Who would have thought, that in a land such as India—where creation and chaos harmonize—you could thrive as a modern, globetrotting, Wi-Fi-dependent digital nomad?
If you are here to find out whether or not India could be your next digital nomad destination, you’re in luck, because I’ve just returned from a short nomad stay in India as a digital nomad myself and I am already planning my return.
In other words (hint, hint), India is an awesome, up-and-coming country for adventurous digital nomads—for reasons that I get into more below.
Here is everything you need to know to begin your digital nomad journey in India! 🇮🇳
The Complete Guide: India for Digital Nomads
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Reasons to Be a Digital Nomad in India
Years ago, I would have told you India might not be a good place to live as a nomad.
But that was before I got to know India from a digital nomad perspective and before I moved away from Nepal—a time when my thoughts toward South Asia were wildly different than they are today.
Now, there are many reasons why I’d choose to live as a digital nomad in India for a while.
Here are the top three reasons you should consider India for your next temporary home base!
1. Growing Community of Local & Global Nomads
Personally, overtourism is not my kind of travel style, which is why I tend to visit more off-beat destinations as a digital nomad. (If I could go anywhere, why go where everyone is going?)
Not only do overrun cities/destinations popular among digital nomads negatively impact the local host community in more ways than one, but it’s also just not very appealing to me if everyone around me looks alike, acts alike, and thinks alike.
India is still in its untapped potential phase of digital nomadism, but with a surprisingly large, somewhat underground community of digital nomads already present.
The community aspect is tight-knit enough while remaining local and authentic. For me, it strikes just the right balance.
2. Amazing Diversity, Culture, Nature & Activities
This leads me to reason number two to be a nomad in India.
There is just SO much to do in India! The sheer size of the country allows for many opportunities to discover India in a deep, slow, meaningful way—something not many tourists (or even Indians) have the privilege to do.
One month you could be sipping on a masala chai high up in a mountain village in the Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh in the north, and the next month basking in the sun on the beaches of Goa or Kerala in the south.
India is a colorful palette of contrasts, but despite—or in light of—its own challenges, it is a unique destination that always keeps you on your toes and feeling alive.
3. Affordability & Laid-Back Lifestyle
India is perhaps one of the cheaper countries for digital nomads in the whole world. If you are looking to save money as a digital nomad, then you should really consider India.
Compared to other countries I’ve lived as a nomad, India has very affordable offerings to keep even the most penny-pinching nomads on a shoestring budget.
For many nomads, the cost of apartment rentals/accommodation is the most expensive part of traveling full-time.
But in India, your monthly rent could be as low as $250, depending on your style/needs. That’s one-third of the rent I typically pay for accommodation as a nomad in Mexico (which is already considered cheap for most nomads).
As for all the rest—eating out, activities, transport, bills, etc—you’ll have no problem getting by.
Local meals can cost you just $1 USD while cocktails or fancier meals in upscale restaurants/bars can set you back $10 USD. Still, compared to many other nomadic destinations, that’s very affordable.
Lastly, the lifestyle available to you as a nomad in India can be pretty attractive.
From yoga retreats to bars to coworking spaces to beaches to mountains, there’s a lot you can soak up and indulge in.
Of course, India is not perfect and as a nomad, you will see lots of overt poverty, trash, corruption, etc. Please keep in mind to practice ethical and responsible tourism as a temporary guest in India. 🇮🇳
Do You Need a Digital Nomad Visa for India?
For now, you don’t need a specific digital nomad visa for India as a remote worker or digital nomad.
Instead, you need to simply apply for a single-entry or multiple-entry e-Tourist Visa valid for 30 days, 1 year, or 5 years which you can do online and pay for through indiaevisa.gov.
Tips for applying for the India e-visa:
- Apply at least 1–2 weeks in advance (or a minimum of 4 days) and don’t wait to apply right before your departure—you could risk getting denied boarding at the airport if your visa isn’t ‘Granted’ in time. (This actually happened to me! Watch the Reel series I made about it.)
- Don’t use/pay for third-party services promising to expedite the visa.
- Keep a digital copy of the grant letter on your phone (or print it).
- The e-Tourist Visa fee starts at $25 USD.
You can get additional details about visa eligibility and more here.
Best Places to Stay in India for Digital Nomads
Goa for Nomads Overview:
📍 Top Destinations: Panjim, Anjuna, Morjim
💻 Nomad Spaces: Café Rasa Coworking, NomadGao Coliving, Elephant & Co., Beyond Nomad
🌴 Lifestyle: Beaches, hippie markets, boho bars, trance parties, wildlife/nature
➡️ Read my complete guide to being a digital nomad in Goa here ✨
Of all the places to be a digital nomad in India, Goa is arguably (one of) the best.
That is if you enjoy easy-going “susegad” living in sultry coastal towns or historic and cultural cities, being nearby nature and beaches, and getting involved with a local, active community of artists, travelers, and entrepreneurs.
Sounds nice, right?!
That’s because it really is, and I can vouch for Goa as a prime digital nomad destination in India having experienced nearly two weeks there for Nurall’s Goa Residency.
- 9 Best Things to Do in Anjuna & Vagator
- 9 Best Things to Do in Morjim
- 10 Best Things to Do in Panjim
Himachal for Nomads Overview:
📍 Top Destinations: Dharamshala, Dharamkhot, Manali, Shimla
💻 Nomad Spaces: NomadGao, Barefoot Bir, Alt Life, The Other Space, Young Monk, Playground
🏔️ Lifestyle: Mountains, trekking, adventure sports, nature, spirituality
Himachal Pradesh, the gorgeous snow-capped Himalayan region of northern India home to the Dalai Lama, Buddhist monasteries, hippie mountain towns, and ski resorts, is another awesome place to be a digital nomad in India for a while.
Whether for trekking in the summer or skiing in the winter, there’s no shortage of things to do and places to discover in Himachal—especially for adventure travelers.
What’s more, there are lots of cool places for nomads in Himachal, including top-rated coworking spaces, cafés, restaurants, and more.
If you are looking for something a little more off the beaten path, you may also consider the state of Uttarakhand. Also a mountainous state, Uttarakhand attracts pilgrims, adventure travelers, trekkers, and backpackers. A top destination there for nomadic travelers is Rishikesh.
Kerala for Nomads Overview:
📍 Top Destinations: Allepey, Varkala, Fort Kochi, Munnar
💻 Nomad Spaces: Centre A, Gostops, Fortune Cowork, Tengram Plantation, Zostel Varkala, Nomads Backwaters
🏔️ Lifestyle: Tropics, beaches, spirituality, nature, wildlife, tea/spice plantations
Kerala is a destination you should not overlook as a digital nomad in India. With its lush tropical beaches, mountains, and backwaters, it’s a nature-loving nomad’s muse.
What’s more, Kerala oozes a sense of mindfulness and ecotourism that rivals other states in India.
More Nomad-Friendly Destinations in India
I first discovered India through a 2-week backpacking trip in Rajasthan.
It’s an overwhelmingly beautiful desert state in northern India with color-themed cities like Jaipur (“Pink City”), Jodhpur (“Blue City”), and Jaisalmer (“Golden City”) and ancient pilgrimage towns like Pushkar.
Out of all the places we got to see, I feel like I’d return to Jaipur as a digital nomad. It is teeming with things to do for travelers but also cool coworking spaces, bars, restaurants, and other fun places for nomads in Jaipur.
Pondicherry (Tamil Nadu)
Pondicherry (also Puducherry), similar to the once-Portuguese colony of Goa, was under French rule for nearly three centuries.
As such, the city today is an eclectic mix of Franco-Pondicherrian culture. Everything from the architecture to the cuisine to the local lingo has been influenced by France’s multi-centennial occupation.
Nomads based in Pondicherry will enjoy laid-back coastal living with plenty to do, see, and explore.
Internet Expectations in India
You might be surprised to know that Wi-Fi connectivity in India is pretty decent, especially in nomadic/backpacker destinations.
Even though I had great connectivity during my short stint in India working remotely, I wanted to get a local’s point of view.
So I asked my friend Navneet—who founded the Café Rasa coworking space in Panjim and has traveled all over India as a filmmaker—about his experience with the internet in India for adventurous digital nomads.
“Pretty much everywhere is great, you can easily get 30-40 Mbps upload and 50-100 download speeds. Most places have an average of over 100 Mbps.”
Of course, he added, more remote towns—taking Morjim, Goa as an example—might have “less stable connectivity compared to more developed towns/cities such as Anjuna or Panjim.”
But, in sum, the places you are likely to visit in India as a digital nomad will have decent Wi-Fi connectivity, enough to do photo/video editing, Zoom calls, and other quotidian business tasks.
✨ Thinking about visiting Goa’s lovely capital? Here are the top ten things to do in Panjim, Goa!
How to Find Accommodation in India as a Nomad
Every nomad has their own way of finding accommodation, but over the years I’ve found the following four methods to find housing are the best, easiest, and most successful.
(I’ve always landed gems following these steps!)
In particular, to find housing in India as a digital nomad, you should consider:
- Booking through trusted nomad sites like Nurall.co (short/long-term)
- Contacting local coliving spaces in your desired destination (ideal for short-term stays)
- Looking/asking around in person while renting out Airbnb or coliving (best for long-term)
- Searching Facebook groups (e.g. Flats and Flatmates Goa) for monthly rentals (short/long-term)
🏡 For more tips on how to go about finding accommodation, read my guide about how to rent apartments abroad as a digital nomad.
Bucket List Experiences to Have in India
Above, I touched upon my top three reasons why nomading in India is a great idea.
But there is much more to discover about this country than the aspects of the nomadic lifestyle, affordability, and sense of community aspect.
India is a gigantic tapestry of diversity and has so much to teach us.
An author of a book I once read about India said India represented the best of humanity, but also the worst of it too. And I think that sums up how beautiful, ancient, and even paradoxical India can be.
That said, there are certain “bucket list experiences” that go hand-in-hand with a short or long-term stay in India.
- 🎨 Celebrate Holi, the Festival of Color: To be in India during the spring means getting to dance and celebrate “the divine love of Hindu gods Radha and Krishna.” It’s a must-do! On that note, Diwali, the Festival of Light, is also an incredible cultural festival experience to have in India.
- 🇮🇳 Dig into Indian Thali: Every state in India has its own version of Thali. For example, in Goa, you’ll find the classic fish thali set!
- 🪂 Indulge in once-in-a-lifetime adventures: From paragliding in Himachal to diving in the Arabian Sea to trekking or skiing in the Himalayas to camping out in the desert, there is an adrenaline/outdoor activity to check off your India bucket list.
- Explore your spirituality: India is a spiritual mecca. In every state, you’ll find a slew of mosques, churches, monasteries, and temples dedicated to Sikhism, Islam, Jainism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Buddhism. There’s a reason why so many people journey to India in search of self-knowing, enlightenment, and meditation.
Responsible Travel Tips for Nomads in India
One of the reasons I think India is great for digital nomads is that it’s got a lot of “untapped potential.” But where there is potential also lies a lot of opportunity for corruption.
While India has a strong, stable economy, local communities already strapped for resources could get hurt very quickly if suddenly digital nomadism in India were to boom and attract the “wrong” kind of tourist/nomad.
The influx of tourist dollars usually attracts investors, and not always the eco-conscious kind. If nomads are willing to pay 3x the price for local rent, then gentrification will ensue, and real estate investors who are not invested in the well-being of the local community or environment, will creep in. (I’ve seen it happen in other countries.)
That’s why you should always get involved locally, as much as possible. Whether that’s to volunteer in ecotourism projects or with educational community centers, please consider getting involved to contribute to—not take away from—the community you decide to settle in for a while as a digital nomad.
It’s very important to stay aware of our impact on local resources as digital nomads. We are coming in as privileged guests in that country, and it’s up to us to make responsible travel choices.
Here’s a quick running list of responsible travel tips to keep in mind as a digital nomad in India:
- 📰 Stay updated with the local news and happenings involving the community.
- 💦 Reduce your consumption of water and other essential resources.
- 💴 Pay fair prices, and barter responsibly.
- 🚮 Manage your waste properly, and ensure that your hotel/coliving/rental is doing its part.
- 🛍️ Shop locally and ethically. Buy better when possible!
- 🍻 Drink local beer! Really, it has a lighter carbon impact. 🙂
- ✈️ Off-set your emissions from travel.
- 🥩 Eat less meat, when possible!
- 💧 Avoid buying single-use plastic. Reuse, recycle.
- 🐢 Don’t pay to see wildlife in captivity. Instead, you can volunteer for natural preservation projects, beach clean-ups, etc.
For more tips, read my guides on slow / responsible travel:
- What Is Slow Travel & 7 Reasons Why You Should Do It
- Ethical Tourism: What Does It Mean? Plus, 23 Tips to Travel More Ethically
- 9 Ways to Be a Sustainable Traveler for a Greener Future
- 25 Eco-Friendly Travel Tips for the Eco-Conscious Traveler
Medical Care in India for Digital Nomads
Another aspect of India that makes it intriguing for digital nomads and foreigners is that it offers some of the best, affordable healthcare in the world.
In fact, due to the low cost of treatment combined with state-of-the-art medical centers and ayurvedic and alternative practices, India is actually becoming a top destination for medical tourism.
Popular states in India for nomads, such as Goa, will have both specialized and interdisciplinary services you need for basic/advanced healthcare as a digital nomad.
But in any case, it’s wise to get insured with digital nomad-friendly travel medical insurance before moving to India.
➡️ I have been insured by SafetyWing since 2018 for all my trips out of the country. It costs only $40/4 weeks, takes two minutes to sign up, and can be easily canceled or updated as your plans change!
You can sign up here for the day of your departure and be insured the minute you land in India. For more details about coverage and more, read by SafetyWing review.
Safety in India for Females & Tourists
If you happen to look up the State Department’s India travel advisory before planning your trip, you’ll get a sense that India might be unsafe. But despite the warning cries, the country is actually a fairly safe travel destination.
Unrest, petty crime, assault, etc., however, do occur so it’s important to always stay conscious/aware of yourself and the situation you find yourself in when traveling in India (and beyond).
Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind for visiting India for short or long-term stays as a digital nomad:
- 💆♀️ Be sensible: Avoid drawing attention to yourself, getting drunk alone in public, walking alone at night, showing off valuables, being obnoxious, disrespecting local norms and regulations, etc.
- 🤳 Selfie culture: Indians love to take selfies with tourists because they have selfie challenges with their friends and/or they’re curious. You can politely say no if you don’t feel comfortable. In either case, just be aware of yourself and your valuables at all times.
- ☎️ Female help hotline: For female travelers, take extra precautions. Don’t give away that you’re alone. Tell your hotel and a friend where you’re going. Do stick to your safety smarts and keep these hotlines saved in your phone.
- 👘 Dress appropriately: India is a melting pot of religions, cultures, traditions, and beliefs. It’s wise for foreign women to dress comfortably but moderately.
In general, and from my experiences, Indians are always ready to help out. Sometimes you just have to ask for help, though.
I think India has a very strong sense of family and community values, and that trickles down to its foreign visitors.
Here’s a quick example:
A few times, when I’ve received slurs from men in Hindi (or their local language), another male listening nearby has always come to my aid to defend my honor as a “guest” in their country.
As for the women, young Indian girls my age that I have met have always been very sisterly towards me, while the elderly women I’ve met or exchanged with have always treated me as a daughter/granddaughter.
In short, Indians have lots of love to share!
So don’t shy away from this country because of the crime you read about in the news. But do go prepared with awareness equipped in your safety belt at all times.
Get even more India safety tips for female digital nomads here. ✨
Overall, Is India a Good Digital Nomad Destination?
Not that I’m trying to convince you, but I hope by now you have a better understanding of India for digital nomads on the global spectrum.
Sure, it’s not as developed as Bali or Thailand or Portugal, but it’s got its own palette and profile, that, for the right type of eco-conscious adventurous nomad, checks off all the boxes.
If you have any questions about digital nomadism in India, feel free to drop me a DM on Instagram or leave your comments below! 🇮🇳
📍 Pin this Digital Nomad Guide to India for later!
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