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Out of the Ordinary Trip Ideas for India

Here is a resource for anyone traveling through anywhere in India, to give truly unique ideas of things to do while in India.

We know how to use TripAdvisor. We all got a Lonely Planet book. So what else do we need to plan a trip to India? Thousands of people have access to the same things, which means places recommended become overgrown with tourists, and other places get lost in the mix. Lonely Planet? Some of those places mentioned in those books have become the Overcrowded and Touristy Planet (Lonely Planet books can still be a good resource, especially for transportation, customs, lodging, and eateries). 

Forget guided tours, “cultural” shows, and pricey packages. We want real India, the good side of it anyways. That goes for everywhere we are traveling to

One of our own ideas is to work at a tandoori kitchen in the Punjab. Or work a half day with dhobis, admiring their hard work as laundrymen in open air laundry cleaners, surrounded by colourful saris and other clothes laying out to dry. We also thought about exploring the obscure, forgotten and lushly forested state of Arunachal Pradesh. Not only see, but experience is what we strive for. These are the kind of ideas we are looking for from you who have experience. 

This is a forum for experienced backpackers and especially local Indians to suggest out of the ordinary travel ideas in India to help other travellers looking for unique suggestions. We hope to use some suggestions in future YouTube videos while travelling throughout India from May-August 2016. This is our first time, even though we have lived so close in Nepal since 2014. But this resource will help anyone searching the Internet for unique trip ideas in India. 

Some of the highly rated comments in the comments section will go directly into this article as it is updated periodically. But all the ideas are for you to skim through at your leisure. 

Thanks for your help on making this a useful resource!

If you are new here, stop by our YouTube channel and subscribe if you like it (we think you might).

PLEASE LEAVE YOUR TRAVEL IDEAS FOR INDIA BELOW! And for those browsing, let us know which ideas you find the most innovative. Especially let us know if you’ve tried these suggestions yourself.

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44 Comments

  1. Nathan & Danica
    30 March, 2016 at 3:03 pm Reply

    We welcome any comments, look forward to your suggestions. Thanks for giving your suggestions here as opposed to our YouTube channel.

    • Binit Nepali
      31 March, 2016 at 12:42 am Reply

      well recently i watched your videos on you tube and i get kinda pure joy from them and you guys are doing great job and i must appreciate that from the bottom of my heart not because i am Nepali or you’re in Nepal its because personally travelling for me is like passion if it is new place or the places i love and i have been .
      so India huh? the country is great and of course places and cultures are amazing and spiritual and no doubt you will get to see some bizarre things over there and you will love it but the important thing is the locality in India , though it is similar in many things with Nepal but its India and it is large country. i would like to suggest you to visit India with one Indian guide with you because safety comes first and then places and in my view you will love India except the two states and they are Bihar and UP, as per my personal experience in these mentioned two states you wont get any thing fruitful to your journey except the pathetic people and their rude and conservative behave towards the tourist..

      best wishes
      thank you 🙂

  2. Jennifer
    31 March, 2016 at 4:57 am Reply

    Spend the day with the Dabbawallas!

  3. Ayush pokharel
    1 April, 2016 at 1:02 pm Reply

    I would suggest you to go visit Punjab which is one of the unique states in India. The capital city Amritsar is most interesting place to visit. Here,the biggest tourist spot is the golden temple which is the holly place for Sikhs. What is unique about this place is that it is entirely made of gold and is really amazing place to visit.Here in Amritsar you can taste world famous Punjabi dishes and cuisine.Another interesting place is Janeu wale bagh which is place related to Indian history. Here during the British rule,there was a massacre of Indian people and is a very important place for indians and the place is still there as a momorial. Near to amritsar one can reach Indian Pakistan boarder where you can go see a very interesting parade.

    Then another state I would love you to visit is sikkim.It is a very beautiful place where you can enjoy cool weather and view mountain ranges. You guys might not believe that about 90 percent people in this state speak neplai and you don’t fell like you are in Nepal. It might sound weird but its fact.Although December is best time to visit sikkim but still it’s a wonderful tourist place where you can even do paragliding. Sikkim is a big state and tourism spots are widely spread in every far directions. Places like newly made Char dham is amazing for Hindus and other temples like shai Mandir and a buddist statue( don’t remember the place) are interesting. But the most interisting of all is tsomgo lake and zero point which is India China boarder and these two places are the most beautiful place to vist in a good season but right now I don’t know cause it’s only beautiful when it is snowy. Also there are lot of waterfalls and view point of mountain ranges. If you wanna visit this place it might be costlier and you’ll require tourist permit every where in this state.

    Another interesting place is Cherrapunji(don’t remember the state). If you are going to visit India in comming monsoon season then I would love you guys cause it’s best time to visit there. What’s unique of this place is it is the most rainy place on earth,yeah you heard that right “on earth”. And this place is sooo sooo beautiful. The place’s geography and all. Beautiful hills and mountains. And waterfalls full of water which makes this place most beautiful at monsoon. Nearby is the city called shilong and is really beautiful place where you can spend your nights.

    There are other many places that I have visit other than southern India and Mumbai. I would suggest you to visit New delhi,kolkatta, even banaras is interesting. But there are security issues and as you know India is never a safe place to be as a tourist. People will always have eyes on you. Plan well and travel safe guys and have a wonderful trip.

    Your subscriber,
    Nepman

    • Nathan and Danica
      1 April, 2016 at 2:12 pm Reply

      Awesome suggestions, thanks very much. Stay tuned, I think we will use a few of your suggestions on our coming trip!

  4. archana
    2 April, 2016 at 12:15 pm Reply

    Arunachal Pradesh is a must. It is one of the seven sisters or a part of North East India. It is unlike any other state. Visiting Punjab is a good idea. Doing seva at the golden temple, Amritsar is recommended. Would recommend Kerala too ..I don’t have any references or guide books but this is on my check list too.. Hope you have a memorable stay. In case you need any assistance while you are in New Delhi feel free to email. I am a Nepalese living in new Delhi for a decade now
    ..all the best.

  5. Angeline
    4 April, 2016 at 9:26 pm Reply

    If you guys love nature Darjeeling in the state of West Bengal, Ooty in the state of Tamil Nadu, Coorg in the state of Karnataka and Wayand in the state of kerala are some of the best places.Don’t see much travellers exploring the southern part of India. It would be awesome to see you guys travel and experience the southern culture and cuisine of India.

    • Nathan & Danica
      5 April, 2016 at 8:33 pm Reply

      Thanks for all the suggestions! Currently on the way we’re mapping our route for this time around, we will definitely do Darjeeling. Heard about Ooty, the others we’ll look up. We’ll have to do a southern trip, maybe include Sri Lanka, that’s a great idea, and very true that it is not as thoroughly explored as the main thoroughways between the major cities. Thanks, Angeline!

  6. John Kauhako
    7 April, 2016 at 9:05 am Reply

    This might be a little out of the ordinary, but when I first went to Nepal in 2004, there were snake charmers performing right outside of Thamel. Found out these guys were from India. I was totally mesmerized and the guy asked if I would like to take a picture with the cobra around my neck. It was pretty cool. Fast forward to several trips there after 2004 to when my wife came with me in 2009. Of course we had to visit Thamel at least once because she was a first timer. Well the snake charmers weren’t there anymore. I’m hoping to be able to experience this again. If not in person, then through You two. So, my suggestion is a snake charmer performance followed by actually holding the cobra. I wouoldn’t think it would be too hard to find one in India (just an assumption) Aloha!

  7. Raj
    9 April, 2016 at 12:04 pm Reply

    If you plan to visit south India, I recommend Hyderabad /Telangana. I am actually traveling from US to Hyderabad in Sept! I would’ve loved to meet and take you to places that no travel agency or lonely planet would list! I have been watching your Nepal videos for few days and you seem to like to immerse yourself and experience local culture. There are lot of villages around Hyderabad that are reachable by road or public transit. Any of those village folks ( mahbub nagar, adilabad, Warangal, kareemnagar, districts have small hamlets and villages) farming and raising live stock is way of life. If you are lucky, you may get to see a traditional Telugu wedding (unlike Bollywood movie weddings, trust me!). Ugh! Ideas and thoughts are running faster than I am able to type this on my iPhone! Anyways, if you actually have an itinerary to hit Hyderabad, email me. I might be able to put you in touch with my brother to help any logistics. But if your plan takes to other places, I really wish you the best of travels and can’t wait for the videos and your experiences….. 🙂

    • Nathan & Danica
      9 April, 2016 at 10:39 pm Reply

      Now, how our trip is looking, we will have to stay more north, only going as south as kolkata. We may go through Bangladesh if we can afford it, we want to take our motorbike through there. We will have to save south India for a totally separate trip. Thanks for the great suggestions, they will be very helpful! Hope you enjoy the videos soon to come!

      • Raj
        11 April, 2016 at 12:21 pm Reply

        Oh boy! On your motorbike? That sounds amazing but do check on RTA regulations (Same as DMV). I am sure you probably already looked into it. Safe travels! Excited for ya!

        On a side note, Loved the video Danica making the mooli achar. Could you do a follow up video on how it turned out?? Curious!

        • Julia Watson
          28 December, 2016 at 1:57 pm Reply

          Udaipur is the one of the most visiting place in Rajasthan. Udaipur is also known as which is also known as “City of Lakes“, or “Venice of East”. Udaipur was the old capital of Mewar Kingdom, situated in southern region of Rajasthan, near Gujarat border. This city is fully covered with Aravali Range. Climate of Udaipur is sultry type and stay quite moderate throughout the year. It was a puzzled situation for me to choose where to go, because of so many attractive places to explore. I can still feel the aroma of Gulab Bagh (Sajjan Niwas Garden) as there were so many innumerable species of roses. Udaipur City Palace, Lake Palace, Jag Mandir, Monsoon Palace, Jagdish Temple, Fatah Sagar Lake, Lake Pichola, Saheliyon Ki bari, Udai Sagar Lake and many more eye catching places were beautiful enough to steel people’s heart.

  8. Srinu Jupalli
    9 April, 2016 at 1:00 pm Reply

    India is very diverse in traditions, cultures and has very beautiful places. Every state has it’s own story and beauty. I suggest you to explore Kashmir, Taj Mahal in Agra, Varanasi, Rajasthan, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala.

  9. Raj
    9 April, 2016 at 7:34 pm Reply

    In any of the small Indian villages see if you can learn to make earthen pots (for drinking water). You make it on a wheel and burn in a kiln! Awesome experience. Also see if you can make a video while planting paddy (rice) in a field and manual harvest (thrashing). Love to re-live old memories through your videos!

    • Nathan & Danica
      9 April, 2016 at 10:35 pm Reply

      Awesome ideas, just the kind of things we’re looking for. Thanks Raj!

  10. rupak
    10 April, 2016 at 5:59 am Reply

    Hey Mate,

    You can try eastern India. Its a beautiful place and my family live there. If you travel south, give me a shout if you need any assistance, I stay in south (Hyderabad). You can also try Kerala, another beautiful destination. Thanks.

    Rupak

  11. Deepak Dharmangadan
    13 April, 2016 at 7:32 am Reply

    You should visit Kerala India. I have no comments. This FaceBook page explains you everything. https://www.facebook.com/keralatourismofficial/?fref=ts

  12. Sid
    15 April, 2016 at 1:35 am Reply

    Isha Yoga centre in Tamil Nadu! Really is the amalgamation of 15000 years of Indian tradition and culture, located in the Western Ghats and at the foothills of a mountain, in a jungle! I think it would be a great experience. They’re doing superb work in transforming people’s lives so you guys should certainly check it out even if it isn’t “video material”. But certainly in terms of the culture of the land, whatever was built in the Indian region over thousands of years is right there.

    I hope that you’ll give it a quick glance, if nothing else. Anyway I really enjoy your videos, they’re funny and informative and a great way to pass my time haha. Keep ’em comin’.

  13. Jeff
    19 April, 2016 at 2:45 am Reply

    You guys seem great, and are living my dream! Congratulations! A documentarian friend of mine says the Ramana Maharshi Ashram in Tiruvannamalai is wonderful, if you are going that far south. On my list would also be Rishikesh and some off-beat places along the himalayan Ganges. Ladakh while in the area. Honestly, I could make a page of places I’d like to visit. From the Ajanta Caves to the erotic temples! Some good documentaries, if you haven’t seen them: Hindu Nectar, Bones of the Buddha, Empire of the Spirit, The Story of India. Namaste and safe travels!

  14. Andrea Xenidis
    21 April, 2016 at 1:30 am Reply

    I just recently started watching you videos. They are excellent!
    A visit to Darjeeling may be fun. Perhaps working or touring a tea plantation.You are so close.
    Have fun, Andrea.

    • Nathan & Danica
      22 April, 2016 at 6:23 pm Reply

      We’ll will definitely do Darjeeling, probably start with it. Thanks!

  15. Adya Parashar
    27 April, 2016 at 6:30 am Reply

    If you plan to travel in the North, I would definitely recommend going to Gangotri and a little village near it called Harsil, high up in the Himalayas. Harsil was largely untouched when I went there about nine years ago, and even though the place might have been some development, I have yet to meet people who claim to have been there or even heard of the place.
    Hope this’ll be of some use. Keep making amazing videos and good luck with your travels!

  16. Gatam Lakshman
    1 May, 2016 at 10:01 pm Reply

    Guys. I am a big fan of your videos. I love your trips. If you want to be real adventurous and want to take up challenges in your life, come to Kerala. Here, there is a small mountain peek which belongs to the tribal people. India tourism allows entry to these places only with a permit which you can obtain. Still, there is a particular seasonal entry for it. Don’t worry. I will figure out the season when entry is permitted. I live here in the capital of Kerala. There are more attractions here. Scuba Diving! The Kovalam beach experience. There is a place which people don’t consider as a tourist point but… it is worth a visit. It is a place where elephants are brought up. And about trekking… Ponmudi

    • Gatam Lakshman
      1 May, 2016 at 10:05 pm Reply

      Hey.. and if you are visiting Kerala, Do contact me. I can help

    • Nathan & Danica
      4 May, 2016 at 7:23 am Reply

      Thanks Gatam very much!

      • Gatam Lakshman
        12 May, 2016 at 12:44 pm Reply

        You are welcome ! I am excited to see you down here! Happy Journey and Welcome To India 🙂

  17. Jhuma Bepari
    3 May, 2016 at 8:46 pm Reply

    Hi, I am basically from West Bengal India. And I brought up in Andaman & Nicobar Islands. From my personal experience I can suggest you two Places.
    1) Andaman & Nicobar Islands. There you can visit Port Blair, Havelock(This is a must visit Island), Neil Island , Mayabunder for fishing experience. When you visit this Islands you can experience the daily life of interIsalnd local people connecting with mail island ie port blair by ferry and you can also have commercial fishing experience.
    2) Loleygoan, rishab & kolakham in Darjeeling district.Please read the below link for more information.
    http://krishnandusarkar.com/a-holiday-at-lava-lolegaon-rishap-kolakham/

  18. Sirapa Shrestha
    3 May, 2016 at 9:55 pm Reply

    Visit Kerala which is in south India. you will find bunch of things to do there for sure 😀

  19. Dhwanee Shah
    16 May, 2016 at 8:09 pm Reply

    Hello,
    I have been watching your youtube videos and have been enjoying them. Some totally off beat places which I would tell you in four parts: North India, South India, East India, West India.
    1) North India: You need to visit Sikkim, Pelling, Yumthang (from where you can go to Valley of flowers.. it is an amazing trek). Kashmir too has its own beauty but i am not sure about visit to small little villages due to military issues. You guys have to do the HImachal to Ladakh by road in north india. You can go to chandigarh and directly leave for manali. On the way you shall pass Kullu valley, Mandi. Then from Manali you take the Manali Leh highway and take one of the most scenic highways in India to reach Leh. It should be open around July-September so get your permits in advance and enjoy this. You can also stay as a local in Shimla or some nearby place. These mountains are absolutely beautiful.
    2) East India: Manipur (visit Lohtak Lake..is the largest freshwater lake in North -East India is famous for the phumdis floating over it. Keibul Lamjao the only floating national park in the world.)… west bengal is a unique beautiful city where locals are sweet. If you go to Meghalaya you need to take a boat ride on Dawki river. If you visit Cherapungi.. then visit Mawsmai Caves which is formed due to extreme rainfall and also visit Living Root Bridges.
    3)West India: Visit Rajasthan as it would give you a unique cultural experience. In Gujarat visit Rann of Kutch (white sand desert), Godhbandar (which has a beautiful road that goes parallel to the sea) and Saputara (Learn about the rich tribal culture of this region). There are some fun trekking places near Mumbai (Bhandardara.. where you can talk with the adivasi people and also trek one of the highest peak in maharastra).
    4) South: Many beautiful places in South India. There are many home stays near Bangalore where you can stay at the tea estates. Kerala you need to stay and visit the back waters. Tamil Nadu has beautiful beaches and famous temple tirupati… Orissa is rich in culture too!
    Hope you have fun in my country and would love to meet you guys if u happen to come to mumbai.

    • Nathan & Danica
      17 May, 2016 at 7:38 pm Reply

      Thank you very much for all of that info! You went all out! We’ll try to visit some of the places that you mentioned, a number of them were on our list already!

  20. Jackie Clements
    20 May, 2016 at 3:41 pm Reply

    Good luck for your trip. I have travelled a bit in the regions of north and north east India. Off the beaten track destinations that might be great this time of year (depending on monsoon road limitations) – Sikkim > the area of south west > Tashiding, Yuksom, Pelling etc, there is trekking around there but not sure if at this time of year. Beautiful peaceful hills and Buddhist Monasteries. Arunachal Pradesh is tough – long trips in jeeps over rough roads, but really rewarding locations. I was there in January last year and it was soooo cold, but you will be much warmer.Get your permit through a travel agent, not a government agency, if you like I can send details of a guy. Nagaland is worth a visit, you can visit Konyak tribal villages in the north, and meet some old tattooed men who were once headhunters. Majuli Island in Assam is a great place to recharge. Living root bridges in Meghalaya a must see, you can stay with locals in Nongriat village, ask around for Sam and Vernadine, they will look after you. Was in Bangladesh a few years ago, Nathan may want to get some long pants, it is quite conservative. The people are extremely friendly. I wrote a blog on Bangladesh trip (incomplete), and North East tribal states http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/jackiesee/1/tpod.html and feel free to get in touch if you’d like more info. I’m off to Nepal at the end of the year, havent been since 2008, so having fun looking at your YouTube clip 🙂

    • Nathan & Danica
      20 May, 2016 at 8:16 pm Reply

      Hey, thanks so much, Jackie; very helpful and great suggestions!!

  21. Ran Bhowmik
    31 May, 2016 at 9:08 am Reply

    If you are landing in Delhi,you will probably do Delhi,Agra,Jaipur.Ladakh,Rishikesh,Varanasi are interesting places worth visiting in the north.In the east,Kolkata during Durga puja festival in October is amazing.Darjeeling and Sikkim are places to visit in the east.Must do Goa and Kerala in the southwest.
    Some advice for backpackers-Never take advice from touts or auto drivers.Buy your rail tickets from the main railway booking office in the major cities under foreign tourist quota.Tickets are always available for tourists under this quota.Doctors and medicine are easily available,so no need to carry those.Buy tissue paper before you head out of the cities.
    Drink bottled water.Always stick to fresh hot food if you want Street food.Avoid road side ice in your fruit drinks.Carry a hat in summer.Use mobile apps like TripAdvisor and makemytrip.com for accommodation and flight tickets.Book prepaid taxis at the counters present in airports and rail stations.Mobile apps like Ola and Uber are convenient to move around in the cities.

  22. K Ghale
    5 June, 2016 at 9:27 pm Reply

    You should try visiting ‘Bhulbhulaiya’ in Lakhnau.

  23. Nagahoto Chophy
    8 June, 2016 at 4:34 pm Reply

    Came here to suggest some places but Dhwanee and Jackie has mentioned all i was about to mention. 🙂 Yes northeast is a good idea, its a different India, not like the India that most of the foreigner think of.Have fun, will be waiting for your videos.

  24. Kunal Sutar
    2 March, 2017 at 1:31 pm Reply

    Thank you for this great advice.

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