Are you guys ready for some serious India travel inspiration?! This is my India travel bucket list. I’ve had things jotted down on my phone, computer, and random pieces of paper and just realized it’s the perfect blog post topic! As I do things I’ll link them on here so you can see tips to explore India too.

India Travel Bucket List Ideas

  • Ride the slow local in Mumbai. It’s the train you’ve seen in movies and TV shows where people are on top and hanging out the sides. Now it’s illegal to ride on top, but still on average one person per day dies on this- mostly by trying to cross the tracks.
  • Play in the Valley of the Flowers in Uttarkhand. There is a photo of this place that went viral on Pinterest and I’ve been obsessed ever since. It’s only available to see in July when they are in full bloom.

backpacking india seasons guide valley of the flowers

  • Go on a wild life safari. There are options in almost every state to see some animals. Pick one that has what you want- I’d love to see tigers, leopards, and wild elephants. ( I just did this last week in Kabini!)
  • Eat the street food! Try the chai, dosas, and samosas for breakfast. Have some grilled corn and egg puffs.
  • Play at Holi! (Friday March 6, 2015 is the next one). It’s fun to throw paint powder and buckets of water on strangers. Don’t have a private party but instead find a village and play with the locals. Have you seen my holi video? It’s in the link.
  • Take a camel safari in Rajasthan. I did mine in Jaisalmer after drinking a big bhang lassi (a hash drink) and it was intense but amazing! Probably not a good idea to do before a safari though! Sleeping under the stars on a sand dune was unforgettable.

india travel bucket list

  • Try locals thalis in every city you go- it’ll give you a taste of what each states local food is like. You’ll start to be able to notice the differences even in the dhal!
  • Learn how to dance a couple different Indian styles. I love the way girls dance in Bollywood and also the traditional Rajasthani dance moves with extra stomping while wearing bangles and bells.
  • Wander through the Temples of Khajuraho, also known as the kama sutra temples.
  • Stay at the Oberoi and have a butler pour me tea while I look out my window at the Taj Mahal. One can dream, right?
  • Go to Auroville for a week and try my hand at farming. It’s a hippie commune, completely immune to the rest of India’s rules and operates on it’s own- even having it’s own currency! Everyone works on the land and helps in their own way.
  • Go to a trance party in Goa. Since I live here I could check this off how many times? But if you’re just passing through it’s something to experience. Not just for western hippies, ‘Goa Trance’ has become part of the Goan culture in villages and real life whether people want to admit it or not.

trance goa

  • Bathe an elephant. You can do this mostly in South India (Goa, Kerala, Karnataka). You can ride elephants in Goa at the Ponda Spice Plantation but I know that’s controversial to many travelers. (another thing I just got to do at Dubare!)
  • Spend time in Calcutta. Sounds basic but it’s one of the most daunting places as everyone tells me it’s a hard daily life there.
  • Take a day trip to the Allora and Ajanta caves from Bombay. Still can’t believe I haven’t taken the time to do this.
  • Plan to go to one of the Kumb Melas. They change place and time, and aren’t every year. This is where you’ll see the naked Sadhus running into the ganges and babas with their arms up in the air (for the last 30 years), or men painted blue for Shiva or covered in Ash smoking and praying and praising! The last one has over 60 million attendees.
  • Trek through Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh.
  • Try surfing in Pondicherry. This French colony really intrigues me

art class, udaipur, india travel bucket list

  • Spend time in Sikkim. Far up north, it has a mountain peak that you can see the top of Mt. Everest from and is very different from India with some Far East Asia inspiration.
  • Get a hug from the famous “hugga mama” Mata Amritanandamayi. She will help you with whatever fear or problem you’re having in life. She spends her life hugging strangers and helping them with new mantras.
  • Go white water rafting. You can do this in Rishikesh and Goa for sure. The one in Goa is quite new and I enjoyed it a lot in monsoon.
  • Go rock climbing. I know this is big in India and would love to get a chance!
  • Try a trout from the River Ganga in northern India. Manali is a great place to try it and get a glass of the local apple juice- best I’ve ever had.
  • Plan to meet the Dalai Lama and learn from him in McLeod Ganj where him and other Tibetan people are taking refuge. He has public classes where he’ll discuss meditation, life, and love.
  • Take in the views of the boulders in Hampi then spend the night sleeping next to a paddy field. Hampi is my favorite place on earth.

india travel bucket list hampi

  • Learn traditional yoga. If you’re new to yoga but tried it in the West, you’ll see a lot of difference in yoga of the East. A friend who’s a yoga teacher trained in India wrote about the differences of yoga in India and the west on my blog!
  • Have lunch at the golden temple in Amritsar and appreciate the Sikh’s awesome way of ignoring castes and everyone eating together on the floor.
  • While you’re there, you can see the Wacky Wagah border (the Indian-Pakistan border) where a show is put on. You’ll think you’re at a football game! I made a video of this.
  • Watch the cremations at the Ghats in Varanasi. It’s the holiest place in the world in my opinion and is something you’re never going to forget! People carry dead bodies down traffic packed streets, dip them in the water, and burn them in front of crowds so the dead can reach salvation.

india travel bucket list varanasi ghats

  • Get off the mainland and enjoy the islands on offer, particularly Andaman and Nicobar, and Lakshwadeep
  • Get scuba certified. There are a few places off mainland, but they don’t have great visibility. Better to do on an island, or at least some reputable companies in Karnataka.
  • Take a boat ride around the lake palace in Udaipur. The Palace “floats” in the city that is called the “Venice of India”
  • Rent a bike and learn to ride! I suck at scooters but ride a scooter in Hampi where there weren’t any people on the roads and it was very fun! I can SORT OF cross this off lol, but you shouldn’t trust my scooter driving skills, although my omni driving skills are top notch now.

india travel bucket list hampi ride a bike

  • Take a horse ride on the beach. I have no idea where you can do this but it sounds fabulous
  • Take the trip through the Rohtang pass from Manali to Leh to see the valleys and views that made Rudyard Kipling say “Surely the gods live here. This is no place for man”.
  • Try new healing techniques that would normally be out of your comfort zone. Try Reiki, reflexology, energy healing with gemstones, get your chakras balanced, take essential oils when you’re sick, or be healed by a local medicine man with herbs.
  • Go to KanyaKumari and look out at the most southern tip of India where 3 seas meet. What a holy place!
  • Do a traditional homestay. I have only done one and can recommend Olaulim Backyards in Goa as a great one. Pirko makes some scrumptious Goan food and the backwaters are a great place to go kayak.

olaulim backyards india travel bucket list

  • Be an extra in a Bollywood film! They scout in Bombay and it’s totally possible you can do this. They look for westerners often and can pay about 1,000 rs for the day plus will feed you. I was once in a rap video in Manali
  • Experience the Pushkar camel fair- the biggest camel trade show in the world. I actually missed this by once week- I left early because prices were going  up by about 5x the normal rate.
  • Try to chat with a baba or sadhu. Maybe you’ll learn something, but if not it might still be an interesting experience. My neighbor is a Sadhu and it’s interesting to hear his thoughts.
  • Go to the Taj Mahal at sunset and get that “perfect” photo… then bolt before the crowds come!
  • Take a cooking class. Decide if you’re interesting in learning North or South India or wait until Goa and cook with coconut and make less spicy curries.

travel tips jodhpur iindia travel bucket list

  • Get in the Ganges! But do it in the north where the water is clean. You’ll feel refreshed and maybe even your sins will disappear. I got in the Ganga in Rishikesh.

Move to India. Ha, just kidding but actually can’t believe even to this day that I live in this amazing magical country with SO much to offer! What would you add to this India travel bucket list? I’ll be editing it as the months go by, for feel free to send me some ideas. I know there are hundreds more out there & can’t wait to hear what you think of these bucket list ideas.

What do YOU want to do in India?

Before going make sure you are prepared. You’ll need a few things:

  1. Visa. Here’s instructions.
  2. Travel Insurance. I use World Nomads Travel Insurance.

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feature image: Auro Beach, photo source flickr