When planning a trip to India, many people are often left wondering about their transport option, as, let’s face it, India is absolutely huge. To be precise, it’s 3.287 million km2, making it the seventh largest country in the world. As a result, it’s likely that you’re not going to want to get your walking shoes on to get from A to B.
In addition to the large area, India also has a huge population that exceeds 1.4 billion, making it the second most populated country across the globe. Consequently, the streets are likely to be busier than anything you’ve ever experienced in your life. This is only going to make things more complicated when it comes to choosing your transport option; however, there are a multitude of modes that you can choose from.
Anyone who visits India will tell you that traveling via train is one of the best experiences you can have. There’s poverty and prosperity in every country; however, you don’t quite get the perspective of all walks in life like you do in India. For instance, in the US, there are two class types for trains: economy and first class. In India, there are seven class types for trains. These are AC First, AC 2 Tier, AC 3 Tier, First Class, and Sleeper Class are the long-distance classes. Meanwhile, AC Chair Car, Second Class Chair Car, and General Compartments are for short journeys.
Since train prices are so varied, they’re among the most popular methods of transport for locals. Similarly, India has the second largest train network across the globe, meaning it runs throughout the entirety of the country. Each train falls under one of three categories, including passenger, super-fast, and passenger. The passenger trains are the slowest and cheapest of the three, while the super-fast trains are comfortable and air conditioned. As you can imagine, the inner-city trains run throughout the largest cities, such as Mumbai.
Timetables and prices can be found on the Indian Railway website, and it’s a good idea that you make use of this. As previously mentioned, this is an incredibly popular mode of travel across India, meaning that train tickets can sell out rapidly. Consequently, anyone planning to use the railway on their trip to India should book their tickets very far in advance. Alternatively, those who are planning to roam around the country a lot may purchase an Indrail Pass, which permits unlimited travel for a set number of days.
Last but not least when it comes to the railway, India is also home to luxury trains. These are designed to promote locations as tourist destinations, and they’re essentially transportation, accommodation, and food, all wrapped in one.
As previously mentioned, India is massive, like the US, you won’t be able to just drive from one end to the other. Therefore, if you’re looking to explore cities that are found on opposite ends of the country, planes may be your quickest and most convenient transport option. For instance, traveling from Chennai to Delhi via train takes around 36 hours, while on a plane it takes less than three.
After trains, buses are the most popular transport method, and they’re certainly the most cost effective. For rural areas, some journeys can’t be accounted for by train, and this is where buses are the ideal alternative. As with trains, buses too have different classes, and the most straightforward trips will only set you back around 100 rupees, which is equivalent to roughly $1.25. Long haul journeys that last five to six hours will be slightly more expensive. With this being said, buses are sure to be cramped and you’re not likely to feel comfortable, but if you’re willing to bear that for a while, traveling by bus is the most affordable option.
Not many people know that India has some beautiful waterways, and some of the most scenic landscapes are only accessible via boat.
As long as you have a valid license, there’s nothing stopping you from driving through India; however, you won’t have the same driving experience as you have at home. Scooters, people, cows, rickshaws, and buses occupy the roads, and you’ll rarely get a break from the sound of horns. This mainly refers to the large cities; however, you’re not likely to have a more peaceful experience in the rural areas due to the poor condition of the roads. Aside from this, driving sits the transport options that provide the most freedom, as you’re able to come and go as you please without any timetables. Despite this, you’re very likely to fall victim to traffic jams so, if you do opt for car travel, be sure to allow plenty of time. If you’re traveling alone or as a couple, you might opt for a motorbike instead, as you can weave through the traffic.