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We are a little adventure hostel up the mountainside from the Himalayan town of Manali, working to welcome travelers and digital nomads to their home away from home, advocate for environmental stewardship as a business practice and give visitors the opportunity to experience the beautiful Himalayas through the treks that we lead - teach Leave No Trace principles and ethical trekking etiquette as we go. We've opened our place to be a hub for cultural exchange, traveler's community and educational platform for the local environment & lifestyle.
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Apart from the vibrant international traveler community and new languages you will be surrounded by during your time with us, our remote location also comes with several cultural perks.
We really are isolated from the honking horns of the main town of Manali below, giving you a chance to become a part of the culture up here in the village apple orchards. Shepherds pass our front door with their yak and goat herds more frequently than cars drive by, and the biggest drama we have is generally chasing the monkeys out of the backyard. Next door is a sacred, wooden Hindu temple with a several hundred year-old tree growing out of the courtyard. The village of Shenag directly below us via a quick walk through the orchards has great local spots to try regional cuisine and excellent Tibetan food like momos and thukpa - in addition to the local dishes you can learn to make from our menu. We like to hike a lot, so there are plenty of chances to explore the higher altitudes of the valley and learn about camping techniques and Leave No Trace Principles. Get exposure to the Hindi language as well as the local dialect here. The chances to learn, taste, see, try something new are endless - and the opportunity to experience a very different, more laid-back way of life in the rural Himalayas is one you seldom find.
Main Manali town is full of things to explore - from the handwoven shawls of the main bazaar, beautiful Buddhist monastery at the center of the Tibetan Market, hot springs and ancient temples of Vashisht - there's always something to see.
We often host events like local workshops on traditional handicraft-making or cooking lessons, yoga & meditation seminars and other impromptu hands-on tutorials, like learning how to rappel a wall - which volunteers are more than welcome to sign up for as well.
Manali is also one of Northern India's trekking capitals, with the towering mountains lining the valley providing some of the best day hike views you'll find anywhere in the Himalayas. Manali is also the gateway to some of India's most remote glaciers and unbelievable summits, if you're keen on some more hard-core trekking and camping. We operate these adventures as well, and offer them on discount to our Workaway family as a thank-you for what you add to our little mountain home.
Whatever you've got to offer - we've probably got a spot for you here! For all stays, at least 2 weeks is required. Some things we're looking for in particular though are:
Baking/Cooking: We operate a little bakery and cafe out of our hostel, and are always looking to experiment with new recipes. Cakes, pastries, breads, coffee/tea and preparation of main entrees - this isn't for guests, but for other volunteers community meals as well as ours, and of course - to discover some new dishes. You'll also have the opportunity to learn new recipes and regional dishes during your time here.
Day-Hike Leader: We lead a weekly day hike to somewhere unique around Manali (like the waterfall up the valley from our house or summiting a small peak nearby). If you're adventure-inclined (especially if you have previous wilderness experience), we're looking for some enthusiastic guides who can lead our guests on these little adventures after we show you the routes and make sure you're comfortable. To maintain our safety standards, we need hike guides who have some form of first aid certification - let us know you're qualifications!
Sustainability Projects: Have an idea for how to make our hostel more environmentally friendly? We are constantly looking for ways to be a more eco-conscious business. Some goals include becoming completely solar powered and implementing a compost/garden system.
Muralists/Artists: We have a whole hostel (that's a lot of walls) that is waiting for your paintbrush! Our vision is to have nature-themed murals in each bedroom portraying some of India's most beautiful trekking routes (each bedroom is named after a river, so the murals will correspond with that somewhat). We would also love some paintings in the common areas - if you have any ideas once you come and see it in person, let us know!
Yoga/Meditation/Something Unique & Teachable Workshops: Are you a certified yoga instructor? Can you lead a meditation class? Do you know how to make/do something unique that is teachable in a hostel setting? We often host workshops for our guests, and we'd love to have you come lead one in whatever field it is. We provide extra compensation for workshop leaders. Let us know what you'd like to teach!
Daily House Help: We will need help from all volunteers to help keep the hostel clean & running, so this will include a few daily chores around the house (cleaning/preparing rooms for guests, washing dishes, odd house jobs, etc.).
Have something else you think you could add? Let us know!
Punjabi (Eastern): Fluent
We’ve intentionally gone up the valley from town, deciding that if you’re going to visit the Himalayas, you should probably be able to see them out of your window when you wake up in the morning, not the roof of another hotel. Instead, every window and all four terraces of our hostel face out only into pine trees, apple orchards and the valley sloping up the mountains toward Rohtang Pass. The monkeys running through our backyard and shepherds herding their sheep and yaks past our front door are about as close to having neighbors as it gets.
This place should feel home to you while you stay here - just like it does for us. Our volunteers get the same cozy bunk beds (made in-house, none of that flimsy stuff) in our 6-bed mixed dorms as our guests, with one dorm facing the apple orchards next door and the other overlooking the entire valley below from the attached balcony. We will provide you with towels, linens, a welcome set of toiletries, laundry service, WiFi, community kitchen access, a personal storage locker, and breakfast, lunch & dinner each day.
Access to the hostels fun little common spaces are all yours - cozy TV lounge, upstairs library loft & boardgames, backyard fire pit, cafe & bakery! Our home is yours now.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an Adventure Hostel without the adventures! We lead a weekly day hike to somewhere unique around Manali (like the waterfall up the valley from our house or summiting a small peak nearby) you're welcome to join. We also host other events for our guests, like local workshops on traditional handicraft-making or cooking lessons, yoga & meditation seminars and other impromptu hands-on tutorials, like learning how to rappel a wall - which volunteers are more than welcome to sign up for as well. Not to mention the bigger adventures we operate across India and Nepal, to some of the countries’ most remote glaciers and unbelievable summits, if you’re really looking for a dose of adrenaline.
We are a laid-back place, after all, we started our little mountainside hostel because the community we have here is how we believe life should be: fresh air, good company, great food and always something to explore.
With that though, we want potential Workawayers to understand that our location does come with several things that you need to be aware of before coming. Our remote location means sometimes electricity and water inconsistencies can occur, especially in the winter. We do our best to counter these events with solar water heaters as well as geysers, power banks and a soon-to-be generator, but we are in the rural Himalayas at the end of the day! Winters are very cold, but if you love the snow - we get a ton of it, and there are few sights more spectacular in this country than these mountains after a fresh snow.
Also to note - we have a puppy named Bear, he's very friendly, but very energetic and loves to play - so make sure you're comfortable with animals if you're staying with us!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have dedicated workstation built against all the windows of our cafe floor, so you can answer emails with a true Himalayan view (and a hot cappuccino from our cafe). Connectivity-wise, we tunnel multiple connections from Airtel and Jio into a redundant, high-speed pipe which generally gives us speeds between 10 and 50 Mbps - which is about as good as it can get in this area of the Himalayas. Stormy weather occasionally can impact the speed, but it is generally quite reliable.
Dogs & small pets generally welcome given that we have a quick conversation to check-in once before confirming. Must be vaccinated & house-trained.
More than two
Usually 4 hours a day, 5 days a week - somewhere between hours of 8am and 10pm