Offbeat Places Near Manali: Guide to Sethan and others

Last updated: May 2020

I am one of those travelers who appreciate the idea of visiting offbeat Places and staying away from the tourist trail. Popular towns like Shimla, Darjeeling or Gangtok hold little to no interest for me. I would rather stay a week in some offbeat, unheard-of town located some 20 km south of Darjeeling that no one has even heard of before than staying a night in Darjeeling. There are so many beautiful Places in Himachal Pradesh and Manali is very Popular tourist destination in Himachal which always remains crowded, So read about Offbeat places near Manali.

While planning a few days trip to Manali and researching a bit about what to see and do in Manali I came across names of a few offbeat towns – places that looked much more surreal and relaxing than Manali itself. As Manali, I have heard, has become one tourist mess in the recent year with more traffic to be found on its narrow lanes than in the capital city New Delhi. So as I searched more on the internet about Places near Manali, I came across this tiny Buddhist town of Sethan that felt like a perfect escape which is more peaceful than Manali.

offbeat Places near Manali

Why to Visit:

Located only 15km from Manali, Sethan is a place for slow travellers and alternative to Manali. With no more than 15-20 houses under its premises, and almost no tourist visiting Sethan it remains a peaceful highlight of Manali. 90% of the families staying in Sethan are moreover Buddhists, who migrated from Spiti Valley and the adjoining areas of Tibet and they were given land permit/grant by the then Government of India offering a total unusual (yet equally beautiful) experience and a starkly different side of Himachal Pradesh – something that may make you think about McLeodgunj or Dharamshala. This way you can experience Tibetan Buddhist culture.

Sethan is moreover a restricted area, meaning, any tourist visiting Sethan require to obtain a permit. Getting the permit, however, is easy and requires about 100 Rupees per vehicle. The permit can be obtained while on the way to Sethan.

sethan village near Manali

To get there, you can hire a taxi from Manali (please note that there is No public bus service available to Sethan) that may cost 1500 Rupees per trip. If, however, you’re driving, you can get all the way to Sethan on your own. Just pay for that 100 Rupees permit and trade-on.

Also Read: Travel Guide to Kedarnath

If you’re not a very experienced driver, be advised that the road is not a very good shape and offers a total off-roading experience (that requires expert level driving skills). But rest assured, after 35 hair-pin bend you will be rewarded with the most gorgeous Himalayan views you might have ever seen in life. At nearly 700m down, you get to see the majestic Kullu Valley, with your eyes taking you to as far as 30 or 40km (or even more!).

Where to Stay:

Speaking of the 35th hair pin bend, is where you will also find the most ideal place to stay in Sethan. FootlooseCamps: a place for for those who appreciate the idea of living close to nature. It is best Place around Manali for the stay.

footloose camps Manali

Footloose Camps promises all comforts of a traveler – from on-site parking to in-house wifi to a great ambiance. The campsite is moreover located in an Apple Farm, making the entire experience precious for the romantics.

The campsite charges 1200 Rupees per person per night. But it includes everything you may need: accommodation, all meals, unlimited hot drinks, bonfire, hot water for a shower, and anything else you may exclusively want.This is worth the amount for secluded Place than spending money on Manali.

Manali camping

Things To Do In Sethan:

If you are visiting during summer, the ideal thing to do is camping and trekking, because unlike Manali, weather in Sethan remains pretty cool (and warm during the day) making it ideal to relax under the shade of your tent.

offbeat Places near Manali

Sethan in winter transforms into some place that’s hard to imagine in India. It looks as if someone has laid down a white sheet in the form of snow.It becomes Ski and snowboarding with perfect slopes in that area.

Other than being the route to Hamta Pass Trek, Sethan offers many small day treks/hike – with a popular one being a day trek to Lama Dug. Other day treks to Jobri-Nallah, Lover’s point and more, can also be tried. They are all fit for someone with medium-level fitness.

Solang Valley:

Solang Valley is 15 Kms from Manali, enroute to Rohtang Pass.SOlang Valley is Popular for adventure enthusiasts for activities like Paragliding,Quad Biking,Zip lining, snow sledging etc. But you can also camp here suring summer.If you are traveling from Manali to Rohtang, Solang Valley is must visit offbeat Places near Manali for a quick stop.There are many nearby restaurants to satiate your tastes.In winter, valley transforms into snow carpets, a perfect winter destination with snow clapped mountains! 

Kullu Valley:

Located on the banks of river Beas, Kullu Valley is famous as heaven of gods. Kullu Valley is settled in idyllic setting with snow clapped mountains,river Beas and lush green hills make it perfect offbeat destination near Manali.Kullu is famous for its festival Kullu Dussera and other famous religious temples like Trijugi Narayan Temple and Bijali Mahadev Temple – so the Kullu Valley is known as valley of Gods. Bijali Mahadev temple trek is most famous among trekkers. Don’t miss Kullu if you are looking for offbeat Manali attractions.


If you are Visiting Manali, take a slight detour and visit most hipster town Kasol in Parvati Valley. Starting at the confluence of River Parvati and River Beas, Parvavati Valley is surrounded by coniferous forest,streams and snow clapped mountains. Kasol is located 70 Kms from Manali and it is perfect destination for trekkers and nature lovers. Top things to do in Kasol includes River walk, visit to Malana(famous for Malana cream), famous Kheerganga trek and visit to Manikaran(Hot Kunds).Being hippie Paradise Kasol is famous for Israeli food, must eat at one of the beautiful riverside cafes in Kasol.

How to Reach Manali:

Manali is well connected by Road from Delhi.It takes 10-12 hours from Delhi to Manali. You can take AC Volvo or HPTDC Buses to reach Manali which is cheapest option to reach Manali from Delhi.Alternately, you can hire a Private Cab for your whole trip.

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offbeat places to visit near Manali

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  1. Love hearing about new places like this especially when It’s a bit off the beaten path ! Sethan is a place for slow travellers ! The towering Dhauladhar ranges surrounding the village are beautiful 🙂

  2. This info is extremely helpful to me 🙂 I’m going to visit those areas soon, and I was wondering where I could find a place that is more off the beaten path. It would be a dream to camp up there! The pictures are breathtaking…

  3. Manali has lost its charm for many years for me and I didnt see why I should go back until i came across your blog! This looks like a perfect getaway without asking for too much from you. Thank you for sharing this hidden gem. I will definitely go there soon 🙂

  4. Footloose Camps has such a unique draw to it. I imagine he has quite a few stories to share if you probe him. I can only imagine what peace and connection you could find here in the himalayas. Great post!!

  5. I do not consider myself a slow traveler, but Sethan sounds like a great idea and I would love to explore it, Mayuri. Your post made the travel bug to itch me and I will definitely add it to my bucket list!

  6. Thanks for posting it here. I’m a traveler who loves to explore offbeat and the less explored paths. I stay away from touristy trails except sometimes I just touch the “brim” and leave to just get a feel!
    Your pictures ate both impressive and convincing, Mayuri.

  7. this summer i am planning to go manali but after read this post, thinking to change the place of vacation. Thanks for sharing good trip experience.

  8. wow, so you unearth another hidden gem for hapless travelers like us. I will surely call you when planning my trip here. Keep writing such wonderful blogs. I wish there was some more pictures to quench my wanderlust 😀

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