Need some helping on best way to book travel in India
April 24, 2019 9:57 AM   Subscribe

July 10th, land in New Delh. Then go to Taj Mahal, then {Rishikesh,Dharamashala}, then {Dharamashala,Rishikesh}, and lastly need to get to Kafri by June 20th. How should I get around? Any tips from people who've traveled around there?

I've traveled plenty, but I usually just sort of...hang out in a city for a while. This is the first time I'll be hitting up a bunch of places in order. I'm not sure what the best way to book this all is! I think the ideal will be a mix of short flights and nice buses, if they exist. I do have some friends from India, but they're not sure themselves of the best way to go. Is there a good website to book this stuff? If you've been, any tips? If you have hotels/hostels to recommend I'd be open to that to :) Though I think that'll be much easier to figure out than the travel aspect.

My budget is not extravagant, but for example...if there's an option between the much longer, much cheaper local bus and the "luxury" bus with a bathroom that's faster and more comfy...I want the luxury bus.

I have some friends who hired a dedicated driver while in india, and it wasn't too push comes to shove I suppose for legs where it was necessary I could probably do that, but then again, I'm not sure where to find a reliable driver.
posted by wooh to Travel & Transportation around India (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've spent about 4.5 years in India traveling over the past 14 years. Trains- you need trains. Luxury buses do not exist, but there are some nice-ish (?) buses. Trains are much better and you have several classes to choose from. I assume you mean you have until July 20 to get to Kafri- but I have never heard of it- could you say more?

Definitely get a Lonely Planet for basic info and check Seat 61 for train info. BE CAREFUL and get to the actual office, but you can book your trains when you arrive- there will be some tourist quota tickets. However, they are more expensive (they used to cost the same as regular quota tickets). If you like, I can put you in touch with my friend who is a travel agent. I did this for another mefite and it worked out well. I book for myself using ClearTrip but you need an Indian number and to register with IndianRail first. A car and driver will be a heavy expense and difficult to procure without some pricing hassle. Read up about pricing and scams. In general, it is easy to get the right price in India- but you have to know what that is, which may not be easy.
posted by maya at 10:30 AM on April 24, 2019

Response by poster: Ok, had two important errors.

First, it's June 10th to June 20th.

And it's Kufri, which is near Shimla.

Apologies! I'm tired...
posted by wooh at 10:59 AM on April 24, 2019

We took the train from Delhi to Agra to Jaipur.

Check out The Man in Seat 61 for very detailed information on trains in India. I found it very helpful.

We went to Dharamashala a few years ago. If you have the chance (and the physical ability) take a cab up to the Bhagsu Naag Temple and climb up Triund. It was awesome. There is a tea house halfway up, and some vendors at the top, so this is not a hugely difficult hike, but well worth it!
posted by csmithrim at 1:35 PM on April 24, 2019

Yes, you'll be riding and waiting for the train. And of course you'll be riding tourist aka first class, and there's a special first class ticket office upstairs at the New Delhi train station. When I was there eleven years ago getting tickets and reservations involved at a minimum some discussion at the ticket window, and it helped that I was prepared and already knew which train I wanted to take. My hotel had a big book of schedules I used for research; if you can get this info online now and even make reservations, that's great.
posted by Rash at 2:43 PM on April 24, 2019

> And it's Kufri, which is near Shimla.

You might not want to take the horse ride thingie in Kufri . It's really dirty (I was coughing in no time from the horse dung dust - and I am an Indian, used to all the dust and pollution), it's noisy, extremely crowded and not to mention it's very injury prone - like many things here the horse riding doesn't have any safety standards. And when you reach the "point" (as it's called by those horse operators), you'd see it's just a small ground with a tiny fair sort of setup that claims to offer a view which you'll get anywhere in Shimla or around just looking out the car window.

Yes, Kufri has other spots/places too, go those places on your own. They are better.
posted by amar at 6:49 PM on May 12, 2019

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