[Travel Series] Backpackers Panda Pune

-Chaitali Phatak

Pune is the second home for me. It’s where a dozen of my relatives live and also the first city I moved to back in 2014. This meant I had many homes to go to and crash at if I wanted to. But what solo backpacking would it be if I hadn’t lived in a hostel and experienced a traveler’s life, right?

Vibing place of Backpackers Panda, Pune.

Plus, Backpackers Panda is located in my absolute favorite area of Pune – Koregaon Park. It’s where you see all the young, cosmo crowd chilling and vibing in pubs and cafes. It’s also where you see Osho followers quietly walking around in their deep red robes and Osho slip-on.  This area is definitely nothing like the traditional Pune you must have heard of. Koregaon Park and especially the lane number 4, where this hostel is located are made up of huge trees on either side and cold, quiet atmosphere to go with it.

I couldn’t start my trip on a higher note than this and a lot of credit goes to Backpackers Panda Pune. Their location simply set the mood for the entire trip just right. It’s barely 4 km away from the railway station and the frequency of buses and auto-rickshaw for KP is quite decent. The hostel is easy to locate and offers just the right amounts of peace and quiet one needs after long hours of traveling.

I lived in Panhala fort. I mean my room was named Panhala.

I was welcomed into the hostel by two fun and jolly Puneri hosts. They handed me brochures and city map and gave me a tour of the hostel. It’s a small, cozy, comforting place tucked in the quiet lanes away from the hustle and bustle of the city traffic. You can also rent bicycles for Rs. 100 a day from the hostel and go biking around Pune.

Osho painted on the wall next to my room

Backpackers Panda follows a beautiful pattern of naming their rooms after the famous landmark of the city they’re located in. All the rooms in this hostel are named after various forts seen in and across Pune. The common area at the entrance is vibrant and colorful. It’s the place where people sit and relax with a cup of green tea and a book from the mini library at the reception. Or with their chilled beers discussing games and gossips. The common kitchen is small but has all things you need- a microwave, refrigerator, and water purifier.

The beautiful lane number 4 where the hostel is located.

The rooms of this hostel are spacious; mine had three bunk beds and an attached washroom. Each bed had a reading lamp and charging point. Since Osho Ashram is in the neighboring lane, there are many foreigners crashing in this hostel. The best part about Backpackers Panda Pune is that they offer budget-friendly AC rooms in the most happening locality of the city.

They have one room dedicated to girls and they also have mix gender rooms available. It’s perfect for a group of friends looking for a place to crash after a long night of partying since all the pubs are just around the corner.

There is an ATM, general store, and medical store just at a walking distance from the hostel. The hostel also provides washing machine services for a minimum price. When I’m on a budget solo travel, I always look out for hostels with washing machine and water purifier facilities, since these things save a lot of money that is spent unnecessarily. This hostel seems to have kept in mind the nitty-gritty of a traveler’s needs and designed the space accordingly.

Look for the sign, go for the bunk!

I didn’t spend a lot of time in Pune, but if I had the extra time I’d probably spend it all in the comforts of Backpackers Panda hostel. It’s perfect to relax your mind and unwind on those rare travel days when you’re tired and you just want to laze around. I’d strongly recommend Backpackers Panda to budget-friendly travelers looking for comfort and safety spaces.

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