How To Catch a Train in India and NOT Get Scammed (Full Guide w/ Station & Train Tour)
So you’re going Hampi, ah? Yeah, we’re going to Hampi. Maybe once you remember, Sir. I have tuk-tuk. You'll be expensive, Man.
Cheaper, Sir. You’re standing here at the first class cabin, Man. Looking, fishing.
Ah, not fishing. - You’re fishing, Man. - I’m from Hampi. Not fishing, Sir. - Fishing for foreigners. Not fishing, Sir. - Fishing for foreigners.
So there you had it. A rickshaw driver had already jumped into the first class compartment Greetings Friends. A train trip here in India is an incredible adventure that you should not miss, but it is not so straightforward.
So tonight, I'm going to take you on my train journey and show you everything you need to know and tell you about everything you need to avoid as well. So let's go for a tour of the station. I'll show you what's available at an Indian railway station. Then I'll show you how to find your train. We'll board the train and I'll show you what you can expect when you get on an Indian train. And I give you a bunch of safety tips so you can travel safely and confidently on the Indian railway system.
Come this go from Bengaluru to Humpy. Now, when you're entering the railway station, there's a couple of things. A couple of scams you really need to be careful of as a foreigner. And these are both happen to me. The first one, it could be a fake ticket collector or ticket checker in the railway station here. Usually he's at the front door there or he's standing behind security to look “official” and he'll stop foreigners and say, “Show me a ticket.”
And of course there'll be something wrong with your ticket. And you have to follow him to get your ticket fixed and pay him some money. But nothing wrong with your ticket.
It's a scam. And that has actually happened to me. That is most common on the Delhi to Agra route.
The Taj Mahal route. And they get you because it's like the train leaves at like 5:45 a.m. in the morning. So you're so tired, you're not suspecting anything, you’re thinking this guy's helping you and that he's an official, but he's not. Oh, I understand you want money for medical fees? Cancer. Oh, you've got a lot of receipts here. Yes. Sorry, bro.
I don't believe you. Yeah, so you've also got guys here asking for money and they’ll show you fake medical bills and. Yeah, they’ll always come up to foreigners. Manu, come.
Let’s go. The other thing that happens here is pickpockets and there's a sign for it in front of me, actually. And so how it works is some guy or some girls will brush up against you and you'll feel your pocket’s a bit lighter because have lifted your phone or your wallet and it's not always guys that do that. Girls are pickpockets as well because you don't expect them. You don't expect them to be pickpockets.
So yeah, watch out for fake ticket inspectors and pickpockets here. Now, let me show you around the station. Now there is a police station at some railway stations, and if you have any issues, you can come to the police station and talk with them. Not all stations have a police station, though, but the biggest stations will. Throughout the station you'll find boards like this where you can check your train number and it's going to tell you what platform you're on.
You've got three languages, usually. English, because here in Karnataka you have the Kannada state language and then you'll also have English as well. And some advertisements like this. So you can come here, look up your train number and find what platform you're on.
Before I show you how to board the train and inside it, here's what you're typically find at a large station in India. There’s filtered drinking water, although I don't take the risk with it. We've got a range of waiting rooms from free to executive paid lounges and also female-only waiting rooms.
If you've got a long layover, there's dormitories here. And this particular station has an incredible array of food options a chemist, a photocopy shop and even a gaming zone. I've never seen that anywhere else in India.
But this is Bangalore after all. Then we have the multiple train platforms where you'll find more toilets and snack options. If you want a more in-depth tour of what's available at a station, watch my rural Indian train station tour next. Behind me is the Chief Ticket Inspector office.
So if you're worried about your ticket, come and meet the Chief ticket inspector and they'll help you. Don't trust nobody chatting to you around the station, All right? There's offices for everybody here. This police, this ticket inspector, the station master. You know, a lot of people here that will help you. Official people, even Army is here as well.
As you can see. The other incredible thing here at railway stations is this sometimes free Wi-Fi and like super-fast Wi-Fi too. Like there is here at this railway station. Now, everything you can see here is three languages: Kannada, Hindi and English. And the... the state language would change depending on which state you’re in.
It’s very easy to find things because English is everywhere here. So we've read the board and we know what platform a train is on and, yeah, just walking to platform eight now where the Humpi Express will be at 9:50 p.m. We have 10 minutes, so you got 10 minutes to get on and get settled. Some stations, the trains will stop for only 2 minutes. Usual stop time, just 2 minutes but because this is a big station, a lot of people to get on. So 10 minutes.
We found the platform 8, and it is really, really busy here. Now, if you look up your train before the journey, you can see where exactly your coach is. Our coach is a couple of coaches behind the engine so we can roughly decide like where abouts we should be standing.
Cause you’ll find the engine on one end of the platform. And on the platform is a bunch of seats and you've got shops like this where you can get tea and basic snacks as well. And if you're buying food and drinks, especially from like street vendors on the platforms, always check your change.
It's very common to be short changed here in India. One other tip you can ask the shopkeepers where your train compartment would be, which end of the track it might be on. The shopkeepers along here see the same trains every night. So yeah, they know how the trains arrive and leave.
And now that our train is nearly here, you can see that the signs along the platform have all changed. It's telling you the train number and then it's also telling you the coach number. Okay? So we're looking for H1 and we're at S2, which is Sleeper 2.
Alright, we're at A1 right now. You can see it up there. And we're still going we're going towards HA1. That is the coach that we're going to get on. And, yeah, it’s all signposted along the platform 10 minutes before the train arrives.
So we're here now and we can just walk straight into the train and our seats are B5 and B6. So yeah, let me give you a tour of the train now Alright, so the train has not lined up with the numbers on the platform. We had to walk two coaches up and here we go. So here we have... our train here and all the signboards are working. We've got Hindi, Kannada, and English.
So this is going Mysore to Hubbali. And we are in HA 1. Your train might not always say the exact place you're going to like Hampi. Hampi is so famous, but it's not on the board here.
And on the windows here, you can even see the seat numbers. So that's our seat there. 5 & 6. All right.
And so we can see up here, it says B5 & 6. And this is my beautiful wife, Manu. And yeah, this is the coach.
We actually got a couples coach, babe. How sweet is that? Sometimes you'll be sharing of two more people, but we managed to get a couples coach, which I wasn't expecting. So here we have two beds. You've got the, the bedspreads here and a pillow. Drink bottle holders up here. Some places the store your bags and also this is how you can climb up onto the top bunk which I'll be sleeping on sleep on. Sleep on the top bunk
if you are tall in the other coaches because in the other coaches there's no wall and your feet will usually just be above people's heads. If you're on the bottom coach, people are going to smack into your feet if they're long. It's very, very simple room. And there's just a table to eat on or whatever and some some curtains here as well.
And we have a charger and there's only mobile phone charging between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. And yeah, here’s a mirror. And so I can also show you there's only a few cabins here and then I can show you into this is AC2 and yeah, there’s just there’s just more people to each cabin, that’s all. And there's no no walls, like we have in the next one but there's curtains so you can, you can block it off.
But that's a difference. There's not, not really much difference. We're on our way to Hampi now from Bengaluru (Bangalore).
It's a 400 kilometre trip and it's going to take us 9 hours. So we're going to sleep here overnight. And this is a first class compartment on a normal Indian train. This is what they are like. I know you would have all seen the luxury trains in India and yes, they exist, but this is a very standard first class compartment on an Indian train. If you want to take the luxury trains, you'll be paying a lot more than this.
This was 3... around ₹3,000 for both me and my wife. So it just ₹1500 each. So yeah, it's really cheap to have this private room to ourselves and it obviously saves us more than staying at a hotel, which might be like ₹5,000 a night. So yeah, great value. Now how to book tickets.
So I start off at the IRCTC website. This is the Indian Railways booking website, and you've got three options there. You can book under the foreigner quota. That means ticket reservations for you.
Open 365 days before your train leaves. This is a special foreigner quota that you can take if you're outside India. If you missed that, you can book under the general quota. These tickets go on sale 120 days before the trip.
So if the foreigner quota tickets are sold out and the general tickets are sold out, you've got one more option. It's called Tatkal. And this is last minute bookings.
These tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. the day before the train leaves and they cost a little bit more, but you can book those for the IRCTC website as well. So yeah. Go to that website, sign up, and you've got three options to get a train ticket. Just book as soon as you can. Okay?
Because trains fill up really, really fast here in India. Now there are different types of classes on the Indian Railways, so you've got first class. Which we’re in here. You've got 2AC, you've got 3AC and you've got sleeper.
Now, as a foreigner, you'll probably want to be in an air conditioned cabin. That's first class, 2AC, or 3AC and 2AC and 3AC are perfectly fine for travelling and just the further you go down the classes, the less privacy you have basically, and the more people that are around, so the more opportunity to be sleeping with snorers. That's, that's my biggest, my biggest concern. But you can bring earplugs and I would suggest bringing earplugs. There's always some uncle snoring on trains, isn’t there? And I actually usually travel 2AC or 3AC because first class tickets can sometimes cost as much as an air fare.
So then you might as well fly. The AC just came, I’m so happy,. Bye. So that was just the ticket collector.
He will come and check everybody's tickets. He’ll walk through the train and do that. Oh, the train's getting going now. We're leaving Bengaluru City and to 2AC and 3AC... Those are perfectly fine for foreigners to sleep in. I usually take 2AC or 3AC especially if I'm travelling alone.
And if you can't get a seat in 2AC or 3AC, you can take sleeper class. It's the cheapest and... Cockroach, there’s a cockroach.
There's also a sleeper class. Sleeper class does not have AC and it's usually very, very lively. But I have taken sleeper as well and it was just fine in the winter months.
But it cam get a bit windy and a bit cold in there or a bit hot if it's summer. Now how to keep your valuables safe. Especially if you're not in a cabin and you can't lock your door.
So when I'm sleeping in 2AC or 3AC, I'll put my valuables in a small backpack and I'll put them up here in the corner next to my head, and I'll sleep with them just like that. I'll sleep with my head next to my valuables. Do not sleep with them on the side where people are walking past because they can just swipe your bag, put your head towards the window side and keep your valuables safe up here. You can put your bag under here just fine, and if you really want, you can chain it. There's little changing points here as well that you can chain your bags to, but I've never bothered with that because all my valuables are always next to my head while I sleep overnight on a train.
I think I should give you guys a quick tour of the bathrooms. Honestly, nothing to write home about. Very very average toilet. It just drops onto the tracks, literally.
And it's quite small in here. And there's a handwash and some soap there. Yeah, very, very small. And then another place to wash your hands here. All right.
We've been given fresh sheets, so it's time to make the bed. This packet contains two bed sheets and one face towel. Okay.
Well there's different lead to bed sheets, but there's no face towel like it says on the packet. How do you know which goes on top and which goes on bottom, babe? The thicker one will go on bottom. And these bed sheets, they're from Khadi and Village Industries Commission. So these. What is that babe? And you can get the sheet right under here as well It's pretty, pretty well designed but I mean you could do a pretty good job Alright, my pillow.
My bed sheet. And then we have a blanket to. All done. Ready to sleep. It's not the prettiest, but it does the job and it's damn comfortable. There's something really nice about sleeping on a train and having that feeling of like.
I don’t know, it's like you're in the womb again. That's like rocking movement as as you travel and sleep. - In a cradle. In a cradle? No. And in the womb. Because your mum used to like, rock around a bit.
Let me show you my bed and I'll show you a few cool features of this cabin as well. So these beds are wider and longer than 2AC and 3AC, because in those other two classes my feet go off the end, my feet go off the end and people always bang their heads into my feet during the night time. Now let me show you the lights here. So we have, look at this, a blue light. Manu,
do you need a blue light? Yes. - Okay. The baby downstairs needs a blue light. And there's also a reading light as well up here. And she has one down on her bed as well. So. Yeah. Goodnight, guys, And I will see you in the morning.
Good morning, guys. We’re nearly at Hampi. Look out there. I can see rice paddies, coconut trees and to know when to get off, just set your alarm like 20 or 30 minutes before your scheduled arrival time. And then check your Google Maps.
Check your GPS location and just see how close you are to your station Ah, man, I slept like a baby. I feel so good. And yeah, you can just exit out the door. Like we're going to do any second. We're just arriving now and let's see who meets at the station, because at these popular stations like Hampi, the and like Agra, you can often find a lot of touts hassling you as well. And in these smaller places, you will not get an Uber.
So you're going to have to deal with the rickshaw drivers, so know how far you are going and roughly how much you should pay. Oh, sorry. It's okay. Don't worry, Man.
So you’re going Hampi, ah? Yeah, we’re going to Hampi. We're going to have to have a taxi. So how are you going? Taxi? Yeah. - Do you have a taxi, or no? No, not yet. We'll find one.
Maybe once you remember, Sir. I have tuk-tuk. You'll be expensive, Man. Cheaper, Sir. You’re standing here at the first class cabin, Man.
Looking, fishing. Ah, not fishing. - You’re fishing, Man. - I’m from Hampi. You’re fishing, Bro.
Not fishing, Sir. - Fishing for foreigners. I’ll charge a small price. - No, no. So there you had it.
A rickshaw driver had already jumped into the first class compartment because he knows that's where he's going to find his... his foreign tourists who he could charge more than the local tourists in the other compartments. So, rather than taking like a guy from inside the train or a guy from just outside the train, we're just going to go to the rickshaw area and find the guy and actually bargain for the price. We'll ask a few different people with different prices and we'll get the best deal.
Always do that, especially because I'm with Manisha we'll find a better deal to take than the guy on the train. Sir, how much you want to pay? - No, Man. Sir, how much you want to pay. I will take you for the same price, no problem. No, no, no. We don't need your help, man.
Don’t worry. - Ok, no problem. Our friend’s back. We’re all the same, you know.
We found the rickshaw drivers now, and there's never any shortage of them. There must be at least 100 drivers here. So, yeah, you're going to get the best price if you just come out of here and bargain with a few drivers. All right. I don’t have one. It’s on Hampi road only.
And now that guy's getting real angry at us. Who found us,. He wanted us. We didn't even ask him the price because I knew he'd just be trying to cheat us if he was jumping onto the first class compartment straight away. So he found a driver just Rs. 150 for 10 KM. And the other driver got very angry at us. The guy who found us on the first class compartment because he bought we were his meal ticket for the day. But we went out
and found a real driver. And just tell us what that driver was telling you. The guy who from the first class compartment. Yeah.
He said, people are not very nice to tourists here, but I'm being nice to you. You’re not appreciating it. Yeah, sure, sure, sure.
So a guy who says something like that, you're know, he's trying to get you into his taxi and, you know, he's probably not the nice guy. So. Yeah, I'm sure it would just be fine. We have to look at everything thinking, he might do this to us. And when this guy jumps onto the train, he shouldn’t be on the train. That's not fair. This place is pretty.
Look at the banana plantations behind us. We just found a little dosa shack to eat at and just talk about the rickshaw drivers again. They can be really, really pushy. So just say no and stay firm today If you don't want their services. If you do want their services, then good.
Because they will look after you and you'll get that extra service from these guys in these tourist towns. So enjoy your train trip and have an incredible time here in India.