How to plan a trip to Kasol as a beginner [Complete Travel Guide]

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Planning a trip to Kasol - Parvati Valley?
Planning a trip to Kasol – Parvati Valley?

Kasol in Himachal Pradesh is one such place which is equally famous yet somehow totally off-the-radar in the Himalayas. If you search over the Internet about planning a trip to Kasol, you will get different versions about Kasol when talking to different type and age of people.

This tiny little village, Kasol, on the banks of the Parvati river in Parvati Valley seems to speak with the hippie souls like no other place in Himachal Pradesh does. Yes, it has gained popularity in recent decades along with other villages of Parvati Valley, and the OGs would tell you that the charm is fading. But, there is still magic left when sitting beside the Parvati river and hear her sing those exclusive musical tunes!

No wonder, Kasol still has a mention in my must-visit offbeat places in Himachal.

About Kasol

Back in the day, Kasol was a place known amongst a select few circles – especially foreigners from predominantly Israel, Russia, and a few eastern European countries. The few Indians that explored this unknown region were the ones that truly belonged in the wild, withholding this particular place. Thanks to the easy availability of mesmerizing views, beautiful landscape, fantastic weather and of course, the Malana cream.

However, when the social media gained prominence, this little serene heaven gained popularity like no other. Kasol became a brand about chilling, trekking, hiking, getting lost in nature, and just enjoying some time off. With tonnes of treks and trails surrounding the entire Parvati Valley region, it soon got famous as the second home to the backpackers in India.

Culture in Kasol & rest of Parvati Valley region

With lots of influence of foreigners, Kasol is lovingly called Mini Israel. As in Israel, it is mandatory for citizens, both men and women (YAY Equality!), to serve in the defense forces of the country. One can easily spot many Isreali soldiers roaming about the streets and chilling in cafes. Having spoken to a few in my time there, the soldiers tend to seek solidarity to process their thoughts after spending time experiencing the brutalities of army life.

Of course, the availability of Malana cream is a definite pull for the seekers of peace! I have often wondered if the name Parvati Valley has anything to do with the abundance of Hashish in the region.

Also, another significant influence in the region is of the Sikh population as Gurudwara Shri Manikaran Sahib, best known for its hot water springs, is further ahead of Kasol.

Views on the way from Delhi to Kasol
Views on the way from Delhi to Kasol

Location

The distance from Delhi to Kasol is 520 km approximately. In the Himachal Pradesh landscape, Kasol lies 33 km from Bhuntar and is situated 4 km before Manikaran. A paradise hidden from the outside world, Kasol is nestled in the Parvati valley.

Kasol Weather

Kasol is blessed with fantastic weather throughout the year and experiences the entire cycle of seasons. Whether it is the pleasantness of the summer months or the snowfall of the winter months, the weather in Kasol is a beauty in all seasons you visit.

Monsoon in Kasol provides a beautiful green landscape with lush forests encapsulating the valleys along with the Parvati river flowing underneath, and it is just a delight. So, depending on what you’d like to experience – take your call!

If you talk about Kasol temperature, it mostly pleasant all round the year except winters when temperatures in Kasol can plummet to below zero-degree celsius.

Please note that most of the treks in Parvati Valley in monsoon are slippery and with Parvati river in spate, it is not recommended to plan a trip to Kasol in monsoon time.

Best Time to Visit Kasol & Parvati Valley

March to June is the best time to plan a trip to Kasol for the first-timers and experience a lot of activities truly. Seasoned visitors who want to experience the beauty of different weathers can choose to do so in almost any month barring monsoon. Roads are mostly well maintained throughout the year.

The Summer months provide great weather of around 15 degrees, and thus, tourists from all across the globe can be seen chilling and trekking (for the most part!). The place has started getting very crowded during this period, however, and you might run into folks who would talk about the good old days when Kasol was a hidden gem. There is a tonne of parties in the region during this time.

To experience less commercial activity and be part of the tranquillity, I will suggest choosing the post-monsoon period that is from September to November. The weather might be colder, but the greenery post-monsoon is a sight to behold.

Avoid visiting Kasol in monsoon time as the area might be prone to landslides, the treks might not be as safe, and things would be risky (relatively).

That's my car on a trip to Kasol
That’s my car on a trip to Kasol

How to reach Kasol from Delhi?

This enticing journey of Kasol trip can be taken in many ways, leading to the same, delightful end! So, take your pick and get your hippie on!

By Air

The nearest airport to Kasol is Bhuntar, 31 km away, nestled in the Kullu – Manali Valley. The flights to Bhuntar are pretty much limited. The next airport is Chandigarh, 295 KMs away. You can book a taxi from Bhuntar airport, which will take you around on hour to reach.

Railway Station

The nearest railway station to Kasol is Joginder Nagar railway station which is about 144 km away. You can hire a cab from here to reach Kasol, which will take you about 4-5 hours.

Alternatively, you can take the early morning Shatabdi from Delhi to Chandigarh (12011), which will cost you around INR 700 and will get you to Chandigarh before 11 AM. From Chandigarh to Kasol, you can make arrangements by taxi/bus/self-drive to reach Kasol.

By Road

The best way to plan a Kasol trip is by road, of course. Assuming your starting point as Delhi, one can drive to Kasol. The total driving distance from Delhi to Kasol is 565 km and will take you driving time of 12 hours.

Given that you might want to stop along the way for a tedious journey, Chandigarh can be a good point for a break. Of course, there are a lot of dhabas serving delectable food on the entire Delhi – Chandigarh highway, and hence, you’ll not mind the journey one bit. And, once you cross Chandigarh and enter the hills, the magic of greenery and the sound of music from the accompanying river will keep you refreshed.

The roads to Kasol from Delhi are in good condition for the most part. All thanks to Parvati Valley being a famous place, especially amongst foreign tourists. The views are amazing, however, and compensates for the long road journey to Parvati Valley.

The might Himalayas as seen in Parvati Valley
The might Himalayas as seen in Parvati Valley

Own Car or Self-Drive trip to Kasol?

You can take your own car or rent a self-drive car which is a great option for driving on your own to Kasol. I have used few self-drive rental car services in Delhi and loved each experience. It gives you the freedom to chill and be your boss. (#notanad) There are other options available as well – do your browsing to get the best deals!

Bus / Public Transport – Backpacking to Kasol?

Many public transport buses leave ISBT, Delhi for an overnight journey to Bhuntar. Volvo/Mercedes buses will be available starting INR 1500. A bus from Chandigarh will take you around 8 hours.

From Bhuntar, you’ll need to change buses and catch the one heading to Manikaran and get off along the way at Kasol.

Local commute

The best way to explore Kasol is on foot. Take a lot of day hikes or treks around the region. Enjoy the tranquillity of sitting on the banks of Parvati river. Travel through your imagination while sitting at one place.

These are all great options of how to travel when in Kasol or Parvati Valley. Nearby areas require you to trek (even though the roads might be available, it is still highly recommended to walk your way!).

Please note that you should not get lost in the woods as there are numerous people who have been lost up there. Hence, take care when hiking or trekking alone.

Do not forget to check my list of things to carry on a hiking or trekking trip.

The mighty flow of Parvati River in Parvati Valley
The mighty flow of Parvati River in Parvati Valley

Suggested Itinerary for Kasol Trip

I really don’t want to make a day-by-day activity list for your trip to Kasol in the region. Kasol in Parvati Valley is the hippie capital of Himachal Pradesh. And now you know about it, you should be fluid in your trip plans to Parvati Valley.

Thus, plan as you’d like and do where the good winds take you!

While for some people 2-3 days in the valley are sufficient, I am also friends with people who tend to book long term accommodation and genuinely become part of the culture.

So, go for the first time, and if you vibe with the place, I am sure you will visit and revisit to experience tranquility again!

If you still need a rough sketch or a plan for your Kasol trip, then refer this high-level itinerary for your trip to Kasol in 4 days below:

  • Day 1: Delhi to Kasol
  • Day 2: Kasol – Chill around
  • Day 3: Visit Tosh or Rasol or Chalal Village
  • Day 4: Kasol to Delhi
Delicious food in Kasol
Delicious food in Kasol

Things to do in Kasol

A better way to plan for a trip to Kasol is to know what can be done and where you have the interests.

Commercial attractions

Well, you find thousands of Kasol images with just a simple google search. Some of these images of Kasol will force you to leave everything aside and step outside right away.

However, let’s look at some of the other interesting things to do in Kasol apart from capturing the nature around.

  • Kasol Party: Well, if you are those who are looking into that party kind of culture, then you can attend various music parties that keeps happening in Parvati Valley much similar to the ones in Old Manali.
  • Attend a music festival – Although not the same as the festivals of yesteryears, the music scene in Kasol is bona fide! Some of the more famous festivals are the Magica Festival, Parvati Peaking, and Shiva Squad Festival during summer months. The artists and DJs from all over the world are always excited to perform in the region. Their excitement is primarily so because their niche base happens to be in love with Kasol.
  • Get a haircut – Given that Kasol is a hippie paradise; there is a tonne of artists that have really unique styles settled in Kasol. Visit a nearby salon to get your groove going on your upcoming trip to Kasol 😉
  • Try the delectable cuisine and chill in the many many cafes of the area – With significant Israeli influence, Kasol is a melting pot for food experiences. The Shashuka is delicious, the momos are to die for, and the views from the cafes will fill your heart up.

Natural Wonders

Kasol really isn’t about commercial fulfillment. The real experience of Kasol lies in the lap of mother nature. Numerous unexplored, undefined trails are present in Kasol and other parts of Parvati Valley which you can explore on your trip to Kasol.

There are a bunch of experiences in Parvati Valley that you cannot define in the ordinary sense of travel. You can express Kasol and the following surrounding regions of Parvati Valley as the Bob Marley Country where his face is everywhere, on T-shirts, on Flags, on menus, graffitis and even the bed sheets of some hostels.

Chalal Village

If you do one thing when in Kasol, it has to be the hike of Chalal (if you can even call it a trek!). This deeper spiritual experience will take you about 25 minutes’ walk to reach the village, and you’ve escaped all commercial life as you know it.

The solitude in Chalal village is addictive. And when the colorful trees and chirpy birds keep you company, you know you’re in heaven. I am not saying that Chalal is missing other quintessential Himalayan holiday feels.

The food is yum, and you will find many cafes which are just next to the free-flowing Parvati River. Moreover, this little hamlet is entirely safe to explore while also being wallet-friendly.

Bridge leading to Chalal Village
Bridge leading to Chalal Village

Tosh Village

Needing no introduction, Tosh is situated 20 km from Kasol. And, any trip to Kasol is incomplete if Tosh village isn’t visited. You’ll witness a tonne of fellow backpackers in the region as the main occupation in Tosh is tourism only.

While the roads are in terrible condition leading up to Tosh, if you’re a skilled driver or have high ground clearance vehicle, it is possible. However, the best option is to trek to Tosh after Manikaran.

Rasol Hamlet

Situated deep & disconnected in the Parvati Valley, Rasol village is truly a gem of a hamlet. Lying ahead of Chalal, towards Malana, overall Rasol is 5 km from Kasol.

10,000 feet above sea level, the area around Rasol is simply mystical! The community is well protected, similar to the nearby village of Malana. The main occupation here is agriculture as well as the spinning of wool. While an unimaginable beauty of green forests greets the visitors, the villagers are slightly wary of commercialization. It is best to respect their personal space and take considerable measure to show your respect for the customs, cultures, and surroundings.

Even though the villagers in Rasol are hesitant, it doesn’t mean that they are not friendly. Camping in Rasol is an experience to remember. The trek is simple, but, still, exhausting and will take you around 3 hours from Kasol.

The food etc. is expensive as compared to other nearby areas, but, that is to be expected given the extreme disconnect this village prides itself on.

Hence, if you have days in hand, do make sure to plan a hike to Rasol on your trip to Kasol.

Checking the menu at Evergreen Restaurant in Kasol
Checking the menu at Evergreen Restaurant in Kasol

Kalga

Get yourself a truly local experience and stay in a local house/homestay in Kalga village. The paths are obscure, the mint tea is delicious, and the views are spectacular when you’re in Kalga.

If you’re looking for an adventure-packed activity-filled holiday on your Kasol trip, it is best to avoid Kalga village. It is home to those who want to escape the ho-drum of life while interacting with the peace and tranquillity of nature. Kalga lies at a 45-minute hike from Barshaini.

The roads post-Manikaran are poor to terrible in conditions. Thus, guaranteeing an offbeat few days. Kalga and adjacent villages of Pulga, Tulga are known as the trio and legend has it that these places are named after sisters that lived here centuries ago.

Tulga has a fresh Peace Place hotel, which has some fantastic views of Parvati Valley.

Pulga

The tea treasure chest near Kasol is a small hippie town. With wooden houses and cherry blossoms in the summer months, the journey towards this little town has you covered in terms of hikes (only way to reach the village is a 3 km hike from Bhersheni), waterfalls (and crossing foot-over bridges), apple orchards (villagers will happily pluck a few for the travelers!) as well as the gorgeous forest.

Of course, once you reach Pulga village on your trip to Kasol, there are plenty of cafes in the town with their personality and traits. My personal favorite is the Boom Shankar Café, which, admittedly, has slow service, but packs a punch in terms of the hippie vibes.

Stay of a couple of nights is highly recommended. If you’re looking for recommendations in terms of your stay – check out the Pink House, which is run by a cool sadhu baba.

Malana

Last but not least is the highly popular, yet, the highly introverted village of Malana. Can be reached only on foot, Malana is not an easy trek. Cut off from the rest of the world, Malana is claimed to be the oldest democracy in the world.

It is believed that the villagers are the descendants of Alexander the Great. The villagers consider all outsiders untouchable – so it is highly recommended to keep your photography of the locals to a minimum as well.

I will be writing detailed articles on these villages in time to come.

Chilling time in while camping on a Kasol trip
Chilling time in while camping on a Kasol trip

Where to stay in Kasol

In Kasol, the most popular form of stays is, of course, the highly budget-friendly hostels. You’ll come across a lot of these budget places and hostels in Parvati Valley right from Kasol, Tosh and other nearby villages. These hostels and pocket-friendly guest houses help to lower Kasol Solo Trip budget for many backpackers.

However, in the summertime, it is wise to book these Kasol hotels before going on the Kasol trip. The kind of popularity that Kasol enjoys these days is insane, and thanks to Instagram it grows every season. So don’t be left without a room to sleep in (unless that’s your thing, which is cool!).

There are places where you can go camping on your own in Kasol as well. Of course, you are traveling with a family, you may also club trip to Kasol with Tirthan Valley stay.

In terms of luxury hotels, The Himalayan village is S-P-E-C-T-A-C-U-L-A-R! The Parvati Kuteer is also quite cute. However, I have almost always found it to be sold out. If you’re lucky, then it’s a cheaper option to stay in!

You can also check out Alpine Guest House (01902273710,09418400328,09816271067) or Hotel Sandhya Kasol (1902-265662,265762,09218525595, 09218525695) or Sun and Wind (1902265651,09816499561) which are some popular Kasol hotels to stay.

In Manikaran you can also check Sharma Guest Houses (01902273742, 09816973742, 09418422343) if you do not find bookings at Kasol. Whoopers Hostel is near and hosts some cool people.

Camping on a trip to Kasol
Camping on a trip to Kasol

Food Options in Kasol

When in Kasol, and hills in general – one must try the Honey ginger lemon tea as well as the Nutella hot milk at every restaurant you can manage. Other must-have items include the Israeli dishes, including Shakshuka.

In terms of restaurants and cafes, you should have the Jim Morrison café on your list for the hippie vibes, the Parvati river café for the insane views, the German Bakery for its carrot cake. Evergreen restaurant, Little Italy, Moon Dance Café, Lucky Dhabha, Stone Garden Café, and Panj Tara Bar & Grill are other honorary mentions.

A special shout out to Shambhu’s Momo Corner. It serves mouth-watering momos, which happen to be my favorite. It is located just opposite the German Bakery and Shambhu’s Momo Corner will be a revisit, I can guarantee. So, do not miss to pay a visit to this place on your upcoming Kasol trip.

Pizza in Kasol
Pizza in Kasol

Kasol Trip Cost

I am sure you will have a question by now that how much will it cost for a trip to Kasol? Well, budget or cost of Kasol trip is a topic that I will be covering in future articles.

I will link that dedicated article back here along with some summary so that you can get to the Kasol trip cost quickly.

In general, a 4-5 day Kasol trip cost will be about Rs 3500-7000 depending on where you stay, what you eat and how you travel. You will find plenty of Kasol packages or Kasol – Tosh packages within that range.

Other Important Tips when visiting Parvati Valley

  • While ATMs would be available near Kasol, it is better to carry sufficient cash for other places in the region of Parvati Valley. Cards will not work in most nearby villages.
  • Carry a water bottle and fill it up when possible. Especially during treks, it is highly essential to stay hydrated. Also, always have a good pair of hiking shoes handy.
  • Be Respectful of the customs of locals. Don’t be offended if the villagers avoid strangers in different villages. Also, don’t take pictures of villagers and particularly the kids without prior permission from them!
  • Goes without saying, but please do not litter or destroy natural surroundings if you have the right to enjoy it then so should others that come after you. The sight of littered plastic/ beer bottles, cigarette butts is heart-breaking!
  • Nearby regions to Kasol are known for producing some of the best hashish which is due to the supporting climate. Hence, it grows naturally in this area. Even though locals consider it a plant, possession of the same is illegal in our country. Make sure you do not indulge in any unlawful activities on your trip to Kasol.

You should always carry your own water bottle and refill it as many times as you need water. It will not only keep you hydrated always, but you will also help in saving the Himalayas from plastic garbage. Remember, every tiny step counts and your step in this direction can help save the Himalayas too !! 🙂 🙂

Delicious food in Kasol
Delicious food in Kasol

Conclusion

The hippie junction – Kasol in Parvati Valley is a must visit for those who appreciate the art of living freely. Although it has become more commercialized in recent years, Kasol has managed to maintain its charm, especially if you visit in offseason.

Have a travel question?? You can follow me on Instagram and ask your travel questions in a direct message on Instagram too. I also conduct a weekly Q&A session every Saturday evening on Instagram, so see you there.

I hope this complete travel guide will help you plan your upcoming trip to Kasol successfully. In case any of your family or friends are planning a Kasol trip, feel free to share this guide with them too.

Is there something I might have missed? Please feel free to comment below, and we can feature your suggestions!

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About Author

Shefali spends most of her time day dreaming about her next big vacation. A happy-go-lucky personality, she is an amalgamation of all the places she’s lived in and experienced! She is always confused as to where to call home, having lived in Chandigarh, Shimla, Dehradun, Mumbai, Hyderabad in India and Vancouver, Abbotsford in Canada. Her love for travel is only challenged by her love for reading and eating delicious food! In order to sustain her dreams, she brought out her inner geek, got an MBA and has a job in the corporate world crunching numbers. Do follow @nomadstoryteller on Instagram for updates on her next great adventure.

2 Comments

  1. Comments section gets closed in 90 days. You can follow me on Instagram and ask your travel questions in a direct message on Instagram too. I also conduct a weekly Q&A session every Saturday evening on Instagram, so see you there !!

  2. Karun Trikha on

    Hey, I just went through your blog and it seems really helpful, though it doesn’t cover many aspects of Parvati Valley and a beginners guide to Parvati Valley it would be great if you could add some latest points to it and update it with complete information rather than anything so that the blog becomes more helpful for readers like us.

  3. Vinod Raman on

    Beautifully written and thank you for taking time to compile the local details. Fabulous one and serves its purpose as a Guide..

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