India is known as a backpacker’s haven. Reasonably priced accommodations, low cost food, economical commute network and happy to help natives, set the place high on popularity for a nominal, still full of adventure and thrill, backpacking trip.
Backpacking in India is one of the adventurous experiences to live. This gives a chance to the wanderer to enjoy a good time exploring the mountains and the beaches along with unravelling the mysteries of the places. To know from where to start, here is a list of best backpacking destinations in India.
21 Best Places To Go For Backpacking In India
Here are some of the best places to go for backpacking in India and enjoy a time like never before unraveling the adventure junkie inside you.
- Zanskar Valley – Roadmap To Kargil
- Parvati Valley – Hippie Land
- Seven Sisters Trek – Amidst The Apple Orchards
- Har Ki Doon Valley – Walk Up To The Beauty
- Pathankot – Land Of Mountains And Rivers
- Pushkar – The Holy City Of Rajasthan
- Bundi – Explore The Architectural Heritage
- Shillong – Place For The Rain Lovers
- Darjeeling – The Tea Land Of India
- Gokarna – Amidst The Surreal Beaches
- Hampi – Where The History Speaks
- Munnar – Tranquil Beauty Of Nature
- Dudhsagar Fall Trek – The Sound Of Gushing Water
- Sunderbans – The Land Of Tigers And Mangroves
- Ladakh – Land Of Beautiful Lake
- Majuli – The Beautiful Village Of Assam
- Dharamkot – Away From The Hustle Bustle
- Varanasi – Dingy Lanes And Historical Treasures
- Dzukou Valley – Amidst The Serenity
- Loktak Lake – The Floating Lake
- Andaman Islands – The Surreal Beaches
1. Zanskar Valley – Roadmap To Kargil
Out of all backpacking trips in India, this one is not for timid personalities. You will reach the spell-bounding terrain of Zanskar, after a long back-breaking road journey from Kargil. High altitude Buddhist monasteries and villages give you a sense of calm and spirituality. A one-day trip to Zangla Palace is a must. You can hike to Stongdey Monastery, if you are looking for an easy one.
Best Time To Visit: July To September
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2. Parvati Valley – Hippie Land
Parvati Valley is what we youngsters call as a “Hippie Hub”. Apt for backpacking in India, it is the base of renowned laid-back villages of Kasol, Tosh, Malana and Pulga. It has some extraordinary trekking trails and lovely cascading waterfalls. Not at all expensive, you can stay here for next to nothing and have a blast. Cafes here treat you to good psy-trance music; a little indulgence doesn’t harm!
Best Time To Visit: April To May, October and November
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3. Seven Sisters Trek – Amidst The Apple Orchards
This group of seven peaks is one of the easiest treks in India. Much easier than you expected any Himalayan trail to be. Its ease of traversing makes it a popular among other backpacking trips in India. Pleasant weather with mild coolness makes it an apt destination for adventurous backpacking trips. Flanked with apple orchards and flower gardens, the stretch will prove to be an out of the world experience. Ancient wooden temples adorning the place add in an old world charm. There are many backpacking tours in India that take you through the jewels of this valley.
Best Time To Visit: October To Mid-May
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4. Har Ki Doon Valley – Walk Up To The Beauty
What better way to add a dash of adventure than to hike through the Har ki Doon Valley. Add some spice to your backpacking trips with overnight camping at Osla village. Even though the trail is not easy, it will be worth all at the end. Hike through the remote village of Gangaad, witness their traditional way of life, relish their delicacies and share their culture. Don’t forget to chill at the edges of Tamsa River for an enriched experience. The peaks are covered in snow during the months of October to February. So plan accordingly, if you want to have a snow-fight with your partner while backpacking in India.
Best Time To Visit: April-June and September-December
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5. Pathankot – Land Of Mountains And Rivers
Meeting point of Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh, Pathankot is a magnificent and dazzling place to be at. Towering mountains, lush forests, whimsical homes and whispering rivers — the place has a lot to explore, ensure you make time accordingly. Various dams add to the list of tourist attractions. A sure-shot on the list of backpacking trips in India.
Best Time To Visit: October-April
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6. Pushkar – The Holy City Of Rajasthan
The small city of Pushkar is a mix of tradition, culture, colors, scenic beauty and sandy trails. Known for its vitality, this place is ideal for backpacking in India – neither costly nor out of reach. Explore the surrounding desert on a camel back or stroll around at your leisure. Don’t be fooled with the extravagance of this place. The exploration here can be very easy on your pocket.
Best Time To Visit: November-March
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7. Bundi – Explore The Architectural Heritage
If magnanimous havelis and forts enchant you, then Bundi is your perfect stoppage. What makes it stand out among all other Rajasthan cities are its monumental havelis and opulent forts. Vibrantly colored houses, narrow roads and friendly natives dressed in Rajasthani get-up make this place a good choice for travelers for backpacking in India. However, the best way to really breathe in the culture here is to travel on foot. Stroll around, broach a conversation with indigenous people of the city and taste some amazing dishes, which were specially used to be prepared for Raja – Maharajas of the place.
Best Time To Visit: October To April
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8. Shillong – Place For The Rain Lovers
The rain-lover in you, will love this place. Rain-soaked almost every time, the accommodations here are super cheap. Explore the rainforests of Meghalaya, and walking trails on hills. Backpacking trips to Meghalaya can be mind-boggling to those who are not used to the wilds. Relax and relieve your soul of all the materialistic burdens. Understand the people and make good friends with them. Try to grasp their power of making things simple even in unfavorable conditions. Enjoy to the fullest and backpack India.
Best Time To Visit: September To May
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9. Darjeeling – The Tea Land Of India
Landscapes of Darjeeling seem like perfect pictures from international postcards. Quaint little town, steaming trains, refreshing tea estates, fragrant coffee plantation, friendly natives and mild weather – Darjeeling is an all-time charmer for backpacking trips. While here, stay in monasteries or with a guest house owner, savor their traditional cuisine, rejuvenate yourself with strolls in fresh air, and yes, don’t forget to take a ride on local toy train.
Best Time To Visit: April-June
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10. Gokarna – Amidst The Surreal Beaches
Gokarna is a small temple town in Karnataka. Serene beaches and pristine water attracts a fair share of backpackers. Its happy-go-lucky natives are always ready to help. They will leave you alone or become your best buddies as per your quest. A backpacking trip with no inhibitions, no pretenses and no judgement are what defines backpacking in Gokarna. You can let go of your worries and immerse yourself to the tranquility of this town.
Best Time To Visit: June-August
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11. Hampi – Where The History Speaks
Home to some of the most dazzling and spectacular landscapes in the world, Hampi is full of wonders and mysteries surrounding its history. Many people have felt some special aura at this place during their backpacking trips. Its magical atmosphere and low cost of living attracts many backpackers from the world and entice them to explore and decipher its mystery. Meet the indigenous people and ask them about the place’s facts and history from the Vijaynagara Empire’s era. The basics of living here cost next to nothing. So you have nothing to lose and so much gain by backpacking in the region.
Best Time To Visit: October To February
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12. Munnar – Tranquil Beauty Of Nature
A beautiful hill station for backpacking in south India, Munnar is the place for enjoying amidst the tea plantations and coffee gardens. Pack your bags, roam around the gardens and drink Kerala coffee to your heart’s content. Breathtaking sceneries, crisp environment, fresh air and happy people; such is the story of Munnar. Befriend a plantation manager and he might let you pluck some fresh tea leaves. What more, you can just let go of your fear and try adventure sports like paragliding, boating, mountain biking, etc. at nominal prices.
Best Time To Visit: April-June
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13. Dudhsagar Fall Trek – The Sound Of Gushing Water
Goa is a place which is blessed with a wide array of places to visit which includes some magnificent waterfalls which are blissful to the eyes. One of the famous places is the Dudhsagar falls which is located at a distance of 60 kms from Panaji. Falling from a height of 320 meters, this beautiful waterfall forms a magnificent view to admire. A trek to this magnificent water is more than just a trek. While walking up to the rough terrains, one can go and explore the beautiful forests and the hilly areas which are worth taking a shot.
Best Time To Visit: October To May
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14. Sunderbans – The Land Of Tigers And Mangroves
Sunderbans is one of the most elegant places to visit in India for every traveler who wants to explore the manicured beauty of nature. While taking a backpacking trip amidst the surreal Sunderbans, one can feel reconnected with nature. From the rawness of the surrounding to the soothing view of the untamed river, there is a lot to explore in this secluded region of West Bengal.
Best Time To Visit: September To March
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15. Ladakh – Land Of Beautiful Lake
Image Credit: Eatcha for Wikipedia
Amidst the lofty clouds and the white snow-capped mountains resides Ladakh which has to be one of the best places to visit. A trip to Ladakh is more than just a vacation, it has to be the solace to your soul. Reaching here one might often forget other things in life, because the place has views which cannot be justified by any picture.
Best Time To Visit: Mid September to Mid October
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16. Majuli – The Beautiful Village Of Assam
Image Credit: Udit Kapoor for Wikipedia
Assam is a beautiful state which is usually known for its vast production of tea, but there is one more reason why one should take a trip here. Majuli is a surreal river island which is embraced by the beautiful Brahmaputra river. This is quite a picturesque place which is worth a visit to escape from the hustle-bustle of the citylife. A backpack trip to this place is worth remembering and will be quite a relaxing one.
Best Time To Visit: October To March
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17. Dharamkot – Away From The Hustle Bustle
Image Credit: Dave Kleinschmid for Wikipedia
Dharamshala is considered as the home of Dalai Lama and also one of the best places for backpackers to visit and enjoy a refreshing experience. While the main city is touched by the commercialization, there are small villages like Dharamkot which invite the backpackers. The air is fresh here and people can enroll themselves into various workshops including yoga while here.
Best Time To Visit: September To June
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18. Varanasi – Dingy Lanes And Historical Treasures
Image Credit: Ken Wieland for Wikipedia
Every backpacker must definitely visit Varanasi at least once in their lifetime. Amidst the dingy lanes and the beautiful ghats, lies the age old history of the country. There is a long list of things to explore here and learn about the beautiful heritage of this ancient city. With the hymns chanted in the background, and the view of Ganges flowing peacefully is a scene which will etch in your heart.
Best Time To Visit: November To February
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19. Dzukou Valley – Amidst The Serenity
Image Credit: নিৰঞ্জন বড়া for Wikipedia
Dzukou valley is one of the gems of the North East which is adorned by the wild flowers with the onset of spring. The trek to the valley of flowers in Nagaland is one of the most surreal adventures which fills the soul with contentment. During the spring season, this valley liven up with colors of rhododendrons which are worth capturing.
Best Time To Visit: June To September
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20. Loktak Lake – The Floating Lake
Image Credit: Sudiptorana for Wikipedia
This is the world’s one and only floating lake which is located away from the hustle and bustle. The Loktak lake is blessed with some of the most scenic views which is worth witnessing. Every backpacker must definitely add this place in their list and enjoy a time amidst the surreal beauty of this lake and its surroundings.
Best Time To Visit: Throughout the year
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21. Andaman Islands – The Surreal Beaches
Image Credit: Hussainkhan55 for Wikipedia
The Andaman islands is one of the most popular places in India which is a must visit for the adventure junkies and the water babies. With beautiful beaches, surreal islands and the water activities, this place is a treat for every wanderer. There is a reason why this place is considered an ideal place for a backpacker. One has to be that it is one of the places in India which offers adventure activities like scuba diving and snorkeling.
Best Time To Visit: November To May
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Tips For Backpacking In India
Here are some golden rules for those planning to head to anywhere in the country for an adventurous backpacking trip.
- Instead of private taxis, travel by bus or public transport. Or better, hitch-hike, if you can.
- Keep accommodation payments minimal. Try and assist the owner of the place, in exchange of your free stay. If it doesn’t work, stay in B&Bs or hostels. They are mostly cheaper than other commercial stay places.
- Carry your own water bottles and refill them. Don’t buy new ones at every turn.
- Respect the culture of the place. Don’t disregard the traditions of the place which has welcomed you warmly.
- Pack lighter stuff in your carry-on bags. And wear the heavier stuff like jeans, boots, etc.
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If you’re an ardent backpacker, we are sure more than one of these places will make to your bucket list right away. From the mountains to the beaches, there is a long list which is worth exploring. So while you plan your vacation to India, make sure to take an adventurous turn and exploring these places for backpacking in India.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Backpacking In India
Where can I backpack in India?
India is a destination that blankets numerous backpacking locations, attracting adventure enthusiasts from all over the world. Some of the best locations to backpack in India are Goa, Spiti Valley, Munnar, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu And Kashmir, Sunderbans, and many more.
Is India expensive to visit?
No, India is not an expensive destination to visit. In fact, it is considered to be one of the cheapest destinations in the world to travel. A paradise on earth for those who are traveling on a budget, one can easily limit their spending to INR 1,000 if used judiciously and consciously.
What are some backpacking tips when traveling to India?
Here are a few backpacking tips when traveling to India-
1. Carry a water bottle and get it refilled instead of buying new bottles every time. It’ll save money.
2. Avoid drinking water directly from the taps.
3. Apply for e-Visa after doing all the research beforehand.
4. Do not exchange currency at the airport. Go for foreign exchange offices instead.
5. Make all the transport bookings well-in-advance in order to avoid any issues with full bookings or paying extra.
6. Buy a local SIM Card
What are the top five backpacking trips in India?
Five top backpacking locations in India that are a favorite amongst locals and tourists alike are- Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Munnar, and Meghalaya.
What should you not bring for backpacking?
There are a few things that one should avoid carrying when backpacking including a heavy or massive backpack, extra clothing, valuable items, multiples of too many things, and huge quantities of medical supplies.
What should I pack for backpacking in India?
Backpacking might be adventurous but it can get extremely challenging sometimes, thus making it important that one has all the necessary things. Things that one should definitely pack are hiking boots, sleeping bag and pad, food items, emergency supplies, hygiene and first aid kit, water bottles, small repair-kit, and weather-appropriate clothing.
What is the best time to backpack in India?
The best time to backpack in India is when the weather is a bit cooler. So, the months of October- November or March-April are some of the best months to try backpacking in India.
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