Local buses are a real experience in India. They don’t have a fix time to leave, they just wait till the bus is full and then they leave. I never got the chance of sitting in any bus, as they are always crowded, packed with people. It’s OK for a short trip, but avoid them if the trip is more than 1 hour!! There are other modern buses called normally “Express” with western standards, a bit more expensive, but is worth the difference…
A car and a driver met us at Bangalore station and took us from Bangalore to Mysore, Ooty, Madurai and Periyar before we boarded our backwaters cruise.
This was arranged prior to our arrival in India by our agent Simon Bazely.
We did feel that either we would have liked a larger vehicle for the four of us, or perhaps we should have brought soft bags as kuggage rather than a hard suitcase. The end effect was that there was very little room with one passenger in the front seat and three of us in the back seat.
The driver spoke very little English, almost non-existant, but with the help of sign language, other people translating and a lot of gesticulation, we had no trouble undersranding each other. He was exceptionally helpful and courteous.
There's no point in hiring a car&driver in you go from Mysore to Bangalore or the other way. There is a daily (I think, with the exception of Tuesday) Shatabdi train from Mysore to Chennai (Madras) that goes via Bangalore. It takes less than 2 hours for the train to cover the 140 km between Mysore and Bangalore and as every Shatabdi train, compartments are air-conditioned, comfortable (even accourding to western-European standards) and snacks+mineral water and coffee or tea is included in the fare (around Rs. 250.-/person). It is a bargain.
Mysore Junction train station is located to the west of the city centre and is a little bit of a walk to get to from here. The first railway line established in the city was the Bangalore-Mysore Junction line, which was commissioned in 1882. This is the line I came on when I arrived from Bangalore on the Shatabdi Express (No. 2007) which left Bangalore at 11:00 and arrived at 13:00. For more information, visit the website below:
Mini-buses to Srirangapatna depart from near the clock tower on Chandragupta Road. However, they wait until there's enough passengers on board and even drive around a bit to find more before heading off towards Srirangapatna. Even though it's only 16km (10 miles) away it took us an hour as the driver I had was going at a snail’s pace in order to pick up more people along the way which I and a few other passengers got angry about. The bus will drop you off on the main road, south of the town and you'll have to walk the rest which isn't far. The bus cost me Rs10.
I booked my bus to Ooty with a private company called Kiran Travels who are based on Chandragupta Road, near the Wesley Cathedral and Clock Tower. They picked me up from my hotel at about 7.45am in a rickety looking and dirty small bus with thread-bare hard seats. We picked up more people and eventually got going at about 8.30am. The bus goes through Bandipur National Park on the way which is nice but I didn't see any tigers or elephants. On the other side in Tamil Nadu, we started to climb up into the Nilgiri Hills via 36 hairpin bends and reached Ooty at about 1pm. The journey cost me Rs150.
C. Ramaswamy is the union organizer for all the drivers in Mysore - so if you take another auto-rickshaw mention his name and you will get service. Friendly & polite and tirelessly committed - I was looking for specific antiques and he searched the city on his own time until he found them. He'll take you about the city and will arrange a car for the out-districts. A real find.
We met Shaffi on our first trip to Mysore last Feb', when he transferred us from the Train Station to our hotel, (he serves the Windflower Hotel, and has 4 drivers he can call on). On that occasion he supplied us with a Driver to take us to Orange County Kabini, 2 hours drive away, at a very reasonable rate (even doing it through through the hotel).
However, we've just returned from another week in Mysore and we used Shaffi directly this time and it was SO cheap! He Picked us up at 5am at Bangalore Airport, and drove us the 5 hours to Orange County Kabini, (so a 10 hour round trip for him!), then did the whole thing in reverse (with a 3 day stop-over in Mysore), all for the princely sum of £150!!! (Needless to say we gave him a huge tip!). He also provided us with sight-seeing trips around Mysore and to the Palaces and Gardens nearby at a very inexpensive rate, (our 8-hour day trip to Tippu sultan's palace and the Brindivan Gardens cost us under £20!).
He and his drivers are all very safe and experienced, and extremely friendly and polite. Their English is very Indian, so you need to speak clearly and simply, but he catered totally to our every transportation need (even providing a Bangalore Taxi driver to take us for our early morning flight home!).
Just give him aring on his mobile, explain in general what you need and he'll give you a quote and be there to meet you!
We hired Aziz to work for us three days in a row because he was such a great driver. We originally hired him to take us to the temples in Belur and Halebid and he charged us 700 rupees less than the hotel travel agent. Then we hired him to do a day trip around Mysore and then to take us to the airport on the day we were leaving. He is a really good driver and honest. He never tried to pull the ‘I’ll take you to the government silk factory’ thing; he wasn’t interested in making a commission. He was also really helpful. He mailed our postcards for us on Monday after we went to the post office when it was closed on Sunday. We are Americans staying in India, so we have lots of experience with drivers here, and he is one of the best. You can reach him at 09482706279.
When going to nagarhole national park.i recommend you to take the route that directly goes to heggadadevankote or HD kote for short.there you take left to go to karapur where 3 splendid resorts are located the famed kabini river lodge cicada resorts and the orange county.
alternate route is via hunsur to HDkote howver this road is pretty bad after hunsur.
On the way to Mysore there are two great stops along the way. Just before Chennapatna is the Kamat Hotel that has a tribal museum and just after Chennapatna is Indra Dhanush and Coffee Day side by side.
I took a taxi for the journey between Bangalore and mysore, as you can see the buses get crowded , but there is still a bit of room left on the roof!!!
I can easily imagine me sitting next to one of India's Maharadjahs in one of those magnificent old fashoned taxis. A bad dream ?? They probably drive much bigger and much newer cars.