If you want to get away from it all in the mountains, these budget guesthouses and homestays in the Indian Himalayas are inexpensive, and located in serene yet convenient spots just out of town.
01 of 09
A short walk down the valley (porters are available to carry luggage) a few kilometers from Almora on Binsar Road will bring you to peaceful Ayush Guest House. The guesthouse, named after the friendly owner's son, offers stunning views of the snow-capped Himalayas. It has a restaurant serving home-cooked food, bakery, library, garden dining area, outdoor fireplace, common room with TV and DVD player, and wireless Internet. Organic vegetables are grown on the premises. Activities include village walks, day trips to Jageshwar, and yoga and meditation classes on request.
- Rooms: Seven individual cottages and four rooms.
- Cost: From 1,000 rupees per night, per cottage. Discounts are available for weekly and long stays.
02 of 09
Khims Guest House has a similar location to Ayush Guest House, hidden away a few minutes walk down the valley on Binsar Road. The guesthouse has been around for decades but was renovated in 2012 and has a loyal and eclectic following, especially foreigners (including aging ex-hippies) who return year after year. One of them donated hundreds of books about the local Kumaon region to the guesthouse's extensive library, which specializes in spiritual and philosophical literature. There's also a rooftop restaurant that serves amazing vegetarian food (meat is available as well), wireless Internet, and fantastic father and son hosts. And, of course, outstanding mountain views from the accommodations!
- Rooms: 10 individual cottages with attached kitchens, plus additional rooms with common bathroom.
- Cost: 500 rupees per night for a room, and 1,000-2,250 rupees for a cottage.
03 of 09
Himalayan Abode Homestay is situated a few kilometers from Joshimath on the way to Badrinath, making it convenient for pilgrims going on the Uttrakhand Char Dham Yatra and trekkers visiting the Valley of Flowers National Park. The kind host is a local mountaineer, avid photographer, and snow skiing and snowboarding champion and coach, who's spent years wandering the Himalayas. He runs a local adventure company called Himalayan Snow Runner and can arrange all kinds of activities. Guest rooms have huge windows overlooking the mountains and valley below, and the rooftop dining area is also scenic.
- Rooms: Eight (three on the top floor with private balconies, three on the bottom floor with porches, and two cheaper backpacker rooms in a separate building).
- Cost: From 1,500 rupees per night for a "backpacker room", up to 4,500 rupees per night for the best room with a view.
04 of 09
This welcoming family-run homestay is located in a quiet place close to the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, about a 10 minute walk from the center of McLeod Ganj. It's deservedly very popular with both Indian and foreign guests alike. The host is a professional chef who runs an international cooking school, and she makes delicious home-cooked organic food that's served in the property's leafy garden cafe. The super clean guest rooms are attractively decorated with hand-painted Tibetan artwork and have private entrances.
Continue to 5 of 9 below.
- Rooms: Seven.
- Cost: From 2,400 rupees per night including breakfast.
05 of 09
Away from the commercialization and congestion of Manali town, this intimate homestay is literally like a breath of fresh air in the nearby village of Vashist -- an alternative traveler's hangout. Surrounded by apple orchards, it has panoramic views of the mountains and Beas River. Guests can relax in the living room and watch DVDs from the vast collection, and use the kitchen to make their own meals. The lovely Bengali host also cooks delicious meals for her guests.
- Rooms: Three.
- Cost: From 1,600 rupees per night for a double room. Breakfast is included.
- Also See: 10 Budget Guesthouses and Hostels in Old Manali
06 of 09
Unfortunately Kasol is becoming crowded like Manali but you can escape it by staying in the woods just outside of town. One of the best areas is Katagla, accessible only by footbridge across the river. Katagla Forest Retreat is a traditional Himachali house camouflaged by trees and situated steps from the river. The owner has kept the structure of the house intact, so the guest rooms don't have attached bathrooms. These are located outside but they are new and of a western standard. The property also has its own cafe, and social evening bonfires are often held. In addition, pets are welcome!
- Rooms: 10.
- Cost: From 1,300 rupees per night for a double room with balcony.
07 of 09
About 10 minutes walk from the main market area in Leh, cozy Yangphel Guest House has traditional Ladakhi-style architecture, and captivating views of the Stok mountain range and Shanti Stupa. The delightful owner is extremely accommodating and helpful. Nothing is too much trouble for him and he offers great advice. Not surprisingly, guests love him! The rooms all have a constant supply of hot water. There's also wireless Internet and a restaurant that serves excellent food. You'll feel right at home.
- Rooms: Seven.
- Cost: From 1,200 rupees per night for a double.
08 of 09
Mansarover Homestay is a serene patch of paradise nestled into the eastern Himalayas at Kalimpong, near Darjeeling in West Bengal. It's ideal for adventure lovers, with activities including trekking, cycling, and golf. Delicious meals prepared with ingredients from the host's extensive organic vegetable garden are a highlight. Some rooms have private balconies, where guests can sit and enjoy the mesmerizing views of surrounding snow-capped mountain peaks. There's also a shared kitchen and free wireless Internet. Pets are welcome!
Continue to 9 of 9 below.
- Rooms: Four.
- Cost: From 2,000 rupees per night for a double.
09 of 09
Ifseen Villa is a small hotel with a homestay-feel in one of West Sikkim's most popular tourist destinations, Pelling. The location, amid nature in Lower Pelling, is tranquil and provides heavenly views of Mount Kanchenjunga (on a clear day). The service is very warm and personalized. The owner drives guests to Upper Pelling town in his car and his wife makes yummy home-cooked meals. The only drawback is that there's no wireless Internet.
- Rooms: Six, some with balconies.
- Cost: 2,200 rupees per night including breakfast.