Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Road Travel in India, Buses especially!

Ok, I have heard lots of travelers, especially travelers from other nations complain a lot about long distance travel in India (Thanks to FB, Twitter and what not). While I agree a lot of cribs and rants are justified, I feel a bit of insider information would go a long way in helping them on a better experience. As someone who travels a lot inside India, buses in particular, I would like to add my two cents to the whole experience.

1. Buses in India don't have toilets!

Totally agree to this point. Nothing much to justify on this. But properly planned, it can save you a lot of embarrassments. Facilities in bus stations, especially in the recent times have improved a lot. Gathering info on where buses are scheduled to stop en route will go a long way in saving you from this embarrassment. Most government run transports are online now and do provide a very detailed information on when a bus runs, its stop overs, journey time et al. Spare 5 mins of your time and you'll be wise enough. Adding to this, most of the crew members these days are sensitive to the needs of their passengers and will be willing to oblige to your request to attend to a nature call.

2. Opt for sleeper buses

Buses in India have come a long way in the past 4-5 years. Right from comfortable seats to full fledged sleeper class air conditionned buses, you have a wide range of options. Best part is they dont burn a big hole in your pocket as bus tickets are still relatively cheaper compared to first class ticket prices in trains. While I dont deny the fact that rickety buses still ply, you have better options is what i wanted to convey.

3. Tickets are not a difficult thing to get

Most of the bookings are done online. A comprehensive site for bus ticket bookings in India is Where buses ply, redbus gives you an option to book. This is limited to private players though. Government webistes are state based and it would be sensible for you to login to the website of the government road transport services of the state you are in. Its a big list I tell you.

4. Roads are bad

Not all roads are bad. Not even the state highways these days. Roads starting with NH(National Highways) are a dream to drive in and are as good as they get. Not sure of the International Standards but good enough for a car to cruise at 120-140 km/h. State highways are as good but they might not be that very wide all the time. Only when you get into the core rural areas of India, you might find un-tarred roads. But those are a rarity too these days, considering the assumption that you would not be going to that many RLT(Road Less Traveled) journeys.

5. Long distance buses have plenty of stopovers

Many travelers say that buses in India keep running all the time. Its not a fact by any means. Buses do have plenty of stopovers. You can refill on your stock of biscuits and other snacks( I would avoid oily items if I were you). While they are not a star rated facility, you will get through the basic stuff of mineral water, and other condiments just fine. Read (1) on more information on this.

P.S: All these tips are based on personal experiences and that of friends. All these I hope will stand future travelers in good stead.

P.P.S: Boquets and Brickbats are welcome as always :)

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