Experience Old Manali's laidback charm at Drifter's Cafe

By 02:43 Saturday 23 June 2018 , , , , ,

It's now a double-edged sword, giving out travel recommendations. On one hand, I want to share my best experiences so that you can have them too, but at the same time I don't want to add to the social-media frenzy about vacationing in the hills and encourage their crowding. But I think the best we can do, is a) minimize our visits to the hills and shorten the duration of our stays b) opt for a surrounding, lesser saturated place to stay c) not choose the absolute peak tourist season to go d) be conscious about cleanliness and not disturbing local life. I cannot even describe how bad the traffic situation was in Manali when I visited last June {bad call, I'm not proud}. I don't have the perfect solution, but all I'm saying is..it's time we consider all these factors while planning our trips to anywhere in India, especially the hills.

I know it's not the  happiest note to start on, but moving on, Drifters Inn and Cafe in Old Manali is quite a popular hang out spot for the tourists as well as locals. The decor is hardly anything special but it's got a cozy, homely feel that made me want to write about it. Expect laidback low seating, simplistic interiors and a selection of board games and magazines to get lost into. I specifically remember watching the Champions Trophy match {India vs Bangladesh} here over chilled beer with mom and dad, who are not really hippie-cafe-enthusiasts but I didn't hear them complain for once.

Coming to the food, we ordered some chilly potato to go with the beer and I insisted on a flat-bread pizza because it sounded great. Wasn't disappointed. The pizza had a lovely thin crust, bite-sized slices, lots of cheese and the most beautiful mix of veggies. By this time, the Rajma-rice combo on the menu was really speaking to me and even though I was full, I ordered it in a sort of a reflex. It was probably the nicest, home-style meal that I remember from the trip. Totally recommended. Additionally, they serve a variety of flavoured hookahs, have some great breakfast options and host live music nights often.

Drifter's also has affordable hotel rooms which I can't vouch for personally but from whatever I've heard, they are a safe bet. Find details here.

There are lots and lots of pretty cafes in Old Manali that don't just offer great food but also scenic views of the Beas river and the mountains. I'd highly recommend a walking tour of the area around Drifter's where you can also pick up some boho knick-knacks, leather bags, boots, backpacks, jewelry and other souvenirs. 

Hope you enjoyed reading this little recollection, it is a part of my quest to visit and document as many nice cafes in the hills as I can. Speaking of which, you may also like this beautiful pizza place in Naukuchiatal or this breakfast heaven in McLeodganj.

See you in the next post.


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