Getting There & Away
Trains from Bengaluru (3 hr.) and Hassan (for Hoysala heartland; 2-3 hr.) pull in regularly at the railway station (tel. 131 or 0821/242-2103), situated at the intersection of Jhansi Laxmi Bai Road and Irwin Road. Frequent and comfortable AC Volvo buses ply the road between Mysore and Bengaluru (Rs 250) starting from the main bus-stand; journey takes approximately 3 hours. For Rajiv Gandhi National Park and Coorg, your best option is to hire a car. (Note: If traveling by own vehicle, set aside an hour to visit the 400-year-old Banyan tree en route to Mysore, spread over a hectare (4 acres) -- plenty of tourists but worth the detour.)
For information, visit the Karnataka Tourist Office (Mayura Yatri Niwas, JLB Rd., near railway station; tel. 0821/242-3652; daily 6:30am-8:30pm).
Negotiate taxi prices in advance, or hire a vehicle for the day (recommended if you wish to visit the Keshava Temple; expect to pay Rs 835 for half day and Rs 1,100 for full day). Auto-rickshaws are cheap and plentiful; you can either insist that the driver use his meter (Rs 15 at the start) or fix a price upfront; the latter is likely to get you to your destination quicker. Don't pay for any taxi or vehicle without first checking its condition. You can organize a car through your hotel travel desk, but it's likely to be more expensive (Rs 835-Rs 1,100).
Guided Tours & Travel Agents
Operating since 1976, Seagull Travels (8 Best Western Ramanashree Hotel Complex, Bengaluru-Niligiri Rd.; tel. 0821/252-9732, or 0821/426-0054 and -3653; fax 0821/252-0549; www.seagulltravels.net; daily 9:45am-8:45pm) handles a wide range of travel needs, including ticketing, taxi arrangements, and individually packaged tours (although prices can fluctuate arbitrarily). Seagull can also help arrange your trip to the popular government-owned Jungle Lodges and Resorts across Karnataka. Another local travel agent is Skyway International Travels (3704/4, Jhansi Laxmibai Rd.; tel. 0821/244-4444; fax 0821/242-6000; www.skywaytour.com; firstname.lastname@example.org).