What to prefer- Old Manali Or New Manali?

Old Manali Or New Manali

Geographically, Manali is split into two distinct areas by the Manalasu River: Old Manali and New Manali. Old Manali appears cleaner and less congested compared to its counterpart.

Manali, a renowned hill station ensconced amidst the scenic mountains of Himachal Pradesh, India, has long been a preferred destination for travelers seeking solace amidst nature’s bounty.

Over time, Manali has undergone substantial development, giving rise to two distinct facets of the town: Old Manali and New Manali.

During your tour, you’ll need to decide whether to explore Old Manali or New Manali, each offering its own unique charm and appeal, catering to different types of visitors.

Allow me to elucidate the disparities and highlights between Old Manali and New Manali.

Atmosphere and Ambience of Old and New Manali

Old Manali epitomizes a vintage allure with its narrow meandering pathways, classic wooden residences, and ancient shrines. It preserves a tranquil and unhurried vibe, perfect for those in pursuit of a peaceful escape. The melodious rush of rivers and the redolence of cedar trees further enrich the captivating atmosphere.

In contrast, New Manali mirrors modernization and commercialism. It brims with lively markets, concrete edifices, and a dynamic nightlife. This sector appeals to tourists seeking a cosmopolitan adventure, boasting plentiful hotels, eateries, and thrilling outdoor activities.

Cultural Heritage of Old and New Manali

Old Manali takes great pride in safeguarding its deep-rooted cultural legacy. It shelters numerous age-old temples such as the Hadimba Devi Temple, venerating the consort of the legendary figure Bhima. The vicinity plays host to traditional festivals and cultural gatherings, offering visitors an opportunity to fully engage with local traditions and rituals.

On the other hand, New Manali, being more cosmopolitan in nature, embraces a blend of cultures. It magnetizes a diverse array of tourists from across the globe, resulting in a melting pot of ideas and influences. This segment of the town thrives with international cuisines, cafes, and art galleries, enriching its multicultural allure.

Nature and Adventure of Old and New Manali

Both Old Manali and New Manali showcase awe-inspiring natural splendor. In Old Manali, one can readily explore unspoiled landscapes and hiking routes. Notably, the Solang Valley and Rohtang Pass, famed for their expansive vistas and exhilarating activities like skiing and paragliding, are easily accessible from here.

New Manali, on the other hand, offers a broader spectrum of adventure pursuits and outdoor sports. Travelers can partake in activities such as river rafting, zorbing, and rock climbing. Moreover, the Beas River, meandering alongside New Manali, presents opportunities for leisurely strolls and picnics.

Accommodation and Facilities At Old and New Manali

Old Manali primarily provides charming guesthouses, budget-friendly hotels, and homestays that harmonize effortlessly with the environment. Lodgings in this area are typically snug and steeped in tradition, offering a glimpse into local customs and lifestyles. Nonetheless, amenities here may be more rudimentary in comparison to those found in New Manali.

New Manali caters to a broader spectrum of budgets and preferences, offering a range of accommodations from lavish resorts to economical hotels and backpacker hostels. The locality boasts modern conveniences such as shopping complexes, ATMs, and supermarkets, ensuring a comfortable experience for visitors during their stay.

Old Manali Cafes-

Café 1947

Café 1947 has awesome vibes and is situated in Old Manali. The place is famous for thin-crust pizzas and riverside experiences while dining.

Manali_Cafe 1947_Photo Credit_Sandeep Singh

[Photo Credit | Sandeep Singh]

Since the place remains crowded and the outdoor sitting area is limited, you might have to wait for some time to grab a table.

The café gives you the feel of classy Irish Cafes. No doubt it is a well-decorated river-side café.

Lazy Dig Café

The location of Lazy Dig Café is as perfect as you could imagine in Manali with some perfect unusual settings.

The café is situated overlooking the river and you can hear the sound of flowing water. It has well maintained covered and outside sitting.

Lazy Dog Cafe_Photo Credit_Trip Advisor & Umesh A

[Lazy Dog Cafe | Photo Credit | Trip Advisor & Umesh A]

We ordered Chicken BBQ wings, chicken steak, and some vegetarian stuff to complete the meal and enjoy our lunch by the side of the gushing river. During the evening they also have live music sessions.

Other than these cafes, old Manali has Dylans Toasted and Roasted Café House, Born Free Café, and Drifter’s Café to name the prominent ones.

New Manali Cafes-

Corner House

I visited their Facebook page to dig further. For vegetarian food lovers, they have introduced “Eggplant Parmigiana” served along with salad and some garlic bread.

Corner House Cafe Manali

Corner House has a nice ambiance and a mouthwatering menu that includes sweet and spicy chicken wings and a variety of sweet bites and brownies.

Dana Coffee House

Dana Coffee, situated at the heart of Mall Road in Manali, is a German Bakery that offers a delightful coffee experience. Be sure to savor a cup of their coffee.

As you enjoy your coffee, you can also marvel at the breathtaking mountains of Manali through their transparent glass windows.

I explored their Facebook page for more information. For those who prefer vegetarian cuisine, they have introduced “Eggplant Parmigiana,” served with salad and garlic bread.

Dana Coffee House

Dana Coffee is right in the middle of Mall Road, Manali. It is a German Bakery. Do relish a cup of coffee. And while sipping your coffee, you can enjoy witnessing the stunning mountains of Manali through their clear glass windows.

They have a bunch of desserts and my personal favorite is pumpkin caramel cake.

Chopsticks & Noodles

Chopsticks is located on the bustling Mall Road in Manali, renowned for satisfying your Chinese cuisine desires in the area.

Their menu also features continental, Japanese, and Tibetan dishes.

Noodles, similar to Chopsticks, is another café with a stylish atmosphere. This establishment has been pleasing customers since 1970.

How to reach Old Manali or New Manali

The government-owned Volvos or private Volvos will drop you near New Manali.

You can reach old Manali on foot, which takes 15-20 minutes to reach from New Manali. The distance between New Manali & Old Manali is 3 km.

One can also take an auto-rickshaw or taxi from New Manali which are available in readily.


In summary, both Old Manali and New Manali provide unique experiences tailored to various types of travelers.

Old Manali enchants visitors with its tranquil surroundings and rich cultural legacy, whereas New Manali attracts those in search of a livelier and cosmopolitan environment.

Regardless of which area of Manali you opt to discover, the majestic beauty of the Himalayas and the hospitality of the locals promise to create lasting memories during your visit.


What is the difference between Old Manali & New Manali?

Manali is bifurcated into two distinct areas, Old Manali and New Manali, separated by the Manalasu River. Old Manali presents a cleaner, quieter, and less congested environment in contrast to New Manali. Over time, Manali has undergone substantial development and change, resulting in the emergence of these two contrasting facets of the town. Notably, the renowned Mall Road of Manali is situated in New Manali.

How far is Old Manali from New Manali?

The distance separating New Manali from Old Manali is 3 kilometers. During the day, it’s feasible to walk from New Manali to Old Manali, a journey that typically takes 15-20 minutes. However, if you’re arriving in the evening with heavy luggage, it’s advisable to hire auto-rickshaws or taxis from New Manali to reach your destination in Old Manali.

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