Shimla to Manali Distance by Road, Train, Bus, Toy Train

by Surojit Palmal
Shimla to Manali

A journey from one hill station to another can be thrilling, exciting as well as fascinating at the same time. Tourist hotspots like Shimla and Manali have a lot to offer to the visitors. But how many of you know that the Shimla to Manali journey can also be equally enthralling. No matter if you are a quiet nature lover, or a romantic couple, or a group of enthusiastic backpackers or a loud gang looking for some fun, the Shimla to Manali journey can become one of the most cherishing journeys for you. If you are interested to know things like the distance from Shimla to Manali, or road trip, travel cost you need to read this article. Here I will be mentioning all the necessary information about this journey.

Shimla to Manali

Best Season to Visit

Like any other hill station the best time to travel from Shimla to Manali would depend upon the weather. If you are interested in exploring the place in its full bloom then the ideal time to travel would be during summer months. During this time the temperature will be somewhat in check and it would be comfortable for the journey as well as exploring the place well. Furthermore if you wish to enjoy the snow capped mountains and the snowy chilly views of the surrounding then you should travel during the winter months. However you should also be ready to enjoy the chills as well. It would not be advisable to travel in this route as the road conditions deteriorate with the rainy season. So avoid travelling during monsoon.

How to travel

by Car

One of the most fascinating journeys will be the Shimla to Manali journey by car. While looking at the beautiful views and soaking into the natural beauty it would be a fulfilling road trip from Shimla to Manali. Furthermore Shimla to Manali distance by road is approximately 250 km and it would take around 6 hours to 8 hours to reach there depending on the route. There are 2 routes to reach Manali from Shimla. The first route is via NH 3 and the other one is via NH 5 and NH 305. The route via NH 3 is the quickest route to reach Manali from Shimla.

However the route via NH 5 and NH 305 is the more scenic one and the tourists prefer this route because of the beautiful view it offers. Also this route is the longer one and distance between Shimla to Manali via the 2nd route is 254 km and it would take around 8 hours and 30 minutes to reach Manali.

Route 1

Shimla- Bilaspur-Mandi-Kullu-Naggar-Manali

Route 2



Tourist attractions while travelling via route 1

This route is the basic route for Shimla to Manali trip. The road condition in this route is good however it can be a little too crowded during peak tourist season. You can also stop at multiple tourist attractions that will fall on this route.

Gobind Sagar Lake

From Bilaspur you need to turn towards Gobind Sagar Lake. It is a beautiful spot which is the catchment area of the Bhakra Nangal dam. Furthermore it is an ideal spot to enjoy the serene weather along with the natural cool breeze.

Prashar Lake

It is a lake situated on top of 9000 feet with crystal clear water. You can witness the beautiful view of Pir Panjal, Dhauladhar and Kinnaur mountain ranges from here. Furthermore this is a popular spot as a base for trekkers as well.


This is an offbeat destination on the bank of Bias River. It is a small lesser known village with beautiful rustic views which you can enjoy.

Pandoh Dam

Outside the town of Mandi you will find this picturesque dam. However to reach there a small trek is required and that can be a fulfilling activity for trekking enthusiasts.

Great Himalayan National Park

One of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries in Himachal Pradesh the Great Himalayan National Park is very rich in its floral and faunal population. From Mandi you need to go towards Shoja to reach there. Furthermore you can even stay there and enjoy a thrilling overnight camp amidst the forest.

Chandrakhani Pass

This is one of the popular tourist spots in Kullu that is like a haven for nature lovers.

Naggar Castle

This ancient castle in Naggar is one of the most popular spots that come during the Shimla to Manali road trip. The ancient castle is made of solid timber and stone sand belonging to the 15th century. At present the property has been turned into a hotel and the main castle is kept intact for the visitors.

Tourist attractions while travelling via route 2

This is the more scenic route between the two routes from Shimla to Manali. Shimla to Manali distance on this route is about 254 km and it takes around 8 hours and 30 minutes to reach there. The time taken to cover the distance via this route is a little more than the designated time. Furthermore you can stop at some of the most beautiful spots that will come along your way from Shimla to Manali.


This is a beautiful offbeat hill station in Shimla best known for the trekking trails here. Also it offers a beautiful all encompassing view of the Mahasu peak which the tourists enjoy.


This is a popular destination for skiing in winters. Also you can enjoy the view of Hatu peak and the Himalayas from here.


This small quaint village is known for its beautiful orange orchards. Furthermore you can also enjoy a beautiful view of the mighty Himalayas from here.

Bhimakali Temple

Located in Sarahan this is an ancient temple which is built following both Hindu and Buddhist architecture. It is one of the most important shrines in the area.

Shimla to Manali Journey by Taxi or Cab

You can book a taxi as well and you can reach Manali from Shimla in about 6 and a half hours approximately without any major stoppages. Shimla to Manali taxi fare would range around Rs. 2500 to Rs. 3600 per person. Furthermore the rate would also depend on the kind of vehicle you are choosing and the number of people travelling. On your way you can enjoy the gorgeous views of the surroundings which are breathtaking at every point. Your eyes will keep on searching for beauty at every corner and you will find it too.

Shimla to Manali Bus Journey

Shimla to Manali Bus
Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

There are Volvo buses available which offer a comfortable ride. Shimla to Manali distance by bus is approximately about 237 km and the fare would range from Rs. 600 to Rs. 800 depending on the bus operator and type of bus.

Shimla to Manali by Flight

You also have the option to travel by flight and the Shimla to Manali flight distance is only 125 km. But unfortunately there is no airport in Manali. The nearest airports are the Chandigarh Shahid Bhagat Singh International Airport and the Kullu Manali Bhuntar Airport in Kullu. Also flights are not much regular from the Kullu Airport so you must check beforehand before traveling. Furthermore it takes around 5 hours to reach Manali from Shimla by flight and the flight tickets might cost anything between Rs. 2000 to Rs. 10,000 depending on the time of booking, kind of airline etc.

Shimla to Manali Train

From Shimla there is no direct train to Manali. The only way you can travel in a train is when you travel in a train from Shimla to Kalka. Furthermore from Kalka you will have to take a car or bus to reach Manali. Also the trains on this route are not very frequent so you should surely check out with the time table before travelling in a train.

Shimla to Manali Toy Train

Shimla to Manali Toy Train

Even though there is no train from Kalka there is a special Kalka Shimla toy train. You will first have to reach Kalka and from there you can take this scenic toy train ride to reach Manali.

Ticket price for Toy Train:

There are 3 trains available from Kalka to Manali, Rail Motor Car, Himalayan Queen and the Shivalik Deluxe Express and the fare varies.

Rail Motor Car fare is Rs. 320 for adults and Rs. 160 for children per person

Himalayan Queen fare is Rs. 470 for adult and Rs. 235 for children per person

Shivalik Deluxe Express fare is Rs. 510 for adults and Rs. 255 for children per person

The first train on this route is available from 5:10 am in the morning on all days. A Shimla tour is almost incomplete if you are not enjoying this scenic toy train journey to Manali. Furthermore the Shimla Manali toy train passes over almost 800 bridges and crosses more than 100 tunnels to cover a distance of 60 miles.

Places to visit in Manali

A tour to Manali would be incomplete if you do not visit the best sightseeing places like

·         Solang Valley

·         Mall Road

·         Buddhist Monasteries

·         Van Vihar National Park

·         Manu Temple

·         Hot Springs of Vashisht Temple

·         Hadimba Devi temple

·         Rahala Falls

·         Rohtang Pass

Wrapping Up!

So now that you know everything about travelling from Shimla to Manali, just tell me how interesting that seems right? Trust me a journey from Shimla to Manali can be one of the most enriching journeys ever and you will be in awe of the kind of surroundings you will have to pass through. So choose your preferred modes of transport and just start on this journey.

 Furthermore the gorgeous sightseeing spots on your way during a road journey, or the scenic toy train ride you will be mesmerized by the beauty of these hill stations for sure. So if you are visiting Shimla make sure you travel to Manali too and enjoy the engrossing beauty and get lost in it. Do let me know if there is anything else that you would like to know about the Shimla to Manali tour plan. Also do let me know if this Shimla to Manali trip information is helpful for you in planning a trip there.

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