A Backpacker's Guide To The Galaxy: Check Into These Hostels Across India
OK, so maybe we mean India and not exactly the galaxy. But since our country has always been a sacred land for backpackers, we thought we’d magnify it! And while we love the throngs of people and beautiful chaos, we also love a clean, comfortable, safe place to stay – a priority and also the hardest thing to find. So we’re pitching in with a list featuring our picks of the best hostels in India to give fellow travellers a headstart on planning the backpacking adventure. Oh, and a quick note, our guide is in the following order of cities -- Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Pune.
Backpacker Panda, Bangalore
For those travelling to Bangalore and the ones in Bangalore (all you Whitefield and E-City folks), this Indiranagar hostel is the perfect place to crash. It's set inside a charming, revamped bungalow that reminds you of Goa. You have bright yellow paint, murals on the walls, and guests in the PJs just chilling or sharing stories. Plus, it's located in the most happening part of Indiranagar too, 12th Main.
The LoCul Uptown, Bangalore
All you Wes Anderson fans, LoCul Uptown channels the director's whimsical taste starting from the yellow and pale teal to the old school lamp-shade dramatically lighting up a Victorian clock. It's located a quiet lane, near ITC Windsor and the Bangalore Golf club and with prices per bed starting at INR 600, you are seriously getting a good bargain for the location.
The Mansion 1907, Mysore
Set in a 110-year-old mansion, The Mansion 1907 is the perfect place to check into when in Mysore. You can enjoy cultural beauty that is Mysore while paying INR 500 a night to stay. From bunk beds to private rooms and a host of activities to do, it's the ideal weekend spot to chill with the gang.
Zostel Chikmagalur is housed in a mansion in the middle of seemingly unending coffee plantations. With graffiti on the walls inside, bunk beds straight out of Enid Blyton, private rooms for couples, and a large garden with hammocks dotting the space, it's simply perfect. The courtyard with a water body in the middle and deck chairs around is our favourite spot.
A hostel with a beach that's just a hop, jump, and skip away. Check into one of the bunk beds or private rooms if you are coming with bae, and wake up to the sound of the sea. You can even camp out in tents during the night and sit around the bonfire and catch up with the hostel crowd that's most often from all over the world. There's plenty of hammocks to chill and get some afternoon nap in too.
The Lost Hostel, Fort Kochi
Housed in a beautiful white heritage building with red doors, The Lost Hostel in Fort Kochi offers really budget stay starting at INR 400 only. The added bonus of you checking into here is that you are at walking distance from everything such as Dutch churches, Jewish Synagogues, the snaking bylanes of Jew Town and even iconic Chinese fishing nets.
The fact that it overlooks the mountains is enough reason for you to check into this hostel in Ooty. When you add hammocks in the lawn and scenic views to wake up to for just INR 500 upwards, you can't get a sweeter deal than this. Carry your binoculars and if like birds, there's plenty to spot, especially early morning. Oh, and come night time, on a clear night, chilling on the terrace is something worth doing.
Jungle By The Hostel Crowd, Goa
What was once a quaint Portuguese home now plays host to backpackers galore. It is walking distance from Goa’s best restaurants and bars such as Thalassa, Sakana, and Bean Me Up. You can also channel your inner yogi with morning yoga sessions on the rooftop. Facilities include wifi, AC, a kitchen, female-only dorms, security cameras, lockers, laundry service, and free breakfasts for guests. It has a spacious lounge with board games, books, eclectic wall art, and a fridge always stocked with the bare necessities – water, beer, and chocolate.
Woke Hostels, Goa
You will love Woke Hostel in Arpora's very Greece-like vibe with the Santorini influences in its teal and white decor and murals on their many walls. You can choose between their rooms or dorms, both of which are air-conditioned and the kitchen dishes ou homely meals cooked with seasonal produce. Oh, and did we tell you that it's next to biggest night markets in Arpora too?
Bombay Backpackers, Matheran
Set in an eco-friendly zone, the Bombay Backpackers hostel in the hill station of Matheran is perfect for a quick, and budget-friendly getaway. If you're in the area, then the Western Ghats are just around, and you know how beautiful that part of our country is. There are dorm rooms (wonderfully colourful ones at that!) or if you prefer some privacy, simply done up rooms are on offer too. The nearest point to the hostel, which sits atop a hill and guarantees mornings with fog and coffee, you'll need to trek up about 30 minutes as the roads are not motorable. Boardgames, lockers, WiFi, tea/coffee and free breakfast are all part of your INR 699 cost per night.
Basti Backpackers, Mumbai
Almost like a slice of Rajasthan in the middle of Bombay's Santa Cruz, this one is all about the cool decor. With colourful umbrellas, wall hangings of mini elephants and camels, bright cloth bedspreads and diwans everywhere, it's a real lively space. Apart from mixed dorms, there are rooms too, including one that accommodates four people. The complimentary home-cooked Indian breakfast is a highlight here, and you'll do well to have a night of board games with your fellow backpackers here.
What better way to take in the City of Lakes than to bask in its stunning views of Lake Pichola, neighbouring palaces, music-themed rooms and great food? Bunkyard in Udaipur offers all this and more at low prices. From frequently hosted yoga sessions, social nights, terrace parties and a booze cruise (yes, such a thing exists!), you’re bound to meet people from around the world and get that legit hostel feeling. If you want a quiet, peaceful experience though, head to the terrace during sunset and you will get a splendid view of the surroundings, plus free chai to go with it!
Hibernest Chembra, Wayanad
A respite from the bustle of city life, Hibernest Chembra is our favourite for the view, the price and its homely feel. Located on the foothills of the Chembra Peak in Wayanad, this colonial bungalow-turned-resort is surrounded by greenery and is perfect for backpackers and solo travellers. Warm up by the fireplace with a cuppa and head out to the verandah for a beautiful view of the surroundings. Adventure junkies can head out to nearby Karalad lake for a kayaking sesh or trek to the Chembra peak.
Zostel Spiti Valley
Check in to Asia’s highest backpackers’ hostel between Tibet and India in the quiet and quaint Zostel Spiti Valley. They offer deluxe private rooms, 6-mixed dorm beds (if you’re looking to make friends), and for the nature lovers and outdoor tents if star-gazing is on the agenda. Book the tents in advance as they have a limited number.
The Hosteller, Jaipur
With all basic and major exploring and entertainment spots within a three-mile radius of The Hosteller (on MI Road), why would you go anywhere else? With cheery, colourful, and comfy interiors, you can even unwind here if you don’t feel like getting out. For an INR 399 per night tariff and an in-house cafe (aptly called The Hogger), it’s perfect for those long trips to the Pink City.
With inputs from Aakanksha Singh Devi, Ahalya Acharya and Roshni Nayak.