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Kullu Manali Tourism | How to Plan a Trip to Kullu Manali

  • Manali Travel Guide
Kullu Manali At a Glance
  • Average Climate:0°C to 25°C
  • Best Time to Visit:Throughout the year
  • STD Code:01902

Kullu Manali Travel Guide

Kullu and Manali are both different attractions in Himachal Pradesh. However, their names are taken together most of the time. Ever thought about why it is so? Well, it is because Kullu is the first town that comes when visiting Manali via road. Plus, if someone intends to visit Manali via air, they obviously need to arrive at Bhuntar airport in Kullu Valley. The proximity of Kullu to Manali is 41 kilometers (approx.), and that is another reason why people consider Kullu and Manali the same destination. To be more specific, Manali lies in the Northern end of Kullu Valley, while Kulli is the entry point to Manali. Both the hill resort towns experience snowfall at its best between November to February.

Kullu is an open green sprawling valley stretched amidst the snow-kissed Himalayas whose average elevation is 1,279 m (approx.). This open-air valley is flanked by the green hills covered with deodar, pine, and oak trees from all sides. Tourism in Kullu Valley is all about ancient temples and several trekking trails that start from Kullu. In addition, there are several camping points, and the major highlight of Kullu tourism is River Beas which meanders through the valley and is best for river rafting.

Manali is the hill station in Kullu Valley which is located 41 kilometers (approx.). It lies in the Kullu Valley's northern end, with an average elevation of around 2,050 m (approx.). The snow-kissed Himalayas flank the valleys of Manali on both sides. Temperature, climate, and experiences Manali is more suitable for tourists as it has more winter sports and exploration options. Else, there is nothing to differentiate between Kullu and Manali.

Now we hope you are clear about why Kullu Manali are pronounced together. If you are shaking your heads in the agreement, lend us your ears and scroll on to know other important information related to Kullu Manali tourism:

Why Visit Kullu Manali In Himachal Trip?

Kullu is the adventure playground for the bachelors, while Manali is the romance playground for couples. The high-end resorts in Manali invite couples, and the budget staycation options in Kullu entice backpackers and road trip lovers. Kullu and Manali are located at a proximate distance, and one could club these two hill resort towns in one package. Also, Kullu Manali has good road connectivity from major towns like Delhi, Chandigarh, and Gurgaon. Many tourists flock to Kullu Manali together in summers, early/post-monsoon, and winters to get rid of the scorching heat.

Kullu Manali both are valleys, and the Beas River flows through them, which is an excellent spot for camping and river rafting. Those who have a penchant for exploring the forested valleys of oak, pine, and deodar, tasting adventure sports and cultural experiences, must not consider exploring Kullu Manali on a Himachal trip. If you want to take refugees in the cold hill stations near Delhi with the untainted air, visit Kullu Manali on your next Himachal trip.

When is The Best Time to Visit Kullu Manali?

The best time to visit Kullu Manali is the same: it commences in winter (October to February) and ends in summer (March to June). The timelessness and changing landscapes of Kullu Manali are the key factors for the best season to visit Kullu Manali.

Summer is not too hot in Kullu Manali, and is when the tourists from the plant areas make their way to the hills.

Winter is when the valleys get drenched in snow. And if you are into snow sports, winter is Kullu Manali best season to visit.

However, the monsoon (July till September) is another time to consider Manali but not trekking.

Make sure to travel to Kullu Manali in the monsoon via state-run buses, as the areas are prone to landslides and can even make novice drivers fumble.

Get a clear picture of how summer, monsoon, and winter constitutes Kullu Manali, the best time to go:

Kullu Manali in Summer (March to June): This is considered the best time and season to visit Kullu Manali because the average high in both the valleys hovers around 27 degrees celsius (approx.). Such temperature is the icing for those looking for ways to battle the city's scorching heat. The temperature drops by a few degrees celsius at night; thus, nights in Kullu Manali are cooler than the city's suppressive heat. This season invites tourists to explore the trekking trails, enjoy camping excursions, and unwind at the Beas River on a rafting adventure. Although, family tourism is at its peak in Kullu Manali in the summers. Thanks to the summer vacations of 2 months for children at school, which gives them ample time to explore the breathtaking valleys.

Kullu Manali in Monsoon (July to September): Love green meadows as far as your eyes can stretch? If yes, then July to September is the ideal time to plan a holiday in Kullu Manali in the monsoon. This is the season when you can witness clouds cuddling the peaks, and the rhythmic sound of the sound and the bird's chirping is a visual retreat to the eyes. However, landslides and water overflow from the river can break your dream of holidaying in the hills. Therefore, if you reach Kullu Manali in the monsoon, forget the trekking trails as they are risky, and head out to temples, monasteries, and local market exploration. The average high of the Kullu Manali in monsoon is 24 degrees Celsius (approx.) with very little humidity.

Kullu Manali in Winter: Kullu and Manali are twin sisters who are always ready to serve their tourists with their charm year-round. But still, honeymooners and couples choose Kullu Manali in winter for their romance, and it is not a brainer why it is so! Winter is when lots of snow-friendly activities are enjoyed at their best. The best thing to do is for couples, leisure travelers, and backpackers to witness the Kullu Manali embellished in th white crystal white snow! The peak travel season to visit Kullu Manali starts from November till February. During this phase, the average low goes down to sub-zero levels. The average daytime high in peak season is 5 degrees celsius to 10-celsius degrees (approx.) celsius. While the nights are cooler with an average low of 3 degrees celsius to -7 degrees celsius (approx.) Every kind of adventure sport, right from paragliding to rafting to trekking, remains open in winters.

How to Get Around in Kullu Manali?

The best way to get around in Kullu Manali is to take a foot journey and drive a car or bike. These two elegant valleys are picturesque to explore on foot but with the proper road map. So take the road map with you and explore the Kullu Manali towns. Still, Kullu Manali is separated by 41 kilometers (approx.), so you should hire a private taxi or shared cab to travel long distances. Remember that anywhere in Himachal Pradesh, Taxi Union is powerful; hence, you will hardly get any transportation option in Kullu Manali other than taxis. So don't rely much on shared taxis; explore Kullu Manali via private taxi for complete relaxation in the hills.

How to Reach Kullu Manali

Reaching Kullu Manali is a journey you will never forget because the snow-clad Himalayas await you! But to embrace those jaw-dropping vistas, one must know how to reach Kullu Manali. Kullu and Manali are separated by 41 kilometers (approx.) of distance from each other, and thus, you need to reach Kullu first if coming from the flight. Don't ask why because we have informed you in the first paragraph of the content that Bhuntar airport is within Kullu Valley.

Like every other hill station, Kullu Manali has all three modes of transportation, but not all are within their belts. Yes! You heard it right! The closest railway station and the nearest airport to reach Kullu Manali are located outside the towns. That is why we bring you the best knowledge about reaching Kullu Manali via air, train, and road:

By Air: The nearest airport to reach Kullu Manali is in Bhuntar, 11 kilometers (approx.) from Kullu and 51 kilometers (approx.) from Manali. Prepaid taxis are available outside the airport. Note that only a handful of flights operate to Bhuntar airport, not from all the destinations across India. Only Delhi and Chandigarh are the destinations that operate flights to Bhuntar airport. If you are coming outside these two destinations like Bangalore and Mumbai, land first at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi or arrive at Chandigarh Airport and then take a cab, flight, or train.

By Train: The closest railway station to Kullu Manali is Joginder Nagar Railway Station. But it is only good for the people coming from the towns surrounding Kullu Manali like Delhi, Haryana, and Chandigarh. However, if you wish to come from long-distance locations like east India, west India, and northeast India, Chandigarh Railway Station and Pathankot Railway Station are the best choices! At these two railway junctions, trains operate at frequent speed.

By Road: The most cost-effective way of traveling to Kullu Manali is road travel. Either via private vehicles or state-run buses. Buses from Delhi and the surrounding cities run to Kullu Manali. Most buses operate overnight and take 13-15 hours (approx.). The average travel distance between Delhi to Kullu is 498 kilometers/12 hours (approx.). Remember, you can't take entry to Manali via road without passing the Kullu Valley. If road travel is your idea, just hit the National Highway NH 44 from Delhi and NH 205 from Chandigarh.

What Are the Must Visit Places in Kullu Manali for Couples and Family Tourists?

Kullu and Manali have great attractions to explore within their belts, and most of them are couples and family-friendly places. But that does not mean that leisure travelers, solo travelers, and backpackers will venture far to enjoy the serene environs. Scroll on to know about the must-visit places in Kullu Manali for couples, family tourists, and any other kind of travelers:

Bijli Mahadev Temple: This temple is of "Kash" design where Lord Shiva is in the form of Shiva Lingam. A moderately difficult 3 kilometers (approx.) trek is required to reach the temple top.

Hadimba Devi Temple: Surrounded by dense cedar forests, Hadimba Devi Temple is dedicated to Hindu Deity Hadimba, who once meditated here. Hadimba Devi Temple is one of the best places in Manali, where tourism is throughout the year.

Great Himalayan National Park: Get awestruck by the UNESCO World Heritage Great Himalayan National Park. This is the best place to enjoy trekking and camping experiences in the lush greenery.

Solang Valley: It is the snow-clad utopia in Manali where you can indulge in paragliding, ziplining, river crossing, and ATV. The slopes of Solang Valley are perfect for skiing in winters and summers. The valleys turn into the lavish green carpet, a retreat for shutterbugs.

Manikaran:  Manikaran is a pilgrimage town near Kullu and Manali, famous for its therapeutic hot springs. It has sacred Gurudwaras and Hindu Temples to seek blessings. Next to the Manikaran, the Parvati River flows as a camping ground for adventure seekers.

Janna Waterfall: Take the small narrow forest route to reach the Janna Waterfall. Located 12 kilometers from Naggar Castle, there is a small natural pond where you can swim. Janna Waterfall is surrounded by apple orchards, pine trees, and snow-clad mountain peaks.

Hampta Pass Trek: Pass through the alpine forests of Maple, Birch, Oak, and Deodar and trek through the gurgling streams amidst the Pir Panjal Range. Interact with the shepherds of the lower Himalayan region at Hampta Pass Trek. The base camp for this trek is Jobra which is 30 km (approx.) from Manali.

Gulaba: Consider Gualaba the substitute for Rohtang Pass if you want to witness snow throughout the year. For stargazing, mountain biking, and camping amidst the carpet of greenery and a thick sheet of ice, Gulaba is indeed the best place to explore in Kullu Manali sightseeing.

What Are the Best Things to Do on Kullu Manali Trip?

Both Kullu and Manali are hill stations, while Kullu Valley sprawls over a considerable distance, and Manali comes within it. However, both have valleys dotted with dense cedar, oak, pine, and deodar trees. Sprawling Beas River flows through both the towns, which gives river rafting and camping the hype they deserve. Religious devotees come to the Kullu Manali holidays because of the presence of the ancient Hindu Temples. Valleys in Manali Kullu are perfect for trekking in summers, winters, and early monsoon. If you are looking for hair-raising adventure activities like paragliding, zorbing, skiing, and mountain biking, club up Manali with the Kullu expedition in 2021.

Here are a few more best things to do on the Kullu Manali trip:

River Rafting in the Beas River: The sprawling Beas River flows through Kullu and Manali, so taste the rapids of the Bes River with your friends or family.

Hear the Cascades of Waterfalls: Unlock solemn joy on a waterfall excursion to Jogini Waterfalls, Jana Waterfalls, Rahala Falls, and Rozy Waterfalls to hear the whispering of the rhythmic cascades.

Spot Himalayan Wildlife: Manali Wildlife Sanctuary is a perfect place to witness Himalayan wildlife at its best. From snow leopards to yak rides and a diverse range of high-altitude birds, everything could be seen at Manali Wildlife Sanctuary.

Fly Without Wings on Paragliding Excursion: Taste the thrill and thunder in Solang Valley on a paragliding excursion. Flying at 8,000 feet height (approx.) and marveling at the soaring Himalayan Ranges is an adventure for a lifetime.

Find Bollywood Connection: Several attractions in Kullu Manali are the shooting bed for the B-town hits like Jab We Met, Krish, and Bang Bang. So head to the picturesque valleys and ride the Himalayan beasts at the high-altitude mountain passes to find the Bollywood connection in Kullu and Manali.

Enjoy Delicious Food With Good Views: Have a morning brunch or lunch at the open-air cafes in Kullu Manali with views of the lush greenery and Himalayan Ranges. Because good food with good views is the happiness to the mundane life.

Explore the Medicean Naggar Castle: Panoramic views of the mountains are guaranteed from the medieval Naggar Castle. Flawless architecture is the highlight of Naggar Castle. You can even have a staycation experience inside the castle. If you are lucky, brace yourself with the shooting of the Bollywood and Punjabi films.

Ride the Cable Car in Solang Valley: Witness the panoramic views of the snow-kissed Himalayan ranges safely with family while riding the cable car in Solang Valley. The best thing about the ropeway ride is that it remains operational throughout the year.

Cure Skin Problems By Plunging Into Hot Springs: Many villages in Kullu and Manali are dotted with therapeutic hot springs which can cure skin problems. Take a dip in the holy hot water springs of Manikaran and Vashist Temple to embrace the medicinal power.

What Are the Best Shopping Places in Kullu Manali?

The culture and traditions of Himachal Pradesh are famous, and it is best observed in Kullu and Manali. Locals in Kullu and Manali wear their traditional dresses on usual days. You can also shop some local stuff on your Kullu Manali holiday. One can shop Kullu caps, Kinaauri shawls, Tibetan carpets, Buddhist paintings, woolens and mufflers, fruits like apples, pickles, jams, and traditional jewelry from the Kullu Manali trip. Let's talk about the best shopping markets in Kullu and Manali:

Akhara Bazar in Kullu: This is the shopping market in Kullu to shop for local wollen souvenirs.

Sultanpur Market in Kullu: Shop for some traditional jewelry and beautiful miniature paintings of colonial and pahadi themes.

Manu Market in Manali: Call it the locals and tourists' favorite hot spot after the Mall Road, Manu Market in Manali is where local restaurants serve delicious pahadi meals. One can shop for some local souvenirs also at a low price.

Himachal Emporium in Manali: Buy flawless artistic handicrafts and intricately designed items at Himachal Emporium in Manali.

Bhuttico in Manali: Take back pashmina shawls, jackets, caps, scarves with you from the Manali holidays at Bhuttico.

What Are the Best Restaurants in Kullu Manali?

Tasting the local Pahadi food is the best sort of experience you could manifest in the hills when you are on Kullu Manali exploration. Places to eat in Kullu and Manali are the cluster of good food with good views. The eateries in Kullu and Manali are perched on the hills, while some are open-air cafes with soaring views of the Himalayan Ranges. Check out thebest restaurants in Kullu Manali:

Rooftop Restaurant At Keylinga Inn: Dine with the panoramic views of the hills in Manali at Rooftop Restaurant at Keylinga Inn, where meals for two start at 800 INR (approx.).

Chancellor: Dine with the rooftop sitting area in the Kullu Valley and grove on the beats of the DJ nights. Chancellor is one of the best restaurants in Kullu for couples and bachelors.

Il Forno: Combine Himalayan views with Italian food at Il Forno Restaurant in Manali, where meals for 2 start at 600 INR (approx.)

Rasoi Himachali: Browse the extensive menu of Raso Himachali and order local Himachali food. It is one of the most affordable places to eat in Kullu.

Which One Has Good Staying Options: Kullu or Manali?

Both - Kullu and Manali have excellent staying options for family tourists, couples, backpackers, and leisure travelers. But the traveler's mindset makes them decide whether to select Kullu or Manali for accommodation. However, it is undeniable that if one chooses Kullu as their base camp for holidays, Kullu has no shortage of budget and luxury hotels. The same stands true for Manali. But looking from the lens of the past travelers, especially couples and family travelers, Manali boasts more high-end accommodation types in Kullu. Thanks to mass tourism in Manali for the last two decades. However, that doesn't mean Kullu lacks jaw-dropping staycation options. Take a look at the sanitized hotels in Kullu and Manali for a better understanding:

Hotels/Resorts in Kullu Where Accommodation Starts at 1,000 INR onwards per night: Royal Mansion Bhuntar, The Himalayan Village, Apple Valley Resort

Hotel Resorts in Manali Where Accommodation for 2 Starts at 1,000 INR onwards: Nirwana Retreat, A luxury cottage, Montana Blues Resort, Kalista Resort, Snow Valley Resort

What Are Some Famous Fair and Festivals of Kullu and Manali?

The valley of Kullu and Manali has been inhabited by the locals for ages, so it is not a brainer to celebrate their festivals with full enthusiasm and zeal. If you, too, want to become a part of the local's celebration or witness the Himachali way of living, attend any of these famous fairs and festivals of Kullu and Manali:

Famous Kullu-Manali Festivals: Kullu Dussehra, Hadimba Devi Fair, Doongri Forest Festival, Losar Festival

Kullu Manali Travel Tips for First Time Travelers or Novice Tourists

  • Luxury accommodations in Kullu and Manali would cost anywhere between 5,000 INR to 15,000 INR (approx.)
  • Snowfall is heavy in Kullu and Manali between December to January
  • Monsoon (July till September) is prone to landslides and not suitable for trekking and rafting
  • Don't rely much on ATMs; instead, carry enough cash for activities to indulge in
  • Booking accommodation in advance will reward you with good discounts
  • Local transportation in Kullu and Manali is expensive so if possible, take your vehicle
  • Hire a local guide if you want to experience the wildlife of the Kullu and Manali in depth


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FAQs about Kullu Manali Tourism

Q: What are the best months to visit Manali?

Ans. November to February are the best months to plan a Manali trip. The hill station is blanketed in snow, adding to the charm of this place. You can enjoy many snow-related activities in Solang Valley, like skiing, snow tubing, etc.

Q: How much does a Kullu Manali trip cost?

Ans. A trip to Kullu Manali for 5 days will cost you around INR 15,000 per person. However, the prices may vary at the time of booking.

Q: Are Kullu and Manali the same?

Ans. No. Kullu and Manali are separate hill stations in Himachal Pradesh, settled on the banks of the same river. It takes about 1 hour to reach Manali from Kullu and vice versa. Moreover, Kullu is a beautiful place with amusement parks; Manali offers views of majestic snow-capped peaks, adventure sites, temples, and riverside cafes.

Q: Are 4 days enough for Kullu Manali?

Ans. Yes. You can plan 2 days in Kullu and 2 days in Manali.

Q: What are the best Kullu Manali tours?

Ans. Here are the best Kullu Manali tour packages we offer -