Many budget accomodations but more crowded and noisy
Many options for restaurants and shops
Hip cafes along the Ganges
The main Laxman Jhula area is on the other side of the Ganges across the Laxman Jhula bridge. This area probably has the highest concentration of guesthouses, restaurants, cafes and shops in the tourist parts of Rishikesh and it can be quite crowded. The many rather hip cafes and restaurants dotted along the Ganges gives the area a different vibe from the other parts of Rishikesh. It attracts the young, hippie-boho bagpacker crowd. There are hardly any ashrams on this side of Laxman Jhula although there are a few temples here. If you are looking to stay in an area that has a more ashram atmosphere, it will not be a good choice. Head to Swargashram for this.
The main Laxman Jhula area has much more budget options in terms of guesthouses and also more choices of where to eat and what you can eat. If you are tired of eating another Indian thali, here is where you can get more choices of non-Indian food at pretty decent standards. The tourist shops here sell anything from hippie clothes to souvenirs and jewellery and all kinds of classes are available to keep you entertained if you have had one chai too many. Most things are within relatively short walking distances.
Main Laxman Jhula area with many restaurants and guesthouses.
Sellers along the street of Laxman Jhula
The area is car accessible and the shared jeeps plying up and down on the same road that you have to walk down daily (there are no pavements) are none too friendly. In fact, watch out where you walk, the jeeps are the kings on this road. Speaking of jeeps, they are available for hire to Swargashram (although you will be missing out on the nice 45 minutes walk along the Ganges) and also to go further upstream outside of Rishikesh. There are two stands, one on either side of the Laxman Jhula bridge. Prices, except the fixed price trip to Swargashram, again depends on your bargaining power unless you can read the signs in Hindi at the stand.
Although this side of Laxman Jhula is car accessible, public transportation do not come over this side and you will be dropped off way up the hill on the other side of the bridge along the main road from Muniki Reti. You will then have to take a long walk down to the bridge, cross over and walk further to your guesthouse which should take more than half an hour altogether if you are not distracted by everything along the way. To avoid this walk, you can pre-arrange with private car hires wherever you come from to drop you on this side, probably at additional cost. Be aware that when you leave Rishikesh from this side, many taxis and private cars will only pick you up on the opposite side of the river. The reason for this is most likely because the car accessible bridge to this side is a long way off Laxman Jhula and the drivers may be reluctant to make the detour. The narrow road also leaves no waiting or parking spaces for cars.