There’s a lot of talk out there about the dangers of India for women and much of it is misguided as I hope this blog helps you see! If you decide to come to India, it will end up changing your life… I mean, hell, I ended up staying!
I wrote a load of tips in this article: 14 tips for solo female travel in India! Here are a few more tips and places to go to make sure as a female in India you come prepared and ready to explore with little to no hassle.
5 little tips for female travel to India
- A great way to immerse yourself in Indian culture is to make friends with local women. A great way to do this is by taking a cooking or dance class. Learn to make your favorite curry or take a traditional Rajasthani dance class in Jodhpur, the famous “blue city”. You can even take art classes in small hidden towns like Pushkar.
Bonus tip: Don’t be offended if they seem a little judgey. They may tell you you are too fat, too thin, too tan, or need to oil your hair… it’s just the culture to be so honest I suppose!
- If it’s your first time to India, you might find that you are more comfortable outside the hustle and bustle of big cities. In the mountains, Manali is peaceful and everyone speaks English. You’ll find the same in Pushkar (the zenned out hippie haven of Rajasthan), and Anjuna, Goa- the beach paradise of India. Big cities like Bombay and Delhi will be more stressful to a first time visitor so it’s great to try to meet a friend in these cities and not travel alone, although solo travel is possible if you have a high stress tolerance. 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.
Bonus tip: On your first trip to India, when you land (most internationally flight come in the middle of the night), have a hotel arranged and a car to pick you up to avoid too much culture shock on your first day.
- It’s important to dress within the social norms of India while you travel. In case you don’t have a salwar or sari lying in your closet at home (just kidding), you can pick up great clothes at Fab India. While it’s okay to wear a Sari to weddings and somewhere special to you like the Taj Mahal in Agra, they aren’t for everyday wear on westerners. Have fun with local designers like Goa’s famous Wendell Rodricks or Delhi’s Malini Ramani. Personally, I don’t dress in Indian fashion, but it can make things easier. Here are some do’s and don’t for how to dress in India.
Bonus tip: Indian housewives supposedly own 11% of the worlds gold and they love to shop. It’s a big part of Indian culture and a gold bangle is the ideal souvenir to remember this ultimate adventure.
- A great option for women who want to get off the beaten path is a tour bus instead of local transport. Companies like goMowgli are helping people see rural Karnataka. You can rock climb at Chamundi Hills or drive an ATV through the villages of the Western Ghats. This is a safe way to enjoy India’s wildlife and see rural off the beaten path areas of India that hardly any tourists make it to. Here’s a review of the tour I took. If you want a group tour that shows you all the hotspots in India I recommend G Adventures.
Bonus tip: Another great place to go off the trail is the Valley of the Flowers in Uttarkhand- somewhere only Indian nationals know about. A girl’s field of dreams, this gorgeous valley is only in bloom the month of July.
- Don’t think because you are in India you can’t have luxury experiences that some women crave. For each inexpensive option in India there is an equally opposite extravagant option. For great meals, try Go With the Flow in Goa or The Table in Bombay. Here are some of my favorite restaurants in Goa. Backpackers may not know of these places, but the wealthy locals savor each bite at these International style restaurants. Instead of 5 star hotels try something unique like a boutique heritage house Noi Varo. India will also offer some great massages, but know that Ayurvedic ones use a lot of oil which can be hard to get off. For a great traditional Indian spa experience, check out Indus Valley Ayurveda Center in Mysore, one of the best in the country.
Bonus tip: For the absolute best Indian fare, you need to get it on the street! A 5 rupee chai taste better than anything you’ll find at Café Coffee Day. You can’t just buy one 10 rupee egg puff in Kerala, you’ll want at least three- they are that good! Be ready to put on a few pounds. Although mostly vegetarian, Indian food is full of cream and butter. Here are some tips to prevent Delhi belly, and some tips for eating street food.
Excited about the idea of coming to India, but still feeling nervous? Here are some basic articles I’ve written to get you started in planning your trip.
- group tours in India I recommend
- You NEED to stay online in India to make life easier
- FAQ about India, answered
- Best itinerary for India
- WHEN to go to India
- Backpacking India budget
- 10 common mistakes people make when backpacking
- 20 common tourist scams in India
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