Here’s How to Visit Tourist Places in West India

April 2, 2021

tourist places in west india

Traveling in India can be daunting for even the savviest travelers.  Infrastructure is lacking, there are hordes of people to contend with, putrid-smelling trash everywhere, sanitary issues with food and water, and the traffic is pure bedlam beyond anything I’ve ever seen, anywhere in the world. The prospect of exploring tourist places in West India was daunting.

You’re probably thinking, “why would I want to go there?” right?

Simply put India is one of the most animated and intriguing countries that you’ll ever visit.  Having to put up with some inconveniences doesn’t mean you should pass up seeing some of the incredible sights the country has to offer. The history and architecture are fascinating, the vibrant colors are memorizing, and the locals are engaging. The Taj Mahal was one of those rare places that exceeded expectations, and the chaos of Old Delhi tourist places was fascinating.

Wifi can be tricky. Here’s a guide on how to get a sim card in India.

As with many countries, India has guidelines that you should follow. Here is a list of what not to do in India.

On my recent trip along India’s west coastline, I mitigated the chaos by (a) taking a cruise with Costa Cruise Line, and (b) booking excellently organized tours with Get Your Guide.

Here are four tourist places in West India not to be missed.

1.  Mumbai

tourist places in west india

The harborfront. Photo by Kary Kern.

Formerly known as Bombay, Mumbai is India’s largest city and financial center  It’s a plethora of things to do and see. We began our exploration by walking around the picturesque harbor dominated by the iconic Gateway of India built in 1924 by British Raj.  Near the harbor are some fine-but-crumbling examples of British Colonial architecture, bustling Colaba with its Causeway market, and of course the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

tourist places in west india

Gateway of India. Photo by Kary Kern.

Other city sights include Dhobi Ghat – the world’s largest (outdoor) laundry, Bombay University, Town Hall, and Minara Masjid. You can venture out on your own in a taxi, but be prepared to be in hours of traffic. An alternative is to take an all-encompassing city tour.

Another fun place to visit is Bollywood, the heart of India’s film industry. Make sure to take a Bollywood tour to get behind-the-scenes secrets, and explanations of special effects, and see the gallery of costumes.

If you’re a foodie, but afraid to experiment with Indian cuisine (trust me, “Delhi-Belly” is a real thing), try a walking food tour for safe sampling among the street food stalls.

Extra time in Mumbai? Visit Elephanta Island – ancient cave temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.

taj mahal

Taj Mahal. Photo by Kary Kern.

For the luxury of extra multiple days in Mumbai, I can’t recommend highly enough that you plan a one-day trip to the Taj Mahal.  While this day trip may set you back a few dollars, it’s well worth the expense, especially if you’ll not likely get to India again.  Taj Mahal is India’s most famous love letter and one of the finest examples of architecture in the world.

2.  Goa


Wandering in Goa. Photo by Alebaffa

Goa is India’s most popular beach destination.  Beaches here aren’t as exotic as some of the beaches in the Indian Ocean, but they are lively and fun and worth exploring.  If you only have one day, try a tour of three of Goa’s sunny, palm-lined beaches – Kerim Beach, Ashwem Beach, and Anjuna beach. If you have more time, check out the 5 best beaches in Goa or this 7 day Goa travel itinerary. If you’re looking for some fun after dark, check out this Goa nightlife guide!

goa beach at sunset

Yoga on Sunset Beach. Photo credit Dennis

If beaches aren’t your thing, Goa has other things to do.  For one thing, India is known for its excellent yoga instruction. Did you know you can boost immune system with yoga? Here are some excellent places for yoga.

Note: Are you a yoga-lover? Amélie did her yoga instructor training in Goa and has put together this yoga teacher training guide.

There’s a tour of old Goa that has been compared to old Rome along with a spice plantation, where you can see and smell aromatic spices that India is so famous for.  If the smells make you hungry for some delicious Indian cuisine, here’s a guide for what to eat in Goa.

3.  Mangalore


Statue of Bahubali/Gomateshwara. Photo by Kary Kern.

Mangalore is more than meets the eye.  It was our least anticipated city but ended up being one of our favorites. Mangalore sits on the Arabian Sea port and is a major commercial center in India’s Karnataka region.

We only had one day in Mangalore, so we were up at the crack of dawn to climb a 200-step hill and see the 42’ monolithic statue of Bahubali/Gomateshwara, built in 1432. The statue was magnificent, and the panoramic views from the top made it worth the effort.

Subsequently, we set off in a car to explore the outskirts:

India's west coast

Temple of 1000 Pillars. Photo by Patti Morrow

We sifted through the temple of 1000 Pillars in Moodbidri with pillars carved from granite, each having its own unique stories carved on it.

tourist places in west india

One of the botanicals at Soans Farm. Photo by Patti Morrow

We ambled through botanical gardens at Soans Farm in Belvai, followed by a delicious picnic in an enchanting bamboo forest.

India's west coast

Temple at Udupi. Photo by Kary Kern

Udupi has unique temples that are visually fascinating, especially the gorgeous Shree Amruteshwari Temple.

4.  Kochi

Kochi (also called Cochin) is in India’s Kerala state, arguably the prettiest part of India, and sometimes called “God’s own country.”  It’s a mix of medieval Arab, Chinese, British, Portugal, and Dutch influences. My picks of things to do in Kochi would be to take a leisurely walking tour through Fort Kochin and cruise through the backwaters.

tourist places in west india

St. Francis Church. Photo by Patti Morrow

Built in 1503, St. Francis Church is reputedly the oldest European church in India.  The church is noteworthy as being the original burial place for explorer Vasco De Gama after his death in 1524, although his remains were transported to Lisbon just 14 years later.

tourist places in west india

Santa Cruz Basilica. Photo by Kary Kern.

Though not as old as St. Francis, Santa Cruz Basilica’s architecture is much grander, and is listed as a heritage edifice of Kerala.

Princess Street is one of the oldest streets in Fort Kochi with lots of small shops, bookstores, and cafes.  Considered Kochi’s main tourist strip, it’s a great place to find street art or to people-watch.


Chinese fishing nets. Photo by Kary Kern.

Kochi is known for its Chinese fishing nets, cantilevered on the waterfront. Legend has it that the nets were brought from China by Kublai Khan’s court in the 14th century. There seems to be perpetual motion going on with the nets.  In front of the nets are streets stalls where you can buy freshly caught fish and handmade souvenirs.

tourist places in west india

Strolling on the beach. Photo by Kary Kern.

And not to underestimate siren call of just a simple stroll along the beach.  I can never get enough of that!

tourist places in west india

Mattancherry/Jew Town. Photo by Patti Morrow.

We spent some time walking and shopping for treasures in Mattancherry/Jew Town, the center of the spice trade in Kochi.  It’s an area brimming with shops and antique stores.  We ducked into courtyards of boutique hotels lining the waterfront which brought us out onto the bay.

kerala backwater

Kerala backwater. Photo by Get Your Guide

Unfortunately, I was not able to experience one of my most anticipated tourist places in West India — the idyllic and peaceful backwaters of Kerala’s Alleppey district.  I’d pre-booked a houseboat cruise through canals, lakes, and paddy fields, but because a local strike was taking place, all tours were canceled so as not to put tourists in danger.  So disappointing!

If you have more time in Kerala, you might want to try a relaxing weekend in Wayanad.

For the easiest way to see the tourist places in West India, we recommend cruising with Costa as a great option.  We thought of it as our “floating hotel,” stress-free, which was saying a lot after we’d already been a week on land in Delhi, Agra, and Mumbai, with hassles everywhere we went.  If you’re looking for a way to see India on a medium budget, give it a try – our cabin was always clean, the buffet food was good, and the price was right.

Note: Booking with Get Your Guide…always double-check return times to be sure the tour you’re signing up for gets back well before your ship’s departure time from that port.

Is safety a concern? Click here to find out : Is it dangerous to travel as a woman to India?

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About the Author

Patti Morrow

Patti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning international blog Luggage and Lipstick and the southern travel blog Gone to Carolinas. TripAdvisor called her one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials” and she was named one of the “Top 35 Travel Blogs” in the world.

She is also the star of the upcoming TV series “Destination Takeover” which is scheduled to premiere in the new few months.

Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal. She has traveled extensively through six continents looking for fabulous destinations, exotic beaches, and adventure activities for her Baby Boomer tribe.


  1. Comment by Carole Terwilliger Meyers

    Carole Terwilliger Meyers Reply April 2, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    A tour of a new place, especially one as exotic and congested as India, is always a good idea. Your colorful attire seems to fit the occasion! I will definitely get one of those vibrant umbrellas when I visit.

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply April 5, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      The riot of colors is one of the best things about India!

  2. Comment by Irene S. Levine

    Irene S. Levine Reply April 3, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Sounds like a great tour. OMG, loved that picture of you with all the other women!

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply April 5, 2018 at 4:17 pm

      It was spontaneous, right after I’d toured the 10000 Pillar Temple!

  3. Comment by Debbra Dunning Brouillette

    Debbra Dunning Brouillette Reply April 3, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    Fantastic article with great photos! I would definitely want to visit the Taj Mahal and Goa looks beautiful. I love the featured photo of you with the other Indian woman at the top of the post.

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply April 5, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      Yes, those were are great choices!

  4. Comment by Carol Colborn

    Carol Colborn Reply April 4, 2018 at 10:04 am

    You have made sense out of traveling in India and highlighted the key areas. I wonder why you didn’t talk about Delhi. Taj Mahal is closer there than Mumbai.

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply April 5, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      That’s a great question… It’s because Delhi is an entire article unto itself. Stay tuned!

  5. Comment by Donna Janke

    Donna Janke Reply April 4, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    All four places would be wonderful to visit and appear to give different views of India. The organized tours and the cruise sound like a way to experience some of India. I’ve always imagined that travel there could be chaotic at times.

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply April 5, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      I’d definitely recommend trying the tours with Get Your Guide — they do a great job!

  6. Comment by Doreen Pendgracs

    Doreen Pendgracs Reply April 5, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks for this great post about travel in India. I’ve avoided the country for some of the reasons you’ve cited. But now that I’ve read your great post, I may just add it to my bucket list!

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply April 5, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      It can be a challenge,for sure, but in our case, the misadventures are what we reminisce about the most!

  7. Comment by Marilyn

    Marilyn Reply April 6, 2018 at 11:24 am

    I was in India four years ago and I would go back in a heartbeat! I so enjoyed reading your post and looking at your lovely photos.

  8. Comment by Penny

    Penny Reply April 8, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    The same people who tried to discourage me from traveling to Jordan are trying to do the same with my desire to visit India. I didn’t listen then, and I’m not listening now. Thank you for giving me additional ammunition in the form of your great article and beautiful photos.

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply April 8, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      You are invincible, Penny! I look forward to reading about your travels to India! xo

  9. Comment by Rose Palmer

    Rose Palmer Reply April 8, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    Nice article. Saved for future reference.

  10. Comment by Ubaid shaikh

    Ubaid shaikh Reply January 8, 2019 at 6:05 am

    Looks like you had an amazing tour.
    I am a fan of your writing. How beautifully you convert your memories into words, your work is beautiful and so are you. keep the good work going.

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  12. Comment by Griffin Noelle

    Griffin Noelle Reply November 6, 2019 at 9:23 am

    I am glad to find it. There are so many bloggers working on this part but this is one of the best innovative post ever. Thanks for such post.

  13. Comment by Charles Wood

    Charles Wood Reply July 11, 2020 at 6:53 am

    Loved the post! Would like to add that Mumbai is in very close proximity to the Sahyadris. Sahyadris is a mountain range that runs parallel to the west coast and spans across 6 states. It offers some really good hikes! I hope you’ll be able to explore them should you plan to visit India again!

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