Backpacking has long been a popular way to travel in India, but it’s only recently that the country has seen an increase in budget backpacker hostels. Many come with a plethora of freebies thrown in, they’re cheap, and are also hot-spots for meeting travelers and swapping experiences. Here are our picks for the best hostels for backpackers in India.
Drawing travelers and globetrotters from all over the world, Zostel has everything a backpacker needs: comfort, cleanliness and a lively vibe, all at a good price. Zostel is suitable for groups or solo travellers, as there are both air-conditioned dorms and private rooms. Female only dorms are also available. Laundry service, hot showers, private lockers, tea and coffee facilities, and free wireless internet are among the amenities. Plus, there is a fully-stocked kitchen and a lounge area that encourages travellers to mingle and have fun. Travel-talks, social events and parties are the highlights of this place. There are Zostel branches across India.
Crowned the ‘Best Hostel in India 2016’ by Hostelworld, Madpackers offers a cozy, relaxed stay at amazingly affordable rates. It has comfortable and trendy rooms with bunk beds, free WiFi, a fully-stocked kitchen, a fireplace, a game room, a well-stocked library and complimentary breakfast. The major attraction is the rooftop terrace covered with real grass, where you can meet fellow travellers and swap stories. Perks like food and heritage walks are the icing on the cake.
Le Pension Backpackers Hostel, Jaipur | Courtesy of Le Pension Backpackers' Hostel
Away from the hubbub of city life, Le Pension is a delight for those looking for some peace and quiet. It’s a vibrant hostel that exudes an old-school charm and offers a relaxing yet lavish stay at a reasonable price. There is a well-equipped cafe on the terrace. Several types of rooms are available, including 6-bed mixed dormitory, 4-bed mixed dormitory and female only dormitory. All rooms are clean and well-equipped. Amenities include breakfast, free WiFi, board games, books, and a common lounge for chilling out and socializing with fellow hostellers. The service here is also stellar.
Offering spectacular views of the ‘City of Lakes’ and being close to major Udaipur attractions, the Bunkyard Hostel provides a cheap yet luxurious stay. The beautifully decorated rooms come with artistic touches and en suite bathrooms. Cycling and horse-riding are available, and barbeque nights are held on the open terrace, which has gorgeous sunset and lake views. The friendly staff will also make your stay in Udaipur a pleasant one.
Moustache Jaipur, Jaipur | Courtsey of Moustache Jaipur
If you’re looking for authentic Rajasthani culture, Moustache Hostel fits the bill. Situated on action-packed Mirza Ismail Road and just a stone’s throw from the Jaipur Railway Station, this hostel exudes Rajasthani character in its traditional patterns and furnishings. The rooms are spick and span with comfortable beds, and there is also a kitchen, common space, free Wi-Fi access, and three common spaces (rooftop, indoor lobby and front yard). An added bonus is the spectacular view of Nahargarh Fort from the rooftop.
This hostel also operates in Udaipur, Jaisalmer and Agra.
If you want to experience true South Indian culture, check out Vedanta Wake Up!. The lush green surroundings and ethnically inspired interior provide a wonderful aura. The dorms and rooms are cozy, clean and comfy, and come well-equipped with all the necessary facilities, including en-suite bathrooms, personal lockers and air-conditioning. There’s even a comfortable and social shared lounge. For entertainment, play board games, watch TV or indulge in karaoke nights with other guests. Ayurvedic massages and yoga sessions are also available, to keep you relaxed. The location is also perfect, as several cafes and restaurants are on the doorstep.
There are also branches in Pondicherry, Ooty, Mysore, Madurai, Coorg and Kodaikanal.
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Just a kilometre from the Assi Ghat, where the Assi River meets the Ganges, the Stops Hostel is surrounded by the sights and sounds of Varanasi. There are tents, dormitories and private rooms to choose from, with air-conditioning, hot showers, personal lockers and free Wi-Fi access. Rooms have lovely balconies on which guests can relax and enjoy the liveliness of the city. The ever-expanding library is an added bonus.
If you want to be sociable yet removed from the hustle and bustle of Goa’s most popular spots, Jungle Hostel is perfect. Set amid quiet Jungle but just a stone’s throw from lively Vagator beach, Chapora Fort and other beautiful attractions, this hostel offers the best of both worlds. There’s a community vibe here and lots of recreational facilities, including BBQ nights, yoga sessions and rooftop movie nights. The private rooms and AC dorms come with hot water, free Wi-Fi, personal lockers and free breakfast. There is also an in-house cafe that serves organic Indian teas and coffees.
Backpacker Panda Andheri, Mumbai | Courtsey of Backpacker Panda Appetite Mumbai
Comfortable stay, great service, friendly vibe and economical: these are the major contributors to the success of the Backpacker Panda Appetite, which prides itself on being the first backpacking hostel in Mumbai. Mixed and female dorms are available with comfortable beds, air conditioning, hot showers, lockers and free high-speed Wi-Fi. Other highlights are the kitchenette and communal space with TV, games and other activities. The welcoming vibe makes it easier to mingle and interact with fellow travellers.
There are also branches in Delhi, Agra, Goa, Jaipur and Udaipur.
Located close to the famous Golden Temple, the Jugaadus Hostel lets you experience Punjabi culture and hospitality with modern touches. This hostel is environmentally friendly, with solar panels on the roof, bamboo dustbins, tables made from re-used tyres, and so on. The rooms are well-maintained. The hostel offers a range of tours, including to the Wagah Border and the Golden Temple, as well as food and heritage tours. This is the best hostel for backpackers in Amritsar.