Surrounded by mountains, sitting atop the Beas River Valley, boasting a breathtaking view of the rolling hills, Manali is all this and so much more. Biking to it is as delightful as biking within it. However the best possible part about Manali is its proximity to several great tourist traps. All within a day’s distance and all perfectly reached by bikes, these destinations make for the perfect day trips from Manali.
Kasol is a small village in Himachal Pradesh, yet to be devoured by commercialization. It is on the radar of the youth, as it has a vibe of freedom and the hippie life. When in Kasol, you truly admire the silent yet sturdy life of the folks in Himachal Pradesh. Go on a trek, or ride around discovering Israeli cafes.
Head out of Manali onto NH 3, formerly NH 21, until you pass Pashoo Resort. Here, take the left turn to lead you onto Manikaran Road, from where Kasol is around 30 kms away.
Distance: 76 kms
Route: NH 3 and Manikaran Rd
Time: 2.5 hours
2. Rohtang Pass
One of the highest motorable passes in the world, the Rohtang Pass is on the list of many bikers. At an elevation of 13,054 ft., it connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti valleys. It is the gateway to Leh, and is situated on the Pir Panjal mountain range. The pass often sees snow, and attracts several tourists. The pass is only open from mid-May to October, as the months of November to March see extremely harsh weather. It is closed on Tuesdays as that day is reserved for maintenance on the pass.
The Rohtang Pass is a main destination on bikers’ lists of day trips from Manali, which is why we’ve included it, and are notifying you that there is no legal way to make a day trip to Rohtang pass from Manali by bike. In 2010, the National Green Tribunal imposed a daily vehicle limit to the Rohtang Pass, due to the sheer numbers of tourists that would flock here. The daily limit is 1200, but this doesn’t include bikes.
Apply for the cheaper permit to Keylong, which is a little beyond the Rohtang Pass. Ride to Rohtang, enjoy the beauty of the pass, and go further and camp the night out in Keylong. It has several cheap accommodation options as a lot of people use it as an overnight stopover. Return via the pass the next day.
You cannot try to find wiggle room: the permit is checked at Gulaba, 20 kms from Manali and halfway to Rohtang. It relays the data to the Koksar checkpoint at the other end of the pass. If your vehicle is not marked as having crossed Koksar and you simply try to return to Manali, you will be caught at the Gulaba checkpoint as there will be no information relayed from Koksar.
Distance: 51 kms
Route: via Leh-Manali Highway
Time: 3.5 hours
Holding immense religious value to Hindus as well as Sikhs, and equally famous for its hot spring, Manikaran is a must-visit spot on our list of day trips from Manali. At an altitude of 1760 mts, it is seated right on the banks of the Parvati river that roars past. When there, visit the Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara and make it a point to see the hot springs. Caused due to deep fissures in the Parvati Valley that expose the water to geothermal heat, the hot water springs are known for their healing properties. Do not underestimate the heat of this water, it could catch you by surprise!
The route to Manikaran is breathtakingly scenic, running parallel to the Parvati river and surrounded by massive trees.
Distance: 81 kms
Route: via NH3 and Maniran Rd
Time: 2.5 hours
An ancient town with an artsy charm, and largely escaping the noisy crowds that crawl over Himachal, Naggar is the place to find that true escape. First off, your route: scenic, untouched, unlikely to have traffic and running along the River Beas. Second, your destination: Naggar was once the capital of the Kullu Kingdom. You can feel the difference in the air here, it is almost richer, having seen so many years of history.
Lastly, sightseeing: feel your jaw drop as you visit the Naggar Castle; built entirely of wood and stone in the 16th century, a testament to the Kath-khuni technique of architecture, the castle rests on the edge of a cliff. Also visit the Roerich Art Gallery, started by Nicolas Roerich, a Russian painter who was obsessed with the beauty of his surroundings.
Your route to Naggar is downhill, so make sure your bikes have what it takes for the way back to Manali.
Distance: 25 kms
Route: via NH3
Time: 1 hour
Important Points For Day Trips From Manali
Make sure that your bike is fit enough to handle the challenging steep slopes and hairpin bends you’ll come across. Always try to carry extra petrol with you, firmly sealed. If the weather seems bad do not risk a trip as being caught in harsh weather in the middle of nowhere is more terrifying than you think.
Manali has several bike renting facilities due to the high demand. But picking the right one is important, and that’s where we can help you out. So pack those bags and gear up for some memorable day trips from Manali, there’s nothing to stop you!
Related: Exploring Manali By Bike