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India for Solo Female

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1. Posted by nataliep (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y

Hello, I am a 28 year old American woman traveling to India by herself next month. I will first be arriving in Mumbai and then I am unsure of where to go from there. I would like to see Varanasi and some of the other spiritual old cities in the North during my trip, but I've read that it can be dangerous for women traveling alone in these areas. Any suggestions on where to go, how to be safe, but still avoiding tour groups and where to stay in Mumbai on a budget and wherever else is suggested. Thanks, I'm kind of at a loss on this one.

2. Posted by arif_kool (Travel Guru 1757 posts) 8y

Hello Natalie:),

Since u will be in India in the month of May, it would be quit hot in most parts of the country but fortunately rains will still be a month away:)

Spend a few days in Mumbai, u can get decent n affordable accommodation in the Colaba area.

Once u have finished Mumbai u have two options:

1. Either move north and cover the state of Rajasthan(which has famous cities like Jaipur, Udaipur, Ajmer, Pushkar, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer which have lovely palaces and forts) . Also the places in North India which are not to be missed are Agra(Taj Mahal), Varanasi, Delhi and if u like the hills then head straight to Himachal pradesh which has beautiful and cool hill stations like Shimla, Manali, solang valley, Dharamshala, Mc Leodganj. U can continue further north to Leh, but i doubt the road from Manali to Leh will be closed in May. If u want to visit Leh in may, u need to fly from Delhi.

2. If u decide to move south from Mumbai, u can reach Goa which is an overnight journey from mumbai. Goa is famous for the beaches and typical Goan cuisine. Then moving on to South india, which is famous for the beautiful temples,places not to be missed are Madurai, Mysore, Chennai, Tanjore, Hampi. What i recommend the most is to visit the State of KERALA, which is called the God's own country. This state has a number of backwater cruises to suit every budget. In Kerala, the traingle of Munnar(hill station), Thekkady(wild life reserve) and Alleppy(Centre of backwater activites) are not to be missed.

Regarding internal transportation, where long distances are to be covered, it would be preferable to take the ariel route. Various low cost airlines have come up during the past few years. Some of these are:
www.airdeccan.net
www.goair.in
www.goindigo.in
www.flykingfisher.com

U can prefer train/bus for shorter distances. Train tickets can also be booked online at www.irctc.co.in

As u mentioned it is true that some of the religious places in north have become dangerous for solo female travellers, so if ur visiting Varanasi just be careful and make it a point not to visit the various Ashrams that have come up. Additionally, take the following precautions:

1. Dont hang out too late at night, especially in isolated places
2. Dress modestly
3. If ur lost and need help avoid middle-aged men, seek help from women or elderly people

Hope this helps

Do let me know if u need more info:)

Cheers
Arif

3. Posted by Harry668 (Budding Member 30 posts) 8y

Hi Natalie,

Good to know want to travel north and specially some spiritual places.i appriciate the efforts of arif for 1st two para that is well said but totaly disagree with last para he has written I clearly want to mentioned here that either he has less knowladge abiut the whole country or just made to appricaite to south only.

As he described it is not safe to travel solo female to north India like Varanasi and Bodhagya(would like to mentioned) because most of the rape and assulting cases happens in either Goa,mumbai or kerala and this is just going on.

I never heard a single case where tourists get it in trouble either at Varanasi,Lumbini,kushinagar,Bodhagaya,Nalanda,Rajgir or Vaishali.It's true that some people like arif aor the media just show negative article about north east states like UP,Bihar,W.B or Assam and I am agree that there is some things going wrong internally but that is not connected to general public or tourists.

I would suggest to visit this way:-
Mumbai
Delhi
Agra
Varanasi
Lumbini
Bodhgaya
Nalanda
Kakolat the cold water fall
Rajgir
Vaishali
Patna-Delhi-Kolkata-Himachal for hill stations

Even survey shows that people from these areas are more kind and humble than anyother parts of the country.Read the below blog of the lady written about these places and people:-

http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/19577/a-Royal-welcome-Gaya-2

Arif hope from you too to suggest the right things bout any place and have the through knowladge about the place.if needed visit the place and see the situationa and the people of the area.
the three things which arif already written apply everywhere in India

1. Dont hang out too late at night, especially in isolated places
2. Dress modestly
3. If ur lost and need help avoid middle-aged men, seek help from women or elderly people

4. Posted by arif_kool (Travel Guru 1757 posts) 8y

Quoting Harry668

Hi Natalie,

Good to know want to travel north and specially some spiritual places.i appriciate the efforts of arif for 1st two para that is well said but totaly disagree with last para he has written I clearly want to mentioned here that either he has less knowladge abiut the whole country or just made to appricaite to south only.

As he described it is not safe to travel solo female to north India like Varanasi and Bodhagya(would like to mentioned) because most of the rape and assulting cases happens in either Goa,mumbai or kerala and this is just going on.

Its a pity that u didnt understand what message i wanted to convey to Natalie. I hope ur aware that tourists from the Western world come from a different culture where they have a considerable degree of freedom and they are used to it and of course u must be aware of our culture where people will rip off a female if given a chance.

I never asked her not to visit north India, i just asked her to be extra cautious as she is travelling alone. What is wrong if i adviced her to be careful.

Try to get a complete picture and think from the tourists angle and not from a travel agent angle. We are here to help each other to have a hassle free travel experience.

Hope u understand Harry:) and for ur information i have travelled the length and breadth of India

5. Posted by rajuindia (Budding Member 22 posts) 8y

India is a safe country, many single womens has been travelled with us without any problem.
No body can touch you till you don't want. Everything is depend on you.

6. Posted by Harry668 (Budding Member 30 posts) 8y

Do you ever ask the travellers to be extra careful going Goa or Kerala where crime hapenining with these foreigners......

you could have mentioned(about Bihar) in other way too .......but you don't want that way....Isn't it?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6263984.stm

[ Edit: Edited on Apr 23, 2008, at 3:02 AM by Harry668 ]

7. Posted by arif_kool (Travel Guru 1757 posts) 8y

Quoting Harry668

Do you ever ask the travellers to be extra careful going Goa or Kerala where crime hapenining with these foreigners......

you could have mentioned(about Bihar) in other way too .......but you don't want that way....Isn't it?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6263984.stm

Chill Harry

If the traveller is a solo female, my advice to be careful is always for the whole of India, not for any specific region. I have given the same advice in so many of the previous threads.

8. Posted by mim (Travel Guru 1276 posts) 8y

Personally I think Arifs advice was very sensible, I was travelling with two friends but spent a lot of my time alone. I dressed covering my arms and legs and didn't have a ny trouble. My friends however on a trip without me wore vests and shorts and got a bit of hassle, it may be coincidence but personally I think it has a little to do with attitude.

If you get a chance to get up north to the foothills it's really lovely and would be particularly interesting at the moment with whats going on in Tibet.

mim

9. Posted by arif_kool (Travel Guru 1757 posts) 8y

Quoting mim

Personally I think Arifs advice was very sensible

Thanks Mim for coming to my rescue:)

some of my fellow countrymen are gunning for me

[ Edit: Edited on Apr 23, 2008, at 5:02 AM by arif_kool ]

10. Posted by Harry668 (Budding Member 30 posts) 8y

Cool Arif not over pleased......if you read my response I too praised you for the moderate comments.....But it doesn't mean I won't say the truth.....where it needs...:)

You mentioned above dangerous(Is it more than Kashmir even more tourist eage to go or Pak....)......Is it really????

Think again Hope you get the answer yrself.......

Any way nice to be here

[ Edit: Edited on Apr 23, 2008, at 5:24 AM by Harry668 ]