The Adrenaline Junkie’s 12 Options for Adventure in Manali

With are so many ways to find adventure in Manali; the options can be overwhelming! First of all see my complete guide on what to do, when to go, where to sleep, and what to eat and buy.

If you’re coming for fresh air, don’t let walking around the markets be all the air you get. Do something adventurous! Most activities up north start from Salong valley, “snow point”, but no need to get yourself there. You can book it all in Manali. Here are some options.

12 Adventures for the Adrenaline Junkie

Disclaimer: there are a couple on here that aren’t going to necessarily make your heart race, but they are awesome opportunities so I’m mixing them in to trick you adventurists into trying them!

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1. Whitewater Rafting.

Rafting is a great option while in Manali! Groups are put together by many different companies and almost every hotel. The water is quite cold but manageable. It’s a relaxing rafting ride and safety isn’t an issue, unless you’re not sober. Personally, I don’t like rafting unless it’s grade 4 or 5’s, because I’ve been a little spoiled. Unless it’s quite cheap, I won’t usually go on low graded rapids.

2. Paraglide.

I love paragliding! I didn’t have it in my budget to go again while in Manali, but I’m saving up for next time!

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3. Trek or Hike.

You can go north into Spiti Valley with several companies. If you come off-season you’re less likely to find a guide. During season, find some travel buddies to help keep the price down. Manali is a great hub for adventure. Some treks are daily and others take 3 to 4 days to complete. If this interests you, you need to pack boots!

4. Heal & Learn.

Manali is a great place to take relaxing laid-back classes in mediation, reiki, or yoga (at Shri Hari Yoga Ashram). You can get massages and reflexology. Expect an Ayurveda massage to cost about 500 or more in the tourist areas. You can take classes here to learn massage and all the rest as well. Someone will offer to read your palm, use acupressure and magnetism on you, heal your chakras and use color healing on you- why not give it a go!? Maybe they’re one of these true Indigo children… and what they teach you could change your life! Journeying with Chloe really opened my eyes, which is hard to do to a western trained nurse.

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5. Heli-ski.

Okay, admittedly this one is a little dangerous. Even though I have been skiing and snowboarding since I was a little kid I don’t think I’d do it unless I read a lot more into it. I’ve heard horror stories- BUT if you are experienced then you should go for it!

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6. Climb a Mountain.

Amazing time to do it. The prices aren’t like hiking base camps of those “go-to” mountains, so you’ll get a really good deal here.

7. Walk to Hadimba Devi Temple.

We made a day of this and then headed on into Manali town to check it out. This will be on your way down from Old Manali into town; just ask along the way and people will direct. This free temple is different than most- made of wood and full of animal bones!

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8. Ride a yak.

Why? No idea. But it was there and it was BIG and someone said, “Want to ride this yak?” so I did. It was pretty cool for only Rs 50. Oh, but skip the yak milk and cheese. I’m sure it’s part of why I felt so sick at that time.

9. Drive.

“Surely the gods live here; this is no place for man” -Rudyard Kipling, while exploring Leh

This is where people start to take the Rohtang pass to Leh. Supposedly one of the most dangerous roads by bus, bike and car seems to be the safest option. You’re guaranteed spectacular glacier views. Keep in mind this pass closes by at latest November. It’s become known as the “valley of the gods”.

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10. Fishing.

People always eat trout at least once while at this river. It’s full of them! So why not get a license for 100 rupees a day and go fishing. I mentioned in my guide to manali how much I want to get a cottage by the lake and fish next time I’m there.

11. Zorbing.

Zorbing is the best. I’ve done it once in Goa and would love to do it again but on land this time!

12. Lounging in a Natural Hot Tub.

There are hot springs in Vashist that are worth a visit whether you like soaking in them or not. I explain more in my guide to Manali, but it really does feel nice to be in hot water while the cold air is around you. It was very local while I was there with not too many tourists, but I can’t see it being that way during season time.

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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.

4 Comments

  1. Joella J in Beijing May 30, 2014 at 8:10 am - Reply

    Haha I love the bit about the Yak- it was there so you rode it! Sounds like something I would do. I’ve never tried white water rafting or paragliding but would love to. I love hiking and climbing mountains and all that stuff. I think the most adrenaline junkie thing I ever did was a bungie jump over the sea- but I looked ridiculous because I was so scared and wasn’t exactly graceful (I still did it though) ha!

    • Rachel Jones May 30, 2014 at 10:50 am - Reply

      omgsh you HAVE to white water raft! it’s so fun! Do they have a lot of adventure opps in China? I also love bungee jumping :)

  2. John June 2, 2014 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    Gosh, I would give a king’s ransom to be able to step out like you have and go for it, your a inspiration to the young and even the old , like me

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