• zostel hostels in india

Zostel Changes The Way You’ll Backpack India

Backpacking India is changing with the addition of hostels in the major tourist hubs. Just three years ago, I only saw a couple of government hostels priced at 50 rs and you really got what 50 rs would get you (aka not much!). I met some backpacking chicas when I was in Karnataka and I mentioned to them I’d heard of hostels popping up, trying to get a little information out of them. They confirmed that they’d stayed in them across Northern India and had a completely positive experience.

zostel hostels in indiaI was shocked how highly they talked of the hostels. They said that the brand Zostel was just like the hostels they’d stayed in while backpacking Europe and Australia. I almost didn’t believe it because it was so different from my experience a few years ago. While I struggled finding guesthouses in the middle of the night, they had booked online for a hostel just like I did in Europe. The way that changes travel in India is huge.

I want to keep this website up to date for backpackers even though these days as an expat, I don’t have to budget only 500-1000 rs a night anymore. I decided to investigate Zostel!

zostel hostels in indiaSOLO FEMALE JOURNEYERS: I want to point out in the above sign that statistic of 16,000 happy female travelers. it’s a high number which not only makes me happy but is something that should ease the fears of solo female travelers wanting to come to India. They offer female only dorms which isn’t the usual in the hostel industry – at least I didn’t see that in Europe often (maybe things have changed). It’s important that they took that extra step to ensure the safety and privacy of women travelers.

zostel hostels in india

Checking out Backpacking Hostel ZOSTEL

I wanted to know for myself what Zostel was about and the Goa Zostel is just 20 min from my house, located in Calangute. Off I went to peak my head in and take some photos for you guys. I questioned the manager to get the basic information which I’ll outline here:

  • Options of mixed dorm or female only dorm, 500 rs
  • There is one private room with balcony which ranges from 1800 to 2500 rs
  • A/C and WiFi free (gwave which is a good connection)
  • Laundry 100 rs per load
  • Sheets & blankets included, lockers under the bed (bring your one lock or rent)
  • No restaurant, but you can use kitchen or buy “staff lunch” for 100+ rs depending on what they cook that day
  • There is no complimentary breakfast
  • Next to Jambleshwar temple, 5 minute walk to beach
  • Airport transfers around 1000 rs, train from Thivim 500 rs

zostel hostels in india

zostel hostels in india

zostel hostels in india

zostel hostels in indiaOverall, the hostel is a cool idea for Goa. It’s not the only one in the state of course, but as Zostel grows I think people will be choosing it based on the name alone. The benefit of this is that the more people who stay at Zostel while backpacking, the more friends you make. Because it’s a chain, you’ll know what type of quality to expect at your next destination taking out a lot of stress and guess-work.

Staying in a hostel is all about the social experience. What started as “cheap lodging for travelers” has evolved. Now sometimes a villa rent on airbnb can be just as cheap if not cheaper than a hostel, but you might not make any friends. Staying in a hostel is as much part of a backpacking experience as riding in a rickshaw when you come to India. For many, the private room won’t be in your backpacker’s budget. The dorms being priced at 500 is good for Goa. I paid anywhere from 300-500 while backpacking most of India, but Goa is more expensive, therefore on the higher end of the spectrum. I do think breakfast should be included, but as they have no restaurant, perhaps they aren’t staffed with a chef to make it.

The Future of Zostel

Chcek out Zostel’s website where you can book direct for more information and photos from the other locations. As of now there are hostels in:

Udaipur, Jodhpur, Vadodara, Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Varanasi, and Goa

(The following images are from the Zostel website)zostel hostels in india

zostel hostels in india

zostel hostels in indiaIf you’re traveling to Agra, Delhi, and Varanasi, you NEED to look into staying at a hostel. I had a headache and a half in Delhi, got out of Agra quickly because it was overwhelming, and paid 700 rs for a guesthouse far from the action in Varanasi. Those are places that are spread out and you’ll want to pay extra to meet people. Jaipur was another big city that I didn’t love and I wonder if I would have seen it differently had I met friends in a hostel environment.

zostel hostels in india

zostel hostels in india

zostel hostels in india

zostel hostels in india

zostel hostels in indiaThey are opening up even more Zostels in India and soon enough it’ll be like seeing the “tito’s” signs in Goa; everyone will know who Zostel is. They plan to have Zostels in 30 Indian cities in the next four-month and before the end of the year, they’ll be international! They have a campaign called Be You, which you can read about on their site where they are looking for people across the world to open their own Zostels in partnership. If you want to be an entrepreneur, here is your chance!

For please see the page as each hostel has it’s one information. You can follow on their journey with their Facebook and Twitter pages. They already have 56,000 likes on Facebook! This is a brand going places!





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. Tink Jayne April 14, 2015 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    India was somewhere that never took my fancy. But the more I read about it, the more I’m warming to it and especially looking at these hostels. Or Zostels, rather! They look fantastic and remind me of a lot of the hostels I stayed in Asia and Australia.
    I might be booking a trip to India sooner than I think :)
    x Tink Jayne x

    • Rachel Jones April 15, 2015 at 6:33 pm - Reply

      that’s great news! I think adding hostels will draw in a lot of travelers.

  2. Jo April 14, 2015 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    This is great to hear, and might actually make me take the plunge and do India solo. I’d been planning a group tour simply because I was worried about not meeting people and there were those media stories a while back about single women being attacked in hotel rooms (it’s obviously not likely, but I’d never forgive myself if I was the unlucky one it did happen to), so having ‘proper’ hostels really makes a difference! Thanks for sharing!

    • Rachel Jones April 15, 2015 at 6:34 pm - Reply

      You’re right, they are going to make a huge difference. I still say go for the gomowgli tour though while you’re in the south! :)

  3. RunawayBrit April 14, 2015 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    Great write-up. We considered checking into the Goa Zostel a few weeks ago, but went with a beachfront cabin instead. I can highly recommend Zostel in Udaipur. We stayed there in October and our (private) room was really comfortable with a wonderful view. They also had a great rooftop bar overlooking the lake. The staff were really helpful and friendly, and the food in the restaurant was good.

    There are some pics of the hostel here: http://www.runawaybrit.com/2014/09/13/unwinding-in-udaipur/

    • Rachel Jones April 15, 2015 at 6:35 pm - Reply

      Yeah it’s hard in Goa for hostels because there are beach huts – but i guess for solo travel it’s ideal. I’ve been hearing this on IG about Udaipur.. need to go check it out!

  4. Elen April 14, 2015 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    This is great, so glad to hear about this! I have always stayed in cheap hotels in India, and it’s great that because the country is generally pretty cheap, you can often find good places for little money. But I never found cheap hotels to be very social, perhaps with the exception of some places up in Himachal. I hope the availability of this kind of thing changes travellers’ perceptions of India for the better.

    • Rachel Jones April 15, 2015 at 6:35 pm - Reply

      That’s exactly the problem.. they aren’t great for meeting people. I think hostels are going to make it so much more appealing to travel here.

  5. shilpa Balakrishnan April 15, 2015 at 2:13 am - Reply

    I can’t wait to try the one out in Goa. The artworks look lovely at Zostel.


  6. [email protected] The British Berliner April 15, 2015 at 10:39 am - Reply

    At last! This is such great news! I spent most of my time in hotels and havelis when I was in India and depending where you are, it’s not always easy to find people. I eventually joined up with a Swiss girl whom I found on the street. She was speaking English interjected with German so we got talking LOL!
    Thanks for letting us know Rachel!

  7. Rachel April 15, 2015 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    This is great to hear! I stayed in so many mediocre budget hotels in India (and also some wonderful, quirky budget hotels too!) but hostels like this would have been good as it’s quite hard to meet other travellers in the hotels.
    I think girls dorms are on the rise, I found many in northern Europe over the winter.

    • Rachel Jones April 15, 2015 at 6:37 pm - Reply

      That’s so interesting that you saw girl’s only dorms in Europe.. I love that.

  8. Christine | The Journeyoguer April 15, 2015 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    That’s great news! Zostel hostels look really nice, and cheap. I didn’t see any sort of hostel when I was in India last year. :)

  9. rebecca April 16, 2015 at 4:58 am - Reply

    This is really great news! I noticed Zostel when I was in Jupair but I had already booked somewhere. Though the way my budget went and considering I was alone I do wish I had of noticed Zostel beforehand.

  10. Emily April 16, 2015 at 5:13 am - Reply

    Very neat – I wouldn’t have minded trying out a zostel when we were in India last year. Next time I guess!

  11. Severn Jones April 19, 2015 at 3:05 am - Reply

    I stayed at Zostel in Agra and had such a lovely experience! The guys working there helped us navigate the hectic city and avoid tourist traps. Everyone we met at the hostel was excellent company. It was fun to trade stories and tips with fellow backpackers!

Like the Article? Leave a Reply