As the sun set down, a thousand sparkling lights turned up for the show. The entire Kullu Valley, as visible from Footloose Camps (campsite in Sethan) – my home from a few days of stay in Sethan – started glowing like the milky way in the sky. I wondered when did I last saw something as beautiful as this. Sethan, no wonder, was a place to relax, unwind and just be!
I happened to explore Sethan, last week, as I stumbled upon the facebook page of Footloose Camps. The fist few pictures that the campsite posted on its page appeared no less unreal. A quick search on how to reach Manali on internet and I found out that regular volvo bus service can take you from Delhi to Manali in an overnight journey, allowing you to reach Manali in the morning – ready to explore the town, though with swollen bug eyes (if you can’t sleep while travelling like me). As you reach Manali, readily taxi services can take you to Sethan (in Hamta) in less than 45 minutes.
Tip: Since Sethan is located in Hampt (a restricted area) there are no shared jeep or bus services available. You’re required to hire a cab or drive yourself. You area also required to get a prior permission to access the area that can cost 100 Rupees per vehicle.
Located at about 15 km from Manali, Sethan unfolded itself as place where tourists seldom pass. During early 90’s it was a popular hippie destination, but with more strict policies against marijuana cultivation and local people in Sethan discontinuing growing Marijuana, its popularity among western hippies fell down. For Indian tourists Sethan never had any charm, until very recently, as the young generation has started moving away from the crowded places like Manali in search of better and peaceful alternatives. The town has only a few houses (say around 20) with almost all of them occupied by the local buddhist families. Sethan is basically the agricultural land for the locals and some of the locals crops and cauliflower, potatoes, Carrots and Himachali Apples, among others.
Situated at about 700 m more higher than Manali, Sethan, at 2700m above the sea level, guarantees a peaceful ambience. During my few days of stay at the Footloose Camps campsite in Sethan, I hardly saw any tourist passing by, except for those who knew about this hidden gem and about its charm. Throughout the day, I would relax under the hot sun, which would feel like a complete bliss in the chilling weather of Sethan, and hike in the nearby areas.
From its 35+ hair pin bends, the road to Sethan offers some of the most thrilling views of Kullu Valley. And if you dare to climb a few mountains, you can even catch a quick Ariel view of Manali from a distance. At the 35th hair-pin bend, Footloose Camps, from its common bonfire area, gives the most amazing view of the Kullu Valley in entire Sethan.
Why I Recommend Sethan
For anyone planning aholiday, the biggest motivation is ending up in a place that promises peace and serenity, while not giving up on the little luxuries of life. This was the reason why Manali became popular at first place. But with soaring popularity, Manali has become one big mess. Sethan, with its 15 km distance from Manali, and a well connected road, promises a peaceful locale while still assuring a comfortable visit. The only problem is, however, there is no public transport to Sethan – which, in a way, kept Sethan untouched and secluded in its own pretty way.
So you’re driving to Manali, you can drive all the way to Sethan. But if you’re coming in a bus, readily available taxis make it easier for you to get to Sethan. A taxi would cost about 1500 Rupees per trip and if shared between 5 or 6 people, the cost should be no problem. And then again, with accommodation in Sethan being cheaper than for a similar accommodation in Manali, you’re anyway going to cover up the cost.
Unlike Manali, Since Sethan is a very small town, accommodation options are fairly limited. Speaking of my experience, however, I can personally recommend for its magical views and a great hospitality.
Started by a full-time traveller and a fellow Indian Travel Blogger Footloose Dev, Footloose Camps promises all comforts of an interpid – from on-site parking to in-house wifi to a great ambience. The campsite is moreover located in an Apple Farm, making the entire experience precious for the romantics.
The campsite charges 1200 Rupees per person per night. But it includes everything you may need: accommodation, all three meals, unlimited hot drinks, bonfire, hot water for a shower, and anything else you may exceptionally want.