The Ultimate List of the Best Backpacker Hostels in India

The Best Backpacker Hostels in India

When I first arrived in India in late 2012 there were no backpacker hostels in India, there were plenty of cheap basic guesthouses and hotels but it was hard to meet other travellers or make friends which meant that backpacking India solo could get a bit lonely.

At Wagah Border, near Amritsar

Now backpacker hostels in India are booming which is great because now you can travel around India and find fun, modern, sociable and affordable backpacker hostels in most of the major cities and tourist destinations in India.

New backpacker hostels seem to be opening every week in India and as most of them are only a year or 2 old so it can be hard to decide which one to pick.

To make it easy here’s my tips for the best backpacker hostels in India which I have put together after backpacking around India, pretty much full time (and now living in Goa) for more than 3 years. 

Pin this and help another backpacker 🙂

Best Backpacker Hostel Chains in India

It’s good to be aware that backpacker hostels in India are a relatively new concept, there are some great smaller hostels but generally if you are looking for an experience like a backpacker hostel you would find in Europe, US or Australia it’s probably better to stick to the well known backpacker hostel chains.

Dorm room at Stops Hostel in Delhi

The biggest and first backpacker hostel chain in India was Zostel and they have been quickly expanding to include many hostels all over India.

Stops is a small, stylish chain that has many fun and cultural activities and affordable walking tours. I also like Moustache (4 hostels in North India) and Backpacker Panda also have an expanding chain of hostels in India.

In South India check out The Hostel Crowd they have some great hostels in Goa and in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu check out Vedanta Wake Up. ( Kerala is a great place to start an India trip btw see here for why

India is a great place to travel on a budget. You could get by backpacking India comfortably on 1,500 Rupees a day (thats about £20 or $25 a day) See this post for more on the average daily budget for India.  

Hostel common rooms are great places to meet other backpackers. This is the common room at Zostel McLeod Ganj.

Be aware that unlike the rest of the world where a dorm bed in a backpacker hostel is the cheapest accommodation option. Expect to pay from 300 – 600 Rupees for a dorm bed in a hostel, depending on location and season.

If you are 2 or more people backpacking together then the cost of sharing a private room in a budget guesthouse (average 500 Rupees a day) is actually cheaper than 2 dorm beds in a hostel because of the popularity of this new concept. Most hostels also have private rooms too but they are much more expensive than dorms or than a room in a budget hotel or guesthouse. 

However, I still think it’s worth it to stay in a hostel, especially if you are traveling solo, want to meet people and enjoy a fun social atmosphere where you can make friends with other backpackers. You also often get better facilities in backpacker hostels than in basic guesthouses (for example most won’t have working wifi) and many hostels put on social activities and cultural experiences like walking tours but if you are on a really tight budget and not bothered about socializing then a cheap guesthouse is a cheaper option.

See here for more typical costs and budget tips for backpacking India and check out this post from Hippie in Heels with tips for making friends while traveling India. 

Dorm room in Stops Hostel in Jodhpur

The Best Backpacker Hostels in India

After years of traveling around India here are my recommendations of the best backpacker hostels in India for all off the popular destinations to make it easy for you to plan your India backpacking trip. I’ve also included a couple of guest houses that are awesome, cheap and sociable places to stay. 

I’ve tried to put them in an order that makes sense if you are backpacking around India. If you want more tips for the best route to take and places to visit check out my recommended route for backpacking around India here – www.global-gallivanting.com/the-perfect-india-itinerary/

Here’s a sneak peak of the route I recommend for backpacking India. Read the full post here – www.global-gallivanting.com/the-perfect-india-itinerary/

Either I’ve stayed at these hostels, I know friends who’ve stayed there or other travel bloggers have recommended them.  I haven’t put prices in because they change depending on season but I’ve included links to Booking.com where you can check the prices, see photos, find more information and read real reviews and then book if you want to!

If you’ve stayed at an awesome hostel or sociable guesthouse that’s not on the list, leave a comment at the end and I’ll check it out and maybe add in it!

If you find this post helpful and want to book a hostel I’ve included links to Booking.com  where you pay no extra but I get a small commission which helps me to keep the site running so thank you so much! 🙂

Jama Masjid in Delhi

Delhi

Delhi, the chaotic, crowded but captivating capital city of India, is packed with history, sights, food, bazaars and street life. See here for the top things to do in Delhi.

It’s an exciting, if sometimes overwhelming place to visit. Many start their Indian adventure in Delhi (although I recommend starting in the South somewhere easier like Goa or Kerala – see more tips for your first time traveling India ) but all backpackers in India will end up in Delhi at some point.

The most popular places for backpackers to stay is near New Delhi railway station is Paharganj (Delhi’s grittier sort of equivalent of Bangkok’s Khao Sand Road) where there is lots of budget accommodation and traveller orientated shops and restaurants. But recently, many new backpacker hostels have opened up in the posher, less chaotic areas of South Delhi. Read more here about why backpackers are starting to prefer South Delhi 

Rickshaws in Paharganj, Delhi at sunset

The Best Backpacker Hostels in Delhi:

Stops Hostel, Chandi Chowk

Stops Hostel in Delhi is centrally located near the bustling Chandi Chowk which is a great area for shopping and makes a good base close to Paharganj and all the sights in Old Delhi. Stops has a stylish, homely and sociable atmosphere with a common kitchen, free evening tea and airy balconies. There are also lots of activities, games and a library with lots of good reading material and documentaries on India. The hostel also runs affordable and interesting walking tours, theres a market walk, food walk, tuk tuk tour and even a ghost walk!  Click here to check up to date prices and to book

The Madpacker’s Hostel, Panchsheel Park

Madpacker’s Hostel has a really convenient location in South Delhi. The hostel is complete with all the essentials such as common areas, dorm rooms (mixed and women only), a private bedroom, shared bathrooms, and a rooftop terrace and is one of the most decent (and clean) spaces you can stay in town. This place is insanely packed with amazing energy from the staff to the hostel guests, which is why we got along really well on our first day. Whether it’s increasing your cultural knowledge with some Bollywood movie nights at the living room space, guided walking tours in case you have nothing to do, daily breakfast (with chai tea!) and even food delivery assistance for those late night cravings, this hostel has it all. If you’re coming to India the first time, I would definitely recommend the Madpackers Hostel. Click here to see more info and to book.

Madpacker’s was recommended by Shar Aguilar from advenshar.com 

The rooftop of Madpackers hostel in Delhi

Backpacker Panda, Paharganj

Most accommodation in Pahraganj is guesthouses but if you want to stay in a hostel close to all the action in bustling Paharganj check out Backpacker Panda, a bright, clean, comfortable hostel with dorms and private rooms. Dorm beds have individual reading lights, power sockets and lockers underneath and theres also a large roof terrace to chill out and socialize on, good wifi, a shared kitchen and helpful staff.  It’s located at the other, slightly quieter, end of Pahraganj, close to Ramkrishna Marg Metro Station, which is much easier, smaller and less hassle than the New Delhi Railway Station Metro Station anyway. Click here to check up to date prices and to book

Read More:

The best backpacker hostels in Delhi

Best places to visit in Delhi

How to avoid the scams and survive your first time visiting Delhi.  

The holy Ganges river in Varanasi

Varanasi

Varanasi is the holiest place in India and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Taking a sunrise boat ride down the holy river Ganges, strolling along the ghats and witnessing a Hindu cremation by the river are things you shouldn’t miss experiencing in India if you are interested in spirituality.

The Best Backpacker Hostels in Varanasi

Stops Hostel, Varanasi

Stops Hostel is located just 1km from Assi Ghat which means its close to the river but a bit more peaceful compared to some of the guesthouses near the main and crowed Dashashwamedh Ghat. Stops is a safe, sociable budget option with air conditioned dorms and private rooms and also tents. There is a shared kitchen, lounge room with TV and colourful, sociable communal areas great for meeting other travellers. They also offer free breakfast, morning yoga sessions, afternoon massage, cooking sessions and organise interesting evening activities and affordable walking tours including a ghats tour, temple tour, market tour and a food tour. Click here to check prices and book.

Marigold P Guesthouse

Marigold P Guesthouse is one of the nicest places to stay in Varanasi. It is located in the Old City, near the Dashashwamedh ghat, and it also has access to its own ghat. It is a modest place, with plain rooms that all have private bathrooms with hot showers and a vent (no air conditioners) yet, the exposition of the rooms is such that they never get too hot. The reception area is where the guests can hang out and meet other travelers and there is a beautiful rooftop terrace with incredible views of the Ganges where the owner practices yoga every morning – and he welcomes his guests to join. What makes Marigold P a special place is the incredibly caring, friendly and sweet owner, Sonu. He’s one of the most genuine persons one could hope for. Click here for more details and to book.

Recommended by Claudia Tavani from www.myadventuresacrosstheworld.com 

Read More:

My Varansi Travel Guide

Taking a boat ride at sunrise on the holy Ganges river

Taj Mahal, Agra

Agra

Only about 3 hours from Delhi, Agra is most famous as the home of the Taj Mahal making it an essential stop on any backpacking India trip. Some choose to visit on a day trip from Delhi but there’s also the Agra Fort, nearby ruined city of Fatephur Sikri and many other things to see in Agra that make it worth staying for a day or two.

The Best Backpacker Hostels in Agra

Moustache Hostel, Agra

The Moustache Hostel is located in a really cool, colourful building that looks like a palace and has a nice rooftop area, a restaurant and plenty of colourful communal areas perfect for socialising with other backpackers. They have mixed dorms, female only dorms and private double rooms. All rooms are clean and comfy and the staff are helpful and there are activities most days. The hostel is about 15 mins walk to the Taj Mahal. Click here for more info and to book.

Zostel Hostel, Agra

Zostel Hostel, Agra

Zostel Agra  is a clean, cheerful hostel in the heart of the Taj Ganj area with air-conditioned private rooms and 4-bed dorms. Some rooms have a private balcony with views of the city or the hostel’s gardens. There is a common room for meeting other guests to tour around the city with. There’s also a pretty good restaurant. Click here for prices and to book.

Read More:

Does the Taj Mahal live up to the hype as the most beautiful building in the world

Things to do in Agra, other than the Taj Mahal

The Hawa Mahal, in the Pink City of Jaipur

Jaipur

Jaipur is also known as the ‘Pink City’ and, along with Delhi and Agra, is part of the Golden Triangle.  Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan, India’s most colourful and flamboyant region that is home to many majestic forts and elaborate palaces. There’s loads to see in Jaipur but don’t miss the impressive Amber Fort, the honeycombed Hawa Mahal and the extravagant City Palace.

The Best Backpacker Hostels in Jaipur

Zostel, Jaipur

The Jaipur Zostel branch of India’s most popular chain of hostels offers all the basic amenities you would expect like clean and comfy beds, a kitchen at your disposal, close proximity to the attractions, super fast WiFi, laundry services, well-maintained property, secured lockers and much more! You can’t possibly get a cheaper accommodation option with such amenities in Jaipur. But personally, interacting with the travel community was the best part of staying here. At Zostel Jaipur, I shared my experiences and listened to much more from fellow travelers. We conversed about endless topics while hanging out on the rooftop under the starry sky and complete strangers ended up as friends. Click here for more info and booking. 

Recommended by Umang Trivedi from www.travelmax.in

Common room at Zostel Jaipur

Roadhouse Hostel, Jaipur

After staying at the popular Roadhouse Hostel in Anjuna, Goa I had high hopes for their new branch in Jaipur and wasn’t disappointed. Roadhouse Hostel, Jaipur is a really colourful and fun hostel located close to the train station and the main sights in Jaipur are walkable and the hostel also offers bike hire.

The rooms (mixed and female only dorms and private rooms) and bathrooms are well designed and really clean because they are cleaned daily which isn’t so common in budget accommodation in India. There are good communal areas for socialising, a nice rooftop with views over the city, a shared kitchen and break. The staff are fun, friendly and helpful and theres also a PS4 and games room with a pool table and table football. The AC and wifi also worked well. Click here for prices and to book.

Views over the Blue City of Jodhpur

Jodhpur

Jodhpur, also known as ‘The Blue City’ is worth a quick stop to explore the mighty Mehrangarh fort, soak up the views over the city and meander through the atmospheric old city of winding medieval streets of blue hued buildings and bazaars. blue hued streets of the old town and bazaar.

Stops Hostel, Jodphur

Stops is the best hostel in Jodhpur. Not only does this stylish, colourful and beautifully decorated  hostel have loads of great facilities like free unlimited breakfast, restaurant, wifi, library, nice common areas, terrace, games room, cinema room and free bike hire but they also run really affordable and interesting walking tours of the city. Both the dorms and private rooms have AC and the hostel is located within easy reach of the main attractions of Jodhpur. Click here for more info and bookings.

Pushkar Lake

Pushkar

The bewitching holy town of Pushkar is a charming, small town based around a holy lake. Watch Hindu pilgrims at the ghats and the sunset over the lake, explore the many temples or just shop and relax.  If you come in October/November try to time your visit to see the amazing spectacle of the Pushkar camel fair.

The Best Backpacker Hostels in Pushkar

Zostel, Pushkar

The Pushkar Zostel is the only city hostel in India I know of that has an outdoor swimming pool! There is also a rooftop common area, a restaurant and spacious, colourful common areas inside. The rooms are all AC, there are mixed and female only dorms as well as private rooms. The hostel is about 15 mins walk from the lakeside and the main area of Pushkar. Click here to check it out and to book.

MadPackers, Pushkar

Madpackers is Pushkar’s newest and best hostel!  It was recently built as the first offshoot of the wildly popular Madpackers in New Delhi and is easy to find near the Pushkar bus station.  The interior is intricately painted like a Mughal fort with comfy beds and the best rooftop I’ve ever chilled out on. You get a free breakfast, can do yoga on the roof or take a short walk into Pushkar to explore the desert city.  Be sure to head to Pushkar’s lake for a beautiful sunset, if you’re lucky locals and visitors will serenade you with traditional instruments all evening! Click here for prices and to book.

Recommended by Mike Still from www.LiveTravelTeach.com 

Inside Madpackers Hostel in Pushkar

Pappi Chulo, Pushkar

Pappi Chulo’s started in Goa and recently expanded to Pushkar. Pappi Chulo, Pushkar offers clean dormitories and private huts decorated with murals, all surrounded by a beautiful garden. You can try delicious food and juices right from the restaurant, enjoy yoga classes, have a chat with the friendly staff, or join a BBQ night. The atmosphere is laid back, making this the perfect place to relax and make new friends. It’s not right in the center of Pushkar, but the town is quite small, so it will take you less than five minutes to get to the main lake. Click here for more info and to book.

Recommended by Miguel from www.travelsauro.com 

Lake Pichola and Udaipur

Udaipur

Udaipur is a relaxing, charming and romantic city of shimmering lakes and atmospheric palaces surrounded by the desert and Aravali hills. Make the effort to get up early and see the sunrise over Lake Pichola and take a boat ride out on the water.

The Journey, Udaipur

The Journey is a clean and bright hostel with views over the beautiful Pichola Lake and a great central location. There are standard fan dorms and delux AC dorms as well as private rooms. The dorm beds have cool curtains across them which make the feel more private and each bed also has it’s own reading light, power outlet and USB outlet. Theres also free chai, a roof terrace and café where you can sit out and soak up the views over the lake. The staff are really helpful too and organise tours and fun activities most days. Click here for more info and to book.

View of Jaisalmer town and fort

Jaislamer

Jaisalmer is known as ‘the Golden City’ because of the way the still inhabited, magical fort seems to rise out of the desert. Inside the fort’s twisting lanes lie historic havelis, a royal palace, bazaars and lots of touristy businesses but its still an enchanting sight.

Taking a camel safari and camping out in the Thar desert is a popular experience that can be arranged from Jaisalmer.

Moustache, Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer’s Moustache Hostel is located right next to the historic Jaisalmer fort housed inside a beautiful heritage Haveli with original stonework and a central courtyard but with all modern amenities. Some of the superior private rooms are especially grand so worth splashing out if you can. The dorm rooms are also nice but bunk beds kind of lack the romance of a historic desert fort. There is also wifi, a restaurant and a sun terrace to relax on. They also arrange walking tours, yoga classes and desert safaris. Click here for more details and to book.

Private rooms at the palace like Moustache Hostel in Jaisalmer

Shiva Guest House, Jaisalmer

 I’ve accidentally stumbled upon Shiva Guest House in Jaisalmer and this place seems to be so trendy among backpackers. Meeting people is one of the challenges of the short travels in India so this was more of an exception. They offer a big clean room for 2 people with a private bathroom with hot water and working Wifi for 300 INR/night (cheap factor check). They have a terrace where you can meet and socialize with fellow travelers (cool crowd check). Location is great as it is a walking distance to many points of interest in the city. Above all – the owner is friendly and helpful. It’s not a fancy spot, but it has everything you need for a comfortable stay. For me, there are five factors of a great stay: price, location, interesting people, cleanliness and hot water (that’s so important during Indian winters). Shiva Guest House is one of the top backpacker places I’ve stayed in India considering the five factors mentioned above and it is definitely a great value for money. Click here for more details and to book.

Recommended by Natalia Shipkova from mytriphack 

Portuguese churches in Diu, Gujarat. Photo Credit: Alex from www.lostwithpurpose.com

Diu, Gujarat

Goa gets all the attention for Portuguese heritage and cheap alcohol in India, but the colourful island of Diu off the coast of Gujarat state is also filled with beautiful Portuguese architecture, and the alcohol is just as tax-free!

Heranca Goesa – Diu,

If you make it out to Diu, Heranca Goesa is the place to stay. It’s a bright guesthouse run by a family of Portuguese descent, and its unbeatable prices (700 Rs for a double with private toilet) and spotlessly clean amenities attract backpackers of all ages. Here, you’re more likely to run into backpackers who have been around the figurative Indian block a few times, rather than crazed first-timers rushing to hit every top sight within India’s borders. Sit back, grab a cheap beer, and lose yourself in the slow pace of life in Diu. This place was even mentioned here in the Guardian. I don’t think you can book online but  click here for more info and to see the reviews

Recommended by Alex at www.lostwithpurpose.com

View of Mumbai’s iconic Gateway of India

Mumbai

Mumbai, or Bombay, is India’s answer to Hollywood, a buzzing, ambitious city of dreams and beautiful crumbling colonial architecture.  This is my favourite metropolis in India but its also pretty expensive to stay here and there still aren’t many backpacker hostels in Mumbai. The best area is to stay for sightseeing is around Fort and Colaba in the South of the city but also check out trendy Bandra.

The Best Backpacker Hostels in Mumbai

Backpacker Panda Appetite, Andheri

Backpacker Panda is Mumbai’s best hostel is located in the suburb of Andheri East in Mumbai, its one of the cooler suburbs and not far from the airport. There are clean and bright AC dorms and private rooms. There’s also colourful and sociable common areas including a lounge, a rooftop, on-site snack bar, shared kitchen and games room. It’s a bit far from the main sights but it’s only 5 mins walk to the train station to get down to South Mumbai to see the more historic parts of Bombay. Taking one of the local Mumbai commuter trains is always an experience but its best to avoid rush hour as the trains are so crowded they call it ‘super dense crushload’. It’s also on the new Mumbai metro line Click here for prices and to book.

Travellers Inn, Fort

The Travellers Inn is located in Fort really close to Chhatrapti Shivaji Train Station. This has been popular, clean budget option for many years. They have private rooms and some dorm beds but it doesn’t have the social atmosphere or communal areas that a backpacker hostel has but it’s a good bet for a clean, affordable and centrally located stay in Bombay. Click here for more details and to book.

Read More: 21 Things to do in Mumbai

My Flashpackers Guide to Mumbai

Palolem Beach in Goa

Goa

The beautiful beaches, colourful markets, all night trance parties and unique fusion of Indian and Portuguese cultures and cuisines makes it hard to leave Goa.

Each beach in Goa has a different vibe and there are so many hostels in Goa I’m just listing a few of the best here but I wrote a whole post about the best backpacker hostels in Goa and the different areas of Goa you should check out.

The Best Backpacker Hostels in Goa

Pappi Chulos in Vagator is located on the cliffs within walking distance to Little Vagator Beach, the famous restaurant Thalassa and famous party places like 9 Bar and Hilltop.  Pappi Chulos has become quite a lively, party hostel and has a nice, sociable garden area with a bar which means it is easy to make friends with other travellers. The hostel has comfy dorms and funky communal areas including a living room, kitchen area and the funky pictures and colourful murals on the walls give the place a cool vibe. Click here to book

Pappi Chulos Hostel in Vagator, Goa

Prison Hostel in Anjuna is one the best party hostels in Goa and yes it really does look like a prison with a basic, minimalist style and cell bars on the windows. There’s also a bar made out of an old bus in the front yard. The location is close to the flea market, the beach and the party places and they often put on shuttle buses to the party. Click here to book

Palolem is perfect for those who aren’t so bothered about partying and just want to relax on Goa most picturesque beach. Summer by The Hostel Crowd has a hostel here, it’s not on the beach but is really close and has nice paddy field views and clean dorms.

Panjim (Panaji) Goa’s Portuguese influenced capital makes a good base for exploring Goa away from the touristy beaches and seeing the UNESCO listed churches of Old Goa. Stay at the Old Quarter Hostel. As the name suggests this colourful hostel is  situated in Fontainhas, the old Latin quarter of Panjim and has a cute coffee shop. Click here for more details.

Read More:

Best Backpacker Hostels in Goa

Backpackers Guide to Goa

10 Best clubs and parties in Goa

The best beaches in Goa – how to find the best area to stay for you.

15 Alternative things to do in Goa – beyond beaches and parties

Why I love Goa. 

Gokarna

Gokarna

The beaches of the temple town of Gokarna, a few hours South of Goa in neighbouring Karnataka, are a quieter alternative to Goa.

Zostel, Gokarna

Zostel Gokarna is located on a hilltop a few kilometres away from the small temple town of Gokarna. The area is beautiful and the hostel makes the best of the scenery, the view down to the beach is absolutely stunning! Besides the views, Zostel Gokarna offers a relaxing social atmosphere and plenty of hiking opportunities around. The accommodation, in sea-facing dormitories and private huts, is not too fancy, but it offers a great chance to relax outside the big cities and crowds of India. Click here for more details and to book.

Recommended by Arimo from http://www.arimotravels.com 

Temples and boulders at Hampi

Hampi

The beautiful, Flintstones like, boulder strewn scenery, temples and ruins of the once great Vijayanagara Empire make Hampi one of the most enchanting places in India.

The Best Guesthouses in Hampi

Hampi is really popular with backpackers but there aren’t any hostels yet. There are cheap guesthouses in Hampi bazaar – one of the best is Gopi Guest House but be aware that no meat or alcohol are served on this side of the river near the temples. On the other side of the river are cute, rustic huts with views over the paddy fields and a relaxed, backpacker scene.

Cute huts with paddy field views in Hampi

White Elephant Guesthouse, Hampi

When you’re in a place as naturally beautiful as Hampi, it’s all about location! Though it’s temptingly easy to pick a place in the backpacker strips on either side of the river, White Elephant Guesthouse is the way to go. It’s across the river, a 10-minute drive from the backpacker area, smack in the middle of quintessential Hampi landscapes of lush rice paddies and boulder-clad hills. It’s the perfect place to rest your head if you’re looking to bond with nature and meet backpackers more interested in chilling than raging all night.

If you’re still worried about meeting people outside of town, never fear—White Elephant’s restaurant is quite popular, so there’s a constant stream of people coming by for lunch and dinner. Beyond that, the Nepali workers that help run the place are super chill. They’re all too happy to show you cool spots to swim or watch the sunset, a must when visiting Hampi! Click here for more details.

Recommended by Alex from www.lostwithpurpose.com

Hema Guest House

This place is in a good location on the other side of the river close to the crossing. Hema Guest House has  individual huts and rows of cottages with attached bathrooms and outside seating areas and hammocks to chill on outside. The laid back river view restaurant is a good place to hang out and theres often live music at night. Click here for more details and booking.

Bangalore

Bangalore

Not many backpackers linger long in the busy IT city of Bangalore (Bengaluru) India’s silicon city. But it makes a good transport hub and you can indulge in modern India, Western food, malls and nightlife.

Accommodation in Bangalore can be quite expensive but Social Rehab is a new, smart hostel located in the cool Indiranagar district. There’s plush, spacious and colourful lounge and common areas and the dorm beds have curtains for added privacy. Click here for more details and booking.

Read More: 10 Things to do in Bangalore

The opulent and extravagant Mysore Palace

Mysore

Famous for it’s extravagant palace and for being the home of Ashtanga Yoga, Mysore (Mysuru) is one of South India’s most popular and flamboyant destinations.

Sonder Hostel was the first hostel in Mysore and still the best. It’s located in a quiet, upmarket residential area but still within easy reach of the Palace, other attractions and yoga schools. The owners are great, there’s common areas for socialising and a delicious traditional Indian breakfast is served each morning. Click here for more info and to book.

Read More: A Flashpacker’s Guide to Mysore

Houseboats on the Kerala backwaters

Kerala

Known as ‘Gods own Country’ lush tropical Kerala is one of the most laidback and beautiful areas of India. Explore historic, multicultural Fort Cochin (Kochi) spice plantations, wildlife sanctuaries, gorgeous beaches and cruise the backwaters in a houseboat.

The Best Backpacker Hostels in Kerala

There are many backpacker hostels in Kerala, especially in Fort Cochin. I’ve written a whole post on the best backpacker hostels in Kerala and the best places in Kerala to visit so I’m keeping it brief here.

Fort Cochin is one of the most popular destinations and makes a good base from which to explore other parts of Kerala from as the backwaters, hill station of Munnar and beaches are not far away.

The famous Chinese fishing nets at sunset in Fort Cochin

The Happy Camper Hostel is a cute boutique backpacker hostel with bright comfy rooms (dorms and privates in a building across the street) friendly staff and a nice café. Happy Camper is located in close walking distance to the historic heart of Fort Cochin. Click here to book.

The Vedanta Wake Up Hostel in Cochin is located closed to the famous Chinese fishing nets and is part of the Vedanta Wake Up chain of that now have 10 backpacker hostels in Kerala. This hostel has sociable common areas, loads of facilities and free activities. They offer sightseeing and accommodation packages to make your trip easier.

Read More:

12 of the Best Backpacker Hostels in Kerala

A Backpacker’s Guide to Fort Cochin

A Backpacker’s Guide to Kerala

Why Kerala is the Perfect Introduction to India.

Houseboats on the Kerala Backwaters

Alleppey (Alappuzha)

Alleppey is the jumping off point for cruising the famous Kerala backwaters.

Nomads Hostel, Vembanad Lake, Alleppey

Nomads Hostel is not your typical backpacker`s hostel, it’s stylish, clean, reasonably priced, offers good food and has the perfect host. The hostel is situated in Vembanad Lake, Alleppey which is known as the ‘Venice of East’. You can reach the hostel via water transport and once there you will be transported to a different world, cut off from the city lights. Nomads Hostel is the perfect place to sit back and relax, read a book, try your hands at kayaking, write your next blog or just enjoy the sumptuous food. They have spacious rooms, free WIFI, separate girls only dorms and free breakfast. Divya Shree, the host, also promotes volunteering work and runs some cool offers for travelers to avail discounts. Click here for more info and to book.

Recommended by Suman Doogar from www.nomadicshoes.com 

Read More: How to Cruise the Kerala Backwaters on a Budget

Chennai High Court, Tamil Nadu

Chennai (Madras)

Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai is a sprawling, busy city with some interesting colonial architecture and history. It’s not packed with big sights like Delhi but is less hassle, the Tamils are friendly and it’s a good gateway to South India from South East Asia.

There are not many backpacker hostels in Chennai but the best one is Zostel. This hostel has a spacious and homely feel (it is located in an old house) with large, colourful common areas, a rooftop chill out areas and spacuos dorms and private rooms. The wifi is good too, you can use the kitchen and the staff make you feel at home. The hostel is located near the US Embassy not super close to the beach and center of Chennai but not too far.  Click here for more details and to book.

Read More: 13 places to visit in Tamil Nadu.

Golden Temple in Amritsar

Amritsar

Amritsar is the home of the Golden Temple, the holiest place for the Sikhs. It’s one of the most beautiful and serene sights I’ve seen in my life. You can also visit the interesting showdown that happens between India and Pakistan at the Wagah Border each evening.

Jugaadus Eco Hostel, Amritsar 

The best hostel in Amritsar is Jugaadus Eco Hostel. Theres a nice chilled out common area and a rooftop, the staff are really fun and friendly. I felt at home the moment I walked in the door and went straight onto a trip to the border ceremony. The dorms and private rooms are comfy and spacious, there is also a kitchen and they organise walking tours, food tours and village visits. The location is in a quiet street with easy walking distance to the Golden Temple. Click here to check prices and to book.

Read More: Why Amritsar’s Golden Temple is better than the Taj Mahal (in photos)  

Tibetan monastery in McLeod Ganj

Dharamshala/ McLeod Ganj

Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj is the home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile. McLeod Ganj, Bhagsu and Dharamkot are much more interesting places to stay than actual Dharamasala. Here you can visit the Tibetan monasteries, volunteer with monks and refugees, trek into the Himalayas, practise yoga and learn about Buddhism and meditation.

HosteLaVie, Bhagsu

HosteLaVie is a bright and colourful hostel is located in Bhagsu, near McLeod Ganj but actually in the more peaceful hippie village of Bhagsu. There’s nice common areas with large windows that make the most of the amazing views and plenty of games and a large terrace with great views over the mountains. There’s only dorms, mixed or female only but each bed has its own light and power socket. There’s also free breakfast and yoga. Click here for more info and bookings.

Read More: Why Dharamkot is the best place to ‘find yourself’ in India

Paragliding at sunset in Bir Billing.

Bir Billing

Bir Billing is a small off beat gem that makes a perfect stop between Dharamshala and Manali/Parvati Valley. It has some lovely Tibetan monasteries and it’s the 2nd best place in the world to paraglide!

Zostel Bir Billing

The only hostel in Bir is Zostel. It’s located in a peaceful spot about 10 minutes from the main (Tibetan) part of town (so no need for a permit) There are dorms, private rooms and some tents and have a handy onsite café that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The highlight of Zostel Bir is the rooftop hut with its colourful prayer flags and views over the countryside. The staff are great and can organise paragliding, sightseeing and other activities. The owner even took me around in his car to see the Tibetan monasteries. Click here to book.

Read More: My Guide to Bir Billing – an offbeat gem in the Indian Himalayas

Mountain views at Manali

Manali

Manali is one of the most popular places to visit in the Indian Himalayas for the gorgeous mountain views, trekking and outdoor activities. It’s become quite commercial and the backpacker hub is now in Old Manali and Vashisht. 

Nomad’s Den Hostel

I recently stayed in Nomad’s Den Hostel near the Hadimba Temple. It is located a bit far from the crowded Mall Road yet not too hard to find or reach. At a slight elevation, it overlooks the Manali town and the surrounding forests. Due to the sheer location, you don’t get to see the usual sights of the town but can enjoy the apple orchards, snowy peaks, and a rainbow or two if you are lucky. There is free Wi-Fi, TV Room, and a gym at the rooftop. The food is good too and yet it is probably the least expensive option in town. Click here for more info and to book.

Recommended by Jitaditya Narzary from http://travellingslacker.com 

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Have you stayed in an awesome backpacker hostel or fun and sociable guest house in India? Leave your favourite place to stay in the comments below and maybe it will get added in?