What Is The Best Way To Travel Around India? (2023)
India is one of the most beautiful and exotic countries in the world. Known for its rich traditions, ancient art and culture, magnificent architecture, stunning natural landscapes, and the many colorful festivals, a visit to India is to experience the true essence of life itself. While traveling to India is the easy part, moving around such a massive country can be intimidating when you first arrive. There are so many options to choose from that you may feel overwhelmed about how to make your way around.
What Is The Best Way To Travel Around India?
Here are some tips on the best way to travel around India that will make your stay an even more enjoyable experience.
1. Choose To Travel By Train When In India
You cannot reach everywhere in India by air. There are many stunning places located in the interiors of the country where air connectivity is either not available, or the nearest airport is quite far away. This is why the best way to travel around India is to take a train.
India has the largest rail network in Asia. It is also the second-largest rail network in the world to be under one management. Indian Railways operates around 11,000 trains every day, out of which 7,000 are passenger trains. Trains go everywhere within India, and they are very easy to book once you understand the Indian Railways online booking system. Not only are they a comfortable way to travel, but they are also quite affordable. Depending on your budget, you can even choose luxurious train accommodations while you travel.
There are many different classes of trains that run in India, with the most common ones being:
AC First Class (1A): More expensive than the other options, you get to travel in your own air-conditioned booth.
AC 2 Tier (2A): This is the best traveling option for those who want to budget the cost of travel but also don’t want to forego their comfort. These trains only have two tiers or two levels of air-conditioned beds, and you will have plenty of room to sit up and relax.
AC 3 Tier (3A): These trains come with three levels of beds in an air-conditioned booth. They are cleaner, quieter, and more comfortable than the sleeper classes. They are also one of the cheapest modes of air-conditioned transport in India.
Sleeper Class (SL): You get assigned beds in sleeper class, and you can travel either by lying down or while seated. There is no air-conditioning in this class of seating, and they can often be dirty. You get assigned seats in this class.
Second Seating Class (2S): These are very cheap trains that do not have any assigned seating. People can sit anywhere they want, or anywhere they can find space as these trains tend to be very crowded and hot. There are no sleeping berths on the trains.
To find out the timetables, fares, and availability of berths on a particular train, you can check online at the Indian Railways’ website. There are many private travel websites like MakeMyTrip, ClearTrip, Expedia, and others that provide you detailed timetables, fares, and any other information you are looking for. Keep in mind that the train fares are calculated as per the exact distance you are traveling. The Indian Railways’ website publishes a chart of fares based on kilometers while also giving the distance between each station along every route in kilometers. This makes it possible to calculate the basic are for any journey.
The greatest thing about traveling on a train across India is that you will get the quintessential Indian experience. Trains are also recommended for longer journeys that include overnight travel. Trains are also the safest option for traveling in India, even for solo female travelers.
2. Traveling by Bus
Exploring India on a bus can be a good option, especially for shorter distances or in places where there is no train station. However, some of the local buses can be very uncomfortable, so it is recommended to stick to luxury buses with air-conditioning, especially if you are visiting India during the summer months.
Always find out the basic schedule and route of the bus before getting on board. If you are booking your bus tickets online, it is better to see a photo of the bus before booking. You don’t want to be stuck on a long journey aboard an uncomfortable bus. Remember that the bus that pulls up might not be what you were expecting, so it is always safer to enquire about what type of bus you are booking the ticket for.
3. Hiring a Cab/Taxi
Taxis or cabs in India are quite affordable if you know how to drive a bargain. One of the best ways to avoid getting conned or ripped off by local taxi drivers is to ask your hotel or bed & breakfast to book the taxi for you, or you can get an idea about how much the taxi should cost before you get in.
Many taxis run on meters as well, but they are usually not willing to ride with the meter and may comment that the meter is “broken.”
Touring India in a taxi will provide you the ease of getting from one place to another without having to find out the bus schedules or book your tickets, change trains and buses, etc.
4. Using Scooters And Motorbikes To Get Around
In many states, it is possible to take motorbikes and scooters for rent. This is a great way to travel and really explore any town. The rental is per day, and you will have to pay for your own fuel. Some of the best areas to explore in a motorbike or scooter are around Goa and the states along the southern coast of India.
At the same time, there are many motorcycle taxis also that have popped up in India. You can simply flag them down and hop onto the back of the motorcycle. However, you must decide on the price before you begin the journey. This is also only ideal for a solo traveler.
5. Autorickshaws or Tuk-Tuks – The Symbol Of India
Autorickshaws, or the famous tuk-tuks, are an iconic symbol of India with their typical yellow-black or yellow-green painted exteriors. Also known as three-wheelers or moto rickshaws, these function like taxis. You can bargain for the best price with them to get from one point to another. They are often a better option than a taxi as they can squeeze through faster in traffic jams. You can either spot them standing around in designated Auto Stands, or you can simply flag one down from the side of the road. They are also cheaper than taxis.