21 Incredible Activities for an Unforgettable Retreat in Mcleodganj in 2023

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Nestled snugly in the Shivaliks, Mcleodganj is an extraordinary destination unlike any other. Its vibrant monasteries, breathtaking backdrop, charming cafes, and exhilarating adventure activities have elevated it to the status of a favorite summer vacation spot in India. There are a plethora of incredibly enjoyable activities to engage in while in Mcleodganj. From invigorating treks to leisurely strolls, from sipping hot beverages to savoring delectable cuisine, from visiting spiritual sites to taking boat rides – the options are endless.

However, before we dive into the list of the finest activities to partake in in Mcleodganj, let us first quickly go through some essential information that will aid you in planning your trip. Select the ones that appeal to you the most and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

21 Extraordinary endeavors in Mcleodganj

Now that you have an idea of when to visit Mcleodganj, let us discover the astounding array of activities to indulge in and explore the vicinity. Keep scrolling down and immerse yourself in this captivating list of options!

  • The Enigmatic Dal Lake – Immerse Yourself in Serene Blue Waters
  • Sightseeing – Revel in Exotic Beauty
  • Local Markets – Delight in Collecting Unique Treasures
  • Camping – Embrace the Wonders of Nature
  • Kora Circuit – Experience Tranquility Personified
  • Star Gazing – Be Enchanted by the Celestial Symphony
  • Yoga Sessions and Spa Treatments – Unwind and Rejuvenate Your Muscles
  • Culinary Lessons – Discover the Art of Gastronomy
  • Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts – Immerse Yourself in Ancient Culture
  • Cafés and Restaurants – Savor the Delights of Exceptional Cuisine
  • Triund – Embark on a Journey to the Majestic Mountains
  • Kareri River Trek – Connect with the Bounties of Nature
  • Bhagsu Trek – Immerse Yourself in the Allure of Natural Beauty
  • Tsug La Khang – Witness the Eternal Power
  • Tibetan Museum – Expand Your Knowledge of Art and Craft
  • Dhauladhar Range – Marvel at the Breathtaking Panorama
  • Indrahar Pass Trek – Embrace the Thrill of Adventure
  • Kangra Valley Trek – Explore the Verdant Greenery
  • Namgyal Monastery – A Testament to Tibetan Culture
  • Nechung Monastery – A Glimpse into the History of Tibet
  • Norbulingka Institute – Witness the Power of Education

Going for a boat at Dal Lake is one of the things to do in Mcleodganj with family

1. The Enigmatic Dal Lake – Immerse Yourself in Serene Blue Waters

Amidst the verdant Deodar forests, lies the picturesque and serene Dal Lake of Mcleodganj, offering visitors the opportunity to indulge in boating. The tranquil and charming ambiance of the lake makes boating in Dal Lake one of the most sought-after and enjoyable activities to partake in with children. The operating hours of the lake are from 7 am to 8 pm.

An inside shot of the Namgyal Monstery in Mcleodganj

Duration: 2-3 hours

2. Exploring – Immerse Yourself in the Exotic Beauty

Mcleodganj is renowned for its monasteries, museums, temples, waterfalls, lakes, and Tibetan settlements. When considering the top attractions in Mcleodganj, tourists have the opportunity to embark on a captivating half-day city tour. Mcleodganj exploration adventures encompass the Namgyal Monastery, Tsuglagkhang (the dwelling of the Dalai Lama), Bhagsu Falls & Bhagsunath Temple, as well as the Tibetan Museum.

Numerous jewelry items on display at one of the street markets in Mcleodganj

Estimated Duration: 2-3 hours

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3. Local Marketplaces – Discover Unique Treasures

Like any other destination, shopping in Mcleodganj possesses its own allure. Kotwali Bazaar, Jogiwara Road, and Mcleodganj Central Square are well-reputed shopping districts within the region. While the street shops of Kotwali Bazaar are beloved for their Tibetan carpets, rugs, and exquisite sculptures, Jogiwara Road boasts a prominent reputation as the go-to destination for souvenir hunting. The Mcleodganj Central Square is esteemed as home to the city’s oldest establishment – Nowrojee and Son – which first opened its doors in 1860. The entire market area is renowned for its wooden carvings, Thangka tapestry paintings, and artisan handicrafts.

A beautiful sunrise at one of the camp sites near Mcleodganj

Estimated Duration: 2-3 hours

4. Camping – Indulge in the Wonders of Nature

For those seeking a departure from traditional sightseeing, there are ample offbeat escapades to partake in within Mcleodganj. Camping stands as one of the most delightful activities that draws countless tourists each year. Camping in this heavenly setting is akin to a rejuvenating getaway amidst nature’s grandeur. It allows travelers to relish tranquil moments and bask in the breathtaking vista of the Himalayan peaks. Unwinding under the stars by a comforting bonfire while camping is an unparalleled experience.

A shot of the prayer flags on the Kora Circuit

Estimated Time: 1 to 2 Days

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5. Kora Trail – Embrace the Serenity

Pilgrims and avid travelers often venture into the Kora Circuit, a prominent attraction in Mcleodganj. The path that winds around the Tsuglagkhang Complex is adorned with prayer flags. Approximately 1.5 km into this remarkable path, you’ll come across a collection of prayer wheels, chortens, and photographs honoring Tibetans who sacrificed themselves through self-immolation since 2009. The circuit exudes tranquility and offers breathtaking vistas, although the trail itself can be steep and uneven at times.

A view of the star-studded night sky as seen on the Triund Trek

Estimated Time: 2-3 hours

6. Celestial Gazing – Allow the Stars to Work Their Magic

Himalaya Shanti Ashram Yoga teachers training with Sharat Arora

The clear sky above the snow-covered peaks makes star gazing an enchanting activity in Mcleodganj. This captivating experience appeals to all types of travelers – whether you’re a lone adventurer, a couple seeking romance, or a family in search of wonder – and should not be missed.

Estimated Time: 3-4 hours

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7. Yoga Retreats and Rejuvenating Spa Treatments – Soothe Your Body and Mind

Numerous yoga centers provide meditation and yoga sessions for travelers seeking spiritual enlightenment. These serene activities are particularly popular among spiritual seekers and solo adventurers. Om Yoga Centre, Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre, Universal Yoga Centre, and Tushita Meditation Centre are renowned attractions in Mcleodganj that offer peace and relaxation for the soul.

Located in the scenic Mcleodganj, there is a plethora of Ayurvedic healing therapies and spa treatments available at the renowned Ayurvedic Rejuvenation Centre. Situated near Bhagsu Nag, this Ayurveda centre boasts a team of professional experts and doctors who provide top-notch spa treatments. Engaging in these relaxing spa therapies is definitely one of the most rejuvenating activities to partake in while visiting Mcleodganj.

Tourists pose with the cook and trainer at the Sangey Kitchen

Recommended Time: 2-3 hours

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8. Embrace The Art Of Cooking –  Learn The Finest Culinary Delights

Lhamo’s Kitchen and Sangey’s Kitchen offer exceptional cooking sessions where travelers can learn the secrets of authentic Tibetan cuisine. Trust me, this activity is truly one of the most fascinating things to do in Mcleodganj. You will have the opportunity to discover the traditional recipes behind famous dishes, ranging from soups to noodles. After all, acquiring a new culinary skill is always a great deal. The operating hours of these kitchens are from 7 am to 9 pm.

TIPA artistes perform for Dalai Lama

Recommended Time: 2-3 hours

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9. Immerse Yourself in the Tibetan Institute Of Performing Arts – Explore the Rich Ancient Culture

When in Mcleodganj, attending the cultural shows at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts is a must. These shows showcase the vibrant Tibetan culture through captivating folk dances and melodious music. Visitors can also witness traditional Lhamo performances, the local folk opera. One such performance can last up to 6 hours. Among these shows, the most popular one is the annual Shoton Opera Festival, a delightful 9-day celebration of Traditional Tibetan Opera.

Shiva Cafe in Mcleodganj

Entry Charges: INR 50 per person

Recommended Time: 2-3 hours

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10. Indulge in Cafés And Restaurants – Savor Delectable Delicacies

Mcleodganj is home to a variety of cool and trendy cafes and restaurants that offer a cozy and happening ambiance. These establishments serve heavenly coffee, piping hot momos, and delicious thukpa. Relaxing in one of these charming cafes is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable things to do in Mcleodganj, especially for solo travelers.

Trek to Triund

Top-Rated Dining Establishments:

  • Jimmy’s Italian Bistro
  • Shiva Bistro
  • Peace Bistro
  • Lung Ta Restaurant
  • Common Ground Bistro
  • Bistro Budan
  • Hummingbird Bistro
  • Seed Bistro
  • Namgyal Bistro
  • Tibet Quality Bakery
  • Lobsang Four Season Bistro

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Trekking near Kareri Lake

11. Triund – Immerse Yourself in Majestic Mountains

Embark on the mesmerizing activity of trekking, considered one of the finest pursuits in Mcleodganj. Triund, a splendid range rising 9000 feet above sea level, offers a 9km trekking trail that guarantees an awe-inspiring experience. This relatively effortless trek presents captivating vistas of the entire Kangra valley. You can choose to begin the short trek either from McLeodganj or Dharamkot. The evening sky here is a divine spectacle, providing all the inspiration you need to plan an overnight stay.

Estimated Time: 3-4 hours


12. Kareri River Trek – Embrace Nature’s Embrace

Set your sights on the thrilling Kareri river trek, one of the most adventurous routes in Himachal. Offering the perfect weekend getaway, this trek meanders through alpine grasslands and subtropical forests. With a moderate difficulty level, it can be completed in just 2 days. As you move forward, prepare to be amazed by the panoramic views of the entire region and the remarkable variety of flora and fauna. The trek is best undertaken during the summer season.

Estimated Time: 3-4 hours

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Prayer candles at Tsuglagkhang: the temple inside the Dalai Lama compound

13. Bhagsu Trek – Delve into the Lap of Natural Beauty

Engage in the exhilarating activity of trekking to the Bhagsu waterfalls, one of the most exciting things to do in Mcleodganj. This trek commences from Mcleodganj and covers a distance of approximately 12 kms. With a moderate difficulty level, it is recommended for beginners. The Bhagsu trek takes you to a lovely waterfall near Bhagsu village, passing through Dharamkot, Galu, and Naddi Village. As you traverse these enchanting places, you will be treated to magnificent vistas.

Estimated Time: 6 hours

14. Tsug La Khang – Witness the Eternal Power

Tibetan Museum

Tsug La Khang stands out as one of the most exceptional destinations in Mcleodganj that you should not miss. Its significance lies in the fact that it serves as the sanctuary of the Dalai Lama. The complex comprises the Namgyal Monastery and several shrine rooms adorned with statues of Chenrezig, Buddha, and Guru Rinpoche. Art enthusiasts will be enthralled by the extraordinary pieces of art on display. A visit to this temple is an absolute must when exploring Mcleodganj.

Estimated Time: 1-2 hours

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15. Tibetan Museum – Immerse Yourself in the World of Art and Craft

Situated within the Tsuglagkhang complex, the Tibetan Museum is truly exceptional in every manner. It perfectly blends the timeless essence of traditional Tibetan architecture with modern influences, making it one of the prime attractions in Mcleodganj. The museum houses an extensive collection of Tibetan historical documents, Thangka paintings, pottery, manuscripts, and various other handicrafts. Art aficionados will also find an array of paintings and handicrafts available for purchase, making it an ideal spot for souvenir shopping.

Dhauladhar ranges

Estimated Time: 1-2 hours

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16. Dhauladhar Range – Bask in the Spectacular Beauty

Witness the mesmerizing sunset at the enchanting Dhauladhar Range, an experience that should not be missed. After indulging in thrilling adventure activities, take a moment to unwind and immerse yourself in the breathtaking natural beauty. Observe the varied hues of sunlight and feel the soothing breeze. This magical encounter with nature will serve as a therapy for your senses, leaving you rejuvenated.

Estimated Time: 1-2 hours

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17. Indrahar Pass Trek – Embark on a Thrilling Journey

For trek enthusiasts seeking adventure in Mcleodganj, the Indrahar Pass Trek is an absolute must. This exhilarating trek begins from Mcleodganj in the Kangra valley and concludes at Chamba. Along the way, you will be rewarded with awe-inspiring views of the majestic Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal mountain ranges. The trek will take you through dense deodar forests, lush green meadows, and captivating landscapes. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the ancient lands of Gaddi Shepherds and encounter the beauty of nature and wildlife.

: View Images of Indrahar Pass Trek Here

Estimated Duration: 4-5 days

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18. Kangra Valley Trek – Immersed in the Verdant Landscape

Visual Inspiration

Embark on a journey through the Kangra Valley Trek, a must-do activity when visiting Mcleodganj, to immerse yourself in the breathtaking vistas of the Dhauladhar range. This trek showcases ancient temples, captivating lakes, and unexplored Hindu towns nestled in snow-covered valleys. Starting from Mcleodganj, the trek passes through Kareri village and Kereri lake, offering a truly enchanting experience. The best time to undertake this trek is from March to October.

Estimated Duration: 3-4 days

19. Namgyal Monastery- Preserving the Rich Tibetan Culture

Visual Inspiration

When pondering over the things to do in Mcleodganj, make sure to include a visit to Namgyal Monastery. This renowned Tibetan monastery, once the residence of the Dalai Lama, is one of the largest and offers profound insights into sacred arts, philosophy, debates, and meditation. Immerse yourself in the timeless ambiance and marvel at the exquisite Buddha statues that captivate every tourist.

Estimated Duration: 1-2 hours

20. Nechung Monastery – An Encounter with the Historical Legacy of Tibet


One of the many activities you can undertake in Mcleodganj is a visit to the Nechung Monastery, which offers a wide perspective on Buddha and the Tibetan State. You will have the opportunity to observe some peculiar elements, including imaginative frescos in the inner courtyard. The unusual portrayals of battered humans and deities with skull garlands are amongst the other intriguing sights to behold. The monastery is also home to various animals and dragons.

Estimated Time: 1-2 hours

21. Norbulingka Institute – The Power of Education


When planning your trip and unsure of what to do in Mcleodganj, a visit to the Norbulingka Institute is a must. Here, you will have the chance to witness traditional Tibetan art forms. The Institute serves as a hub for artisans specializing in metal statue making, woodcarving, embroidery, and thangka painting. It is renowned for producing art objects, accessories, and high-quality home furnishings. The Institute is open for visitors from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

Estimated Time: 1-2 hours

How Is Mcleodganj’s Weather In December

How to Reach Mcleodganj

  • By Air: The nearest airport is Gaggal Airport, located 18 km away from Mcleodganj.
  • By Rail: If traveling by train, the nearest railway head is Pathankot Junction, approximately 90 km away from Mcleodganj.
  • By Road: Mcleodganj Bus Terminal is well-connected by buses from major cities.

Best Time to Visit Mcleodganj


Mcleodganj is a destination that can be visited throughout the year. The summer season, from March to June, offers pleasant weather and is ideal for trekking and sightseeing tours.

Mcleodganj receives heavy rainfall from mid-July to August, sometimes accompanied by landslides. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid visiting Mcleodganj during these months. However, the post-monsoon period, September and October, showcases lush green surroundings and is a sight to behold. December is a perfect time for a trip to Mcleodganj if you enjoy the magic of snowfall.

Winters, from November to February, can be cold in Mcleodganj. The snow-covered mountains make it an ideal destination for a honeymoon trip.

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With a plethora of exciting things to do in Mcleodganj, make sure to plan a trip to Himachal soon. You will have an unforgettable experience at this picturesque hill station with your loved ones. Mcleodganj offers a rejuvenating retreat amidst nature’s beauty, providing a sense of relaxation to all your senses. Immerse yourself in the tranquility, feel the gentle breeze on your face, and listen to the melodious chirping of birds while exploring the scenic wonders of Mcleodganj.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Things to Do in Mcleodganj

Is it safe to travel to Mcleodganj in our own private vehicle during the COVID situation?

Yes, traveling in your own private vehicle poses no risk during the COVID situation as you will not come into close proximity with anyone else.

Which season is best for adventure activities in Mcleodganj?

The best time to indulge in adventure activities in Mcleodganj is during the summer season, particularly from March to June.

Which is the nearest railway station for trekking and other activities in Mcleodganj?

Pathankot Junction, located approximately 90 km away from Mcleodganj, is the nearest railway station. From there, you can take a cab and enjoy your staycation in Mcleodganj while participating in various activities.

What are the must-do activities in Mcleodganj?

Some of the must-do activities in Mcleodganj are taking a boat ride on Dal Lake, trekking to Triund, visiting Bhagsu Falls, and exploring the local market.

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