Old Manali is a quaint and charming village that lies 3 km uphill from the main town of Manali, Himachal Pradesh. It is separated from the bustling New Manali by the Manalsu River, which flows through a wooden bridge. Old Manali is a paradise for backpackers who are looking for a peaceful and authentic experience of the Himalayan culture and nature. Here are some of the reasons why you should visit Old Manali on your One day trip.
Overview of Old Manali
Old Manali is a contrast to the crowded and commercialized New Manali. It is a place where you can enjoy the simple pleasures of life, such as walking through the apple orchards, listening to the birdsong, admiring the snow-capped mountains, and interacting with the friendly locals. Old Manali has a laid-back and hippie vibe, with many cafes, restaurants, hostels, and shops that cater to the young and adventurous travelers. You can find a variety of cuisines, from Indian, Tibetan, Italian, to Israeli, as well as live music, karaoke, and parties. Old Manali is also a base for exploring some of the nearby attractions, such as Hidimba Temple, Jogini Waterfall, Vashisht Temple, Naggar Castle, and Solang Valley.
Location of Old Manali
Old Manali is located at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level, in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. It is easily accessible by road from various parts of India, such as Delhi (530 km), Chandigarh (300 km), Shimla (250 km), and Dharamshala (220 km). You can also reach Old Manali by air or rail, as the nearest airport and railway station are Bhuntar Airport (50 km) and Joginder Nagar Railway Station (165 km) respectively.
Best Timing/Entry Fees Old Manali
Old Manali is open throughout the year, but the best time to visit it depends on your preference and purpose. If you want to enjoy the pleasant weather and greenery, you can visit Old Manali from March to June or September to November. These are also the peak seasons for tourism in Manali, so you can expect more crowd and higher prices.
If you want to witness the snowfall and winter activities, you can visit Old Manali from December to February. However, be prepared for freezing temperatures and road closures due to heavy snowfall. If you want to avoid the crowd and enjoy a budget-friendly vacation, you can visit Old Manali during the off-seasons of July to August or January to February.
There is no entry fee for visiting Old Manali, but you may have to pay for parking your vehicle at designated spots. You may also have to pay for some of the attractions and activities near Old Manali, depending on their availability and charges.
How to Reach Old Manali
The easiest way to reach Old Manali is by walking from the main bus stand or any nearby hotel in New Manali. It takes only 15 to 20 minutes to reach Old Manali on foot. However, if you are coming from a far-off place or have luggage with you, you can also hire an auto-rickshaw or rent a cab from any of the top car rental companies in Manali. The fare may vary depending on the distance and time of travel.
Things to Do/Must See Old Manali
There are plenty of things to do and see in Old Manali. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Shopping: Old Manali has a vibrant market that sells a variety of items, such as handicrafts, woolen items, shawls, carpets, jewelry, books, antiques, and Tibetan souvenirs. You can also buy fresh fruits, vegetables, honey, jams, pickles, and spices from the local vendors. The prices are reasonable and negotiable, but make sure to bargain well before buying anything.
- Eating: Old Manali has a plethora of eateries that cater to different tastes and budgets. You can find cafes, bakeries, fast food joints, dhabas, restaurants, and bars in Old Manali. You can try some of the local delicacies such as momos, thukpa, siddu, trout fish, and apple cider. You can also enjoy international cuisines such as Chinese, Italian, Continental, and Israeli.
- Sightseeing: Old Manali is close to some of the famous attractions in Manali, such as Hidimba Temple, Jogini Waterfall, Vashisht Temple, Naggar Castle, and Solang Valley. You can visit these places by walking or taking an auto-rickshaw or cab. These places are known for their religious, cultural, and historical significance, as well as their natural beauty.
- Adventure: Old Manali is also a base for some of the adventure activities in Manali, such as paragliding, zorbing, skiing, and rafting. You can book these activities from any of the travel agents or operators in Old Manali. They will provide you with the necessary equipment and guidance. These activities are thrilling and fun, but also require some level of fitness and courage.
- Relaxing: Old Manali is not only a place for excitement and entertainment, but also for relaxation and rejuvenation. You can stay at some of the best hostels and homestays in Old Manali, which offer cozy rooms, modern amenities, and stunning views. You can also pamper yourself at some of the spas and salons in Old Manali, which offer various services such as massages, facials, manicures, and pedicures. You can also enjoy the nightlife in Old Manali, which has some of the lively pubs and clubs where you can dance and drink.
Significance Old Manali
Old Manali is one of the most significant places in Manali, as it reflects the essence of the town. It is a place where you can experience the authentic and traditional culture and lifestyle of the Himalayan people, as well as the modern and trendy vibes of the backpacker community. It is a place where you can enjoy the pristine and serene nature, as well as the urban and convenient facilities. It is a place where you can have fun and adventure, as well as peace and relaxation. Old Manali is a place that offers something for everyone, and makes your trip to Manali unforgettable and worthwhile.
Q: Is Old Manali safe for solo travelers?
A: Yes, Old Manali is safe for solo travelers, as it is a friendly and welcoming place. However, it is advisable to be cautious and alert at all times, especially at night or in isolated areas. You should also keep your valuables and documents safe and secure, and avoid any suspicious or unwanted interactions.
Q: What are the timings of the shops in Old Manali?
A: The shops in Old Manali are usually open from 10 am to 10 pm, but some may close earlier or later depending on the season and demand. You should also note that some shops may remain closed on Tuesdays, which is a weekly off day for most of them.
Q: Can I drive my own vehicle in Old Manali?
A: No, you cannot drive your own vehicle in Old Manali, as it is a narrow and congested street. You can park your vehicle at designated spots near Old Manali, and then walk or take an auto-rickshaw or cab to reach it.
Old Manali is a hidden gem for backpackers who are looking for a peaceful and authentic experience of the Himalayan culture and nature. It is a place that offers a mix of shopping, eating, sightseeing, adventure, and relaxing options for travelers of all ages and interests. It is a place that showcases the charm and vibrancy of Manali, as well as its culture and nature. It is a place that will make you fall in love with Manali, and make you want to come back again.