Work + Vacation | Workation in Old Manali – Himachal Pradesh, India

Work + Vacation | Workation in Old Manali – Himachal Pradesh, India
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Working from Mountains in Old Manali 


After being boxed up in Jabalpur for the better part of 2020, I decided to move to the Himalayas earlier in October 2020 for 2 weeks, which turned out to be one of the best things I did in 2020! Yes, it took 2-3 days to get used to the mountain life and schedule, but once I got the hang of it, I was able to get my creative juices flowing, which was much needed, as I literally felt saturated boxed up in the four corners of our house in Jabalpur.

While the majority of my time was spent getting as much work done as possible, I was able to enjoy the vibes in Old Manali. Here are some of the things I did / experienced during my work-cation in Manali, which would interest you as well:



Working in the Mountains

Manali has turned out to be one amazing destination to work, especially because one gets to wake up to the views of the mighty Himalayas, and the sounds of the water gushing in the river Beas, that flows through Manali and Old Manali.

Not only are there a lot of quaint boutique home-stays offering lucrative deals for long term Work From Home (WFH) bookings, there are plenty of amazing Hostels as well, in Old Manali offering economical long stay packages and all the infrastructure one needs to Work from Mountains.

And as mostly everyone who is staying in these hostels these days, is working remotely, the atmosphere created is quite conducive to get the productive and creative juices flowing.



P.S – Don’t forget to check out to pack these 17 items if you Plan to Work from the Mountains.



Cafe Hopping

If you are a foodie like me, you won’t be disappointed in Manali! Be it hogging on piping hot momos, or slurping on a sumptuous quantity of Thukpa, or trying out the Himachali Thali or sticking to the basics – maggi, paranthas, dal , roti, sabzi, chawal – you won’t be disappointed !

Not only this, you can even find Israeli, Thai, Continental cuisine in the many cafes dotting the riverside in Old Manali.



Yes, I followed all safety precautions, such as having our masks on at all times, sanitising our hands before and after meals, and maintaining social distancing. The silver lining was that I was able to make contactless payments at all the cafes, with the help of my SimplySAVE SBI Credit Card, and got rewarded every time.



If you weren’t aware, one of the USP’s of the SimplySAVE SBI Card is getting 10 Reward points for every INR 100 spent on dining, movies, departmental stores and grocery spends.



Go Local

2020 has been hard on everyone, especially the locals in cities like Manali that are dependent on tourists for their livelihood.

And now that the temperatures have started to dip, it only makes sense to go and shop for locally produced woollen clothes, from the locals itself.

Not only are they dirt cheap as compared to the offerings from any normal brands, they are quite comfortable and warm as well, and worth every buck spent.

Please note, that even if you purchase something for as less as INR 100-200, the amount might not mean the world to people like you and me, who are based out in the cities, but it goes a long way to help the livelihoods of these locals.

Starting from Woollen Gloves and Socks, I ended up buying a woollen cap & a jacket.



Spontaneous Treks and Hikes

There are plenty of spontaneous hikes and treks that one can do on a Staycation in Manali or when Working from Home in Manali – which is one of the most significant Post Pandemic Travel Trend !

To start off with, I recommend doing the Jogini Waterfall trek (a 3 km trek from Vashisht Temple) or the Lama Dugh Trek or The Bhrigu Lake Trek.


Bhrigu Lake


Other popular treks that one can opt for are the Hampta Pass Trek, Chandrakhani Pass Trek, Beas Kund Trek and the Deo Tibba Trek among others, most of which are among some of the Best Treks in the Himalayas.



Drive to Sissu and Beyond via Atal Tunnel

Atal Tunnel aka Rohtang Tunnel, built under the Rohtang Pass, that took around 10 years to be fully operational, has become the famous attraction for everyone who is visiting Manali.

At a length of 9.02 kms, Atal Tunnel is the longest tunnel above 10,000 feet, and cuts the travel time between Manali and Leh by around 3-4 hours. You enter the tunnel in Manali and end up in Sissu in the Lahul and Spiti District. And the very fact that you can travel from Manali to Sissu in 15-20 minutes via the Atal Tunnel is what has attracted tourists and travellers to visit Manali in 2020.


Fall Foliage in Sissu, Lahul and Spiti


The importance of Atal Tunnel is that now, strategically important areas like Ladakh, and Lahul-Spiti are connected to Manali all year long.


This was just the tip of the iceberg, but the experience of Working from the Mountains for 3 weeks, was what I needed to recharge and get my productivity back.


I hope you enjoyed reading about the Top 5 Things I Did in Old Manali Don’t forget to Pin this Travel Resource featuring 5 of the Best Things to do in Old Manali while Working from Mountains, for the future and share with others.


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17 thoughts on “Work + Vacation | Workation in Old Manali – Himachal Pradesh, India”

  • You know, its a brilliant idea and so cool that you have the option! If I was still living in Delhi, I would have done this too; work from home means one could potentially be living in the beautiful mountains, enjoying the lovely mountain air every day, with gorgeous views of snow-capped peaks, and work from a lovely location like that. I’d love to spend even a month in a nice, inexpensive home stay in Manali. I never realized the food there is amazing too, that’s icing on the cake!

    • Hahaha I feel you. After having moved to Jabalpur before the pandemic struck, I never missed Delhi until October, when I had to plan my travels.

      TBH, kabhi itne papad nahi bele pahaado ke liye.

  • You are living a dream life! Is it also good for family travels? You encouraged me to visit Old Manali, one day. I want to drive to that Tunnel but ohhhhhh it’s 9 KMS hahaha! I’d love to wake up in view of Himalayas and heading to the coffee shops and restaurants to eat my favourite Israeli dish 🙂 I appreciate your #supportlocal statements, it’s good when we, visitors, understand their lives and make an impact. God bless!

    • Manali is one of those places that appeal to the all age groups, however one needs to mindful when travelling with a toddler, as it gets chilly during the evenings no matter what time of the year it is.

  • I’ve often thought of getting out of Los Angeles for a while and working somewhere remotely, did you love it? I love going out on treks, and the Jogini Waterfall trek sounds delightful. I like the sentiment of buying local as well, since tourist towns really need this income. I always try and support when I travel as well.

  • I have been following your journey through Manali on social media and have totally envious of you. I so miss the mountains. Manali does seem to be perfect for working from the peaks. And yes, Atal Tunnel is huge on my list right now. I must say that I would miss the Rohtang pass and its winding roads but then, who can say no to visiting Spiti in winter.

    • The trip was a rather spontaneous one, and am so glad i ended up in Old Manali. The crowd was less which was a huge plus point. And because at that time, most of the people were living for long duration, we were actually living the Mask free life just like we used to in the Pre Covid era. However, whenever we had to step out of Old Manali, we had our masks on.

  • Hi there,
    I spent 6 months in Chennai but never made it to the Himalayas which is on my list!
    Not sure if you know or not but the first photo shows your actual credit card with the numbers 🙁 It would be easy for someone to steal this info…
    Also, I have been work-cationing all over the US as well… Nikki

  • I love Himachal Pradesh! It’s my number 1 in India. I spent there for over 2 weeks. One week I was in Dharamshala and its neighboring. I haven’t been to Manali, but all this area is so beautiful. Perfectly, you decided to work from this place. It’s great to know that there is the Internet and you can work remotely from the mountains. When I was in 2013, in some parts of Himachal Pradesh internet was poor.

    • The internet situation is much much better now, with all cafes/hostels/hotels having decent WiFi and you also get awesome speeds on mobile with Airtel and Jio !

  • Isn’t workations are wonderful getaways now? I am already jealous, I wanna go out for long since long. Good to know you are a foodie, and has Manali has it all, starting from those delicious momos in those restaurants opposite the old Bus stand to literally Golgappas and what not. Thanks for making me jealous. Need to be out!

  • Such a great place to be in, especially during quarantine! I am guessing you are a digital nomad? How is the wifi in Manali? How are you surviving? Internet in India was always a problem for me and is one of the reasons why I never came back after 2 long trips. My last trip was in 2017 and wasn’t able to go to Manali because of work reasons. I would really love to spend more time here if they have a better Internet. Do you know any place or cafe or restaurant in Manali for digital nomads? Thanks in advance!

    • Hey Trisha,
      WiFi is available almost at all cafes/hostels/hotels, however, its recommended to have your own WiFi dongle, as at times the bandwidth available is very less. Mobile Internet works perfectly fine, specially Jio and Airtel, and speed is very reasonable.
      Practically any cafe with a view, can become your Workstation for the day.

  • Living in the Himalayas must be quite an experience. Besides it’s a great place to be during this pandemic: really isolated and beautiful. Nature is gorgeous there and I’m sure you enjoy hiking those mountains when you don’t work. I am hoping I could visit Old Manali. at some point.

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