stop in the mornings and evenings.
Timings: There is no entrance fee, but there are charges for the activities, and the timings are from 10 am to 6 pm.
The famous Rohtang Pass, located about 42 kilometres from Solang Valley, has an elevation of 3979 metres (13,050 feet) above sea level and is the highest point on the Manali-Keylong road, offering breathtaking panoramic views. This is typically the first pass on a road trip from Manali to Ladakh. This pass is closed from December to April during the winter. Due to maintenance, the Rohtang Pass is also shut on Tuesdays.
Please keep in mind that if you plan to visit cities ahead of Rohtang Pass from the Manali side, you must apply for permits at least two days in advance. If you are returning from Ladakh to Manali, no licences are required.
The permit costs Rs. 750 for cars (Rohtang pass permit: Rs. 500 + Congestion charges: Rs. 50 + Green tax: Rs 200) and Rs. 650 for bikes. You must provide information such as the vehicle number, driver’s name, contact information, and the number of passengers. Once you have the pass, vehicles can go beyond the barrier on the Manali-Rohtang Pass road only during two-time slots: 6:00 am to 9:00 am and 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.
Visit the Tourism Development Council Manali’s official website to book your Rohtang Pass permit online.
The Naggar Castle
This castle, about 24 kilometres from Old Manali, is an ancient structure built 500 years ago and offers incredible views of the Kullu Valley. This mediaeval mansion made of wood and stone is a one-of-a-kind fusion of Himalayan and Western architectural styles. It houses an art gallery featuring several paintings by Russian artist Nicholas Roerich. This one-of-a-kind castle served as both a rest stop and a tourist attraction.
Timings: 7 am to 10 pm Entry fee is Rs. 15 per person, with a camera fee of Rs. 25.
This lovely waterfall in Jana Village, about 13 kilometres from Naggar Castle, is surrounded by pine trees, deodar forest, apple orchards, and snow-capped mountains. There is no entry fee to see this waterfall. Don’t miss out on the Himachali cuisine at Jana Fall River.
Timings: 6 am to 6 pm. You can take a local bus ride from Manali at 8.30 am or travel down to Jana Falls.
The Mall Road
When in Manali, don’t forget to stop by the famous Mall Road, where you can buy souvenirs, woollen jackets, sweaters, pullovers, shawls, blankets, gloves, caps, etc. You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for authentic Pashmina shawls, souvenirs and woollen mufflers for yourself and your family. Try Adarsh Restaurant for its delicious Punjabi non-veg cuisine, especially the trout fish and the six-flavoured ice cream if you’re in town.
Fun fact: The German Bakery on Manali’s Mall Road sells delicious Yak cheese.
Fun activities to take on in Manali
It is an exciting outdoor activity in Kullu, 40 kilometres from Manali. Rafting is best from January to June and September to December. Rafting can cost between Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000, depending on the distance travelled.
If you visit Manali during the winter, don’t miss out on skiing in Solang Valley. The best months would be December, January, and February. Also, a beginner skiing activity would cost about Rs 300 for 10 minutes.
This is an excellent activity to try during the summer months of April to May and September to October. A short tandem paragliding flight will cost you around Rs. 600 and will last around 2-3 minutes, whereas a long tandem flight ride will cost you around Rs. 1800 and will stay approximately 20 minutes and will provide you with the best views of Manali.
There are numerous treks available in Manali, ranging from easy to complex. Brigu Trek, Hampta Pass, Beas Kund, and Deo Tibba Trek are a few popular ones.
If you have recently visited the mentioned locations and have more accurate prices, please leave them in the comments section below. Also, the blog was curated, keeping in mind an affordable trip to Manali on a minimum budget. Feel free to customize according to your needs and preferences. Book your Delhi to Manali Bus tickets with zingbus mobile app to get exciting offers & discounts.
Have an incredible journey!
That concludes today’s blog. Hope you enjoyed it!