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While some people might question your decision to travel India alone, I won’t. I had a wonderful trip to India and can’t wait to do it all again one day. I’m going to tell you all about the best places for solo travel in India from the Northern Himalayas to the Southern beaches.
Last year, I spent two whole months travelling in India. It’s crazy now to think I’d been nervous before departing. This was based mainly on negativity about India from others. Of course, I don’t take solo female travel safety lightly, but the words of people who had never been shouldn’t have counted for anything. One of the disadvantages of solo travel is backing your own decisions without anyone to encourage you.
I’m so glad I bit the bullet and did it!
The main thing I marvel on when I look back? The diversity of India. It’s full of different regions, landscapes, cuisines, religions and customs. If the idea of India conjures up huge, busy cities with lots of noise and pollution, well, you’re only half right. There are also plenty of ideal places for solo female travel in India including small, peaceful towns with none of the clamour.
Other highlights include the ease of travelling India on a budget with accommodation from 200 rupees per night and delectable street food for pennies! It’s somewhere you can travel alone without worrying about running up a huge bill.
INDIA TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
India Lonely Planet
Accommodation: Booking.com / Hostelworld
Getting around: flight (Skyscanner) / bus / train (12Go)
Travel insurance: True Traveller (European travellers) / Hey Mundo (other nationalities) / Safety Wing (digital nomads)
Read next: essential items for a womens India packing list
How to travel solo in India
My first solo female travel tip for India – stay in hostels! You can cast notions of dank bunk beds from your mind; in India, hostels are colourful, comfortable places usually with private rooms, beanbags, rooftop terraces and onsite cafes. The best bit for solo travellers is that they’re always sociable with staff leading walking tours and food tours and hiking trips.
To get around India, you can take the train which is always an adventure, as well as a chance to meet friendly locals. If you haven’t registered with the Indian train website (IRCTC), you can use 12Go or Redbus to book trains and buses. Buses can be booked last minute but trains are best reserved in advance as soon as you know your dates.
Best places to travel solo in India – Rajasthan
The state of Rajasthan in Northern India is undoubtedly one of the best destinations for solo female travel in India. It’s very much on the tourist track so you’ll receive fewer stares because locals are used to seeing Western travellers. You’ll find plenty of hostels and meet other solo travellers doing the same thing as you. The connections you make will be one of the best things about travelling solo!
These are some of the best places in India for female travel:
Read next: my tried & tested Rajasthan travel itinerary
Ah, Pushkar. Is there a more perfect little place? I first visited in 2015 and came back in 2019 and 2023. I felt a flutter of sadness as I noticed how tourism had taken over, but I had to remind myself this happens: places can’t stay hidden just for me.
Regardless, Pushkar is an ideal place for solo female travel in India. This sleepy Rajasthani town all set around a lake is peaceful and relaxed with lots of veggie cafes and colourful hostels. You might want to position your visit in the middle of your India trip for some much-needed downtime.
A fun thing to do in Pushkar is take the cable car to the top of the hill and watch sunset over the desert. If you need a break from curry, you can explore the Pushkar restaurants including Laughing Buddha Cafe for veggie burgers and Coffee Temple for gorgeous lakeside views.
How to get to Pushkar: Catch a bus from Jaipur in 4 hours or arrive into Ajmer Junction Train Station, a 30-minute taxi ride from Pushkar.
Where to stay in Pushkar: Backpackers can stay at Madpackers inside a period artsy building with a common space, rooftop cafe and yoga area. For an upgrade, stay at Inn Seventh Heaven which is a beautiful heritage hotel with funky artwork and one of Pushkar’s best (most affordable restaurants) inside.
Jaipur is a city I had a love-hate relationship with but it’s still a good place for solo travel in India. My main issue with Jaipur is that it’s not walkable; something I value in a place. There just don’t seem to be pavements!
You’re best off organising a taxi tour for the day. Once you’ve accepted your mode of transport, there are fantastic sights to see including a few famous Jaipur Instagram spots.
Top destinations in Jaipur include the City Palace, Amer Fort, Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal and Nahargarh Fort. Since there’s a lot to see and do (and you’ll probably need at least half a day off to relax), I would recommend setting aside 3 days in Jaipur.
It’s a busy but safe place in India for female travel thanks to its plentiful hostels and availability of Uber and Ola taxi apps. However, you’ll soon be ready to escape somewhere more relaxed where you can leisurely wander around.
How to get to Jaipur: You can arrive and leave by plane, train or bus.
Where to stay in Jaipur: For backpackers, The Hosteller has a lovely sunny roof terrace and social tours and events, although the rooms are kinda basic. For a more comfortable base, check out Hotel Rashika Palace with double rooms, Wi-Fi, desk and 24-hour security.
The City of Lakes is another of Rajasthan’s most serene and peaceful destinations. No, you won’t completely escape the beeping horns but there are notably less of them. While taking a boat trip across Lake Pichola or drinking tea from a rooftop cafe, you’ll feel relaxed… A rare sensation for India!
As well as the gorgeous lakes, other places to visit in Udaipur include the 11 palaces and winding whitewashed streets. There are plenty of comfy hostels and tourist restaurants in Udaipur although of course, you can also dig into the street food.
How to get to Udaipur: There’s a domestic airport and a train and bus station.
Where to stay in Udaipur: I would recommend Zostel with its gorgeous roof terrace and cafe overlooking the lake. It’s the perfect place to spend a day relaxing if you need it, as well as a good base to meet other travellers. If you don’t fancy a dorm, there are private rooms with lake views.
Jodhpur lies in the Thar Desert and is locally known as the Blue City due to the dreamy hues of the houses. It’s another safe and popular destination for solo female travel in India due to its developed tourist infrastructure and friendly hostels and guesthouses.
The Blue City is set around Mehrangarh Fort, dating back to the 15th century. Enjoy panoramic views from the top or soar through the skies on the Flying Fox zip wire. Other impressive sites in Jodhpur include Jaswant Thada and Umaid Bhawan Palace.
How to get to Jodhpur: There’s a domestic airport and a train and bus station.
Where to stay in Jodhpur: For a friendly backpackers hostel with rooftop views of the fort, you can’t do better than Moustache Jodphur.
If you’re wondering where to travel solo in India, I would suggest Jaisalmer over in the west of Rajasthan: a golden city in the heart of the desert. From Jaisalmer town, you can book desert camel trekking and camping excursions, however I’d discourage these for ethical reasons; the camels are treated notoriously badly. Keep an eye out for camping tours by Jeep instead.
Another fascinating excursion from Jaisalmer is Kuldhara, a mysterious abandoned city. Travel there by autorickshaw along a single road through the desert to explore about this supposedly haunted settlement. Don’t worry, it doesn’t feel too creepy in the daytime especially since you’ll be with a guide!
How to get to Jaisalmer: It’s admittedly a bit of a trek from the other Rajasthan destinations but don’t let the 7-hour train from Jodhpur deter you.
Where to stay in Jaisalmer: The best place to stay in Jaisalmer for solo female travellers to India is Zostel Jaisalmer. There are lots of relaxed chill-out areas and places to meet people if you fancy it. There are dorms, private rooms and an in-house restaurant. For a luxurious desert camp in comfy glamping pods, stay at Desert Dream Royal Camp.
Best places to travel solo in North & Northeast India
North India is much more than just Rajasthan. During my second trip to India (my first one solo), I immersed myself in diverse destinations including Amritsar (the home of Sikh culture) and Dharamsala, a region of the Himilayas dubbed ‘Little Tibet’.
Some of these destinations for female travellers in India are far apart, spread across the giant landscape that is Northern India. Factor this into your travel itinerary!
Rishikesh, Uttarakhand (best for spiritual solo female travel in India)
Rishikesh is one of the all-time easiest and most enjoyable destinations in India for solo travel. It’s a spiritual and relaxing place to observe daily life from colourful cafes on the banks of the Ganges. The world and his wife seem to agree so you’ll meet a lot of other travellers, many practising yoga.
Things to do in include visiting the many cafes in Rishikesh, staying in an ashram, taking yoga classes, visiting the Beatles Ashram where they famously meditated and wrote music (and took a ton of drugs I hear), watching the daily Aarti ceremony at Triveni Ghat, visiting the beaches along the Ganges, white water rafting and trekking in the countryside.
How to get to Rishikesh: I caught a night bus from Mcleod Ganj. You can also catch one from Delhi. Alternatively, Haridwar train station is an hour’s drive from Rishikesh and Dehradun Airport is 40 minutes away.
Where to stay in Rishikesh: Stay at Shiv Shakti Hostel with the friendliest staff who organise group trips and evening entertainment. You can also stay at Nature Care Village in the countryside during an Ayurveda retreat.
There are some fantastic things to do in Amristar although it’s not as relaxing as the cities I’ve just mentioned. Saying that, it was my first solo destination in India and I managed just fine. Stay in a hostel and you’ll meet other travellers since Amristar is very much on the tourist radar.
Amritsar is most famous for the Golden Temple, the most important Sikh pilgrimage site in the world. Even tourists can enter inside and enjoy a free meal in the Golden Temple Kitchen. Caring for the community is an important element of Sikhism and the kitchen feeds 100,000 hungry mouths daily. If you volunteer, you’ll see how everything is made with enormous curry pots and roti conveyor belts.
Another reason to visit Amritsar is to catch the lively Wagah Border show. Each afternoon on the border of Pakistan, the two countries compete in an OTT dance-off wearing their national dress. It’s easy to organise a return rickshaw ride from Amritsar.
How to get to Amritsar: I flew into the international airport from Bangkok or you can catch a train from Delhi.
Where to stay in Amritsar: The best place to meet other people and explore the hectic city of Amristar together is goStops Amritsar. Not only is it centrally located but there’s a pillow pit!
Delhi, the capital of India, is a sprawling metropolis with more history than you can shake a samosa at. It’s a fascinating and exciting destination, and unfortunately, it also comes with a lot of baggage. Delhi has a reputation for being the least safe city in India based on crime statistics.
However, most travellers begin their India journeys in Delhi and it’s well worth a visit of at least three days. From street food tours to majestic palaces, there are amazing things to do in Delhi so it would be a shame to miss it!
The best strategy to do Delhi right is to stay in a hip neighbourhood like Hauz Khas, located in the middle of posh South Delhi. This leafy, residential area is one of the best places in India for female travellers, far from the crowds and touts of central Delhi. In South Delhi, you can relax and enjoy cool cafes, high-end stores and green parks.
Hauz Khas is known for shops, cafes and art galleries. Favourite restaurants include Naivedyam for South Indian food and Pot Belly Cafe in nearby Shahpur Jat for Bihari cuisine.
You can wander safely in this neighbourhood, home to many expats and well-heeled locals. Walking or grabbing an autorickshaw are both safe during the day. After dark, take an Uber or Ola taxi. As South Delhi is a modern, cosmopolitan area, you can wear Western clothing. But as always in India, steer clear of skimpy or revealing clothing; best to err on the side of caution.
How to get to Delhi: However you want – there are trains, buses and an international airport.
Where to stay in Delhi: The south, especially Hauz Khas is a relaxed, upscale neighbourhood. Bloomrooms with beautiful rooms, 24-hour front desk, laundry facilities and daily breakfast, while Prakash Kutir B&B is a lovely hotel with spectacular rooftop views.
For hostels, try J House with beds from €8 inc breakfast & dinner or Joey’s Hostel in the centre with free Wi-Fi and rooftop views from €4.
Delhi entry submitted by Mariellen from Breathedreamgo.
Your trip to India is incomplete without visiting spiritual capital, Varanasi. This is one of the oldest cities in India where death is celebrated by the Ganges. As a solo female traveller in India, you may sceptical after hearing stories about scams and narrow lanes full of cow dung. However, all the fears will vanish when you arrive. The city is chaotic yet charismatic in every sense.
Varanasi has more than 80 ghats by the Ganges. One of the easiest ways to get around the city is on foot. The city has lots of temples famous with Hindus. Don’t forget to take a boat tour upon the Ganges. You can also attend a Ganga aarti ceremony or simply watch the activities on the ghats.
If you’re a food lover, take a Varanasi Food Tour and try a bhang lassi if you’re feeling brave (it contains weed which is legal in Varanasi). There are plenty of cafes along the ghats but Pizzeria Vatika and Brown Bakery are most famous among travellers.
Safety tips for Varanasi
The lanes of Varanasi are tricky and you can easily get lost, so don’t venture out at late night alone. The ghats are crowded: keep your belongings safe when you venture out. Being a spiritual city, you should wear clothes modestly and cover yourself to avoid unwanted attention. If you’re visiting India for the first time, save Varanasi until last – you’ll have got used to India’s chaotic nature!
How to get to Varanasi: There are plenty of taxis running from Varanasi airport to old city. You can also arrive by train but it’s a long 17-hour journey from Rajasthan.
Where to stay in Varanasi: The ghat area where most of the activities happen. You can’t do better than Wander Station hostel which is a great place to meet other travellers to explore with.
Submitted by Mayuri from Fernwehrahee.
The North-Eastern states of India are raw and interesting, often overlooked by tourists. While eight states make up the region, the state of Meghalaya is a great place for solo travel in India. It’s fairly easy to reach and has lots to do.
The ‘Abode of Clouds’ is surrounded by hills, waterfalls, lakes and enthralling local Khasi – Garo culture. This region is also considered one of the safest for women in India; some believe because of the prevalent matrilineal culture.
Things to do in Meghalaya’s capital, Shillong, include visiting Elephant Falls, Shillong Peak and Buddhist monasteries, tasting the local food and browsing markets. Most travellers move on to Cherrapunjee (2 hours from Shillong). Once known as the rainiest place on earth, the region has lots to offer for nature lovers and thrill-seekers. Activities include trekking to see the living root bridges, taking a trip to Mawlynnong village on the East Khasi Hills and exploring one of the world’s longest limestone caves.
Hire a car and driver to move around; it’s cheap and easier than figuring out local transportation options which can be sporadic.
How to get to Shillong: Umroi Airport is 25km away; Guwahati Railway Station is 135km away.
Where to stay in Shillong: Stay at Hotel Woodland hill stay in Shillong. Very rarely do hotels offer single rooms, but double rooms are reasonably cheap.
Meghalaya entry submitted by Smita from Smita Bhattacharya.
Mussoorie is a cosy hill station in Uttarakhand that you’ll fall in love with. It’s a popular destination in India for female travellers due to the cooler temperatures that give respite from India’s hotter and busier cities.
Take a leisurely stroll along the mall road where there are plenty of cafes and restaurants. Don’t miss the cable car from Gun Hill for a bird’s-eye view of Mussoorie and the Doon Valley. If adventure sports are your thing, Mussoorie offers opportunities for parasailing, rock climbing and paragliding. When it comes to eating out, Momo’s Tibetan Kitchen has some great soups and momos.
The locals in Mussoorie are well accustomed to tourists from all over the world, so you don’t have to worry too much about what to wear. If you’re a woman travelling to India alone, you will love how hospitable people are. Mussoorie is one of those places that feels safe even at night.
How to get to Mussoorie: It’s two hours north of Dehradun where the nearest airport is located. It’s also a 2-hour drive from Rishikesh. From Dehradun, you can take a taxi or bus to Mussoorie. There are also direct buses from Delhi to Mussoorie.
Mussoorie entry submitted by Claudia from The Visa Project.
Landour is another optimum destination for solo travel in India. It’s become quite popular because of its incredible vistas and peaceful atmosphere. It’s an offbeat destination just 7km from Mussoorie but it feels like a different world altogether.
Landour is best explored on foot. A perfect visit includes walking, eating and exploring. Everything to see and do is located on Upper Chakkar Road which is 3.5 kilometres long and easily walkable. You can start the walk from Kellogg’s Memorial Church and move towards Sister’s Bazaar, Char Dukaan area, St. Paul’s church and Lal Tibba viewpoint.
Don’t miss out on savouring the delicious crepes at Landour Bakehouse, sticky toffee pudding at Emily’s Restaurant, Maggi noodles at Klick Cafe, vegetable fritters at Char Dukaan and finally, buy homemade jams and preserves from Anil Prakash store at Sister’s Bazaar.
Landour is extremely safe for solo female travellers and you can roam around without worrying about your dress code. But do cover up to keep yourself warm as it’s cold most of the year.
How to get to Landour: Take a flight or a train to Dehradun (60km away), then a bus to Mussoorie. Get a taxi the final 7km to Landour.
Where to stay in Landour: La Villa Bethany is a friendly homestay. There are limited accommodation options in Landour but staying in the Hobbit House room at La Villa Bethany is a fantastic option. It has amazing views and lovely hosts.
Entry submitted by Pooja from Fairytale Studios.
Best places for solo female travel in India – Himachal Pradesh
If you’re wondering where to travel solo in the north of India, Himachal Pradesh offers the chance to trek, hike and admire the snowy mountains in winter. The best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh state include…
Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala
Dharamsala is a region in the Himalayas that hardly feels like India at all. I based in the small town of Mcleod Ganj which is famously known as ‘Little Tibet’ due to the large population of Tibetans who have fled the disputed region that China now occupies. Learn about this at the Tibet Museum and, since Mcleod Ganj is home to the Dalai Lama, see if your visit lines up with one of his talks.
Mcleod Ganj is one of the best places for female travel in India and a complete contrast to the deserts and dusty scenery of Rajasthan. Throughout the winter months, expect snow-capped peaks and soaring eagles. My favourite memories include sitting on my balcony, drinking honey lemon tea and running inside as monkeys tried to pounce on me!
In Mcleod Ganj, you can take a break from Indian food if you need it. There are pancake cafes, Italian restaurants and even authentic Japanese food. But the best cultural meal is steaming thukpa noodle soup and momos at Tibet Kitchen.
How to get to Mcleod Ganj: I caught a bus from Amritsar and you can also catch one from Delhi. Gaggal Airport is 20 km away in Dharamshala; Pathankot Railway Station is 90 km away.
Where to stay in Mcleod Ganj: The comfy and affordable double rooms at Ram Yoga House are a great base with unreal views from the balcony. You can take yoga classes in the rooftop studio.
Just up the road from Mcleod Gani is another ideal destination in India for solo travel: the sleepy ex-hill station of Dharamkot. Although it’s a bit of a trek uphill, you can actually walk to Dharamkot from Mcleod Ganj although you may want to take a taxi instead. From Dharamkot, you can practise yoga, enjoy the cafes and take treks to Illaqua and the Indrahar Pass.
With lush forests, mountain villages and plentiful cafes, Parvati Valley is another of the best places in India for solo travellers. The quiet villages of the valley are popular with Israeli travellers and dozens of delicious cafes serve authentic shakshuka and falafel. Don’t miss Sunshine Cafe in Kasol!
Parvati is very accessible on foot. Chalal, Rashol, Chojh, Manikaran and Grahan Villages can all be reached by various treks from the main town of Kasol, meanwhile Mateura, Pulga, Kalga and Tulga can be explored via a cheap local bus ride. The trek to Grahan runs alongside a crystal-clear river that doubles up as a pool. Every hamlet within the valley is great for meeting other solo travellers and there are several hostels in each village.
The valley as a whole is incredibly safe. The most important things to keep in mind are to be mindful of your personal limits when attending a party or dance function (psytrance is popular in these parts) and avoid getting too close to the powerful Parvati River that flows through the valley.
How to get to Parvati Valley: Travel by air or train to Kullu and catch a taxi the final 35km.
Where to stay in Parvati: The best place for travellers is Hosteller Kasol with a gorgeous outdoor seating area overlooking the mountains. Solo travellers can enjoy evening events and group hiking trips. There are dorms and private rooms. Blue Heaven Hotel & Restaurant in Pulga is also fantastic; the Nepali chef prepares tasty food served to epic views.
Parvati Valley entry submitted by Samantha of Intentional Detours.
Kullu in Himachal Pradesh is a popular destination for solo travellers in India as it has some of the best scenery in the country, as well as friendly locals who will go out of their way to help you.
Kullu is situated between the River Beas and Himalaya mountain ranges, making it the perfect outdoor destination. Some of the best things to do in Kullu include paragliding over the Himalayas, trekking Chandrakhani Pass and admiring wildlife in the Great Himalayan National Park. After all that adventure, you can relax by soaking in Manikaran Hot Spring.
How to get to Kullu: Arrive by bus or plane. From Delhi, it takes about 12 hours on the bus. There is a small airport in Kullu and the views are magnificent as you fly into the valley.
Kullu entry submitted by Lora from Explore With Laura.
Best places for solo female travel in India – Central India
Many solo travellers to India stick to the popular northern regions and the beaches of the south, missing Central India. However, there are some safe and captivating places for solo travellers in Central India which include…
Mumbai is another great city for solo female travellers. It may be crowded and noisy but it’s safe to explore with plenty of cool things to do. Local trains have separate compartments for women and there are also taxicabs with women drivers. It’s easy to get around by train, taxi and autorickshaw.
If you have time, make sure to visit Bandra as well to get a different perspective of the city. This upscale neighbourhood near the coast is very hip with lots of cool cafes, cocktail bars and craft breweries.
While Mumbai is a modern city, it’s still best to dress conservatively. Beat the heat with local dresses called kurta that you can buy cheaply at Crawford Market. Always use the ladies-only cars in the trains. Download offline maps as well to guide you on your walks.
Check out nearby Colaba Causeway for shopping (make sure to grab a table at Café Mondegar).
How to get to Mumbai: You can fly, catch a train or bus. Mumbai is a huge transport hub.
Where to stay in Mumbai: Since there are limited budget options downtown, a good idea is to stay in the safe, pleasant suburb of Bandra and travel into the city for sightseeing. The best options are Namastey Mumbai Backpackers and Locomo.
Mumbai entry submitted by Aleah from The Solitary Wanderer.
Bangalore, Karnataka (best modern city for solo travellers in India)
Bangalore, also known as the Garden City of India, is one of the safest places for female travellers in India. As one of the most populated cities and the IT hub of the country, many Indians move to Bangalore making it a great place to witness the coming together of different cultures. Here modernisation and traditions go hand in hand.
There’s a lot to explore in Bangalore (also called Bengaluru) including Lal Bagh Botanical Garden, Cubbon Park, the Government Museum, Tippu Sultan’s Summer Palace, Bangalore Palace and Bannerghatta Biological Park and Butterfly Garden.
You can find a variety of restaurants and cafes serving authentic local dishes and cuisine from around the world. Make sure to taste some delicious street food like chaat and momos. Summers in Bangalore can be warm and winters are chilly so pack your bags accordingly.
Moving around in Bangalore as a solo woman is easy as there’s a good metro service accessible throughout the day. In terms of your next stops, Mysore, Hampi and Coorg are some of the best places to visit from Bangalore.
How to get to Bangalore: The best way to reach Bangalore is by flying to Kempegowda International Airport. You can also take buses or trains from any part of India.
Where to stay in Bangalore: From homestays to luxury resorts and hotels, Bangalore has them all. Woke HSR Layout is a stylish hostel with dorms, privates and co-working facilities should you need them.
Bangalore entry submitted by Neethu from Our Backpack Tales.
Agonda, Palolem and Panjim, Goa (best for relaxing solo female travel in India)
Goa is a wonderful place in India for solo travel: you can wear whatever and travel freely without attracting stares. You will be welcomed by a plethora of solo backpackers and never feel out of place.
From a safety perspective, it’s best to visit a beach in South Goa. Beautiful Agonda and Palolem is ideal with a laid-back vibe. Spend your days sunbathing, reading, indulging in relaxing massages, taking a Goan cooking class and buying handicrafts from all over India.
Throw in a bit of culture by visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in and around Panjim. Explore the colourful lanes of Goa’s Portuguese Quarter, Fontainhas, on foot, visit the Lady of Immaculate Conception Church and take a walking tour of the Churches of Old Goa. Finally, treat yourself to a delicious meal at Black Sheep Bistro.
A solo trip through offbeat Goa will not only make you sense the soul of the place but also rejuvenate you.
How to get to Agonda Beach: Canacona Station is 20 minutes away.
Where to stay in Agonda Beach: Opt to stay at a beachfront hut at Jardim-a-Mar or Simrose.
Where to stay in Panjim: Old Quarter, a charming hostel located in the heart of Fontainhas.
Goa entry submitted by Trisha from Try Wandering More.
Palolem Beach, Goa
With 105km of gorgeous coastline, Goa has an ideal beach for every type of traveller. Palolem is by far one of the best destinations in India for solo female travellers.
Palolem boasts a picture-perfect ocean with colourful beach huts and a relaxed atmosphere away from Goa’s party scene. Solo women will feel safe here, as the attitude is more liberal than other parts of India. There will be other women enjoying the beach in their swimwear so you don’t need to feel self-conscious.
The beach may be the main draw of Palolem but the area has a lot more to offer. If you love nature, explore the scenic backwaters behind the beach, take a boat trip to see dolphins in the early morning or embark on a jungle hike in Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary.
Read next: where to eat & drink in Palolem
Palolem Beach and its surrounding streets are easy to explore on foot, but renting a motorbike is a great way to explore further afield. If riding a motorbike isn’t for you, taxis are available everywhere – just be sure to agree on a price beforehand as there’s no meter system.
How to get to Palolem Beach: Fly into Goa Dabolim Airport or catch a train to Margao station and catch a taxi the rest of the way.
Where to stay in Palolem Beach: You can’t do better than Rainbow Linings Hostel with private and dorm rooms and a social vibe in the evenings.
Palolem entry submitted by Lauren from The Planet Edit.
Gokarna, Karnataka (best hidden place for solo travellers in India)
Gokarna is a hidden gem that’s very safe for female travellers in India. It’s often described as a quieter Goa thanks to the secluded beaches and slower pace of life. The crowds are missing yet there’s plenty of gorgeous coastline with relaxing beaches, Om Beach and Kudle Beach being the closest to town.
With more time, you can take a 6km beach trek including Paradise and Half Moon Beach. There’s plenty to eat and drink in Gokarna and some cute cafes like Namastey Café.
Top tip – if you’re visiting Gokarna during a weekend, you may want to bring cash with you as the ATMs are sometimes out.
How to get to Gokarna: It’s easily reached by bus from Bangalore or Goa.
Where to stay in Gokarna: You can rent a beach bungalow or go for Zostel, one of the best hostel chains for female travellers in India.
Hampi, Karnataka (best for cultural female travel in India)
Hampi is one of the best parts of India for solo female travel: it’s relaxing and beautiful with delicious food. One of the highlights is an ancient city with UNESCO status that served as the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire until it was destroyed by Mughal invaders in the 1500s. Spend a few days to admire the beautiful carvings and enjoy a sunset over the dramatic rocky landscape.
It’s better to avoid going to very remote areas of the Hampi UNESCO site alone or just with a male guide. If in doubt, join up with fellow travellers or join a group tour booked online or with your guesthouse. All the usual rules about dressing conservatively for India apply and will help protect you from the sun at Hampi, too.
How to get to Hampi: The best way to get to Hampi is by train to Hospet Junction. From there, it’s 30 minutes in a rickshaw to Hampi Bazaar. If you want to fly, the nearest airport is at Hubli which is 3 hours away from Hampi.
Where to stay in Hampi: Most budget accommodation is located in the nearby town of Hampi Bazaar where there are some great rooftop cafes and guesthouses with beautiful views. Try Evolve Back Hampi, a lovely eco-resort in Hospet.
Hampi entry submitted by Ellie from Soul Travel India.
Mysore is a great place for solo travellers in India due to its spectacular palaces, temples and famous yoga scene. Badri Yoga School is known as one of the best places in India to study and practise.
Notable sites in Mysore include Mysore Palace, Shri Chamundeshwari Temple, Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens and Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. The bustling streets of the hub of Karnataka buzz with activity until nightfall.
As always in India, it’s best to blend in and look like a local. Long skirts are preferable over pants, and lightweight tunics with medium to long sleeves are better than sleeveless tops.
How to get to Mysore: Catch a bus from Bangalore in 2.5 hours.
Where to stay in Mysore: Hotels are quite affordable in Mysore, for about $50 you can stay at the Lalitha Mahal Palace, a heritage hotel with large rooms and full amenities.
Mysore entry submitted by Kaila from Water Sky Land.
Best places for solo female travel in India – South India
South India is a popular destination with female travellers in India – for good reason. From Kerala’s beaches and backwaters to Munnar’s rolling tea plantations, it’s far less hectic than other parts of India.
Here’s where to travel solo in South India…
Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu
Undoubtedly one of the best places for solo travel in India is Pondicherry, although weirdly it feels more like a French village than India!
As an ex-French colony, you’ll find catholic churches and crepe cafes in Pondicherry, as well as the usual Hindu temples and Indian street food. It’s a strange place but undeniably attractive with quaint yellow buildings, hanging flower baskets and pretty balconies.
A solo trip to Pondicherry is a way to combine two destinations in one. Take a day trip to Auroville from Pondicherry – this alternative community is recognised by UNESCO and the Indian government. Go inside the other-worldly Matrimandir, their futuristic place of worship.
How to get to Pondicherry: Catch a bus from Chennai in 3 hours.
Where to stay in Pondicherry: I stayed at Nomad House which is clean, modern and central.
Varkala is one of the lesser-known beach destinations in India. Located in the lush, green state of Kerala, it’s quite popular due to its beaches, cliffs, backwaters, cosy cafes and easy-going nightlife.
Varkala is a great solo trip destination in India where you can relax and meet others. There’s an active yoga, meditation and Ayurveda scene so lots of travellers stay put a while. Although Varkala is not a party destination, the cliff has a bit of nightlife with some places staying open throughout the night.
Besides being a tourist hotspot, Varkala is still a sleepy fishing village and a holy pilgrimage site for Hindus. If you’re interested, you can see the religious ceremonies being practised right at the beach. In the early morning, you can see the fisherman returning with their catch of the day.
How to get to Varkala: Thiruvananthapuram Airport is 45km away by bus, train or taxi.
Where to stay in Varkala: There are lots of hotels that cater for solo female travel in India whether it’s on the busy cliff or a quieter place in town. Hippie-style Zostel is a great place to meet other travellers.
Varkala entry submitted by Ellis from Backpack Adventures
Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi is a fairly safe town with friendly locals and many cute cafes and Ayurveda centres. The main attractions in Fort Kochi are the traditional fishing nets which are mesmerising at sunset and one of the most iconic landmarks for the city.
Fort Kochi is also known for quality spices, so be sure to visit the spice market. The best beach is Cherai Beach over on Vypeen Island. Other attractions are Bishop’s House and Museum, St. Francis Church, the Dutch Palace and the beautiful Santa Cruz Cathedral.
How to get to Fort Kochi: Fly into Cochin International Airport just 25km away. Ernakulum Rail Station is also nearby.
Where to stay in Kochi: Stay around Princess Street which is within walking distance from the Chinese fishing nets, ferry stop, restaurants, cafes and Ayurveda places.
Contributed by Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers.
Alappuzha Backwaters, Kerala
Alappuzha (Alleppey) is an amazingly green city on the Arabian Sea. Cut by canals, backwaters, beaches and lagoons, Alappuzha is nicknamed ‘Venice of the East’. In 2016, the city was rated as the cleanest in India.
The Backwaters of Alappuzha is one of the best tourist attractions in Kerala. This network of canals measuring over 1,500 km is separated by scraps of land, creating a fantastic labyrinth of tropical vegetation and local life. If you have the budget, spend a night on a luxury houseboat. It’s also possible to book a small boat or canoe trip to squeeze through narrow canals.
Other tips for visiting include sampling fresh fish caught in the backwaters and served in local restaurants. It’s best to cover your shoulders and wear trousers or a skirt that covers your knees.
How to get to Alappuzha: The easiest way to reach Alappuzha is by bus from Kochi or Trivandrum. A public boat takes a picturesque route between Alappuzha and Kollam. The town has public ferries including a ferry to Kottayam.
Where to stay in Alappuzha: The best idea is to book your houseboat ahead of time so it’s ready when you arrive. You can also find budget accommodation in picturesque houses by the beach.
Alappuzha entry submitted by Agnes from The Van Escape.
Munnar is a beautiful hill station in Kerala, nestled around 5200 feet above sea level in the western ghats. Being at a higher altitude, Munnar is cool and relaxing. Although Munnar is one of the most sought after places to honeymoon in Kerala, it’s also a great place for solo female travellers in India. It’s very safe and you don’t need to dress conservatively unless you’re entering a temple.
In addition to the tea plantations and estates, which can be seen everywhere, there are plenty of gorgeous places to visit. Some of the best are Mattupetty Dam, a huge water reservoir with scenic views and Echo Point, a mystical location with alluring beauty.
Munnar has many waterfalls such as Lakkom Waterfall, Attukad Waterfalls and Cheeyappara Waterfall. You can also take a trip to Eravikulam National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site full of deer, antelopes and endangered Nilgiri Tahrs.
How to get to Munnar: The region is 125 km from Cochin International Airport and can be reached easily by road. The nearest railway station, Ernakulum, is also well-connected with all major cities like Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore. For getting around in Munnar, female travellers in India may want to take a taxi tour for convenience, although there are also local taxis and buses.
Where to stay in Munnar: For a stunning place to stay with a roof terrace surrounded by forest, Zostel Munnar has private and dorm rooms.
Munnar entry submitted by Sonakshi from Places In Pixel.
I hope you liked these destinations for solo female travel in India!
These are my trusted resources:
Getting around by air – it’s easy to get between cities by flight. I use Skyscanner and search by whole month to find the best value dates.
Buses – buses are comfy and efficient. Use 12Go to book.
Trains – these are a good option for long journeys because you have a bed rather than a seat. Use 12Go to book.
For hotels, I use Booking.com – they also have self-catering apartments. You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.
Browse tours and activities on GetYourGuide. I also check Viator and Klook in case they have a better price.
For food tours with passionate local chefs and foodies, check out EatWith.
Pack the latest copy of India Lonely Planet.
Need travel insurance? I use True Traveller (for UK & Europe residents) since it’s affordable but covers everything you’d need including various activities, valuables and pre-existing conditions. Unlike some companies, they insure you if you’re already travelling / don’t yet have your flight home booked. Get a quote.
For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing.
Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and tips!