India Travel Guides

Airports

India has several major international airports which service every corner of the globe. Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai are the main air hubs in each major geographical region of India. International flights also arrive at Bangalore, Amritsar, Kochi and Ahmedabad, though these offer fewer international flights. Mumbai’s airport receives the most traffic, but its facilities are poor. Delhi’s airport has a much better reputation, and is ideal for exploring the northern regions. Kolkata’s airport should only be considered if you want to travel east India exclusively.

Air India and Indian Airlines are the two traditional national carriers, though nearly every other international airline flies somewhere into India. Newcomers Jet Airways and Air Sahara are quickly gaining pace for their quality of service, particularly in the domestic market where Jet Airways is now regarded as India’s best airline. Since land travel in India is exhausting and time-consuming, domestic flights are a good way to move around.

Public Transport

India has the world’s second-largest train network, but it’s by far number one when it comes to chaos. Train journeys consume huge amounts of time and are frustrating, but they are an integral part of the Indian travel experience. There are several classes of train ticket, but unless you want to immerse yourself in a sea of people pay for the first-class air-con sleeper and not a second class free-for-all bench seat. Second class seats guarantee enough stories to write a book, but it’s never a comfortable ride. Booking a ticket is also a challenge, so consider having a travel company arrange things for you.

Unless you’re a glutton for punishment or have a budget befitting your average Indian traveller, don’t use buses. They are overpacked, unreliable, dangerous and use some seriously punishing roads.

Renting a car and driver is an option if you need to get to a smaller destination, but driving yourself should only be considered if you an excellent driver with nerves of steel.

Within most cities and towns the local transport consists of taxis, auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws and horse-drawn carriages called tongas. Public buses ply the streets of larger cities and are always an adventure, but the private taxis and rickshaws do a fine job at a decent price. Auto-rickshaws are half the cost of a taxi but subject you to the suffocating exhaust fumes ubiquitous in the large cities. Whatever mode of taxi you use, always negotiate the fare before getting into the vehicle.