Looking for a recommendation for top tourist places in Himachal Pradesh? Here’s my list…
Those who follow my journeys closely, particularly on Instagram, may know that I love Himachal Pradesh. I have spent more time in Himachal than all other places in India put together.
And no, my love for Himachal doesn’t have to do anything with the fact that I was born there. I have lived almost all my life in New Delhi and have hardly visited Himachal until I actually quit my corporate career behind and become a travel blogger.
To further justify my innocence, let me tell you that during my initial year of travel blogging, I didn’t visit Himachal even once but all the other places. I spent almost 3 months in the Northeast, three months in the south of India, and the rest of the time, exploring the Southeast Asian countries. I even took my mother for a 15-day pilgrimage trip to Uttarakhand (the neighboring state to Himachal) but not a single day was spent in Himachal.
So yea, the introduction to Himachal Pradesh happened a little late in my blogging career, and when it finally did, it became like an addiction!
Why Himachal Pradesh Is My Favorite Destination In India
From natural beauty to good infrastructure, Himachal Pradesh excels in almost everything – at least with its neighboring Himalayan states. But what makes it top my list of favorite places in India is the people. The local community in Himachal is, by far, the friendliest I have found across India.
Though there are other Indian communities too that I totally adore, but there’s something exceptional about the people in Himachal that make them stand out.
So yea, as someone has said it, “It’s not the place, I think. It’s the people” is, perhaps, the driving factor!
Top Tourist Places In Himachal Pradesh
I’ve been to the nooks and corners of Himachal. In fact, I have been to places that most people might not have heard of before – villages with no introduction to tourism, to valleys that have no Wikipedia pages or any mentions on Google, but just my blog.
So collecting all my knowledge together and putting an effort to make a list, these are my top 5 favorite destinations in Himachal:
Sethan, Hamta Valley: Out of all the places I’ve been to in the Himalayas, Sethan remains my top favorite. After all, there’s a reason why I decided to start a tourist business in Sethan and not somewhere else.
Sethan offers some of the most beautiful views of the mighty Himalayas and the colossal Dhauladhar range. If I speak about its location, it kind of sits on top of Manali town. From Sethan, you can see at least a dozen layers of mountains and as far as 20km into the Kullu Valley.
I visited Sethan the first time back in 2017 and since then I’ve been there more times than I can remember. Getting there is easy. Just catch a bus to Manali and a 45-minute taxi from Manali to Sethan. A 100% Buddhist town, Sethan introduces you to a different world than you can imagine.
Read More: Sethan, Hamta Valley
Cheog: Until now, every time someone asked me about a real village experience in Himachal Pradesh, I recommended them Hallan Valley or Fojal Valley (in Kullu District). The only problem was, there were no guesthouses in either of the two places. Though I have been to Hallan and Fojal many times and have stayed with local families for weeks, staying with a family and sharing their space may not be very convenient for a regular tourist wanting a bit of privacy.
So what are the options for someone wanting to get a 100% Himachali village experience?
My Answer: visit Cheog, near Shimla.
I happened to visit Cheog in August 2019 and it suddenly became one of my favorite destinations in Himachal. Cheog is meant for those who want to experience a village setting all on top of getting a comfy stay. There are about 20 villages in the town, with almost every person in the village being a farmer.
There is only one guesthouse in the village, run by a local family. So when you’ll in Cheog, rest assured that you will be the only tourist around, living among a few dozen locals.
Read More: Himachal Village Experience In Cheog
Chanshal Valley: Home to Shimla district’s highest peak and the highest motorable pass, Chanshal Valley connects India to Tibet. It is one of the least visited places in Himachal Pradesh but is certainly among the most beautiful ones.
Not many people visit the Chanshal valley. And those who do are either travel junkies or off-beat travel enthusiasts. A trip to Chanshal Pass will make you drive on some of the narrowest and steepest road networks in the world, with many dirt trail patches and slush (especially during monsoon months) making your journey interesting.
Larot remains the basecamp for almost everyone visiting Chanshal Valley that has a few guesthouses. From Larot, the highest point of Chanshal Pass is about 15km.
Read More: Chanshal Valley
Spiti Valley: Spiti Valley is unlike any other region in Himachal. It offers moonland-like landscapes and a setting very similar to that of Ladakh. But where Ladakh (especially places around Leh) is more crowded and commercial, Spiti Valley offers a much real and far better adventurous experience. What’s better is, where Ladakh remains unconnected during winter because of heavy snowfall on high passes, Spiti Valley remains accessible to drive throughout the year.
Spiti Valley is (nearly) 100% Buddhist. So, if you want to explore Buddhist culture and some of the oldest monasteries in India, Spiti is the place to be.
Where most people visit Spiti Valley from Manali and return the same way, I advise you to do a complete loop from Shimla to Kaza (Spiti Valley) to Manali. Though the route is a little longer (takes at least 6 days) you get to see and experience the most of it.
The best way to explore Spiti is by planning a self-driven road trip. Visit Spiti Valley in summer and visit Spiti Valley in winter to experience two very different sides of it!
Read More: Road Trip Across Spiti Valley
More places will be updated in the list soon. I am currently on a motorcycle tour across Himachal Pradesh. If you’ve any personal favorites or suggestions on top tourist places in Himachal Pradesh, please share in the comments below!