If you are ready to ditch the A/C car transfer or comfortable flight journey, then we have the perfect list of 20 offbeat ways to travel across India.
Horse riding in Kashmir
If there is any place in India where you can enjoy Horse safari with a magnificent backdrop of Himalayas, Kashmir is where you should head. For a few hundred rupees you will get to enjoy the scenic landscapes while trotting on a horse.
Camel safari in Thar desert, Rajasthan
Photo: Nisreen Akolawala Doing an adventurous Camel safari in the middle of Thar desert with nothing but the blanket of stars to sleep under and simple freshly made vegetarian desert food made by the camel boy for our survival, has truly been one of the most unique holiday experiences we gave ourselves. With Jaisalmer being the start point, you will get to travel across small rustic villages and if you are lucky, you will also get to see deer and other animals on the way.
The ferry ride in Kochi & Alleppey, Kerala
An exciting way to tour around Kochi is by the local government ferry. At 4 Rs per ticket and a relaxing scenic ride of 30-40 minutes, you are reminded of the days of the past, where tickets cost just a few rupees. Ferries operate from 6 am to 10 am daily and connect Fort Kochi to the Ernakulam city and nearby islands.
Chakda ride in Kutch, Gujarat
If you are going to stay in the villages of Kutch, then you must travel to the local transport called “Chakda” .Chakda is an old-fashioned motorcycle with two rear wheels attached to a carrier instead of one. The carrier is fitted with seats for the passengers/travellers to sit. The carrier is driven by a single front wheeled bullet. Thus, you can also call it a hybrid of bullet motorcycle.
Canoe ride in Alleppey, Kerala
A canoe ride through the narrow lanes of the backwaters is the best way one can experience rural life in Alleppey. These canoes can reach where the bigger houseboats cannot, and are a more rustic way to traverse in the Venice of India, Alleppey.
A local bus ride in Mcleodganj, Himachal
There are many ways to travel in Dharamshala, Mcleodganj and the villages around but we particularly enjoyed the local bus ride there. The buses have fixed timings and pick you up from designated points on the way and back. The best part is, one is surrounded by the locals living in the mountains and of course, beautiful scenery around while traveling in these buses!
Double-humped camel safari in Ladakh
If you are in Nubra Valley, Ladakh for your holiday and want to experience a unique way of transport, why not try the Double humped “Bactrian” camels found there. Bactrian camels, originally from Central Asia are now one of the endangered species of animals as per IUCN. Apart from Ladakh, you may only find these rare animals in Kazakhstan, Mongolia & China.It is an exciting ride by itself when you have the massive purple and brown color barren mountain range as your background!
Yak ride in Sikkim & Spiti
It is impossible to truly appreciate Sikkim without enjoying the splendor of the Himalayas. It has immense unspoiled natural landscapes and conditions ideal for trekking and yak riding. Yak’s, being unique to Sikkim, are one of the best ways to enjoy the place without harming the environment! Yak safaris are conducted in Dzongri area and Tsomgo lake in Sikkim.
Elephant ride in Amer fort /Assam/Coorg/Thekkady
India has always been known by the great Indian Elephants found here. Unlike their counterparts in Africa, Indian Elephants are not that “wild” and one can enjoy interacting with them in more than one destinations across the country. You can not only enjoy an Elephant ride when you are in one of the above-mentioned places but also feed them, bathe them and play with them.
Biking in Ladakh
For all those who are passionate about Biking, Ladakh is a challenging, yet beautiful journey that needs to be undertaken at least once in the lifetime. A bike ride to Ladakh passes through some of the most breathtaking, challenging and awe-inspiring landscapes found on Earth. It is not an easy ride by any means since most parts of the road are at altitudes of 13,000 feet and above in the Himalayas.
Cycling in Pondicherry & Coorg
Cycling is not only a sustainable form of transport but also is the best way one can travel in colorful little alleys and streets of old Pondicherry and Goa. There are a number of cycle tours that one can take through different areas that allow opening a new facet of the cities in a more environmentally friendly way.
Scooter ride in Kochi & Goa
The best way to explore Fort Kochi and the neighboring islands is by hiring a bike for a day. The bike is not only a cheaper option to travel, but also give the freedom to travel in smaller lanes of the old city and colorful villages around the backwaters of Kochi.
Rowing boat ride in Sattal, Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand’s “Kumaon” region is filled with umpteen lakes of all sizes. While you are there next time, you can go for a boat ride in one of the non-touristy lakes such as Sattal/Bhimtal/Naukuchiyatal and get a gist about the fascinating history of the place from the local boatman( more than your travel guide could ever tell you)
Open jeep safari in Bishnoi village, Rajasthan
Enjoy the rustic Bishnoi villages in Rajasthan by taking an open jeep safari where you will pass by rustic Shepherd/Block printers/carpenters/weavers/potters village homes, schools, lakes and also spot animal sightings of black buck/antelopes/gazelle/deer/peacock or shepherds grazing with their goats/camels/sheep etc.
Camel safari in the white salt desert of Kutch
Enjoy a camel cart ride in the white salt desert in the Rann Of Kutch as you witness the brilliance of the desert sunset in the clear blue winter sky. The breathtaking landscape of the Great Rann of Kutch shimmering in the moonlight is worth experiencing especially on a full moon night while the Rann Mahotsav desert festival is on.
Cycle rickshaw ride in Kolkata/Old Delhi/Burhanpur
The history of cycle rickshaws in India is as old as the early 1900’s when rickshaws first appeared in Kolkata. Here they were initially used by Chinese traders to transport goods. In 1914, the Chinese applied for permission to use rickshaws to transport passengers. Soon after, rickshaws appeared in many big cities in Southeast Asia. You can enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride in cities like old Delhi/Kolkata/Burhanpur etc.
Tractor ride in Punjab
If you want to experience something unique in Punjab, then stay in one of the interior villages near/in a farm stay and experience a tractor ride amidst the lush green rice paddy fields or the sunshine yellow mustard fields like we did. Learn about the tricks of farming in Punjab while you are at it and enjoy the cool fresh village air!
Marwari Horse riding in Shekhawati, Rajasthan
Go for a 7 Night/8 Days Marwari horse safari starting Nawalgarh to Salasar in the backdrop of the royal Shekhawati region in north east Rajasthan and get the feeling of how the royals used to live in those days. Ride one of those handsome mares of Marwar – glossy black coat, with limpid eyes and beautifully curled ears – and reach the countryside, you will see the roads winding up for you. You can coincide your Shekhawati visit to February when the famous Shekhawati festival takes place.
Shikara boat ride in Dal Lake, Kashmir
Shikara or wooden boats that ply in the Dal/Nagin lakes in Srinagar are a cultural symbol of Kashmir. Made out of locally obtained wood and with colorfully designed interiors and canopy, these little water taxis are the best(and probably the only way) to travel within the lakes. Some of the Shikara’s have been converted into mobile shops for selling fresh flowers/jewellery and other locally made products
Bullock cart ride in Maharashtra
Travelers wanting to experience the age-old ” Bullock cart” can do so in Maharashtra. There are many villages like Kashid/Dapoli/Ratnagiri/Neral etc that conduct Bullock cart ride for travelers wanting to experience the rural way of traveling as a part of their stay.
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