Tag Archives: Backacking through North India

Backpacking in India – Here’s what you need to know!
Backpacking in India – Here’s what you need to know!

India is a dream destination for backpackers! You can easily travel on a low budget and experience a distinctive culture unlike any other. From staying with friendly families in homestays or other backpackers in dorms of hostels to travelling like a local on inexpensive train journeys, Backpacking in India will offer you an adventure of a lifetime.

 

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 such a low budget travel destination.

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. For more infos on costs of travelling in India here.

 

How Tough is it to do Backpacking 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.  For example Rajasthan is easier to backpack in than the North-east or on unbeaten paths in central India. South India has a great infrastructure and local transport but accommodations are more expensive. Hotels in Mumbai are expensive too but the food is very cheap.

 

Why should you choose India for your backpacking adventure?

Of course one of the main benefits of backpacking in India is the fact that one doesn’t need to break the bank for a satisfying journey. But there is so much more to the travel experience in India . You can experience a very distinctive culture unlike anything you find elsewhere. The bright colours and interesting details of everyday life , the variety of religions and respective customs, the landscapes and nature, the traditional architecture and interesting stories behind it, the dynamics of the young generations and the wisdom of the elderly – this all makes India an experience of a lifetime. Furthermore, travelling in India definitely pushes you out of your comfort zone and makes you run into situations you never thought you would be in: Dancing and singing with locals on a night train, eating spicy food you actually enjoy,  being the centre of a selfie with local kids or sleeping under detailed wall decorations which are centuries old. Many of our guests had the time of their lives in India. Read their testimonials here. 

 

How much can you see in two weeks of backpacking 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 make North India a backpacker friendly region. Find an example tour with details here.

Rajasthan_fort Explore the massive forts and beautiful palaces of Rajasthan.

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 then 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.

Click here for a detailed list of options on traveling for two weeks in North 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. It is also a great region for backpacking despite higher accommodation rates.

You can fly into Mumbai  and start your trip there. It is possibly the most expensive city in the country and a not a very touristic city. There aren’t many budget accommodation options in Mumbai. Backpackers tend to like it due to its authenticity.  From Mumbai make your way south to Goa.  Goa is full of beautiful beaches, gorgeous churches and Portuguese colonial architecture. Inexpensive alcohol, great sea-food and relaxed laws are the reasons why Goa is extremely popular among Indian and international travellers.  A bus ride later you can be in Hampi, a relaxed backpacker town known for it’s ruins and interesting rock formations. 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). Find out more about this trip here. 

goa_backpacking Enjoy the beaches of Goa without spending a fortune.

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. There aren’t many hostels but low priced homestays make up for it. Tamil Nadu, their neighbouring state has great Tempel complexes and colonial cities. Click here for a detailed list of options on traveling for two weeks in South India.

How much can you see in four weeks backpacking in India?

The rise of e-visa has led to a lot of travelers visiting India for a month since Backpacking in India is extremely inexpensive 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 the cultural richness of the north and the great landscapes of the south, this is the route we recommend. Click here for a detailed list of options on traveling to India for 4 weeks.

 

Why should a backpacker like you pay for the services of India Someday?

Being such a unique place, travel planning can be quite an overwhelming challenge in India. Even the most experienced traveler reaches its limits in India due to the vast selection of places to visit, travel routes, accommodations, experiences and the complexity of transport.

With India Someday you can get the right amount of assistance to help you plan your backpacking adventure in India without breaking the bank. With no hidden costs and a highly personalised service, we can make sure that your Indian adventure is well thought out as well as cost-effective. We guarantee you that we won’t charge more for the hostels and hotels than the rates you can find online and due to our extensive knowledge and experience we know the most inexpensive route and transport options for you.

This is how we can support your backpacking adventure:

  • Travel planning according to your budget
  • Transparent Pricing with detailed cost break down
  • Flexible travel planning with you in control
  • Fast & immediate support during your travels
  • Tips for sightseeing & experiences

If you want to get the best out of your backpacking adventure in India plan your trip with us now. 


Suggested Four Week Travel Routes for India
Suggested Four Week Travel Routes for India

Exploring India in four weeks!

Always wanting to visit India? The E-Visa or the Visa on arrival has made India a much simpler place to get to for travelers wanting to visit India.

They say ‘a life-time is not enough to explore all of India‘! But with so much to see, a month in India is the least time you want to spend to do it any justice. We have outlined a few month long travel routes/itineraries that you could follow when visiting India. Each outline includes an overview of the routes, the destinations, the highlights of each route, and the modes of travel.

We’ve also tried to explain the drawbacks of the tour. Compare different routes and what you should be prepared to miss out on. The suggested routes are moderate to fast paced trips. We’ve also tried to indicate a budget for each route from backpackers to luxury travelers.

Route 1 : The Classic North and South

Route: Delhi – Varanasi – Agra – Jaipur – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Mumbai – Goa – Hampi – Kerala

One of the most popular month long routes for travelers, especially with backpackers. This route has you starting in the historically rich capital. Head east to visit one of the oldest cities known to civilization. Travel west to visit the Taj Mahal, and then loop around the Desert State of Rajasthan.

You’ll get to explore cities rich in culture and character in Rajasthan (Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur). You can also take part in the Camel Safari & the Desert Camp in Jaisalmer.  End the northern leg of your trip in Udaipur before taking a bus/flight to Mumbai.

Travelling in the south is more relaxing, as you’ll be travelling south along the same coast as Mumbai. Relax on the beaches in Goa. Explore the boulders and rice fields of the time-bound Hampi. Visit the beautiful state of Kerala known for its backwaters and its tea plantations.

Drawbacks

This is one of the most frequented routes by travelers wanting to visit India. If you plan on picking it, we suggest you ensure all your transport and accommodation is booked in advance.

Since all these places are popular among tourists, it’s likely you will bump into more than a few on this trip. While that isn’t always a bad thing, if you’d like to avoid the crowds we’d suggest you travel a little early (mid July – September). While the North would have great weather, the South would be wet, but beautiful.

Backpacker! Boutique! or mix and match, we can help you plan a well thought and cost effective month across India.

Cost of a four week tour across North and South India?

Backpacking, dorm beds, day and overnight trains, at the most one flight – You can do this tour in as little as 700 Euros/800 USD per head. Euros 1500/USD 1800 for comforts of a flight or two, private rooms with bathrooms, few small heritage hotels.

It can then just go upwards! you can stay night after night in gorgeous palace hotels that cost USD 500 and upwards a night. Have a chauffeur driven car and driver through most of your tour and take flights between many a bunch of destinations.

Route 2:  A glimpse of the mountains.

 

Route: Delhi – Dharamshala – Amritsar – Rishikesh – Delhi – Jaipur – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Pushkar – Agra – Varanasi

Apart from being home to a billion people, a million gods, and a lot of weird rituals, India is also home to the divine Himalayas. This is the best possible route for people who only have a month in India and want to combine their trip to India with a trek in Nepal (Everest Base Camp/ Annapoorna Mountain Pass)

Your begin this trip in Delhi, a city extremely central to some of the most prominent locations in North India. Head north to Dharamshala (the home to Dalai Lama), followed by Amritsar (known for the beautiful Golden Temple) and Rishikesh (the Yoga capital of the world, also known for its adventure sports).

Post-Rishikesh, you come back to Delhi before heading south-west, this time into Rajasthan. Start with the state’s three gems -Jaipur, Jodhpur & Udaipur – before visiting Pushkar and Agra and then taking an overnight train to Varanasi. Varanasi is quite intense, it’s one of the oldest civilizations in the world and also a great place to end your trip in India. If you’re up for an assault on the senses, you can take a bus from Varanasi into Nepal.

Drawbacks

Like the first route, this is also extremely popular among travelers, so if you decide to take it, you might want to book your train tickets in advance. It is a hectic route, so we would recommend it to active travelers.

Apart from that, this is a good route to cover three regions (the Himalayas, Rajasthan and Varanasi) in the month you have in India.

Here’s what our guests who traveled to India with us had to say

Cost of such a tour?

Again if you if you plan to backpack, take train and buses you can do the tour for as little as 600 Euros/ 700 USD per head. You would want to double your budget to travel comfortably.

Route 3 : Exploring the South

Route: Mumbai – Goa – Hampi – Mysore – Bangalore – Chennai/Pondicherry – Trichy/Thanjavur – Madurai –  Munnar – Thekkady – Alleppey – Fort Kochi – Varkala.

 

India as a country has many facets and each region can be drastically different from the last. Exploring the south alone is a full trip in itself and entirely gratifying.

You can fly into Mumbai and first head south to the beach state of Goa. Next catch a bus or train to the evergreen Hampi and then spread out across Karnataka from royal Mysore to urban Bangalore before moving south-east to Chennai. Take a long break in francophile Pondicherry or break it up with the southern spice of Trichy and Madurai. End the trip on the beach in Varkala or carry on to the stunning hill station of Munnar, and the backwaters in Alleppey.

Drawbacks

South India is a beautiful region to explore, but it is slightly more expensive compared to the north. Flying into Mumbai and staying there quite expensive and there aren’t too many budget options in the south, even though there has been a rise in the number of hostels. It’s also sometimes convenient in the south to hire a car to get from one place to another, which racks up a higher bill than buses.

Route 4: Down South, mixing it up

Route:  Mumbai – Goa – Hampi – Mysore – Wayanad – Calicut – Fort Kochi – Munnar – Thekkady – Alleppey – Varakala

This route, like the previous one, is all about exploring South India. However in this route, you will not be travelling south-east. You’ll fly into Mumbai and head south to Goa, Hampi and Mysore before crossing into Kerala and spending the rest of your days exploring God’s own country.

This route is more relaxed and moves at a slower pace than the others, giving you time to soak in the beauty of the South without dropping dead from exhaustion. Getting from Mumbai to Goa to Hampi by bus is not tough, but if you throw in a few trains and maybe a car hire, it’ll be easier.


Drawbacks 

Limited to the south alone, and includes all the same drawbacks as the previous route.

Route 5: North and North East


Route
Delhi – Bagdogra – Gangtok – Ravangla – Pelling – Namchi – Darjeeling – Kolkata – Varanasi – Khajuraho – Orchha – Agra – Jaipur – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Pushkar – Delhi

 

The Himalayas, the Taj Mahal and the serene backwaters are a few things that people associate with India, however India is also home to the divine but underrated North-east, a virtual paradise nestled in the out-flung arm of the country.

This is another route you could take, if you like going off the beaten path. Travel through Bagdodra, Gangtok, Rvangla , Pelling, Namchi and Darjeeling, then make your way west to Kolkata; one of the oldest metros in the country. From there you can catch a train to Varanasi, then move thorugh Khajuraho (known for it’s erotic temples), Orchha (the quintessential Indian town), Agra and Rajasthan, before heading back to Delhi.


Drawbacks 

Apart from being diverse, India is also simply large, you may have to take a few flights, Delhi – Badgogra , or Bagdogra – Kolkata to save time, since there is only have a month and so much to see and do in it. Travelling in the North-east could be slightly more expensive as the local transport, though very economical, is inconsistent with its timings and you may want to trade some of your other luxuries on the trip for a comfortable car ride.

Places like Khajuraho and Orchha are beautiful places to visit, make sure you’ve made travel arrangements in advance, because of the lack of options and not very great connectivity.
Don’t have a month? Here are a few two week itineraries you could follow.


The top 10 hostels in North India
The top 10 hostels in North India
Stops Delhi

Stops offers literally every facility you could ask for and delivers them with professional excellence. Daily tours and activities, crisp linen, free parking, hot showers ad free chai are just the tip of the iceberg. The free breakfast is the highlight–fill up on eggs to order, pancakes, fruit, toast and tea and you’ll be ready to attack the day head on!

Bar2

Stops Varanasi

Choose from a range of accommodation that starts from a double occupancy ensuite and stretches all the way to tents with shared Douglas Adams-themed toilets. It seems to attract all the best people, or maybe it’s just the atmosphere. Either way, you’ll make great friends here. 

stops-hostel-varanasi Photo Credits- TripAdvisor

Moustache Jaipur

Not just your average clean sheets and complimentary breakfast, the Moustache hostels pack a wholloping punch of character. Bright colours, mirror-work, embroidered parasols and upcycled furniture make this entire building a photo-op. They’ve inhaled Japiur and expressed it on their walls.

moustache hostel Photo Credits – TripAdvisor

Bunkyard Udaipur

Bright green vines cascade down the cool white walls of the stairwell in this amazingly located hostel. 22 km from the airport, 100km from Udaipur palace and 50 km from Jagdish hotel. Go up to the terrace for barbeque or pig out at the on-site restaurant.

Bunkyard hostel Photo Credits – TripAdvisor

Jugaadus Amritsar

Jugaad refers to the unfailing ability to find innovative solutions with limited resources that is the heart of Punjabi culture. With that sim in sight, Jugaadus plans the most amazing tours from getting down and dirty in the village fields to scouring he streets of Amritsar for the best of its food.

Jugaadus Hostel - website Common Room (Photo Credits – http://jugaadus.com/)

Madpackers Dehi 

An oasis of calm and love that makes for a perfect homebase when you’re exploring this chaotic city. Meet fellow travellers and venture out with your new friends and the blessing of the travel crazy folks that run the hostel. Don’t be afraid to ask the front desk anything, they know it all.

the-madpackers-hostel Photo Credits – TripAdvisor

Zostel Jaisalmer

The best of Rajasthani architecture and craft comes together to furnish this palace with locally sourced and lovingly carved wooden beds and colourful dhurries to keep the dust at bay. The location isn’t as convenient as we’d like but the sheer beauty makes up for it.

Zostel Jaisalmer - booking-com Photo Credits – www.booking.com

Zostel Pushkar

Bright, clean and cosy, this hostel boasts a gently lit indoor pool and a wonderfully cushion-strewn rooftop restaurant. This is easily one of the more luxurious properties in the hostel category.

zostel-pushkar Photo Credits – TripAdvisor

Zostel Agra

A mural drenched building just round the corner from the Taj Mahal itself, the Agra branch of Zostel is perfect for the budget backpacker who still wants to tick all the typical sights off their list.

Zostel Agra Photo Credits – TripAdvisor

Shiv Shakti Rishikesh

A budget hotel with dorms, definitely the best place to stay in Rishikesh. The view from the rooftop stretches across the city all the way to the Ganga. Nitin, the owner, is a wonderful human being who has shown us care and friendship well beyond the line of duty.

Shiv Shakti Rishikesh Photo Credits – http://www.shivshaktiguesthouse.co.in/