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How to Reach Manali
Manali is connected by Air & Road from the plains of India. If you travel by air, the nearest airport is at Kullu which is 35 Kms down. From there you need to take a car to drive up to Manali. You can also take any of the several VOLVO bus services from places like Delhi,Chandigarh etc which travels overnight. If you are travelling in car from plains it is advisable to travel during day. It would take about 16 hours including time for food on the way. You can eat in any of the several restaurants/Dhabhas on the way.
How the mode of Travel differs
Air travel is quick and gives you a unique experience of landing in the shortest airport. You will fly for about 5 minutes through a gorge with high mountains on either side. It is really unique. The take off is also equally awesome. The aircraft if put on brakes and engines revved up. The brakes are released then and you shoot ahead like from a catapult. This is because of the short runway. It is also surprising to note that the aircraft carries only 60-70% capacity when leaving Manali. this means 30% of inbound passengers are left behind in out bound flights. So you have to book early for a return flight.
VOLVOBus : is comfortable and you can sleep in the reclinable seats. You save a night also in your itenerary. The buses reach Manali at any time between 7 AM to 9 AM. The disadvantage is that you miss the beautiful Himalayan valley scenery during the 7 hour drive up from Kiratpur Sahib town in Punjab.
Private/Hired car drive is advisable only if you have a driver and do not mind sitting tight for 16 hours. You lose a whole day & tired by the time you reach Manali.But you can enjoy the Himalayan scenic beauty.
Good Hotels are to be booked well in advance. If you are fond of shopping in the street, go for some hotels in down town Mall Road, If you are looking for a a secluded & calm place you can select many of the holiday homes run by reliable hotel chains.
Things to do at Manali depends on how you plan to reach there. By air, Car or Bus. If by air or bus you can reach the town by around 10 AM, check in and still have plenty of time to spend the day. Spend the first day walking and shopping in the mall. visiting Hadimba temple (just 2 KM from town) etc. You can arrange for a drive to ROHTANG PASS (Open only in summer and also NOT on Tuesdays) 56 Kms up on the LEH-MANALI highway. Remember only vehicles with Himachal Registration plates are allowed. The drive itself is adventurous. You go close to the edge of the road with deep gorge on the side. Shut your eyes if you have ''vertigo'. Expect hours of traffic jams too. But you forget all these hardships once reach the top of the world. The highest point. Even-though the 56 Km road is in very bad condition, two kilometer stretch at the top is like an express way. You need to spare a full day for this travel.
If you do not want to drive up to R Pass, there are other choices. Solang Valley is on the way to Rohtang pass (5 Km deviation after 15 Kms up). this is a very good tourist spot offering skiing on the snowy mountain slope, Para gliding, Snow scooter ride, Rope way ride etc. it would be worth going there. Be careful of touts. Better get a reliable vehicle arranged by your hotel and find out the rates of fun also from the hotel.
Vashist Kund is temple where there is hot water spring. it is surprising that boiling water flow out from the small pond even during temperatures much below zero. You need to take a deviation to the right about 3 Km on the Leh-manali Highway.
You can also visit the Vaishno Devi temple on the way to Manikaran from Manali.
You can see the apple orchards everywhere if you are going in June/July.
Have a nice holiday at Manali