Sissu is a small Himalayan hamlet village located around 40 kms from the tourist town of Manali. Sissu village falls in the Lahaul and Spiti Valley sub district. It is situated at an altitude of around 10,235 ft (3120m) above sea level. Sissu has shot to fame ever since the world famous Atal tunnel opened making it a 365 days destination for tourist to visit.
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To reach the village of Sissu, there are multiple options to suit the budget of everyone. The first option is to hike a taxi from Manali and do a day trip which will cost you anywhere between INR 3000-8000 based on the type of vehicle you book. The second option is to rent a bike and ride to Sissu. Remember even automatic scooters will make it till Sissu but then again it’s on your riding ability.
Bike rental is anywhere between INR 800-2500 again depending on the type of bike you choose. The third option is to take the local bus which will leave in the morning and return back by afternoon. The HRTC bus ticket will cost you around ₹100 and its the same bus which will travel all the way to the town of Keylong.
The 40 kms drive from Manali to Sissu will take you roughly around 2-3 hours one way depending on which vehicle you opt for and how many times you stop along the road for photos. A piece of advice is to always drive straight from Manali to Sissu and then on the return back stop at places you want for photographs. The ideal time to leave from your hotel or resort in Manali is by 9-10 am so you can make it in time to get back before the traffic sets in. The earlier you leave in the morning the better
After around 29 kms from the town of Manali, you will first cross the famous Atal tunnel which is a 9 kms tunnel which makes it the longest road tunnel in the world. It will take you around 90 minutes to reach the start of Atal tunnel and then another 20 minutes to complete the 9 kms from the south to north end of Atal tunnel.
Once you cross through the tunnel, almost 95% of your journey is complete. But this is where the whole hype becomes worth it. You exit the tunnel and the whole world will change. During the summer months, you will see brown terrain of the Trans-Himalayas and during the winter months, you will see them covered completely in snow. So regardless of which month you decide to travel to Sissu, you will always be blown away with the awe inspiring terrain that Lahaul has to offer.
Along the road to Sissu, you will first come across the food truck river side stall from the village of Teling. It’s a great place to stop along the journey. The food trucks serve some really good and hygienic food. Bread omlette, Maggi, chai coffee and rajamachala are some of the famous things to have. From the town of Telin, Sissu is just a 2 kms drive away.
Once you reach Sissu, you will understand that the village is at a higher altitude and the tourist mela is along the banks of the river Chandra. The helipad is now a parking lot. The forest area has ATVs and food stalls along with a variety of stalls selling winter wear and gear to help you cope with the cold.
The biggest reason people travel to Sissu is for the adventure which includes ATVs, a zip line over the River Chandra and flying fox. This is what brings the crowd. But then there are other things which include the Sissu lake, the banks of the river Chandra, the waterfall across the river and the forest area which makes it a perfect place to click pictures..
After your done strolling and wandering around Sissu, the food court which has been lined up with food trucks is worth a visit. From Maggi to momos and everything listed on the menu photo it’s a treat for foodies. You will also find street stalls selling chola pav in burger style and roasted corn (buttha) eating options are literally unlimited. It’s advisable to opt for a veg meal since there are no fridges to keep the meat fresh during the summer months.
The government has also set up washrooms which are not the cleanest but are definitely not the worst you must have come across if you’re a regular traveller. So remember, if you need to use the washroom they are located near the parking lot entrance.
When it comes to cell phone network in Sissu – Jio, Airtel , BSNL work like a charm. It is only Vodafone which does not have network at all in this region. So if you are on anything but Vi, you can easily make online payments for the things you eat in Sissu.
Accommodation options in Sissu are in plenty in the village and along the road from Atal tunnel. Most people do a day trip and don’t really end up staying the night in Sissu.
But if you are the kind who wants to stay the night, then you will find a home stay or guest home which will give you a room for anywhere between INR 1000-3000 based on two factors, one being the type of room and its amenites and the second is the season which you are travelling in.
Sissu is accessible all year round but the best time to visit Sissu is during winter months from November to March. The rest of the year also Sissu is very good to visit but the snowfall which you crave to experience won’t be there from April to November.
Remember when your travelling to Sissu, keep in mind that you need to be a responsible traveller and not trash the place. Whatever you eat, make sure you put it back into the trash bins which are installed.
Finally we will conclude by saying if you’re looking for a five to six hour quick experience of what Lahaul and Spiti valley has to offer then a road trip to Sissu is an absolute must. It’s like a short commercial on YouTube you need to experience.