Manali is considered the main starting point (between June and October) for trips to Ladakh and Spiti. It is always a good idea to unwind and rest in Manali for a few days before making the long journey into the mountains.
Manali’s popularity has skyrocketed over the years, becoming a bucolic retreat for Indian tourists who look to escape the city during the brutal summer months. About 800-1000 hotels and guesthouses have sprung up in the main centre and on the outskirts. From mid-April to mid-July, and then from mid-September to mid-October, the town is buzzing with activity and is overrun with cars trying to navigate the narrow lanes and main roads leading to Manali. Most tourists prefer staying in the villages of Vashisht or Old Manali. However, these villages are partially closed during November and April. Old Manali is a must visit. It is located about 2km northwest of the Mall on the far end of the Manalsu Nala stream. It is the main backpacker zone and still retains the old-world Indian village charm. One can find a number of old houses made of wood and stone. Located nearby is the famous Manu Maharishi Temple. Legend has it that the temple was built on the site where the ark of Manu, the creator of civilisation, landed once the great flood ended. The Public Baths is an interesting place to visit in Manali. These sulphur-laden hot springs are connected to the small public baths located inside the Vashisht Mandir. The Nature Park should also be listed on the places to visit in Manali because of the towering cedar pines. It is by far the best route between the centre and Old Manali. To the south of the centre lies the Van Vihar Park.