Backpacking in India – Here’s what you need to know!
For most backpackers, India is an excellent destination. Backpacking in India is a different beast altogether. A not so strong currency and a country which consists of a large number of middle-class makes India a great value for money destination. India is one of the most inexpensive countries to visit in the world.
Backpacking in India is considered by many as a more authentic way of exploring India as you travel in
Why is India so inexpensive?
There are multiple reasons as to why traveling in India is so inexpensive. A not so strong currency. A great network of public transport and cheap food options make India inexpensive.
Hostel stay in India should not cost more than 6 – 8 Dollars a night. Even transport on A/C trains and buses will not set you back by more than 15-20 dollars a journey.
India is a food haven for vegetarian and has a few interesting options for meat eaters too. The meal costs in India are ridiculously low and a budget of USD 15 should be enough for all meals.
How Tough is it to Backpack in India?
A lot of backpacker hostels, budget home-stays and economic public transport makes India a very backpacker friendly destination.
However backpacking in India is cheaper/more expensive based on the region you would be visiting. Like for example North India is easier to backpacker than the North-east or for example Central India.
How much can I see in two weeks in India
Two weeks in India is ample time to explore one region well. On a fast paced trip you could see a little more. In North India you could explore Delhi, Rajasthan and Agra (Taj Mahal). This is probably the most popular tourist circuit in the country. Start off in the capital, followed by a visit to the Taj Mahal and the culturally rich cities of Rajasthan.
The places you would be visiting on this route are rich in history, culture and architecture. Great rail and road network and abundance of budget hotels, home-stays and hostels makes North India a backpacker friendly region.
North India is also home to places of spiritual importance. You could start this route in Delhi and visit Amritsar which is home to The Golden Temple. The Golden Temple is the most important site of worship in Sikhism. You can them make your way north to Dharamshala which is home to the Dalai Lama and the in-exile Tibetan government. From Dharamshala travel to Rishikesh, the Yoga capital of the world and home to a lot of adventurous activities like river-rafting and bungee jumping.
We recommend you start your trip in Mumbai if you plan on visiting South India. South India is very different from the North, beautiful in every sense of the word, South India is blessed with beautiful beaches, forests and great food.
You can fly in to Mumbai and then make your way south. Mumbai is possibly the most expensive city in the country and as it’s not a very touristic city. There aren’t enough budget accommodation options in Mumbai. Slightly expensive than other cities, travelers who do visit generally like it a lot. From Mumbai make your way south to Goa. Goa is full of beautiful beaches. Inexpensive alcohol, great sea-food and relaxed laws is why Goa is extremely popular among Indian and international travelers. A bus ride later travel to Hampi a relaxed backpacker town known for it’s ruins and the beautiful lakes. Hampi is a great place to bike around. You can then travel to Kerala with a stop in Mysore (known for it’s palace and great food).
Kerala is one of the most visited states in South India blessed with hill-stations amidst tea plantations, waterfalls, national parks and the backwaters. You can take the state bus/trains in Kerala to travel and most places have enough budget accommodation options.
How much can I see in 4 weeks in India
The rise of e-visa has led to a lot of travelers visiting India for a month. Backpacking India for a month is extremely inexpensive when compared to some other countries.
You could either choose to spend your month in North India and explore Delhi, Rajasthan, Agra and places like Dharamshala, Amritsar and Rishikesh. This route is extremely popular among backpackers visiting India for a month because of easy travel connections and budget accommodation options.
A lot of travelers also choose to combine North and South India. Flying into Delhi, visit Agra and make their way south to Rajasthan, Mumbai, Hampi, Goa and Kerala. If you have a month and would like to experience a bit of both North and South India. This is the route we recommend.