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The Ultimate Guide to Packing for a Trip to Manali

by Kosha Admin 02 Jul 2024

Are you planning a snowy getaway to Himachal Pradesh anytime soon? Well, a trip to Manali should be on your checklist in that case. But while you’re packing you should also be aware of what to wear in Manali in winter.

If you need help with packing tips for Manali, here’s a post for you. So make notes of the things you come across in this post. It might be useful when you plan and shop for the trip.

A Little About Manali and Its Weather

Manali is a beautiful hill station situated at an altitude of 2050m. It’s surrounded by snow and greenery all around. These features make it one of the best tourist spots in India. Manali is the real charm of north India.

With the first snowfall of the season, Manali gets a new charming look. So, if you want to spend some time in the snow and enjoy the splendours of Indian winters, plan a Manali sightseeing trip.

The hill station’s beauty can leave you awestruck within no time. Hence, everyone must plan a trip to Manali once atlease once in their lifetime.

This place is a classic blend of peace and tranquillity. These aspects are enough to attract all nature lovers to set out on a trip to Manali.

Ways to Travel for a Trip to Manali

By Air

If you’re flying to Manali, the nearest airport is Bhuntar. It’s about 50 kilometres from Manali. Many cities are connected via domestic flights from Bhuntar. You can take a pre-paid taxi to Manali from the airport. But, flights may not be the most dependable way to land in or depart from Manali. The weather conditions play a role here.

By Bus

Manali connects you to fantastic tourist destinations such as Leh, Shimla, Kullu, and Dharamshala via the state-run and private buses. You should book your tickets in AC bus coaches for an affordable jourey to Manali. They’re also comfier than regular buses. It’s especially true owing to the fact that it takes you quite some time to reach your destination.

Self Drive

The drive up to Manali is phenomenal. Who doesn’t imagine themselves on a road trip to their holiday spot? Almost every turn on the twisty uphill road has a scenic view of the surrounding hills and valleys. Many tourists prefer to drive themselves up to Manali. But you should hire driver or a taxi if you’re not comfortable in mountainous areas.

By Train

The nearest railway station to Manali is Jogindernagar. It connects the hill station to several important cities. Trains from Chandigarh and Ambala can also take you to Manali. If you’re travelling from Mumbai to Manali, the estimated travel time:

- By Road: 1948 kms, 36 hours

- By Air: 1360 kms, 2 hours and 5 minutes.

The Role of the Atal Tunnel

The Atal Tunnel is located in the Rohtang Pass. This 9.02 km-long tunnel is located at an altitude of more than 10000 ft. As the name suggests, it has been named after India’s former Prime Minister Late Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.It connects Manali with Lahaul. It has also been recognized as the world's longest single-tube highway at this height. The honours were done by the World Book of Records, London.

The iconic tunnel is an engineering marvel in the Himalayas. It offers safe and all-weather connectivity to remote regions, and eventually to the rest of India.It has proved to be a game-changer for the Lahaul and Spiti districts in Himachal Pradesh as well.

The tunnel’s southern portal near Manali stands at a height of 9840 ft. The north portal is at Sissu in the Lahaul valley. It’s mounted at a height of 10,171 ft.The tunnel has also reduced the distance between Manali and Keylong by 46 km. This in itself saves you more than two hours' worth of travel time.

The Manali Weather: Season by Season

The summer season spans from March till June. The weather is still pleasant during the summer months. The temperatures during these months range between 10-25 °C.

So you might need light woollen clothing during the night.

Monsoons can be tricky in this wonderland. It’s because the region experiences heavy rainfall during the period from July-September. Temperatures fall in the range of 10-16 °C. And the temperature there in monsoon season is approximately 10-16 °C


Winter in Manali starts setting in from October. The temperature in the winter months can go down to -5°C, so make sure you carry enough thermals to keep yourself warm, especially for the chilly nights.

You can enjoy snowfall towards the end of December and January. The snow gives the surroundings a spectacular scenic white view.

It’s a pleasure to look at the surrounding mountains covered in snow. This could attract many newly wed couples for a honeymoon trip.

It’s also the ideal time for those who wish to go skiing in Manali.

What to Pack for a Trip to Manali: As Per Season

During Summer

During the warm months, you'll find a few patches of snow at higher altitudes. At this time, the whole valley blooms with flowers of varied colors.

As I mentioned earlier, the temperature keeps fluctuating between 10-25 °C. As a result, the weather stays delightful during the day and cold during the night.

Hence, you must pack the right clothing for every summer trip to Manali. Here are some of your options:

1) 3-4 full-sleeve T-shirts (You’ll need them to avoid getting yourself tanned in the heat.

2) 2 pairs of half-sleeve t-shirts and neck gaiters. If you’re going in for half-sleeve t-shirts, then ensure you carry summer sleeves for men and women.

3)  Comfy pair of track pants or joggers. 2-3 pairs should be fine for a week-long trip.

4) 4-5 Pairs of Cotton Socks

5) Undergarments. Check the clothes you’re packing and duration of the trip. Pack your undergarments accordingly.

6) 1 all-weather Jacket. This would come in handy when you visit the Rohtang Pass or go camping elsewhere.

7) Pea cap to avoid the sun’s glaring heat.

8) Toiletries

During Monsoon

Kosha all weather jackets for men and women

As I've mentioned, the monsoon temperatures in Manali fall between 10-16 °C. If you visit during this season, you won't see much crowd. Hence will be able to spend some time in isolation with your family. If you're the adventurous type, please avoid trekking at this time of the year.

Having said that, here are some of your ideal clothing options for the monsoon season:

1) 3-4 quick-drying t-shirts

2) 2-3 pairs of Sweatshirts and thermals

3) Quick-drying joggers

4) 4-5 Pairs of Woollen Socks

5) Undergarments. Check the clothes you’re packing and duration of the trip. Pack your undergarments accordingly.

6) 1 all-weather Jacket. This would come in handy when you visit the Rohtang Pass or go camping elsewhere.

7) Toiletries

During Winter

Winter is the time you will find temperatures fall below 0 °C. The high altitude and snowfall could make acclimatization difficult for you.

Hence, keep a check on your tolerance levels. Along with this, also ensure that you carry the following items for a winter trip:

-  You can carry along your entire summer kit for a winter vacation too. But when you’re packing your socks, they should be woolen varieties.

- Thermal tops and pants for men and women are a must for winter trips to Manali. They’re useful as the base layer in a layered winter outfit. Winter layering is essential in extreme winter temperatures.

- You’ll also need a sweatshirt/Merino wool pullover for a winter trip.

- Snow Pants and waterproof jackets are key especially if you’re travelling to the Rohtang Pass.

- Accessories are also a must for your Manali trip. You can pack a few woollen beanies and gloves. If you’re going to play in the snow. Ensure that you have waterproof gloves on your hands.

Some General Packing Tips for Manali

We will read about what to wear in Manali in the following segment. But before that, you must know a few general packing tips. The basic necessities of a traveler include:

- Eatables

- Electronic gadgets and appliances

- Necessary travel documents

Eatables - Dry Fruits

All the adventurous activities you enjoy in Manali can consume the energy in your body. To ensure minimum chances of physical constraints you need to keep your energy at a decent level.

Carrying dry fruits can help out with that. It's always the best option. It hardly takes up any space in your luggage either. It also doesn’t become stale easily and can be consumed at any point in time.

Camera and Batteries

Do you enjoy photography and capturing moments? Then don’t forget to carry your camera. Remember to keep one or two spare batteries along with you. Always keep an extra charger for your electronic devices.

A power bank becomes a crucial requirement, especially for people who have a habit of using their phones every now and then.

If possible you should keep at least two power banks always fully charged because it will really become hard to look out for charging ports in such deserted regions.

Travel Documents

You would always need some essential documents for your travels wherever you may go. Here are some of the common travel documents you might need for a trip to Manali:

  1. A government identity card such as Aadhar Card, Passport, Driver's License, or Voter ID.
  2. Make sure that you carry both the original and the photocopied versions of every document you have.
  3. Other essential documents include a printout of the itinerary, a copy of flight tickets, medical insurance copy, a hotel reservation slip, and a passport-size photograph.

Along with these items, there are some that are completely non-negotiables. So do make a note of these items too. They should be in your luggage along with the other clothes and things you carry:

  • Sunscreen : You need to protect yourself from the glaring heat. Of course, you wouldn’t want to get tanned on the holiday.
  • Lip Balm : This would be very useful, especially during the winter season. That’s often the time when the lips begin to get dry. In such cases, you need to apply the balm and keep them moist.

Pro tip: Chavanprash helps you deal with changing temperatures and also boosts your immunity.

Top Tourist Spots in Manali

Manu Temple

It’s the only temple in India for Lord Manu. It’s believed that after saving mankind from the great flood, Manu somehow landed in Manali and started living here. The temple is located 3 kms away from the main market in the old Manali Region.

Gauri Shankar Temple

This temple is located in the Dashal village and this is centuries-old. After exploring the temple, enjoy strolling across the lush apple orchard. You could also get down to the river stream for a chilly dip.

Bhrigu Lake

This lake is also known as “Pool of the Gods”. It’s a picturesque water body that attracts countless visitors every year. The Hindus consider this lake to be sacred. Hence, many devotees flock to this site.

The Nehru Kund is a natural spring that adds more value to the lake’s beauty. It’s fed by the waters of Bhrigu Lake.

For all you nature lovers and photo fanatics, Bhrigu lake is an unmissable attraction. Capture the best shots during sunrise in the morning. The sun rays create a dazzling effect on the water that’s pretty aesthetic.

Rohtang Pass

Usually the summer period doesn’t see much of snow. But if you’re visiting the Rohtang Pass, that isn’t the case. In winter the mountains are anyways covered in snow.

In May, Rohtang becomes a hub for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The snow-caped mountains provide the perfect opportunity to go skiing and scooter riding.

Solang Valley

Here’s another scenic spot in the wonderland that is Manali. Solang Valley is best approached by road. The drive up to Solang is extremely picturesque. Once you’re there, you must try out some Chinese food from the local roadside shacks.

Hampta Pass

This pass connects Kulu valley to Lahaul. It passes through the Pir Panjal range. On one side, it offers an awesome view of Lahaul’s cold desert.

On the other side, there’s loads of greenery to explore in Kullu. These aspects make it one of the most desired places to visit in Manali.

Rozy Waterfalls

The forested mountains and green valleys encircling these waterfall form a sensational backdrop. The awesome sight of Rozy Falls' white waters disgorging from a towering height creates precious and unforgettable memories.

You might fall in love with nature and it’s beauty after checking out these waterfalls. The surrounding hills are adorned with tall deodar and palm trees. They too are captivating attractions in themselves.

Activities to Do in Manali


Skiing is one of the popular activities to indulge in while at Manali. It offers you the opportunity to have a gala time in the snow. Skiing also provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy the thrill of winter sports.

Gliding down the snow-covered slope on your ski is a wonderful feeling as you come across some lovely alpine views. And remember, when you plan to go skiing, think of Solang Valley.

Solang Valley is known for its fun and adventurous skiing experiences. This location gives you access to state-of-the-art ski lifts.

It also has skiing slopes for people right from the beginner to advanced level. Other than this spot, have a good time skiing in Marhi, Gulaba, and Dhundi.


Manali is truly a paradise for trekking enthusiasts. The Himalayas offer abundant scope for adventure sports. The beautiful destination offers stunning trek trails set amid the snow-capped Himalayas. But as I said, avoid this activity during the monsoon period.

The most popular trails are:

- Rohtang pass

- Bhrigu Lake Trek

- Chanderkhani Pass

- Tapri to Kalpa

- Sar Pass

- Sangla to Baranag Trek


To experience the delights of the valley, try camping. The year-round availability of camps offers comfortable accommodations and a number of adventure activities like:

- Rock Climbing

- Rappelling

- Paragliding

- ATV Ride

- Ice Skiing

- Heli-Skiing

Also, camping in Solang Valley is definitely one of the top things to do in Manali in the winter.


What is the best time to visit Manali?

The best time to visit Manali depends on your interests. If you want to go trekking, the best time is from April to June and September to October. If you want to enjoy winter sports, the best time is from December to February.

How many days are required for a trip to Manali?

You can explore Manali and nearby places in 3 to 4 days. However, if you want to go on longer treks or spend more time relaxing, you can stay for a longer duration.

How to reach Manali?

The nearest airport to Manali is Bhuntar. You can also reach Manali by road or train.

What are the must-visit places in Manali?

Some of the must-visit places in Manali include: Rohtang Pass, Solang Valley, Hadimba Temple, Vashisht Hot Springs, Manali Lake, Mini Switzerland.

What are the things to keep in mind while planning a trip to Manali?

Here are some things to keep in mind while planning a trip to Manali:

* The weather in Manali can be unpredictable, so it is advisable to pack for all seasons.

* There are many places to visit in Manali, so it is important to plan your itinerary carefully.

* Book your accommodation in advance, especially during the peak season.

* Be aware of the local customs and traditions.


So as you plan a trip to Manali, keep all these things in mind. You must prepare yourself well for whichever season you're visiting this wonderland in. You should also find yourself a nice spot to live while you're in Manali, I hope this post guides you while you sit to pack your bags for Manali next time.

Also, for any queries related to wearing thermals, base layers, or winter wear in general, visit Kosha’s store and get a free consultation! While you’re at it, check out Kosha’s website for the wide range of thermals and base layers available at Kosha.

This blog article is written by Kosha Team Member – Pallavi Kokane.

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