• Here are eight things to do in Hampi, Karnataka, India. Boulders devour the barren land and every extra inch is filled with temples and palm trees.

8 Things to Do in HAMPI: Jurassic Park and the Flintstones

I think I need to hire a ghostwriter to explain centuries-old Hampi, because I know I can’t do this place justice. If you feel like skipping my awesome intro (you really shouldn’t), I have listed half way down the page eight things to do in Hampi during your trip.

hampi karnataka india boulders

It’s like walking on a movie set or as if you’ve teleported back in time. The GIANT boulders scattered around Hampi had me day-dreaming about dinosaurs jumping around on them while the palm trees swayed overhead. The mass quantity of intricate towering Hindu temples on barren sandy land had me envisioning Shiva wandering around having a smoke.

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders

Hampi is a UNESCO world heritage site in Karnataka, India, about 7 hours from Bangalore or 10 from Goa by overnight bus.

Getting to Hampi by flight: I do all my flight bookings these days on Kiwi. It is the BOMB and searches all the budget airlines plus gives you a free flight if you miss a connection!

Unlike Stonehedge, where the attraction is in a small area,  the entire town of Hampi is the attraction. Hampi is sort of in the middle of nowhere. We chose to drive during the day instead of taking a bus so that we could see the jungle. If you’re not comfortable with either of those options, Viator offers a private 2-night tour from Bangalore. 

Signs warned us not to pee on the side of the road, you know, in case a tiger gets us.

One can spend hours in the hot sun taking a rickshaw from temple to temple or hire a guide to tell you about each one. We saw a parrot hiding up in one of the temples. You’ll walk through the mazes of boulders (the ruins of Vijayanagara) wondering how in the hell this all came to be (apparently volcanoes and erosion).

The hills and boulders surrounding Hampi made for a great hideout for Kings of Inda’s past. Many battles were fought here, and many important words from India’s rich history were written here.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/fraboof/2126305341

It’s known to have once been the home of Lord Rama. You’ll see the Queen’s baths, Narsimha statue which is my favorite all carved from one stone, the chariot of the Vijaya Vittala temple, and, just a short walk up, the giant Hanuman statue.

In the center of town is the impressive 49-meter tall Virupaksha temple, the only temple to have its own elephant!

Hampi is said to be the Vanara Sena, or Kingdom of the Apes, which as Hindus believe, is where Lord Rama fought in the Ramayana.

hampi karnataka india bouldersplease excuse the excessive mushy gooshey-ness… we’d only known each other a week at this point!

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders

When you’re done on the Hampi Bazaar and Kamalapuram (two entry points) side of the river, where all the boulders, temples, markets, and other city life exists, retire to the other side of the Tungabhadra river to sleep in peace in Anegundi.

hampi karnataka india bouldersbus station and Bazar

8 things to do in Hampi!

1. Taking the taxi boat across the river to the “hippie” side of Hampi, Anegundi.

This is so you can take part in drum circles, dread-lock making, and whatever other hippie nonsense. This way you’ll be on the side of the reservoir and be able to experience the quiet of Hampi.

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders2. Staying in a cottage on the rice fields.

We stayed at Shanthi Guesthouse which was 12,000 for 3 nights, although I think we could have negotiated better had we not been fairly intoxicated the majority of the time. That price included breakfast and laundry and was in December at peak season (when rates are doubled). The cottages are along the rice paddies and you are GUARANTEED a badass view of the greatest sunset of all time from a swinging porch bed.

If you want another option for where to stay in Hampi, I have also stayed at Mowgli Guesthouse which is pretty identical and has similar reviews online. They have the same exact view from the rooms. I’ve noticed they now are both called “Vista rooms”, as well as many guesthouses in Hampi, so I guess some company has bought out a bunch of guesthouses?

The service wasn’t great. It’s the view that counts, so I don’t think it’ll matter. Hampi doesn’t have a lot to offer for accommodation so these are your best bet. If you want to stay in luxury in Hampi or to stay at an eco-resort, there are options for that too.

When my parents came, these were booked and nothing else looked appealing so we stayed 45 minutes away at the Hyatt, which was in a unique workers complex. Previously, I have also stayed out at the Sloth Bear Resort, which is part of a National Park and you can, as you might guess, see Sloth Bears on safaris.

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders3. Rent a bike and finally learn how to drive one!

Take a tour up the empty winding paths to the reservoir. No one will be around so you’ll have all the space you need to learn to drive. Take time to get off and photograph the locals, village life, and the fields. I might have driven the bike straight into a wall the very second I got in control of it. Woops.

hampi karnataka india boulders

guide to hampi

guide to hampi

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders4. Go cliff jumping, but watch the crocs!

There are signs up for possible crocodiles, but we never saw any and everyone there was swimming. Locals said there aren’t any in the lake, only the river. You’ll see a group of people laying out near the main cliff, and if it’s empty that day, ask a guide where people jump. The water isn’t clear, but people jump from this same place for years! It was HIGH and FUN! If it scares you, jump off the smaller bridge instead.

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders

5. Bathe/Get blessed by an elephant

Of all the things to do in Hampi, this might be the best. Lakshmi gets her bath every morning; she is the temple elephant. You’ll have to wake up early, but your hotel will sort it out for you. You can see the old “elephant stables”, yes just like we use for horses, at the Lotus Hall Complex.

6. Enjoy views from Matanga Hill after all your temple sightseeing.

Be sure to hire a guide so you can learn! For example, the statue of Ganesh (who is my favorite god!) has a snake around his stomach. The guide/driver shared that it was to keep him from eating too much food! You’ll see lots of domestic tourists that are on a pilgrimage to Hampi, and they may want photos with you which is okay.

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders7. Enjoy a fresh coconut and sit in the grassy shade to relax at Lotus Mahal.

hampi karnataka india boulders8. Hire a Karnataka boat and driver to take you out in the lake. Go for a swim!

The boats are traditional fishing boats for the state and are made from trees and tar. Maybe even buy the boat, like we did. I mean, who doesn’t need a small circular boat in Goa? Ben truly has used it for fishing. When I went out on it in Mandovi river it sunk a little.

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india bouldersBen buying the boat

Tips For Visiting in Hampi

  • Can’t go to Hampi, if you can’t get into India. Yes, you do need a visa, even if you’re only here for a short time. It’s super easy, and you can get it right on iVisa.
  • Don’t forget to get some travel insurance! Especially if you’re going to do some of the more adventurous activities. I always recommend World Nomads, and you can even easily get a quote on my sidebar or going here.
  • Check out all places to stay in Hampi here.
  • For cheap domestic flights, compare on Kiwi.
  • If you need a phone while in India and you can’t use SIM cards, try out Trabug.
  • The bus stop is also a small market.
  • Don’t forget to see both sides of the river.
  • Don’t go in the hottest months (April and May) as sightseeing will be unbearable.
  • If you want to stay on the same side of the river as I did, do not drive there, it’s a huge wrap around. Instead, take the taxi boat across.
  • Don’t forget the taxi boat which takes 3 minutes ONLY goes across during the day until 5 PM and there is NO way to the other side after, except driving over an hour (yes, we had to do this). If it’s late at night you’re bound to get lost in the jungle like we did.

If you want to take a tour in and around Hampi these are the cheapest and best options I found with Viator, a brand I trust and have worked with in the past:

  • Two nights in Hampi, coming from Bangalore. Bangalore is a hub for travelers in South Goa, so you could do this tour to get there and back then head onward. 
  • Aihole, Badami, Pattadakal – I HIGHLY suggest you do this! I think these were as cool if not cooler than Hampi. You can see them all in one day. Links to information about these places are below.

For more Posts on Things to do in Hampi

What to Wear in Hampi

Pin “8 Things to Do in Hampi” for later!

2017-07-10T04:32:54+00:00

About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing to live on the beaches of Goa, India almost four years ago where she is now a travel writer. Her website gives advice on the 35+ countries she's been to but has become the go-to site for India travel, focusing on offbeat places & “glamorous travel”. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE magazine, Tripadvisor, and Thomas Cook. Her blog is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world based on traffic. She also enjoys writing for BravoTV.

45 Comments

  1. Justine September 1, 2014 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Hampi looks freaking awesome! Ah, any place I can wander around on a motorbike is a little bit like heaven for me. Especially when I don’t have to worry about driving into a wall ;) And that cliff jumping looks so fun! Great photos!!

  2. Emily September 1, 2014 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Hampi is definitely on our list! We fly into Chennai at the end of September and have a couple months to travel around India. Would you say Hampi should be visited around the time we arrive (early October) or towards the end of our stay (late November)? We also plan to hit Goa, so if you’re around it would be great to meet up!

    • Rachel Jones September 2, 2014 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      It could rain in early October so I would for November because of that – BUT November will have a little bit higher prices (as it is everywhere in India though!) Goa is best to avoid until last in your trip because October is still dead here! Actually I’ll be in Hampi in October :) I have some plans I’ll announce next week!

  3. Empty Rucksack September 1, 2014 at 11:49 pm - Reply

    You have to really tell us now, how many people work for you? One person cannot write so many articles at such a pace :-P

    • Rachel Jones September 2, 2014 at 4:15 pm - Reply

      hahahaha now this must be the ultimate compliment! lol I wish I had someone working for me. In the next month my site will be posted on less though, I have a trip to karnataka coming up and basically also am running out of material! Lol

  4. Rachel A Davis September 1, 2014 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    I so wanted to visit Hampi when we travelled around India a few years ago, there just wasn’t enough time to see everything. Plus it was getting to mid April by the time we headed south, it was getting too hot to bear!

    I’m definitely heading back to India, and I’m definitely going to Hampi.

    You certainly gave it a good amount of justice, it looks amazing! ;)

    • Rachel Jones September 2, 2014 at 4:16 pm - Reply

      You’re right April is SOOOO hot here!! It’ll be a good place to stop at next time you’re here though.

  5. Laura September 2, 2014 at 9:54 am - Reply

    It looks beautiful. One of the photos looks straight out of Indiana Jones. Also, I love your dresses in these photos!

    • Rachel Jones September 2, 2014 at 4:16 pm - Reply

      Thank you- they are sold at all the tourist places (so I don’t wear them in Goa anymore so the shop owners don’t up the prices on me!) but they are like 200 rs I think? Good deal!

  6. Camels & Chocolate September 2, 2014 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Wow, I would have expected this place to be in Jordan or elsewhere in the Middle East, not India!

    • Rachel Jones September 3, 2014 at 3:07 pm - Reply

      It’s a shocker, huh!? It’s so funny just driving through thick jungle from the beach and ending up here… I was like seriously this can’t be real.

  7. Prasad Np September 3, 2014 at 9:22 am - Reply

    A very comprehensive post on Hampi and you cover a lot in a single post. I have been to Hampi and stayed in the same Shanti guest house, it is kind of a hippie magnet. You are so right Hampi the whole town is worth a visit and photographing….

    • Rachel Jones September 3, 2014 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      Thank you Prasad, how cool you stayed at Shanti too! it’s one of my favorites, I loved the swings out front.

  8. Sophie September 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    O my gosh! This looks incredible! I want to go to India someday, so badly. Looks like you’re living the dream, darl! xx

    • Rachel Jones September 3, 2014 at 3:03 pm - Reply

      It’s such a wonderful place! Thanks for reading :)

  9. Dani September 5, 2014 at 6:00 am - Reply

    This makes me want to go back to Hampi so bad!! Where can I read more of the story of the boy?? :)

  10. Becci September 5, 2014 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    Oh my gosh I have never wanted to go to Hampi so much as I do right now! I didn’t realize there was a hippie side to it.. Looks so freakin gorgeous! And I love the ” The mass quantity of intricate towering Hindu temples on barren sandy land had me envisioning Shiva wondering around having a smoke.” Awesome

    • Rachel Jones September 6, 2014 at 2:21 pm - Reply

      Thanks chica! it’s such a cool place. I’m going back in october and also december I’m taking my parents!

  11. Renuka September 27, 2014 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    Now I will travel to Hampi and the credit goes to you!

    • Rachel Jones September 28, 2014 at 12:05 am - Reply

      Well maybe you can meet me there! I’m going back with goMowgli end of October THEN taking my parents there in December!

  12. T-roy September 29, 2014 at 6:00 am - Reply

    I forgot how I ended up on your page (I think I was reading another travel blog and seen a comment you made, then checked out your blog and see you are currently in Goa).

    Anyways, really dig reading you thoughts and posts on Hampi. I was there in 2011 and stayed in the Goa area for a few months. I went to Hampi on my own when I decided to leave Goa and finally see the rest of India. Hands-down, Hampi was my favorite place in India! It was so cheap, as I think I was spending about $4 per-day for a private room with bathroom, another $5 a day for a bike and fuel for the day and other then needing about $3-$4 to eat I was good to go. I just meet some really great locals there when I stayed there for a week plus. Best part for me was just renting a moto bike and driving around all day, getting lost and randomly walking into temples I seen. If I return to India, I plan to spend a month there this time and just relax, as the place is so laid back, chilled and a paradise for me to do photos. I came away with some great shots while there, if you want to see any you can here at my blog: http://foggodyssey.com/?s=hampi ).

    Anyways, loved ready all your Goa and India post, brought back great memories :)

    • Rachel Jones September 29, 2014 at 7:40 am - Reply

      Thanks for sending that- I’m going to have a look now!

  13. Franz Nemet October 3, 2014 at 2:33 am - Reply

    hello together, just came to this webside by chance. I stayed in Hampi together with my wife the first time in 1981, after that in 1984 and it was wonderful, nothing but nature, no electricity, we lifed at the house close to the bus Station in the rocks and I remember the Boom Shankar Tchai shop, there was this very friendly guy, Subramani-baba with his Family.hope I can come buck some time……….. Love Franz

    • Rachel Jones October 3, 2014 at 7:17 am - Reply

      how cool is that!!? funny how you can remember the small things:) awesome

  14. Franz Nemet October 3, 2014 at 11:24 pm - Reply

    Hello Rachel, thank for writing me back so quick. Well I remember a lot of those times ,because for me they were paradise.I was looking for the simple life just like the Indians lived.There were only 2 tchai-shops, the boomshankar were we met the other 5 western People for over a month,onthe first curve when you go down to the river and the shiva tchai shop about 500 meters situated in an old temple close to the river, there were no parties and nothing we used to play guitars and small drums , exept of us everything was quiet, we had to find our way back home in the absolute darkness, and we went to sleep around 10 o clock because there wasnt any nightlife and nothing to do but smoke and making love, we been on honeymoontrip for half a year, where we travelled about 12.000 km from the north to the very south.Enough story for tonight, see you , love Franz

  15. Travellingsisters December 11, 2014 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    Reading your post brought back our childhood memoirs when we had visited Hampi along with our parents! its such an amazing place!

    • Rachel Jones December 15, 2014 at 1:38 pm - Reply

      Wow that’s so cool. I’m taking my parents in about 1.5 weeks!

      • Ajay December 27, 2014 at 3:33 pm - Reply

        Awesome.. n nice picture.. n how is it during new year??

        • Rachel Jones December 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm - Reply

          not sure, but heading there again tomorrow AM so will see! almost everythign was booked

  16. Sheena January 7, 2015 at 2:38 am - Reply

    Those boats are called coracles!

  17. Tushar February 11, 2015 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    FYI
    Talking about Hampi, there’s a movie called ” The Pilgrimage ” , here’s youtube link http://youtu.be/CZ5Cx2EStQc, the movie explores adventures of few climbers from US & the time they spent exploring Hampi

  18. Deepashree January 13, 2016 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    You have a new Fan <3
    Just rightly put across about Hampi!

  19. Tytas January 18, 2016 at 11:46 am - Reply

    Hi, I am tytas, a doctor from new delhi. Heard about hampi few days ago and looked for it in google but found your website/blog more interesting. So how actually you felt about it? You are really enjoying the hippie part of your life? :)

  20. Nishad February 4, 2016 at 11:50 am - Reply

    Hey Rachel. A very nice read. My excitement level just doubled up after going through your blog. I’m actually leaving tomorrow for Hampi. Cheers ;)

  21. Tom Carden May 11, 2016 at 7:02 am - Reply

    Very well described! Your post makes me wish I’d spent far more time there. 2 nights just wasn’t near enough. And my own post is subsequently more lacking in detail!

    Wasn’t aware at all about swimming in the lake.. I’ll have to stay on the other side of the river next time.

  22. hantravelssolo March 17, 2017 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    Hey Rachel, love the post and making me want to Hampi from Goa in a couple of weeks. Will April be totally insufferable haha? Would I be a complete fool to go then?

    • Rachel Jones March 19, 2017 at 8:52 am - Reply

      It will be hot and isn’t the best time to go but there will be less crowds and you can plan to do the sightseeing bits in the early am – it’ll be okay!

  23. Rajesh April 25, 2017 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the awesome article. How about visiting hampi during June end or July beginning?

    • Rachel Jones April 25, 2017 at 11:46 pm - Reply

      Hey Rajesh, I haven’t been at that time, but I don’t see why not.

  24. Ganesh August 14, 2017 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    Planning to visit Tarkarli, and Devbag beach as a backpacker from Mumbai in Sept 2017. Any opinions or recomendations?

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