Manali is one of the most visited places in India. Everyone from solo travelers, couples, families once in their life want to visit Manali. It is very popular among everyone. One Interesting fact is that the number of tourists visiting Manali have increased since 2013 because of “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani”.
After reading the title most of you might think 6 days only in Manali? Let me tell you 6 days is very less to explore Manali properly. We have a habit of hearing one-week packages like 2 nights Manali, 2 nights Shimla, 2 nights Chandigarh. Remove this concept out of your head. You cannot really visit any place in just two days. 6 Days is an ideal duration for visiting Manali.
Good To Know Stuff
The total budget is the estimate for when you arrive in Manali. I will also mention the transportation cost from Delhi, Mumbai, etc. You can add that cost to your total if you want a full estimate from Mumbai – Manali or Delhi – Manali. The reason I am not including the cost is because everyone chooses different comfort according to their liking.
Eg. A budget traveler may spend just Rs.6000 while they are in Manali but would love to take a luxury train up to Mumbai while returning or just fly their way back home. So, you choose your mode of transportation according to your liking/comfort and add the cost at the end of your trip.
People will also do some adventurous activities in Manali, so this will also differ from person to person. For all the extra expense I will give you a quote just add them to your total cost.
My recommendation while booking your stay in Manali would be that you select your hostel/hotel near Mall Road. The Manali bus stand is near the Mall Road so you won’t have to use taxi every time for getting to the bus stand. Talking about accommodation I have a 10% discount for you guys on booking.com for any hotels in the world. Make sure you use that for saving some extra money. Here is the link – 10 % Discount
Let start with the guide.
Day 1 – Arrival in Manali.
The two main cities from where you can catch a bus to Manali are Chandigarh and Delhi. Buses for Manali run very frequently in these two cities. The cost difference is not that high between these two.
The prices from these cities to Manali are
- Chandigarh: 500 – Rs.1000 ($7 – $14).
- Delhi: 700 – Rs.1500 ($9 – $21).
You can choose the buses from whichever city you like or whichever is convenient to you. For the people coming from Mumbai, I would recommend you take a train up to Chandigarh. The reason is that the train ticket from Mumbai to Chandigarh is Rs.650 ($9) and Mumbai to Delhi is Rs.600 ($8.4). So, your total cost from Mumbai to Chandigarh to Manali to Mumbai will be 650(Train) + 550(Bus) + 550(Bus) + 650(Train) = Rs.2400 ($33).
And if you catch a bus from Delhi then it will cost you around 600 + 800 + 800 + 600 = Rs.2800 ($39).
See, just with a little research and you are saving around Rs.400 ($5.6). While checking the tickets people will usually think that it is just a difference of Rs.100 for return tickets so we’ll book a ticket till Delhi. The thing they don’t realize is that the bus will cost them Rs.400(return) more from Delhi as compared to Chandigarh. So, for saving Rs.100 they lose more Rs.400.
Tip: Whenever booking any sort of transportation tickets, make sure you focus on return tickets. And try to find the cheapest and most convenient way to reach your destination. It will save you some money for your further journey.
As I say in my other travel guides, reaching the destination is more important, it doesn’t matter how you reach there.
After Reaching Manali
The buses are mostly overnight from Chandigarh/Delhi, so you are most likely to reach Manali around 8 a.m. Lets be practical here, after such a long and tiring bus ride the first thing you would want to do is just check in your room and take a nap for 5 – 6 hours. There won’t be anything more tiring you would want to do on your first day in Manali. You would most likely just take a walk around the Mall Road and the area nearby.
After reaching the bus stand, you can directly walk to the Mall Road which is just 1 km from the bus stand. If you choose a stay far from Mall Road area then the taxi drivers will charge you around Rs.200 ($2.8). So, make sure you don’t book a hotel too far from Mall Road.
Talking about the accommodation charges in Manali. I am going to divide these charges into 3 categories solo travelers, couples and groups. Every single one has their own advantages and disadvantages.
Starting with solo travelers.
I say this in my every single budget travel guide, if you are travelling solo always stay in hostels. You will have a great time. Talking about the cost the hostel, it will cost you around Rs. 1800 – Rs.2500 ($25 – $35) per person for 5 nights.
Secondly for the couples.
You can choose to stay at hostels as well as the hotels. The room will cost you less than two bunk beds in a hostel. If you want to experience the hostels but you also want some privacy then don’t worry, they also have private rooms in hostel. Talking about the prices, two bunk beds should cost you around Rs.3600 – Rs.5000 ($50 – $56) for 5 nights, whereas a private room should cost you Rs.4000 – Rs.5000 ($56 – $70) for 5 nights. It makes more sense that you book a private room rather than two hostel bunk beds. Dividing the above amount by two, the per person cost would be Rs.2000 – Rs.2500 ($28 – $35) for 5 nights.
Lastly about the groups.
Hostels are a big no for the groups. Most of the hostels don’t allow groups and even If they allow you, they won’t give you 5 bunk beds in the same room. So never choose hostels if travelling in a group. If you are a group of say 5 people then two rooms would cost you about Rs.9000 – Rs.12000 ($126 – $168) for 5 nights. The per person cost would be around Rs.1800 – Rs.2400 ($25 – $33).
If are thinking of booking, here is your 10% discount for saving some more money. Here is the link – 10 % Discount
You have the pay the entire cost before checking in hostels/hotels. There would be your first spend in Day 1 in Manali. It should be Rs.1900 ($26.6). The check in time is usually 10 p.m. but if you request the receptionist, they might check you in a little early. If my guess is right, you would be resting in your room till 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Importance of first day.
After that the first thing you would need is lunch. The hotels around mall road are not too expensive and not too cheap also. A decent one-time meal would be around Rs.100 – Rs.150 ($1.4 – $2.1) max. First day in Manali is very important, How? Let me explain. Your first day should be meant for just walking around nearby places and just researching for the right prices for your remaining journey. This includes just your transportation cost.
Manali has a very less frequency of public transport, there are even times where you wont even find any public transportation. They have this taxi service and they decide a fix price for destination or they have packages for 2 – 3 days. You have to find these taxi drivers if you are in a group. There is one more option called as Himachal Tourist Service. This option is very good for solo travelers and couples. They are very reliable and you can trust them totally. You won’t find that difficult to find any of these services around Mall Road.
Let’s talk about the prices.
I can give you an estimate of the price which I paid during my trip. But you have to do you own research when you go there because the price keeps changing according to seasons. Don’t worry, there won’t be a huge difference in the amount. The taxi service which I mentioned earlier for groups would cost you around Rs.3500 ($50) for 3 days. This price was around Jan 2018, but when I came to Manali in Jan 2017 the price was Rs.3200 ($44). They will include a trip to Solang Valley, Kullu, Jana Waterfall and Nagar Castle. They would also have some other packages, you can choose anyone according to your liking. A single person cost using this taxi service would be Rs.3500/5 = Rs.700 ($9.8) for 3 days.
I cannot quote anything about the public bus service as I don’t have any in detail information about it. But I can tell you about the Himachal Tourist buses. They also have packages but the difference is you would have to take a package every single day. The prices are like 1) Manali to Solang Valley – Rs.550 ($7.7) per couple or Rs.250 – Rs.300 ($3.5 – 4.2) for single person per day.
Any alternative you choose, your transportation cost would not exceed Rs.300 ($4.2) per day.
Total cost of your Day 1 would be Rs.1900 + Rs.450 (Lunch and Dinner) = Rs. 2350 ($32.9).
Day 2 – The Real Exploring Begins.
The second day would be all about exploring the nearby areas close to Mall Road. There would be no transportation expense today or a very minimum expense compared to other days.
The nearby places which you can visit are –
Hadimba Temple. (1.7 kms)
Tibetian Buddhist Monastery. (240 m)
Beas River View Point. (1.9 kms)
Vashistha Temple/Hot Water Springs. (3 kms from Mall Road / 1.1kms)
The second day would be good walking tour of Manali and if you plan it very well you won’t even realize how your day just passed.
Let me give you a detailed itinerary of Day 2
Don’t wake up early on Day 2 as you will have to get early from Day 3 to Day 5 because the destination you are going to visit are a little far away. Say you get up around 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. freshen up and get ready for your first location.
Your first location of the day would be Hadimba Temple. Most of you might be familiar with this location. You must have seen this in the movies mainly “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani”. The scene where Bunny tells Naina “Shaadi is like daal chawal for 50 saal till you die, life mein thoda bohot kheema pav, tangdi kabab, hakka noodle bhi hona chahiye na”.
The entry fee for the temple is Rs.0 so don’t worry and just enjoy. The distance is just 1.7 kms from Mall Road.
One good to know stuff about Hadimba Temple. Just outside the entrance of the Hadimba Temple on the opposite side of the road you will find an alley going to the local public residency. Just follow that alley and walk for around 10 min and when the alley ends you will find a very beautiful view of the snow-clad mountains. It is a must visit place. Not many people know about this, it is just known by the local people. Also, it doesn’t have any name.
Your next destination would be Tibetian Buddhist Monastery. Get back to the Mall Road. For a change you enter the Hadimba Temple from the front gate and exit from the rear gate. It will take you from a different route to the Mall Road. If you are not a fan of going and coming back from the same route then this might be a good option for you.
After reaching Mall Road, you walk towards the Bus Stand from where you came the first day and after walking for about 240 m you will reach your destination. It is not on the main road you will have to take a diversion from the main street. You will find it easily don’t worry about it.
Again, the cost here is Rs.0.
Before you move on to your next destination, have a proper lunch at Mall Road.
Third and Fourth Destination
Your next destination would be Vashistha Temple and the Hot Water Springs.
This is a little far from mall road. It is about 3 kms. If you want you can walk or take taxi. It should take you there in Rs.200 ($2.8) one way. Only take taxi for one way and come back walking.
The reason I am saying is while walking your way back you will get to your fourth destination of the day. The Beas River View Point. This place is a treat for all the photographers delight. The mountains, the river, the white green trees and you can also spot hot air balloon on the banks of the river.
This is the best place to visit in the evening during the sunset.
Make sure you visit this place.
Your total expense for Day 2 will be Rs.450 (Lunch & Dinner) and if you take taxi Rs.50 – Rs.100 ($0.7 – $1.4). So total cost would be Rs.550 ($7.7).
Day 3 – 4 – 5: Your Packages You Select.
Now for your next 3 days I won’t give you a fixed itinerary, because everyone would have different choices. You can choose them according to your comfort and according to the price you research on your first day.
The taxi price as I told you for 3 days would be Rs.3500 ($50) for 3 days.
The Himachal Tourist Service Prices are as follows.
Manali – Kullu – Manikaran – Manali: Rs.350 ($4.9) per person.
Manali – Solang – Manali: Rs.220 ($3) per person.
Manali – Rohtang – Manali: Rs.290 ($4.06) per person.
Manali – Bajoura – Manali: Rs.160 ($2.2) per person.
There are also other packages you can enquire them when you go there.
On an average one-day transportation would cost you Rs.250 ($3.5) even if you take a taxi (with group) or take Himachal Tourist Service.
People will always quote you more price. You have to be smart on where you are investing your money. Make sure you are paying the right amount.
So, your total cost for 3 days would be (Rs.250 x 3) + (Rs.450 x 3) (Lunch Dinner) = Rs.2100 ($29.44).
Day 6 – LAAST DAY
This would be just a relaxing and a shopping day for you. Don’t plan anything far this day because you would already have so much thing like packing your bags catching a bus back to Delhi/Chandigarh.
Just relax and relieve your memories you had in the previous 5 days. Take a walk nearby, have a chat with some local people and end your journey on a happy note.
I mostly do nothing on my last day, I usually just relax chill and try to write down my expense and see if I did any extra spending.
The cost of your last day would be only for food or if you do some shopping.
So total cost of your last day would be Rs.450 ($6.3).
Your total expense for six days in Manali would be Rs. 2350 + 550 + 2100 + 450 = Rs.5450 ($76).
If you add your transportation cost from Mumbai then total cost would be Rs.5450 + Rs.2400 = Rs.7850 ($110).
Manali’s popularity is the reason why there are lot of scams going on as well. It is like the Diwali bonus for the travel agencies. About 35 Lakh people visited Manali in 2016, and more than 70% of people have booked their tour from some agency. Also many people try to scam you giving you various offers and stuff. Don’t fall for these traps.
I don’t have any issue with these agencies, my point is if you can yourself book your trip why go to someone else. If you google Manali 1-week packages, they are easily around Rs.15000 – Rs.25000 ($210 – $280). Yes, they have an inclusion of a good 3-star hotel, private transportation, etc. But really do you need all these stuffs.
Ask yourself this question and if yes then you can take a package tour.
No hate to those agencies but why to let others book your tour while you can yourself be in-charge of it and might as well save some money from it.
Have A Great Trip.
If anyone of you have visited the place recently and have more accurate prices can comment them down below.
That’s it for today’s blog.
Hope you like it.
See you in my next blog.
Keep Traveling. Keep Budgeting.
Owner – Stubborn Hippie,
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