Is northeast India safe for solo women travelers?

Safest Places for Solo Women Travelers in India

Solo travel is on the rise. It means many things to many people. For some, it may be about discovering oneself, in some others, perhaps it triggers the idea of independence. However, for some, women particularly, the appeal of solo travel may be mixed with concerns of safety. Concerns that can muddle the act of choosing travel destinations. Abhijeet Deshpande, author of Backpacking North East India: A Curious Journey, explores the context, few statistics and suggests some of the safest places for solo women travelers in India.

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Is India Safe for Solo Women Travelers?

In recent times, media stories following violent crimes against women in India have captured the world’s imagination. Rightly so. While the mainstream narrative successfully evoked unprecedented public demonstrations, by both women and men, that voice of protest against rape failed to leave an indelible mark. As a result, India got portrayed as an unfriendly country for women, instead of one that takes to its streets to demand justice for women.


The fallout began soon after – Indian men got stereotyped. The line between criminal versus the obnoxious behavior (Indian men are often accused of staring at women) got blurred. Indian backpackers were, at times, refused entry to hostels and mixed-dormitories. It got worse. Indian male students were denied opportunities overseas. Case in point: Leipzig University.

So, are the unprecedented street protests an indicator of enhanced safety for women in India? Or does the media coverage mean that India is somehow more dangerous for women than most other countries? Perhaps neither. But it raises the question – why the disproportionate, almost vilifying focus on India? Why lock a universal gender issue within the confines of a political boundary? For a discussion on such points and more, here’s a recommended reading by Maria Wirth, a German, and a solo woman traveler to India.

Safest Countries in the World for Women Travelers

With a population of 1.3 billion, you might expect India to lead the statistics of crimes against women. Guess what? It does not. United States of America, with a quarter of India’s population, retains that spot.

It gets scarier in Europe. England and Wales, Germany and Sweden, considered among the most progressive societies, and with even a smaller fraction of India’s population, are some of the most dangerous places for women. This, despite the fact that men in these countries, unlike in India, are not known to stare at women. Yet, the world awaits the loudest voice of protest against rape from the streets of London, Washington, Berlin, or Stockholm to hit global headlines (Data source, except England and Wales: rape statistics by country, UNODC).

Violence against women is a deplorable, global problem. Would you, as a solo woman traveler concerned with personal safety, stereotype their men and avoid going to Europe or The United States of America? Or would you rather follow contextual safe practices while visiting these fabulous countries? If you agree with the latter, there’s good news: you are a smart traveler who knows how to take care of herself irrespective of where you are in the world, including India.

Safest Places for Solo Women Travelers in India

Fortunately, despite the negative fallout of a sustained media campaign, solo women travelers continue to travel across the length and breadth of India. With commonsensical practices, you would be safe pretty much anywhere in the world. And though many of us may intuitively know the places in India that are considered relatively safer for women, lets look at data for top ten Indian states and union territories (in the ascending order of crime, 2001-2012).

Indian states and Union TerritoriesTotal crimes against women
Lakshadweep Islands16
D and N Haveli354
Daman and Diu423
Andaman and Nicobar Islands806
Arunachal Pradesh2180

Lets also consider factors like total population and sex-ratio to consider secondary data for crimes per 1000 women. The data (just as the previously cited global data) may be criticized since all cases may not be reported – let alone the convictions. So, please take it with a pinch of salt. That said, it might depict a general trend of how things stand.

Indian states and Union TerritoriesCrimes per 1000 women
Lakshadweep Islands0.262332
D and N Haveli1.330673
Arunachal Pradesh1.679590

Do you see a pattern here? The data in some way reaffirms what we always knew – that our Islands, Goa, Daman and Diu and North East India could be termed the safest for women. That said, it is always good to follow general safety practices (irrespective of where you are). When you do so, you’d enjoy tangible and intangible benefits. Here are 7 ways traveling solo enriches you!

So, try your luck to visit the best places in Goa to see the Olive Ridley turtles at Morjim beach, go hiking in Goa’s little known wildlife sanctuaries, farther still – learn scuba diving on the islands, or go for those long walks on the streets of Gangtok, Sikkim (North East India). Peace of mind in the lap of nature. Safe travels, Happy travels!

Think North East India

Planning to visit? Pick up a copy of Backpacking North East India: A Curious Journey. It covers over two dozen places and attempts to answer the question – what is it like to travel in the region? Give it a read and make your own choices. Buy now!

Amazon India, Amazon US, Kindle, Apple iTunes, Flipkart, Google Playstore, Infibeam, Kobo, NotionPress

Have you traveled solo in India? What things did you do for your safety? We would love to hear from you (please scroll below to leave a comment).

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46 thoughts on “Safest Places for Solo Women Travelers in India”

  1. These are terrifying numbers but once good tip is if you are not sure, just travel with someone then.

    1. Travelling with someone or solo, it is always helpful to follow contextual safe practices while visiting any place! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I always travel with my friends. Thank you for this informative data. When we visit India, i will definitely consider this.

  3. Wow this was shocking info, but thank you for taking the time to point out the safest routes!

  4. This was a really eye-opening post. The statistics say a great deal and I think the point is well made that you can travel anywhere solo in the world if you exercise the correct precautions. India is such a beautiful country and looking at the stats, certainly does not deserve a bad reputation compared to other countries when it comes to solo women travellers.

  5. The Panicked Foodie

    I never quite understood why India got such a bad rap. It looks like a beautiful country, and one I really want to visit someday, as Indian food is one of my favorite cuisines. Thank you for putting any fears I had about traveling to India alone, to rest 🙂

    1. Happy to hear that. We hope you visit soon and enjoy the cuisines which are very unique in each state.

  6. I’m so surprised with the statistics. This one is taken in 2010, I hope things have changed to the good this time. I know some people like traveling alone, I on the other hand would prefer traveling with someone I know.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Whether traveling alone of with someone, its always good to follow some safe travel practices globally! Happy travels.

  7. Bunmies Healthy Choices

    I love this post. I always tell people to travel with someone. I’ll definitely love to explore India some day. Thanks for sharing.

  8. It is a beautiful country! Thanks you share the data and information, I will check it out if I will go to India

  9. Wonderful post presenting facts on safety scenario for solo women travelers in India. I have traveled each part of country solo and vouch for its safe environs. Exceptions are everywhere in world.

  10. Traveling solo as a woman can seem quite tricky thus proper preparation should be done before while utmost care should be taken during the trip. I’m happy that Kenya has very minimal cases f insecurity for women travelers which is true. Anyway, for my safety, I have to be familiar with the language of any place I’m visiting; just a couple of words will do..

    1. Appreciate your perspectives and insights Dalene. Thank you for your valuable thoughts and suggestions here.

  11. I have never travelled solo. But I really want to do that. Your post sounds very good and such great details. Staying in Guwahati one thing I know Northeast is safe for female solo travelers. I have a lot of female solo travelers who really inspire me a lot.

  12. Rachael Berthiaume

    Thanks for sharing such great information! Its sad when the media misuses and misleads information, its so hard to know whether something is true or not, so thank you for stating the facts.

  13. Not gonna lie. India has terrified me in the past couple of years because of the violent rapes, especially of the student in the bus that gripped the world. For me, not only am I a woman but I’m a black woman and I’ve heard from solo black female travellers that they were spat at, stared and pointed at and some men even got out of an elevator because Africans got in. That doesn’t include the violence and rapes against Africans in India that happened last year. An Indian blogger on Twitter even advised me to go to Goa as it would be safer for me as a woman and as a black African woman. So now I’m confused about India.

    1. We are glad this post offered you a new perspective and something to rethink. Besides Goa, you may also consider North East India or the islands. Here is wishing you safe travels all over the world.

  14. I love travel alone but in this case if go to in India better I’m with someone for better safety I love also to visit India someday. 🙂

    1. We hope you visit India soon 🙂 Whether you travel solo or with someone, its good to follow some common safe practices when traveling, no matter wherever one is in the world! Happy travels.

  15. thevintagegypsygirl

    Solo traveling is a new trend, and single female traveling is definitely on the rise. Those statistics of the safest and most dangerous places for women travelers are quite alarming.

  16. I always travel by myself. But, I am always aware of my surroundings and know when and where not to go.

  17. This is genius, thank you so much: I’m a solo traveller and have always said that there are two destinations I wouldn’t do solo: South Africa and India. Regarding latter, I might change my mind now….

  18. I love this post. But honestly, defining India a dangerous place due to a particular individuals behaviour would be wrong. A country is not defined by a few. I honestly haven’t read into it that much but from a general sense; any country around the world can be just as dangerous.

    1. Thank you for sharing your insights and reflections Pavan. Yes, safety could be a concern anywhere in the world. And hence, following common safe practices are helpful for travelers.

  19. This is a sensitive subject. And I am glad you have addressed it in your post. Traveling in India solo can be stressful many-a-time even for the Indian woman. I can understand if people from outside feel uncomfortable. That said, some places like the North East that have strong matriarchal backgrounds are safer than many other places in the world. I am so happy you bring that up in your post and are dedicating all your energy to spread so much awareness about India’s North East.

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