Bags packed and ready to go where the road takes you? Before you channel your inner Jack Kerouac and start your exploration of India with reckless abandon, know that a clean, safe place to stay for you and your backpack are of absolute necessity. A travel revolution, of sorts, has swept the country - which has definitely made this easier - leading to European style hostels sprouting up in remote regions, and they’ve truly changed the game. No longer does clean mean expensive; whether you’re a student travelling on a shoestring, or a solo traveller looking for adventure, these places have got your back. Hostels are the best way to meet new people and be part of a larger experience, clear of stranger danger, while allowing you to save your money to fund all necessary shenanigans. Read on to discover the best backpacker hostels in India you simply have to hit up.
A hostel in centre of the capital
Located bang in the centre of the city, this hostel is about the best you can get in the diplomatic area in Chanakyapuri. The airport and railway station are less than half an hour by road. With the capacity to host 190 guests on a sharing basis, the rooms feature free Wi-Fi, attached bathrooms, television as well as safe lockers.
A well equipped gym and recreation area ensure a healthy workout whenever you’re in the mood for it. Keeping in mind the needs of business-oriented guests, the hostel features a conference hall which seats 80 people, and a committee room which seats 24 people - both air conditioned. If you feel like witnessing the sights and sounds of this city steeped in history, you can book Delhi Tourism tickets at discounted rates from the reception.
Address: 5 Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.
Cost: Dorms range from Rs. 300 to Rs. 600 per night while an AC room with an attached bath will cost Rs. 1600 per night.
II. Ecology Hostel
Reduce your backpacking carbon footprint
If you are an eco-friendly traveler, look no further. This hostel in the mountains is run by LEDeG (Ladakh Ecological Development Group) and is all about reducing your carbon footprint while travelling. The hostel offers beautiful views of snow clad Himalayan Mountains on one side and Shanti Stupa on the other.
The food offered is simple and original Ladakhi fare but if you prefer a home cooked meal, that can be arranged as well. Rooms are warm and comfortable and can accommodate up to 28 people. This is a unisex hostel but private rooms can be provided upon enquiry.
The eco-friendly policy dictates the use of solar water heaters and passively heated bathrooms. Toilets are of a traditional style and are maintained by the community of guests who stay at the hostel.
Address: Ladakh Ecological Development Group, Below Shanti Stupa, Yourtung, Leh - Ladakh.
Cost: Dormitories are a cosy Rs. 150 per bed. Private rooms come in two or three bed variations and cost Rs. 250 per bed.
III. Prison Hostel
Prepare for a prison party
This prison themed hostel gives you the complete experience. Replete with bars on the windows and black and white décor, you are photographed in a mug-shot pose holding while a placard with your ‘prison’ number on it. The sense of incarceration ends here, thankfully. Maintained by thehostelcrowd, this is India’s first and only party hostel. Wi-Fi is complimentary and hangover breakfasts are free so don’t pass out after a night of partying. There are always beers stacked in the fridge to nurse that hangover, should you wish to do so.
Accommodation includes four to ten bed dormitories. Each bed has its own safety locker and bed-lights. The common room is equipped with a music system as well as a computer to help you stay connected. If you prefer your own dominion separate from fellow prisoners, private rooms are also available.
The Party Bus is what caught our attention. Jump into this party vehicle once the in-house bar shuts and you’ll be taken to some of the best parties in town.
Address: 940, Flea Market Road, Anjuna, Goa.
Cost: Dorm beds are a steal at Rs. 350 per night. At Rs. 1200 per night, we can hear the private rooms calling as well.
IV. Jungle Hostel
Feel the jungle vibe
This hostel is where you head if you want to forget time. Chill out in a hammock, walk on the beach or head over to the rooftop for some morning yoga. A traditional Portuguese house was redesigned and now features multiple terraces, a cozy common area with beautifully painted walls of life in the jungle, and a huge garden where you can mingle with like-minded travellers. The jungle that surrounds the hostel is a reminder of the eco-friendly nature of this establishment. All bunk beds have personal lockers. Private rooms are located in a separate building but free Wi-Fi is available to all guests. From sipping coconut water to relishing fish curry, this hostel will show you the easy going Goan way. The hostel is also located on a tiny strip filled with restaurants, and it’s right down the street from Katzen Suppe - this is where you need to be if you feel like a dance at 5 am in the morning.
Address: 486, Vagator Beach Road, Vagator, Goa.
Cost: Dorm beds at Rs. 450 per night will cater to your relaxing stay and private rooms are available at Rs. 1200 per night.
Slow down in South Goa
Nestled in the peace and quiet that is South Goa, this is another must-go hostel by the thehostelcrowd. It is designed to be available at budgeted costs yet sits right next to Palolem beach so that you can hear the waves while sipping on your favorite drink. With free Wi-Fi and breakfast as well as attached bathrooms, this hostel will ensure that you don’t have to break the bank.
An added bonus is the shuttle bus service which can be availed if you are travelling from one of hostelcrowd’s North Goa hostels. The service is available on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Address: House Number 99, Ourem Road, Palolem, Goa.
Cost: Private rooms are at Rs. 1200 per night and dorm beds are available at Rs. 400 per night.
VI. Zostel - Manali
A new side of this favourite destination
Let’s take a break from the beaches of Goa and re-visit the Himalayas. Situated outside the town of Old Manali, surrounded by ice capped peaks and located in a quaint European and Israeli neighbourhood, this hostel is open to travellers and explorers of all types. If you’re a solo traveler you can rent a dorm bed and socialise with a diverse group of people. However, if you don’t mind a burning a hole in your pocket, the private rooms will afford magnificent views of the country side and the surrounding forests.
The spacious garden café stands in stark contrast to the serpentine streets of the town. Use their Wi-Fi to send photos to your loved ones or use the 24x7 helpdesk to plan out treks in the neighbouring hills. Mixed as well female dorms cater to the varied criteria of travelers who tread this path.
Address: Manu Temple Road, Old Manali, Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Cost: Rs. 499 per night for a dorm room isn’t the least expensive option but is well worth it given the location and amenities. At Rs. 1900 per night, you can afford to stay in your own private room.
VII. The Lost Tribe Hostel
Feel at home while you travel through the mountains
The Lost Tribe caters to a real backpacking experience. Get lost in the wilderness, explore apple orchards, make amazing new friends and feel the joy that is backpacking. The hostel is situated in Jagatsukh which means that it is away from the hustle-bustle of Manali. True to its theme, the hostel offers services and amenities at backpacker prices.
The hosts (no, not staff) help organise treks and tours around the town. In-house facilities include bunk beds and a common room where new friendships are forged. If you are looking for an inexpensive place to crash, this it!
Address: Jagatsukh, Opposite Punjab National Vank, Dist. Kullu, Manali, Himachal Pradesh.
Cost: Dorm beds are a very affordable Rs. 399 per night. Private rooms will set you back Rs. 1500 per night but this place is all about mingling with the crowd.
VIII. Zostel - Spiti
Star gaze next to your private tent
At a height of more than 4,200 metres above sea level, Zostel in Spiti is the highest hostel in Asia. Spiti is one of the highest motorable passes in the world. Though the road is treacherous for a good part of the year, the scenery and environment is far removed from the pollutants further south in the plains. The air is fresh and has the scent of adventure in it.
Book one of the 6 bed dorm rooms or, if you’re the outdoor kind, you can rough it out in one of their alpine tents! Deluxe rooms are available as well but in Spiti, luxury is not sought after. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to stargaze side-by-side with your pet, feel free to bring them along because this hostel is pet friendly. Above all, enjoy the Himalayas in their natural splendour. For more information, read our feature here.
Address: Leo Village Road, Kaza, Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Cost: 2 bed tents range from Rs. 799 to Rs. 1999 per night and dorm beds will come to you at Rs. 449 per night.
Meditate and rejuvenate in this green abode
Situated in Auroville, Tamil Nadu, this hostel is a mere three kms from Pondicherry airport. The hostel features a terrace restaurant, free Wi-Fi, private parking and vegan meals. Wind surfing, yoga, and horse riding are some of the workshops conducted in and around the hostel. The Matrimandir, a site of spiritual significance for practitioners of Integral yoga is not too far away.
The hostel has a diverse set up of rooms and offers many options including terraces/balconies, co-ed dorms, family suites as well as private rooms.
Address: No 180/2 Auroville Main Road, Edaiyanchavadi, Auroville, Tamil Nadu.
Cost: Dorm rooms are available at Rs. 350 per night. Private rooms range from Rs. 1200 per night to Rs. 3000 per night.
The entrepreneur’s hostel
Construkt is a startup venture in the tech-oriented city of Bangalore. This hostel caters to the requirements of a diverse set of professions so you may meet artists and techies under the same roof. The owners coined the term ‘hackpacker’ to address tech entrepreneurs who frequently travel in search of new ventures and need a motivational environment to breed new ideas.
The hostel is a 3500 square foot, multi storey house in Indiranagar. Expect well fashioned interiors, 4 bedrooms and a kitchen along with a common living and dining area. Internet and fresh linen are included in the startup friendly pricing. Above all, this hostel is a medium to connect and collaborate with people sharing your beliefs in business. Indiranagar is Bangalore’s most upcoming neighbourhood with a plethora of restaurants and bars like The Humming Tree, Black Rabbit, Fatty Bao and Red Fork to name a few.
Address: 3097A, 6th A main, 13th cross, 2nd stage Indiranagar, Bangalore.
Cost: Customised rates are provided upon contacting their team.
XI. Zostel - Ooty
Ooty has always been a treasure of the south - who’d say no to drives through tea plantations and those Ooty chocolates with a side of nostalgia? Zostel’s Hostel in the hill station has all the usual amenities such as lockers and free wifi, it’s on this list for one reason in particular - Outdoor tents! Yessir - you get to sleep under the stars at this one, surrounded by resplendent greenery. While this is a slightly more expensive option, travellers will always have the option to pick from a 6 bed dorm and even deluxe rooms.
Cost: Approximately 1699 per night for a tent
Zostel at Bir, Himachal Pradesh
Obviously we are more than a little obssesed with Zostel and their consistent excellence but we couldn’t let the breathtaking mountain views in Bir go unnoticed.
For more information about hostels around the country visit Hostel World.
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