Are you contemplating about a trip to Himachal and confused between Kinnaur Vs Manali ? If that’s the case, let me help you decide.
Based on my extensive travels to Kinnaur and Manali, I’ve come up with this blog in order to clear all your questions and queries and help you choose. So lets get started.
Kinnaur Vs Manali – A Super Useful Comparison Blog !
Kinnaur and Manali need no introduction. Both are amongst top destinations in Himachal frequented by travelers.
Manali is an evergreen tourist resort surrounded by lofty Pir-Panjals and towering pines catering to all kinds of tourists.
While Kinnaur is a whole district with scenic vistas, eccentric tribal culture, rustic villages and only a select few tourist destinations.
Kinnaur Versus Manali – Which Is More Accessible
With four-lanning work in full swing and almost complete on Manali highway, reaching Manali has never been easier. One can now reach Manali from Delhi in around 12 hours in self-drive cars (excluding breaks).
By overnight Luxury volvos one can reach Manali in around 13-14 hours. Therefore, your journey to Manali is generally quite comfortable and is going to be more comfortable in the coming months and would cut down a couple of hours.
The same cannot be said for Kinnaur. Most places of interest in Kinnaur like Kalpa, Sangla take around 14 hours in self-drive car (excluding breaks).
There are no luxury buses to Kinnaur. Only ordinary buses run overnight from Delhi to Reckong Peo and Sangla it takes around 18 hours for them to reach.
My Take – So Manali takes the win here. Thanks to a good road connectivity, less time taking, comfortable public transport.
Is Kinnaur Better OR Manali – In Terms Of Landscapes
I have mentioned this across several comparison blogs and I would reiterate, beauty is quite subjective. And comparing landscapes of Kinnaur and Manali isn’t even a fair game.
Kinnaur is whole district, So you witness varied landscapes across different destinations in Kinnaur. From Typical mid-Himalayan terrain to high-altitude desert, Kinnaur has it all.
While only landscapes from Kalpa, Sangla & Chitkul rake all the mullah on Social media, but Kinnaur has so much more to offer in terms of vistas, apart from these usual suspects.
Manali on the other hand offers a scenic view of majestic Pir-Panjals along with delightful charm of Dhauladhars and is surrounded by towering pine forests.
My Take – Kinnaur gets the win here thanks to varied landscapes it has to offer in my opinion. But again as I said, it isn’t even a fair competition to pit a whole district against a picturesque hill-town.
Kinnaur Vs Manali – In Terms Accommodation
Unlike Manali, Kinnaur has risen in popularity amongst travelers only for the past decade or so. But thanks to a surge in travelers across Kalpa, Sangla, Chitkul a lot of accommodation options have pop-up
Homestays, hotel, guesthouses, luxury camps, luxury hotels and even a popular hostel company, Zostel can be found across different destinations in Kinnaur. But again almost all of them are concentrated only in Kalpa, Sangla, Chitkul.
Manali on the other hand is one of the popular resort in Indian Himalayas with decades of catering to several kind of tourist.
From Luxury resorts to inexpensive backpackers hostels and everything in between, Manali has it all. So much so that over the past decade rampant construction has taken away the charm of Manali.
With a lot of demand for quaint stays thanks to the touristy clamour of Manali, a lot of stay options have now popped up in the nearby villages.
My Take – Manali gets the win here, simply because of the sheer number accommodation options as per budget. Kinnaur just doesn’t have those numbers yet.
Does Kinnaur Have Better Cafes OR Manali
Kinnaur lacks when it comes to hippie-styled cafes offering different cuisine like the ones you find in backpacking havens like Manali, Kasol, Dharamkot etc.
The cafes are limited to Kalpa, Sangla & Chitkul and very few serve mutli-cuisine delicacies.
If we talk about Manali and nearby, you have plethora of cafes to choose from which offer delectable dishes across various cuisines. Cafe hopping is indeed one of the popular things people do while in Manali.
Some of the popular cafes in Manali include, The Lazy dog, Rocky’s Cafe, Dylan’s Cafe, Cafe 1947, Fat Plate Cafe to name a few.
My take – There is no debate on this one. Manali is the clear winner here. Thanks to sheer number of cafes offering varied type of cuisine. Even the combined trio of popular K
Is Kinnaur Better OR Manali – Which Is More Budget Friendly
With inexpensive hotels, hostels, plenty of inexpensive food joints, and quite accessible and robust public, Manali is one of the most budget-friendly destinations in the himalayas.
If you stay in inexpensive hostels/hotels, eat at Dhabas, and use public transport/hike you should be easily be able to limit your daily expense to around INR 500 per day.
While Kinnaur is not that expensive but still awaits true budget backpackers hostel. Therefore you might end up around spending at least around INR 800 to INR 1000 per day.
Even the dorm beds in Kinnaur are at least INR 500. So would need to spend at least INR 700 if you had your meals at Dhaba’s.
My Take – This one was quite straight forward to be honest. When you have backpackers hostel offering dorm beds for INR 250 and inexpensive hotel rooms priced at INR 300- INR 500, Manali has ought to be the winner. The rates might be slightly higher during summers though and exorbitant during New year. avoid Manali during this period if you are on a shoe string budget.
Kinnaur Vs Manali – In Terms Of Trekking trails
Manali is the hub of hiking and trekking activities. But again pitting a whole district against a hill town with easy access to several picturesque hikes isn’t fair.
Famous treks in and around Manali include Bhrigu lake, Hampta pass, Beas Kund, Rani Sui lake, etc. While short hikes like Jogini waterfalls, Lamadugh etc are perfect as half-day or day hikes.
Of course, there are plenty more lesser-frequented day hikes and treks in Manali. But you get the point.
Kinnaur on the other hand is a whole district, with only 2-3, of famous treks like Pin-Bhabha pass and Kinnaur Kailash pilgrimage. But trust me there is so much more to Kinnaur.
You can embark on day hikes to the high-altitude farmlands perched above the villages called Kanda’s in Kinnaur. Go on multi-day treks which are otherworldly and unheard of.
My Take – Again this is not even a fair comparison. Kinnaur would have the win, just because it is the 3rd largest district of Himachal. But again Manali is just a town.
Kinnaur Versus Manali – Which is Better Family destination
Both Kinnaur and Manali are good family friendly destinations. Manali has been a prominent family destination for more than four decades.
With easy access, varied accommodation options, numerous sightseeing spots, Manali has been always been amongst top destinations for holiday preferred by the families.
Kinnaur on the other hand has just received spotlight over the past decade or so. And that too because of Spiti’s exponential surge in popularity.
Neverthless with roads improving, stay options increasing, Kinnaur has become quite a hit with families wanting to escape the conventional destinations of Shimla and Manali.
Therefore, as a family both Manali and Kinnaur are great options. Only difference is Kinnaur will still appear a bit raw for those are used to touristy towns like Manali.
But of course, Kinnaur’s main destinations perfectly cater to all the needs that a family would want for a quaint holiday in the Himalayas.
My Take – This one is tie in my opinion. If you stick to the touristy towns in Kinnaur you have the same facilities as you would in Manali minus the insane crowd. Just the number of stay options will be lesser than Manali.
Is Kinnaur Better OR Manali – As A Winter Destination
For a lot of folks in India, witnessing live snowfall is dream and they seldom or never experienced it. This is one of reasons why Manali has surged in terms of popularity as winter destination over the decades.
Gone or are the days when Manali was frequented by tourists and travelers during balmy summer months.
Thanks to better facilities, tons of snow points due to Atal Tunnel, Hamta & Solang, Manali receives decent footfall even during winters.
You can do basic snow activities and even basic to intermediate snow boarding in Sethan (Hamta) during peak winters.
Although same cannot be said for Kinnaur. Although you can enjoy snowfall at places like Kalpa, Sangla, Chitkul but there are no proper
My Take – Manali is again a clear winner when it comes to facilities as a winter destination like skiing, snowboarding and of course snowfall. Most of the Kinnaur receives good snowfall as well, but there aren’t facilities like Manali in any destination of Kinnaur. They might come up in the near future in Kinnaur.
Kinnaur Vs Manali – In Terms Of Internet Connectivity
When it comes to internet connectivity, it is once again not a fair comparison to be very honest. The reason is same the as I already mentioned multiple times. Kinnaur is a big district, while Manali is just a touristy town.
Internet connectivity in Manali is top-notch. All the mobile networks work pretty well in Manali. Even a lot of properties offer good WIFI connectivity in Manali.
The same cannot be said for Kinnaur though. Again being a whole district, while internet works at most of the places in Kinnaur, It works better in main towns like Reckong Peo, Kalpa, Sangla.
At some places the speed might not be up to the mark, but either Jio or Airtel or both work in most of the villages in Kinnaur. Again but don’t expect WIFI connectivity might not be as commonly available as it is Manali even in the main towns.
My Take – Manali is for sure better in terms of internet connectivity. But again you cannot compare a whole district with the most popular Himalayan tourist town of India. Major tourist destinations of Kinnaur like Kalpa, Reckong Peo, Sangla are connected with decent internet.
To conclude, I hope I’ve put forth a decent comparison between Kinnaur vs Manali that will help in choosing Kinnaur or Manali for your next trip.
In case you have any queries make sure to drop them in the comments and I’ll be happy to address them to the best of my knowledge.