India has long been a popular destination for backpackers from around the world. It has a remarkable history, both in a spiritual and sociopolitical sense. It is also extremely cheap.
But India has its issues that backpackers need to be aware of as well. There is a fair amount of crime. Your stuff is covered by your renters insurance even when abroad, but it is not just theft you have to watch out for. It is crucial that you are aware of the risks. Ideally, you should go with a partner, friend, or group.
The best parts of India for backpackers are relatively safe while offering plenty of things to do and people to meet.
Here are some of the best spots you can enjoy as a backpacker in India.
Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi
Delhi is an incredibly interesting city to visit. However, it is also a tough place to enjoy. The air pollution has a real impact on you. There is also a lot of poverty. That being said, if you stay in a village like Hauz Khas, you can enjoy your home base while taking regular trips in taxis or tuk-tuks.
Hauz Khas is a vibrant place with boutique stores, increible restaurants, and markets. There is a great atmosphere and it is fairly young. There are cool nightclubs nearby as well.
You will have to navigate some dirty streets and clouds of flies, but it is worth it to get to know Delhi.
Agra (Host To The Taj Mahal)
As a backpacker, you learn that some of the most hyped-up places in the world are not all that exciting. If you were not inspired by the Eiffel Tower, you’re not alone. But the Taj Mahal is not such a place. In fact, it far exceeded my own expectations and was well worth the visit to Agra.
Agra in and of itself is not the best place to stay. However, it is cheap and relatively easy to find accommodation as a backpacker. Stay for one night so that you can go to the Taj Mahal at sunrise (it is the best time, as it is not too hot or too crowded). Then move on, possibly to the next destination on the list.
The Pink City Of Jaipur
Jaipur is one of the most-visited parts of India. Along with Delhi and Agra, it forms the so-called Golden Triangle. While it is known as the Pink City, Jaipur is actually ‘pink terracotta.’ It is beautiful nonetheless, especially when you see the excesses of the palaces.
I highly recommend visiting the City Palace. It is often neglected by backpackers because it is somewhat expensive. However, it is well worth the high entry price. You’ll get to see and experience some of the luxury in which Princess Diana stayed in 1992.
If you are looking to spend some time luxuriating on a beach, Goa is the state for you. It is well-known for its incredible coastline. Together with some friends, you can get a large villa with a pool at a really low price.
You may not be traveling to India in order to lie by the beach. However, if you are taking an extended trip, it is worthwhile taking a couple of days off the heavy touring in order to rejuvenate. You can burn yourself out pretty quickly in the chaos of sightseeing.
Mumbai has to make the list, simply because it can feel like the city was made for backpackers. Mumbai seems as chaotic as other parts of India at first glance, but you can find some space for peace and quiet as well. There is so much to do and see. You may be interested in seeing the slums (and that can bring you down), but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the modern lifestyle lived by Mumbai youngsters.
The birthplace of yoga is understandably a popular destination for people who love the Eastern type of wellness. It is also a very chilled out place to visit, which is perhaps unsurprising. That said, you can enjoy the fun of river rafting with friends while staying at one of the many hostels.
India is a great destination for backpackers. There is so much to see and do. Make sure you are prepared, with a clear understanding of safety concerns and how to navigate the various spots.