Indian Bus Strategists Guide



Where to sit on the bus? Where to put your pack?




RED seats are dangerous. If there is an accident you will go flying through the windscreen.


GREEN are the best. Behind the driver you are protected by seat bar and frame.


YELLOW seats are also good.


BLACK are not good. Very uncomfortable in the back.


X is where you can put your luggage. It gets very hot around the engine,so take care. There is also the over head above the seats. You can actually fit a guitar lengthwise in there. Small thing will get thrown around and should be secured.


State buses


Every state has their own transport company, and they tend to operate a little bit differently. Every town has at least one bus stand. When you take the buses in India it is a good idea to ask for advice, and ask again to make sure. Sometimes there is more than one bus station and each bus station service a difference sector. When you get to the station there is a information Help desk that will help you (hopefully in English) as to the correct bus to take. It's often worthwhile to go to the bus station in advance and find out when the express buses are leaving. You may be able to buy a ticket in advance. Some the ordinary buses can be quite fast and leave very often, So if you have to get somewhere you will. 


Often they put your backpack in the rear compartment of the bus. You should cover your pack at this point with a big plastic bag or it will be covered in dirt, these compartments get filled with road dirt!
 Other times they may try to put your backpack on the roof. Make sure it is secured up there. Also make sure no one decides to sit up there using your pack as a cushioned seat.


Sleeper Bus?

 A strange invention but it is common in India. It is a large bus with cabins above the seats meant for a two or more people. Usually a night sleeper bus. A sleeper train would be better.

Bus VS Train

Generally you should utilize the train over the bus as much as possible. However there are times when the buses are a better option, faster and more frequent. This seems to be the case in Tamil Nadu, Rajastan, Madhya Pradesh to name a few. Anytime you just can't wait for the train a bus may be more convenient.

  • upLeaves every half hour
  • Cheap
  • Good scenery if you have window seat
  • A good opportunity to interact with very local people.
  • "Express Bus", and so called point-to-point buses are become more common.
  • Some female solo travellers feel safer taking the bus(vs the train) because it is a smaller controlled atmosphere. Also more Indian women take the bus than train.
  • downLocal buses, will stop everywhere and anywhere to pickup people, small or large, may have cargo to load. Anything is possible. A large school group may invade you for half an hour. Then leave the bus empty. The staff try to fill the bus as much as possible for any amount of rupees possible. Perhaps driving slowly for many kilometres to try to pickup more people.
  • Slow 30-50km per hour. That's the express bus!
  • Uncomfortable. State buses, local buses are run into the ground to keep the fare as low as possible. There are more modern bus, and express buses. Check you seat to make sure it's not to broken, also the window should open.
  • WARNING: It is common for Indians to "lose their chapatis" on the bus. Watch out if your sitting behind them on the window side as the puke will fly back into the bus, on to you! so close your window right away.
  • Can be very crowded. At times you will question your sanity. Buses are often purposefully overloaded and driven excessively. Indians will stand for hours on the bus without a seat, often slouching over the person seat beside.


Delhi-Manali info

"Buses are terrible in India and it turns out the private ones are even worse. They Delhi-Dharmasala, Manali through Rajasthan etc. are the same. Also a big scam. First with luggage they want to charge you just for putting on the roof. Then the seating with np seat numbers...send the tourist to sit in the back of the bus where is most uncomfortable and we don't have to listen them complain...then the constant stopping to pick up 1-2 strangers for few miles...the restaurant they take you too for baksheesh...the uncomfortable seats that don't work... the smokers....the people standing or sleeping in the walkway...people on the roof...

the bus that is falling apart because this is the cheapest way to run a bus, run IT INTO THE GROUND! if they say 8 hr it will be 12. If you buy the ticket from an agent for 450 that actual cost is about 200 for 'deluxe' service. There is NO direct service they stop in every town!"


  • Keep in mind it can take two hours to travel 50km in a bus, and it is not uncommon.
  • Bus staff will overload and overcrowd on a regular basis.
  • Watch for your stop or you may miss it. Staff are useless may forget to tell you!
  • Remember: Only you are responsible for your backpack. IF the bus company loses it you will not get any compensation for it. Or it will be very difficult to collect and not be very much anyways.
  • If there is no luggage compartment you will carry it on board. In this case put you backpack in the front of the bus near the engine cover
  • TIP: IF the bus staff are giving you a hard time about your luggage, buy two tickets! It cheap anyways you can put you pack on the seat beside you then.
  • Be careful if your backpack goes on the roof, make sure the bus staff tied it securely. If it rains it will get wet.
  • Some express buses go long distance maybe only a few running per day. Check with the local bus station information on the best bus to take. You can call them on the telephone too.
  • Bus travel can be a fun and interesting way to see and experience India.

State Bus Web site links to time tables

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0 # couponcenter 2014-10-24 11:40
Hahaha, great brother, nice blog.

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