Room For One
From getting in touch with yourself to forming lasting friendships, here's what you can do if you are travelling alone in India.
When you want the sea, not the crowds, a quick trip out of Mumbai does the trick. Alibag has been a favourite weekend resort for Mumbai folks for years with its Mediterranean vibe---white bungalows, blue waters, white sands and beautiful sunsets.
During the week, of course, it is even better as there are no crowds and you can have the beach to yourself. Take long walks by the water, swim, read, enjoy the balmy sea air and heal your soul. Afterwards, you can go out and enjoy the town. The Kolaba Fort is a popular attraction. To indulge your adventurous streak, try the water sports at Kashid beach, about 30 km away.
Stay at: The charming homestay Mango Beach House, about three hours from the Mumbai airport
Kabini Forest Reserve, Karnataka
Apart from safety issues, a perceived sense of boredom often stops people from holidaying on their own: What will I do? Who will I talk to? Who will I share my experience with? A trip to a wildlife park can be a rewarding experience with yourself. A typical day at any wildlife park in India starts at 5 a.m. with a morning safari, and ends at 10 p.m. with dinner--by which time you are ready to sleep on your feet.
Wildlife lodges are designed to keep you busy with events and screenings, and safaris into the park are always in groups of six to eight. At Kabini Forest Reserve, you can do much more, thanks to the river Kabini---go on a coracle ride, opt for a boating tour or a boat safari, or just flood Instagram with photos of you revelling in the scenic beauty.
The best part of a wildlife holiday is that you meet like-minded people from all over the world and end up not just with thrilling memories but lasting friendships as well.
Stay at: Evolve Back Kuruba Safari Lodge, Kabini, by the river's edge, five hours from the Bengaluru airport
Not everyone wants to go on a holiday to find a quiet escape. Some of us like to party! If you are one of them, Shillong is a great choice---a place where even 10 years ago clubs were frequented by single women or groups of single women. A safe and fun-filled option, especially for solo female travellers, Shillong is definitely north-eastern India's party capital: Cloud 9, Tango, Deja Vu and similar hotspots in town offer weekends of music, dancing and fabulous local food and drinks.
Spend the day exploring the region's immense natural beauty, starting with the Umiam Lake just outside the city to Cherrapunji, only an hour's drive away, once the rainiest place on earth.
Stay at: The Heritage Club -Tripura Castle, about three hours from the Guwahati airport
Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Travelling solo in north India, especially for a woman, may not be as easy as in other parts of the country, or at least that's the common perception. Another safe bet then is the good old queen of hill stations, Shimla. Overcrowded and over-built as it is, Shimla still holds a special place in our hearts. When travelling was not so fashionable, people from all over India went to Shimla to celebrate everything from honeymoons to summer holidays. Its continued popularity means you will never be really alone here!
Stay at a hotel that's away from the crowded city centre and spend your days exploring the region. Glen is a forested area nearby, where you can go for walks and enjoy a picnic lunch. Head to the iconic Hotel Combermere on Mall Road to tuck into a continental meal and gaze at the south-western Himalayas. Find your own walking trail or ask the hotel for suggestions---Shimla is all about walking in the shadow of the mighty Himalayas and breathing in fresh mountain air every day.
Stay at: Suro Treehouse Resort, a boutique hotel an hour away from Shimla