Best Backpacking Trips In India That You Must Go For

Thinking of traveling across India and wondering what are the ‘must-do’ things? Well, here is a list of the ultimate backpacking trips in India that you can’t afford to miss.

Do you feel curious and aching to travel every time you think, hear or see that amazing Instagram feed while scrolling down?

India and its surreal beauty often does that to people and drives even the most discerning travelers to take a backpack and get on the roads.

A backpacking paradise in its own accord – India and its rugged mountains, snow-capped peaks, sprawling deserts, lush forests, the holy beacon of Ganges, and exotic beaches are sure to put you in a travel frenzy mode!

No matter whether you are an adventure-bug who’s always looking for an extra dose of adrenaline rush or calm & composed one, seeking a peaceful retreat as you travel off the beaten path – this country can never stop mesmerizing you!

If you’re the kind who packs all-weather and all-terrain gears into their backpack, then India is the place for you to tick off some great bucket list backpacking experiences.

Backpacking trips in India:

1. Gear up for a road trip from Manali to Leh

Leh ladakh

One of the most legendary road trips in India, the Manali-Leh road trip is something right out of the wild dreams of travelers!

A two-day journey through treacherous mountain passes and harsh Himalayan terrain, the 487 KM long road certainly makes up for a journey of a lifetime.

Two days of extreme outdoor conditions, immensely high motoring roads, ethereal natural beauty and awe-inspiring sceneries – the road to Leh from Manali is the perfect combo of a little quaint and lots of excitement.

One of the most scenic routes of India, the uphill journey through Rohtang Pass & Baralacha La will surely remain indented in your memories forever, and even on your Instagram feed!

Stop at the postcard-perfect villages on the way, soak in the beauty of the place, binge on some steaming ‘chai’ and Maggi and experience the best that this road trip has to offer you!

How to get there?

Catch a bus/train to Manali from Delhi and get yourself a car from Manali for the journey onward. You can rent a bike (if you are confident about your biking skills, ‘coz the roads are pretty treacherous!).


2. Explore Kerala’s quaint backwaters

backwaters in Kerala

Kerala’s backwaters can be considered as the perfect tranquil setting to reconnect with nature and yourself.

These serene stretches of lakes, canals, and lagoons lying parallel to the Arabian sea coast see a huge influx of intrepid travelers and backpackers from all over the world.

Forget about hotels on the land and hole up in a houseboat floating through these waterways for a few nights and relax in the bosom of enchanting nature.

Alappuzha, also known as the ‘Venice of the East’ is most popular for its houseboat cruises. The backwaters of Alleppey, Kuttanad, Kumarakom on the banks of Vembanad are some of the other places that are sure to lift your spirits right up to seventh heaven. Savor the taste of Beef roast and Malabari parotta, as you let the gorgeous sunset sink in your memory!

How to get there?

Hop aboard a train (Trivandrum Station) or book yourself a flight to Kerala (Cochin or Trivandrum Airport). The backwaters are just a cab ride away from these places. Pre-booking of houseboats would be suggested as Kerala’s backwaters are one of the most popular tourist spots in India.


3. Unwind your soul & practice Yoga while living in Rishikesh

Yoga while living in Rishikesh

When you think of traveling to India, perhaps yoga is one of the many things that flash on your mind! Well, why not, known as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’, this is the land where yoga originated in the ancient days.

A perfect way to connect to your soul and get it in a sink with your mind and body, yoga isn’t just a way of fitness, but also a path of healthy living. While you plan your amazing trip to India and work on your travel bucket list, make sure to keep a couple of weeks for yoga!

And what can be better if you get to live in Rishikesh, by the pristine River Ganges, and also fuel the adventure cells by trying river rafting, bungee jumping, etc.

How to get there?

Rishikesh is located in Uttarakhand in north India, and it’s just an overnight bus ride from New Delhi.


4. Go for a trek in the Himalayas

trek in the Himalayas

An amazing trek in the Indian Himalayas will surely give you some serious vacation blues, and trust me, you’ll get some major hangover from the hills!

The states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttaranchal, Sikkim are known to have some of the best Himalayan ranges for trekking.

From easy-going moderate treks like Triund or Kheerganga to extremely challenging trails Kedarkantha, Indrahar Pass – there’s a Himalayan trek for everyone!

Buckle up your trek shoes and pack in those body warmers as it gets really cold with every ascent. Treks are truly the best way to experience the raw beauty of the Himalayas. Are you ready for the adventure?

How to get there?

The states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Uttaranchal have located in the north of India, which are easily accessible from New Delhi – it’s usually an overnight bus journey to the base, from where your trek will begin.

Sikkim being in the North East is a bit far but flight can be availed out to the nearest airport of Bagdogra from Delhi or Pakyong from Kolkata.


5. Take a dip in the holy waters of the Ganges in Varanasi

Ganges in Varanasi

Feel the touch with your spiritual self and get transported back in time while walking through Varanasi’s narrow alleys and backroads.

The chaotic streets and ghats swarming with religious devotees is a place for great life lessons and also for experiencing the best of Hindu spiritualism.

The most sacred river in India, it is believed that a dip in the holy river of the Ganges can wash off your sins and rejuvenate your mind and soul.

Lose yourself in the chants & prayers in the ghats and explore the multilayered city and its ages-old history!

How to get there?

You can either choose between a flight and an overnight train to Varanasi from Delhi.


6. Go for a camel safari and explore the forts of Rajasthan

camel safari

Experience the rugged beauty of the golden sands in Rajasthan and live like a nomad (Banjara) in a desert camp.

How about that for a unique experience in India?

The home of Indian Royalty, this state boasts of extraordinary forts, majestic palaces, and Havelis, and the amazing Pink City, Jaipur – Rajasthan is truly a treat for your senses!

Visit the many colorful cultural festivals that Rajasthan is always engrossed in and get ready to fall in love with the local people and their traditions.

From the Amer Fort in Jaipur to the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur – you’ll be awestruck seeing the incredible grandeur of the places.

How to get there?

Buses and trains are the best options for traveling from Delhi to Rajasthan. You can also go for a crazy road trip from Rajasthan to Varanasi, that’ll let you tick off some amazing stops in the former, while you soak in the serenity of the latter!


7. Trek up to Dudhsagar Falls

Dudhsagar Falls

Literally translating to the ‘Ocean of Milk’, the Dudhsagar Falls trek is a fascinating experience and a must while backpacking in India.

Bordering the states of Goa and Karnataka, the Dudhsagar Falls in its full flow appears like streams of milk gushing down the hill, roaring like a clap of thunder.

Monsoons are the ideal time to enjoy this waterfall in all its glory, in the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. Take a train to Londa junction and then a bus or taxi to Kulem (Goa side) or Castle Rock (Karnataka side).

Then continue ahead on a hike towards the base of the waterfall which is about 12 KM. There’s also an alternative mud road for hiking which you can use but it is not suggested during the monsoons since it might be full of leeches!

How to get there?

Take a flight to Bangalore, Karnataka. and catch a train from Londa Junction to Kulem which is the nearest station to the falls, and then trek down to the waterfall’s base.

Or you can also catch a flight to Goa and take a cab or bus from Madgaon to Mollem and then hire a jeep from Mollem Village till the falls. Get started with your planning!


8. A boat safari through the mangrove forests of Sundarbans

forests of Sundarbans

Sundarbans safari is truly an off-the-beaten-track adventure and a must for backpackers traveling to India. Famed for its populace of man-eating Royal Bengal Tigers and for being the world’s largest mangrove forest, a safari in this mist-shrouded national park will truly be an experience of a lifetime.

A night boat ride through the river, with eyes peeled into the dense jungle, is a thrill that we wouldn’t want you to miss out on your trip to India! Soak in the beauty of rural Bengal, as you spend your days here and fill yourself with the freshness lingering in this part of the country!

How to get there?

Take a flight to Kolkata from Delhi. There are many River Cruises operating in Kolkata that can arrange all-inclusive safaris in Sundarbans.

You can also take a car/ bus to Canning from Kolkata which is just 64 km away from the Sundarban and take a boat from there.


9. Explore the ruins of Hampi

ruins of Hampi

When it comes to exploring India, you can surely not skip walking around the ruins of Hampi! The magnificent ruins amidst rocks and amazing landscapes will readily transport you back to the bygone era.

History buffs are sure to fall in love with this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which still holds on to its charm and aura.

Located on the banks of the Tungabhadra River, the entire place is dotted with ruins of temples and palaces of the Vijayanagar Empire. A panoramic look of Hampi will force you to take a pause for a moment and soak in its awesome beauty.

How to get there?

You can fly to Bangalore from where overnight trains run several times a week. You can alight at Hospet Junction and take a local bus/ cab to Hampi.


10. Party at the Hippie Paradise of India, Goa

Goan market

Goa, otherwise known as the ‘Hippie Paradise of India’ is the place where travelers go to let it loose and party hard!

A favorite amongst all kinds of travelers and backpackers from all around the world, Goa is your one-stop party hub! Goa’s beaches are also very popular for water sports and activities like scuba diving and parasailing, while the beach shacks are famous for their ‘mamma-mia’ Goan delicacies.

The flea markets are a bit on the expensive side, but who could resist some authentic Goan handicrafts and tie-and-dye products!

The best way to explore Goa is on a scooter which is easily available for rent. So bring out your beachwear and be ready to get tanned as you soak in the sun!

How to get there?

There are daily direct flights to Goa from Delhi, but you can also take a train!


11. Celebrate Holi in Vrindavan

Holi in Vrindavan

There’s nothing like going out with a group of like-minded people and drenching each other in myriad colors!

There’s a saying in Hindi, ‘Bura na mano Holi hai’ which means ‘Don’t feel offended, after all, it’s the festival of colors’! So, anything is allowed, from you attacking your friend with a fistful of color to them attacking you back with squirt guns of colored water!

The riot of colors that unfolds in Vrindavan, the childhood playground of Lord Krishna, is a sight to behold and an experience that you’d cherish for a lifetime!

Devotees from all around the world gather on the grounds of Vrindavan to celebrate Holi in all its fun. Pack your white kurta – it’s going to be an authentic Holi experience!

How to get there?

You can take a private car or cab directly to Vrindavan from Delhi. There are no direct trains or buses up to Vrindavan. So you can catch a train to Mathura from Delhi and from there you can catch a bus or cab out to Vrindavan.

Once the pandemic blues subsides, you can start planning an epic trip and tick all of that from your travel bucket list.

While I know that it would surely be difficult to cover all of the best things mentioned above, you can try and cover as much as you can!

As they say, “A lifetime isn’t enough to explore India!” – So, make the most of your journey & hope you’ll get to create everlasting memories.

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