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Sissu snow covered march 2023

Yolo Cafe Manali to Sissu: The 1 amazing journey

While planning a road trip from Sissu to Manali, it’s important to remember that Sissu is in Lahaul valley and is a whole new district. Plus the weather conditions will be very different compared to what you will experience in any other part of Himachal Pradesh. Winter clothing is mandatory all year round. 

Sissu March 2023

Time

The Yolo Manali Sissu road trip takes not more than five to seven hours in total. Regardless of if there is a tourist season rush or not. So don’t leave too late, thinking it’s just a short road trip and you can easily make it before sundown.  

Ideal time to leave form Yolo Cafe Manali for Sissu is by 9-10 am so you can easily make it to Lahaul by lunch time.  So basically you have your breakfast and then sit in the car and bounce. For this to be as smooth as it’s written, you will need to pre-pack your day pack that’s going along with you a night prior. This will help you from running around like a chicken while getting everything with leaving anxiety. 

ATAL tunnel

On road

Once you’re in the car, the journey actually begins. It’s the same road to Rothang Pass (if you have been to Manali before this) then it’s driving all the way to Solang and beyond. 

The drive starts with the regular Manali traffic and then moves into more of a hot wheels kind of a circuit with zig zag well made tar roads all the way till Sissu. 

It’s the landscape which will keep changing with towering snow capped Himalayan mountains at the background and pine trees all over the side of the road. You’ll be driving into and above the clouds.  Till you reach Atal tunnel there is a bit of greenery. 

Sissu parking area

Fast track

Atal tunnel is 33 kms away from Yolo Cafe Manali and the tunnel itself is 9.1 kms in length making it the longest road tunnel in India as of April 2023. The tunnel takes around 15-20 minutes to cross since stopping or driving beyond or below the speed limit isn’t permitted so that’s the time you will take. Don’t try over taking since it’s a hefty fine of ₹10k for over taking inside the tunnel.  

After driving through Atal tunnel your exit is into Lahaul valley where it’s a whole different world.  From green grass and pine trees to absolutely barren mountains which are either brown with a bit of snow or completely covered in snow this is Lahaul valley. The other half of Spiti Valley rather the elder cousin. 

Tellin food cart court

Landscape

From the north end of Atal tunnel Sissu is just a 8-10km drive. The change in landscape will make the drive feel a lot shorter than 10 km but that’s actually how mind blowing the whole terrain is. 

Stop along the road at the mini food truck setup at the village of Teling. You can walk down to the river bank from this spot. Honestly speaking here you will get a better traveller experience as compared to in Sissu. It’s the perfect stop for some quick bites and photo session. 

New world

Once you reach Sissu you will be amazed by multiple factors. The first being the number of vehicles that are parked on the heli pad which is used as a convertible parking lot, food truck court, shopping centre and the list goes on. 

Sissu has been developed into a mini fun fair spread over an area of 2km. From zip line to buggies and even a small stroll to the lake. It’s like a winter day picnic for all. There is something for everyone who visits Sissu. 

Teling food cart court

Food

The food truck mostly serves veg and egg as the meal options. Non veg is barely sold since there are no takers. Rajma chawal, siddu and momos along with Maggie and bread omlette are the staple. 4G network is Airtel and Jio is flawless so your online banking will work.  Remember Vodafone has absolutely no network after crossing Manali.  

For a list of things to experience in Sissu click here for our >> web story

Expect everything in Sissu to be more than MRP since getting supplies till Sissu each day is a costly affair. So don’t try bargaining and wasting your time fighting over petty amounts since your time in Sissu is limited and it’s not worth it. Ask the cost before you eat anything and then you can’t be shocked. 

You can easily spend an hour or two exploring the Sissu lake, the food truck zone, the adventure area or if you are the kind who just likes to spend time with nature, then a walk in the woods is what will fill your heart the most.  

Sissu popcorn and candyfloss

If you want to find a bit of peace for much needed ‘Me’ time then Sissu is the place where you will need to walk away from the crowd around 100-300 metres and you will get what you have come craving for. 

When it comes to washrooms, there are a handful at the entrance end of the parking lot. Don’t expect them to be anything but Indian loos. If nature calls and you have to go, then remember there are restrooms for both men and women. 

After you have some lunch or light snacks whichever your stomach and wallet decide. it’s the time to sit in your car and head back to civilization in Manali. The return journey will take you lesser time since everything on the way back is down hill and the driver wants to reach home faster.  

The ideal time to leave from Sissu is by 3-4 pm so you can make it back to New Manali or Yolo Cafe Manali by 6-7 pm. It’s a road trip worth the money.  Since you can’t really ask for more in the cost.  This is without doubt, the best day road trip (time efficient) experience that Manali has to offer post Covid-19. Since you will barely spend time getting stuck in traffic or due to a road block. 

If you have made it till the end, then thanks for reading and remember we have our very own day road trips to Sissu starting @ ₹10,500 / couple which includes dinner, breakfast, stay and issue road trip for 2n/3d 

Click here for the trip blueprint 

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