Getting There & Away
By Air -- Bengaluru's airport (35km/22 miles from M.G. Rd.) is the busiest in South India, connected to most of the major cities in India (including, of course, Hyderabad). British Airways and the excellent Kingfisher, India's top private carrier, fly direct to Bengaluru from London daily. Kingfisher Airlines also fly direct from San Francisco, while Jet Air fly via Brussels from New York, London and Toronto. Alternatively there are several international carriers that fly to Bengaluru via Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. For domestic and international flight availability and reservations try www.yatra.com or www.makemytrip.com. To get to your hotel from the airport, it's best to use a taxi; expect to pay about Rs 600 to Rs 800 from the prepaid counter. (Note: City traffic is a nightmare in this city, so consult your hotel for a realistic time frame in trying to reach the airport, depending on where you are and what time of day it is.)
By Train -- As a major transport hub, Bengaluru is reached by a significant number of rail connections. Journeys from North Indian cities, however, are extremely time-consuming; the fastest connection with Delhi takes 35 hours, while Mumbai is 24 hours away. From Chennai (capital of Tamil Nadu), take either the evening or the morning 5-hour Shatabdi Express or the overnight Bangalore Mail, which leaves late and gets in early. To get to Mysore from Bengaluru, catch the 2-hour Shatabdi Express (departs Wed-Mon at 11am) or else take an ordinary passenger train (which departs several times a day and takes only 1 hr. more than the Shatabdi) and enjoy the sights and sounds of local commuters, many of whom begin impromptu song competitions in order to pass time. For Hyderabad, catch the comfortable overnight Rajdhani Express (departs four times a week at 8:20pm). Since 2009, Mangalore has been connected by rail to Bengaluru (Mangalore Express), although so far, there is only an overnight option available. Bengaluru City and Bengaluru Cantonment are the two railway stations; the latter is a bit closer to the main downtown area.
By Road -- For the greatest amount of freedom, you should hire a car and driver, particularly if you plan to get off the beaten track. To get to Mysore there is a very comfortable and convenient option of air-conditioned KSRTC Volvo buses that run at hourly intervals from the Kempegowda Bus Stand (tel. 080/2287-3377).
Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) information counter is at St. Mark's Rd. (tel. 080/4132-9211; daily 9:30am-7:30pm). Karnataka Tourism (Khanija Bhavan, Race Course Rd.; tel. 080/2235-2901 through -2903 or 080/2227-5869 or -5883; http://kstdc.net; Mon-Sat 10:30am-5:30pm, closed Sun and second Sat of the month) is reliable for sightseeing information rather than info on accommodations and dining; ask for a copy of Bangalore This Fortnight or visit it online at www.explocity.com. The Government of India Tourist Office is at the KSFC Building, 48 Church St. (tel. 080/2558-5417; Mon-Fri 9:30am-6:15pm, Sat 9am-1:30pm), where you can pick up a copy of the free quarterly guide City Info (also supplied in most hotels).
By Auto-Rickshaw & Taxi -- Insist that auto-rickshaw drivers use their meters. Generally, the first kilometer will cost Rs 14; each kilometer after that costs Rs 7. After 9pm, drivers will make you pay "one and a half," or 50% above the recorded fare. You won't find taxis that you can just hail off the street, but metered "call taxis" are available almost all over the city; ask your hotel for a reputable number. Expect to pay minimum fare of Rs 75 for 3km (2 1/2 miles), Rs 12 each additional kilometer, plus extra for waiting and luggage.
With Car & Driver -- Less than 4 hours will be charged as per the meter rules mentioned above; Rs 650 is the going rate (at press time) for a 4-hour tour, which will include 40km (25 miles) of free mileage (Rs 14 for every extra kilometer). To hire a car and driver, try Hertz (tel. 1800-22-6000 or 099725-02292), which operates around-the-clock, as does Cel Cabs (tel. 080/6060-9090).
Guided Tours & Travel Agents
KSTDC (address above; tel. 080/2235-2901) conducts sightseeing tours in the city as well as around the state. Skyway International Travels (St. Mark's Rd.; tel. 080/2211-1401) and Marco Polo Tours (2 Janardhan Towers, Residency Rd.; tel. 080/2221-4438) are reliable all-arounders. For trekking, get in touch with www.junglelodges.com, Karnataka Mountaineering Association (tel. 080/2226-9053) and Get Off Ur Ass (tel. 080/2672-2750; www.getoffurass.com) for some unusual trips. Mystery Trails (www.mysterytrails.com) is a Forest Department initiative specializing in treks within wildlife zones, including Chamarjanagar where the notorious bandit/poacher Veerappan hid for 2 decades. Today it enables local tribal communities to learn and earn at the same time.
Under the Skin: Must-Reads -- Often a guidebook will provide a great deal more insight into a city than a visit to its tourism bureau. Ticket Bengaluru by Roopa Pai (Stark World) and Love Bengaluru by Fiona Caulfield (Hardys Bay Publishing) are two such books, dealing respectively with everything that this city offers, from the best dosa joints to the ideal pub hop, coolest buys to trendiest hot spots. While Roopa offers something for everyone across the spectrum, Fiona is clearly speaking to big spenders.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.