Don’t Worry, Be HAMPI: Southern India’s Happiest Town

Don’t Worry, Be HAMPI: Southern India’s Happiest Town

Hampi is an all-encompassing geographical mirage of balancing boulders, village elephants, and palm trees. This notorious hippie town is sprinkled with Angkor-Wat like temples, relaxed vibes, and the nicest local Indian people I have encountered. Hampi was never on my list of places to see, but I was lucky enough to run into a trio of traveler’s in Mumbai who were raving about Hampi, and decided to go. Before my night bus to Hampi, I looked up what my favorite Go-To Indian Blogger, Hippie In Heels, had to say – as she has written an incredible guide to Hampi as well!

Arriving in Hampi is like taking a stroll through pre-historic times. The rugged landscape seems fit for dinosaurs, ancient Hindu deities, and wild elephants. Be sure to cross the river upon arrival to look for a hostel on the other side. I stayed (and recommend staying) at the Goan Corner. Upon arrival I was greeted by ‘Mama’ and her entire family of boys. It is an ideal spot to relax, meet backpackers, and truly feel a part of an Indian family – all the yelling, loving, cursing, crying included! It is the perfect place for solo travellers, and at 300-700 rupees a night (dependant on season), you can’t beat the price.

The more you explore Hampi, the more it gives you – the roadside smiles, women balancing baskets of laundry on their heads, an impromptu lunch with the indian boat guys, sunset bouldering, helpful locals, caves, and temples built into boulders. Everyone here is in love with Hampi, they don’t want to leave, and neither will you…

Hampi is a place where you can be content doing absolutely nothing, but I suggest braving the heat to explore – start with these six things!  

1. Rent a motorbike

hampi help

The ones in Hampi are kick-starter, old-school, and pretty bad ass! Renting a bike is the best and only way to explore the far side of the river. The bumpy roads lead through villages, past ancient ruins, and into crocodile-filled lakes, and monkey-filled temples. I broke down 30 miles outside of town while out exploring in the 40+ degree heat, and an entire group of locals stopped to help us get the bike going again!

Cost: 80-200 Rupees dependant on season and negotiation skills+ Petrol Cost of 100 Rupee/ liter 

2. Eat with your hands 

Enjoy lunch at one of the local, ‘hole in the wall’ places, where the only option is to eat as the Indians do – with your hands!It is such a foreign concept to westerners, but mixing all the spices, sauces, rice, and naan with your fingers creates a whole new gastronomical experience. All the senses are engaged, and the Indians have this art down to a T.

3. Hike Monkey Temple at sunset 

Climbing the 600 orange and white painted stairs is most definitely worth the view at the top. Kick off your shoes, greet the monkeys, and bring bananas if you dare – they get pretty feisty over the yellow fruits. Take time to explore the mountain-top boulders as you have a 360 degree panoramic of the geographical magic layed out before you.

4. Get up for sunrise  

Sunrise can be enjoyed absolutely anywhere in Hampi. You can go on a run through the dirt roads, climb up any gigantic pile of rocks you desire, or head to the river to see the women washing their brightly coloured saris in the river as the men splash and wade about. The local children are extremely interested in foreigners and love to take selfies …

5. Visit the ancient temples by tour, tuk-tuk, or bicycle ride

The prices of tours, accommodation, and activities are extremely seasonal – I went in low season (April-June) the best time for heat strokes and bargains. The tuk-tuk we hired drove us through 5 main temples, past ancient ruins, and into intricately carved edifices. Sharing a tuk-tuk is the cheapest way to see some of the temples, but it comes without a detailed description or guide. If you want more information, hire a knowledgable guide to take you in and around the temple-ridden town.

Cost in low season: 350 rupees/ 2.5 hour tuk-tuk tour 

6. Lastly, just relax 

Hampi is one of the sleepiest, slowest, and most laid-back towns I have ever been in. Travellers get stuck in Hampi for days, weeks, and for some of the hippies you meet in town – even years! It is the perfect place to get away from the chaotic, and sometimes draining traveling days in the big Indian cities.

PS: At my time of travel 1 USD= Approximately 66 Indian Rupees!

Have you ever been to Hampi? What was your happiest moment there?


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