Traveling solo is gaining popularity and having a positive impact on the travel industry. A good reason why more people are interested in a solo trip in India is to meet new people and expand their social circle.
In recent years, a handful of publicised sexual-assault cases in India have provided an example of worst-case scenarios for female travellers. It’s true that India might not be the safest destination for solo female travellers, however there are pockets that are very safe and worth visiting. Like with any solo travel anywhere in the world, you must take precautions too. With time, patience, and an open-minded attitude, India will reveal its secrets to you.
Solo travel in India is gaining popularity among the travel community steadily due to the sheer spontaneity that comes with it. Not only does the country have endless attractions, it also boasts warm hospitality. Popularly known in India as ‘singles vacations’, India has a huge array of beautiful places to visit, with all kinds of attractions, historic, natural, or cultural. There are beaches and mountains, religious temples and ancient forts. A solo trip in India will challenge, empower, and open your eyes, and always be one for the books.
Also read: How to meet new people when travelling solo
Here’s Our List Of The Best Destinations In India for Solo Trips
1. The City Of Ruins, Hampi
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hampi is also referred to as the city of ruins, and is located on the banks of the Tungabhadra river, a place of historical wonder for solo travelling in India. Hampi is a backpacker’s delight, surrounded by 500 ancient monuments, bustling street markets, and beautiful temples. It is famous for places like the Virupaksha temple, Hampi Vittala and Temple Lotus Palace. Once the capital of the Vijayanagar empire (around 1500 CE), Hampi was the second-largest city in the world. The terrain is surrounded by boulders of different sizes, and you can climb them with a little effort to get a stunning view of the entire city. Architecture and history fans flock here to explore the remnants of ancient edifices and marvel at their intricate carvings, intriguing rock formations and stone boulders; while nature lovers will fall in love with the scenic landscape and serene atmosphere. Hampi is generally a safe, peaceful place for solo travelling in India. However, you should exercise standard precaution and not wander around the ruins after dark.
2. Commonly Known As The ‘Amsterdam Of India’, Kasol
A small village in Himachal situated along the banks of the river Parvati, Kasol is considered one of the best solo trip destinations in India. The breathtakingly beautiful scenery around every bend will nourish your eyes and soul, while a plethora of treks, rafting and water sports will satiate the thrill-seeker in you. Places like Kheerganga, Malana and Tosh village in Kasol are famous for trekking. Kasol is well-known as the ‘Amsterdam of India’ for its crazy psychedelic trance parties that happen here from time to time and for its hippie culture. Also, this place is full of international tourists and backpackers, who are warm and welcoming, so you’re sure to make a few friends. It’s a paradise for adventurers and nature lovers in Himachal. Although Kasol is a very safe place for solo travelling, you should not roam around in the streets alone at night.
3. The French Riviera Of The East, Pondicherry
Officially known as Puducherry, Pondicherry is one of the seven union territories of India. A dreamy escape for solo travelling in India, it offers the best of both worlds. This former French colony is a perfect amalgamation of traditional Indian sensibilities and French architecture.
Known as White Town, the streets of the French Quarter of Pondicherry are dotted with charming mustard-yellow colonial structures. Fringed by authentic French bakeries, the cobble-stoned paths are delightful for a leisurely stroll or even a bicycle ride.
The quaint little town has something to offer to adventure seekers as well. Karaikal Beach and Paradise Beach are renowned for their water sports activities such as kayaking, jet-skiing, canoeing and backwater sailing. Scuba diving is also organised in Pondicherry, under the supervision of trained instructors. It is a perfect destination for solo travellers who want to combine history, art, and culture with a beach vacation. The town is safe and easy to get around, and the locals are amicable and helpful.
Read more: Amazing places to visit in Pondicherry
4. The Hidden Treasure Of Kerala, Varkala
Varkala is a coastal town in the southern part of Kerala known for its unique 15 metre-high ‘North Cliff’ adjacent to the Arabian Sea. It’s a famous spot for a solo trip in India, known for its laid back culture, and the shacks on the cliff playing music and serving great seafood. It’s also known for being the samadhi of Kerala’s saint Sree Narayana Guru. It has some of the most pristine beaches, lush hills, beautiful lakes, forts, lighthouses, natural fisheries and springs—all of this together makes this town ideal for solo travelling in India. You can relax and sunbathe on Varkala beach (also known as Papanasam beach), soak in beautiful sunset vistas, indulge in water sports, marvel at the historical Anjengo Fort, enjoy boating in the picturesque Kappil Lake, and visit one of its many religious centres and temples. Make sure you check out the cliffs overlooking the Arabian Sea— they’re truly a sight to behold. Varkala is altogether a safe and friendly town where you can meet other solo travellers to explore the area. The people here are very friendly, and don’t bother anyone unless you need help.
5. Hub Of Palm Clad Beaches, Gokarna
Situated on the coast of Karwar with its pristine beaches and breathtaking landscapes, Gokarna is one of the seven important Hindu pilgrimage centres in Karnataka and a new-found hub for beach lovers and solo travellers. Over the past few years, Gokarna has become an important tourist destination owing to its alluring beaches that promise a peaceful vacation leaving behind the tourist rush of Goa. There is a famous quartet of beaches in Gokarna—Om Beach, Kudle beach, Half-moon beach and Paradise beach. Some of these, like Half Moon and Paradise can only be reached by a trek or a boat ride. The main forms of leisure include indulging in the beautiful view of the Arabian Sea, stargazing at night, and other activities like water sports, snorkelling, parasailing and boat rides. The people here are kind and helpful and it is a safe place for solo travellers. Solo travelling to Gokarna also gives you a great opportunity to meet new people of different nationalities. There are cottages and guest houses where you can live like a backpacker, chilling on hammocks, and enjoying the balmy weather.
Also read: Finding joy in the little things at Gokarna
6. Yoga Capital Of The World, Rishikesh
Located in the foothills of the Himalayas along the convergence of the Ganga and Chandrabhaga river, Rishikesh is a small town in the Dehradun district, located close to Haridwar in Uttarakhand. Rishikesh is known for its adventure activities, ancient temples, popular cafes and as the “Yoga Capital of the World” for its various kinds of yoga and meditation classes. As the gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas, Rishikesh is also a pilgrimage town and considered a holy place for Hindus. It became known worldwide in the 1960s after The Beatles visited the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, now renowned as The Beatles Ashram, which beckons solo travellers globally. The tranquil town has long been a spiritual centre but is now equally popular for white water rafting, bungee jumping, mountain biking and camping. These adrenaline pumping activities all take place along the fast-flowing Ganges and have attracted backpackers and solo travellers over the years. In the first week of March, the International Yoga Festival is organised here which welcomes yoga enthusiasts from all over the globe. Being a revered pilgrimage site and one of the best solo trip destinations in India , Rishikesh is quite safe to travel in, and you can meet other solo travellers who visit from all over the world. However, one should always be street smart.
7. The City Of Lakes, Udaipur
Surrounded by the beautiful Aravalli Hills, Udaipur, also known as the City of Lakes, is the crown jewel of Rajasthan. It has an abundance of breathtaking architecture, mesmerising temples and natural beauty which makes it a must-visit destination in India. Udaipur is the pride of Rajasthan, and a boat ride through the serene waters of Lake Pichola will be enough to prove to you why. If you are considering a solo trip in India, this place should definitely top your list. You can do a lot of things in Udaipur—enjoy peaceful cold nights, visit ancient forts and markets, sit by the side of the lake and sip hot tea. Although Udaipur is regarded as being safe for solo travelling, it is advisable to avoid dimly lit areas at night.
8. Host To The Biggest Camel Fair In The World, Pushkar
Pushkar is a small temple town amid the Aravalli range, located around 15 kms from Ajmer in Rajasthan. Every November, Pushkar plays host to one of the biggest camel fairs in the world, Pushkar Mela. It attracts millions of solo travellers from around the world. With folk performances, rides, stalls and even magic shows, the entire town is lit up. Music blares from every house, and everyone is in a festive mood. Pushkar is also known for having the world’s only dedicated Brahma temple, and is, therefore, an important pilgrimage site for Hindus. Spending evenings sitting at the ghats while sipping chai, or taking a stroll through the town’s narrow alleys while listening to the chants from temples are what gives this place its unique atmosphere. It has slowly evolved from being a religious destination to a multi-cultural hotspot with solo travellers from all over the world coming for the colourful mela. You can also go on a hot air balloon ride. It is one of the best solo trip destinations in India for those who want to experience authentic, rural Indian life and culture, especially if you visit during the camel fair. Pushkar is a small town where people know people, so it is pretty safe for solo travelling.
9. Scotland Of The East, Shillong
Named after an idol, Lei Shyllong, Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya is a beautiful city encircled by pine trees. This hill station is known as the ‘Scotland of the East’ for its picturesque landscape similar to the highlands and its soothing climate, making it an ideal spot to visit all year round. The exquisite mountain peaks, numerous waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, and breathtakingly beautiful golf courses are some of key reasons why people mark Shillong as one of the best solo trip destinations in India. As many prominent Indian musicians also hail from this place, it is also known as the music capital of India. Several music festivals and events are held throughout the year, making it very culturally vibrant. Shillong is relatively a safe place to solo travel but you should avoid certain areas after dark.
10. India’s Honeymoon Capital, Manali
Manali is a popular hill station for a solo trip in India nestled in between the snow-capped slopes of the Pir Panjal and the Dhauladhar mountain ranges. With lush green forests, jaw-dropping views, gushing blue streams, sprawling meadows carpeted with flowers, and a perpetual fairy-tale like mist lingering in the air, Manali has been blessed with scenic beauty unparalleled by any other. From museums to temples, river adventures to trekking trails, quaint little hippie villages to bustling upscale streets—Manali has every reason to be the top destination for solo travelling in India, all year round. You can recreate your own eat, pray, and love journey in Manali. You can try snow sports like paragliding, skiing, biking, etc., or trek through the snowy terrains, and enjoy peaceful moments on the slopes of the Rohtang Pass and Solang Valley. Manali is considered to be a safe place for solo travelling and people there are very friendly. However as with all solo travel, travel smart and be cautious.
Read more: 22 places to visit in and around Manali
Why Should You Travel Solo?
The experience of solo travelling is best described by what Henry David Thoreau said, “The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” One of the main reasons why people opt for a solo trip in India is for a challenge, to try something different, move out of our comfort zone. When you set out to travel, always ensure you are well versed with the place before you venture out. You should read blogs, do the required research, find out more from people who have already visited. Getting to know the place beforehand will prepare you for any unwelcome surprises.
Solo travel is an opportunity to explore one’s personality too, just as one would explore the world, away from all the stress and hustle of daily life. It’s a chance for you to break free from a monotonous routine, and introspect on your thoughts, dreams, strengths and limitations.
Also read: 21 tips for solo female travellers