• which is safer city vs village travel in India

City vs. Village Journey in India | Which is Safer?

I reached out to Renuka, a badass Indian chick that travels alone all over India, to ask her opinion on which area she thought was safer for solo female travelers- the city or the villages?

Since I’ve been traveling around very rural Karnataka a little while now and have a few weeks to go, I’m curious to find this out for myself. So far I can say that people have been very nice in villages and staring hasn’t actually been bad at all.

You see quite conflicted information online. Some articles say avoid Delhi and Bombay at all costs if you’re alone and instead, enjoy peace in the friendly villages. Other articles say the cities are crowded therefore safer and the villages are desolate and full of people with less education who will rob, rape, or kill you. Some say Goa is safest because they’re used to foreign girls and others say it’s dangerous because of drug gangs.

So which is true? 

No one better than Renuka to tell us!

Introducing Renuka from Voyager for Life:

Solo travel for women in India is a hot topic. It has been fuming in the wake of certain unpleasant incidents that have happened to women travellers in India. Female solo travel isn’t questionable for no reason. If certain women folk are wary of travelling in India alone, there is a reason behind it and unfortunately, we can’t ignore it.

City vs Village Journey in India

Are deserted villages more unsafe to travel to? Our views and thoughts keep changing with every new mishap that takes place. But, I still recommend solo travel for women any day. Yes, solo travel isn’t as scary as it’s made out to be. I am an Indian woman and I travel solo all the time.

which is safer city vs village travel in India

which is safer city vs village travel in IndiaAs far as the turmoil of cities and villages are concerned, both are fine to travel to. The first ground rule of safety is to believe that no place is safe or unsafe. Whether you are travelling to a busy city or a remote village, be on your guard. Being careful and trusting your instinct should never be overruled. The first thing a woman traveller should do before deciding on a destination is research it thoroughly. There are certain states in India that have a bad reputation with women’s safety, while there are states that are known to be safe for women. So, you have to make your choices wisely.

In my opinion, it’s always safer to travel to places that are culturally rooted. For instance, I felt absolutely safe in Rajasthan and Sikkim. I travelled to some popular cities in Rajasthan like Udaipur and Jodhpur, and then I also visited a village called Nagda and ventured into a desert safari alone.

which is safer city vs village travel in India

As far as city travel is concerned, I had great experiences exploring metropolitans like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Delhi is a so-called unsafe city for women, but I would say it’s quite easy to travel here. Since the transport system is efficient, you can commute easily on your own. Plus, there are so many nice accommodation options. I am not saying that nobody will try to dupe you or be bad with you. But, you have common sense, right?

On the other hand, even my rural exploration has been smooth so far. I have travelled alone to Matheran, a small hill station near Mumbai, villages in Sikkim and Darjeeling, and as I mentioned earlier, desert safari in Rajasthan. The only common factor of my rural expeditions was that I came across all good people.

which is safer city vs village travel in IndiaIn fact, I would say it is far better to explore the villages in India, as they have more natural beauty, culture and tradition to amuse a traveller. But, I wouldn’t say that you should blindly land in any village in India and expect to find good people and absolute safety. You have to research your destination.

which is safer city vs village travel in IndiaWhether you are travelling in a big, bustling city or in a deserted rural region, make sure to figure out your mode of transport and accommodation. As long as you make right choices, everything should roll out nicely.


voyager for lifeRenuka is a writer/photographer and a travel blogger from India. With her blog, Voyager For Life, she aims to inspire and awaken people to travel. She has been a native in four different cities in India and would not mind more city-hopping in the future. When she is not travelling, she likes to be a tourist in her own city. Renuka blogs at www.renuka-voyagerforlife.com. Follow her on Facebook, , google , and .


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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Michelle October 22, 2014 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Wow! She has some great photographs of the locals.

    • Renuka October 23, 2014 at 1:51 pm - Reply

      Thanks Michelle! :)

      • Sumit November 18, 2014 at 1:58 am - Reply

        i wish this blog had the option of ‘Like’ similar to . One ‘Like ‘ for the desert safari pic of Renuka.

  2. Glamourous Journeyler October 23, 2014 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    Cool article. I think for me it would be quite interesting to know which cities/ villages/ town are the ones deemed to have a bad reputation for women travelers vs. the ones that are friendly.

    In areas like Delhi (what with all the news on women’s rape and whatnot) I guess it’s important to mention what you mean on public transportation. I have found that the train / metro/ underground system is good and pretty safe to get on, but I personally would still think twice about buses.

    Interested to hear more thoughts and details on this

    • Renuka October 23, 2014 at 1:54 pm - Reply

      That’s a very good question! :) I would personally recommend female solo travelers to avoid states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar – city or village. Avoid night travel anywhere in India except for Mumbai. Delhi isn’t as unsafe as it’s made out to be. But yes, avoid old Delhi areas alone.

  3. Andrea Anastasiou October 23, 2014 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    I love Renuka’s blog! Even though I don’t travel alone, I was interested in the answer to this question. I’ve been in India for two weeks now and it’s definitely not the scary place that everyone makes it out to be, although you certainly should always be on your guard – but that rule applies to any place in the world really…

    • Renuka October 23, 2014 at 9:57 pm - Reply

      That’s nice to know Andrea! :) Yes, it’s important to be careful anywhere in the world.

    • Rachel Jones October 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm - Reply

      Here blog is great :) I knew she’d be perfect for discussing this topic and she doesn’t disappoint!

  4. Becci October 24, 2014 at 1:04 am - Reply

    Really interesting read! I’ll admit that, even though I try and act all tough, I’ve actually sort of ruled out going to Delhi and have been trying to find ways to avoid it. Maybe it was what I’ve read on the news or maybe it was the Indian chef I worked with in Oz going on and on about how a “little girl” like me should never go to Delhi! Having read this though I feel like as long as I practice normal to extra caution it should all be sweet as! Thanks Ranuka :))

    • Rachel Jones October 24, 2014 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      Delhi can be hard and even I had a rough time and don’t really look forward to going back unless it’s not solo. To have a safe time in Delhi it is usually quite pricey in nicer areas & to take a taxi rather than local bus. Renuka is right though Delhi’s not so bad, I just had a bad time so am a little jaded :)

    • Renuka October 24, 2014 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      I’m sure you will have a fabulous experience in India, just like Rachel! :) She’s doing a great job of exploring India on her own!

  5. Justine October 24, 2014 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    Given that I’ve only dabbled in solo female travel, I really do respect women who hit the road all alone. I would probably be really nervous at the prospect of traveling all by myself to India, but now that I’ve been reading this (and Renuka’s!) site I’m much more open to the idea. I would actually think that being in bigger cities would be less safe. But it’s true that common sense and following your gut goes a long way. It’s great to know that women are able to travel to such diverse areas of the country safely. Great post!

    • Renuka October 24, 2014 at 9:23 pm - Reply

      Thanks Justine! Yes, all it takes is common sense to travel solo – be it village or big cities. I wouldn’t travel alone at night or get on a bus where I see notorious people. It’s pretty simple – if you don’t get a good feeling about something, don’t do it!

  6. Tim | UrbanDuniya October 28, 2014 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    That is so true about researching in India – and anywhere I guess, but in the subcontinent it definitely pays off.

  7. rebecca November 2, 2014 at 3:41 am - Reply

    Big fan of Renuka’s blog! I am heading to India soon and am very excited! What sadens me is how many people automatically assume I am crazy for going and am putting myself in danger, I’m sure its not like that at all but how to reassure people whe the media just drags it down!

    • Rachel Jones November 9, 2014 at 12:37 pm - Reply

      Yeah, I think only in time the perception will change.

    • Renuka January 9, 2015 at 11:05 pm - Reply

      Thanks Rebecca! You can take Rachel’s example and come to India. It isn’t a scary place. There is a lot of goodness left here!

  8. Steve November 3, 2014 at 10:13 am - Reply

    I just returned from India with my girlfriend, and I honestly don’t think Delhi was any worse than other cities I have traveled. Admittedly, she was never alone, but never once in Delhi did we feel threatened or unsafe, other than the constant staring (And just for the record, while my European girlfriend was stared at alot, I being of Indian origin with long hair was stared at FAR more than she! ha ha) Darjeeling and Sikkim were fantastic, everyone seemed super friendly there.

    I would definitely agree with Renuka’s statement about Bihar and UP. We were caught on the train from hell which went through both states on the way to Varanasi. It was pretty intense and even I was a bit concerned. If you are travelling by train through those states I would say go 1st/2nd AC ONLY, or don’t go. We were fortunate that on our carriage were some off duty Indian army guys, who could sense our distress and helped us out.

    ps. great website!

    • Rachel Jones November 9, 2014 at 12:34 pm - Reply

      Yeah, I’ve heard Bihar is really unsafe and has the most train robberies… not sure I want to go there!

    • Sumit November 18, 2014 at 1:53 am - Reply

      well, i am glad that you completed your train journey safely.I travel by trains a lot in India crossing many Indian states on the way.One needs be careful about the states of UP and Bihar when travelling to those states and spending a lot of time there ,otherwise i dont think transit through these states is much different from transiting other states.Train halt at any given station is a matter of few minutes they are always crowded.So ,as per me train travel is safe in terms of foreigner’s safety or women safety,all we have to take care, is of our luggage from being stolen.,

    • Renuka November 26, 2014 at 2:05 pm - Reply

      Thanks Steve! I’m glad you shared a few personal experiences with us and that has helped me too. I agree, 1st or 2nd AC coaches are better than others. It’s good to do the best you can for your safety.

  9. Martina Donkers November 9, 2014 at 5:48 am - Reply

    Hey Renuka and Rachel :-)

    Interesting article! Oddly enough, I haven’t really considered the idea that villages or cities might be safer or less safe than each other.

    I think the point about always doing your research is really good. Making sure you stay in places that have a decent reputation, that you know what you’re getting yourself into, is always a good thing.

    Martina :-)

    • Renuka November 26, 2014 at 2:07 pm - Reply

      You’re right, Martina! More than the city/village thing, it’s where you choose to stay and what you are getting into is important and makes a difference.

  10. Qudratullah December 2, 2014 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    i am Qudratullah and i am from Afghanistasn. i have plan to go India for doing my master and some treatment, so i want to stay in NOIDA area of Utra Pardesh
    Is here anyone to tell me about the being safe or unsafe of this area for families especially women.


    • Rachel Jones December 3, 2014 at 1:25 pm - Reply

      I haven’t spent time there, so not sure.

    • Renuka January 9, 2015 at 11:03 pm - Reply

      Noida is an okay place. As I mentioned in the post, you need to be careful everywhere!

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