Ten days after graduating college I left my life behind and embarked on a four month backpacking trip around Northern India. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. While I was mountain trekking in a remote part of the Himalayas I met a local who came from generations of friendly travel guides. That was nearly three years ago. Now we’re married and help others plan customized trips to Northern India, in particular the Himalayas. Here’s the comprehensive guide to trekking in Indian Himalayas. Get lost with us, not in a guidebook!
Trekking in Indian Himalayas – Where is it?
The Indian Himalayas stretch along the northern border of the country. China is across the border to the north, Nepal to the east, and Pakistan to the west. Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh are our two favorite states in the North. Both are nestled completely in the Himalayas and have experiences to offer travelers that can’t be found anywhere else on earth.
Trekking in Indian Himalayas – When is the best time to go?
The busy tourist season for Northern India is the summer (May-October). July and August are the busiest months. This is because in the summer months Southern India becomes unbearably hot. The higher elevation of the Himalayas result in cooler temperatures than those found in the flat plains of Southern India.
The off season is an excellent time to travel here (November-April). The cost of travel in India is already very budget friendly, but in the winter you can get unbelievably good rates on accommodations. It’s not uncommon for rooms to be priced at half of what they are at peak season. Because less people travel to Northern India during the off season, you’ll also get a better sense of the local culture, just dress warmly.
Trekking in Indian Himalayas – What is there to do?
The top warm season attractions are mountain trekking, motorcycle trekking, and extended backpacking. A basic daily budget of $10 US is common, and a budget of $7 US or less is achieved by some hard core travelers. If you have more money to spend, you can live quite luxuriously for rates hard to find anywhere else. If you want to do mountain trekking or rent a motorcycle your costs may go up, but are still very reasonable.
You can mountain trek in the colder months, but fewer guides offer packages. There are also snow sports. Probably the best thing this part of the world offers during the winter is isolation. It is harder to travel though, so plan to dig in at one place and live like the locals. If you’re an artist, we provide basic accommodations during the winter just for the cost of living so you can focus on our craft.
Trekking in Indian Himalayas – Best Places to Trek
There are so many places we’d like to recommend. If you have a least a month, we recommend traveling around the whole region. The Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh, the high altitude desert of Ladakh, and the majestic Valley of Kashmir are the three top locations. Between them you’ll experience what seems like three completely different countries all in one!
Can you do this on a budget?
India is on all sorts of lists for top places to travel on a budget. Here are some rough ideas for what to expect during the busy season:
|Accommodation/ Food:||$7-$20 US per day (on a budget)|
Flight Delhi to Srinagar: $75-$150
Bus or shared jeep: $25-$50
Local sightseeing: most places don’t have fees, and if there is a fee it’s very reasonable. You can choose to pay a guide, befriend a local, or just strike out on your own.
Mountain Trekking (gear rental and guide):
$25-$50 per day
The price will go down per person for groups over 2 people. This is because a tent, cook stove, and other necessities have to be brought regardless of party size.
Motorcycle Rental (gear also available):
$25 per day for a 250cc Royal Enfield
|Other: permits, handicrafts||varies, but rates are reasonable|
About Backpackers Kashmir
Hey, I’m Christina! My husband and I are down to earth travelers that split our time between the United States and India, traveling to new places together whenever possible. Both of us love traveling because it reminds us to never stop learning. If you’re ever in Northern India or the Western United State hit us up – we’re much better than any guide book anyway! So far we’ve been all over the United States, India, Southeast Asia, and are planning to start traveling more in Eastern Europe and South America very soon!