Backpacking trips India: India is famous for its culture, history, and friendly people. However, the lure for backpackers in India is mainly because of the huge diversity of landscapes that can be visited at a very low price. Backpacking trips to India give one a chance to spend time with outspoken and fun-loving people.
Thousands of tourists visit India for various reasons, one of which is backpacking. India holds the promise of being an interesting tourist destination for backpackers who love to explore new things and experiences. Here we created a list of the Top 12 destinations for backpackers in India. Also, before you travel to India, read Is it safe to travel to India in 2022?
How to plan your backpacking trips in India
India is one of the dream countries for backpackers as it can offer the most diverse backpacking trips in India. The middle and southern part of India is one of the sought-after backpacking destinations in India.
In 2022, you are more likely to get a vacation to a place where you can fly from your mundane life or heal your mind from the traumas of the pandemic. India is a low-cost country for budget-friendly backpacking, and here is how you can choose the right place for your backpacking.
Backpacking may not be for all of you, but for those who want to experience adventure and sudden plans, backpacking is the way to live your life. Backpacking trips in India will cost
Checklist before you plan backpacking trips in India
- Research and plan your night stays well; otherwise, finding them on short notice will be problematic if you are in a remote location. In big cities of India, it is straightforward to find low-budget hostels.
- Search for local guides and befriend the locals but do not trust them blindly because of money scams.
- Get a map of local trains, and local apps like IRCTC rail connect or Where is My train to find out the best routes for your journey.
- Scour through trusted websites that provide real-time status of available hostels, stays.
- Explore one part of the country in one tour as India is a large country with different geographies and cultures.
1. Manali-Leh road
The road from Manali, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, to Leh, the union territory in Ladakh, is a dream road for backpackers. If you are preparing for backpacking trips in India, you might check out these beautiful roads with the backdrop of snow-capped mountains, mesmerizing views of nature and mountain passes, while the journey might offer you a stack of dangers.
Route: National Highway 3
Major junction and passes: Manali- Marhi-Rohtang La- Gramphu-Koksar- Tandi-Keylong-Jispa
Manali-Leh road is 473 km by road and can be best enjoyed if you are a bike rider and travel it by bike. There is also the option of a rented car, and this road trip is extremely memorable for most riders as the road along the way gets tricky and chilly. Here is How to plan Manali to Spiti Valley road trip, Itineraries & travel options that maybe help you to better understand.
If you arrive at the Delhi International airport, you will get connecting domestic flight to Manali, and you have to arrange the trip renting your vehicle.
If you are taking the adventurous roads of Manali to Leh, the final destination will be in the territory of Kashmir, the Switzerland of India. Here is how you can plan your backpacking trips in India to visit the most exotic places in the country.
After arriving in Leh, take a day to explore the tourist spots like Pangong Tso, hall of fame, Thiksey Monastery, Gurudwara Patthar sahib. You can travel to them by local commutes.
And then move Leh to Nubra where you should visit the spectacular Diskit Gompa and experience the Bactrian camel Safari, and lastly travel from Nubra to Pangong lake to finish the visit of Leh-Ladakh.
You can ride the entire journey if you book your bike and hotel stays beforehand, and the budget will come to around $240 to $250 for 5 to 6 days of travel and stay.
3. Goa backpacking trip
The city of beaches and Goa is one of the most beautiful locations in India. As a backpacker, you should search for backpackers hostels and cheap stays.
Goa will offer you serene beaches like Arambol, Arjuna and Vagator in North Goa and Palolem and Agonds in the south Goa, where other backpackers and hippies will be found.
Few activities you must include in your Goa backpacking trip are:
Sunset watch while cruising over Mandovi river
Visit yoga retreat centres on the beaches of
Visit Aguada Fort and the UNESCO heritage site of the grave of St. Xavier.
Visit famous beaches as well as the low-key beaches with chilled vibes like Mandrem, Ashwim, Morjim
If you are planning on backpacking in Goa, you must go on the budget and plan the trip well. Here’s a checklist of things you might do before planning your backpacking trips to India or Goa.
Plan your backpacking trips to Goa and stay places with trusted online sites like Booking.com to find an accommodation of your budget.
The Sundarbans forest in the state of West Bengal in the east part of India is one of the mind-boggling places to get away from the maddening crowd and be healed in the midst of the forest and river Ganges.
Sundarbans backpacking trips are very inexpensive and take two to three days. You can book Backpackers Sundarbans Eco Village, Tour De Sundarbans, which will arrange your two or three-day Backpacking tours in India in Sundarbans.
5. Trekking in Sikkim
Exploring further in the northeast of India, Sikkim is a popular spot among the locals as well as foreigners for backpacking.
Sikkim’s beautiful mountain ranges and trekking trails are enticing as backpackers destinations. The enthralling routes in the Himalayan valley.
Few famous and mesmerizing routes in Sikkim for backpackers are
- Goecha La
- Sandakphu trek
- Dzongri trek
- Kanchenjunga Basecamp trek
- Yambong Singalila trek
- Green Lake trek
- Singalila trek
Sikkim is one of the jewels of backpacking trips in India as Sikkim not only offers treks that you will remember, but it is a paradise for mountain lovers and trekked as it offers serene viewpoints for some of the most famous Himalayan peaks and unmatched mountain trails.
6. Spiti valley in Himachal
Spiti valley in Himachal is one of the sought-after destinations in the backpacking trips in India, which takes around 10 to 11 days in total from Delhi. You can either ride it through the bike and enjoy the cold dessert and the windswept landscape with small green patches.
The offbeat roads are perfect for backpackers if you are willing to explore the wildness, small villages, Buddhist monasteries. You can ride to the highest motorable village of Komic as your endpoint destination.
To get started, you have to arrive at Manali, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, and by road, the journey will take you around ten hours as the distance is 196km and the road is quite difficult.
Here is an itinerary you can follow for backpacking trips in India to Spiti valley in Himachal.
- Arrive in Shimla either through domestic flights from Delhi or Chandigarh International airport.
- Transfer to Shimla to Narakanda and start your journey to Sangla or Sarahan, which is a beautiful valley, and you can enjoy the scenic beauty of the greater Himalayas near the Tibetan border.
- Then ride the roads from Sangla to Nako to visit the five-centuries old Buddhist prayer wheels and the villages nearby.
- Nako to Kaza will be the next route in this beautiful journey where you will visit Komik, the highest village in Asia, beautiful night sky in the winter months.
- On your way back through the Kinnaur valley, take the journey to Kinnaur village, leaving behind the Spiti Valley.
- Finish your journey in Narkonda.
7. Safari and Pushkar trek in Rajasthan
Pushkar Camel safari is one of India’s most attractive destinations for backpacking trips. You will experience the night of Thor dessert and Safari in the daylight if you decide to spend a tent stay. You can start your journey with
Overnight Pushkar safari is held in December that starts before sunrise around 3:30 Am in the morning, and the Safari will be filled with unique traditional music, dance and camel safari.
In the west region of India, Rajasthan is popular because of its mirror work, traditional dance, unique instruments and colourful lifestyle, forts among the extremity of the climate of dessert. Alongside visiting the forts and architectural splendours
Here are some of the best Safari to experience in Rajasthan:
- Bishnoi Village Safari in Jodhpur for lush greenery and wildlife
- Camel Safari in Pushkar
- Dessert safari in Jaisalmeer and Jodhpur
- Elephant safari Jaipur
- Nagaur Fair Horse Safari
- Rural Rajasthan Horse Safari
- Wildlife safari in Ranthambore
These were the top backpacking trips destinations in India. India is a country where you can find rural gems either deep in the woods and mountains of the northeast of the Himalayas or the chaotic rural villages and the streets of this beautiful country.
Here are some of the things you can plan before choosing destinations for backpacking trips in India.
8. Explore Ancient India in Incredible Madhya Pradesh
Known as India’s heart, you must add Madhya Pradesh to your itinerary when planning solo backpacking trips in India. Madhya Pradesh houses various historical monuments, marking their importance in India, as well as green mountains and rich, vibrant culture.
Madhya Pradesh is also the best place to explore Indian wildlife as it has 9 national parks. 6 of them are tiger reserves. The tiger is an endangered species, so Madhya Pradesh’s Safari is the best way to appreciate these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat with the splendour of flora and fauna.
If you search for cheap backpacking trips in India, Madhya Pradesh will show you the opulence of rich Indian culture and its natural wonders without taking much out of your pocket.
Here are the best 3 safaris to experience in Madhya Pradesh:
- Bandhavgarh National Park
- Kanha National Park
- Pench National Park
Other Safaris to experience in Madhya Pradesh:
- Corbett National Park
- Satpura National Park
- Panna National Park
- Ranthambore National Park
- Tadoba National Park
- Dudhwa National Park
If you want to adventure in the jungle, then you can also go on hiking trips here on the famous treks like:
- Dhoorpharh, Pachmarhi
- Kalakund, Indore
- Bhairav Kund, Indore
- Mahadev Pani, Bhopal
What is the best time to explore Madhya Pradesh?
Madhya Pradesh experiences good weather throughout the year, but the best time to visit Madhya Pradesh is between September and March. If you visit Madhya Pradesh during the monsoon season, which is between the months of June and August, you must go and watch the lovely waterfalls. They are at the peak of their glory during this season.
9. Bihar’s relaxing solo backpacking trips
Backpacking through Bihar will be one of the most rewarding trips of your life. Previously known as Magadh of the Maurya Dynasty, you have to visit Bihar to experience its rich culture and explore its beautiful landscapes.
Bihar has a rich history, and its influences can still be seen in the ancient monuments like Nalanda University. It is the oldest university in the world. To experience the presence of ancient history, visit the Ashokan Column, the Ashokan Pillar, and many more.
Bihar has links to Buddhism as well as Sikhism. Bihar is also popular for its Madhubani paintings, an ancient art style that is believed to have roots in the times of the Ramayana. Here is a list of places that you must explore in Bihar:
- Patna: Patna is the capital city of Bihar, where you can go explore modern cafes and historical places like Padri Ki Haveli and Golhar. You can find amazing yet cheap hostels to stay in Patna and go on cheap backpacking trips in India.
- Gaya and Bodhgaya: Bodhgaya is an important place for Buddhist pilgrimage. The Mahabodhi Temple Complex is located in this city and holds numerous relics and items related to Buddhism. You can also visit various Chinese and Thai monasteries here.
The best backpacking spots in Bihar’s Gaya and Bodhgaya are:
- The Dungeshwari Cave Temple
- The Barabar Caves
- Vaishali: With its roots going back to the times of the Mahabharata, you have to visit the Vaishali city of Bihar to see its most popular tourist attraction, Raja Vishal Ka Ghar. The city is also filled with cosy but budget-friendly cafes and hostels for backpackers.
What is the best time to visit Bihar?
The best time to visit and backpack through Bihar is from October to March. The summer heat is extreme here, and during the monsoon season, there are always high chances of flooding.
10. Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Cheap backpacking trips in India
Located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, Ajanta and Ellora caves are of alluring beauty, and you must explore them to see the amazing paintings, sculptures, murals, and caves carved into the mountain.
One of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Ajanta and Ellora are the finest surviving examples of ancient Indian art history. Here you can see impressions of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.
These caves were discovered in the 19th century by a British soldier. There are a total of 30 caves here with various anti-chambers and monasteries. All these paintings depict various historical incidents from Hindu and Buddha mythology.
If you are planning backpacking trips in India, do not forget to add Ajanta and Ellora caves as a priority!
Tips for visiting Ajanta and Ellora Caves:
- Many Budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses are not available for foreigners. So make sure you book your accommodations carefully.
- The city of Aurangabad is well connected to other places via bus, train, and air, so book your ticket for whichever suits your budget accordingly.
- The main site is located about 30 minutes away from the city, and you will need to reach there by either bus or taxi.
- Ajanta and Ellora caves are spread over an area of 8200 hectares, so make sure you are ready for a long day of exploring.
- Ajanta and Ellora caves are closed to tourists on Tuesday, so pick your day to arrive here accordingly.
11. Uttarakhand, the Ultimate Backpacking Destination
This incredible state of India has so many places to explore that you have to spend at least three weeks to experience them all. There are scenic mountains, breathtaking landscapes, holy temples, and refreshing weather.
Known as the Land of Gods, Uttarakhand is heaven for all backpackers who are looking for a thrilling, adventurous trip in North India. There are various tourist attractions that you must visit, like:
- Gangotri and Yamunotri
There are numerous activities for you to do here, like: trekking mountains, paragliding, rafting, bird watching, visiting various Hindu temples, etc. You can also plan hiking trips when you are here on trails like:
- Valley of Flowers National Park
- Dayara Bugyal Trail in Bhatwari
- Rupin Pass in Sangla Valley
- Gaurikund in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary
- Mussoorie Natural trail in Jabarkhet Nature Reserve
- Ram Jhula in Rajaji National Park
Uttarakhand is not only perfectly safe for solo backpacking trips, but you can also plan an itinerary that would include tons of places to visit! Uttarakhand is a gold mine for adventure sports and pilgrimage.
What is the best time to visit Uttarakhand for a backpacking trip?
The best time of the year to go on a backpacking trip in Uttrakhand would be from March to June when it’s the summer season here. Also, the months of September and October are amazing times to visit Uttarakhand. It’s recommended not to plan your trip when it’s monsoon season here.
12. Kerala for best Backpacking trips in India
If you want to backpack in a much calmer place in India, Kerala is the perfect place for you. This incredible state of India is away from all the chaos of vibrant markets. And crowded cities. The atmosphere is serene and relaxing, and things, in general, are better organized.
Kerala is also perfect for solo backpacking trips. This state is safer to travel to, especially for female solo travellers. You can enjoy its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, breathtaking backwaters, traditional dances and art, gorgeous beaches, and delicious traditional cuisine.
Here is a list of must-visit places in Kerala that you have to add to your itinerary:
- Athirappilly Waterfalls
- Periyar National Park
- Silent Valley National Park
- Soochipara National Park
- Marmala Waterfalls
- Varkala beach
What is the best time to explore to Kerala?
The best time of the year to explore Kerala is from September to March. Summers in this state can be extremely hot, so these months offer better weather to backpack around Kerala. Also, major festivals like Diwali and Dussehra fall in these months, so you can enjoy them during your trip too.
Is India safe for backpacking trips in India?
India is safe for those familiar with this country’s culture. But some things that you should be aware of are women’s safety in the streets at night and street theft in some areas of the country but mostly its safe if you take precautions such as pepper spray. The crime rate against foreigners in India is high in megacities but low in the east and south regions of the country.
What are the transport options in backpacking in India?
India has a great network of public transport like local trains, buses in most of the states. You will find some form of public transport like auto, rickshaws, shared cabs all over India.
How much does it cost to go for backpacking trips in India?
Backpacking trips in India is going to cost you around $16 to $21 per day, and if you can find the right eating places and cheap hostels, you can lower the budget if you can adjust to the conditions.
What is the most popular route for backpacking in India?
The most popular backpacking route in India starts from the capital Delhi. The golden quadrilateral and the golden triangle is best for first-time backpackers. If you are inexperienced, the best route for backpacking in India is Delhi-Agra- Jaipur-Jaislamer-Mumbai-Goa-Hampi-Kerala -Kanyakumari
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