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Indian Sub-Cont. From Kathmandu to Colombo, and Islamabad to Dakha, one billion smiles, treck in the Himalayas, bathe in the Ganga, dance to Hindi pop ! Namaste !

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Old 01-16-2006, 07:57 PM   #1
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Flying from Seattle to Calcutta is AT BEST looking like a $1400+, 26-hour odyssey from hell. And that still involves 2 or 3 plane changes -- the freakin' budget flight(s) is 33+ hours long and about $200 less or so. Where is the smiley sticking a fork in his eye? Cause that's going to be me, my friends.

And this is all just to get to Calcutta... my "final" destination will be a life-risking 200-mile bus ride through some of the least-traveled parts of India. I say life-risking because Indian buses are notorious harbingers of death and dismemberment.

On the other hand, Bhutan and Sikkim will be worth it!

If anyone has any further information about routes that may be somewhat easier, feel free to add them here...
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Old 01-16-2006, 08:05 PM   #2
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Oh, by the way, this is what BOTH of my India/Nepal guidebooks have to say about buses:

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WARNING: You are more likely to die on an Indian or Nepalese bus than in any other way.* When there is a train, take it.
Unfortunately, there aren't any trains where I'm going. Ah well-- what a way to go!

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Old 01-16-2006, 08:17 PM   #3
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this wasnt in india but in cambodia, well i dont know how different there bus drivers are compared to cambodian bus drivers but they have a reputation of being crazy mo fo's in my experienced they would be on a two laned road and overtake the vehical in front and just miss an oncoming truck by a couple of meters and often swerve of the road.. scary shit, but im still alive and they seemed to know wat the were doing coz they did it countless times, they also had shit bumpy roads which made it impossible to get some sleep, so my advice is just enjoy the ride and the scenery....
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Old 01-17-2006, 08:04 AM   #4
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Taking a tourist bus instead of a local one won't slow the driver down but at least the bus will be in better condition, which is a plus. The good news in your case is that most of the trip will be done on flat ground. But the part in the mountains...

I used the bus in Nepal, and yes survived, as I survived in Vietnam and Laos (and they are more crazy there !). But it is nerve wracking, I tell you ! There is no way to avoid the bus ride, you can only shorten it by flying to Bhutan, or Rajeeling. But then, you'd have to go with a national air carrier and the risk of not coming back to the USA is probably higher !
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Old 01-17-2006, 08:10 AM   #5
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Asian bus drivers often do drive very fast and cut things verrry close. However, that is NORMAL there - and since they are so used to it, it's actually a lot safer than it feels. Yes, you'll see your life flash before your eyes every so often, but it never actually happens...lol.
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Old 01-17-2006, 08:15 PM   #6
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To clarify: I'm not so worried about the drivers themselves, it's their careless disregard for life and limb of whatever crosses their path (and how that may affect everything else) that's a bit more concerning.

Nah, really I'm actually looking forward to it-- it'll be an adventure to say the least, if a long one.
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Old 04-22-2006, 01:51 AM   #7
 
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buses arent a good idea in north east and eatern states for a simple reason of not good roads.. buses in soutern states.. chennai , kerala, bangalore, bombay , jaipur , delhi are good as anything.


eastern states - try not to travel by buses .. not that its dangerous for the bus to collapse but the area around bihar , bangladesh is not the best place to visit for foreginers mainly backpackers.
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Old 04-22-2006, 02:14 AM   #8
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Wow, that is going to be QUITE the trip! Props to you!
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Old 04-22-2006, 04:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by amansac@Apr 22 2006, 03:51 AM
buses arent a good idea in north east and eatern states for a simple reason of not good roads.. buses in soutern states.. chennai , kerala, bangalore, bombay , jaipur , delhi are good as anything.
But what do you suggest then ? By plane ?
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Old 04-23-2006, 12:08 AM   #10
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I have heard the best thing to do is ride on the roof - that way you can mind your pack and jump off the bus in time when it speeds around the corner too fast and rolls off the cliff!!

ev
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Old 04-23-2006, 12:40 AM   #11
 
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yes on the roof ...man .. i ve done that too... going from nainital to betalghat (hindi for valley of ghosts) its in the himalayas we were on the top of the bus and road is narrow to have only vehicle heading one way... alhough there s not much traffic but if you re encountered by an oncoming vhicle u have to find a turn where the two vehicles can pass each other whcih is not very hard to find..



anyways, atchoum depends where u going? if u land in calcutta ..u can get a connecting flight to sikkim, thimphu(bhutan ..one flight a day) , guwhati(in assam) or even aizwal (in mizoram)...
but for the eastern ... i suggest u skip the travelling by road and land straight at calcutta..

anything else , let me know.
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Old 04-23-2006, 12:47 AM   #12
 
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the rail is great too in someplaces..

where do u plan to travel?
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