17 best places to stay to meet people in India when travelling solo.

17 best places to stay to meet people in India when travelling solo.
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In case you haven’t noticed from my previous posts, I am a big fan of hostels. I love them. I rely on them for pretty much everything. Often, I don’t do any research before heading to a new destination, I just book a hostel that looks cool. When I get there, the guy behind the desk unfolds a map, marks out the most popular things to do, nice places to eat then I go and sit in the common room or bar and find some people to go with to check those things out. When I was ready to leave I would just ask for the bus details for the next step and the hostel would usually be able to help me out. It makes backpacking a breeze and everything a surprise! My kind of travel.

I was pretty apprehensive when I was researching India online. I mean there just didn’t seem to be any hostels like I was used to! What was I going to do? All of my travels through South America and Europe had relied heavily on hostel input to meet people and provide information, how could I get by without that?

My first step was to go out and buy a guide book! My first guide book ever. I am a firm believer that word of mouth is the best information you will ever get, but this was India, it was a big deal. I didn’t want to get stuck somewhere with no idea where to go. To be honest I was extremely glad I bought it. I recommend everyone picks up a Rough Guide or Lonely Planet for India.

Anyway, even with the guide book giving me the information that the hostel receptionist usually would, I still had the problem of not knowing how to meet other backpackers to travel with.

Well, after travelling for 3.5 months in India, I managed to stumble across a bunch of places where I met other people, and where you should easily be able to meet other people too. I decided to make a post about it to help out anyone else in the same boat as me! So here goes.

India Delhi

New Delhi – Moustache Hostel
This is the PERFECT starting point for those of you coming to India for the first time and flying in to Delhi. There are always lots of other people here who are just starting, along with a mix of people ending their trip. This is a winning combination because you can easily find other to travel with whilst getting advice from people who have already been here a couple of months. Everyone I know who starts their trip in Delhi at Moustache Hostel doesn’t seem to mind the capital so much. People who stay elsewhere, for example Paharganj, are hassled by touts the moment they arrive and often have a negative experience and end up simply hating Delhi. This hostel is located in a middle class area in the South and is a good place to find your feet when just starting your Indian adventure.

India Mumbai
Mumbai – Travellers Inn
There are not very many good budget accommodation options available in Mumbai. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find this place on my first trip here but I have heard it’s better than most. There are also not many places in Bombay with dorm rooms, this is one of the few!
India Agra Taj mahal

Agra – Travellers Rest Home

Agra is even worse. A must visit to see the magnificent Taj Mahal, but the city itself and it’s accommodation options leave much to be desired. I stayed in a private room at Travellers Rest Home because there were seemingly no dorms available anywhere in Agra. This place is recommended by the guide books and I see it as the best of a bad bunch. I have never heard of any budget travellers staying somewhere nice in Agra. There is a restaurant in the middle of the courtyard with the rooms surrounding that make a good place to strike up conversation with diners and other travellers staying there. The food is pretty good too.

 

India Jaipur

Jaipur – Zostel Hostel
One of my favourites. I met many awesome people here! Like Moustache, this is exactly what a hostel should be. Dorm beds, a kitchen, free filtered water, air con (pretty handy for the high temperatures of Rajasthan) and friendly helpful staff. Although Jaipur itself isn’t the most exciting place in India, I spend 6 days here just hanging out at Zostel with all the cool people I met there.

India pushkar

Pushkar – Milkman Guesthouse

The cheapest place I stayed in India. I payed only 80 Rupees for a dorm bed here. The dorm is pretty unimpressive actually, but it’s still a dorm which means you will meet and befriend everyone else in the dorm! There is also a restaurant with wifi where everyone hangs out, including those clever enough to take the still cheap private rooms. If you are heading to Pushkar, this will certainly be a good place to stay to meet people.

India udaipur

Udaipur – Lalghat Guest House

I love this place! Best dorm setup ever. It’s a 12 bed dorm but it’s in a huge room and there are concrete walls dividing each bed into groups of two and then each bed has it’s own curtain to go around with lockers underneath the bed. Excellent privacy for a dorm and great security too. There is also wifi! I met people here in the height of low season who I travelled on to Jaisalmer with and went with them on a camel safari.

India Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer – Dylan’s cafe and Guesthouse

Dylan’s cafe has a dorm or cheap private rooms, some with A/C if you want it! It’s recommended by the guide books which means there is usually many other travellers there. I met people here who I bumped into again and again later on in my trip.

India Joshpur

Jodhpur – Zostel Hostel

Just like the Zostel in Jaipur, Jodhpur boasts all of the same facilities. This is the second of a chain and they are looking to expand. I hear Udaipur is next. I stayed here in May 2014.

India Amritsar

Amritsar – Golden Temple – HIGHLIGHT****

The golden temple in Amritsar is a must visit for any trip to India. It is unlike anywhere else in the world. The Sikh temple and the Sikhs who run it are very inviting and welcome to everyone. So much so that you can stay and eat FOR FREE. Thats right, completely free. Amongst the thousands of Indian pilgrims who flock to the temple year round, there is a dorm set up specifically for foreign tourists. I had an excellent time staying here and met many people who I travelled further onwards with. You can easily go further into the complex from your accommodation and the free kitchen which operates every day is just a 2 minute walk. This is one of the most impressive set ups I have ever seen, hundreds of volunteers working in Unison to feed over 10,000 people per day, for free. You have to experience it to believe it.

 

India Varanasi

Varanasi – Stops Hostel

I stayed in a guest house in Varanasi and had to resort to talking to strangers on the street in order to find some people to hang out with. A friend I travelled with alter on told me about a new place which had just opened up called Stops, which has all the makings of a proper hostel. I wish I knew about it when I was there!

India Munnar Kerala

Kerala. Fort Kochi (Cochin), Kovalam, Varkala, Alleppey – Vedanta – Wake Up!

These 4 hostels are scattered in the most popular parts of Kerala. Unfortunately these were hostels I didn’t know about when I was there but that I found out about later.

India Hampi
Hampi – Goan Corner

I love this place! Surrounded by rice paddies and mountains of boulders. Hampi is my favourite place in India and I think staying at Goan Corner had a lot to do with that. There are dorms, privates or you can sleep in hammocks or on the roof! There is a huge inside/outside restaurant andchill out area which is always bustling and full of friendly travellers. You will meet loads of other people here whether you like it or not!

India Goa Anjuna

Goa – Jungle Hostel and Prison Hostel

I stayed for a week in Jungle hostel and met people there I travelled with for 3 weeks and others I have kept in touch with on facebook and seen elsewhere in India. This is the best place to stay in Goa as far as I am concerned. It’s not far from the beach and has many dorms, 50 rupee beers for sale, a kitchen with a water filter and a tip top atmosphere. I didn’t stay at Prison Hostel but it’s owned by the same people and from what I have heard from other travellers who have stayed there, fits into the same mould.

So there you have it.

Armed with this information and your guide book, you have no excuse for worrying about travelling alone or being by yourself at any time in India. This list covers many starting points and popular destinations and should have you fighting potential travel buddies off with a stick once you arrive here. I wish I knew about all of this before coming to India. Good luck with your trip and happy travels.

You can find information about all of these places on tripadvisor, hostelworld or by doing a google search. Alternatively just go to that city and tell the Tuk Tuk driver to take you there – make sure you tell them you already have a reservation, even if you don’t, or they will try to take you somewhere else in order to get commission.

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11 Responses to 17 best places to stay to meet people in India when travelling solo.

  1. Hi Troy,

    Ok, great! Thanks for the advice. In that case, I will not go down south; I agree that a month is not long enough to do all of that and I do want to enjoy myself. I have the first few days booked with someone else in Dheli not at the Moustache Hostel (just because it was booked before I had read your article), but maybe I will just head over there to meet people? Or just stay an extra night in Dheli at the hostel.

    @Phil: I don’t know how to PM people on this site, but my Trip Advisor profile is Geotor82, so you can message me there if you have a profile. I definitely would like a travel buddy. I don’t actually have FB, so that doesn’t work so well.

  2. Hi Troy,
    Thanks for the super helpful suggestions! Much appreciated! I am a mid-twenties, solo, female traveler and I am planning a trip to India for a month (unfortunately not 3 months) starting at the end of January. This will be my first time to India, so I was wondering if you had any “must see or do” suggestions for my trip. Thus far I have decided to do Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, and I would like to go to Jaisalmer to take an overnight camel trek. After that, Varanasi? Khajuraho? Goa? I don’t want to over plan my trip such that I cannot relax and take in the sites. As I am by myself, I also need to keep safety in mind, so I plan to stay on the main routes, and not travel to the more rural parts of the country (although they sound amazing!).
    As well, is it advisable to book things (guides, hostels, drivers, etc…) once there or from my home country?
    I know that these are questions which will be extensive to answer, but if you have any suggestions, I would really appreciate it!
    Thanks,
    Ellie

    • Hi Ellie,
      Thanks for your questions!
      Since you are only travelling for a month, I recommend picking a region and sticking to it. If you start in Delhi and want to visit Rajasthan (Jaipur, Jaisalmer) then stick North, Goa and anything further South will take a long time to reach. I highly recommend both Amritsar and Varanasi if you can fit them in. Don’t book anything from your home country except your initial accommodation in Delhi (I recommend Moustache Hostel) and maybe some train tickets as sometimes they can fill up.
      You can book train tickets through makemytrip.com.
      Hopefully this helps!
      Let me know if you have any more queries.
      Troy.

    • Hey Troy,

      I’m currently in Sri Lanka on the first leg of my trip but will be flying into Kerala at the start of February. On the issue of trains, because my visa lasts until May I was hoping to make the trip as open ended as possible. As such I am reluctant to book trains in advance. Is having to book in advance an unavoidable reality or are there ways around it?

      @Ellie

      I am also in my 20’s and travelling solo. PM/email me and get me on Facebook if you fancy a travelling buddy and we happen to be in the same part of the country.

      Cheers,

      Phil

      • I actually didn’t book any trains until I was in India which is fine if you are flexible and don’t mind waiting an extra day or two to get some places via train but if you know your schedule in advance it will make life a lot easier. You can also take a bus many places if the train is sold out but it’s a lot less fun!

  3. Thanks for this. Heading off to India very soon and could be there for four months or so. My biggest worry by far is that I might not be able to meet many people and end up spending extended periods of time alone. This has certainly helped put my mind at ease and I will definitely be checking a few of these places out.

      • Ok, great! Thanks for the advice, Troy! Very helpful. I will just stay in the one area and not go south. That seems a lot more relaxing.

        @Phil: I’d message you, but what’s your last name? I can’t figure out how to PM people from this site and I don’t really want to put my email up necessarily. But I’ll try to find you on FB.

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