A Homestay isn’t simply somewhere to stay; many Homestays offer a range of activities which give guests the unique opportunity to experience the specific culture of the area. Depending on the location, homestays can offer anything from adventure pursuits, artistic activities and experiencing local culture such as dance and music.
Many Homestay hosts offer Cooking Classes in delicious Indian food for their guests. These are informal and a friendly way to get to know your host and the Indian culture of food! In all towns there are excellent restaurants, and some of the best regional delicacies will probably be cooked by the hosts. Meals are cultural experiences in themselves and learning some of your favorites is a must.
For Indians, Yoga & Ayurveda is a religious practice, but also a way of helping with everyday life and to give a better perspective on the world. Your hosts can arrange for private classes at the homestay or guide you to a nearby centre for long term courses.
3. Local Tours
Be it a village walk, or a trip around the city or a list of places to sightsee, your hosts are a great resource. Ask them for recommendations on what to see, how to schedule your day, what to look out for, timings, tickets, taxis and anything else that you need to know. Local tours within a destination can be much more hassle free if you are prepared with the right information. Homestay hosts will always be there to help you with this.
In the plantation areas of Kerala (Wayanad, Thekkady and Munnar) and Karnataka (Coorg), you can have guided Plantation Tour to understand about the cultivation of spices and tea, and to learn about the way of life in plantations. These tours can be by jeep or by foot. Tours of plantations can be offered by Homestay owners themselves, if they run a plantation, or by local tourist companies.
Hikes and Treks are offered in homestays, led by local villagers or a Homestay host. Long, tough treks into the mountains are offered and lighter treks to see the surrounding landscape, such as the sheer rock faces and cultivated fields. Short treks, day long treks and longer treks including camping can be organized.
Certains parts of India are less crowded than the other, certain other parts of India are best seen on foot or by Cycling/Biking with the wind blowing your hair back. Cycles and scooters can be hired, or your host may have a spare one that you can use and with a map in hand or directions from your host, ride into narrow lanes and discover little hidden treasures that are not open for all to see.
Many destinations often have local events like plays, musicals, theatre, games or festivals. These are not accessible to the regular tourist. With the help of homestay hosts you can get to exclusive private events or weddings or celebrations within families that a regular tourist can never see. Be in Polo matches, or a workshop on Indian embroidery or cricket matches, it will be great to get exclusive access to local entertainment.
Sit back, relax and hear the sound of exotic Indian birds or get your binoculars and note the colors, plumage and other characteristics of Indian and the many migratory birds that are found in abundance in the serene plantations and hills of India. Bird Watching is especially good in the Kuttanad backwaters and plantation areas of Kerala, the Himalayas at Spiti and in the Rajasthan desert and hills. The Uttarakhand belt is also a great place for birdwatching especially with the Corbett National Park in the region.
India has plenty of opportunities to relax with a Fishing line. Angling, net fishing, fishing with Chinese fishing nets are many different types that you can experience. Local fishermen love to have company and are quite insightful of the catch. You can fish for trout, lobsters, clams and much more. Many Homestays are more than happy to cook the fish that their guests have caught, so you can enjoy a delicious home-caught fish curry!
10. Elephant safaris
These are offered all over India, from the streets of Udaipur in Rajasthan to the plantation areas of Thekkady in Kerala; elephants are sacred animals in India and are found in temples, and working in plantations. Homestay hosts can arrange for your Elephant safaris tickets in a wildlife sanctuary or general joy rides in certain destinations.
Wildlife safari can be done in the wildlife parks at various parts of India. Some places more famous for the elusive Tiger and some for elephants, some for leopards while others for exotic birds. Homestay hosts can put guests in contact with tourist companies who can arrange wildlife safaris.
12. Backwater Cruise
A very popular attraction in the Kuttanad backwaters of Kerala, a trip on a fully staffed houseboat with living areas, visiting different areas of the backwaters in Kerala for 1-3 days. This is the perfect way to go birdwatching and to visit different towns and villages. A simpler way to travel in the Backwater Cruise, day trips on a punted traditional rice barge (punted by two people) are the best way to get into the narrow canals to see traditional villages which live mainly on farming.
For the adventure lovers, this gives them an opportunity to explore destinations by foot and find shelter under the canvas. Many homestays will be able to assist with Camping arrangements and may be able to help with tent and equipment hire and arrange a guide or porter if required. They can send you on your way with a delicious packed lunch and look after your luggage while you spent a night in the wild, before welcoming you back with a hot bath and hot dinner.
14. Artisanal Visits
Let your hosts take you to a potter’s house or a basket weaver’s house. If you would like to see some local dance form or even a traditional martial art demonstration, your hosts can recommend the best place to go. Typically every region has something special that is of Artistic and creative value and local crafts can be also learnt.
15. Visit to local market
Get up close and personal with the daily life of any destination. Watch local people go about their daily life, business in motion, colors, sounds and sights that create a beautiful image of India. Visit the local markets along with your host Your host can explain to you all about life in India, spices, fresh produce, Indian fabrics and much more. There is also the advantage of getting a locals recommendation on the best places to buy specific items and also getting the best bargain.
If you would like to try these activities yourself contact our reservations team who will be happy to help you plan a trip.
Homestays offer the perfect opportunity to get a local insight and your host family will be happy to provide guidance. Check out our Indian homestay collection.