Hostels started making their way to India just a few years back. That’s still quite a fresh concept on the local market and there are hostels who decorate themselves differently or market themselves in an interesting way to stand out. As a person who has worked in a residential interiors field for a while in India, I’m genuinely interested in ways to plan out and decorate living spaces. In India, good interiors is a luxury, partially due to the limited space that is planned for a living space and because of the certain planning limitations that I haven’t seen in other countries so far.
Knowing the local reality in India, I’ve recently started thinking where would I like to stay? How would a great room look like? What should be there in the common area and other spaces? How does a place reflect the local culture? I started my journey with Rajasthan as, I think, it’s a great state to dive into the architecture and cultural heritage.
The palaces of Jaipur, lakes of Udaipur, desert forts of Jodhpur & Bikaner, tigers at Ranthambore National park, and grand Desert in Jaisalmer are few of amazing things to visit. I’ve made up my list of places that look great to stay for a while. Note, I’m not assessing the quality of service provided in each of the hostels below, but rather looking at their theme, interiors, common areas (because it’s quite challenging to socialize in India while traveling solo), which activities the hostel organizes and overall offerings of the place. Hostels are not placed in a particular order.
Bunkstop is one of the newbies of the Hostel world, but it has already got many great reviews for its service. It was started in 2015 as a youth-centric hostel for backpackers and adventure tourists. They give the option of mixed dormitories, female dormitories (called Fashion Bunky!) and private rooms. Tariffs start here from 350 INR for dorms and 1200 INR for private rooms.
It has most of the European hostel facilities of common kitchen, personal lockers, free wifi and multiple common areas with the variety of games and books to enjoy. To savor the views of the Pink City in the evenings and mornings, their terrace seems to be a perfect place. They also have tied up with bike rental company, where you can hire a vehicle starting with a bicycle to a Harley Davidson for a day.
CrashPad is neither a hostel nor a hotel. They came up with a new term which is a combination of both – a Hostotel. It claims to be India’s first chain of hostotel, an offering clean as a hotel and cheerful as a hostel. They found quite unique and interesting way to brand them. So 10 points for creative marketing to them.
It started in late 2014 and has its hostotels in Jaipur and Jodhpur as of now with plans to expand to Udaipur, Pushkar, Agra, Goa and beyond India as well. More than 70% of the visitors coming to Crashpad are foreign tourists, making it a perfect hostotel for solo international travelers.
Crashpad has the amenities of a fun hostel and a comfortable hotel. Free wifi, common kitchen, board games and library are part of this hostotel. Their Jodhpur Hostotel also offers Village Safaris, taking guests on a village tour, showcasing life and culture of villagers of Rajasthan. A plus point for sharing the local culture :).
Le Pension Jaipur
Le Pension is also a recent entrant in the hospitality industry. Started in 2014 in Jaipur it has set an aim for itself to provide travelers a place that they can call a second home. I liked the hand-made touch in its interiors that adds to a homy feeling. Being located in the modern residential colony of Jaipur, the safety factor for solo girl travelers also increases. They have a roof top café Machaan that became a popular hangout place for their guests because of the cool ambiance.
With tariff for dorms starting at 350 INR with complimentary breakfast it does provide value for money for solo travelers. It has most of the facilities of any hostel like free wifi, community kitchen, common room with games and books, and an open terrace.
Moustache Hostel Jaipur
They have 2 branches, one in Delhi and another one in Jaipur. They have game rooms to play, gardens to relax, a community kitchen for the guests who love to cook along with the basic requirements of high-speed Wi-Fi, hot shower, lockers etc. They also provide a travel planner in case you are not decided where to go and what to visit. The dorm prices start from 700 INR for Delhi hostel, and from 450 INR for Jaipur Hostel. These hostels are very well located in the heart of the city in posh areas.
Bunkyard Hostel Udaipur
Would you like to stay in a hostel with a lot of character? Like having speakers in washroom connected with Bluetooth to make you sing and dance while taking a shower? Then Bunkyard is a hostel for you. Another thing that sets this hostel apart is a beautiful wall art in every nook and corner of the hostel.
They have got one of the best reviews from almost all the guests who have stayed there. Tariff for their dorms start at 450 INR and they also offer private rooms. They have all the fun things for a hostel – common rooms, community kitchen, café, free & fast wifi, and most of all quirky graffiti all around. Also, the location of the hostel is quite amazing, with the view of the lake.
Backpacker Panda Hostels Udaipur & Jaipur
Backpacker Panda is a new hostel brand making its mark in Rajasthan. They already have their hostels up and running in Udaipur & Jaipur, and have plans of launching in Jodhpur as well. Beyond Rajasthan, they have a pretty famous hostel in Goa as well.
They have European-style hostels, with 24-hour reception, large common areas, game room and a community kitchen. Dorms start @299 INR, which is very reasonable, especially for a solo traveler. They also have a nice rule for a group booking for maximum 6 people. This gives a possibility to a solo traveler to gain a community feeling in a hostel because big groups generally take the entire common room to their ransom. They also provide cycles on rent in Udaipur for riding around the lakes and slowly imbibing the beauty of nature.
Last but not the least, Zostel is here. It is not only in Rajasthan but in all of India and has recently gone international. In Rajasthan, it has got the deepest penetration with hostels in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, and Pushkar. Though competition is coming up in Jaipur and Jodhpur, it is still one of the top choices for Jaisalmer and Pushkar if traveling alone.
Credit for bringing hostel culture to India has to go to Zostel. Since coming of Zostel, the trust of backpackers has increased in hostels in India. The tariff for dorms is also reasonable starting @ 350 INR in some of the hostels.
What about you? Do you know other interesting and budget places to stay in Rajasthan? Has any of the hostel/guest left a special memory in your experience?