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The Best Destinations in India For Solo Travel

The Best Destinations in India For Solo Travel

Picture of Poonam Binayak
Updated: 7 November 2017

Travelling solo to a country as diverse and beautiful as India is rewarding and exhilarating. Not only does this South Asian country have endless attractions, but it also boasts warm hospitality. Here’s our list of the best destinations in India for solo travel.

Ladakh

Longing for some thrill-seeking adventure? Then a trip to Ladakh is in order. Rugged terrain, icy glaciers, snow-clad mountains, sparkling lakes, unique culture, ancient Buddhist monasteries and great swaths of serenity make this land of high passes a must-visit for solo travellers looking for adventure and peace. You can indulge in adventure activities, like trekking, mountain biking, quad biking, river rafting – and go for safari on the Bactrian camels. The highlight of the visit will be spotting a snow leopard, which can be seen in only a few locations across the world. Those seeking peace and quiet can stay at one of the many monasteries in Ladakh and partake in the spiritual retreats to find your inner peace. You will be pushing your boundaries and challenging your limits in this wondrous destination.

Ladakh

Pangong Tso lake, Ladakh | © Sidharthkochar / Wikimedia Commons

Ladakh 1

Zanskar Valley, Ladakh | © Narender9 / Wikimedia Commons

Varkala

Varkala is a laid-back beach town, ideal for soul-searchers who want to be close to nature, sun, sea, sand and serenity. The best part is it is not touristy compared to other beach towns in India, like Goa. So, you get to experience all that Varkala has to offer, sans bumping into other fellow travellers – it’s a win-win situation.

You can relax and sunbathe on the Varkala beach (also known as Papnasam beach), soak in the beautiful sunset vistas, indulge in water sports on the beach, enjoy boating in the picturesque Kappil Lake, marvel at the historical Anjengo Fort, and visit one of the many religious centres and temples. Make sure you see the cliffs overlooking the Arabian Sea – it’s a sight to behold.

Varkala, Kerala

Varkala beach

Varkala beach | © Kerala Tourism / Flickr

Hampi

Situated in North Karnataka, Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with plenty of draws for solo travellers. Architecture and history fans flock here to explore the remnants of the ancient edifices that dates back to the Vijaynagara Empire and marvel at the intricate carvings, intriguing rock formations and stone boulders; while nature and spiritual lovers adore the scenic landscape and serene atmosphere.

Hampi, Karnataka

Hampi

Stone chariot at Vittala temple, Hampi Tour | © Hawinprinto / Wikimedia Commons

Hampi

View from Matanga Hill | © Poonam Binayak

Kasol

For quiet contemplation and to be at one with nature, Kasol is the perfect destination. The breathtakingly beautiful scenery around every bend will nourish your eyes and soul, while a plethora of treks and treads around (like, Kheerganga, Sar Pass, Pin Parbati Pass and Yanker Pass) will satiate the thrill-seeker in you. Also, this tiny hamlet is full of backpackers and international tourists, who are warm and welcoming, so you’re sure to make a few friends.

Kasol, Himachal Pradesh

Parvati Valley near Kasol | © Alok Kumar / Wikimedia Commons

Gangtok

Nestled in the Sikkim Himalayan region, Gangtok is packed with some spectacular landscapes that anyone who loves immersing in nature shouldn’t pass up. Also, being home to different ethnic groups, this place offers a refreshing and unique cultural experience. Adventure lovers can go for cable rides and enjoy the panoramic vistas of the city, or go trekking, mountain biking, paragliding, and river rafting on River Teesta.  For an unforgettable experience of the city, do take a yak safari along its rugged terrain and soak in the beauty of the picturesque locations along the way.  If you’re a history and architecture lover, take a tour of the monasteries – Rumtek monastery, Tsuk La Khang monastery and Pemayangtse monastery, all exude a spiritual vibe and boast some of the world’s finest architecture.

Everything in Gangtok is relatively affordable, from staying at hilltop hotels to exploring its attractions, so you don’t have to fret about breaking the bank while travelling solo. Plus, no matter when you visit, the weather is pleasant. Don’t miss out on sampling the local cuisine – momos and thukpa.

Gangtok, Sikkim

Gangtok

Bird’s eye view of Gangtok from Cable Car | © IamBumba / Wikimedia Commons

Pondicherry

This laid-back, French capital of India features a noticeable French cultural influence, a plethora of beaches, and quaint cobbled streets dotted with colonial architectural style houses and an array of seafront restaurants and cafes.  It is a perfect destination for solo travellers who want to combine art, history and culture with a beach holiday.

There’s so much to do and see in Pondicherry that you’re unlikely to get bored. And, the best way to soak in all the riches this French town has to offer is by taking a guided bicycle tour that traverses through the traditional Tamil settlements and classical French colonies in the area.  And, don’t forget Pondicherry’s delicious food scene, a fusion of South Indian and French that is a delight for foodies.  The town is safe and easy to get around, and the locals are amiable and helpful.

Pondicherry

Pondicherry

Rock beach, Pondicherry | © Sarath Kuchi / Flickr

Spiti Valley

Ladakh’s lesser-visited cousin, Spiti Valley is a treasure trove of captivating landscapes and unblemished wilderness. For the uninitiated, Spiti’s snow-clad mountains, lush forests, scenic lakes and valleys, picturesque hamlets and vibrant Buddhist monasteries are among the most stunning in India. You can go trekking, camping, mountain biking, or simply relax and soak up its beauty in peace. Plus, the people of the hamlet are friendly and welcoming, always willing to lend a helping hand – as there are not many hotels or guest houses in the area, they will allow you to stay with them.

Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

Rishikesh

For years, the scenic beauty of the Himalayas, the glistening Ganges, the spiritual vibe and the adrenaline-pumping adventures of Rishikesh have attracted backpackers and solo travellers. The list of solo activities you can do in Rishikesh is countless: river rafting, bungee jumping, camping, mountain biking, flying fox, cliff jumping, trekking, body surfing, rappelling, kayaking, paragliding… and if you’re looking to self-reflect and rejuvenate your body, mind and soul, go for Ayurvedic massages, yoga and meditation retreats at one of the many ashrams and centres in Rishikesh. While you’re here, do not miss the world-famous Ganga Aarti and experience the vibrant Hindu culture.

Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

Rishikesh

Ganges river, Rishikesh | © Himanshu Sharma / Wikimedia Commons

Goa

Goa is a charming place to visit whether you’re travelling solo or in company, but it is ideal for solo travellers for many reasons. It is considered to be a safe destination to spend time alone and there is a plethora to keep you active and occupied – you can fill your days by relaxing on the sun-kissed beaches and indulging in water sports, or snapping the architectural ruins that date back to the Portuguese era, and spend your nights tucked away in one of the many lively bars and nightclubs, meeting new people. And if you’re looking for some time to yourself, there are several private and unexplored beaches to boot, where you can relax in peace and quiet.

Goa

Fort Aguada Goa | © Swaminathan/Flickr

Rajasthan

Rajasthan, popularly known as the ‘Land of Kings’ is steeped in history, art, culture and natural beauty. The state’s rich history includes Rajputs, Mughals and Marathas rule with an abundance of temples, forts, palaces and lakes to explore. The splendour of the place is echoed in its rich culture and traditions, featuring lively fairs and festivals, dance, folk music and exquisite art and handicrafts. The Rajasthanis are known for their warm hospitality, and a solo traveller in Rajasthan will never feel alone.  Plus, the state is safe, and food and accommodation are inexpensive as can be.

Rajasthan

Lake Palace Udaipur

Lake Palace, Udaipur | © Nico Crisafulli / Flickr