This article is written as a short India travel guide for travelers who are searching for about suitable means of transport in India . Any first time traveler in India almost always feels overpowered by all the diverse people, cultures, food, languages, climates and more. We can’t write a complete India travel guide which can claim to be helpful in even a small percentage of situations that a traveler may come across in India. We just wish to cover as many important details as possible without overwhelming the readers. We have posted some India travel guides on already. Please check bottom of post or blog for those. This one is covers various aspects of transport in India. Let’s start with :

Travel by car or private vehicle in India

Connaught Place, New Delhi. Transport in India via car

Connaught Place, New Delhi

A car with driver is safest and most convenient  means of transport in India. Tourists can hire a car of their choice  and drive it themselves, if they have necessary qualifications.  But not every foreigner can handle the chaos of Indian roads. It’s much safer and potentially cheaper to hire a driver too. Approximate pay for a driver in most places is Rs. 150-300 per day. Quite often, it is inclusive of rent for the hired vehicle and the customer doesn’t pay for his food or hotel expenses. Depending upon condition and model, different vehicles can be rented for different prices.  Price per km for them varies between Rs 8 per km to Rs 20 per km for majority of models in market. Some of more popular ones include Tata Indigo, Tata Indica, Ambassador,  Toyota Qualis and some others.

Hiring a car gives travelers much freedom as they can travel freely without worrying about train or plane tickets and schedule. The comfort and privacy of a car over public transport is also a good incentive. If the travelers are lucky enough to find a good driver who can also speak a common language, then a lot of problems can be solved easily.  It becomes easier to buy stuff or get good rooms or food. But one should be cautious of drivers who behave as touts or encourage them. These people try to promote only those business which pay them commissions without caring about comfort or safety of their own clients. Travelers should check their choices before paying for anything. They should always be sure that they get good value for their money without getting cheated.

Travel by railways in India

Indian railways has the biggest rail network in world and provides quite good service for the price. Traveling by train in India is a good way to explore various aspects of India in detail. More often than not, it is also more cost effective than local air travel, except for super luxury trains or 1st class train compartments. Indian railways offer very good connectivity almost all over India for all kinds of people with different budgets. If you are genuinely curious about meeting and knowing locals, then you should try train travel. It’s more than just a means of transport in India.

For travelers with different budgets, there are numerous trains with different levels and price of services. Some fast trains like Shatabdi and Rajdhani, are fastest in India, provide meal and are air-conditioned.  Others like Garib Rath, Duronto, some Express and some more trains operate with different speeds, prices and service for different compartments and areas.

Luxury travel on trains like The Golden Chariot, Maharajas’ Express and Palace on Wheels and more is also quite popular. Traveling via these luxury trains is a unique experience and covers all points related to food, lodging, transport and sightseeing. These trains offer some of the best services in world.

One of the big disadvantage of transport via trains is that can be difficult to buy tickets due to rush. Delays also happen on long routes quite often. For travelers on tight schedules, transport in India via train is not a good idea.

Transport in India via bus

Buses are the most common mode of transport in India for short and medium distances. They are also the sole means of public transport whic connect remote mountainous places like Laddakh, Spiti which do not have railways or air connectivity. Like railways, tourists have the option of getting different levels of service depending upon their budgets. Normal buses operated by private operators as well as state governments are usually crowded, uncomfortable and don’t have any air-conditioning. Travelers can’t reserve tickets either.

Higher up, travelers can get tickets for ‘luxury’ buses which have better and more comfortable seats but may or may not have air-conditioning. Price for a 6-10 hour journey usually ranges  Rs 300 to Rs 800 for different places and type of bus. Price for tickets in air-conditioned bus is generally around 1.5 times or more.

Then there are Volvo or Mercedes buses operated by private as well as government agencies which offer most comfort by means of comfortable seats, good air-conditioning, video entertainment etc. They cost about double of ordinary air-conditioned buses but it’s usually worth the price for long journeys

Transport in Indian cities by auto-rickshaws

Auto-rickshaws also called tuk-tuk or three-wheelers in different places are fairly good but bit uncomfortable mode for inter-city transport in India. They can weave through dense traffic easily due to their small size, but  are not very fast. It isn’t really bad because they don’t have any standard safety features like seat belts and don’t offer much protection in case of an accident either.  Always confirm how the driver will charge you before you hire one. They’ll either go by meter or ask for a set amount in different cities. Just follow the precautions that one follows while hiring taxis anywhere in world.

Travel in India by motorcycles

Riding a motorcycle is a good way of adventure if you can drive on dangerous roads. Among all the bikes available in India, Royal Enfield brand is most popular  It’s powerful enough for all Indian roads but is very fuel inefficient. 100 to 220 cc engined motorcycles are more cheaper, more fuel-efficient and thus popular. Such typical motorcycle in good condition gives 40 to 70 kmpl.  Tourists can either rent or buy new or used motorcycles. Rent for different motorcycles depending upon their condition andnplace of business may vary between Rs 600 to Rs 1500  If you need to buy, then 2nd hand bikes can be bought for anything between Rs 12000 to Rs 40000.

Well, this is a summary of what a traveler should know about different possible modes of transport  in India while traveling. It isn’t very detailed but we hope that it may prove to be of some use to someone. Contact India Food Tour or email for feedback or more information.

Our other India travel guides:
Travel India: Tourist scams to avoid
Travel India : Monsoon tourism and
Travel India: Street Food in India