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Which is better Manali or Nainital?

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by Gpgia, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. Gpgia

    Gpgia New Member

    This winter we as a family wish to go to some hill station near Delhi and have been thinking of either Manali or Nainital.
    Both of these destinations look good to visit and seem like there would be plenty for the whole family to do and enjoy. One destination being in Himachal Pradesh and one in Uttarakhand we can only visit one of the places and need to know which is better Manali or Nainital?

  2. vkar

    vkar Member

    Both are extremely good places to visit. But if I have to choose, I would go with Manali. For honeymoon Manli is much better option and it also has more adventure sports options than Nainital. Nainital is good for trekking and similar stuffs though.

  3. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, welcome to the forum!

    Hill stations are good destinations, whether you're visiting during the summer or winter. With the variety of hill stations in India, you are spoiled with choices. Sometimes though, having too many choices can be confusing. Although different hill stations offer something unique to tourists, their main attraction is that they have pleasant climate almost all-year round. Of course, being far away from the cities, they also have fresh air and beautiful mountain views.

    So on one hand, we have Nainital, a hill station in the state of Uttarakhand. Blessed with numerous lakes with the backdrop of the mountains, the hill station gives one a feeling of relaxation and serenity. If your idea of a vacation is just breathing the fresh air and enjoying the sceneries all around, then Nainital can give you just that. The hill station also has a number of attractions like temples and viewpoints to keep one busy. A place for families, friends or even couples, Nainital is a laid-back destination for travellers.


    And then we have Manali, another hill station but this time in Himachal Pradesh. Manali is an adventurer's paradise with the numerous adventure activities that you can do here. It doesn't matter if you visit during the winter or the summer, Manali has something to offer for you. If your idea of a vacation is participating in thrilling adventures such as skiing or paragliding, then Manali should be at the top of your list. Yes, Manali isn't really for the faint-hearted but there are also more laid-back activities that you can do here that doesn't involve much bravery.

    So now that we have a brief overview of both destinations, let's go to the different points of each hill station. This way, you can decide which hill station best suits your interests. Let us begin:

    1. Accessibility
    • Nainital - This hill station is about 300 kilometres away from Delhi. If you're going to be bringing your own vehicle, it can take you around 6 to 8 hours to reach the hill station. If going by public transport, you can opt for either a bus or a train. Nainital is well-connected to the major cities of the country including Delhi. In fact, there are direct buses from Delhi to Nainital that you can ride. If you prefer train travel, the nearest railway station to Nainital is the Kathgodam Railway Station. It is just about 23 kilometres away from Nainital so you can easily ride a taxi from the station to the hill station. There are even shared taxis plying from the station to Nainital, which can be a good option for those in a budget. Because of its proximity to Delhi, Nainital is a favoured destination and accessing it from the city is not really a problem.
    • Manali - This hill station is about 537.5 kilometres away from Delhi. By driving, you can reach the hill station in about 11 to 13 hours. By public transport, the only direct connectivity it has is by bus from Delhi. There are government-operated buses and private-operated buses that ply from Delhi to Manali. If going by train, the nearest and most convenient railway station to Manali is the Chandigarh Railway Station. There are plenty of buses plying from the station to Manali, which is about 316 kilometres more away. If you do have the money, there's the Bhuntar Airport, which is just about 50 kilometres away from Manali. Despite the distance, Manali is still well-connected to Delhi so reaching it won't be an issue. Travel time though can be quite longer and might take a whole day or even more.
    2. Seasons and Best Time to Visit
    • Nainital - During summer season, Nainital sees an increase in the number of tourists. This is mainly because the hill station has pleasant temperatures ranging between 10°C to 27°C during the months of March until May. This is also the peak tourist season so hotel rates are higher. But if you come from the city plains, the pleasant climate in Nainital can definitely refresh you. On the other hand, the monsoon season, from June to September has pleasant climate as well with temperatures ranging between 9°C to 22°C. However, the rains can sometimes lead to road blocks due to landslides so it's not a good time to visit the region. The winter season is yet another good time to visit, which is from October to February. The coldest months are December and January, with temperatures between -3°C to 8°C. Snow is also quite thick during these months. So if you enjoy this type of landscape, then consider visiting the hill station during these months.
    • Manali - Manali also has pleasant climate all-year round. Summers are relatively cool, with temperatures between 8°C to 27°C. During the month of May, Rohtang Pass is opened for visitors and you can enjoy playing with thick snow. Monsoon season, from June to September, sees a lot of rainfall in the region. Temperatures remain roughly the same though. But due to landslides caused by the rain, this might not be a good time to visit the region. Hotel rates are incredibly low during this time though. If visiting during monsoon season, avoid the river areas as the rapids can be quite strong. The last months from October to February, is the winter season. If you'd like to experience snowfall, then this would be the perfect time for that.
    3. Attractions
    • Nainital - There are plenty of attractions around Nainital but the most popular one is the Nainital Lake. Here you can indulge in boating while enjoying seeing the views of the fishes swimming in the lake. For the religious ones, there are also some temples that you can visit here like the Mukteshwar Temple and the Naina Devi Temple. For those who enjoy nature and wildlife, you can visit the High Altitude Zoo and the Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary. Here you will be able to spot animals, even those endemic to the region. You can also enjoy trekking to the Tiffin Top and Naina Peak. At the top, you'd be greeted by beautiful views of the mountains. Other historical places that you can visit here are the Governor's House and the Gurney House. If ever you weren't too satisfied with the Nainital Lake, there are also other lakes that you can visit like the Khurpa Tal and Saria Tal. They're smaller than Nainital Lake but more serene and calm.
    • Manali - The best places to visit in Manali are Solang Valley and Rohtang Pass. The latter though is closed during winter season and can only be visited post-summer season. Solang Valley remains open all-year round so if ever Rohtang Pass is closed, then you can still visit the former. Both are popular because of the number of adventure activities that you can do here. You can also visit the numerous natural attractions in Manali like the Beas River, Jogini Waterfalls, Rahala Waterfalls and Vashisht Hot Water Springs. There are also plenty of temples that you can visit here like the Hadimba Temple, Bijli Mahadev Temple and Maa Sharvari Temple. For spotting wildlife, there's the Manali Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can see animals like the Himalayan black bear, leopards and gorals.

    4. Activities
    • Nainital - Aside from boating, you can also indulge in other activities in Nainital. You can try out the aerial ropeway in Nainital and view the lake with the mountains from a bird's eye view. If you're visiting during the summer, you can also try out water zorbing in the Sat Tal in Bhimtal, about 20 kilometres away from Nainital. There are also some trekking trails around the hill station that you can do and they don't take much time as well. The treks can be done in under a day or two. Lastly, rock climbing, rappelling and valley crossing are thrilling activities that the brave ones can undertake in.
    • Manali - If you're visiting during the winter, then you can indulge in winter activities in Solang Valley. These activities can be skiing or sledging. If you're visiting during the summer, then you can indulge in summer activities like paragliding, zorbing and biking. There's also an aerial ropeway here that you can try out whether you're visiting during the summer or winter. Rohtang Pass has snow post-summer season though so you can still play with snow or indulge in skiing or sledging during that time. Camping and trekking are also top-rated activities in Manali during summer season. If you're visiting during monsoon season or post-monsoon season, then you can try out river rafting in the Beas River.
    5. Accommodation Options
    • Nainital - There are plenty of hotels and guest houses around Nainital. They range from budget ones to expensive ones. The expensive hotels tend to be located near the lake though. It's not really necessary to stay near the lake but of course, the views from the nearby hotel can be quite beautiful. You can opt for cheaper hotels which are quite further away from the lake if budget is an issue. But if you do have the money for it, then staying near the lake is quite a luxury that you cannot miss. Some of the best rated hotels here are the Naini Retreat, Seasons Hotel & Resort and Alka Hotel.
    • Manali - Manali has a range of budget and luxury resorts/hotels. If you're looking for five-star hotels, these are your options: Anantmaya Resort, Himalayan Resort & Spa and Larisa Resort. If budget is an issue, there are also plenty of budget hotels within Manali. Some of the best-rated budget hotels here are the following: Lost Tribe Hostel, Himalayan Regency and Hotel Woodlines. Do book a hotel in advance especially during peak season.
    6. Dining Options
    • Nainital - Whether you're craving for Indian, Chinese or International cuisines, there are plenty of restaurants around Nainital for these. One of the most famous restaurants here is the Giannis Pure Vegetarian Restaurant. This has Indian, Chinese and other Asian dishes. For those who enjoy meats, then there's Sakley's Restaurant, specialising in non-vegetarian dishes. Another must try restaurant here is the Cafe De Mall, which also has a view of the Nainital Lake aside from the lip-smacking dishes.
    • Manali - This hill station doesn't disappoint when it comes to restaurants. With a variety of cafes, eateries and restaurants, you are spoiled for choices. Head on over to the Old Manali and here, you can find numerous cafes serving delicious local and international cuisines. Some of the must try cafes here are the following: The Lazy Dog, Drifter's Cafe and Born Free Cafe. For pizzas and pastas, there's the Casa Bella Vista and the Il Forno. For Tibetan cuisine, there's the Mount View Restaurant and Green Forest Cafe.
    There you go. The best feature of Nainital is its lakes and of course, its proximity to Delhi. There are also plenty of things you can do here aside from just sightseeing. If you enjoy thrilling adventures more though, then there's Manali. Here you can indulge in some of the best hair raising activities like paragliding and river rafting. But there are also some attractions here that can keep you busy if you're not into dangerous activities.

    It's up to you but I hope this little guide helps you in deciding. Good luck!:)