Traveler’s Guide / Solo Travelling

A hitch-hiker’s guide to Mussoorie

Planning a solo trip to Mussoorie, Rishikesh, and Haridwar

The Prologue

Going to a hill station and roaming around the mountains has always been a constant urge for me. When I was in college two years ago, I used to tell myself “Buddy we gonna go to those mountains, forests and walk around enjoying the view”, but as it turns out Covid-19 had other plans. All of us know how the last two years have been, like everyone I was also fed up with staying home all day and I wanted to break out of this monotonous life. Traveling solo in 2021 was on my to-do list and I was determined to make it happen.

I work for the EV startup Canoo based in the USA. With all the great benefits I have from this job, it also brings along the Thanksgiving long weekend. As soon as I saw that four-day holiday on my calendar I jumped on to planning a trip. Before I could go any further, I had to sort out a couple of things. For a little context, it was going to be my first ever solo trip, and on top of that, I don’t know how to ride a bike or drive a car.

Okay, maybe more than a couple of things.

I had to find a place where

  1. I could reach easily using train or airplane
  2. the public transport is good
  3. North Indian food is readily available
  4. language isn’t a barrier
  5. I’ll not bore myself out (cities do bore me pretty quickly)

List of potential destinations I came up with (before filtering)

  1. Goa
  2. Kerala
  3. Manali
  4. Andaman Nicobar Islands
  5. Haridwar
  6. Jaipur

Shortlisting was pretty easy, and here is what I did

All the videos I watched about Goa featured a scooty and bunch of friends (I’m not crying, you’re crying), so I ruled that one out.

Might go there this year 🤞.

Kerala, unfortunately at the time of planning was facing a high number of covid cases.

Manali is beautiful and has mountains full of treelines but going there is a 10+ hours journey via bus which to me is too much, based on my Kasol trip from 2019.

Andaman Nicobar Islands, to be honest, was my first choice and I planned around it. However, at the time of planning the covid regulations were extremely uncertain and it wasn’t a trip to make solo.

Jaipur didn’t strike me like a place I would enjoy going solo.

Haridwar got into my list because a) I always wanted to visit the river Ganga, b) because of the famous food outlets there, and c) it’s well connected by the Indian Railway.

The only problem was that Haridwar wasn’t a 5-day trip, at least for me. Thankfully, while researching about Haridwar I found out that Rishikesh and Dehradun are both close to Haridwar and later I figured that Mussoorie, the Queen of hills is also just on the side of Dehradun.

It all came together when I watched a couple of videos about Mussoorie, I finally knew how my Thanksgiving is going to be this year.

The Beginning

Like any other kid, I started watching videos on Youtube about things to do and places to visit in Mussoorie, Rishikesh, and Haridwar. Thanks to Youtube, there is no shortage of helpful videos around such topics.

Based on my short research about the places, I came up with these lists

Top picks in Mussoorie

  1. Kempty falls
  2. Lal Tibba
  3. Landour
  4. Gun Hill Point
  5. Dallai Hills
  6. The Mall Road
  7. Company Garden
  8. Cloud’s End
  9. Sir George Everest’s House
  10. Mussoorie Lake
  11. Hathipaon area

Top picks in Rishikesh

  1. Laxman Jhula
  2. Ram Jhula
  3. Tera Manzil Mandir
  4. Shri Bharat Mandir
  5. Triveni Ghat
  6. The Beatles Ashram
  7. Shivpuri
  8. Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
  9. Jumpin Heights

In Haridwar, I was only looking to visit the Har-ki-Pauri alongside river Ganga. I was planning to try out some local food outlets, because of all the hype built by Indian food vloggers.

I had to also take into account my dependence on public transport and lack of experience. I decided to pick places where I could enjoy the walk, the food, or the views.

My preference has always been to visit places with less crowd, no rush, and more peace. My goal was never to visit the maximum number of places or the most popular ones but to walk in nature and be by myself for some time.

My picks in Mussoorie

  1. Lal Tibba
  2. Landour
  3. Gun Hill Point
  4. The Mall Road
  5. Dallai Hills
  6. Sir George Everest’s House

My picks in Rishikesh

  1. Laxman Jhula
  2. Ram Jhula
  3. Triveni Ghat

My picks in Haridwar

  1. Harr-ki-Pauri
  2. Jain chaat bhandar
  3. Mohan Ji puri wale
  4. Bhagwati choley bhandar

The Travel

There are trains available from Delhi to Dehradun and Haridwar. I booked my seat in a Shatabdi from New Delhi to Dehradun and a 3rd-AC train from Haridwar to Delhi.

I found out that buses between Dehradun and Rishikesh are frequent enough, and so are the ones between Dehradun and Rishikesh.

I enjoy walking and I was prepared to walk my way through this trip.

The Accommodation

I was planning to stay in a hostel, as it'll be easier to find co-travelers and GoStops in Mussoorie seemed like a nice place to stay. GoStops also had two branches in Rishikesh, so the stay was pretty sorted.

The Budget

Although I was not worried about the budget, I still wanted to keep it all under 10k.

The Itinerary

After all the research I did, I came up with this plan

Day 1:

Catch the 06:45 AM Shatabdi to Dehradun, and reach Dehradun by 1 PM. Take the bus to Mussoorie, check in to the hostel by 3 pm. Visit the Gun Hill-top and the Mall road in the evening.

Day 2:

Visit the Sir George Everest’s House and Dallai Hills. Spend my evening walking on the Mall road.

Day 3:

Visit the Landour, the famous Lal Tibba scenic viewpoint, Char Dukan, and the Landour Bakehouse. Spend my evening walking on the Mall road.

Day 4:

Leave Mussoorie at 8 am, go to Dehradun, then reach Rishikesh by 11 am. Then check-in to the hostel, explore Rishikesh and visit Lakshman Jhula, Ram Jhula & the Triveni ghat.

Day 5:

Leave for Haridwar around 9 am, visit Harr-ki-Pauri. Eat some good food, catch my train around 12:30 pm. Reach home by 8 pm.

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