Solo Travel in India
Types of Girl about the Globe – Beach GatG, Cultural GatG, History GatG, Yoga GatG
India solo travel will empower you, challenge you and open your eyes. Below is our solo female travel guide on how to solo travel to India including places to travel solo in India, where to stay in India, the best places to travel in India, which tour company to use and how to travel around India. Find out how to get from the airports and what to do in each place.
All companies included have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article for solo female travel in India.
* Before you travel, check what paperwork or visas are required for India
N.b. By booking through this page for your solo trips in India, you are helping to improve the lives of vulnerable girls about the globe. Thanks for helping.
- Solo Travel in India
- About India
- Tours in India
- Accommodation in India
- Getting Around India
- From The Airport
- How Long Do You Need?
- Conscious Travel in India
- Map of India
- Plan a Trip To India
Solo Travel in India
Is travel to India safe? Solo travel for a woman in India needs precautions depending on where you go. That's why we've given India 3 out of 5 stars. One of the best places to travel alone for a woman in India is Rishikesh, the country's yoga capital. It is easy to meet other solo travelers in India who come to this spiritual city. Goa is also one of the places to visit solo in India. Known for its beaches, this cultural heritage region in the southwest of India is popular for India solo female travel and easy to meet others.
In recent years, a handful of highly publicised sexual-assault cases in India have provided an example of the worst-case scenario for female solo travellers in India. While you shouldn’t let these deter you from traveling in India, you may experience sexual language directed your way, even if you are dressed extremely conservatively. Others have reported cases of being groped. When you travel India solo, be wary about going out by yourself at night, depending on where you are. Take a scarf or buy a pashmina when you're there to cover up at religious sites and temples and save your short summer dresses for the beach areas.
Theft is another serious issue in India so keep your belongings as secure as possible at all times. Carrying a padlock and chain to secure your belongings on buses or trains when you travel India solo is a great idea. Again, linking up with another traveler or with a group when you're travelling alone in India is the best way to stay safe and ensure that unpleasant situations don’t escalate out of your control.
One of the scams in India is that the taxi driver tells you that your hotel is closed. If this happens and they offer to take you to another one (which they get commission for), just refuse and find another driver to take to your chosen accommodation.
This article will show you how to travel solo in India but if you are unsure of the places to see in India, where to go in India, or what to do in India by yourself, you may feel more comfortable on a group tour for your solo holidays to India.
Home to over a billion people, India is a country of contradictions – snake charmers and holy men dressed in loincloths loitering outside internet cafes, and some of the world’s deepest cultural and religious traditions prospering amidst extreme poverty and pollution. Your feelings about India will likely be conflicted as well.
One moment you’ll love it, and the next moment you’ll be cursing your train for being 12 hours late. With patience, time, and an open-minded attitude, India will reveal its secrets to you, and the rough moments of travelling solo in India, will all seem worth it.
If it’s your first time travelling India and you are unsure of where to visit in India, consider India’s Golden Triangle. Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. These destinations are the best places in India to visit for the most popular India attractions.
Start in Delhi, India’s capital and a good place to slowly familiarize yourself with India’s cultures and rhythms. Things to do alone in Delhi include wandering through the streets of Old Delhi and visiting the famous Red Fort. Old Delhi’s twisting alleys and markets are also wonderful for picking up saris, spices, art pieces, and other crafts.
When you explore New Delhi, if you visit only one museum in India, check out New Delhi’s National Museum, which is packed with historical artefacts from India’s recent and not-so-recent past. Is it safe for women to travel in New Delhi? New Delhi also boasts some of India’s finest restaurants and nightlight but for Delhi solo female travel, venturing out as part of a group will definitely be safer.
From Delhi, take a couple of days for a side trip. Visit Rajasthan, with its stunning cities set against a dramatic desert landscape. Highlights include Jaipur (the pink city) and Jodhpur (the blue city). Both cities offer excellent shopping and are exceptionally photogenic due to their monochromatic old quarters.
Jaipur is home to one of the top places to visit in India; the stunning Haha Mahal. What makes it one of the unique places to visit in India is its stunning honeycomb shaped facade, built using pink and red sandstone.
Jaipur is about 5-6 hours from Delhi, depending on whether you take the train or the bus, and Jodhpur is about twice as far. Both cities offer a maze of temples, palaces, and bazars to explore.
From Rajasthan, one of the best things to do in India is explore the Thar Desert. It’s in this hot, arid region that you can partake in some of the unique things to do in India such as dune bashing, a camel ride or parasailing for a bird’s eye view of this beautiful desert.
Once you’re back in Delhi, you’ll need to decide if you want to branch out into northern India or southern India. If northern India beckons (the best bet for solo female travelers), your next stop is Agra and the nearby Taj Mahal, one of the popular tourist attractions in India. You can also book Leh Ladakh tour packages from Delhi too. If instead you’re heading south from Delhi, you can still visit the Taj Mahal as a long day trip from Delhi before departing. It’s about 3 ½ hours one way by train.
Not surprisingly, the Taj Mahal is overrun by tourists; Indians and foreigners alike. This is one of the most beautiful places in India and was built by emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife. Your best bet is to visit this spectacular landmark early in the morning to beat the crowds. Agra pales in comparison to other Indian cities, so it’s best to make a quick stop here and continue on to Varanasi via an overnight train.
Hindus consider Varanasi as one of the holiest cities in India, and it is said that if you die here, you will immediately be liberated from the endless cycle of death and rebirth. Millions of Indians make a pilgrimage here either to bathe in the sacred Ganges, upon which the city is perched, or to cremate a family member.
See the chaotic old city along the river banks in Varanasi. Touring the old town and wandering through its ghats (steps leading down to the Ganges either for bathing or ceremonial purposes) is intense, picturesque, and not-to-be-missed. It should go without saying, but don’t photograph funerals or cremations, and keep a respectful distance.
You can organize boat tours onto the Ganges, and Varanasi’s daily evening ceremonies – complete with music, dance, and all manner of holy men – are amazing.
To reach the true heart of north India, you’ll need to take the overnight train (or fly) back to Delhi. From Delhi, it’s about 7 hours by train or bus to Rishikesh, first made famous by the Beatles. It is without doubt one of the magical places in India, and best places to visit in India for yoga lovers.
Rishikesh also sits on the Ganges, and you’ll find a wide variety of yoga courses, meditation retreats, ashrams, and massage classes available to help you wind down from the chaos you’ve likely experienced thus far whilst travelling India. For more active travelers, Rishikesh is also one of the places to go in India to organize whitewater rafting trips and treks into the nearby Himalayas.
Another highlight of northern India is Dharamsala and nearby McLeod Ganj, home to the Tibetan government in exile. If you’re lucky, you can catch the Dalai Lama while he’s home, but check ahead, as he travels frequently. These two towns offer a multitude of worthy volunteer opportunities helping the Tibetan refugee community, as well as a glimpse into India’s Buddhist traditions.
If you really want to see the Himalayas in their full glory, head to Ladakh, in the far northwest. Ladakh is accessible by road during the summer months, but you’ll need to fly in the winter as the road closes due to heavy snow. The Buddhist city of Leh is a great base from which to organize further explorations in Ladakh.
The region offers outstanding trekking, cultural tours, homestays, and a peek into centuries-old traditions. In general, Ladakh is also one of the safer areas in India for solo female travellers.
Best Places To Visit in South India
If southern India’s beaches and spicy dishes are more your style, head south from Delhi to Goa. Flying is the best choice for this journey, unless you want to spend multiple days on the train. Be careful in Goa – although it has something of a reputation as an international party destination, you’re still in India.
Things to do in Goa India, include getting a tan, but carefully observe what others are wearing before breaking out your bikini at the beach. When you tire of sunbathing, nearby Hampi offers a relatively quiet escape. Time seems to have stopped in Hampi, and you’ll love wandering through 15th century ruins and climbing on the wildly shaped rock formations.
Heading further south, visit Kerala, perhaps India’s most progressive state. Cruise the lazy backwaters between Alleppey and Kollam and if you’ve got a group and rupees to spare, renting a houseboat is the way to travel in style.
Visit the ashram of Amma, the famous “Hugging Mother,” and one of India’s few female gurus. Amma’s ashram is in Amritapuri, and as with the Dalai Lama, check her schedule first to make sure that she will be in residence.
If you really want to get away from it all, one of our travel tips is to fly out to the Andaman Islands, featuring pristine beaches, excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities, and dozens of local tribes and cultures.
For the wildlife Girl about the Globe wondering what to see in India in terms of wildlife, India’s national animal is the Bengal Tiger and one of the most popular parks in the country to see them is at Bandhavgarh National Park. Located in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, this state has more than two third’s of the world’s tiger population. Take one of the India sightseeing tours over 2 nights for a game drive in the park and you may also spot deer, cats and monkeys. It is costly but one of the fun things to do in India, especially if you see a leopard too.
Ranthambore National Park is another of the county’s national parks. It is also where you can see tigers within the Tiger Reserve but another of its attractions is the the Ranthambore Fort, a 10th century fort that sits on a hilltop overlooking the park. Whilst you’re here see the Ganesh Mandir temple, the water lilies on Padam Lake, and escape the crowds at Kachida Valley.
If you have time when traveling India, venture across to the west coast to visit Mumbai, another of the safe places to visit in India. Although it is the most populated city in India, some parts of the city feel more Western than Indian. Things to do alone in Mumbai India include marvelling at the architecture of Mumbai’s main railway station (especially when it is lit up at night), seeing the Mumbai Taj and its European influence, wandering around the Global Vipassana Pagoda, watching the sun go down at the Gateway of India, and walking along the Arabian Sea at Marine Drive. Take a ferry to Elephanta Island to discover this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Other Places To Visit in India
One of the most beautiful and crazy things to do in India is witness millions of glow worms at the Fireflies Festival in Purushwadi, held in May until June.
Other places to visit when you tour India are the Ellora Caves, one of the best places to visit in India for Buddhist caves. Located in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad region, these 24 stunning monastery caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and consist of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain caves. The Golden Temple called the Sri Harmandir Sahib is also one of the things to see in India. It is one of the most spiritual sites in the country and a place of pilgrimage for Sikhs. It is called ‘The Golden Temple’ as it is made from gold.
Himachal Pradesh along the border with Tibet in the Himalayas for its Tibetan influence and Buddhist monasteries and temples. And Tamil Nadu a state in Southern India and home to the city of Chennai, known for its colonial fort and beaches. This region is famous for its Dravidian-style Hindu temples.
This is just a sliver of what awaits you when you embark on a self-discovery tour to India. A truly dedicated traveler could spend her whole life exploring the subcontinent and still touch only a fraction of it. Whatever region you decide to travel to India solo, you’ll come away enchanted, changed, and glad you undertook the adventure!
Tours in India
If you are feeling apprehensive about travelling solo, sometimes taking a tour for part or all of your trip can give you the confidence you need before travelling India alone. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female friendly company. Most tours have an average of 10 people and there is no upper age limit. Once you book your trip you pay extra for any excursions you want to do when you’re there.
G Adventures India tours range from a 3 day Varanasi Independent Adventure to a 33 day Kolkata to Kochi by Rail tour, seeing the best of India. One of their most popular tours for solos is the 15 day Rajasthan Adventure which includes the Taj Mahal, a visit to the City Palace in Udaipur, and a sunset camel ride in Pushkar. If you have 21 days, they also offer a 3 week tour of India from the north to the south.
Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated activities and tours in worldwide destinations including India. Choose from a tour to Agra Fort and a skip-the-line ticket to the Taj Mahal, a guided tour of New and Old Delhi, or a half-day tour to the Elephanta Caves (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). There are several to choose from and it’s really simple to use. Just check the reviews, price and availability then book online.
Accommodation in India
You’ll find all types of accommodation in India for every kind of solo. Whether you prefer international hotels, lodges, or homestays. If you are on a budget then consider a dharamshala – a hostel which is used by pilgrims and often with a religious connotation.
Be prepared that cheap accommodation India does mean budget. You may get a mattress on the floor with barely a ceiling fan so maybe go for the next level up if you want something cleaner and more comfortable. You could find yourself paying extra for a mosquito net too. The standard of hygiene in India may not be what you’re used to so look at a room before agreeing to take it if you arrive somewhere without planned accommodation.
City accommodation is more expensive than staying in local villages and you may find yourself paying over the odds for a beach resort so look for hostels which are becoming more common for others backpacking India alone. In places such as Kerala or Goa you can stay in heritage-style boutique hotels, homestays or even on a converted rice barge.
It’s also not uncommon to see former palaces or forts opening their doors to guests. For a more sustainable stay choose from an ecolodge or farm stay for part or all of your trip. There are also options for camping but you may feel more comfortable in other accommodation. Another type of accommodation is overnight trains where you can reach long distances as you sleep.
Whether you want to stay in a colonial tea house in Coorg or a five star hotel with a sea view in Mumbai, the accommodation in India is very varied. If you prefer to stay with a local then consider Airbnb where you can rent a room or even the entire house/apartment during your stay. Save $20 off your first stay with this Airbnb link
Below are recommended accommodations for solo travellers from our solo female community. For all other accommodations, click on the link below.
This 5-star 19th century colonial hotel has a pool, garden terrace and even peacocks! The rooms are spacious with beautiful heritage decor and it’s close to the metro to get around. * Prices start from £51 p/n
Located in the Civil Lines district of Jaipur, this 4 star boutique hotel is beautiful with an elegant feminine touch. The staff are friendly and welcoming and reception is open 24 hours. * Prices start from £22 p/n
If you’re looking to pamper yourself, this 4 star retreat in Munnar set within a spice plantation, offers yoga, meditation and Ayurvedic treatments all with lush valley views and home-cooked Indian cuisine. * Prices start from £39 p/n
This beachfront property is ideal for those wanting to meet others. The hostel has a friendly vibe and Mik and Ravi go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. It’s clean, well-designed and feels homely. There’s evening entertainment, a garden and a lounge to chill out with the other guests. Be prepared to want to extend your stay. Choose from a bed in a 4 bed female-only dormitory room, an 8-bed mixed dorm room, or a deluxe double or king room.
- Prices start from £3 for a bed in a 4 bed female-only dormitory room
- Check dates, prices and availability: The Beachside Hostel
If you are searching for a female-only property with true hospitality and one where you have as much company as you need, Nadya Homestay is a safe & secure homestay in Jaipur, Rajasthan, for solo women travellers. Both Nadya and Yusef are fantastic hosts and will make you feel at home and provide delicious home-cooked meals. Choose from a single room with shower or a deluxe family suite for something bigger. With their unique concept being ‘women oriented, women driven, women welcome,’ it’s perfect for us solos.
- Prices start from £5 for a comfort single room
- Check dates, prices and availability: Nadya Homestay
This brightly coloured hotel will put a smile on your face. The beds are comfortable and all rooms have air-conditioning and a flat-screen TV. There is a restaurant serving good food so you don’t even need to leave the hotel to find somewhere to eat. When you do venture out, the staff can help you organise your transport. It is walking distance to Connaught Place and close to New Delhi train station for access to other attractions. Take ear plugs with you as the walls are thin and you may also feel the vibrations from the metro underneath. Choose from a value single or queen room or a standard single or queen room.
- Prices start from £10 for a value single room
- Check dates, prices and availability: Bloomrooms
This lovely hostel in Rishikesh is perfect for solo travellers and one of the best places to stay in India to meet others. There is a 24 hour front desk so it doesn’t matter what time you arrive. They have weekly dinner parties and activities such as sunrise treks and yoga on the rooftop. There’s also a rooftop lounge where you can meet other travellers and explore the area from its central location. And you can make use of the laundry facilities and currency exchange too. Some of the rooms come with air-conditioning and the beds in the dorms have their own curtain for more privacy. Choose from a standard double room with a fan, deluxe double room, or a bed in 6 or 10 bed mixed dormitory room.
- Prices start from £4 for a bed in a 6-bed mixed dorm room
- Check dates, prices and availability: Shiv Shakti Hostel
Getting Around India
Getting around in India on Indian transportation is an experience in itself. India is vast, and travelling around India can eat up huge portions of your time. Internal flights are the best way to travel in India for longer legs. Be sure to travel by train at least once during your trip – doing so is a rite of a passage for travelers in India and a tourist attraction in itself. It is one of the best transportation in India for a true cultural experience. Don’t miss it!
For longer journeys, book at least a sleeper car (and a better berth if you can afford it). You can find air-conditioned first class on the long distance trains which are either a 2 or 4 berth carriage, or opt for air conditioned second class (called AC2) which is cheaper and often used by local families.
Bring a padlock and chain to secure your bags overnight, and keep valuables on your person. Tickets can go quickly during holiday seasons so plan accordingly. Train stations in most major cities will have a dedicated tourist desk.
If you are taking the train in India you may find that the Indian railways station has a private room that you can rent overnight which includes a bed and bathroom. If you feel comfortable staying here before catching a train early in the morning then it’s a cheap way of resting for the night. Seat61 is a good resource for how to get around in India by train.
Bus travel in India is another form of transport in India. When you're solo traveling in India book a tourist bus, especially for longer journeys, for both safety and for comfort. If you are on a budget, sleeper buses can be the best way to travel in India to save on overnight accommodation.
Tuk-tuks and auto rickshaws are a fun way to travel within cities. Set a price with your driver beforehand, or get ready to barter until you’re hoarse once you arrive at your destination.
If you’re exploring a lot of destinations in the country, the best way to get around India is by flying internally. Air India is the country’s national carrier.
The best transport in India for women – For the solo traveler in India who might feel wary of taking the train or bus, India has a few taxi services operated exclusively by women for women. Womencabs and Go Pink Cabs appear to be the biggest companies and are ideal for India solo travel. You can also use “OLA” cabs to get around and “Jugnoo” autos for select cities. They have apps and are easy to use.
(For more information on why so many women-only cab services have been popping up as India transportation, and who the women entrepreneurs behind this phenomenon are refer to this article.)
From The Airport
There are too many airports in India to cover in this article but this to and from the airport guide gives details of transport from each one.
You may feel more comfortable as a solo traveller India with transport waiting for you at the airport. Hoppa operates a cheap airport shuttle that will take you from various city airports to your hotel.
How Long Do You Need?
How long do you need when travelling India solo? Three weeks is the minimum you’ll need to see India – and you won’t see very much in this amount of time. Everything in India tends to takes longer than expected, so don’t rush yourself. Two months will give you enough time to explore either the north or the south. If you want to see the whole country, give yourself at least six months.
Travelling Onwards (check visas before you travel)
When you're travelling to India, you may want to extend your trip and include one or more of the neighbouring countries on your solo holiday to India. If you're considering Nepal, Bhutan or Bangladesh, below are ways to cross into the countries overland.
To Nepal – Travel by train to Gorakhpur then take a local bus or travel to Sunauli from Varanasi on a daily bus. Daily buses run from Patna and Kolkata from Raxaul or take the Mithila express train from Kolkata. Another popular crossing is at Jumunaha in Uttar Pradesh.
To Bhutan – A direct bus runs on some evenings from Kolkata to Phuentsholing. You can also take the train from Siliguri via Alipurduar to the border.
To Bangladesh – There are daily buses from Kolkata to Dhaka, then cross the border at Benapol. From Agartala cross to Arkhuara. Trains then take you to Dhaka. From Siliguri in West Bengal take a private bus 2 hours to Jalpaiguri then change at Chengrabandha for the border.
To Pakistan – Crossing into Pakistan is not recommended.
Where can I go from here?
Nepal – 2 hours
Sri Lanka – 2.5 hours
Thailand – 7 hours
* Flying from Delhi & Mumbai
Conscious Travel in India
Social Impact Programs
There are several social impact cafes in India that help give back to the community. Not only do they serve great cuisine but they employ locals who are underprivileged such as victims of acid attacks, and staff with hearing-impairments. Plus you can hang out with rescued cats and kittens. Discover all social impact cafes here
Stay Eco in India
Located amidst the serene hills of Wayanad, Kerala, you can find the Banasura Hill Resort. Constructed using the local mud (which provides ample coolness in the summer) this resort offers the perfect location for hiking trips in beautiful forests, as well as relaxing and eco-friendly spa sessions.
Nimmu House, Ladakh (45 minutes from Leh)
This stunning eco-resort built on the side of a mountain provides an immersion into Himalayan culture. Stay in a beautifully furnished room or a roomy tent and enjoy one of the many thematic stays this resort has to offer. Whether you prefer culture, trekking, yoga and wellness or all four, Nimmu House has stays for every kind of traveller.
Vulnerable Girls in India
- Human trafficking in India is an issue affecting mainly women and girls. It is deeply rooted in Indian culture and, for centuries, it has been one of the major problems the country has been facing. Read more here…
- Early marriage or sex work are two of the many reasons why nearly two thirds of adolescent girls in India drop out of school. With little formal education at their hands it is difficult to get out of these undesirable situations. Read more here…
- Periods are considered shameful in many countries, especially in India. Having limited or no access to period products can result into girls needing to skip school days. Watch here…
- Child Marriage in India: Teenage Girls Forced to Marry. Watch here….
Can I drink the water? No, buy bottled with sealed tops instead.
Is tipping expected? Leave a small tip after eating in a restaurant. If you have hired a guide or a driver for multiple days, tip accordingly. Some hotels have “tip boxes” at their front desks, and leaving a tip in such a box is much appreciated but not required.
When traveling by tuk-tuk or taxi, if you have agreed on a price with the driver in advance, no tip is necessary. Don’t feel guilty shooing away anyone pestering you for an unearned or undeserved tip – you will probably find yourself doing so frequently!
Fixed price or barter? Bartering is appropriate and expected at markets and less-expensive hostels and hotels. Expect fixed prices at restaurants and upscale hotels. Often, fixed-price shops will have a sign informing you of the fact that bartering is off-limits.
Any ATMs? ATMs exist in tourist areas. However, be sure to arrive with at least a little bit of cash, as most transactions require it, and you cannot count on your border-crossing point to have an ATM (even if it is an airport).
Which side of the road do they drive? On the left-hand side.
Good for vegetarians? India is a vegetarian’s idea of paradise. Many of the country’s religions mandate vegetarianism, and you will find an abundance of delicious vegetarian dishes everywhere you travel.
Any seven wonders of the world? Taj Mahal in Agra.
* This guide was written by fellow solo traveler, Kristin Wieben.
How To Plan a Solo Trip To India
If you are ready to go solo travelling in India, here are some useful links to help you to plan your solo trip in India. including airlines which fly there, vaccinations required and events and festivals.
Budget – £20 a day
India is very inexpensive, and you can get by on what feels like pocket change. However, in many situations, it’s definitely worth shelling out a little bit more money for nicer accommodations, a higher-class train ticket, or a trustworthy guide for your solo trips to India. By doing so, not only will you be more comfortable, but you’ll keep yourself safe as a solo female traveler.
Capital – New Delhi
Population – 1.2 billion
Language spoken – Hindi, English, Many others
Best Time to Go – Feb, March, November for New Delhi
Did you know? When in India, use only your right hand for all transactions with othes. Many Indians use their left hands for cleaning up after using the toilet, and offering your left hand to someone is therefore considered extremely rude.
Social Impact Program
Village Ways – Village Ways is an organisation in both India and Nepal which creates income opportunities for villagers. As one of the Leaders in Responsible Tourism for poverty reduction, they offer inspiring holidays in remote villages in India and Nepal that benefit directly from you being there.
Issues in the Country
Before you visit India, check the political situation before leaving home, as conditions can change rapidly in India. As mentioned before, travel with others in order to avoid unwanted male attention. Finally, you will encounter extreme poverty in India.
If you really want to make a difference, donating your time or money to a worthy charity will likely go further than giving small handouts to beggars.
Where to Stay
Varansi – Sahi River View Guesthouse
Delhi – Devna
Agra – Hotel Kamal
Book your Hotels
Mind Body & Soul
Weather in India – Below is an annual weather chart for India from January to December