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The Top 5 Travel Destinations for Solo Female Travellers

Without a doubt, traveling as a sole female in India presents a few unique challenges compared to other places in the world.   People stare at you, personal space is non-existent and you have to be aware of your surroundings at all times. (You can read more about safety in India here!)

However, India is much safer than the media makes it out to be and there are a number of amazing places in the country that are beautiful AND female friendly!  As the CEO of Reality Tours and Travel and a major travel addict (you can read my bio here!), I constantly have a long list of places where I want to visit.  As soon as I tick one off the list, there are about five more added. I have traveled alone in the north, the south and everywhere in between.

After seeing India pretty much from the top to the bottom,  here is my list of the top female friendly destinations for solo female travelers.

Rishikesh – Without a doubt, Rishikesh is a mecca for female travelers. Not only is it THE place in the world to do yoga, it is also a spiritual place.  It is also one of the best places to go river rafting on the famous Ganges River.  Tourists, yogis and sadhus alike roam the streets and the most dangerous thing you are likely to encounter is a cow heading straight towards you.  You can easily get from the train station in Haridwar to Rishikesh via tuk tuk or take a bus directly there from Delhi.

 

Mumbai – Known as India’s entertainment, business and financial capital, Mumbai definitely has some swag and is a very safe destination for female travelers. The streets of Colaba and Kala Ghoda offer gorgeous colonial architecture and Bandra is the undisputed dining and nightlife center of Mumbai.   It is also the home of some of Bollywood’s biggest names.  There are a number of places to visit in Mumbai for both history-lovers and culture vultures.

 

Ladakh – The region of Ladakh is jaw-droppingly beautiful and the warm Ladakh (similar to Tibetan) culture is welcoming to female travelers. Head to Leh, join up with a tour and make your way to the hotspots of Nubra Valley and Pangong Lake for a Ladakh trip that you are unlikely to forget!  Getting to Ladakh can either be very tricky or pretty straightforward.  Direct flights operate from Delhi or you can take a gruelling 2-day bus trip from Manali.

Hampi – The other-worldly landscape of Hampi is something you must see to believe. The ruins of a lost empire and the relaxed environment of Hippie Island are a reminder of India’s unique past and present.   Getting to Hampi is easily accessible from Bangalore or Hyderabad.   Hotels in Hampi range from backpackers to riverside resorts and there is definitely something for everyone.

Goa – Goa’s beaches beckon sun and sea lovers and unlike in most parts of India, women can wear bathing suits comfortably. Beer is cheap, seafood is plentiful and there are a number of historic sites and yoga ashrams that are worth checking out.  South Goa beaches are a bit quieter than the ones in the north and I highly recommend a trip to Palolem, Calangute or Baga.  There are a number of ways to get to go from Mumbai to Goa including flight, buses, overnight train and a new launched ferry service.

While there are many, many places in India to choose from that are solo female friendly, hopefully this gives you a great start when planning your next trip!

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Top Places to Visit in Delhi

The temperatures in Delhi are finally dropping and it is time to get back out and explore the city.  Delhi is well-known for its proximity to the Taj Mahal and the Pink City of Jaipur and for its bustling old town but few know of the intriguing history of the city or how cosmopolitan today’s reincarnation is.  Below are our recommendations for the top things to see to get a real feel for the city!

  • Qutab Minar –  Qutab Minar is one of the top sights to see and with good reason.  The 12th-century brick minaret stands at a whopping 5-stories tall and the surrounding structures are some of the oldest surviving Islamic buildings on the Indian subcontinent.   Come early to try and escape the huge crowds.

A view of Qutab Minar on a sunny day

  • Humayun’s Tomb – A precursor to the Taj Mahal, Humayun’s Tomb symbolizes a new era in Mughal architecture. Built at the end of the 16th century,  Humayun’s was the first garden-tomb in India and one of the first examples of red sandstone being used as a dominant construction material. The pinkish-hue of the building and the surrounding gardens provide picture-perfect photo ops and some excellent people watching.

The stunning Humayun's Tomb with fountain reflection

  • Lodi Gardens –  One of the best preserved areas of Delhi,  the tombs of Lodi Gardens were originally part of an earlier settlement.  Built between the 15th and 16th centuries, the buildings represent a variety of different architectural styles and are surrounded by a  beautiful city park. Best of all, it is free to get into!

Lodi Gardens on a cloudy afternoon

 

  • Lodi Art Colony – The quiet neighborhood of Lodi Colony is now the epicenter of Delhi’s street art scene.   Brightly-colored murals cover sides of buildings and showcase India’s past, present and future. The neighborhood is a work-in-progress so make sure to come back often to see the newest works of art.  If you want to know more about the artists and the history behind the project, make sure to join our Delhi Art Tour!The bright colors of Lodi Art Colony
  • Gurudwara Bangla Sahib – One of the most prominent Sikh temples in Delhi, Bangla sahib features a holy pond, community kitchen and museum.  Time your visit around lunch or dinner and you can join for langar. Don’t be shy. All are welcome regardless of religion or nationality and langar is an important aspect of Sikhism.  If you are interested in learning more about Sikhism, make sure to join our Delhi by Public Transport tour which includes a stop at the gurudwara.

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib on a clear day

Our Staff’s Recommended India Reading List (Non-Fiction)

India is a country where great wealth and prosperity sits side by side with incredible hardship and poverty and making sense of the great contradictions is a nigh on impossible task. But that hasn’t stopped people trying. Here are some of our favourite attempts to understand and explain this diverse, compelling and fascinating country that we call home.

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Ganesh Chaturthi: Mumbai’s Biggest Festival

Nick takes us through his experience last year during Ganesh Chaturthi and explains what he learned.


The Modern Origin

There weren’t any crowds when we turn onto the side street indicated on our map. It was surprising considering my friend and I were trying to find the housing society responsible for the modern form of Ganesh Chaturthi, Mumbai’s biggest festival, during the holiday itself. We went down the entire lane only to find a small Ganesh in a nearly empty housing society courtyard. We decided to ask them for directions.

As we walked into the courtyard, with facads in the old Portugese style rising up on either side of us, a young man sitting on a wooden platform in front of the Ganesh pandal immediately bounced to his feet and came to greet us. He was incredibly friendly and quickly informed us that this was indeed the first society to celebrate the festival in its modern form, which they have been doing continuously for the past 121 years.

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4 Essential Travel Tips From “7 Years In Tibet”

Prison escapes, a forbidden city, treacherously high mountain peaks, ancient belief systems – forget Shantaram, Seven Years in Tibet is the best travel story I have ever read. But while I was impressed by what he saw and learned, it was how Henrich Herrer accomplished these things that stood out to me. The story highlights 4 essential pieces of travel advice that can help us not only travel responsibly, but also get the most out of our trips.


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Our Staff’s Recommended India Reading List (Fiction)

Fantastical, lyrical and awesome in its nature, Indian fiction often derives much of its inspiration from real life events, lending credence to the old saying “the truth is stranger than fiction”. It can offer incredible insight into the country’s history, politics and culture in an incredibly engaging, entertaining and all too often, heart breaking manner.

A common and popular example of this is Shantaram (now almost as much of a pre-requisite to getting through customs as a visa is), so, without using the ‘s’ word, we asked our staff for their personal favourites.

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Undiscovered Mumbai Neighbourhood: Koliwadi

One hundred and thirty five hutments jut out into the Arabian Sea, bravely defying nature and real estate moguls. Slated for redevelopment for almost a decade, Worli Koliwadi, or Worli fisherman village has, like so many other Mumbai settlements, continued to survive due a mix of legal, bureaucratic and geographical factors. But for us this means that there is one more interesting and unique Mumbai neighbourhood to explore!

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