Which area to stay in?

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New Delhi, India

Which area to stay in? New Delhi Reviews

Biedjee Biedjee
161 reviews
Tips on the three main tourist hotel areas in New Delhi Sep 11, 2010
When I started looking for a place to stay for my first trip to Delhi, I found the options on offer overwhelming.

While there is accommodation all over the city, most travellers end up at either one of these three neighbourhoods: Paharganj, Karol Bagh or Old Delhi. I have stayed at all these three places. For specific hotel recommendations, see the my reviews, though none of the three hotels I stayed at received a particularly high recommendation. Mind you, finding good value accommodation in Delhi (or India, for that matter) is quite rare anyway.


Paharganj is the area where most independent and budget travellers stay and as such it has the most lively traveller scene. There are literally thousands of hotels here and almost as many Internet cafés, travel agents and touts. There are surprisingly few restaurants in the area, but pretty much all hotels serve food.

I stayed for Rs 1100 in a single room with A/C, private bathroom, queensize bed and breakfast, but I've seen places advertise for as little as Rs 100 a night. This is most likely for a bed in a dorm, though, which you might have to share with rats and cockroaches as well.

Karol Bagh

Karol Bagh is the new Paharganj, though a little more upmarket. This is where most people on pre-booked or group tours end up and as such the area mainly caters for slightly higher budgets. There are some hostels in the area, but I did not manage to find any place willing to sell me a single room (I tried some of the hostels but they would charge me for 2 people if I wanted to in a private room).

I ended up staying here during my trip with Ed, in a hotel arranged for by the travel agent where we had booked out Rajasthan trip. The price was around Rs 3000 for a double, including breakfast, though cheaper options are definitely available.

Old Delhi

This is the place where most Indian tourists stay and as such you don't see as many foreigners on the street. This means that the area, while seedy, dirty and ugly, is also surprisingly quiet. People won't bother you much in the street. I paid Rs 600 for a prison cell with A/C (Rs 400 without A/C), which was a pretty good deal. After the first night I tried to find a better place to stay, but couldn't find anything under Rs 1500. You will most likely be able to find better value deals in Paharganj, but Old Delhi is definitely a more adventurous area to stay in!

So there you have it. There are pros and cons to each neighbourhood and therefore I can't recommend a specific one that will suit most travellers. Best thing is to figure out what kind of traveller you are and then search for a place to stay in the corresponding area:

Budget travellers: Paharganj or Old Delhi

Backpackers: Paharganj

Mid-range budgets: Karol Bagh

People who like quiet and peace: Karol Bagh

Adventurous travellers: Old Delhi
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