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.
Love the idea of traveling India? Before I visited, I didn’t do much research and couldn’t find a lot online 6 years ago – now, that is different and I have 1000’s of blog posts as well as an India Guide ebook you can download to plan out the perfect trip. No FOMO, haha! Read more about my book here.
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 Uttarakhand. 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.
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!(Thursday, March 1, 2018, 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. Eat scrumptious Tibetan foodlike street momos in Dharamsala. 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.
- Try locals thalis in every city you go- it’ll give you a taste of what each state’s 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?
Spent time in rural India, backpacking where no one goes!
- 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 its own- even having its 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.
PS: If you’re coming to India and will spend a week of more in Goa, check out my ebook the Insider’s Guide to Goa. After five years of living here, I’m sure this 170-page book is the most comprehensive guide to Goa on the market. Click here to buy it.
Spend time in the famous “pink city” of Jaipur. Bathe an elephant.You can do this mostly in South India (Goa, Kerala, Karnataka).
- 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 Kumbh 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
Take art classes and learn to paint traditional silk work. Take an overnight sleeper class train. It’s horrible and wonderful but absolutely something you have to do in India.
- 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.
Explore the very FAR Northeast of Indialike Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. PS check out the video I made about my 10 days in this area: Click here.
- 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.
Learn massage and reflexology. I became a certified Thai Yoga massage therapist in India! 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. Hang out with monksin the Tibetan areas of Arunachal Pradesh and eat momos all day long!
- Go rock climbing. I know this is big in India and would love to get a chance!
Try a trout from the River Gangain 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 Lamaand learn from him in McLeod Ganj where he 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 Hampithen spend the night sleeping next to a paddy field. Hampi is my favorite place on earth. Try traditional yoga. I have taken a variety of Indian yoga classes and it’s very different from the USA. If you want to try, use bookyogaretreats.com for retreats and bookyogateachertraining.com for teacher training courses. It is the most legitimate site out there.
- Go to Nagaland or anywhere in NE India and
experience a tribe of India. Have lunch at the Golden Temple in Amritsarand 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. See the last remaining Indian one-horned rhinoswhich are going extinct if we don’t do more to protect them. They are in Kaziranga National Park in Assam. 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.
- 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 the 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” Cruise down the backwaters of Kerala “God’s own country” in a houseboat. Perhaps one of the most famous things to do in 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.
- Take a horse ride on the beach. I have no idea where you can do this but it sounds fabulous
Stay at an Ashram. I did this in Rishikesh. It was a little touristy actually.
- 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 techniquesthat 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. Buy incense and silk in Mysore– it’s famous for both (turns out I don’t have a minimum of 12,000 rs for a silk sari! lol)
- 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.
- 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 Mahalat sunset and get that “perfect” photo… then bolt before the crowds come! Take a cooking class.Decide if you’re interested in learning North or South India or wait until Goa and cook with coconut and make less spicy curries. Look out at the breathtaking “blue city” of JodhpurFrom the top of Mehrangarh Fort Ride a yak in the Himalayas. 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:
feature image: Auro Beach, photo source flickr