Shimla To Manali Road trip

The effect a road trip has is unachievable by other means of entertainment, like electronic or cinematic etc. Have you ever felt the refraction of sunlight through a forest making you connect with your innermost self? Or understanding your life better on morning mist on a rolling river? Serpentine roads can intoxicate you. It’s time to buckle up and experience it!

We have elaborated on one of the most scenic road trip this country offers - the one from Shimla to Manali

Best time to visit

They are two parts in a year when one can consider this trip. March to June is when the weather is quite pleasant and perfect for all kind of outdoor activities. The temperature is expected to be in the range of 15°C and 30°C. This is the time when tourists go paragliding, trekking, camping and rafting. Other time is when you want to experience stunning white views of the snow capped mountains and snowfall. Temperatures drop to as low as -15°c in Rohtang Pass area. Tourists use this time effectively for ice skating. July to September is avoidable due to heavy rainfall and risk of landslides. 

Places to Eat at Manali

Rice is a staple in Manali – savoury and sweet both. A loyal-to-Manali dish ‘Sidu” is a mutton cooked in old and traditional Indian spices, accompanied with Indian bread. It leaves you for asking for more and more. ‘Babru’ is a cannot-miss dish in Manali. It is eaten as an evening snack. It is made up of soaked black gram paste.

We cannot miss talking about sweet cravers right? It’s a just-go-for-it Patande. Its also known as Himachal crepes. Its made up of sugar, milk and wheat.

The places to visit are:

Johnson’s café: This place is tried-and-tested and it never disappoints you.

La Plage: This place is for nature lovers. Nestled in greenery and offers scrumptious food.

Lazy Dog: This place offers delicious Italian food. The best part of this place is that it is situated by the Beas River.  


Route 1: Bilaspur – Sundernagar – Kullu - Naggar via NH205 and NH3

This route is a driving distance of 247 kilometres. It takes a little over 7 hours.


Route 2: Narkand – Gushaini - Kullu - Naggar via NH5, NH305 and NH3

This route is a driving distance of 264 kilometres takes a close to 9 hours.


What to eat and stopovers

Assuming you start your journey in the morning, you can stop at Shalaghat for breakfast, which is approximately 50 kms after starting the journey.

If you start your journey very early, you may halt at Bilaspur, which is at 107 kms from Shimla.

Next halt can be at Café Madana at Sundernagar for breakfast. It overlooks the Sundernagar lake and is beautiful.

Winding roads often call for sporadic stops for scintillating and frame-worthy pictures. That’s the highlight of the entire journey.

Finally comes your last and the most awaited halt which is Kullu. You should not miss the opportunity of buying hand-woven woollen Kullu shawls. You can satiate your grumbling tummy by tucking into authentic Italian fare served at Valentino’s Cooking with Herbs which is nestled in greenery or Maitre Good Food café serving mixed flavours from India and Italy.

Reaching there and places to visit

During the last stretch of the drive, when you are desperate to catch a few winks, the car horns are likely to inform you that you have entered the city of Manali. Manali offers a package of adventures, religious shrines, scenery and the list doesn’t end there.

A visit to Hidimba Devi Temple Tibetan Monastery is considered worth it.

Paragliding, River rafting and Mountain biking are activities for the ones who enjoy the adrenaline rush. If you want to take it to the next level, then camp it!

Skiing in Solang Nallah is a cannot-miss activity. Even if one doesn’t know skiing as a sport, you have to experience it. Playing with snow, enjoying the piping hot cup of coffee and making beautiful memories is an experience by itself.

Points to note while planning the trip (Car/Bike)

Road trips are not just about fueling and accelerating. You have to ensure that you are prepared to deal with not-so-nice situations. It may make sense to practice how to fix car punctures. You need to charge your mobile phones not forget carrying car chargers and portable chargers. You need to carry snacks, juices and water. You will find innumerable food joints on the way, but it is important to be prepared. It may also make sense to carry a hammer, just to stay steer clear of rare situations like being stuck in a car. And the most important of all is a first aid kit in case of injury.

Diesel/Petrol Pumps

There are upwards of 45 fuel stations of Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and HP on this route so one will have ample supply of fuel at all times on this road trip.

Overnight halt if any

If you are considering an overnight halt there is no debate on the city. One gets no prize for guessing because the answer is Kullu. If you want to make this road trip truly memorable and don’t mind spending some extra currency then book a stay at The Himalayan Village  which is rustic-chic and filled with antiques.

If you want to go easy on your pocket, you can consider Apple Country Resort, which has a mountain as a next door companion, making it special.

Distance/Altitude Change graph

The route of your road trip from Shimla to Manali will cover a distance of about 250 kilometres. It will take around 7 hours one way.

Stay and Eat with other eating places

In Manali one can explore cafes and restaurants such as Café 1947, Drifters Inn Café and German Bakery. Jimmy Johnson Lodge and Johnson Hotel provide rooms with decent views. For those who are travelling with their special ones, Hotel Naggar Castle is a wonderful place to rekindle the romance and enjoy delicious food with scenic views.   

Mobile connectivity

Mobile connectivity is sporadic throughout the route.


There are multiple ATMs of banks like Yes bank, UCO bank etc on the route.


You are likely to find small garages along the way while driving from Shimla to Manali.

Medical Facilities

There are at least 25-30 cities on this route and each of them has hospital for medical care. Bilaspur has Apollo Multi Speciality hospital and Bilaspur hospital. Sundernagar has Shushrut hospital. Kullu has Kullu Valley hospital, City hospital and many more.  


Electricity supply could get impacted due to various factors. However, most well-known hotels have generators.

Tool Kits

If you choose the road trip to be in winter season, you need to carry spades in case the car tires are stuck in snow. One extremely important thing to carry is tools for fixing a flat. Other option is to carry tire inflator to pump air in the flat tire, until you reach a mechanics shop to put on the spare. Other good-to-have tools are screwdrivers, crescent wrench, hammer, duct tape or an electrical tape.  

Most importantly don’t miss to take Car Insurance or Bike Insurance at the time of any road trip. This will take care of your any vehicle related problem.

Hope the above gives you a reality check for your upcoming road trip so that you only take beautiful memories with you.



Planning a Road Trip from Delhi To Shimla? Here’s what you have to do.





Article Author: Amita Rajpal

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