And just like that, 5 weeks in India went by faster than a blink of an eye. India was intoxicating, exotic, contradictory, heart breaking, abundantly uplifting, soulful. India encompassed the entire human experience in as little as a couple minutes. As much as I loved my time traveling across India, I won’t lie and say it was easy or I wasn’t terrified to go in the first place. I’ll write more on my fears about India soon, because I know it’s something that comes up a lot of with travelers, no matter how seasoned of a traveler you are.
For now, this blog post is here to serve as a quick snapshot of our itinerary through India and where we stayed in each spot. We spent just under 5 weeks traveling through Northern India and a little bit of the South. When starting to plan your trip, it may be overwhelming to narrow down where you want t go. But I promise you won’t want to cram too much in as it can take a good long while to get from place to place.
- Delhi – 2 days
- Rishikesh – 6 days
- Varanasi – 3 days
- Agra – 1 day
- Jaipur – 3 days
- Jodhpur – 3 days
- Jaisalmer – 1 day
- Desert – 2 days
- Ranakpur – 1 day
- Udaipur – 4 days
- Bangalore – 3 days
- Hampi – 4 days
Day 1 – 3 Delhi
We really only had 1 full day to see New Delhi, which we thought was plenty. We hired a driver for the day ($30 AUD) to take us around to see all the main sights. We’re not big city people, so we knew we didn’t want to spend too much time here.
Aashiana Gracious Living, Airbnb, $50 AUD/night – Aashiana is a great place to stay and is in one of the nicer neighborhoods of New Delhi. The staff were really friendly, just don’t let the owner rope you into doing work for him 🙂
Day 3 – 8 Rishikesh
We spent around 5 days in Rishikesh which was a good amount of time. If you aren’t into yoga & meditation, it may be a bit too much time. But there is loads else to do like hiking, waterfalls, white water rafting, etc. More on Rishikesh to come.
Sonu Guesthouse, $15 AUD/night – We’d highly recommend staying at Sonu Guesthouse. The staff were SO friendly, rooms were clean, AC worked a treat and all of the guests were super nice. I also loved practicing yoga on their rooftop. Location is great too! If Sonu is booked up, try Shiva Shakti Guesthouse.
Day 8 – 11 Varanasi
We spent 2 full days in Varanasi. We probably could have spent one more day exploring the outer regions of the city, but 2 – 3 days would be plenty. We met a couple who had 5 days in Varanasi and they were definitely over it by day 3. 100% recommend going on a half day tour with Manjeet from Heritage Walking Tours. He’s a bloody legend!
Kedareswar B&B, $67 AUD/night – We wanted to stay somewhere right on the Ganges, and this means paying a much higher price than you would farther back from the river. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t recommend Kedareswar. The rooftop they boasted of was lacking an awning or umbrella to shield yourself from the intense sun. The rooms had heaps of ants and they were definitely outdated.
Day 11 – 12 Agra
We got in around 5 pm and left the next day around 12 pm, and that seemed to be the perfect amount of time to spend in Agra. We wanted to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise, which is why we stayed for 1 night, as opposed to doing a 1-day tour from Delhi, which seems to be a popular option. We also visited a few of the sites around town after seeing the Taj, before heading off to Rajasthan.
Bedweiser Hostel, $16 AUD/night – We would HIGHLY recommend Bedweiser as a budget option. The private room wasn’t anything to write home about, but it is walking distance to the Taj, and the owner and staff are unbelievably hospitable and friendly. The food is also really great on their rooftop too 🙂
Day 12 – 15 Jaipur
Three days was plenty to see the highlights of Jaipur, but you definitely could spend longer to get a better feel for the city. I think if you’re on a really tight timeline, even 2 days could work. We took our time each day to see different parts of the city.
Madhav Guesthouse, $20 AUD/night – Madhav Guesthouse was one of the homeliest places we stayed in India. The owners were so helpful and friendly. The rooms felt like a room in your own home with English TV channels and hot water. And the rooftop was beautiful overlooking the city. Definitely try the owner’s sister’s cooking class too!
Day 15 – 18 Jodhpur
Again, 3 days was a perfect amount of time in Jodhpur. You could really do it in two if you needed to, but on our 3rd day we drove out to some of the rural villages and got to see some of the local artisans. So the extra day gives you the chance to see something beyond the walled city.
LG Paying Guesthouse, $15 AUD/night – We loved our time at LG Paying Guesthouse. It has arguably the best rooftop view in the city, overlooking all of the blue houses, located just underneath the fort. We made some great friends hanging out on the rooftop there. The owner and his family are so sweet. Be sure to grab a henna tattoo from his daughter 🙂 Also be sure to get a private room with AC. The rooms with just a fan are unbearably hot! It’s worth the extra couple bucks, I promise!
Day 18 – 19 Jaisalmer
If you are planning on going to the desert to go camping, you are probably planning to spend at least one night in Jaisalmer. To be honest, we could have just gone straight out to the desert. We didn’t find the area in Jaisalmer to be very nice, and you get hassled HEAPS inside and outside the fort.
Hotel Shahi Palace, $20 AUD/night – Despite our less than savory experience in Jaisalmer, Hotel Shahi Palace was a fairly nice place to stay. The upgraded us on arrival which was super generous of them. All in all, it’s a good place to rest your head for a night or two. The rooftop looks out directly to the fort which is lit up at night.
Day 19 – 21 Khuri Desert
Pal Rajah Desert Resort & Camp, $100 AUD/night – We highly recommend staying at least 2 nights out in the desert. There is an overwhelming amount of options to choose from when it comes to desert camping. We decided to stay with Pal Rajah Desert Resort & Camp because they offered glamping tents on the first night and then an overnight camel safari desert experience for the second night. We thought this was a great way to see the desert. You can read our full review of Pal Rajah here.
Day 21 – 22 Ranakpur
Since the drive from Jaisalmer to Udaipur is quite the trek (10-11 hours), we wanted to break up the drive and stop a few hours outside of Udaipur. Ranakpur came up as a hidden gem in the region so we booked ourselves one night. We wished we would have stayed one more night! There is so much to do there, and it’s a STUNNING area in Rajasthan, surrounded by lush green mountains. So if you have the time, definitely spend a couple days in this region.
Mana Hotel, $73 AUD/night – Mana Hotel was such a lovely change of pace from the guesthouses we had been staying at. Don’t get us wrong, we love the guesthouse vibes we got throughout Rajasthan, but there’s nothing like a little luxury after a couple weeks of showering right next to a toilet. Beautiful pool, restaurant, rooms. It’s worth the extra little bit of money to feel like a queen for one night!
Day 22 – 26 Udaipur
Udaipur was one of our favorite spots throughout India. It feels like a little European city with an Indian twist. It has some of the most spectacular views with huge mountain ranges and lakes scattered across, and some beautiful rooftop restaurants and hotels. We loved having 4 days to explore not only the city, but also the outer areas, like the farther away temples and lakes. This also allowed for a day or two of lounging around and enjoying the rooftops.
Panorama Guesthouse, $27 AUD/night – Panorama Guesthouse is a great budget-comfort option. They have 3-4 floors of private rooms, some with lake views, air-conditioning and a TV with english channels. The rooftop is really what makes the place so great. With views of both the lake and the mountains, you can sit up on the rooftop all day enjoying their delicious food and watch the sun set over the city.
Day 26 – 27 Bangalore
Local Uptown Hostel, $32 AUD/night – We had a long day of flying from Udaipur – Mumbai – Bangalore, and only needed a place to rest our eyes for a couple hours before driving up to Hampi. Despite only being at Locul Uptown for a couple hours, we knew we picked the right place to stay for a couple days when we come back after Hampi. Clean, comfy beds, delicious air conditioning (if you know you know), and great staff. Seriously, they checked us in at midnight and checked us out at 8 am. Rock stars.
Day 27 – 31 Hampi
Ahhh Hampi, the word’s most peculiar geography. It’s like a mix between Land Before Time, Flinstones, Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones. Words will never do it justice. We spent 4 days in Hampi, which we found to be plentyyyy of time. You can probably do it in 2-3 if you were pressed for time. If you really wanted to slow down and channel your inner hippie, you could stay for muchhhhh longer.
Heritage Hampi Resort, $76 AUD/night – We decided to go a bit posh for the time we were in Hampi, booking us in at Heritage Hampi Resort. I would highly recommend anyone to stay here. Each room is their own standalone, spacious villa. They have a gorgeous pool, excellent spa and mouth-watering buffet.
Royal Orchid Central, $41 AUD/night – After 2 days, Heritage Hampi was booked up, but we luckily found Royal Orchid just outside of Hampi. Royal Orchid is a gorgeous hotel, with some of the comfiest beds in India, for a fraction of the price of the luxury hotels in the area. It’s about a 10-15 min drive into Hampi.
Day 31 – 33 Bangalore
After Hampi, we had 2 more days to spend before our flight out of India. This was a good amount of time to see one of the cleanest, most modern cities we came across through our time in India. The first night, we went to a Literary Festival and Luxury Market at the JW Marriott. The second day we walked through the old town to the flower market. 2 days was enough for us, and most travelers don’t spend much time, if at all, in Bangalore. It was a good ending point for us.
Locul Uptown Hostel, $32 AUD/night – As stated before, we loved Locul Uptwon Hostel. The owner and staff went above and beyond, taking us on tours each day. The rooms were spacious, clean, great AC and showers. And the brekkie was basic, but yum!
So that’s it – Our 33 days in India wrapped up in a little review. We’ll be writing on our top tips for traveling through India soon enough. But we hope this helps you in any little way we can!