Guide on where to stay and how to get around Hampi
Hampi is a chilled-out haven of heaped boulders and scenic green views. It’s a backpacker’s paradise, and if it isn’t on your itinerary then it should be! Hampi is a UNESCO world heritage site in Karnataka, and the entire town of Hampi is an attraction. Its split into two sides, Hampi Bazaar (Temple town), and then across the Tungabhadra river, Hippie Island (the most popular place to stay). We muddled our way through Hampi and in hindsight would have planned our trip differently if we’d known what we know now about where to stay and getting around! This blog post will share the ‘logistics’ side of visiting Hampi and how to avoid some of the fails we made!
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Also read: Guide to the Ruins of Hampi
How to get there
We took a 7-hour night bus from Bangalore to Hospet which cost about Rs.650 (~£7). There’re tons of bus options for this journey. You can also get the train for Rs.100-200 (~£1-£2), but we favour night buses as you get your own little pod. The best way to book buses in India is through redBus. Tourist offices are also an easy way to book but you’ll end up paying a bit more (or a lot if you go to a scam office).
When to Visit & Where to Stay
The best time to visit Hampi is between October and February, it’s hot but it’s pleasant! You don’t want to visit during monsoon if you’re looking to explore the boulders/ scenery as they become slippery! We visited from the 6th – 10th October and pre-planning for us isn’t really a thing! Little did we know, it was an Indian bank holiday. EVERYWHERE in Hippie Island was fully booked or really overpriced.
TOP TIP: Check your dates so you don’t clash with the busiest times of year – Hampi is a popular holiday destination for nationals!
Whilst our accommodation was great, it was in the middle of nowhere and we really wish we’d had the chance to stay in Hippie Island. That said, tons of beautiful boulders were on our doorstep and our place does offer cheap bike rental. So, if you’re stuck like we were, then we recommend Wayfarers Hampi hostel as a back-up. Dorm rooms are clean, and the bar/ restaurant area is great to chill out and meet people. We had a great time here, it’s just a little out of the way. Depending on when you’re going, this may well be your best option as a lot of Hippie Island has just been flattened by the government to make way for new development (whatever that means)… So do your research on where to stay as options may be limited at the moment. Click here to book.
Getting around the Anegundi side of the river
Hampi is very spread out. We recommend hiring a bike for ~Rs.150/day if you plan to do more than just chill at Hippie Island. You can use it on the Hippie Island side of the river, however rented mopeds are banned on the other side of the river to sustain tuk-tuk business. A scooter is still useful for exploring this side though! Check out our blog post on things to do/ sightseeing in Hampi.
Getting to and from the ruins
You can’t ride a moped across the river (you’ll be sent back, or more likely, fined). The best and most efficient way to get to the ruins from Hippie Island is to take a 5 min coracle ride across the river. However, as we were far from Hippie Island, we stood outside Wayfarers and hailed every bus until one was going to the ruins – a lot easier than it sounds!
Getting back was the hard part, no buses were going towards Wayfarers, so in the end we got on a random bus and asked the locals how to get back. We ended up in the middle of nowhere in a tiny village. Word got out that these weird white people were hanging about and we had a swarm of kids asking for chocolate and pens and almost ripping Sam’s bag apart to find some! Funny now, but it was stressful trying to calm down 15 excited children! We ended up having to hitch a ride with a lovely family going that way, even though we definitely didn’t fit in their car! Happy accident in the end as they stopped for a few mins to watch the most beautiful sunset. Moral of the story – take a coracle from Hippie Island. They run from 9am-6pm and cost Rs.150/person.
Exploring the Ruins
We explored the ruins by foot which is obviously the cheapest option and very doable if you go at the right time! It was VERY hot and there’s A LOT to see and we got there at the hottest point in the day. We ended up missing out on a few things because we were so tired and we cut the exploring short. If you’re fit you can take a push bike across the river and explore that way, or there’s tons of tuk-tuks waiting around so get your haggle hats on and get them to give you a tour.
It’s so gutting that the government decided to flatten most of the businesses on Hippie Island. It had so much charisma and was such a cool place to meet like-minded backpackers and just relax. We’re not entirely sure what the plans are for this amazing place, regardless, Hampi is still worth a visit for it’s beautiful scenery and historical richness. We hope this helps you plan your trip better than we did! A few fails for us along the way but we still had a great time exploring the ruins, check out our blog post to see some of the beautiful ruins and temples we visited here. Also, check out our post on what to do in Hampi other than the ruins here.