Going travelling to India soon? Struggling to know where to stay and want some tips? Accommodation in India can be vast and varied, exotic and colourful, luxurious or basic and as with anywhere; it can be really good or pretty bad. We experienced a range of accommodation in India; From the luxury end hotels with rooftop pools where the staff don’t let you lift a finger, to budget digs with rats, bugs, water fleas and only a hole in the floor as your toilet to share with the rest of the guest house (Not that we mind that!)
In this post, I’m focusing on our top budget backpacker guest houses in Mumbai, Rajasthan and Kolkata. The below prices are in Indian rupees, at the time of writing 100 rupees is equal to approx £1.20/ $1.50.
Fort Rd, Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer 345001
Rated 5/5 on Trip Adviser. We paid: 350 rupees per night for a basic double room, private bathroom.
After a long night bus that had me clenching onto my stomach at every bend as we both got rolled around whilst squished into a coffin sized box to sleep in, I was so relieved that Aladdin of Nomad’s guesthouse, was there waiting for us on arrival, followed by a delicious breakfast on their rooftop.
For just over £3.50 a night, we were shown to a basic but lovely private double room with no window but a private bathroom (cold water, squat toilet). It was certainly basic but it was clean, decorated traditionally and comfortable for the budget traveller. Another plus of this guesthouse, Aladdin can organise camel trips for you which takes you deep into the Thar desert where he grew up as a child. We didn’t get to experience this unfortunately due to being very sick (see below) however many backpackers shared their experiences with us on the rooftop and it sounded an experience of a lifetime.
Unfortunately, on the first night as I lay in bed listening to the sound of drums playing from a local band performing beautiful music on the rooftop, I started to feel ill. I had developed a nasty virus which would take me on a week-long almost deathly journey of cold sweats, shakes, fainting and many trips to the squat toilet. Aladin and his team were fantastic and provided me with plenty of water, extra blankets, offered to take me to hospital and even let us use a device to heat up a bucket of cold water for me to wash with warm water in attempt to wash away the virus.
When I eventually recovered enough to leave the room, I joined Shaun on the rooftop in enjoying some of the fantastic local meals which were prepared by the hotel restaurant.
This guesthouse can be booked online in advance, we used Hostelworld.com.
Overall, this guest house is great for:
👍 Atmosphere and scenery
👍 Great staff who can arrange a much raved about camel trip to the desert
👍 Fantastic local food
Rated 4/5 on Trip Adviser. We paid: 150 rupees a night for a double room, shared bathroom
This place certainly had a hippie / backpacker feel about it and there is no doubt about it that, this place seemed the most popular backpacker place in town. Offering double rooms from extremely cheap prices and extremely cool looking dorm rooms as well as a cafe and roof terrace, this place was flooded with backpackers; some of which had been here for months. It was a great place to be social and share stories and with private rooms as well as a dorm room it is highly recommended for the solo backpacker as well as couples.
On arrival, we were shown various rooms and had a choice starting from £1 a night (for a dorm bed). There are many floors and lots of rooms, we chose the cheapest double room, it was small and clean with a TV and shared squat toilet facilities and a shared cold shower. For just 150 rupees a night, it was the cheapest room of our whole trip!
To book this guesthouse, you can call in advance on +91 98283 55245 or just turn up and hope there is availability; which is what we did. It is very well signposted and all the tuk tuk drivers know the place.
Overall, this guesthouse is really great for:
👍 Excellent value for money
👍 Social with lots of backpackers
👍 General atmosphere and traditional decorations
3 Stuart Lane, Near Sudder St, New Market Area Kolkata 700016
Rated 4.5/5 on Trip Advisor. We paid: 700 rupees per night
This is by far the best accommodation in the popular ‘Sudder Street’ area of Calcutta. We didn’t call in advance and there was only availability for 1 night on arrival, so we actually looked around most of the other guest houses in this area, and for pretty much the same price as this one- they were NOT nice and quite honestly, pretty scary. The double room we stayed in at Hotel Galaxy however was clean, with a TV and private bathroom which even had HOT WATER. The owners were really lovely and luckily they managed to find space for us for another few nights! 🙂 there is also a small social area to chat with other backpackers. Just make sure to book and call in advance on +91 33 2252 4565, or you might find yourself in a grimy rat ridden room elsewhere!
This hotel is great for:
👍 Great location next to Sudder Street
👍 Excellent cleanliness
👍 Value for money
1/49 Kamal Mansion Arthur Bunder Road | Arthur Bunder Road, Mumbai (Bombay) 400005
Rated 4/5 on Trip Adviser. We paid: 1200 rupees per night for a triple room with window and then 900 rupees for a twin room no window, once available
If the name doesn’t give it away, this pleasant hotel is very close to the sea in the popular area of Colaba in Mumbai. The hotel is near the top of a high building, so be prepared for lots of steps on arrival. However don’t be fooled by the exterior; slightly grimy looking from the outside, and above the famous ‘India Guest House’ where the price is the cheapest in town and the bedroom walls don’t reach the ceiling (although we would have stayed here if Seashore was full) we found that Seashore hotel is the best budget option in this area of Mumbai, although there wasn’t much of a social area apart from the reception area.
We stayed in a triple room with window, TV and shared bathroom for 1200 rupees per night and on our final night we stayed in a cheaper twin room with no window for 900 rupees per night. Both rooms were clean and very comfortable even if one did seem to have a hole in the wall; these prices were extremely low for a city with such expensive accommodation.
Reservations are highly recommended, to book a room contact the hotel on: +91 22 2287 4238
Overall, why we loved this hotel:
👍 Great value for money
👍 Excellent cleanliness
👍 Great location in Colaba with sea views
Please note: The above prices are of Feb & March 2014
If you have any questions about any of the above or looking for further advice on budget guest houses in India, feel free to drop a line in the comments below!