What all things to keep in mind for a solo travel in India

‘I love to travel but have to wait for my friends to get free time which would match mine’

‘I love to travel but want to experience a solo trip but am too scared about it’

‘I love to travel and want to travel solo but don’t know where to start from and how to do it’

Sounds familiar?

Most of us want to travel, rather love travelling. But when those friends and family are not available when you are available to go then you keep postponing the dates as per their availability.

Sometimes, you just want to have the experience of ‘solo’ travelling but somehow never started off.

So what are the things that you need to know before stepping out for travelling solo?

Here are some important pointers based on my own experiences which you would find useful while travelling solo in India –

Know your place

A little bit pre-researched information about the place where you are going is always helpful. Example, the kind of weather conditions, culture, dressing sense, food, transport availability, etc.

Transport

All places in India are mostly connected by trains and bus. So after you have selected the place you want to go, see the rental options of four wheeler and two wheeler if you want to avoid public transport.

For trains it is better to book beforehand. For the bus transport check for the State run transport first as it is much faster and budget friendly.

If you are moving from one destination to another then check the connectivity. For example, when I went to Rajasthan, I rented two wheeler at Jaipur and covered all the nearby places with that.

Food

Best way to enjoy the foods and have the hygiene factor covered is by having the local authentic foods. You get the fresh fruits and vegetables and also the processed items intake would be less when you are tasting the local delicacies. And given India is majorly a vegetarian country, you would get all types of food at almost all states.

Take your own reusable bottle with a filter attached (although it’s a bit expensive). This will help you to have pure drinking water. Buying water every time if you are on a long trip would weigh down on the budget.

Clothes

India is a vast country with tropical climate. Whatever destination you travel to, better to check the weather conditions prior to that. Especially the clothes you will require at the Northern India is different from Southern India.

However, it is good to have interchangeable clothes and light multi-purpose jackets which you can mix and match and wear anytime.

Another important thing is to wear clothes which does not attract unnecessary attention (especially for women travelers). Prefer to wear clothes covering more than 70% of the body. Not all places are same but just to be on the safer side you would like to take this into consideration.

Also keep in mind, while visiting most of the religious places, wear a fully covered dress and better to cover the head.

Be a Responsible Traveler

Traveling is not just about fun. It’s also about experiences and learning. Wherever you go ensure that you respect not just the people and culture but also the place. Do NOT litter around even if you find litter lying here and there. It will not only help you have a satisfied journey but also you might inspire and encourage others to follow the same, you never know!

Hacks & Tips

Ladies, it is a good idea to fake a ring on your finger! It works most of the time. This peculiar trick keeps away unwanted men most of the time.

Keep a whistle, key, spray(any deodorant will also do) and torch handy always for safety purpose.

Keep emergency numbers handy. Local police and hospital details should always be with you wherever you are traveling to.

While India is a diverse country with a diverse culture, it is always advisable to respect and be humble and empathetic while traveling towards the locals and the fellow travelers.

If you have some other tips and experience do share it in the comments below. Would love to hear.

Happy traveling 🙂

10 Best Places in India for Solo Female Travelers – Budget Friendly

With a full time job and only few weekends to spend for myself in a year, it’s a little bit of extra work of planning for a solo trip. Although there are lots of places in India to visit solo(for everyone irrespective of men or women), here are the top most as per budget, food and traveler friendly.

Source : Mumbai

Trip Duration (each) : 2-4 days (over the weekend)

Budget : Within INR 7000

Accomodation : Through makemytrip.combooking.com (these offer some really good budget-friendly deals) and Couchsurfing(the worldwide common platform for cultural exchange with travel experiences and hospitality- the best out of all the options!).

Budget : Pocket friendly (All prices might vary from season to season and person to person. These are the ones I completed my trips within).

1. Hampi – Paradise for all backpackers

Approx trip cost – INR 2000

The land of monuments and the Tungabhadra River, Hampi is more than just scenic beauty and an ideal place for backpackers, it is an experience with best of ancient touch and the warm and mordern gestures of the locals. The ancient temples, monuments and the giant rocks and boulders of Hampi will leave you amazed. The locals there speak fluent English so language is not a problem for anyone communicating in English.

Definitely take the Coracle ride once to cross the river. It’s really fun! And it is very well within the pocket-friendly budget. Have delicious foods at Mango Tree cafe with unlimited access to wifi and great ambiance.

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Tip : Take enough cash as there is no facility of card swipe at most of the places. The only ATM is at Hospet, 10 km from Hampi.

For detailed info, check here.

2. Goa – Indian travel hotspot year round for all kinds of travelers

Approx trip cost – INR 4000

The most happening place for solo traveling. Parties, serene beauty, water sports, adventure or just chilling out – Goa offers everything and is most frequented by solo travelers. You can visit Goa at any time of the year except the Summer season(it’s too hot!) During Monsoons only the water activities are closed due to high tides, otherwise every place can be explored and it’s a scenic beauty treat to the eyes during monsoon.

Try out the local cuisines and rent a two-wheeler (rent options available almost everywhere) for an ultimate enjoyable experience.

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Tip : Take good amount of sunscreen whichever month it be. Try out all kinds of booze at cheap rates than any other state.

3. Sikkim : The abode of natural beauty

Approx trip cost – INR 7000

Known as the most disciplined state, Sikkim is the abode of natural beauty and peace. You can never get enough of its serenity. The food, shopping and people are simply amazing. Definitely visit the Monastery, Phelling, Tsangu Lake. Gorge on yummiest momos and soups!

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Tip : Take a light jacket for the night in off winter season and definitely the woolens during winter.

4. Varanasi – Essence of Indian culture

Approx trip cost – INR 4500

As the saying goes ‘Varanasi is not just a place, it’s an experience’ is very true and you can experience this once you visit here. The Ganges, the Ghats, the Ganga Aarti , the innumerous diyas at the bank of the River – India’s culture reflects in every corner of Varanasi. At least once in life you must pay a visit. In the evening take a ride in the boat along the Assi Ghats and watch and immerse in the essence of Ganga Aarti.

Tip : Take proper care of not to get trapped by the ‘pandas’ at the temples.

5. Udaipur – The City of Lakes

Approx trip cost – INR 3000

Rajasthan has always attracted people from all over the world due to its rich history, culture and architecture. One of the safest destination for women travelers. The people are very friendly and helpful. The City of Lakes – Udaipur . The vintage car museum, the City Palace, the stroll near the banks of the lakes and getting immersed in the golden hue of sunset are just some of the many things you should do in Udaipur.

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Tip : Sit by the lakes (especially Lake Pichola) by the evening to enjoy the picturesque beauty and soothing breeze and try out the German Bakery stuffs over there!

6. Jaipur – The Pink City

Approx trip cost – INR 3000

Enjoy the Forts, palaces and vintage museums of the Pink City – Jaipur with delicious traditional foods that the city has to offer. The largest physical sun dial is located here at Jantar Mantar. It’s thrilling how the astronomy and engineering was so perfect at the ancient era in India!

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Tip : If you love walking, then can explore most the city by walking only.

For detailed info check here.

7. Jodhpur – Rajasthan treasures

Approx trip cost – INR 2500

The Blue City – Jodhpur is famous for the Mehrangarh Fort, one of the biggest in India and the Golden City. Along with that the world’s largest Royal residential heritage hotel – Umaid Bhavan Palace is located here.

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Tip : Try walking up the road to the Fort through the narrow backstreet from where the view is breathtaking, especially early in the morning and late evening.

For detailed info, check here.

8. Pondicherry – Touch of French culture

Approx trip cost – INR 5000

The French Colony of India is a place which has something that most of the place has in scarcity – peace and serenity. The delectable French cuisines, the old buildings, the small clean beautiful lanes, the Aurobindo Ashram, the simple people leading their simple lives, the shops for some great shopping experience – you can enjoy all these at Pondicherry. Do spend the evening at the Ocean rocks, it’s a beautiful experience.

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Tip : Take the direct bus from Chennai if you are opting for public transport or better book a cab for more convenience.

9. Khajuraho – Ancient architecture of India

Approx trip cost – 5000

A bit surprised? Yes Khajuraho is one of the best places for female solo travelers to visit and explore. Ofcourse a little cautiousness is needed just like any other place, but once you get the idea you are good to go ahead. The temple is the biggest attraction here and two lakes are also present nearby.

Khajuraho railway station is located in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh. Along with that the Khajuraho airport is another option. By roadways, you can take buses which are available from Satna in Madhya Pradesh and Jhansi, Delhi and few other.

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Tip : While buying souvenirs at the shops outside the temple, negotiate as much as you can as they don’t give up easily.

10. Jhansi and Orchha – History of bravery and valour

Approx trip cost – 4000

In Jhansi, the Fort is the only attraction but the Orchha Palace is something not to be missed. An official guide at this place would be helpful to understand the details.

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Tip : Take a shared tempo from Jhansi to Orchha and vice versa for a distance of around 10 kms. It is cheap and convenient too.

So step out and explore and enjoy the beauties of every part of India! This list of course is going to increase as days pass by. If you know any other places which should add up to this list, please do share in the comment section. Happy traveling 🙂

Pawna Lake – Camping in the lap of Nature

It is always a necessity more than desire to take a break from the daily routine and spend some time in the lap of Nature, far away from all the chaos of City life. It so happened that I got to know about this place from a friend and immediately decided to land up in that valley surrounded by Western Ghats all around. We called up the person at the Pawna Camping Site for the booking approx 3 days before. The Lake is located beside the Lohagadh Fort and the Tikona Fort, surrounded by lush greenery and fresh air to breathe.

The journey from Mumbai to Lonavla was a real hectic and adventurous , although it should have not been the case only if we could have taken up a direct bus to Lonavla or cab to Pawna.

One friend was from Navi Mumbai, another one Mumbai and another from Thane. So we decided to meet at Panvel.

Note – If you are travelling by bus , then better to take Shivneri directly from Thane or Dadar. It will reach destination much faster compared to other buses.

Unfortunately we took a red-colour passenger bus from Panvel bus depot which reached Lonavla after 3 hours! (By that time we could have reached Pune. Phew! )

From Lonavala, the Pawna Lake is approx 12 kms. If you are taking your own vehicle you can directly take it near to the lake. However if you are travelling by public transport you either have to hire a rickshaw or a cab from Lonavla to Pawna Lake. The same rickshaw or cab will bring you back to Lonavla bus depot the next day morning. And yes, you have to mention that to the driver obviously 😛

The timing of the Campsite is from evening 4 pm to next day 10-11 am.

After reaching Lonavla around 3:30 PM, we hired a cab from there to Pawna Lake. It took Rs. 1000 for the to and fro journey. There is no as such specific road or markings to show the way to the Lake. We somehow managed to reach there after taking directions from quite a few locals. Finally got the view of the Lake. Reached and parked the cab the end point of land. There were 2 boats to take us to the camping site.

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A view of the Pawna Lake from the Road

The Camp site is an island located at the center of the lake surrounded by water all around. Only mode of transportation from there are the boats.

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The end of Land near the Lake
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The boats- only mode of transportation to the Camp Site

We stepped onto the boat and reached the Camp site.

I must mention here, the calmness, the serenity , the rhythmic sounds of the roar in the water and the beautiful bird chirps took away all the tiredness. It was so refreshing and so peaceful.

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The tents and Bonfire Set up

The tents and bonfire was already set up before our arrival.

We kept the bags and started to explore that place. It was greenery and water everywhere. There are Resorts on the other side of the land which was visible from the site. Another side the Tikona and Lohagarh Forts stood majestically.

It was simply beautiful!

Evening time – they serve the snacks which included unlimited tea and pakodas. After the sun down, it was time for bbq preparation. For veg there was paneer and all vegetables. For non-veg, it’s chicken bbq.

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Onion Pakodas – evening snack
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BBQ

If anyone wants anything extra to be prepared or arranged like cold drinks or extra snacks, those need to be informed prior, since the location itself makes it a bit difficult to arrange things on time.

There were quite a number of groups who brought music players and games. As the bonfire was lit up, bbq served and music reverberated in the starry night, all started dancing and singing to the beat.

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Bonfire!

The cool breeze, the beautiful night went on and slowly the music turned from beat to soothing and romantic songs. The Sky was completely covered with the starry blanket.

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The Moon with its Companion Star 🙂
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Another Moon Shot with my Camera like all other Places 🙂

Dinner was really delicious served by them and there was a variety of options.

Next morning it was beautiful all around. The general time to leave the camp site is 10:30 to 11:00 AM but since there were only 2 boats to ferry the people to the other side of the lake, it was around 12:00 PM for us to leave.

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Early in the morning with the Sun behind the Clouds
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The Return Journey!

Finally, the-one-night-camping at Pawna was over and enjoyed thoroughly by us. Would like to visit that place again sometime 🙂