India Travel Guide – Transport

This article is meant to be a brief India travel guide for tourists who need some information about means of transport in India . Anyone traveling to India for the first time is sure to be overwhelmed by the diversity of cultures, languages, people, food, climates and almost everything else. It isn’t possible to write a comprehensive India travel guide which can cover even a fraction of what a tourist may encounter in India. We aim to cover as much vital details as possible without drowning the reader with too much information. We have already posted some India travel guides on this website,:

Traveling safely and for cheap in India during monsoons,
How to keep safe from water and food related problems while traveling  and
How to avoid scams and touts while traveling

This guide intends to cover some of the general issues related to transport and travel in India. So let’s begin with :

Travel by trains in India

India has the biggest  system of railway lines on the planet and the service is very good, if not excellent. Traveling in India on via train gives you the chance to explore India  in detail and in general is cheaper than domestic air travel. Train travel in India offers good connectivity all over India for people with all kind of budgets .For someone with an inquisitive and open mind, it’s a great way of meeting all kinds of Indian people belonging to different regions and classes. There are different types of trains with different levels of service catering to people with different budgets and needs. Trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi are air-conditioned, fastest in India and provide meals. There are other trains like Duronto, Garib Rath, various Express and other trains which offer varying levels of service at different prices.

Apart from that, there are some luxury trains Palace on Wheels, Maharajas’ Express, The Golden Chariot and a few more. These trains are run jointly by Indian railways and tourism ministries of different states in which they operate. Journeying on these trains covers all aspects of transport, food, lodging and sightseeing. Service and level of comfort offered is among the best in world

One major drawback of trains is that it can prove difficult to procure tickets. Another one are the delays which can happen frequently on long routes. If you are very tight schedule, relying on trains for your India journey can backfire.


Inter-city or inter-state travel in India by Bus

In India, travel by bus is 2nd most popular way of cheap travel and in some cases, the only way of public transport to reach places like Manali, Laddakh etc, not yet connected by train network. There are different types of buses available on budget of the traveler. Ordinary buses are usually very crowded and it’s not possible to reserve tickets. They don’t have any air-conditioning or comfortable seats either, But they are very cheap as even a 5 hour journey may cost only Rs 100. Then there are luxury buses with better seats which may or may not have air-conditioning available. They are generally more comfortable and price for a 7-10 hour journey may vary between Rs 300 to Rs 800 for different places and operators. Tickets in air-conditioned buses cost around 1.5 times to double for same kind of seats.

Apart from these, there are luxury buses operated by private as well as government which offer maximum comfort at slightly higher prices. These buses are usually supplied by Volvo or Mercedes and have more comfortable seating arrangements than the rest.

Travel by Car

Connaught place, Delhi. Travel India by road

Connaught place, Delhi

A car with driver is the most comfortable and safest way of travel in India.It is possible to get a car on rent and drive it yourselves, if you have necessary paperwork, but Indian roads are too chaotic for a foreigner. It’s better to hire a driver along with the car. Salary for driver is about Rs. 150-300 per day which is included in rent for the car and you don’t have to pay for his food or lodging. Different varieties of vehicles have different rent prices and they vary between Rs 8 per km to Rs 20 per km for most models which include Ambassador, Tata Indigo, Toyota Qualis and a few others.

Renting a car is a good option for various reasons as you have much more flexibility and don’t have to worry about following a strict schedule or missing a train or worry about tickets. Having a good driver who can communicate well also means that he can help you with finding good hotels, restaurants and other amenities easily. But be wary of drivers who act as touts. A majority of them try to take tourists to businesses which offer them commissions. It isn’t exactly illegal, but tourists should  evaluate their choices before making decisions. They should make sure that they are getting good value for their money for the services availed.

Travel by motor-bikes

Using a motorbike (motorcycle) can be a great adventure if you are up to driving on dangerous roads. Royal Enfield is the most popular brand for motorcycle enthusiasts in India. It’s less fuel efficient but is powerful enough for most Indian roads including those on mountains. Motorcycles with engines of 100 to 220 cc are more common and cheaper and cam offer a mileage of 40kmpl to 70 kmpl depending upon various factors. It is possible to rent or buy new or used motorcycles. Rental cost per day for bikes vary between Rs 600 to Rs 1500 in different places for different bikes. While buying, it’s advisable to go for 2nd hand bikes which may cost anything between Rs 12000 to Rs 40000.

Travel in Indian cities by auto-rickshaws (tuk-tuk)

Auto/ tuk-tuk/three-wheeler is a good albeit slightly uncomfortable choice for short-distance travel inside Indian cities. Due to their small size, they can dodge traffic rush easily but have slow speeds which is actually good due to less safety features. Before getting in to an auto, always confirm with driver about fare. They’ll either go by distance covered on meter or ask for a flat fare. It’s different in different cities.  Rest precautions are similar to those followed while hiring taxis anywhere in the world.

Well, this is gist of what a tourist should know about various modes of transport while traveling in India. We hope that it proves useful for some people. Email us at or use this contact form for feedback or more information.