We have a long way to go, but things are better than they have been in a while. People are traveling again since it is viable to do so, as long as necessary precautions are taken. Due to the current scenario, solo trips are actually good, since it ensures automatic isolation. The negative connotations of quarantine detach themselves if you enjoy your own company. So, if you’re in the mood for some solo backpacking adventures, we have some places for you to explore!
Cliche, maybe. But a must nonetheless – Manali simply offers backpackers loads of things to do. The only problem is that it has gotten too crowded over the years. Even then, since it is such an expansive area, you are likely to find peaceful spots all over. Especially now, since many families may avoid travel altogether. Apart from trekking, you can also try out more hardcore adventure activities like paragliding and mountain biking. Nestled among apple orchards with stunning views of the Himalayas, The Kathguni House overlooks the Beas River. It is a homage to the traditional architectural style of the region, with the interiors housing every modern comfort. This beautiful villa is bound to put you at ease the moment you get here.
Apart from Manali, Naggar is the best place to experience the beautiful Beas river. Famously known for Naggar castle, this quaint place offers many activities to indulge in, including trekking, fishing and shopping. Places like the Uruswati Himalayan Folk Art Museum and Dagpo Shedrupling Monastery are also worth a visit. As the name suggests, The Orchard House is nestled among orchards and offers a direct view of the gorgeous mountains. You will find yourself juggling time between the snugly living spaces and the beautiful outdoor sit-out, as well as the fireplace.
In Himachal Pradesh, Manali and Kasol are the most popular backpacker destinations. This makes Chail a good, off-beat option in the state. Not too far from Shimla and home to the highest cricket field on the planet, Chail also offers great treks for beginners. If you’re in the mood for camping, Chail makes for an ideal spot. If you’re not in the mood to rough it up, live it up at Ekam Villa. Apart from the luxury it offers, it also offers a unique organic experience – thanks to the fruit plantation, herb garden, vegetable farm and more.
A hidden gem, this town is blessed with beautiful hills and spectacular panoramic views of the snowy Himalayas. Lush green meadows, beautiful fruit orchards and soaring forests, together make Ranikhet truly a hilly paradise. A walk around Ranikhet is enough to spot quaint and charming British estates amidst colorful gardens. Abound by greenery, one can take breathtaking walks in the vast forests surrounding Ranikhet too. Make sure you visit Chaubatia Gardens, Bhalu Dam and Upat Golf Course while you’re here. Offering the finest views out there, Morning Bliss is the perfect option. If you manage to step out from the games section of the house, the outdoor lawn area is perfect to relax, meditate and do some yoga.
Kasauli is a pleasant little town in Himachal Pradesh sitting at 1800 meters above sea level. Additionally to its good weather, Kasauli’s views of hills and forests make it a special place. Even as a small, quiet town, there are enough places to visit in Kasauli – Monkey Point, Gilbert Trail, Kasauli Brewery, etc. Misty Mountains Cottage is a fine homestay tucked away in the hills, with a location that allows one to have stunning views of the mountains and valleys. The lawn and outdoor sit-out are perfect for a cup of tea or two!
Over the past decade or so, Hampi has gained popularity among the backpackers. But, if you’ve already visited Hampi, Badami is the next best thing. Much like Hampi, Badami is also a heritage city, has temples, caves, ruins and a lake too. You can enjoy the similar landscapes it has, while taking in the views from Agastya Villa. Enjoy drinks at the terrace lounge with some homegrown food, or head out for treks and heritage walks in the vicinity. Badami’s red sandstone cliffs are popular amongst local and international climbers, making it a great location for free sport climbing and bouldering.
Jaipur was the last city I explored by myself before the lockdown, and I’m glad I did. Jaipur is the pink city, as we already know, and is also a gateway to other destinations such as Jodhpur, the blue city. While you explore all the heritage around the city, why not stay at a mansion yourself? Surrounded by lush gardens, Krishnalaya Mansion also has an indoor swimming pool reminiscent of the Roman baths. You’re bound to build up an appetite for the traditional Rajasthani meal they serve!
Pink city, blue city, what’s next? Lake city! Udaipur is located in the southernmost part of Rajasthan and is surrounded by the Aravali Range, which separates it from the Thar Desert. No wonder it is surrounded by lakes. I recently heard this global travel journalist call it the most romantic place in the world. That might be true, but you don’t have to be with your special one to enjoy it! Many solo backpackers, from India and abroad, have enjoyed it nonetheless. Like the rest of Rajasthan, it also offers history lovers with forts, palaces, museums, temples and more. While you explore all these places, stay at The Wild Orchid which is just a stone’s throw from the famous Badi Lake. The location transforms into a rich palette of nature’s colors in monsoons and winters as you look out to spectacular views of the Aravalli hills from the gardens.
Do check out the single room listings for the properties mentioned, since you’re likely to be solo on your backpacking adventure. Please make sure that wherever you visit, you have figured out the logistics beforehand. The spontaneous backpacker spirit in you might need to be prepared for 2020. We hope you have a great time exploring these places and have some happy adventures. Stay smart, stay safe!