With a backdrop of breathtaking snow-capped mountains in the winters, lush green hills in the summer and colorful little houses and cafes, Manali looks and feels like a little town plucked out of Europe and transplanted to northern India. Enjoy trekking, hiking, rafting and biking - you'll never want to leave.
Tucked away in the Manikaran and Vashisht villages are rejuvenating, natural hot sulphur baths. Book a spa day to unwind and de-stress.
Connecting Manali to Ladakh and Leh, the Rohtang Pass is full of winter sporting opportunities, like skiing, paragliding and trekking the snow-covered trails.
Battle the icy, refreshing waters of the River Beas on your own white water raft adventure. The best time is in June.
For a change of pace, hang around in Old Manali and let its charming cafes, tattoo parlors and live outdoor music have its way with you.
The Hadimba Temple, with its wooden doorway, three-tier pagoda-style roof and intricate, hand-carved figures of gods, animals and dancers on its outside walls, is worth a visit.
The Rohtang Pass sits 13,050 feet above the land, and is open from May to November 15th. In the winter, the pass is closed due to the danger to visitors untrained for the climate and snow. While you'll need a permit to go through, the pass is the best place for motorbiking and taking in panoramic views of the Himalayas. Plenty of small, local "dhabas" or eateries and food stalls pepper the route of the Leh-Manali highway and this pass is every adventurer's dream.
It feels as though Manali in its entirety is one big sanctuary, with a clear reverence for nature and an almost monastery-like peace and serenity. But it all comes together at the Manali Wildlife Sanctuary, a natural setting spanning 3,180 hectares of land, where creatures like the Himalayan black bear, musk deer, striped hyena and even leopards roam free. Get a guide and a Jeep for the best kind of safari: from the comfort and safety of a vehicle.
Take a steady, two hour hike from Vashisht Temple and you'll be able to enjoy Manali's true jewel: its natural scenery and setting. Manali's clear, crisp air and gorgeous foliage is on display during the year and hikers can go at a steady pace for a fast ascent or take a gentler walk as the trail itself is not very challenging. Once you've had your fill of hot spring baths at the temple, pack a lunch and seal the afternoon with a picnic while gazing up at the majesty of these waterfalls. If you get tired, stop at the Chai Cafe for a Mountain tea pick-me-up.
The Manali Club House is intended for adults as well as kids. It may sound posh but it caters to all ages and has a range of activities to engage visitors. Visitors to the Manali Club House can take advantage of the amusement and adventure zone, game facilities and activities such as carom, go-karting, billiards and table tennis. The club house is situated right on the banks of the Manalsu Nallah river. Those who love zip-lining will appreciate a white knuckle foray over the river, using a ropeway. Once you've had your fill of adventure, it's time to fill your tummy. Fortunately, the club house also features a well-stocked cafeteria.
The central point of a collection of unknown and rare antiques gathered through the ages, the Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art allows visitors to witness the progression of history through artifacts. Starting with the private collection of Indian traveler and culture expert, J.R. Sood, the collection today includes displays of model temples, houses and forts, along with hand looms, wood carvings, stone vessels and handicrafts. Exhibits guide visitors into the story of the early culture and the current day-to-day life of present-day Manali.
Manali is cold in the winters while summers are warmer but still retain a touch of coolness. Temperatures are typical of the north: lows of 39°F and highs of 68°F.
Travelers arrive at Bhuntar airport in Kullu, which is 31 miles from Manali. Use a prepaid taxi for ₹2,200-₹2,300 from companies like Innova or Tavera.
Though there are no direct trains getting in to Manali, you can travel from cities like Delhi to the nearest stops like Chandigarh or Kalka and take a bus for the rest of the journey in to Manali.
Manali is well-connected to other major cities. From Delhi, for example, use a combination of the NH44, NH205 and then the NH154 to arrive.
Book a Volvo bus passage online from the RedBus company from Delhi to Manali for anywhere between ₹925 to ₹1,200.
The best accommodation in Manali is The Himalayan. If you're looking for comfort and moderate prices, Snow Valley Resorts is a great option. For budget stays, check out Hotel Shandela.
Kasaul - Right by the flowing Parvati River is the quaint little village of Kasaul, whose large, shady trees, interesting vintage shops and eclectic cafes will help you embrace a slower pace of life.
Old Manali - The "old town", as it's known, is a haven for youthful "hippies" and long-term travel "nomads". Expect lots of beaded jewelry shops, tattoo parlors and vegan cafes playing Bob Dylan tunes.
Vashist - About 1.5 miles north of Manali is Vashisht, which overlooks the formidable Beas River. The pace is quieter, which is perfect for its hot sulphur baths.
Bus services in Manali are cheap but service is infrequent. Service starts at 7 a.m. and trip fares vary based on destination between ₹10 and ₹40.
Most travelers use prepaid taxis that they can hire for the duration of their trip or even for the day. Rates start at ₹1800/day or a discounted price of ₹3000 when you book for three days.
If you're going to get a self-drive rental car, there are plenty of options from companies like ZoomCar. Rates start at ₹60 per hour.
Visit the Manali Market for a selection of funky souvenirs as well as more functional items like woolen shawls, clothing and local wooden crafts.
A quart of milk costs ₹45 and eggs cost ₹60.
If you've worked up an appetite, why not dig into a South Indian fare when in the north? Check out Madras mess, a mess-style eatery offering unlimited meals for ₹80.