A Solo Travel Guide For Visiting Dharamsala, India
There is often a fear for any solo traveler to brave India on their own. Dharamsala is actually a very safe place to travel if you are alone. Everything you will read will tell you it’s safe here. The bus ride from Delhi is an overnight 11-hour drive. You can also take a train to Pathankot and then a 2-hour drive. Be aware though that this train is packed full and it’s not easy to get a seat. The last option is flying to Gaggal which is the nearest airport.
A few things that other solo travelers have mentioned no matter where you are in India is to not use taxis arranged by hotel staff because they’ll often charge you more. Most taxi drivers are going to offer you a fair price when you speak with them one on one. If your biggest concern is paying a little more for a taxi than you should, it’s a good indication of the safety aspects of visiting Dharamsala. Here are some things that will help you on your way to having a fantastic stay in this beautiful, spiritual area of India.
Booking Your Stay
It’s important to book your stay in advance. You’ll want to do some serious internet research to find out where the safest places to stay are. There are guest houses that may service the more hippy vibe or the party culture so you want to ensure you end up with the right group of like-minded people. If you are doing yoga in Dharamkot, you will probably have accommodation included so you don’t have to worry about looking for anything else. You’ll be safe and sound within the confines.
The Benefits of Solo Travel
One of the nicest things about traveling on your own here is that you don’t have to set up a particular itinerary. You can eat when you want, visit the Dalai Lama’s temple, go exploring in nature, and stop for tea whenever it suits you. Ask the guest house or resort you’re staying at what you should see. There is plenty of Buddhist cultures you can submerge yourself in. There is a must-see Tibet museum, plenty of temples, centers that host the art and culture of Dharamsala and so much more.
Go on a Walk About
It’s safe to walk around on your own here and this allows you to get a true sense of the place. There are marketplaces where you can buy all sorts of things and it allows you to be a part of the daily routine. There are many little cafes in Mclead Ganj (Upper Dharamsala). You can spend hours here taking in life. There is a cafe at the Green Hotel that offers lounge sofas and books. It’s a great place to meet people or to just read all afternoon. Plenty of tourists like to hang out here that are happy to tell you what you can’t miss here. The nature of Dharamsala is very community oriented so it’s likely you’ll find a tribe of people to do things with here.
Yoga in Dharamkot
Dharamkot is a hippie village in the Himalayas that is close to Dharamsala. If you’re in Dharamsala and love to do yoga, you shouldn’t miss out coming here. Yoga in Dharamkot is a great way to meet other like-minded people. Yoga here is truly authentic and you’ll feel safe and secure everywhere you go. It is less crowded here than in Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj. The village retains its quaint charm and is a great place to start a variety of incredible hikes such as Triund, Indrahar Pass and more. Once you’re here, you’re going to meet people heading out on hikes every day. Ask to join them so you can go off into the wild with others. Dharamkot only has a single road that leads to it. The road stops at the famous cafe, Trek and Dine. It then becomes a narrow pathway. You can take this road and walk around to take in viewpoints, waterfalls, and treks. Doing yoga in Dharamkot will be another level experience. Nature here is inspiring. During your 'downward dog', you’ll hear a myriad of birds and feel that spiritual vibe. If you are a solo traveler, this is a highly recommended area to visit.
Taking a journey to India on your own will probably make you feel excited, and a little intimidated. Heading out on your own is a thrill because you have a spaciousness to you. The world is your oyster and whatever you feel like doing, you can do. You are anonymous and you have the opportunity to meet and deeply connect with people. There is a beauty to traveling alone and it’s even better when you arrive at the right destinations. Dharamsala is one of those places. You’ll feel protected, at peace, and at home here right on arrival.