India might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of a workation, or a working holiday. But think again. The huge Asian nation has plenty of destinations on offer, with a variety of costs and settings. You’ll find good wifi in many spots, too.
Some of these destinations are so immersive you’ll hardly feel like you’re working at all.
Why become a digital nomad?
If you’re not already thinking about it, why should you consider becoming a digital nomad? Studies stretching over the past decade have found that a flexible approach to working has huge benefits on our mental and physical health. With the right set-up and planning, your income could also benefit, especially if you choose a destination where living costs are lower than where you earn your salary.
From tranquil beaches to mountain peaks, here are some of India’s best locations for a workation.
Watersports and working lunches in Goa
A prime opportunity for productivity and rejuvenation, this state’s ever-popular beaches are an essential consideration for any travellers looking to work with an ocean view.
Goa’s expansive infrastructure and booming economy means it offers workations at every price point. Luxury villas with sea views allow you to sit on a balcony with a laptop and a beverage, but there’s scope for more simplistic getaways too.
Cosy beach huts in some of the less tourist-y spots allow for an abundance of relaxation while you work on your latest client brief.
Not only that, Goa is an excellent place for cultural exploits in your time out. There is something for everyone. Active types can try water sports down by Anjuna beach. If all you want at the end of a working week is a stiff drink, hit up Tito’s beachside bar and club to let off some steam.
For more inspiration visit Goa Tourism.
Off-the-beaten track beaches in Varkala, Kerala
If Goa’s greatness has been tried and tested on you one too many times, Varkala might offer a more offbeat alternative.
Its beaches and lakes are suited to the less tourist-focused traveller.
Hailed as a groundbreaker in responsible tourism, Kerala is host to sweeping mountain vistas and expansive tea estates. It prides itself on maintaining its gorgeous farms and fishing lakes, with the ecological benefits remaining front and centre for those that wish to make their trips as climate conscious as possible.
Workation dwellers hail Verkala’s expansive cafés for that real taste of homeworking. The area is full of opportunities to grab a seaside drink and snack. We recommend Cafe del Mar on the awe-inspiring north cliffs. It serves everything from delicious teas to complex curries, with incredible views to boot.
Don’t mistake seclusion for boredom though - Kappil Beach’s hidden ponds make for great weekend exploration.
For more information visit Kerala Tourism.
Head to Darjeeling, West Bengal for a young crowd
If co-working is more your thing, Darjeeling offers a host of spots to do so. Described as having a ‘youthful vibe’ for workations, this is one for those that like to have a bit of company.
What’s more, you get to do it at the foot of the snowy peaks of the Himalayas.
Looking for an unconventional start to your trip? The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway features a train offering connections to a number of prime workation destinations. It’s not the most efficient way to do things, but it’s the perfect way to see incredible surroundings.
If going away to work doesn’t negate a series of pretty hefty deadlines, a taxi from Bagdogra airport is probably easier and takes way less time.
For more information visit Darjeeling Tourism.
Hippies and hillsides in Gokarna, Karnataka
Labelled as hippiedom's final frontier by Condé Nast traveller, this is the absolute go-to for fans of impressive architecture cloaked within boundless flurries of greenery.
Leave your wilting office houseplants behind as Gokarana has endless vegetation no matter where your apartment sits in this hilly retreat.
It’s growing popularity ensures that those wanting to blitz through emails with a stellar view are not compromised by technology. There are dozens of getaways offering wifi connectivity in stunning apartments modelled after ancient temples.
Gokarna is a lot more than just India’s southern stopover - the temple town is great for history buffs, too. We recommend a visit to one of its many sacred sites, like the Mahabaleshwar Temple dating back to Hinduism in the 4th century.
For more information visit Karantaka Tourism.
Cheap stays in Udaipur, Rajasthan
This ‘City of Lakes’ makes India’s must-see lists time and time again, attracting creativity-driven digital nomads yearly. It has a huge market for hostel stays alongside some more premium options.
You best believe you’ll be bringing a proper camera on this particular workation, for there is just so much to take in. Lake Garden Palace floats within a stretch of the bluest waters you'll ever see, and is a feat of Indian architectural prosperity. Shilpgram - a rural arts and crafts market that promotes Udaipur’s local talents - is well worth a visit for those in the creative industries looking to be truly inspired.
For more information visit Rajasthan Tourism.
Back to nature in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
Try a cabin in the woods, but reimagined for a totally different continent.
Known as ‘Valley of the Gods’ for its popularity as a Hindu retreat, Kullu has met newfound popularity as a workation destination for its nature-centric way of living. Rated Thrillopia’s top spot for Indian workations, the forests of Kullu make for the perfect pared back workspace.
The region only became accessible following Indian independence, so decades of remote standing have allowed its sublime woodlands and apple orchids to flourish. Downtime can be spent on a plethora of hiking routes throughout the Great Himalayan National Park.
Though if hiking isn’t your thing - let's be honest, it isn’t for everyone - Kullu’s rivers offer a number of activities, from rafting to fishing. Don’t be put off by the uber-remote setting though, as Kullu’s position as a prime secluded workspace ensures it’s cabins have strong internet capabilities.
For more information visit Himachal Tourism
Please note that there are currently travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19. Always check government advice before making any bookings. State-by-state protocols can be found here.