Bangalore Travel Blog: More than a destination guide, this is a blog about its people, development, city, traffic, tourism, and overall whether it’s worth visiting as a traveler. I decided to make this a separate post apart from my list of things to do in Bangalore for curious travelers/backpackers who haven’t an idea of what to expect here.
This post has more to do with the inner tips for backpackers, offbeat things to do, things to avoid, and some overall perspectives of the restless city. I hope this last bit of crumbles helps you out. Here goes my Bangalore travel blog.
Help yourself with this table of content:
How to Get to Bangalore?
Lying in South Karnataka with no ends touching the country’s seas, the only ways to get there is by road, train, or flight. All the paths prove convenient depending on where you visit from. For interstate visitors, road and train connectivity are the cheapest options. For a 2 days itinerary, here’s how you can plan your Bangalore trip.
Buses and Majestic
There are diverse government and private buses available from different towns and villages around Karnataka. The most popular hub in Bangalore for bus travel is the Majestic bus station. It lies in the heart of the city with buses moving around the clock.
City route buses (BMTC) stroll the station during the day (Kempegowda Majestic St.) while the long-journey buses to different parts of the country fill the nights (buses around Anand Rao Circle). Any destination you’re looking to go from Bangalore or to any part of Bangalore, you should find a bus from here. The Majestic bus stand is also close to the railway and Metro Station.
Another post for you to read: Nandi Hills Travel Guide
Whether Bangalore or any part of the country, train’s said to be the cheapest and most comfortable option. With Bangalore being the second largest city in India areawise, it has many trains stops inside the city. I’m not sure about stations other than Bangalore, but here, the train stations have come a long way.
The walkways are much cleaner than in earlier days, they’re safer, and they even have WiFi today.
The four major stations here are:
- KSR Bengaluru City Junction (Station code: SBC) also known as Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna station near Majestic
- Cantonment Railway Station in Vasanth Nagar (BNC)
- Yeshwanthpur Junction (YPR),
- and Krishnarajapuram Railway Station (KJM)
Kempegowda International Airport (KIA)
The fastest way to get to Bangalore is via the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). It lies beyond Yelahanka on the outskirts of Bangalore and it’s a 25-30 km drive into the city. It’s one of the few major international airports in India and still expanding.
The easiest way is to get an Uber or Ola taxi to make it to the city. There’s a dedicated taxi stand for both the popular cab services right outside the airport terminals. There are plenty of other companies that offer Airport pickups such as Savaari, GoiBibo, and WelcomePickups.
Most travelers entering Bangalore prefer cab services as it’s most convenient for baggage handling. Moreover, who’d want the hustle of public transport after a long flight?
An affordable yet comfortable option for backpack travelers is the Vayu Vajra Volvo bus service (KSTDC). To those who aren’t aware, this is an air-conditioned bus service only to and fro for the airport route from different parts of Bangalore.
Check out the timings of buses along with their stations and routes from this site.
Best time to visit Bangalore
Compared to all the places I’ve visited and lived in in India, I believe that Bangalore has the best weather, facilities, and standard of living. While there are the rainy and winter seasons, the climate remains cool throughout the year. It’s usually never too cold or too hot.
So don’t bother about the climate when timing your visit. What you should look out for are the holiday season during Christmas and other special occasions.
Avoid the holiday season in Bangalore. If you haven’t any choice but to visit during the holiday season, make sure to book your preferred accommodation in advance.
Also, expect to spend more during this time as prices typically go higher. For example, Wonderla increases its prices on holidays sometimes by 10%. The same goes for attractions, cab prices due to higher traffic, and hotel accommodation.
Bangalore Travel Blog: How to Get around?
Unless you have a private/rented vehicle, getting around Bangalore is a considerable matter. For one, public transport in most areas is crowded and incredibly slow. It’s great for solo travelers used to the hustle but isn’t suitable when you’re carrying bags.
Metro is the most ideal transport in Bangalore but it has yet to cover many routes in Bangalore. But when in central Bangalore, the Metro proves to be the most reliable option for travel. You can keep a card and top up a good amount if you’re staying in Bangalore for long.
For a short-term stay, you can purchase a temporary coin (it’s basically an e-ticket for Metro) for a specific destination. Keep cash handy to purchase it as Metro stations almost never accept UPI or online payment.
Rental services are great when you’re well-versed with driving on Indian roads with its traffic. If not either of them, the last resort is online taxi services like Uber. These services are very reliable but can be expensive, considering the petrol rates today.
I’d recommend planning out your itinerary keeping the attractions’ locations in mind. For example, you can visit the Cubbon Park, Visvesvaraya Museum, Church Street, and MG road all in one go as they’re all close to one another.
Tips for using Cab Services
Cab services are the most reliable transport in Bangalore. They’re safer than other forms. Nonetheless, here are some precautions to take for first-time visitors:
- Book your ride from a trusted source. Some reputed services to go for are Ola, Uber, Meru, and Savaari.
- Avoid canceling your ride upon the driver’s request. Sometimes the driver will call up and request you to cancel the ride while they can do it themselves. When you cancel as a customer, extra charges will be levied on your next ride, so deny canceling and request to cancel it themselves.
- Don’t let the driver cancel once you’re in the vehicle. Don’t get me wrong – drivers are hospitable here. But online services take a huge commission from them. Thus some might ask if they can cancel the ride and let you have the ride for the same price. This is a win-win if you’re well-versed with the destination route and Bangalore. But if you aren’t and safety is your top priority, kindly deny the driver’s request.
- Keep an eye on the map route. Again, drivers tend to take shortcuts to lower fuel consumption and avoid tollbooths. For your safety, it’s best to request the driver to stay on the route as shown on the app.
Bangalore Travel Blog: Where to Stay?
There are all kinds of stays considering the city is tagged as the ‘Silicon Valley of India’, starting from dormitory hostels for backpack travelers to luxurious 7-star resorts for families.
There are tons of options for online hotel bookings. But from someone who’s booked stays locally, there are plenty of stays where you can book on the spot as well. When you don’t mind the quality of stay and need just a place to crash, finding accommodation shouldn’t be an issue in any part of Bangalore.
But for reputed hotels such as Radisson and Shangri-La, it’s best to prebook for the best prices – especially during the holiday seasons.
When you’re booking a budget stay online, make sure to pay after you check out the place yourself – there are tons of fake AirBnbs and you never know what’s behind that cozy-looking door. On the safer side, here are some trusted websites/apps I use for booking stays in any part of India:
- Booking.com: Has the widest range of options. They let you book rooms without upfront payment. Check out all stays in Bangalore here.
- HostelWorld: This is relatively new to India but has a reputation among backpack travelers around the world. But Bangalore already has over a dozen hostel stays registered on the site, so give it a try.
- ChoiceHotels: Comfort Inn by Choice Hotels is the perfect stay for family vacations in Bangalore. Book through their official site to avail of Choice Privileges points that help gets future discounts, rewards, and sometimes even free nights!
Things to Do in Bangalore
I’ve written about my encounters with adventurous activities in Bangalore over the years. I’ve yet to try more things. But putting all of these things together, here are all the crazy things to do in Bangalore:
- Walk around Cubbon Park
- Stroll the Church Street, MG Road, and Commercial Street
- Check out Lavelle Road and UB City
- Visit popular attractions like Lalbagh Botanical Garden, ISKCON Temple, Bangalore Palace, and HAL aerospace museum
- Drive to Nandi Hills at dawn
- Day trek to Skandagiri and Channagiri Betta
- Make a 1-Day trip to Wonderla, Bangalore
- Eat at innovative pet-friendly cafes like Therpup
- Try some exotic restobars and pubs in Indiranagar and Koramangla
- Go-kart at Meco Kartopia!
- Cycle with Bangalore’s cycling clubs
- Shop at malls like Phoenix MarketCity, Orion, and Mantri Square
- Book a vineyard tour
- Visit nature attractions around like Bannerghatta National Park, Akkayamma Betta, and Thottikallu Falls
These are all the things I got in mind when it comes to all the things to do in Bangalore. In a nutshell, Bangalore is a hub for literally anything you wish to try. It’s a place for any kind of traveler – be it someone religious or a party freak, a backpack trekking enthusiast, or an extravagant traveler.
And no matter what you’re into, you’re bound to find people with similar interests here. There are clubs, meetups, and groups for literally all types of interests. That makes up for the best part of the city – people here explore, engage, and encourage one another.
Insider tips for Visting Bangalore
Remember I mentioned some insider tips at the beginning of this Bangalore travel blog post? Well, here are some that most locals might be aware of. This goes out to welcome the curious travel enthusiasts who’ve yet to visit the Garden City of India.
- Keep more than one payment form handy
- Drive early in the morning
- Have a Kannada-speaking local guide
- Avoid local auto stands for long distances
- Book on-the-spot for budget accommodation
- Make use of Yulu bikes
- Get your sim card from the airport
- Withdraw from banks for foreign exchange currency
Keep more than one payment form handy
Always keep backup money handy. Most people don’t carry cash in Bangalore, thus it’s difficult to get a chance for all your payments. Make sure to keep some money on your online UPI wallet (PayTM, Google Pay, and PhonePe), and hard cash as well. Always keep the cash as your last resort.
Most shops, taxi drivers, and even coconut water vendors have online payment availability here.
For foreigners, keep in mind to make an online wallet account. Paytm is a great option to link your International card whereas previously you had to transfer funds to someone you know in India who can top up your Paytm wallet for your use.
Drive early in the Morning
I once got stuck in Bangalore’s traffic in the evening and I was stuck on the road for a good 3-4 hours! Avoid the evenings and afternoons while traveling at all costs, especially the highways. Early mornings between 6 to 8 am are best for getting around the city.
Have a Kannada Speaking local guide
There are people who might know English and yet will speak to you in Kannada on purpose. Forget foreign nationals, people who visit from North India find it difficult to deal with people here at times. If you’re getting a local guide, make sure they speak Kannada. The language goes a long way – thank me later :)
Avoid auto-stands for long-distances
Local auto and taxi stand here, like any place in the world, charge their own monstrous rates. Unless you know the locality well and can bargain, don’t go for it. Book an Uber for distances over 5 kilometers, it’ll save you a lot.
Book on-the-spot for Budget Accommodation
As I mentioned earlier, you never know what’s on the other side of that pretty vacation room. Check your stay out before you pay. But another tip to getting budget stays is to look for local accommodation.
I was looking to book accommodation near Majestic for a night, most budget stays start at Rs. 500 – 600 per night online. All I wanted was a place to freshen up. So I walked into a local inn on the same street and got a room for Rs. 400!
Make use of Yulu Bikes
No matter where you go, there’s a lot of walking wherever you go. In commercial hubs like Church Street, MG Road, and Cubbon Park, make use of Yulu bikes – they’re electric bikes, cheap, reliable, and most importantly easy to use for anyone.
Download the Yulu app, there will be a security deposit amount of Rs. 200 or so when you make an account. Once you take a ride, you can request your deposit amount back which will be returned after cutting off your ride fee.
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Get your sim card from the Airport
Getting a sim card anywhere in India is tougher than in most countries. You’ll need to verify identification and proof of address which makes it a lengthy process when you’re getting one at a local sim card shop.
However, getting a sim card when you land at the airport is an easier and quicker method. I’d recommend getting the Airtel sim card as they offer the best network in most areas throughout India. I found this post that’ll help you get a sim card in India as a traveler.
Withdraw from banks for foreign exchange currency
The last tip on this Bangalore travel blog – Withdrawing cash from foreign exchange retail in the airport is convenient but we all know it’s expensive. Another alternative is to take out cash from an international bank ATM.
If you don’t have an international card, make an Indian bank account and deposit your funds to withdraw cash. Banks inevitably charge lesser for currency exchange than airports for large amounts. SBI bank is said to have low overseas exchange rates but has a currency equivalent limit of Rs. 50,000 for global transactions per month.
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