Thursday, December 1

How to get around India

City transport

Rickshaw:  we distinguish the rickshaw (pedal) from the moto rickshaw (well … motor). The best way to get around Indian cities is by moto rickshaw. The cheapest and fastest. However, sometimes it refuses to take you if the journey is too long or too off-centre. You have to negotiate a round trip, take another or a taxi. Always negotiate the price of the ride before (and for the whole group if you are several) or ask that he put the ” meter ” if possible – but they are often broken. In the south of India, the meter is often compulsory and the prices fixed. They sometimes drive too fast: do not hesitate to ask them to drive more slowly.

You should know that the rickshaw wallah  ( rickshaw drivers) receive commissions if they bring tourists to certain stores ( emporium ) or hotels. they, therefore, tend to make you make detours by these places, to round off their pay (approx. Rs 250 / day). Always refuse offers for visits and hotels, unless you want to voluntarily give a financial boost to a  wallah that you appreciate, (they receive their commission whether you take the room or not, whether you buy in stores or not).

Metro: In Delhi, the new metro is very efficient, fast, inexpensive, but sometimes crowded. The local Mumbai train, which acts as a metro, is impractical at peak times but can be convenient for long distances inside the city outside of these hours. That of Calcutta, I have not tried.
Bus: buses in cities, you can forget. They are often inaccessible and their networks are incomprehensible.
Taxis: ok from the airport, but otherwise too slow because often stuck in traffic. Always set the price for the front runners. In international airports, there are ” pre-paid taxis “, with official fares and nominal charge with an indication of the destination. They are safe.
Interurban transport
General

transport is very slow in India, and the distances very long. It takes an average of 50 km / h for travel by train and 30 km / h on the road. Take this into account and rather than wanting to make twenty-five cities in two weeks, it is better to do two thoroughly and come back another time if you liked. Personally, I count from five to seven days per stage. In addition to being slow, travelling is also very tiring due to noise, dust, heat, frequent stresses that come from all sides. When you travel too fast, you get exhausted and you get sick …
For comparison, the distance Leh (Ladakh) – Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu) reported in Europe is equivalent, as the crow flies, to the distance between Gibraltar and Stockholm. Delhi – Varanasi is equivalent to Paris – Perpignan and Delhi – Mumbai to Paris – Rome.

Train
T
he safest and most enjoyable way to make long-distance calls to India. Meals are served, there is entertainment, chai, food, lots of people to chat with. There are a variety of trains and different standards. The fastest, most comfortable and most expensive are the Shatabdi and the Rajdhani (private air-conditioned trains). There are the priority on all other trains.

I prefer the Express that has a range of comfort quite wide ranging from 1 the class with the AC 3 E class. They are relatively fast for Indian standards. The 2 and class sleepers are the ones I prefer, very good value for money. These are open compartments with six berths, with fans, quite comparable to sleeper trains in Europe. This is where we meet people from the lower middle class, often families, who speak a little English. The 3rd class, we forget: impossible to access because of the world. Ordinary trains must leave room for everyone else and are incredibly slow. To avoid. Speed: Allow 50 km / h on average for train journeys.