Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Sat July 02 2016

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  • Shannon Wolf | July 2, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Hampi: A Lengthy But Worthy Trek

    Hampi: A Lengthy But Worthy Trek

    PHOTO: Our first night in Hampi we climbed atop Sunset Point to see the city from a magnificent perspective. (photos by Shannon Wolf)

    The main reason I decided to travel the south of India in 100-plus degree weather was because of a small, quaint village called Hampi which was said to be India’s own version of Pai, Thailand.

    Because of this, I spent 16 hours on a non-air conditioned, half-sleeper bus to Bangalore followed by another six-hour-long airless local bus to Hospet and another 30-minute sauna-like bus to Hampi.

    By the time we arrived, we must have each consumed two gallons of water in our struggle to stay hydrated in such intensive heat. Magic Hour was upon us, casting a golden light upon everything it touched. We walked among temple ruins, holy men and holy cows as we reached a sparkling river where people swam and bathed that was so captivating, it almost looked fake.

    We took a little speedboat to the other side of the village where, we were told, was the best place to get away from the mayhem. Donning our backpacks, we hiked along golden dirt paths rimmed with miles of palm trees and gigantic boulders reminiscent of the Flintstones, and without a tuk-tuk in sight. We stood breathlessly tired in awe and I knew we had made it to the promised land.

    PHOTO: Every morning you can watch Hampi’s famous elephant get bathed at 8 a.m.

    You could feel the peaceful energy wrap its arms around you — or maybe that was just the humidity. Nevertheless, it was perfect. It was a home away from home, like a generous slice of Pai.

    The people who visit Hampi are open and inviting. Trust me when I say this: Just like Pai, it’s a hippie haven from which you will find it very difficult to pull yourself away.

    Best Accommodation: Goan Corner

    You have the option of either 150 rupees for a mattress on the roof with a mosquito net (which is nicer than it sounds and surprisingly comfortable at night), or your own private hut with fan for 400 rupees a night.  Goan Corner offers comfortable, clean beds, plentiful indoor and outdoor seating, clean bathrooms, a restaurant and a sociable atmosphere.

    Long-term Accommodation Options:

    If you fall in love with Hampi and plan to stay for a longer duration, you can find cheaper accommodation down the road at the town of Hanamanali, where you can live among locals for a more authentic experience.

    Best Food:

    There are many restaurants to try but the prices in Hampi are comparatively steep for Indian prices. To keep costs down but not lose quality, try the following:

    Street food: A vendor sells biryani and spicy chutney every morning for 30 rupees.

    Anu Restaurant: Great Masala Dosa.

    German Bakery: Best giant chocolate-banana pie ever!

    PHOTO: Our first view of Magic Hour casting a golden light over rice paddies and palm trees in Hampi

    Things to Do:

    Hampi may be small but there are plenty of things to do. At sunrise or sunset, be sure to climb the rock formation to the very top for scenic views of Hampi’s impressive landscape; rent a bike and drive to monkey temple; spend the hot and humid afternoons lounging around the waterfalls or take off to the hidden lake where you can swim and go cliff jumping.

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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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