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Manali: A short guide to run away from adulting

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

Zoya Akhter


Nothing bums you out more on a Thursday than realizing that it’s just Tuesday. My 9-5 job plus the three hours of daily commute plus home chores, further exacerbated by my keto diet had me so exhausted. I was never more in need of a holiday. Equally exhausted with his hectic work hours, my husband and I decided to plan a quick weekend getaway. The point of this trip was to take a complete break from adulting and do whatever what we felt like. For anyone living in the NCR region, there’s plenty of options for a short weekend trip. Most popular one among them being the quaint, little city of Manali. We did not have to discuss a lot before settling for Manali:

It was the perfect option for a quick escapade because unlike big cities there isn't a million things you feel obliged to do, without feeling like you've missed out a lot. Plus, at that point we were also very fascinated with Ronnie & Barty's vlogs (if you haven’t checked them out. You must. They’re easily one of the best vloggers in India)

How to Get There: By Air: There’s an airport in Bhuntar just about 50kms from Manali. You can either take a cab or a bus from here to Manali.

By Bus: This route is well connected and there are plenty of buses that go to Manali.

Drive: Depending on where you’re starting from and how adventurous you are, you can also drive to Manali.

Since we wanted a no-hassle, no-plan trip we booked early morning flights ticket from Delhi to Kullu and took a cab from the Bhuntar airport to Manali.

Touch Down Coming from the worlds most polluted city, Kullu literally was a breath of fresh air!

The driver dropped us at the foot of Mall Street and told us our Airbnb was all the way up. Walking up the narrow, elevated road, took longer than it should have, not only because of the climb uphill but also because we kept stopping to admire the gorgeous city . With the beautiful ice-capped mountains and the stunning colours of the leaves it was hard not to stop to click a million pictures.

While walking to our Airbnb we passed several café’s that we read about online. The centre of the city, the Mall street is flecked with gorgeous little cafes with plenty of options ranging from continental to pahadi cuisine.

The first day we stayed in a place called Casa Bella Vista that we booked via Airbnb. Nestled off Old Manali Road, it has beautiful cottage like rooms, with lovely ambience and a really nice in-house Italian restaurant. The price of the place varies depending from season to season with average price ranging to about 6000 INR per day.

Location: Casa Bella Vista
Location: Casa Bella Vista
Location: Casa Bella Vista
Location: Casa Bella Vista
Location: Casa Bella Vista
Location: Casa Bella Vista

After a scrumptious Italian meal and lazying around we got to walking around the city. We spent the day chilling in cafes, playing board games, doodling and listening to music. You'll find a lot of cafes with board games and amazing live music like café 1947, Johnsons café, The Lazy Dog, Drifters café etc. Walking around the city, you are sure to come across them easily. It’s difficult to say which one was our favorite - almost every single place has very friendly staff, good food and warm ambience.

Brace Yourself for the Cold : - Here's a travel tip of the century: Its always going to be colder than you think it is. Make sure to check the weather before you go and always pack a heavier jacket just in case!

- And here’s a life tip of the millennium: Always be specific when you pray.

Exhibit A:

Our beautiful Airbnb had a free room only for a day. So the next day we moved to another place called the Iris Cottage and Stays. This place is a complete steal considering that its just 900 bucks per day (whaa?!) and gives you major Heidi vibes. It doesn’t have the fanciest commodities but it’s pretty comfortable and ideal for travelers on a budget. Nestled by the river Beas and facing the snow-capped mountains, the view from our room was absolutely magical!

The manager was very friendly their little in-house kitchen also accommodated our midnight cravings. If you’re up for some adventure and don’t want to take the straight, clean path, there’s also a steep trekking path to this lodge. We chilled around the city the next day too. If you’re someone who loves trinkets, dreamcatchers and leather good...then welcome to heaven. You'll find little artisan stores tucked in every nook and corner of the city.

On the third day I was keen on playing in snow. It’s always been on my bucket list and thrice before I missed snowfall very closely. So Rohtang Pass where you can find snow all around the year was our next stop: There are plenty of drivers you'll find to drive you there and they all usually make a pitstop on the way where you can rent snow friendly attires and gears. There really isn’t much to plan or book ahead (unless its peak tourist season of course).since we did all of it the same morning. As my luck would have it, there wasn’t fresh snowfall...but I was happy nevertheless.

PS: Watch out for Grinche’s :P

The roads were blocked due to the weather so we had to hike up a bit. If you're an extremely unfit person like me...beware: there's going to be a lot of panting. But I promise it’s all worth it :)

This was an impromptu trip. Unlike our other trips where we plan extensively in advance and make reservations months ahead, we just packed our bags and left. There wasn’t a plan and yet the trip seemed so fulfilling. If you're all burned out from work and want a quick break without having to plan it....Manali is the place for you. We fell in love with the place and the people there so much that we even made a little promise to ourselves that we'll make it our retirement retreat. I hope Manali does the same for you :)


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