Old Manali is a revelation of sorts, especially if you are coming in from Manali Town, which is a hotch-potch of high rises, cluttered alleyways, dingy restaurants and so on. The distance between Old Manali and Manali is about 3 km. As you travel upwards, towards it, you seem to have crossed into another place, a more peaceful and organic town, with none of the modernity that mars the face of Manali town. There are fewer crowds in Old Manali, thus making it easier for you to amble along and enjoy your walk. There are beautiful orchards, with trees laden down with fruits, depending on which season you visit this place, which you can walk through to reach Old Manali.
The riverside cafes in Old Manali are the main highlight of this area. Linger in these cafes to mingle with fellow travellers while listening to somber live music and trying international cuisine. Cafe 1947, Drifters' Cafe, Cafe Amigos, Dylan's Toasted & Roasted Coffee House, and Honey Hut are some of the best Old Manali cafes to check into. Taking a stroll to pick up souvenirs and to try different cuisine is one of the best things to do in Old Manali. Manu Temple, Manali Club House, traditional houses, riverfront cafes, and apple orchards are popular places to visit in Old Manali.
The restaurants and cafes in Old Manali are much more quaint and offer a better idea of what the local dishes taste like, instead of the generic so call “authentic food” that is available in the restaurants of Manali town. These coffee shops offer musical nights, with live bands and various artists performing solo. It is an immensely enjoyable place and experience, and it’s a must visit when in Manali. Make sure to include it in your itinerary.