Visit Manali and Shimla in Winter
If you are a Bollywood movie fan then no doubt you are a dreamer to visit Manali and Shimal. Because most of the beautiful scenes in the Bollywood movies were taken at these hill cities of Himachal , India.When it is come to myself visiting the Manali was one of my dream since my childhood and finally it took me till 30years old to fulfill. So here is a basic overview for you to plan your Manali and Shimla tours with best tips which I learned and experience through my tour.
Why you should visit Manali /Shimla in winter?
I think snow lovers don’t need any other reason to visit Manali and Shimla as these destinations are there for you to enjoy the snow as you dream. For Asians just like me it is not easy to enjoy the snow with a low budget by visiting Europe countries. In that case Manali and Shimla become the most appropriate and affordable option for us. Because the cost is manageable and the experience is extremely beyond the expectation.
Approximate budget for tour?
When planning a tour the most concerning fact is the budget.Because all other things depend upon how much money you could spend during the tour? I was traveling with my husband and 2 years and 9 months old son.For 3 of us the budget was around INR 60,000 for 6 Nights and 7 days tour . The days are schedules as 1N in Delhi 3N in Shimla and 2N in Manali. But as we travelled for 11 days we take over a full Himachal package which covers Manali, Shimla, Dharmashala, Dalhousie, Amristar and Delhi and was cost around INR90000 for 2adults with infant.
The above cost is calculated for the hotels with breakfast and dinner and the private cab (Swift Dzire car) with a driver.And the pick up and drop in Delhi.
It is up to you to decide whether travel by Volvo bus or get a personal cab. The budget varies on that.
The travel cost could be change depend on your travel days.when it is peak time 20th December to end of January then the cost is little bit higher than other days.
Traveling Manali and Shimla with kids
“Is it OK to travel with babies?” ; This is a frequently asking question when some one chat with me. The answer is yes, No problem at all if you know the below tips. As it was my first trip to Manali and Shimla I was met with some problems with my baby and I don’t want you to face the same. That’s why am writing this for you.
The decision to take them to the snow points is depend on their age and the health condition. You know your child better than me. But do not take kids less than 2 years old .
Visiting Kufri with babies and kids in Shimla
Kufri is the famous snow point in Shimla and my experience in there was not good at all. Once you reach the vehicle parking point many people will reached you and will offer you with several options with several snow games and horse riding and all. And you have to rent out the warm clothes and boots to go to the snow point in hills. The prices for those starts at around INR600 and I paid around INR1500 for our selves and it was just a waste of money with baby.Please be prepared with your own water proof hand gloves and warm jacket and rough jeans. Please buy woven socks as they are more comfortable and warm.
If you travel with very small kids who afraid of hills and horse ride please do not rent or buy any option. Just walk a bit and you can enjoy the snow . with kids with out charge. Because riding horse in those hills is not comfortable at all.Even I got afraid at some points watching horses foot also slips in the snow.
If you are an adventurous travelers with full of energy then this tour in Kufri would be more fun and joyful.Otherwise it is just waste of money to rent out warm clothes.
Rent-out warm clothes and snow shoes in snow
If you need to enjoy the snow for some long time please rent these clothes form shops as they keep you safe and comfortable. They are more warmer than our jackets and all. With my experience I am comfortable with my own shoes than their rented one . It is up to you to decide whether to use yours or theirs. Please wear woven socks to keep your foot warm.
The rent cost is most probably same in all the places. It was around INR600 per adult and half for kids.
Hotels and Accommodation
This is one of important thing I need to talk about. Because the selection of good accommodation defines the comfortability of your whole tour. So when you planning trip please do recheck the hotels provided by the tour planner and reviews as well. Do not satisfy with the images as it could be completely what you really see when reached there.
Star categories are not same as you experience in the other regions.Yes though you were told that they are 4 star hotels please do not expect the same level of facilities you are given in your country or the region. Because most of the hotels and accommodations are below the standard 3star level.
Many of hotels get extra charge for the heaters and it will cost around INR300- 500 per night. So when planning tour asked the company to include them in the package other wise you have to pay it by your self.
The food and the language
The other fact is the language. Most staff members do not comfortable with the English.As I was OK with Hindi I was able to manage .So please prefer the good hotels and most of the hotel management staff were good in English so you can get the help of them.
The food is also the same. They provide the Indian dishes and within 2 to 3 days I was fed-up and I used to asked for toasts and fried rices . Always take some instant foods like noodles and biscuits, chocolates with you. And tea bags and milk powder and coffee to keep you comfortable.
The fruits are always a best choice in India to keep you energy and out of food poison.
Snow Points in Manali
Opening and closing of the snow points in Manali is handled by the government.Even there are number of snow points such as Solang Valley, Gulaba, Rothang Pass. All these points are not open at once. Depend on the height of the snow fall they open the snow points one after another.
When am visiting the Gulaba and Rothang Pass all were closed due to heave snow and the Solang Valley is the opened snow point and was full of fun and joyful snow activities at all.
You do not need any guide to visit here and do not waste money on them. At the snow point you can pay for the games and enjoy the activities without prior reservation.
What you can enjoy at snow points?
- cable car (INR650)
- horse riding
- scooter ride to Mahadev temple for fresh snow
- paragliding (short distance around INR1000)
- rolled in the slope
- try Manali and shimla traditional dress
What else in Manali and Shimla
THough the main reason to travel in Manali and shimla is snow there are so many other things to do and enjoy in these places.I will write on each in an upcoming post and till that briefly explain it here.
You can enjoy water rafting in Kullu near by Manali and shopping in mall stores in Manali city and Shimla mall road is also a fun thing.Do not forget to visit the seed shops as they offer variety range of seeds and dry fruits which are really healthy and rare in our own countries.