Scams in Manali

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The Mall, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, 175131
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Listing ID: 81715857
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If you are visiting Manali for the first time, then you can be the prey of scamsters, as they know the tourists are not aware of how things or services operate here, referred to as a "Scam City" Manali gives the reason for this call, as various kinds of frauds happen here with the innocent tourists such as:

Taxi/Rickshaw Scam - Rickshaw or Taxi drivers can charge higher prices knowing you are new here, so make sure to go either by meter or set a fixed price before beginning your ride or download offline maps so you have an estimate idea about the price and distance that needs to be covered. When you book a taxi, always ask for the vehicle model and registration year. 

Local taxi drivers may tell you there are no local buses available for sightseeing. You can go by taxi if you will, but the taxi fare will be very high. You can go through local ISBT, and HRTC bus options or can visit the HPTDC office which runs a local sightseeing tour bus that is quite affordable.

Shopping Scam -Shopkeepers sell goods expensively, stating them to be imported, man-made, or with rare or exclusive availability such as animal fur/wool shawls, blankets and clothes, pashmina shawls, or handicrafts and food items such as dry fruits, herbs, kesar and shilajit.

Hotel Scam- Suppose you find a cheap stay in Manali, make sure to ask for your exact hotel name and the facilities provided, such as free or paid parking, heater, or charge you extra for the heater in winter. Also in case you reach early morning do ask the hotels if they provide you with free or affordable early check-in. Also record a detailed video of the provided room, in case of any claim or emergency.

Although accommodation might get cheaper, the food can be expensive, it's advised to ask for the food facility such as breakfast, to be included in your booking or not, if not check the food menu prices before you place any order.

Online Tour Packages Scam - People often book online tour packages and later get scammed when the actual facilities and bookings aren't the same as said, such as booking hotels in the package, in reality, gets a below-par hotel and room booking, charging extra prices for facilities like food, geysers, and heaters which online was mentioned to be inclusive, to keep yourself away from such scams make sure to have clear communication with your agent or your hotel management regarding all the crucial information, and also ask to provide a written document or proof of your package with all the details enlisted.

Car Parking Scam - Make sure to ask for a car parking receipt. You might get bluffed and end up paying higher than the usual fee. Ask for the price list in case you find the service to be overpriced. 

Vehicle Rental Scam - When you rent any vehicle make sure to record a video of the entire inside and outside of the vehicle and booking process and send a copy to the owner also. Check the speedometer, go on a ride in the local area, and check and record it. There is an ongoing issue when you take a vehicle on rental from Manali to reach Ladakh, the authorities may not allow you to enter so make sure you tell your rental company about it and discuss your plan.

While hiring or renting cabs and bikes, the agency or local vendor can propose an increased fee for bike rentals per hour, the drivers might happen to cheat you by demanding extra fares for visiting a particular spot, purposely taking a longer route, or won't halt at your desired location instead will head to their preferred ones where they get a commission for, as a precaution have a prior look at the price list/package, have a conversation with the drivers about your requirements and go onboard only if you are satisfied.

Golgappa Scam - Always ask for the quantity and price of the golgappas from the vendor before having them, as they might trick you into charging extra.

Bus Scam - If you are traveling in a Private Luxury bus then confirm the exact arrival and departure time and location properly from your operator. Most of the time the hotel check-in time is between 11 AM - 12 PM, so if you arrive before the check-in time you may have to pay extra so either talk to your hotel manager earlier or try to reach Manali after 10 AM. Private Bus operators may ask you to pay extra charges for luggage as they have a limit of up to 15 kg per passenger. As a safer choice opt for a government bus that will drop you at the Manali Bus Stand. 

Drug Scam - Don't get into buying or selling any illegal substance, for it is injurious to health and from the people you don't know, having such substance is risky and dangerous as well. The provider can ask you for a good amount of money and can even harm you.

Adventure activities scam - Always ask the time duration of the activity you are going for before paying any fee. Your taxi drivers will persuade you to shop from local vendors who will charge an extra or higher price than usual while selling any snowsuit, boots, and adventure or snow sports equipment, from whom the driver will get a commission for bringing in customers. Don't fall for such tricks and avoid them because sometimes they excite you while telling about activities like skiing or ziplining, informing you to book and buy these activities from their preferred vendors unknown to you, stating the services are unavailable near the adventure sports site which is false and can also take you to less snowy areas where you won't enjoy such activities to the fullest and still have to do it because you booked and paid for it earlier.

Picture-taking scam - A local can give you an animal like a rabbit to hold and click a few pictures with, and later when you are done will ask for money which they didn't mention earlier. Even while clicking pictures via a local photographer they won't tell you the price per photo, and clicking numerous pictures and after printing them will ask you for a higher fee. Another one of the picture scams includes any person/ group can ask you to click their picture pretending to be tourists themselves, and once you do it and return the camera they will intentionally not hold it or make it fall, showing it as your fault, and will ask for money to repair the device.

Bird Poop Scam - The scammers from somewhere far will drop a white paste/toothpaste on you and will try to come and help and while doing so, can pickpocket your wallets.

Scratch Coupon Scam - It concludes that you are offered to scratch a coupon and once you win, you will be guided to an office or hotel to claim your prize, and the staff there will try to convince you to join some program/membership with some benefits and assured bonuses by paying a particular amount and if you fall in such trap, their work is done and they vanish later, for safety, it's advised not to involve yourself in such games or if you are suspecting anything wrong or suspicious, step back and be rigid of your decision.

Saffron & Shilajit Scam - Vendors on the street will try and manipulate you into buying saffron and shilajit while pretending it to be real for ex; if you ask to check the fragrance of saffron the seller can get any artificial saffron fragrance and trick you in considering it real, instead in reality the products being fake, so be careful about buying such items.

Dry Fruit Scam - Usually you will find local and street vendors selling dry fruits, once you ask them for a tasting they will give you good quality dry fruits to taste and once you are convinced and buying them, you might end up having stale or rotten products as the vendors sometimes sell old or expired dry fruits to the customers.

These fraudsters and scammers try their best to manipulate new and naive tourists who visit such a hill station to have a good time and with the expectation to add more to it, get trapped in such activities and frauds. Such scams are common in Manali, so keep yourself aware and cautious while exploring the city.


  • Bargaining is a must here, in whatever you do be it accommodation, buying, or sightseeing, if you feel the prices are unfair or higher, do bargain. Ask around different people and service providers to see the change in price variations and also to be aware of the actual situation.
  • Try to not get fooled by faulty/ rotten/fake products/services, if you feel fishy or don't have a surety while making a purchase better to back off than following the fear of missing out.
  • Keep your gadgets, jewelry, wallet, or any other important stuff well hidden, and be careful about your surroundings.
  • Mostly instead of the locals here, the people who are, or came here to earn are the ones who do such scams, so be conscious and open-eyed when meeting people or befriending them.

How to report a scam to the Indian Government?

Visit, create an account, and register a proper complaint with evidence or make a youtube video and share the link. Government officials will take action very soon. 

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