The overnight Hampi Express leaves Bengaluru daily at 10:20pm, arriving in unremarkable Hospet, the nearest town, at 7:40am. From Hyderabad, the Rayalseema Express departs at 5:25pm and arrives early the following morning, at 5:10am. Hampi is 15km (9 1/3 miles) away. Taxis charge around Rs 600 for the one-way trip; be sure to negotiate. Hampi is also connected to Goa by an overnight bus service. Kingfisher Airlines operates flights from Goa and Bengaluru to Vidyanagar airport at Toranagallu (38km/24 miles from Hospet) -- check the website (www.flykingfisher.com) for details.
If you reserve lodging at Hampi's Boulders, you'll have no better source of information than your host, Bobby. In Hampi Bazaar, the unusually helpful staff at the government-run tourist office (tel. 08394/241-339; Apr-May daily 8am-1:30pm, June-Mar daily 10am-1:30pm and 2:15-5:30pm) can provide information and organize coach bookings (not recommended) and English-speaking guides. At Hotel Malligi, you can hire an audioguide for around Rs 50. In Hampi, you can pick up information and guides (Rs 500 from the information office; tel. 08394/241-339) on Bazaar Street. If you're a stickler for detail and thorough research, pick up New Light on Hampi (Marg Publications) by John M. Fritz and George Michell.
By Taxi & Auto-Rickshaw -- Hampi's ruins cover 39 sq. km (15 sq. miles), and should be explored on wheels. Bicycles (for rent in Hampi Bazaar) are fine for the energetic, but only in winter. Taxis (Indicas around Rs 1,000 for a full day, without air-conditioning, or Qualis at Rs 1,800) or even auto-rickshaws (count on Rs 400-Rs 500) are better if you'd rather not deal with maps, heat, and dirt tracks. Do, however, get out on foot whenever you can to soak up the atmosphere.