Planning A Shimla To Manali Trip Under INR 10K

Just the idea of being out there on the road to a beautiful destination is enough to get anyone excited. When the anticipation of exploring a new place gets coupled with a route full of breathtaking sceneries, you know it’s going to be a memorable trip. The one from Shimla to Manali is a great example of such a route and both of the places are like heaven on earth. You are probably worrying about the cost of this amazing trip right now, but don’t. This adventure can be enjoyed without breaking the bank. Here’s everything you need to know for planning a Shimla to Manali trip under 10K.

Choosing Your Travel Route

The best route to take for a Shimla to Manali road trip is via the NH205 and NH3. The distance between the two cities is around 250 km, ideally taking about seven to eight hours to reach. The national highways are the shortest, fastest, and designated route to reach Manali from Shimla by road.

This route is the most popularly used one, even by regular travelers, to reach Manali. While there is relatively less traffic on this route, you can expect to see heavy traffic during peak tourist season i.e. between March and June. So, make sure to check live traffic updates before you hit the road.

The route follows major towns and landmarks like Bilaspur, Tirthan Valley, Mandi, and Kullu, before winding up to Manali. Here is some quick information about the Shimla to Manali route -

Shimla To Manali Road Distance: 247 km

Shimla To Manali Travel Time: 7 to 8 hours

Best Route For Shimla To Manali: NH205 and NH3

Best Time To Visit: March to June (Summers) and October to February (Winters)

Cost: You can find state transport buses as well as private buses costing around INR 600 per person. The air-conditioned buses will cost you about INR 1,000 per person.

Accommodations In Shimla

If you’re on a budget then hostels and small BnBs are great options for accommodations, especially if you’re only going to be in the room at the end of the day. After all, you’ll be busy exploring the stunning town of Shimla. But don’t worry about losing sleep in an average room because Shimla has some of the best hostels for solo travelers and backpackers. Here are some of the best hostels and BnBs in Shimla.

The Hosteller, Kufri

Image Credits: MakeMyTrip

The Hosteller is a well-known hostel franchise and their dorm rooms are a great place to crash, especially when you’re on a budget. The rooms come in 8 beds, 6 beds, and 4 beds options. You get all amenities like lockers, free Wi-Fi, blankets and sheets, and more.

8 Bed Mixed Dormitory: INR 732 approx for 1 night

6 Bed Mixed Dormitory: INR 800 approx for 1 night

4 Bed Mixed Dormitory: INR 936 approx for 1 night

4 Bed Female Dormitory: INR 936 approx for 1 night

The Hosteller, Shimla

Another one of Hosteller’s premises in Shimla, this one too offers the same amenities. Unlike, the Kufri Hosteller, this one only has 6-bed and 4-bed dorm rooms. The prices are in about a similar price range, so it will be a good place to stay within your budget.

6 Bed Mixed Dormitory: INR 861 approx for 1 night

4 Bed Mixed Dormitory: INR 931 approx for 1 night

4 Bed Female Dormitory: INR 931 approx for 1 night

Thira, Shimla

Thira, or Together Shimla is a beautiful bed and breakfast which offers private and shared rooms. Their shared rooms are great for a budget stay and they offer several amenities. You get everything from a hot shower to laundry services to luggage storage to free Wi-Fi and more.

Bed In Shared Room: INR 600 approx for 1 night

Private Room: INR 1,600 approx for 1 night

Also Read: Exploring The Mouth-Watering Delicacies Of Himachal Pradesh

The Ultimate Shimla Itinerary

Once you’ve made your way to Shimla and figured out your accommodations, then it’s time to explore this beautiful hill town. You can easily cover the major attractions of Shimla in one day and here’s the ultimate itinerary that can help you make the best of it.

Breakfast At Hide Out Cafe

Start your day with a delicious breakfast at one of the most famous cafes in town - Hide Out Cafe. Located in the heart of the town, the cafe offers a great variety of food like sandwiches, wraps, and desserts. They also have a selection of beverages to choose from.

Address: 1st floor Shop no 30, adjacent to the fire station, The Mall, Shimla.

Timings: Monday to Sunday - 9 am to 10 pm.

Must-haves: Their selection of coffees, Tandoori momos, Italian and Chinese dishes.

Price: INR 700 for two people.

The Mall

If you’ve not visited The Mall while in Shimla, then you haven’t seen Shimla yet! The Mall is the main street in Shimla and is located in the heart of the town. It’s the shopping hub that is decked with shops selling woolen clothes, handicraft items, pottery items, ethnic jewelry, etc. Mall Road is famous for its wooden shops that sell antique wooden items.

Jakhu Temple And Hill

Located on Jakhu Hill, the Jakhu Temple is one of the prime attractions of Shimla. It is situated on the highest peak in town, at a height of 2,455 m above sea level. The temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. A huge statue of Hanuman has recently been built near the temple, which is 108 ft tall and is considered to be among the tallest statues in the world. There is a ropeway that connects Jakhu Hill to The Ridge and covers around 8 km in five minutes!

Lunch At Mall Road

After your shopping spree and the visit to the temple, you certainly must be starving. So, take a break to enjoy some of the best Himachali cuisines at these amazing restaurants on Mall Road.

  1. Himachali Rasoi

Image Credits: Connecting Traveller

As the name suggests, Himachali Rasoi is super famous for its authentic Himachal cuisine. So, if you’re looking to try some traditional flavors of the mountains, then this is the place for you. What’s even better is that the food here is super delicious and at great prices, so you won’t be burning a hole in your pockets.

Address: 54, Mall Road, Middle Bazar, The Mall, Shimla.

Timings: Monday to Sunday - 12:30 pm to 9:30 pm.

Must-haves: Dham Thalis, Sidu, Babroo, and Kangri Cha.

Price: INR 500 for two people.

  1. Devicos Restaurant And D Lounge Bar

Set in the bustling streets of Mall Road, Devicos will blow your mind with its comfortable and quiet ambience. The bar and restaurant offer a range of cuisines from North Indian to Italian to fast foods and more. They also have a wide selection of beverages and mocktails to choose from.

Address: 5, Mall Road, Vijaya Bank, The Mall, Shimla.

Timings: Monday to Sunday - 10:30 am to 10:30 pm.

Must-haves: Burgers, Chinese dishes, and mocktails.

Price: INR 800 for two people.

The Ridge

You must visit The Ridge when you’re in Shimla. It’s the second most visited major attraction after The Mall. The Ridge is a large open space located in the heart of Shimla, situated along The Mall Road. Several major attractions of Shimla like the Lakkar Bazaar, Mall, Scandal Point, and Jakhu Hill are connected by The Ridge. It is always packed with tourists coming to watch the sunset from here. The Ridge hosts several fairs and celebrations, one of which is The Summer Festival of Shimla. It’s usually organized in March/April.

Dinner To End The Shimla Tour

What better way to end your Shimla tour than with some more delicious food! You must check out the bars and pubs that Shimla has to offer before making your way to Manali the next day.

  1. Cafe Simla Times: Cafe, Biergarten, and Bar

If you’re looking for a more modern and casual set-up, then Cafe Simla Times is the place to be. The cafe’s interiors are absolutely stunning and along with the surrounding beauty, the whole ambience is truly one of its kind. If the cold is getting to you, then sip on some alcoholic beverage here. They offer a variety of food and drinks, so rest assured your stomach will surely be satisfied!

Address: The Cafe, within Hotel Willow Banks premises, Mall Road, Shimla.

Timings: Monday to Sunday - 1:30 pm to 10:30 pm.

Must-haves: Cocktails, beer cocktails, wood-fired pizzas, and Tiramisu.

Price: INR 1,500 for two people (including drinks).

  1. Cafe Sol

Located in the center of the town, Cafe Sol overlooks the beautiful hills of Shimla. They offer a wide variety of cuisines to their patrons ranging from Mexican and Italian to Continental and Indian. They even have an extensive drinks menu offering both mocktails and cocktails to cater to everyone’s needs. If you want to end your day on a fun note, then Cafe Sol is the best place to go.

Address: Mall Road, Shimla.

Timings: Monday to Sunday - 11 am to 11 pm.

Must-haves: Nachos De la Casa, BBQ Wings, Lebanese Platter, and cocktails.

Price: INR 1,500 for two people.

If you’re planning to stay the first half of the next day as well, then you can check out some more of Shimla like Kufri, Lakkar Bazaar, and Narkanda depending on your holiday duration.

Check Out These Places En Route To Manali

Now that we’ve covered Shimla, it's time to get this road trip going! As mentioned above, the route follows NH205 and NH3 and will take you about seven to eight hours to reach Manali. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be stuck in the car for eight hours straight. The road to Manali has got a lot to look forward to as well!

  • Bilaspur and Gobind Sagar Lake - Bliaspur falls right on route to Manali and is located on the outer hills of the Satluj Valley. To reach the lake, you’ll need to take a small detour but trust us, it’ll be worth it.
  • Mandi and Prashar Lake - A few miles from Mandi, you will reach the crystal clear Prashar Lake which is located 9,000 feet above sea level. This destination is a popular base for long treks to the Himalayas. You get a stunning view of the Dhauladhar, Pir Pinjal, and Kinnaur mountain ranges from the lake.
  • Tirthan Valley and Himalayan National Park - The national park is known for its exotic Himalayan flora and fauna. To reach this location, you might have to stop overnight and camp in the forests or take a day trek.
  • Kullu - Kullu needs no introduction since it is a crown jewel of Himachal. The town is very close to Manali and is home to Rohtang Pass, Beas Kund, and Chandrataal Lake. Make sure to stop here and explore the town before heading to Manali.

Accommodations In Manali

Once you reach Manali, accommodations are a priority. Good, budget-friendly, and centrally located hostels are the best accommodations you could look for. So, here are some of the best hostels in Manali for a stress-free and fun stay.

The Hosteller, Manali

The biggest hostel franchise in India surely has its branch in Manali. The Hosteller is a perfect place for backpackers, solo travelers, small groups, and adventurers. It is located close to several major attractions like Mall Road, Manu Temple, Hadimba Temple, etc. They offer amenities like parking, free Wi-Fi, common kitchen, and they’re pet friendly!

8 Bed Mixed Dormitory: INR 696 approx for 1 night

4 Bed Mixed Dormitory: INR 846 approx for 1 night

Zostel, Manali

Zostel has several franchises in Manali for travelers to choose from. They have hostels in Old Manali, Vashisht, Burwa, and Dobhi. They provide facilities like free Wi-Fi, in-house activities, storage facilities, and an in-house cafe.

2 Bed Mixed Dormitory (with shared bathroom): INR 849 approx for 1 night

4 Bed Mixed Dormitory: INR 749 approx for 1 night

4 Bed Mixed Dormitory (with shared bathroom): INR 699 approx for 1 night

4 Bed Female Dormitory: INR 849 approx for 1 night

The Culture Nation Hostel

If you want to have a cottage-like stay in Manali at a pocket-friendly price, then The Culture Nation Hostel is the place to be. The hostel is all-wood and has a soothing and relaxing ambience. They offer free Wi-Fi, a big garden, an open rooftop terrace, and an in-house cafe.

8 Bed Mixed Dormitory: INR 621 approx for 1 night

Also Read: Skiing In Manali

The Ultimate Manali Itinerary

Now that your accommodation is sorted out, it’s time to plan out your itinerary to explore Manali. Don’t know where to start? Well, don’t fret we’ve got you covered. Here’s an itinerary for you to experience the best and all of Manali.

Breakfast Of The Champions

Food is a must before you start sightseeing Manali and let us tell you, that Manali has some amazing restaurants and cafes that’ll surely leave you feeling satiated. Here are some great breakfast joints for you to start your day with.

  1. Rocky’s Cafe

If you’re looking for traditional Himachali dishes and a home-made taste, then Rocky’s Cafe will surely blow your mind. This cozy cafe offers you a woodsy vibe and a beautiful mountain view. They have just about everything from breakfast options and authentic mountain cuisine to North Indian dishes and beverages.

Address: Old Manali, Manali.

Timings: Monday to Sunday - 9 am to 10 pm.

Must-haves: Himachal thalis, fish and chicken platter, and Sidu.

Price: INR 700 for two people.

  1. Drifters’ Inn & Cafe

Located in Old Manali, the cafe is one of the best and most popular ones in town. It is a dog-friendly cafe and serves everything from fast food to finger food to the main course. They also have a wide variety of beverages and cocktail options to choose from.

Address: Manu Temple Road, Old Manali, Manali.

Timings: Monday to Sunday - 10 am to 11 pm.

Must-haves: Rajma Rice, Spanish Omellete, and latte (coffee).

Price: INR 650 for two people.

Manu Temple

Image Credits: The Travel Curry

Located in Old Manali, this would be an ideal place to start your local sightseeing since you just had breakfast in the area. The Manu Temple is dedicated to the sage Manu, who according to mythology, was the creator of humans on Earth. In fact, Manali is named after him, since it is believed that he meditated here. The temple is simply beautiful and more so with the incredible natural beauty surrounding it.

Adventures At Solang Valley

Solang Valley is about 14 km from Manali and is known as the ‘Adventure Paradise of Manali’. The drive up to Solang is simply picturesque and you’ll feel as though you’re in some foreign country. The valley is full of adventure activities like trekking, paragliding, mountain biking, jeep safaris, zorbing, ziplining, skiing, rafting, hiking, and rock climbing. The prices for the activities will differ, but this was the very reason why we’ve been saving up on our accommodations!

Time For Some Lunch

After enjoying all the adventure activities, you must have built up quite an appetite. Here are some great restaurants in Manali for a scrumptious lunch.

  1. Mountview Noodles Restaurant

If you love noodles of different kinds and want nothing more than a bowl of hot, steaming, and flavorful noodles and soup, then Mountview Noodles Restaurant is the place for you. The restaurant features Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Italian dishes. The set-up is cozy and welcoming thanks to the open-air rooftop and all-wood interiors.

Address: Mall Road, Model Town, Siyal, Manali.

Timings: Monday to Sunday - 11 am to 10:30 pm.

Must-haves: Mountview Special Chowmein, Veg Chopsuey, and Thai Fried Rice Noodles.

Price: INR 650 for two people.

  1. The Corner House Restaurant & Bar

Located in the heart of the town, the restaurant is popular for its fast food menu. So, if you’re in the mood for some good burgers or pizzas, then look no further, The Corner House has got you covered. They offer a wide selection of cuisines like Himachali foods, Italian, Chinese, European, Asian, and Tibetan.

Address: Model Town Road, Mall Road, Siyal, Manali.

Timings: Monday to Sunday - 12 pm to 10 pm.

Must-haves: Chicken Thukpa, Spicy Chicken Pizza, and Crispy Chicken Burger.

Price: INR 700 for two people.

The Tibetan/Buddhist Monasteries

After the temple, you must explore the Tibetan/Buddhist monasteries which are a great place to experience Buddhist culture firsthand in Manali. This town is home to numerous renowned monasteries like Manali Gompa, Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa, and the Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa. These monasteries are surrounded by beautiful Tibetan handicraft shops that are worth a visit for some incredible souvenirs.

Mall Road

Similar to the one in Shimla, Manali too has a Mall Road, which is located in the heart of the city. Mall Road is the shopping center of Manali and is always bustling with heaps of activities. It is lined with several restaurants, cafes, and food stalls and is a paradise for foodies. Mall Road is home to multiple emporiums, souvenir shops, and handicraft shops. Here, you can find Tibetan-styled incense sticks, singing bowls, Kullu and Kinnauri shawls, turquoise and silver jewelry, etc.

Also Read: How To Plan A Trip To Shimla Under INR 10,000 For 5 Days

Vashisht Temple And Hot Water Springs

Vaishisht Temple is dedicated to Saint Vaishisht and is one of the most famous places in Manali. The temple is believed to be more than 400 years old and is adorned with stunning, intricate carvings, antique paintings, and figurines. The Vashisht Hot Water Springs are located close to the temple and are believed to be medicinal in nature. The spring is said to have the potential to cure skin ailments.

Dinner To End The Manali Tour

  1. Chopsticks Restaurant

As the name suggests, this restaurant offers you a wide variety of Chinese and Tibetan dishes. Located in the heart of Manali, the restaurant also has seating on the top from where the view is absolutely breathtaking. You’ll also find local Himachali dishes here, so if you’re looking to indulge in some local flavors, this is the place for you.

Address: Mall Road, Model Town, Siyal, Manali.

Timings: Monday to Sunday - 10 am to 11 pm.

Must-haves: Chicken Momos, soups, noodles, and fried rice.

Price: INR 1,000 for two people.

  1. Lazy Dog Lounge

If you’re looking to end your Shimla-Manali trip on a fun note, then the Lazy Dog Lounge is a great place to check out. This river-view restaurant’s western-style pub menu attracts a lot of crowds looking for an evening of casual dining with a great view. They serve a variety of cuisines like Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, and Indian. You’ll also find a great drinks menu to go with your food.

Address: Manu Temple Road, Old Manali, Manali.

Timings: Monday to Sunday - 12 pm to 11 pm.

Must-haves: Kung Pao Chicken, Fish ‘n Chips, Chicken Pepper Steak, and Mezze Platter.

Price: INR 800 for two people.

If you wish to spend a day more in Manali and have the budget for it, then you can visit some more of Manali’s major attractions like the Hidimba Devi Temple, Van Vihar National Park, or go trekking up to the Rohtang Pass (if you’re visiting during the summer months).

Summing Up

A trip from Shimla to Manali is every traveler’s dream, especially if you have friends who love traveling as much as you. But with every vacation plan, the main concern is that the trip should fall within budget. Well, a Shimla to Manali road trip certainly can be easy on the pocket and within budget with our guide. So, get ready, pack your bags, and get the gang together for the trip of your dreams!


How Is The Road From Shimla To Manali?

The road from Shimla to Manali is absolutely scenic, especially if you’re traveling through Bilaspur. Make sure to take a small detour to check out the Gobind Sagar Lake which is an absolutely beautiful view.

Where To Stop Between Shimla And Manali?

Make sure to stop at Bilaspur and check out Gobind Sagar Lake. You can also make stops at Mandi and Prashar Lake, Tirthan Valley, Himalayan National Park, and of course, Kullu.

How Many Days Trip Are Shimla And Manali?

Shimla and Manali can be anywhere between three to seven days of a trip, depending on your budget. For a budget of 10K, a three-day trip is perfect for Shimla and Manali.

Can We Go To Manali In Our Personal Car?

Of course, you can! In fact, a Shimla to Manali trip is best done by road since you get to experience the scenic route between the two Himachal towns. And if you’ve got your own car, then what more to ponder about!

Is It Safe To Drive To Manali?

Absolutely. The roads leading to Manali are well maintained and wide, with not much traffic making it quite safe for a road trip.

Which Is The Best Month For Shimla And Manali?

The months from March to June and October to February are the best time to visit Shimla and Manali. But if you’re planning a road trip, we’d recommend the summer months since the winters see heavy snowfall and driving in such weather can be dangerous.

Which Is Colder: Shimla Or Manali?

Manali’s average summer temperature ranges between 14℃ and 20℃ while in winter it hovers around -7℃ to -10℃. In comparison, Shimla’s climate is slightly milder with average temperatures ranging from -4℃ to 31℃.

How Much Would A Shimla To Manali Trip Cost?

A Shimla to Manali trip can cost you anywhere from INR 10K to 20K depending on the number of days you’re planning to spend in both towns. A three-day trip will cost somewhere between INR 8K and 10K.