Although Gujarat has seven domestic airports, they only connect to cities outside of the state. There is a flight between Ahmedabad and Vadodara, but the frequency is inconsistent.
Ahmedabad is well connected with Mumbai and Delhi. It also has regular flights to other major cities including: Bangalore, Chennai, Goa , Hyderabad Pune, Jaipur, Coimbatore, Guwahati, Imphal, Raipur, Indore, Kochi, Bhopal and Kolkata. In recent years, several new airline companies and no-frill operators have Surfaced, making travel between Ahmedabad and other parts of India much easier.
Domestic AIRLINES For domestic ticketing you can visit any travel agency, but online reservation are the easiest, and often cheaper, option. Always check the cost of taxes since these can often exceed the ticket price .
Spice jet www.spicejet.com
GO Air www.goair.in
Air India (also known as Indian Airlines)
www.airindia.in , www.indian-airlines.nic.in or www.airindai.com
Jet Airways www.jetairways.com
Gujarat has one of the best road networks in India, making travel by car and bus to most destination fast and smooth.
CAR RENTAL Renting a car (locally “hiring a car”) gives you the convenience and freedom to explore village areas and smaller towns at your own pace. Cars for hire are often found outside the main bus and train station: these are good for the travel within the city and nearby places. Mid-range to high-end hotels and travel agencies can help organize more dependable transportation for longer distances.
Get to know your driver. In addition to providing good company, they can often give you insight on local destination and customs. During night halts, drivers ordinarily sleep in the car but some hotels, especially along highways, have dorm facilities for them at no extra charge. You are expected to cover the cost of their food and eat on their own; but if you insist they may join you. Larger companies have recently started charging higher rates that include the driver’s food and accommodation.
Rates are calculated by kilometer and include gas. Road tolls are additional, which you pay along the way. Some companies charge an overnight free between Rs.100 -200 Ask for a full breakdown of the rates if you are unsure. For an economy car without AC, the rate starts at Rs.5-6/km with a minimum daily mileage requirement of 200-300 km for long distance trips. An AC car is about Rs.7-8/km. You can average out the mileage over the number of days you travel. If you are renting a car to use the same city and/ or outlying areas, one day is usually measured as 7-8 hrs and charged for 70-80 km; the rates for the short trips are higher. Each additional kilometer over the minimum requirement costs extra. Self-driven rentals are not an option in Gujarat since all agencies rent out car with drivers.
THE STATE TRANSPORT (ST) buses run on an extensive network throughout the state connecting almost every town and village to major junctions. This is a great option for shots distance and out of the way destination, although buses can get crowded. For longer journeys it is advisable to travel by private bus or train when the option exists A Challenge with ST buses is that signs are in Gujarati and information desk attendants at most bus terminals do not speak English. Keep mentioning the name of your destination and people will point you in the right direction. Tickets are usually paid for on the bus except at the starting point of several inter-city bus routes, where you have to buy traveling in the afternoon, since the heat and dust can prove exhausting. There are few toilets and food stops in between, so take care of business before boarding.
“Luxury” BUSES” are not luxurious by any means. They are private buses that run the same route as ST buses. Prices and travel time are about the same, so these make for good alternatives if you miss the ST bus. A number of private buses (locally) known as “travel” buses) move between major destination and offer several options. Basic buses with reserved seats are less crowded but not any more comfortable than ST buses. Volvos, which often travel through the night, have reclining seats, AC option and Hindi films that blare throughout most of the trip. Sleeper buses travel overnight and have berths that you sleep on through the journey. Be sure to check your seating assignment as some of these buses have double-sized berths, which could mean sharing with a stranger when traveling alone.
SHARED JEEPS are commonly found in rural areas and between smaller towns. They run the same route as ST buses and charge about the same fair. Travel can be faster or slower depending on your luck and the driver.
Sometime they run more frequently than buses, but are
Often crammed with people hanging on all four sides. Although it can be an adventure, avoid shared jeeps if large crowds and and tilting Vechicles are not your things.
RICKSHAWS are the most convenient way to move around within cities and towns. Except in Ahmedabad and Vadodara, they are generally unmetered, which means you should agree on a price prior to getting in to rickshaw. In areas with meters the cost is based on the meter reading and its corresponding figure on a card which all drivers should carry. Different rates are payable after 11pm. The seating capacity is usually three passengers per vechicle.
SHARED RICKSHAWS (locally called “shuttles”) are essentially rickshaws modified to accommodate more passengers. Some are larger versions of the rickshaw that run on set routes. The tariffs are fixed and usually cost between Rs.5-10 depending on the distance of your destination. Be patient through, shuttles will leave only after the vehicle is full.
CHHAKADAS are diesel fueled vehicles made with a motorcycle front-end Kirloskar engine and a fabricated body. In rural areas of kachchh and Saurashtra, this is the chief from of transportation for travel between towns and villages.
TAXIS are not commonly available in Gujarat. It is most convenient to use rickshaws within cities or a car rental company for longer trips. Car rental companies can also provide taxi type services such as pickup and drop off at airport (see Car Rental)
Train travel is one of the quintessential Indian experiences. From the friendly people you will encounter while sitting in your cabin to vendor who sweep through the train singing garam chai (hot tea) and singh dana (roasted peanuts), it is a great place to connect with the country. The Indian Railways, the world’s largest employer, is made up of an efficient network that connects the entire country. Although trains run late on occasions, the overall system is very dependable.
Intercity trains have several categories: superfast, express (mail) and local. Super fast options include the Rajdhani, which transports you between Ahmedabad and delhi (14 hrs) in a luxury cabin with meals included. The daytime Shatabdi travels between and Ahmedabad and Mumbai (7 hrs) and also includes meals. The Duranto runs between and Ahmedabd and Mumbai and is the fastest night train. Exprees trains are usually the best option between most destinations. Local trains are good for short distance, and tickets for these can be bought at the station just before departure. When booking an unreserved ticket, remember that you have to pay according to the type of carriage you are boarding, otherwise you will be fined.
Of the eight classes available (though no single train have them all) , the most common options include second class unreserved, sleeper class, second class AC 3- tier second class, second class Ac 2-tier and first class AC sleeper class is the best option if you want to enjoy the indian rail experience. In this class you are guaranteed a seat during the day and a sleeper berth, you can sleep all day. Women travelers can opt for the women’s compartment, which is offered on long- distance trains. Second and Third class AC is comfortable for long journey in summer and include bedding .AC options, however, isolate you from the scenery as you pass through different places. First class AC is relatively expensive-a better alternative would be to fly. Other options, generally on daytime trains, include AC chair, which has reclining seats. and the comfortable Executive class, which is the equivalent of the business class on airplanes. Second class unreserved tickets are an incredibly cheap option. They allow you to board a train but do not guarantee a seat, which means that you might end up standing for the entire journey.
There are plenty of vendors who board the sleeper class cabins to sell a range of fried goodies, cold drinks, seasonal fruits and more. In the other classes you can pick up food from the platform during the longer train stops. The railway staff also take order for breakfast (generally an omelet or something deep fried), lunch and dinner (decent thails with dal rice, shaak, paratha, chutney and sometimes curd). You can also do as the local do-pack your own food and share with your neighbors.
The Indian Railways website www.indianrail.gov.in offers information on trains. To book online sign up with www.irctc.co.in, however you will need an Indian credit card or bank account to purchase online. Cleartrip.com also provides facilities to book trains and accepts international credit cards. There is a small subcharges. The sites list all timetable, fares and updated information regarding train travel. Your other option is to book tickets on your behalf for a fee, usually between Rs. 20-100. In Ahemdabad, Mumbai and all other major cities of India you can take advantage of the foreign tourists for certain trains and lines, but you need your passport and proof of currency exchange ( an ATM receipt works). You must fill out a form to purchase a ticket for selected trains two days before the train’s departure. This is called the Tatkal (emergency) quota. Additional charges apply for this service and tickets are non-refundable once confirmed. During holiday seasons such as Diwali, reservations are nearly impossible. You need to carry your ticket and ID on the train to show the ticket conductor (TC).
Travel between Mumbai and Ahmedabad (8 hrs) is convenient, especially if you board one of the several night trains. Mumbai to Vododara is about six hours. If you plan on extensive railway travel, invest in a trains at a Glance (available at newsstands at the railway stations). It list all the main trains their routes and fares.
A reservation against cancellation (RAC) ticket will get you on the train, but without a guaranteed seat unless a reserved passenger fails to show up. Wait listed (WL) means that you may get a seat after all the RACs have been accommodated, but if you are still wait listed on the day of departure, you are not allowed to board the train. You can approach the ticket conductor and ask him to find you an unreserved seat, but it is illegal for anyone to guarantee you a seat in exchange for a bribe or a “ trip”.
Addresses & Direction
Finding an address can be its own adventure. Most streets have several names usually based on the most popular destination along the road. Road names may also change without notice. Generally people use well-known Landmark to find locations and ask locals in the area for more precise directions. Addresses usually include a number and street along with several prepositional phrases to help you locate your final destination-opposite the yellow house, next to chintu’s Restaurant, above one World Bank. Just follow the clues. If you ask for direction, most people are unlikely to turn you away without an answer, even if they do not know the correct information. Always ask more than one person to save yourself time and grief. Also, five minutes generally means ten, and close could mean two kilometers away. Just remember, its all relative. Always try to keep a written versions of the address you are looking for so that you can show people as you try to locate your final destination. Carry the phone number of your destination so that you can call if you get lost.
HOTELS IN GUJARAT