Female solo travel in India is not as unsafe as the media might want us to believe. Traveling solo as a female can still be adventurous and exciting!
If you’re tired of South-East Asia and want to explore on your own, consider India as a female solo travel destination. We will show you what to see and what to be careful about if female solo travel in India is on your bucket list.
Table of Contents
Why visit India as a female solo traveler?
1. People 👨👩👧👦
Lots of people in India. India is one of the two countries in the world with over a billion inhabitants. Striding through the cities of Delhi or Mumbai will be an experience you won’t easily forget.
India’s big cities are known for their busy atmosphere. To change things up a bit, definitely pay a visit to Sikkim or Darjeeling. This is a culture shaped by the harsh but beautiful surroundings of the Himalayas. You’ll experience a whole new side of India and its inhabitants.
2. Food 🥘
Indian cuisine will be part of your journey through this diverse country. If you are a bit weary and don’t want to risk Delhi Belly (more on that below), there are lots of guided food tours throughout India. Taste famous classics like Naan bread and Tikka Masala or indulge in some of the local specialties like the Goan fish curry. Yummy!
Aside from restaurants, India has a big street food scene. Keep an eye out for the crowded stalls because it’s a good indication that the food is safe to eat, even for delicate tourist stomachs. Restaurants can usually be checked online which is a great tool if you don’t like surprises.
3. Color 🌆
Ever been to Holi festival? This colorful tradition is essential in Indian culture to welcome the spring. If you are traveling to India in March, you may have the chance to join the festivities at one of India’s greatest Holi festival locations.
For those not uninterested in getting their bodies dyed, Holi is not the only color you’ll see during your solo tour through India. Breathtaking tangerine sunsets, bright-colored Hindu temples and Sarees, India will never fail to brighten your day.
4. History 🛤
Formerly under the rule of the British Raj in the late 19th and early 20th century and still part of the Commonwealth of Nations, India is a mix of cultures. You will get by easily with English. Although there are more than 1500 spoken languages, English is still the language that unites everyone.
The train system is one of the fundamentals in India. Although crowded, it is perfect to travel long distances. For your own comfort and safety, definitely opt for first-class tickets when traveling by train as a solo female in India.
5. Nature 🏔
India is a big country which makes its nature manifold. Next to the tiger, India’s national animal, it is especially known for elephants. Due to the declining number of Asian elephants, there are several sanctuaries for these majestic giants. Elephant rides are still common, however, especially around the touristy town of Jaipur. These rides are made possible by forced behavior and physical abuse of the animals. They should be avoided by all means.
For all visitors who want to help during their time in India, there are many volunteering programs available where you can support Indian wildlife and meet new people from all over the world.
Top Places for Female Solo Travelers in India
1. The Chaotic Mumbai
Mumbai is the biggest city in India and is located on the Western shore of the country. It will need some time to get used to the crowded streets and busy people. For those of you who can’t take the noise, there’s still a lot to do and see. Check out the Vipassana Pagoda and take a meditation class, the perfect opportunity to escape the hectic city and re-center. You can also relax on the beach. Versova Beach is a great example of how plastic reduction and cleaning efforts bring beauty back into nature.
One of the main attractions in Mumbai is the Gateway of India. This gate was built back in the day to welcome Queen Mary. Be aware, it will get crowded. Remember, being out alone in the dark can be risky but you don’t want to miss out on Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus at night. Its structure is lit up by thousands of colorful lights. Ideal for your instagram feed.
2. The Beaches of Goa
South of Mumbai, the famous beaches of Goa await you. You can discover Goa in different ways. The North is where the partying happens and where you can find lots of food spots on every corner. Just don’t go out alone at night as drugs are quite common here. You will probably make friends at your hostel so definitely go out as a group.
The South is generally more relaxed. Yoga classes are very accessible and the beaches are less crowded. Palolem beach or Colva beach are just two of the popular ones out there.
3. Tropical Kerala
Further down South to the province of Kerala, it gets more tropical. Despite the weather, there’s lots to explore. White beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, and tea plantations – Kerala has it all. Especially, the Periyar jungle boasts animals ranging from Asian Elephants to a variety of birds.
One of the most popular attractions in the province is located around the city of Alappuzha. Get on a boat and relax as you cruise through the backwaters. There are so many ways to go, even overnight tours are offered.
4. The Stunning Himalayan Mountains
All the way to the North, the highest mountain range of the world extends across India’s border. The Himalaya stands in big contrast to the beaches and hot temperatures in the South but shows off another unique landscape. Of course, trekking and hiking are the most popular activities up here, but skiing, mountain biking and water rafting on the Ganges are also great ideas for adventurous souls.
For yoga enthusiasts and foodies, Rishikesh is the place to be. When the sun starts to settle on the horizon, you will understand why this city is known for its spirituality and why backpackers from all over the world come to Rishikesh.
5. The wide-open deserts of Rajasthan
Just South of Delhi and a 6-hour drive to Jaipur, this province also has something unique to offer. Jaipur itself, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also known as The Pink City due to the color of the houses.
Additionally, Rajasthan is a great place to spot tigers and even leopards. Ranthambore National Park is known for its easy touristic access. If you are more interested in architecture than wildlife, check out the Abhaneri Step Well.
You see, there are hundreds of places to visit in India besides New Delhi or Mumbai. Don’t miss out on the Taj Mahal in Agra, Eastern India or a stroll through endless rice fields. This list is definitely to be continued.
Things to be careful about
Scams are common for the experienced traveler. However, traveling alone brings you into a situation where people may consider youan easy victim. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t trust everyone who offers help. Of course, there are a lot of people out there that want to help you out, but for your own safety, it’s best to phone your hostel if you got lost in the streets.
Not all men are bad but traveling as a solo female in India makes you stand out to Indians. Be prepared to be stared at, a lot.
Arguing with men can also be a bad idea. Especially if it’s late in the evening and you are unsure whether the other person has consumed some alcohol. Just walk away, and let it be.
3. Tap Water (& Delhi Belly)
You may have heard about common traveler diarrhea. Indians call it “Delhi Belly” and is often caused by tap water. While you may think of bad food, the tap water is usually the underlying reason.
If you get any symptoms, be sure to stay hydrated and take a break from all the sightseeing. You will feel better soon and be able to resume your solo travel through India.
Top Tips for Females traveling solo through India
1. Dress modestly
Why? Because if you’re wearing revealing clothes, people are going to stare at you. Cultural awareness is the best way to blend in!
2. SIM card
Get a local SIM card at the airport or ask the hostel staff as soon as you arrive to help you purchase one. In most countries, it’s relatively easy to get a local SIM card. Not only will you have internet access, but calling and texting with your new and old friends will be a relief. Additionally, this is imperative when you need emergency services.
3. Make friends with other travelers
You’re bound to meet new friends on your trip. It’s easy to meet up with others staying in the same hostel, locals or old friends who are sharing the same paths. Sometimes it’s great to travel as a group to offset the times you’re traveling by yourself.
4. Learn the language
You don’t have to speak all official languages fluently especially when it’s quite easy to get by with English. However, in more rural areas, on local markets or in homestays, a few Hindi words for ‘Hello’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ can come in handy. People will appreciate it!
Female solo travel in India isn’t easy. It’s definitely challenging at times but rewarding when it’s well prepared. Armed with these tips, we hope you’re convinced about traveling solo through India. It will be an amazing experience you’ll never forget.