offbeat tourist destinations in Manali

Offbeat Destinations Near Manali For A Peaceful Holiday

Looking for offbeat travel destinations in Manali? In this blog, I will share my top favorite places under 20km from Manali’s main town. So, let’s get started…

The town of Manali, in Himachal Pradesh, is one of the top tourist destinations in the Indian Himalayas. Its close proximity to New Delhi and Chandigarh is continuously making it easier for the crowds to break away from the usual city madness and experience the peaceful Himalayas.

And with the upcoming 6-lane highway, all the way from Delhi to Manali, it is going to be easier than ever for people to reach Manali — meaning, Manali is going to get more crowded, smokey and bustling with life in the coming years. So, what are the options for those people who are looking for some offbeat travel destinations in the Manali area?

Recently while travelling to Manali I realised that Manali isn’t a place I would want to travel to anymore. And it also isn’t a place I would write a Travel Guide on (though I still wrote one — Things To See And Do In Manali).

The idea of having a tranquil holiday experience is less like a reality in Manali, and more like a dream. To ward off instead, head to these 5 peaceful towns under 25 km from Manali. These towns act as perfect offbeat travel places in the Manali area.

This is my list of offbeat destinations near Manali, that guarantees a peaceful holiday.
manali tourist destinations

Offbeat Tourist Places And Destinations Near Manali

Here are my 5 recommendations:

  1. Old Manali
  2. Hamta Valley
  3. Hallan Valley
  4. Solang Valley
  5. Fojal Valley

Now, let’s discuss these offbeat places near Manali one by one, and start with…

Old Manali: Though not very offbeat, I would still like to include Old Manali in the list for those who don’t want to go too far from the main town of Manali.

The old town is a hippie oasis located 2 kilometres from the Mall road. Old Manali offers a peaceful and relaxing experience while offering something for everyone — from booze to yoga centres to a relaxing cafe experience.

It is moreover cheaper to stay in Old Manali than in the main town — by at least half the price of what you pay for in Manali — making Old Manali an even better alternative if the idea is to stay very close to Manali. So yea, if you’re looking for an offbeat place in the Manali area, the closest option you have is the old town.

offbeat places near manali

To get to Old Manali just take an auto-rickshaw for 50 Rupees (from either side of the Mall Road) or take a 20-minute uphill walk.

Sethan, in Hamta Valley: A popular ski destination in winter and a campsite in summer, Sethan is, without any second thought, my personal favourite offbeat destination near Manali — particularly if the idea is of relaxing for a few days.

Surrounded by mountains higher than 4,000 metres, Sethan remains an untouched Buddhist town. It is moreover an offbeat town idea for snow activities like Skiing and Snowboarding.what to do in manali

manali to sethan

To get to Sethan, you will require to have your own vehicle and drive nearly 15 km southeast of Manali. Or you can take the bus from Manali (towards Kullu) and get off at the next town, called Prini. From Prini, your stay plus transportation can be organised.

The best way to enjoy the beauty of Sethan is by camping in Sethan. After travelling around the world and much of India, I’ve started my first hospitality network, a camping site with the name ‘FootlooseCamps‘. Check the pictures:

camping in manali

offbeat experience in manali

manali offbeat tourist destination

Other than camping, we also have a 100-year-old mudhouse in Hamta Valley with dorm beds and privates

Located only 7km from the Mall road, in the middle of nowhere, the Footloose Camps mudhouse is a (nearly) 100-year-old mudhouse turned into a backpacker hostel.

The entire premise includes 200+ apple trees and in between the tiny mudhouse. The kind of accommodation includes 2 dorm rooms (one is a 2-bed dorm and the other one is a 4-bed dorm) and a private room.

Rest, the pictures will tell…

manali winter

footloose camps manali

himachali house

hostel dorm room

hostel dormitory room


manali night photo

Google Map Location: Click hereBooking: Whatsapp @8285695030 | More photos: Instagram Channel

Price: INR 1800 per night per person including dinner and breakfast (for dormitory beds). INR 3600 for two people including dinner and breakfast (for a private room).

Also, if you’re looking for more campsites around, read this article: Camping in Manali.

Solang Valley: Though Solang Valley is popular for adventure activities like paragliding, quad-biking and zip-lining, its real charm, at least in my view, is camping on your own. Located at around 14 km further north of Manali (towards Leh), Solang Valley offers easy flat spaces and a number of restaurants at your disposal. Just bring your own tent, and a few night-lamps and enjoy the mountains at a bargain.
manali travel guide

To find an ideal camping space, if you’re confused, ask anyone about the zip-lining site in Solang Valley (there’s only one spot!) and you will find plenty of flat spaces around it. Right next to the ziplining, you can spot an old Shiva temple, guarded by a few feet high wall. You can also camp on the premises of Shiva temple for some assurance.

Village Soyal: Located less than 15 km from Manali (towards Kullu, on Naggar Road) Soyal Village is an offbeat destination for those for whom the idea of holidaying in the mountains is finding a glacier water stream surrounded by forest and a few cafes to satiate the tastebuds. It is possible to do a day trip from Manali to village soil or camp and stay overnight.

Located 1km from the village is an open camping ground big enough for at least 50 people to sleep together.

soyal manali

soil village

Hallan ValleyAt under 25 km from Manali (towards Kullu) lies one of the tiniest valleys in Himachal Pradesh called Hallan Valley. Beautifully inhabited by local Himachali with landscapes full of unspoilt nature, Hallan Valley guarantees an undisturbed holiday. The only disappointing thing is, however, there are no full-time functioning Guest House in the entire valley, but a few homestays.

By far, Hallan Valley remains the most offbeat tourist place in the Manali area.

To reach there, you will need to drive or catch a bus for nearly 17km toward Kullu (from Manali) on the old Kullu-Manali highway and then take the Hallan Road.

Fojal Valley: Located almost halfway between Manali and Kullu, Fojal Valley is a very offbeat and unpopular valley, in Himachal Pradesh, home to no more than a dozen small villages. Speaking of its positioning, Fojal Valley rises almost perpendicularly to Kullu Valley near the town of Patlikuhl, before it divides itself into two halves, with the town of Fojal (the entire valley also shares the same name ‘Fojal’) being located in the centre acting as the transportation hub for the entire valley.

When you’re in Fojal, you get an impression of being time-transported into the golden age of 70s or 80s when people shared more green space around them than concrete; when the chirping of birds echoed all day, from afar; when every Himalayan mountain looked no less auspicious.

The town of Fojal and the Fojal Valley appeared as one of those rare places where people would want to relax, forget their busy life behind, and spend a few nights unwinding and just being (in the moment).

Village Nayalag & Kasheri: Out of all the offbeat travel places near Manali, it is from Kasheri village that I found the most mesmerizing view of the adjoining Kullu valley. And that’s its charm.

kasheri nyalag

offbeat destinations manali

Located about 20km from Mall Road, Kasheri village has an altitude of nearly 2500m above sea level. On the way, it is also possible to explore Nyingmapa Pangan Monastery – one of the least visited monasteries in the region.

There are no guesthouses there so a day trip from Manali is the only way possible.

There were about 15-20 houses in both the villages with the entire scene quite village-like. Nearly all houses were refurbished in Kathikuni with their base made of wood, stone and mud, and the roof either made of tin or a refined form of slate.

More than a village experience it’s the landscapes and scenic beauty that I recommend visiting Kasheri Village for.

I do not suggest Manali to those who are looking for a peaceful and offbeat kind of holiday experience. But if you are still visiting Manali, here’s an article I wrote about Manali: Manali Travel Guide

If you’ve more suggestions on top tourist destinations in Manali that are offbeat and peaceful, please share them in the comments below.

Categories India


I am Dev, and I've been travelling full-time since 2016. I was a journalism student & started my corporate career as a documentary film-maker in England, before moving to India & becoming a full-time nomad. 25+countries. 50+ Brand Partnerships. And the adventure continues...

  1. saksham bajirao

    hello, Dev I’ve read all your blogs it was amazing from all of your blogs my most destinations is Solang Valley . Thank you for giving us this information.

  2. Hi Dev!
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful moments with us. Could you tell me which is the most beautiful valley in Manali and some good dining places there?

  3. Swapnil Sanghavi

    Just one thing I would like to point out. There are two Hallan valleys. One is the Hallan 1 which is on the left bank of Beas near Naggar and the other one is Hallan 2 for which the road goes from PatliKhul. So it would be great if you could mention that, it will be quite helpful to the readers. I have been to Hallan 2, and that place is just otherworldly especially during Autumn with insane colors.

    • I was waiting for this question since years. Hallan 1. Time to mention so in the article. Seems like valleys adjoining Kullu Valley are getting popular.

      • Swapnil Sanghavi

        Well Not Really ! The Locals are reluctant starting tourism activities in the valleys like Hallan 2, fojal, Lug, Gadsa, Pah Nala. If they do not start tourism related activities, the chances are it will remain hidden. Reason being, they do not want to incur the wrath of Deities which really have strong influence over these valleys. And the more it becomes popular chances are it will disrupt sanctity of the place. This is what my Homestay host said. But eventually it will get popular. Look at what happened to Lahaul.

        • Your homestay host lied lol. Just like he opened a homestay every single family (even kids in the family lol) want to own a homestay/guest-house whatever and make every buck possible lol. tell me if I’m wrong

          • Swapnil Sanghavi

            That’s true its easy money for them I’ll agree! And just so you Know I stayed in Raison and not Hallan 2. And the host himself wants to promote rural tourism and wanted homestays to open up in the remote villages of these valleys. But the deity does not allow and its not like the locals haven’t tried to start. They did and things did not fare well with the Devta and they had stop any further activities in some villages. And believe me these people do not want to anger their Deities that’s for sure. So You are right, but currently they are reluctant. In future within 5-10 years yes these lesser known valleys will all have homestays and of course nothing will remain offbeat.

  4. Finally, you got me the actual offbeat places near manali, else I could see solang and rohtang in some other blogs. Thanks 🙂

  5. Silas Ille

    Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an email. I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.

  6. Hey, interesting to read ur blog. U said u left ur job and followed ur heart. Sounds exciting!
    May i ask u that how do u manage without a continuous flow of income!

    Curious to know. Pls do reply as u may help one more person to live her dreams.

    • Hi Geet, I saved some money and then started as a budget backpacker. Slowly I started making money from the blog and getting free (sponsored) travels from tourism boards and independent travel companies. This page has enough resources that will help you get a fair idea: | Hope it helps 🙂

  7. Ruma Dey Baidya

    Hi Dev,
    Nice blog. Pictures of the post are amazing.
    Ruma Dey Baidya

  8. Sayanti Deb

    Nice article. I visited Manali. But, I didn’t know about those places except The Solan. So, missed these beautiful places. Lovely pictures and good info.

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