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Exploring India by bus

Many of the more adventurous backpackers and students visit India because it’s cheap and easy to get around. It’s also home to some breathtakingly beautiful temples, luscious jungles, pristine beaches and other fascinating sights that will take your breath away. Sounds exciting right? It is! India is the ideal destination for anyone on a budget and the rupees value is very low, meaning you can get a lot more for a lot less.

Transport in India usually conjures up images of rickshaws, streets packed with motorbikes, or trains and busses so full that people are sitting on the roof, but travelling by bus is actually one of the best and cheapest ways to get around. I had some major trepidation about taking the bus after having ridden on some of the worst roads in the world but I had heard from various other travellers that it was a great way to see everything on offer at a really desirable price.

Travelling light in India is essential and it makes it much easier to get around when you are not lugging a lot of stuff. I took the bare minimum with me and instead of packing books and guides I opted for my mobile which let me do everything from browse the net to play games at Lucky Nugget. This made it a lot easier to hop on and off the bus and when we overnighted from Mumbai to Hampi I didn’t have to worry about a whole lot of luggage.

Busses are generally cheaper than trains and are far more cost effective than renting a car or trying to hire a scooter for any long distance. It’s also easy to book bus journeys online so you can choose the cheapest tickets before you set off. Bus travel gives you a great sense of freedom and you also get to see hundreds of kilometres of unspoiled scenery and have the opportunity to visit areas that are somewhat off the beaten track.

I found my fellow bus travellers to be really friendly and although I had always been a little nervous about taking the bus I was very comfortable. It was a great experience that I can definitely recommend for the money-conscious, budget savvy traveller!

Remember to do some research before you set off on your Indian adventure and get the best bus ticket prices before you leave!

Any questions or feedback can be directed to the comments section below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.  :-D

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About Paul

Becoming financially independent and travelling the world has been a dream of mine since I was young. In 2012 I decided to dedicate my life to travel. I will document my journey through this site.

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One comment

  1. Hey Paul,

    Your post brought back memories of when I travelled in India. The first time I went with a friend and then we parted ways – she wanted to go home and I wanted to keep going for an additional month. Being a woman traveling alone in India was an adventure (to make a screaming understatement).

    I wanted to add three tips for your female readers:

    1. Get a few salwar kameez’s (those are the baggy pants and loose tops with the chiffon scarf that women wear) and wear them instead of your western clothes. You can get them made to measure for about $25 each plus the fabric that you buy in the market, and that’s paying tourist prices. It’s amazing how people will reach out and bring you into their community just because of the ‘costume’. Besides, they are infinitely more comfortable than you can imagine.

    2. Do not make the mistake of thinking the cotton draw string skirts that you see in the markets are regular skirts, and the baggy draw string pants are yoga pants, and then wear them on the street with your western tee shirt. Those two items are considered undergarments to be worn underneath a sari or the baggy dress/top of the salwaar kameez. I mean, if you saw someone wearing their underwear on the city streets of your own hometown, how would you react? Not good for integrating into your environment! I saw one woman who was refused entry into a temple because she was wearing ‘scandalous attire’.

    2. If you take the train, buy a seat! And do not – I repeat DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES – ride in the woman’s car if your trip lasts longer than a few hours. There are no facilities. The benches are hard. And in the course of two stops, a three person bench becomes an eight seater with people also sitting at your feet and on the aisles. I can laugh about it now, but at the time… (It was a five hour train ride in those conditions).

    Looking forward to cruising some of your other entries. I wonder if you wrote on the value on hiring a tuk-tuk for the day?

    Travel well, live the adventure! I’ve been to over ninety countries so I support your passion.