My plan was going on from Varansi to Nepal. I wanted to save some time and I read that there is a dirct fight connection for some 74 USD and that you even get some 20% off if you are younger than 30.....that was the theory.
In REALITY I found out, that flights are restricted to main season, which was still some weeks ahead, plus prices have changed to 165 USD. Well, the time was what I could not waste, so I had to think about the other way:
I took the train to Gorakhpur over night (sleeper was 87 Rs), jumped on a bus to the bordertown, walked over the border, jumped in a shared taxi and went all the way to Kathmandu in a complete 23h ride....
Of course there were the typical transportation experiences like my seat broke down, everything was was over-crowded, the shared taxi ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere and so on.......but hell yeah, I made it!
Tut-Tut or Cyclos
This is a modified motorbike with a covered "carriage" for passengers.... similar to the Tut Tuts in Thailand and Cyclos in Vietnam
They may look flimsy and weak to us but are literally their version of 4-wheel-drive/SUV!
As most drivers work independently, they would try to squeeze as many passengers as possible. Our limit is, 4 adults with an assortment of backpacks and duffels.
One way to save costs tho!
The best way to see all the 'Gaths' is by hiring a boat. Almost everywhere this can be done, but be sure there are enough boats so you are in a good bargain position. Best time is in the morning (sunrise). Prices : little boat, 4 persons Rs50 and larger, 15 people RS75...
Also be prepared to see the odd corpse floating down the river
There is another way to reach Nepal (Kathmandu or Pokara) via Varanasi then to take a flight. The possibility is to take a bus wthat in 2 days will take you in Nepal.
Every GH or agency will try to sell you this journey but it is a very hard and long way (altough it costs only 200 indian Rupias).
The first day the bus willdrive you till the border where you have to overnight in a GH on the border, then early in the morning day 2, the bus will take you in other 6/7 hours to the final destination...
It should be a greeat journey..but...quiet long...
The best way to see the Ganges and Ghats is a road ride just before sunrise. If you are wishing to take a boat ride independently of any group, you would be best to ask a few different boatmen. Some will be willing to negotiate a lower price, some will just go for the jugular trying to extract a much as they can while an odd one will even allow you to pay what you consider reasonable at the end of the trip. Most tourists take their boat rides from Dasawamedh Ghat. There is a ferry crossing which costs just a few rupees and will take you to the east side of the Ganges.
The quickest way to reach Kathmandu from varanasi or vice verse is to take a plane. It will costs you something beetween 55-75 Usd (30% discount under 30 years old). It is better to book a couple of days in advance anyway.
The flight is very quick and with Indian Arilines you will have no problem at all.
Do not expect any service in particular.
The airport of Varanasi is the smallest and the particular one I have ever seen in my life.
The check in is made MANUALLY with no PC!!!! So you can immage how many overbooking or mistakes could accure!
The first thing to rememebr is to be at the airport at least 2 hours before departure because as all is made manually the waitign time is very long.
Take in mind that it works like this:
They check you in and put a label on the backpack, then you take your backpack and go to the “gate”. After checked againthe bag they take your bag and you can cross the custom paying the fees.
After passed the custom, you gotta go outside and reckonize your bag and make them load it on the flight!!! That’s crazy...but in Nepal, is even worst! Check then my page!!
From my point of view this is the must activity number one, altough it is at real a transportation tip... The experience that you will do taking a train to reach Varanasi is something great, something that will never leave your brain.
I took the train from Jaipir to Varanasi, and it should be a 15 hours ride scheduled, but at the end it tooks about 30 hours!
I choose to reserve the 2nd class sleeper departing at 13,10 from Jaipur, cuz I was wishing to meet a lot of backpackers. At real I met only local people, amazing people!! No one tourist was on that train!!! (or not in that tube)
For the adventure details, pls check the must see activity details.
The ticket costs only 330 Rs (take care abt the provvision that could blown the price!!!).
To buy the ticket is better to go diretcly to tre train station (if you can go there one day in advance), otherwise every agency is able to do this for u, but in this case you gotta pay a provvision to them...
The Babatpur airport for Varanasi is around 22 Kms from the city. Several Indian Airline flights provide shuttle services between Varanasi, Agra, Khajuraho and Delhi. Some flights also come via Mumbai, Calcuttta and Lucknow.
Varanasi is a major railway junction for the Cant railway which connects to major cities in India.
If you are traveling by road then you will find a good network of roads which travel good roads to the major towns both of Uttar Pradesh and other major cities in India.
Getting around Varanasi can be a hair raising experience with traffic traveling up either side of the road. There are cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws which can be hired at a fixed fare and are probably the easiest way to get around. These however are not allowed inside the old narrow lanes of the city but they can drop you at Godaulia in the city’s centre or at the Dashashwamedha Ghat. As with any of these local means of transport, always agree on a fare beforehand.
I took an auto rickshaw to Sarnath, located about 10km north of Varanasi where Buddha preached his message of the middle way to nirvana. I agreed a price of Rs150 with my driver before we set off which included the trip there, waiting time and the trip back. Considering I spent about 2 hours visiting and the journey there and back was another 45 minutes or so, this wasn't a bad price.
GETTING TO VARANASI:
Trains are the easiest and most likely way that you'll reach Varanasi, with multiple daily services to cities including Delhi, Agra, Lucknow and Kolkata.
Most trains arrive at Varanasi Junction station (Station Code: BSB), but there are a few other stations in and around the city so be sure to check which station your train arrives at. Many of the faster trains including the Shatabdi/Rajdhani Express leave from Mughal Serai station, about 15 km east of the city (around 45 minutes to an hour away in a rickshaw).
There are daily buses to the Nepali border and other points around northern India. Local buses leave from the main bus station near the train station, almost every hour in the morning and one in the evening, to Gorakhpur (5-6 hrs, Rs 120), from where buses leave to the Nepali border at Sonauli (~3 hrs, Rs 56).
There are buses run by state government from Lucknow (8hrs), Kanpur (9hrs - Rs. 195) and Allahabad(3hrs - Rs. 88)
Varanasi Airport (IATA: VNS) is about 25km from the city center. Indian Airlines, Air Sahara, Jet Airways, Kingfisher and SpiceJet all have daily flights to Delhi and there are daily flights to Mumbai on Air Sahara ,Indian Airlines and SpiceJet.
Allow plenty of time to get to the airport, it can take an hour or more depending on traffic. A taxi should run around Rs 200-250 or about Rs 125 in an auto-rickshaw, but most drivers will want to charge double since they will likely be coming back empty. If it suits your schedule there is a daily bus at 10:00am that leaves from Hotel India and costs Rs 50.
Many of the sights are in the tiny narrow winding alleys of the waterfront. Rickshaws are only useful for longer trips across town or to the train stations. A cycle-rickshaw from the Junction train station to Dasaswamedh Ghat (or Godaulia if the road is closed) should cost Rs 20. From Godaulia to Assi Ghat is Rs 10. Taxis exist but traffic makes them impractical. There is a pre-paid auto-rickshaw stand at the Varanasi Junction (Cantt) train station.
By foot is the only way to see the waterfront and the ghats but be ready to be hot, sweaty, and lost - locals are usually happy to point you in the right direction. The names of ghats and signs pointing to restaurants and hotels are often painted on the walls in Roman letters.
Auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws are the most widely available public transport within Varanasi. In outer regions of the city, mini-buses are common. Small boats and small steamers are used to cross the river Ganga.
Varanasi is well connected by air, rail and buses with all the main Indian cities. Its distance from Delhi is 776 km. The Babatpur airport is about 25 km from the city center (about 45 minutes by taxi) and it is well connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, and Nepal. All the major domestic Indian carriers, including Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, Indian, Spicejet, and Alliance Air operate from here.
One of the major factors in Varanasi's sustained existence as an inhabited city is its role as an established transportation hub between different cities. Dating to ancient times, the city was connected to cities like Taxila, Gazipur, Pataliputra, Vaishali, Ayodhya, Gorakhpur, Agra etc.
The city was connected by a single road from Taxila going through Pataliputra during the Mauryan empire. This road was later renovated and extended by Sher Shah Suri during the 16th century and later came to be known as the famous Grand Trunk Road. (source needed)
The traffic is slow inside the city.
I booked a boat trip at sunrise on the Ganges from my hotel for Rs150 which included transportation to/from the hotel (Surya), the boat trip itself and a guide who took us to a couple of temples such as the New Vishwanath Temple. We were first taken from our hotel through the maze of small streets that were deadly quiet at 6am to the ghats along the Ganges. Our driver told us that many people get up at 4.30am in order to bathe at daybreak and then go back home to do other things before having breakfast at 9am. We met up with our guide who took us down to out boat at the Kedar Ghat where our rower/guide met us. There were loads of other tourist around in similar boats taking pictures of men bathing. We made our way along the river as the sun was coming up and it was one of the most memorable and unique experiences on my India trip. We passed by different ghat with temples and palaces built on them. We finished at the burning Manikarnika Ghat which is where they cremate the dead in full public view. Our rower rowed us back to the Kedra Ghat and along the way back we saw Dhobi Wallahs (washermen) washing clothes in the river. The whole boat tour lasted about an hour or so and is a most do thing when you're here.
This is the main train station (Varanasi Junction) in Varanasi. I came here from Allahabad on train No.2562 which left Allahabad at 06:05 and arrived in Varanasi at 08:45. I reserved my onward train to Gaya (in Bihar) in order to visit Bodhgaya from a Foreign Tourist Bureau which is located near the front entrance on the left.
Best way to travel around India.
For long transfer reserve a bed in sleep coach with ac.
Very clean and confortable but a little expensive.
About 1115Rs from Varanasi to Agra.
Varanasi Cantonment Station have a toutrist box to book ticket and a very good information office. Nice old man help you with schedul and rates