I enjoyed Bir living like a local spending about 7 weeks and went back wanting for more. This tiny hamlet in the Kangra Valley is an absolutely blissful place for a weekend getaway or a go-to destination for a long weekend. Based on my experiences, these are the 10 things to do in Bir, Himachal.
10 Things To Do in Bir
01 | Check Out the Wonderful Monasteries
Bir and the villages around are known for a lot of pretty monasteries, and the prayer flags adorn the valleys of Kangra. Be spellbound by the chants of the monks and get transported to the realm of peace at these monasteries evoking pure positive energy.
These are the monasteries that you can visit:
Palpung Monastery, Bhattu
Dzongsar Khyentse Monastery, Chauntra
Chokling Monastery, Chaugan
02 | Hike to Gunehar River Pool & Waterfalls
Gunehar is a quaint village tucked away in the hills of the Kangra Valley. A short day hike will lead you to a waterfall, which is at a height of 100ft. I couldn’t visit the waterfall but went up to the bridge below which there is a stream. Walking amidst the lush terraced fields and getting a glimpse of the village life are the best parts of this hike, apart from the gorgeous waterfalls itself.
03 | Go on Long Walks & Stumble Upon the Quaint Villages
Every time I got a chance, I too long walks and would stumble upon something new all the time. I had a chance to visit villages with as many as just 5 or 6 homes. I met people who gave a tour of their traditional home, and even learnt a few words of Pahari language! And yes, even though I got lost a few times, I was not concerned as I knew this only meant a new experience.
So if you have time and feet feels itchy, then take walks. You wouldn’t be disappointed at all!
04 | Try Biking & Paragliding
If you feel walking is too much and too consuming, you can try mountain biking around the villages. There are plenty of shops for you to hire them, even on an hourly basis, and you’ll sweat as well as feel the fresh mountain breeze.
Well, Paragliding in Bir needs no introduction as it is the number one activity for adventure seekers!
Quick Tip: It’s best to take up paragliding around sunset, as the views are the best. However, this also depends on the weather as it is too unpredictable. But if you have time and are willing to risk it, you can get lucky.
05 | Go on Treks
The easiest treks that you can do are from Lower Bir to Upper Bir or Billing as it is popularly called. You can do the half day trek and come back paragliding!
If you want to get a feel of a snow trek but aren’t looking for something too tough, try out Zostel’s Escape Trails Raj Gundha, a 360-degree trek in the Thamas Valley. This 2-day trek (with one overnight stay) was one of the best experiences that I had in Kangra.
Recommended read: Escape Trails Raj Gundha – A Snow Trek in the Wilderness
06 | Hike For the Best Sunsets
The easiest way to observe a wonderful sunset is to head to the landing site, where you get to see the sunset right in front of you. If you prefer watching it from the top, take a hike to Keori village, which lies behind the terraced fields opposite to the landing site. You’ll get even better views.
Also, the other place is the road leading to the Palpung Monastery. This road amidst the mountains is great for a walk and a sunset.
07| Try Local Food
From cafes to Tibetan restaurants, there are many options to try in Bir, but the traditional Himachali Thali is the must-try dish. There are many small restaurants serving local food, which are totally cheap and delicious!
Also, local wines and beer are worth trying if you want to get a taste of local liquor!
08 | Take a Tour in the Tibetan Colony
The Tibetan colony in Chaugan looks serene and deserted from outside but is bustling with people involved in many crafts inside the buildings. Take a walk in the colony and check out the shops where prayer flags are made, the local souvenir shops and oh, the noodles manufacturing factory – the most interesting of all!
09 | Meditate & Ponder at Deer Park
The Deer Park is not a deer park as the name suggests, but an institute that has played an instrumental role in teaching ancient Indian wisdom traditions. They conduct workshops and activities throughout the year ranging from Yoga to well-being, and there are also a few volunteering opportunities open for everyone.
Check their website here if you want to participate. The Institute has designated meditation halls, prayer rooms, a bookshop and a fabulous library.
The other organisation in Bir which has been promoting a productive and a positive living is Dharmalaya Institute, where they conduct workshops on sustainable living. Here you learn to make use of natural resources to adopt minimalism.
Check their website here for more information.
10 | Chill in Cafes
Don’t expect cafes like in McCleod Ganj (which is a good thing), but there are a few very good cafes to grab you book, connect, or simply chill. I tried Silver Linings, 4 Tables and Garden Cafe, and loved them all.
So these are the top 10 things to do in Bir, each of which is unique and fun!
Have you been to Bir? Have you tried these? Let me know in the comments!
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