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India is immense. More than a country, it is considered a subcontinent. With major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore situated as far as 500-2,000 kilometres from each other, moving within such a large country can be a challenge for travellers.
Here are the details on the most suitable means of transport, as well as information about booking train tickets and hiring cars, taxis and tuk-tuks while travelling in India.
In a country as large as India, air transport is a good option for travellers who want to cover long distances over short periods. The domestic airline with the widest range of routes is Air India. It connects about 70 cities. Along with Air India, Jet Airways, SpiceJet, AirAsia and Indigo also service flights between major airports such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata. Flights between major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata have the busiest routes. The journey usually takes 1-2 hours and the economy class fares range from $50 to $200.
India has one of the largest rail networks on earth. Trains cover long distances and are reliable, affordable and comfortable ground transport in India. Travelling in air conditioned coaches is highly recommended for lesser crowds, better comfort and more safety.
There are three ways to book train tickets in India:
There are also three types of train reservations:
For short and medium journeys, buses offer great flexibility. You can almost always find a seat when booking a day in advance. But longer journeys on bumpy roads may take a toll on your comfort level. For the most part, there are two types of buses in India: cheap, standard ones and costlier, air-conditioned tourist buses. These are operated by numerous bus companies. A good place to start searching for your bus options online is Bus India.
Taxi. Taxis are available for private transportation in cities. Different cities have different types of taxis. In some places, like railway stations and airports, there are prepayment booths that ensure you won’t pay more than the stipulated fare. If you hail a taxi from the street, insist the driver re-starts the meter. Otherwise, it’s best to negotiate and agree to the fare for the trip in advance.
The tuk-tuk, commonly known as auto-rickshaw or simply auto, is a cheaper alternative to taxis and is ideal for moving within cities. Beware of the auto-driver persuading you to book a hotel or buy goods from a specific shop, however.
Uber. Uber is available in major Indian cities.
It is unlikely you would want to drive in India’s chaotic traffic. However, if you plan to do so, car rental desks for major car hire services like Avis, Budget, Hertz, Sixt and Thrifty are available at the major airports in India.
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You can book a private transfer in all major Indian cities for hassle-free transfer from the airport to your drop location.
Here are a few options in popular cities:
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