Ever since the Bollywood movie, Queen, released, I have always wanted to experience the backpacking stay in a similarly cool and happening hostel (and meet some really amazing men like the trio in the movie!). Wink wink!
But of course, I couldn’t travel to Amsterdam or any other location abroad to experience something similar. But who knew that dreams come true, prayers are heard and wishes are granted and that is when I struck gold on stumbling upon Backpacker Panda.
About Backpacker Panda
Inspired by the European Backpacking accommodations, this chain of hostels was conceptualized for the Indian hospitality industry and opened in 6 Indian cities that attract a major chunk of global travelers. The concept has been received well by Indian travelers too and more and more Indians are seeking accommodation at the Backpacker Panda to explore the country better and in a different way.
Indian women travelers are opting for such an accommodation and it’s amazing to see that these women are also going for the mixed dormitories apart from the female dormitories. Backpacker Panda is revolutionizing the backpacking experience for the modern day travelers in India.
My experience at Backpacker Panda, Udaipur.
Well, this was my first time at a backpacking hostel and all I can say is that as soon as I located the property, I was simply awestruck. I stayed at Backpacker Panda, Udaipur. They are located very close to the magnificent Fateh Sagar Lake and surrounded by really pretty houses that look right out of dreams.
The interiors are tastefully done with amazing graffiti art on the walls by a graffiti artist named Zake. You can check out some of his awesome art on Instagram as well. As soon as I entered the property all the exhaustion from the travel simply vanished. There are two mixed dormitories that can be accessed by men and women, one female dormitory and one private room for the exclusives in the property. Every room is named after prominent waterfalls in the world such as the Niagara falls, Angel Falls, Iguazu Falls etc.
The entire premises of Backpacker Panda will evoke such intense wanderlust in you, that you are bound to get out and explore the city. What I loved about the hostel is that it feels just like a home away from home. I had some trouble digesting the spicy food in Rajasthan, and this place came as a savior as they also provide the facilities of a kitchenette equipped with necessary appliances such as two induction cookers, electric kettles, utensils, and cutlery. I had a wonderful time cooking for myself here.
The beds are bunk beds with a very cute reading lamp and charging points affixed on one side. I mean how thoughtful that is!
I also stayed at the private room for a day and that was a regal experience indeed. With a huge king size bed, free-flowing curtains, a windy balcony with a distant view of the Fateh Sagar Lake, a spacious bathroom, and ethnic Rajasthani furniture, the room is worth the experience.
The lobby is well adorned with beautiful graffiti and has a huge desktop for the traveler’s to access the internet from. The walls are vibrant and are symbolic of the verve that this place is synonymous with. There are these amazing sticky notes stuck on one corner of the wall that speaks of all the fun that people have had here. One such note is exclusively dedicated to the night security guard who is indeed a pleasure to talk to.
The reception desk has all the necessary information regarding the city, guidelines on traveling across the city and beyond and they have this beautiful brochure designed exclusively to help travelers navigate through the city and friendly tips for a safe and hassle-free travel experience. They also have bus ticket booking facility at the desk from where you can get tickets to any part of Rajasthan in just a click.
There are these quirky messages from Mr. Panda all over the walls asking you to do simple things to keep the hostel beautiful and clean. For instance, the messages on the walls of the bathrooms ask you to conserve water and electricity as well as encourage you to maintain the cleanliness of the washrooms.
A glimpse into Ankit’s everyday life at Backpacker Panda, Udaipur.
Ankit Bhati is the manager here, he takes care of the bookings, familiarizes the travelers with the city and provides them any kind of help required. A local from Udaipur, Ankit is shy but a very helpful and friendly person who is passionate about his job at the hostel. When asked about what is it that he loves about his job, he gleams with joy and says “ I get to meet new people every day, learn so much about countries, socialize with such a broad spectrum of people of different nationalities and make friends. What could be better than this?” He is right about the kind of exposure he gets here and being surrounded by travelers from all over the world is indeed a rewarding experience.
He also ecstatically recalls the fun he and the travelers have when they organize few events or games to keep the backpackers engaged. Like on Holi, Independence Day and Diwali, they had organized games like Jenga, Uno , Scrabble and other such fun activities. The wall in the lobby is filled with ecstatic pictures of the backpackers enjoying every bit of the Holi festival.
Why I recommend Backpacker Panda to every traveler?
Damn! it is cheap and affordable. Such world-class quality of accommodation being made accessible to the travelers from the country and overseas is simply awesome. Go ahead and book your accommodation too.
European style hostel accommodation.
At that price, all you can expect from budget hotels is a pigeon-hole to crash at. But Backpacker Panda provides you all the amenities that even a good hotel may not provide. There’s AC, geysers, kitchenette that is fully equipped, travel assistance, brochures, self-laundry, et al. What more do you need?
The amazing friends you will make here.
I landed at the Backpacker Panda during offseason and unfortunately didn’t find many people staying at the hostel to interact with, but looking at those pictures displayed in the lobby, I could gauge the amount of fun that people have had here and the amazing friends they must have made.
A home away from home.
Backpacker Panda is truly a second home. You can cook, laze around, play games, watch TV, surf the internet and do whatever the hell you like to do here. The comfort of a home combined with a truly global experience is worth experiencing at the Backpacker Panda.
Their presence in 6 big cities and few more to come.
I am sure all of the Backpacker Panda hostels pulsate with the similar energy and ambiance. I am surely going to explore their accommodation in all other cities. Check out the pictures of the lovely properties that have been remodeled as hostels for the modern traveler here.
As a female solo traveler in India, the safety issues are always lingering around your subconscious and conscious mind. The Backpacker Panda at Udaipur was so conveniently located in a posh residential area and very close to the Fateh Sagar Lake, that not even for once did I worry about the safety issues of such a place.
As a travel blogger, I enjoyed staying at this place to the brim. I loved every bit of my sojourn here. The homely feeling, the artsy walls, the warmth, and love of the people in and around the premises will remain etched in my heart forever. I would suggest you all try this place too and share your experiences with me. Have you been to such a hostel before? Let me know of your experiences as well. I would love to read them. Until then keep vagabonding wherever you are.
All image edits have been made by Mr. Rahul Vats, a professional photographer. You may check his original work here.