[Practical Info] Trains in India – Myths vs Reality : advices

Because our travel is also a way to share our good tips, here you have our « Practical Information » category. Enjoy !

If you are like us, you are most probably very curious about trains in India. Indeed, between movies, histories and myths, there is something crazy about these machines running continuously all around the sub-continent.

For sure, we can already confirm. Train in India is just crazy. A unique and specific world! An unforgettable atmosphere especially in the 3rd class. There is a microcosm hard to imagine, a boiling life which could be difficult to explain to uninitiated person.

So, indeed, we do recommend it to you… not because we are sure you will love it but because of a unique moment experienced in your life.

But if you are writing this article, it is to give you a small tip: ANTICIPATION

Booking and using trains are not as simple as we would think when we are foreigner. Between David (for his first visit) and us in 2017, we must admit that it can be difficult to get 3rd class ticket without anticipation.

Basically, trains in India are crowded. According to the region and according to the period, they can be over crowded… Tickets can be purchased only 60 days before for locals. Tickets are sold very fast and people are usually on WL (Waiting List).

For every train, there is normally a foreigner quota. Unfortunately, that tickets can only be purchased at the foreigner desks which are located in the capital of each state (Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, etc…) or very important touristic cities.

We want to highlight it because outisde of the main cities, we had never been able to book a ticket. In the train station, at the general ticket offiice, you usually need to make a long long queue and there is nothing sure that you will get a ticket. In addition of that, online ticket are reserved for customers with an Indian credit card. Not that easy!

So, we don’t have the magical solution except that you should try to go to the foreign office at your arrival. If you can book all the tickets you need especially for the longest and most important trips, you wil save some time. For the shortest trips, you will always be able to take a bus or wait for a Waiting List ticket that you can book with an agency.

For us, this is the solution number 1.

Then, we recommend you to look at the tickets on the following website : MAKE MY TRIP. You will be able to know the availability of the train.

Finally, if you know an indian or if you meet an indin you can trust on you way, do not hesitate to make them buy a ticket for you and give them money back. We dit it for Guwahati / New Jalpaiguri. It was easy, fast and simple. Then you just need to show the printed ticket to the ticket controller.

We are Ela & David, 2 citizens of the world. In quest of a new way of living, more respectful from the environment and the Humans, we travel slowly to discover new cultures, to look for inspirations and with a wish of sharing. Want to know more?

We travel with Hopineo, an online platform dedicated to the co-construction of a better world through a responsible and sustainable tourism. Discover Hopineo.

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