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Exploring Hampi as a Solo Traveler: The Complete Backpacking Guide

Hampi solo travel tops the bucket-list for most, if not all backpackers. The name ‘Hampi’ did not ring a bell for many travelers till the past some years. But as of late, this culturally rich village has become a favourite pick among passionate backpackers and solo travelers.

On your Hampi solo travel, make sure to feel the travel friendly vibes of this culturally rich yet modern locale. Hampi is actually a village that is set in Karnataka, on the banks of the river Tungabhadra in southern India. In my current blog, I will share my experience with all of you along with the budget required, places to stay, eat and visit for sightseeing.

An escape to the once magnificent capital of the Vijayanagar empire will prove to be a remarkable experience. You can expect to witness only the remains of what was once a prosperous site. Hampi is hence with due respect referred to as the ‘City of Ruins’.

Hampi is set in the backdrop of millions of ochre coloured granite boulders on a rugged terrain. Once you reach Hampi, you will realize that you are in the middle of nowhere.

The solitude of the place attracts backpackers and solo travelers from across the globe.

Also useful:

Travel itinerary from Bangalore to Hampi

Hampi Solo Travel 

Hampi solo travel is worth every bit, not just in terms of money, but also for the time that one would spend there. It is a unique destination for what it has to offer. The mammoth boulders and ruins of the temples and palaces are bound to set one wondering about the past of the village. It is for this reason that this locale is sprawling with travelers throughout the year.

I went on a backpacking trip to Hampi recently and fell in love with it the instant I landed there. I’m sure any passionate traveler planning a trip to Hampi will feel the same way.

Hampi solo travel Boulders and only boulders continue for miles around lovely Hampi. Picture credits: Shreya Doshi

Perks of Hampi Solo Travel and Backpacking

In case you’re wondering as to whether Hampi solo travel is a good idea or not, let me tell you – it surely is a worth it idea.

Let me elaborate on why is Hampi a favourite backpacking destination for solo travelers below.

The ‘Hippie’ Island

If you’ve heard of Hampi, you certainly know about the ‘Hippie Island’ or Virupapura Gadde.

Situated across Tungabhadra river, the place is home to the hippie backpackers, majorly foreigners. Hanging around in the Hippie Island will introduce you to like-minded people on your Hampi solo travel sojourn.

Walk, Hike, Bike

Hampi is spread across just 26 sq.km. and hence you don’t need a vehicle all the time.

The temple side of Hampi can be conveniently explored on foot. Your trip is incomplete without renting a bicycle or a moped to get around sites located just outside the village on your Hampi solo travel experience.

Camping in the Ruins

If you love camping, Hampi is the place to be in for sure.

Set up your tent on the boulders and spend the night star gazing. You are likely to find a large number of campers as it is a popular thing do in Hampi.

Top Notch Safety

Hampi solo travel is a peaceful adventure that will without a doubt calm your mind. You might not find a place safer than Hampi to visit in India.

Be it solo travelers or women travelers, one must be worry-free while on a Hampi backpacking tour.

Shoestring Budget

If you are looking at an inexpensive getaway, Hampi solo travel is your best bet.

Believe it or not, your expenses per day in Hampi will be a bare minimal. Spend the night in home stays, eat local food, hire a bicycle to move around – and voila, you’ve not hurt your pockets.




Now that you know as to why Hampi solo travel is a good idea, I’d like to share some essential travel information about the place.

The information is based on my own personal experience. It will be hugely helpful for first time travelers from India as well as abroad.

Ideal Time and Duration of Visit for a Solo Trip to Hampi

Hampi is hot and humid most times of the year. You will face scorching heat in summers owing to its landlocked location. Therefore, the best time to visit Hampi is between November to January, when temperatures are not soaring.

A place like Hampi is great for the laid-back souls who can easily spend over a week there. In case, you are on a time-crunch, two days are enough to cover the main places.

If you really want to uncover the hidden places in Hampi during your Hampi solo travel, I would recommend spending a minimum of three to four days in the region.

Location and Accessibility of Hampi

Hampi sits on the southern bank of river Tungabhadra in the south Indian state of Karnataka. It is almost equidistant from Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Goa, which are roughly about 5 to 7 hours away.

If you’re a passionate road adventurer, you can even visit Hampi from Mumbai via AH47. Hampi is a 13 hour drive from Mumbai. The roads are well maintained and the drive is scenic for a road trip to Hampi.

A recent development to promote tourism in Hampi is the introduction of direct flights from Bangalore to Jindal Vijaynagar Airport in Ballari district, 36 kms from Hampi.

The city nearest to Hampi where you disembark if you are traveling by bus or train is Hospet which is just 13 kms away.  You may take a local bus (15 INR per ticket and a 45-minute ride) or an auto (100 INR and a 20-minute ride) to get to Hampi from Hospet.

Hampi solo travel Ruins of an unknown site on the outskirts of Hampi. Picture credits: Shreya Doshi

Budget Places to Stay in Hampi

Hampi is not the place if you are hoping for a luxurious holiday. Plush hotels are available in and around Hospet but not in Hampi. Moreover, you are undermining your Hampi solo travel experience if you are not staying within the village.

Home stays in Hampi

You will find plenty of home stays and locally owned guesthouses in Hampi. They offer a basic room with a bed, fan and WiFi. A slightly nicer guesthouse might have a TV and AC in the room, but it’s a rare find.

Hostels in Hampi

As a backpacker’s destination, one might expect to come across hostels in Hampi. But the reality is that you don’t need hostels because you can easily get a private room at a minimal cost.

Guest Houses in Hampi

Top picks for guesthouses in Hampi on either side of the river are mentioned in the table below. The side of the river that you decide to stay in is a personal choice, as both have their own pros.

If you are on the temple side, you will see a village style-setting with narrow streets, local shops, more eateries and a higher number of locals.

If you are looking at a relaxed atmosphere with tiny huts and a great view,you should stay across the river.

I would personally recommend spending a couple of days on both sides.

Based on my own travel experience, let me share the names of some decent guest houses on either side of the river.

Guest Houses located at the ‘Temple’ Side of Hampi

Gopi Guest House
Rocky Guest House
Thilak Home Stay
Padma Guest House

Now coming to the other side.

Guest Houses located at the Other Side of the River in Hampi

Shanthi Guest House
Nargila Guest House
Hema Guest House
Mowgli Guest House

No place is good for travelers without good food. Right ? So it is important that you hit some decent eateries on your Hampi solo travel experience.

Best Places to Eat in Hampi

You can pick from a plethora of eating joints in Hampi.

Most guest houses on the temple side have roof-top restaurants. Guest houses on the other side have bigger restaurants over-looking the river, with an Indian-style sitting.

The food that you’ll be served will always be fresh, but might not be the best in taste.

Recommended Eating Places in Hampi

Israeli food is a common offering by most restaurants, and is a must try. Other popular cuisines found in Hampi include Indian, Kannada, Chinese and German.

Here is a list of the recommended restaurants in Hampi.

Mango Tree
Chillout Bamboo
Funky Monkey
Laughing Buddha
German Bakery

It is extremely crucial for solo travelers and backpackers to plan their budget in advance when it comes to exploring a new place. Hampi will come across as budget friendly to travelers from India as well as outside.

hampi solo travel The relaxed atmosphere of restaurants in Hampi on a typical day filled with tourists. Picture credits: Shreya Doshi

Budget for Hampi Solo Travel

You might have figured by now that Hampi is not a very fancy place. Hampi solo travel is more about local experiences, thus proving to be a cost-effective trip.

A three-day trip to Hampi can be planned in a budget of under 5,000 INR (70 USD or 61 EUR). I am sharing an estimate of the amount you that you must allocate for each parameter to help you plan and manage your expenses.

Bus – Hampi to and fro from Hospet

50 INR

0.7 USD

0.61 EUR

Accommodation – 2 nights in a guesthouse

1500 INR (this is the maximum. You can avail good guest houses for way less as well).

21 USD

18.3 EUR

Meals

1000 – 1500 INR

12.76 -21 USD

12.00- 18.3 EUR

Bicycle or a moped rent

300 INR

4.2 USD

3.7 EUR

Sightseeing entry tickets

500 INR

7 USD

6.1 EUR

As a traveler, you should know a few important aspects about Hampi before hand. They will help you ease your trip.


Things to remember – Hampi Solo Travel Tips

Based on my Hampi solo travel experience, I’d like to share a few handy tips with you.

Keep yourself hydrated

Exploring Hampi involves a lot of walking or cycling. Thus you should hydrate yourself well throughout the day.

The weather in Hampi is warm and travelers are prone to dehydration. Keep drinking water at regular intervals to avoid falling sick.

Observe sunrise and sunset

The start and end to your days in Hampi will be your best time there. Watching the sunrise at Matanga Hill and sunset at Hemakuta Hill is a must on your Hampi solo travel itinerary.

Experience riding the Coracle

Crossing the river Tungabhadra is just a short boat ride. Hampi is one of the very few places where you can ride the coracles – circular county boats made out of cane.

Do remember that the last boat departs at 5:30pm in the evening.

BSNL works in Hampi

Hampi is a no signal zone for most mobile network providers. BSNL is the only network that has coverage in and around Hampi.

Guesthouses and restaurants offer free WiFi, but that too is unreliable at times.

Speak in English if you don’t know Kannada

The local language spoken in Hampi is Kannada. The scope of conversing in Hindi is fairly limited as not many locals are well versed with the language. English comes to the rescue, thanks to the number of foreigners visiting the place.

No booze and meat zone

Serving alcohol and non-vegetarian food is banned on the land of temples in Hampi. If you wish to enjoy these, you might want to consider staying across the river on the Hippie Island.

Head to Hampi during off-season

Hampi tends to get extremely crowded during weekends and holidays.

Since the places of accommodation are locally owned, they increase the rates when they see an opportunity. The best time to plan your Hampi backpacking tour is during the off-season or on weekdays.

Book directly or via reliable sites

Most guest houses in Hampi do not have an online presence of their own.

They have their properties listed on a few online travel aggregates. But the prices quoted are quite high on most.  So either book through credible sites like Agoda or contact the guest houses directly for the best deals in advance.

Bargain in Hampi

Try your hand at bargaining in Hampi, right from booking a room in a guest house, to renting a bicycle or moped, to buying a ticket for your boat ride.

You are likely to get great discounts, especially if you travel during the off-season.

The Hampi Utsav

The Hampi Utsav is the largest of all festivals celebrated in Hampi. It is scheduled every year in the first week of November, and is a cultural treat.

Hampi is brimming with people during the festival and though it might be a great time to be there, availability of rooms is close to impossible.

My time in Hampi has been spent in exploration and hence knowing the place better. During the time of my stay, I could connect to the region in a deep manner.

Hampi Solo Travel –A Mix of Learnings           

The transformation of the opulent site of Hampi to its remnants took me by awe. The place spoke loudly to me the tales right from the Vedic age. I was taken back  to the bygone era. It was an interesting concoction of history, mythology and religion, making my Hampi solo travel an enriching experience.

Rich Historic Folklore and References about Hampi

Hampi’s historical highlight is the Vijayanagara Dynasty in Southern India that flourished in this very place. Hampi served as the capital of this greatest Hindu kingdoms of all times for over 200 years. The temple complexes, mandapas, shrines, and numerous monolithic structures and monuments in Hampi date back to Vijayanagara Empire.

Folklore tells us that Hampi finds mention in the mythological epic of Ramayana. The mythical vanara or the monkey kingdom called Kishkinda is none other than this sacred site. Ram, Lakshman and Hanuman (characters from the Indian epic of Ramayan) are believed to have frequented this place in search of Sita (Ram’s wife in the Ramayana), before they headed to Lanka. The monkey king Sugriva was also believed to have resided in Hampi and has a cave dedicated to his presence.

Hampi – The Sacred Land of Hindus

The religious significance of Hampi is immense since it is considered as a sacred land for Hindus. The name Hampi was derived from ‘Pampa’, now called Tungabhadra, the river that passes through the village.

Lord Shiva married the Pampa, the daughter of Brahma, and titled himself Pampapati. Devotees of Lord Shiva are the oldest worshipers of temples and shrines dedicated to him in Hampi.

During the peak of the Vijayanagara Empire, temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu were built. The grandiose temples from this age are all worshiped by the Vishnu devotees. Both cults – Saivites and Vaishnavites until this date are still in practice in Hampi.

Hampi solo travel The Stone Chariot at Hampi is believed to be carved out of a single stone, but in reality a number of pieces are smartly assembled to create this architectural marvel. Picture credits: Shreya Doshi

 Must Visit Attractions on your Hampi Solo Travel Escapade

The ruins of Hampi were discovered in early 1800s. There have been ongoing excavations on the site ever since, suggesting the original settlements of the village belong to the 1st century.

Hampi is today considered to be one of the largest archaeological wonders of India. The group of monuments at Hampi are a UNESCO world heritage site since 1986.

Out of the countless number of temples and monuments that exist in Hampi, the following are the ones that you should not miss out on.

Virupaksha Temple

This is where the ‘temple side’ of Hampi gets its name from. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is the most visited temple of Hampi owing to its popularity.

Vittala Temple

The temple is named after Vittala, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple complex is an architectural masterpiece and is home to the famous Musical Pillars, Stone Chariot and King’s Balance.

Hampi Bazaar

It is a kilometer long stretch of open land in front of the Virupaksha temple with ruins on either sides where you can shop for antiques, clothes and jeweler.

Monolithic Bull

At the far eastern end of the Hampi Bazaar is the Monolithic Bull, the divine vehicle of Lord Shiva. The Bull symbolically faces the shrine of Lord Shiva at the Virupaksha temple.

Lotus Mahal

Names after the shape of the architectural marvel, the Lotus Mahal was known to be a place for socializing in the earlier days.

Queen’s Bath

This place was once a bathing complex for the royals. Verandas surround the complex with little windows opening up to a pool in the centre.

Hazara Rama Temple

The temple depicts incidents from the Ramayana through the intricate carvings. It was once a private temple for the royals set within sprawling lawns.

Other popular places of interest include Octagonal Bath, Stepped Tank, Underground Shiva Temple, Badavilingi Temple, Anjanadri Hill and Sugriva’s Cave.

Hampi solo travel is a treasured experience. It is one of the most unusual places to visit and it won’t let you down.

You’ll be back from your Hampi solo travel or backpacking experience with memories to cherish for life. You could even head back to Hampi year after year, which I can almost guarantee you will.

Go ahead and plan your Hampi backpacking tour – the boulders are calling!

Happy Wayfaring.

About the Author

Shreya Doshi

Shreya Doshi

Shreya Doshi is a Mumbaikar at heart but her soul takes her globe trotting. She has traveled over a hundred cities, from bustling metropolitan places to quaint countryside towns, but it’s at the beaches that she finds true solace. Shreya holds an entrepreneurial spirit and aims to be a travel counselor some-day. She strongly believes in travel therapy, and that solo-travel is the best teacher.

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