My favorite places in India for Solo Traveling and Backpacking
Updated: Jun 10, 2020
Planning your first solo travel? As a Solo Traveler myself I can feel what you must be going through. So many questions in mind with regards to location, safety, budget traveling, and so on. Now that I have had my share of experiences, allow me to help you through it.
Let me first take you to the journey of my top five favorite places in India, which might help you and make your first solo travel worth an experience.
Let me be honest, it’s very important to choose the right place for your first solo travel because a wrong place can totally kill your mood and the thrill of Solo Travel. So, chose a place which appeals to you.
In this blog, I have tried to convey important points about those 5 travel destinations, which I feel will help you decide your destination.
Ready to take this journey with me?
Dharamshala, Himanchal Pradesh
Dharamshala stands the top of my list, for the reason that it was my first solo travel destination! I was so nervous the first time and throughout my road journey by Bus to Dharamshala, I was praying for it to not be the biggest mistake of my life. Well turned out it was the best decision of my life. To date, in total, I have spent around three months in Dharamshala.
If you choose Dharamshala,
1. Don’t just explore the Dharamshala region, go up to Mcleodganj, Bhugsu and Dharamkot regions. Trust me! You would not want to miss Upper Dharamkot.
2. Try and go for Triund Trek in a group, treks are more fun that way!
3. There is a waterfall known as Dharamkot Waterfall, which you reach after an amazing hike for about an hour from Gallu Devi Temple. Both the hike and waterfall will be a beautiful experience.
Note: There are very less people who take this hike, for the fact that it’s not known to many, hence you won’t find many people around. So, try and this one too in a group.
4. Do include the major attractions of Dharamshala in your itinerary. Like, Bhugsu Waterfall, Dalai Lama Temple, Mcleodganj Market. If you have more time at hand, then Naddi Sunset Point, Dharamshala Cricket Stadium, Tea Plantations.
5. I had an amazing time having coffee and pizza with some great books to read at Illiterati Café.
6. The foodie in me loved Trek and Dine restaurant, they have some amazing food!
7. Don’t forget to try out momos while you are there. You can get them at so many places in Mcleodganj Market.
8. You can also walk from Bhugsu Waterfall to Shiva Cafe for some food and good view.
9. Talk about a place full of natural beauty, where you would want to stay and experience, which is Dharamshala!
10. Book dorm bed in a backpacking hostel and socialize with fellow travelers, ask them their plans for hike and trek. This will help you in points 2 and 3. You might also end up making friends for life!
To express how much I love Rishikesh, let me start by telling you that I went there with a plan of staying there for 2 days and ended up staying for 9 days! This is how much I loved it! I have had some of my best travel moments in Rishikesh. It’s also a really good place for backpackers.
If you choose Rishikesh,
1. My personal favorite was attending evening aarti! The singing and dancing along with all the devotees use to make me so happy.
2. Adventure lovers can go for Rafting and Bungie Jumping. You would not want to miss it.
3. You have to visit Beatle’s Aashram, also known as Chaursi Kutiya while you are there! With its rich history, that place has been made so instagrammable by artists.
4. If you want some good and affordable food in Rishikesh, you will find many small dhabas near Laxman Jhula parking. I lived off that food for those nine days. I usually ordered Masala Dosa and Masala Chai.
5. There is a dhaba near Anand dham which was my breakfast place. Super affordable and super nice. In those nine days I think I definitely befriended the aunty who cooked there!
6. My favorite Cafés in Rishikesh are Little Buddha Café, TAT Café and Honey Hut.
7. You are going to this spiritual place with the beauty of mountains and river banks.
8. Here you can live in ashram dormitories, which are really affordable or book a dorm in a good backpacking hostel.
There are so many ghats in Rishikesh, spend some time by the river bank meditating.
It is Love! The yummy street food, historical places, and sparkling markets are just too attractive to me. Jaipur is this beautiful city speaking out loud its rich culture and heritage. If you are interested in a cultural tour, Jaipur is a good place to start!
If you chose Jaipur,
1. When it comes to historical places, Amer Fort stands to be my favorite.
2. To get a beautiful view of Hawa Mahal, go to the rooftop cafes in front of the structure. The view at night is amazing.
3. If you happen to make friends there, take them along with you on an early morning drive to Nahargarh Fort, for a beautiful sunrise view! You might have to book a cab.
4. You may also visit Albert Hall Museum and Raj Mandir.
5. Don’t forget to try proper authentic Rajasthani food, especially the heeng kachori and kadhi from the street. The Kulfi Faaluda at Bapu Market is just yummy.
Fun Confession: I had Kulfi Faaluda from Bapu Bazar about 8 times during my four days stay!
6. If you are traveling to Jaipur from Delhi, Rajasthan government buses are super affordable and nice.
7. Book a backpacking hostel for stay, they are super affordable too.
8. Being a female traveler has its own perks in Rajasthan, buses, and female dorms are cheaper. Do check if it’s still cheaper.
Old Manali, Himanchal Pradesh
When it comes to Manali, it doesn’t need a big introduction. Manali was my second solo travel destination! Well, because I have been to Manali during snowfall and for a very short period, these are the experiences I can tell, which can make your short snowfall journey worthwhile.
If you choose Manali,
1. Go at least till Solang Valley, to have more fun snowfall experience! There you can do paragliding, snow skating and some fun some snow sports.
2. I took a great nature walk from Manu Temple till Manali Mall Road and did some warm cloth shopping. On my way back, I did get lost but loved that part too. Try it at your own risk.
3. Apart from Solang Valley and Manu Temple, I visited Manali Nature Park. It was fine.
4. My favorite place to eat was this no name small dhaba near Old Manali bridge.
5. You can try Drifters’ Inn and Café for some café experience.
6. Book a backpacking hostel in Old Manali instead.
7. If you want to witness Manali’s beautiful snowfall, December end is a good time to go.
8. Witness the culture, talk to the locals, and pay attention to the mud and wood houses.
Bir-Billing, Himachal Pradesh
Adventurous Enough? Bir-Billing is the right place for you! With Asia’s second-best and highest paragliding point, Solo Travel to Bir is an adventure ride.
I was too scared to go paragliding at first but a little courage and I don’t regret it. It was in fact one of the best moments of my life.
If you chose Bir-Billing,
1. Paragliding is the most unforgettable and amazing experience you may have in Bir.
2. There is a small waterfall known as Gunehar Waterfall, which you can visit there.
3. Don’t forget to visit Monasteries, especially Palpung Sherbaling Monastery.
4. If you love South Indian food, do try AVVA’s Café.
5. Reach paragliding landing point just before dawn and you might witness the most beautiful sunset of Bir.
6. Among other experiences, you can do cycling and get on the toy train.
7. You will witness lots of small tea gardens in Bir.
8. It’s a really good place to rest and chill out too!
So, these were my favorite places to travel solo in India. I have only included places I have personally been to. Hope you might have got some idea of the type of place you want to visit. I will be writing few more blogs on solo traveling soon.