Often, it becomes tough ( make it as a majority of the time ) to travel on an extreme budget. For example, a solo Manali Trip from Delhi on a budget of under Rs.4600, and that too for 4 days, would sound highly disciplined.
Yes, you heard it right. In this post, I will guide you on how I ended up making a Solo trip to Manali on an Extreme Budget.
Manali and covering Naggar, Vashisht & Jagatsukh by staying 4 Days.
Please keep reading till the end to know how I did it & how you can do it.
How to Reach from Delhi to Manali
Since I was making the Solo Manali Trip on an Extreme budget.
i.e., the easiest and cheapest method to reach Manali is by bus. The Delhi to Manali distance is 540km approx.
I had booked my bus online, and they charged me Rs.1198. The bus Pit stopped for dinner at Dhaba for Rs.154.
You can book Delhi to Manali buses from ISBT Kashmiri Gate & the list of buses is shown below in the chart.
You can also enquire on these numbers to book a bus from ISBT Kashmiri Gate – 01123860290, 01123865472.
Delhi – Manali ( Volvo ) overnight bus
Always try to book the departing bus time between 5 p.m.-8 p.m. because the Volvo buses take around 12hr-13hr to reach Manali. It will give you the advantage of reaching out early & utilizing the morning time usefully.
You should check the bus dropping point.
On that day, due to some bus roadblocks, the Volvo bus dropped everyone at the Patlikuhal. The Patlikuhal to Manali private bus parking distance is 17km.
You can take a local Himachal bus from the Patlikuhal bus stand towards Manali if this situation arises. The bus fare from the Patlikuhal bus stand to Manali will be Rs.30. The local buses will drop you at the Manali bus stand near Manali Mall road.
Chandigarh to Manali
Likewise, Delhi, Chandigarh is a central hub for the nearby place in Himachal.
The Daily HRTC both Ordinary and Volvo buses run between Chandigarh to Manali route. The bus will take around 7-8hrs on average from Chandigarh to reach Manali.
Hostel in which I had Stayed
I stayed in a hostel named The Hosteller in Aleo, Manali. It is around 3.5km away from the Manali Bus stand & the shared dorm price was Rs.997 for 3 Nights.
It’s located in a fantastic location & the reviews are satisfying too, i.e., I decided to book.
You can also choose to stay in the hostels of old Manali.
If you love to make new like-minded friends on your Solo Manali trip, then the hostel is where you should aim.
Jan – April
Weather in Manali from Jan– to April ranges from 5 degrees – to 20 degrees. It’s an offseason in Manali and continues until April, starting from January. Heavy snowfall could attract visitors but often leads to roadblocks.
One of the best things about the offseason is less crowd. But unfortunately, the Rohtang also remains closed from Jan – to April ( Depending on the weather condition ).
May – Aug
May – Aug remains the demanding season. The heat in the city remains on top, and the mountain comes to rescue people.
Pleasant weather makes the Manali most visited in this season.
The month-end of Sept ends the monsoon, and the winter bangs on the doors at the starting of Nov.
4 Days Solo Trip to Manali
Day 1 – Manali
Manali is situated at an altitude of 6725 ft from sea level.
Upon reaching the Manali at 10 a.m. I checked in to my hostel &, without wasting any time, quickly refreshed up & went out to explore the Manali.
I have started my Solo trip to Manali by exploring the town itself.
Hadimba Devi Temple
I started my journey towards Hadimba Devi Temple, around 3-4km away from where I was staying.
Note – I will be sharing walkable distances also and will let you know at the end the reason behind writing distances.
Just before reaching the Hadimba Devi Temple, I had my lunch which is a Tikki with Dahi, for Rs.60 and relived the moment at Hadimba where Bunny told Nena from YJHD (Shaadi is like dal chawal for pachaas saal till you die. Aree life mein Thoda …. remembered?).
I had spent some time admiring the beauty of Hadimba Devi Temple & if you will go ahead, there’s a Ghatotkach temple a few meters away.
I enquired about Old Manali from a local & he had directed me that the backside of the Hadimba Devi temple will take you straight to the Old Manali.
Immediately I left for Old Manali, which is about 2km from the Hadimba Devi temple.
Also Read, Chitkul Travel Guide – ( The guide to the last Indian Village )
Cafes and Hostels = Old Manali,
I had tried food in one of the cafes of Old Manali named The Sunshine Café, which runs by a foreigner, and the food had cost be Rs.280.
One can also enjoy various adventure activities near Old Manali bridge & also Skeeing on the minor part of the land only when it had snowed in Manali.
I walked back from Old Manali to Manali Mall road in the evening to see the happenings around the place. I saw the Mela practiced by the locals of different villages at the Manali Mall road.
You can have a good time around Old Manali. In other terms, a pretty memorable time exploring this side of Manali.
It feels good to see youngsters showing their talent in music or adventure sports, making the environment lively and happening.
At Night, I returned to my hostel, and the dinner I ate was a Maggi for Rs.30.
I have noticed that Maggi all over Himachal costs almost the same rate of Rs. 30 or even more sometimes. So I had spent some time chilling with the hostel staff and went to sleep at 9 p.m. sharp.
*Note – Most of my traveling has been done by foot, and I will mention a vehicle if I had traveled in a car.
Distance Covered by foot Today –
Day 2 – Naggar
How to Reach Naggar from Manali
Manali to Naggar can be easily reachable. Daily local buses go to Naggar from Manali.
Either take a bus from the Manali bus stand or pass by Aleo, Prini, etc.
I had left from Manali to Naggar at 8 a.m. the bus to Naggar passes from Aleo, or you can also take a bus from the Manali bus stand. The Manali to Naggar bus fare is Rs. 30 per person.
However, the buses pass through Aleo, whichever seems closer to you.
Manali to Nagar distance is 22km. Naggar is situated at an altitude of 5905ft above sea level.
Upon reaching Naggar, I had my breakfast at a small Dhaba for Rs.25, which was also my leading food because it would be a long tiring day.
As soon as I was done with my breakfast, I started towards Naggar Castle, a steep climb and small villages.
Stay Options in Nagar
If you are willing to stay in Nagar, you will find lovely stays in Nagar. I think it’s also a good option considering the crowd Manali gets, and in search of peace, everybody gets lost in the group.
The entry fee to Naggar Castle is Rs. 15 per person & the very first sight is breathtaking. It was built (wood and stones), and maintenance was terrific.
You can even book your stay in Naggar Castle and inside there’s also a restaurant with a mountain view. I spent around 1-2 hr. in Naggar Castle and admired the beautiful surroundings from the top.
Naggar is not only about Naggar Castle; let me take you on unknown trails.
I had chosen a path from the two roads and continued my journey.
While passing by, I saw some kids playing cricket and couldn’t control myself and asked them, can I play? And shot some balls out of the ground, though.
I left to explore further to see where the road would take me. As I started to climb up, I reached a place named Dharkanti. The locals had told me the name of the village is Dharkanti.
I had asked the same locality where the other road would take me. The local told me that there’s a Radha Krishna temple just about 1-2km ahead, and the temple is right in the lapse of mountains; it was a blissful feeling to reach there.
A local family takes care of the temple.
Without waiting, I continued my further exploration journey and was excited about what surprises it would bring.
Till now, the Solo trip to Manali has been going superb.
Again, I had come across two paths and had chosen one. While passing by, I had asked an individual what was ahead on this road & received a reply there was a village named Chichogi ahead. I couldn’t see anyone at a distance of 1km and once thought, am I the only one to reach this village?
Maybe or Maybe not.
But the locals told me that people during the summers.
I had reached Chichogi Village and confirmed from the very first house I saw. The lady asked me whether I wanted to buy some homemade socks.
And I told her YES.
I was not wearing the socks that day because they had gone wet.
The lady started to show me the collection of socks and told me it would cost Rs.100, and I couldn’t buy them because I was only left with Rs.40 change and she didn’t have the change of Rs.500 had to go back as well.
So, I decided to move back and felt very bad that I couldn’t buy socks.
The clouds started to appear, and I decided to move back from the same path I had reached Chichogi. So I had my lunch as Maggi for Rs.40.
Naggar to Manali Bus
The Naggar to Manali bus fare was Rs.40 per person, and I stepped down at Prini and walked till I reached my hostel.
In the evening, I had my dinner at Manali mall road for Rs.80; it was quite away from mall road. I cannot even think of eating at mall road because of budget constraints on the Solo Manali trip.
I have to keep an eye on the Manali trip expenses as well.
Distance Covered by foot Today –
Day 3 – Vashisht
How to Reach Vashisht from Manali
Manali to Vashisht can be reached on foot as I had done or else you can take a shared taxi.
There’s a shortcut on the Leh – Manali highway after the petrol pump takes straight up to Vashisht, but it’s steep.
I had started my journey towards Vashisht Manali at 8 a.m. from Aleo to Vashisht by foot & as soon as I reached Vashisht, I had my breakfast as an omelet and lemon tea for Rs.80. Vashisht is situated at an altitude of 6725ft above sea level.
Note– Let me tell you, all the mountains are on a long steep climb, so be prepared or take a vehicle that will drop you.
The Vashisht Baths are believed to be 4000 years old, and there’s a hot water spring called Vashisht Kund inside the temple.
You can take a bath in hot water springs. Upon spending some time there, I started my way toward Jogini falls.
I passed through the village forest and belief that it was your life, don’t ever quit. The Solo trip to Manali was going memorable.
I hadn’t seen such a waterfall at that height before and was mesmerized to reach Jogini falls.
You can refill your water bottle from the river stream because it’s drinkable and pure water.
One can also hike straight up to see the large waterfall & it will take at least 1hr to reach and come down after that. Be careful, especially in the winter, because the path becomes slippery upon the arrival of the snow.
I had asked a local what’s further, and he named “Bahang Village.”
The local accompanied along as he was going in the same direction. That’s a picturesque village as I can see the mighty snowcapped mountains in front of me and happy faces around the town.
There are very few houses, and hard-working people to see around made my day as all the tiredness of continuous walking has just blown away in a matter of time.
As I continued my journey & reached the main road, (Read this carefully).
As soon as you reach the primary road, the left-hand side goes to Manali and the right to Solang valley via Nehru Kund.
The mistake I made here was I wanted to visit Nehru Kund, and instead of taking a right, I walked back the same route.
I bought a crack jack for Rs.20 & crossed Vashisht.
I had reached on-road, and the road was going towards the Nehru Kund. It took me around 10km to get.
But everything happens for a reason, as I got to see these happy faces.
These kids were playing, and I sat down & had a packet of biscuits in hand.
One of them asked, “Kya Kha Rha H, Merko Nhi Dega,” so I gave one biscuit, and all of them came and took 1-2 each and finished the packet in a blink of an eye.
Their mother took them back and told them to say thank you.
I continued my journey further and had my lunch in between at a Dhaba for Rs.60.
You can visit a mandir at Nehru Kund, the main attraction in Nehru Kund, and hot springs in Vashisht.
Manali- Rohtang Road
I could not walk back to my hostel as I had already walked around 25km the same day.
So, I took a shared taxi, the fare was Rs.20, and because of construction work in between, the shared cab had dropped me off just before Aleo.
I started getting an intuition that the Solo Manali trip was turning into something I hadn’t imagined.
At Night, I had a Maggi for Rs.40 and a soup for Rs.99, which sums up my day.
The sleep after hard work is so peaceful that I can’t describe it much.
The total distance covered by foot Today –
Day 4 – Jagatsukh
How to Reach Jagatsukh from Manali
Jagatsukh from Manali is 14km, and it will take around 40-45min to reach.
To reach from Manali to Jagatsukh, you need to catch a bus going towards Naggar. Get down at Jagatsukh because it comes way before Naggar.
The Distance between Jagatsukh and Naggar is 18km & can get covered in a single day.
Aleo to Jagatsukh Manali bus fare is Rs.15 per person.
Upon reaching, I had my parantha breakfast at a Dhaba for Rs.30 since I was on a Solo Trip to Manali.
i.e., I needed to find the cheapest way others could do it.
While having breakfast, I gathered all the knowledge from the locals sitting inside the Dhaba.
One of them organizes treks: the famous Hampta pass, Beas Kund, and many more hikes in the Himalayas. In conversation with him, he told me the places I could go to Jagatsukh.
I proceeded further & crossed the streets of Jagatsukh. Finally, I reached the 5000 years old Jagatsukh Gayatri temple, and on the same day, the preparations for the Mela were taking place.
I decided to spend some time there & further continued my journey.
The local who met at the Dhaba guided me to Banara Village.
I left for Banara from the way the local had told me. It’s only a 20-25min walking distance.
As soon as I started walking towards the Banara Village, the steepness increased drastically like every 30 steps; I began to rest in between.
I met a local who is also going towards Banara Village, and he works for a trekking company.
The man thought I was a local too because of the Himachali cap. We had started to walk, and now when someone is there to talk, the endpoint seems reasonably achievable.
I had reached Banara Village, and the locals told me about the big Pathar present there. The village people worship it as a god named Nag Devta/Patal Devta.
The path was so scary and very small that I managed to reach & take pictures of the big rock.
I wanted to know the history of the Devta, so I enquired in the village. A local took me to the head of the town, and he also didn’t know entirely about its history.
But, they welcomed me and invited me to come inside to eat something.
Jagatsukh to Manali Bus
If you go further, you will be crossing Shuru and can even go to Prini and Aleo from the Banara Village.
But to be on the safer side and considering the height, I decided to walk back down towards Jagatsukh & took the bus.
The Jakatsukh to Aleo bus fare was Rs.10 per person.
I have realized that sleep becomes sweet when the sweat in the winter comes and wipes the whole T-Shirt.
Before leaving one last time, I wanted to eat something heavy & eat my lunch at a Dhaba for Rs.170. The Manali to Delhi bus fare was Rs.1022.
I took a Bus from Manali Mall road and arrived at Green Tax Barrier to reach the pick-up point. It was about 6km from the mall road.
Distance Covered by foot Today –
Manali to Delhi
Both Ordinary & Volvo buses daily run between Manali to Delhi and take 12-13 hrs.
You must pre-book from Online portals like – MakeMyTrip etc., during heavy tourist season, i.e., May – July, and if possible, book a late-night bus because many buses leave during the evening, which causes a traffic jam.
4 Days Solo Manali Expenses
My Solo Manali Expenses sum’s up at Rs- 4,582
Other expenses of Rs.67, for Ex-a packet of chips, etc.
Total distance covered by foot – 79.68km,
I have thought that I would be making a Solo Trip to Manali on a low budget but haven’t thought that I would walk this so much.
I had traveled the majority of the journey on foot. That was why my Solo Manali expenses were on the lower side.
That was the most suitable way, and if you are passionate enough, you can quickly make this Solo trip to Manali on a budget.
If you were willing to explore only Manali, then 1-2 days are pretty enough to spend in Manali.
If you have done something like this on a budget, comment below and share it with me.
Until then, see you on the roads.