Welcome to New Delhi: getting to the city centre from Indira Gandhi International Airport

Photo courtesy of IGIA

New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) is the nation’s busiest airport. We aren’t surprised by this, as the city boasts a myriad of monuments, markets and food options to discover. We’ve put together a list of ways to make it easy for you to decide how to get into New Delhi:

Metro

We love New Delhi’s metro system. It is air-conditioned (which, during the inferno of summer heat is a lifesaver), cheap, and reliable throughout the day. Within 20-30 minutes, one can get from the airport to the city centre. Upon arrival, follow signs to the Airport Express metro line (“Orange line”). This metro line takes you from IGIA and stops at Dhaula Kuan, Shiavji Stadium, and ends at New Delhi Railway Station. Alternatively, if you arrive in Terminal 1 (domestic terminal), you can take the new “Magenta line” that is directly connected to IGIA Terminal 1.

  • Operating hours: 04:45 am to 11:30 pm, every 10-15 minutes
  • Accessible from both Terminal 1 (Magenta line) and 3 (Orange line)
  • Cost: (IGIA to New Delhi Station) 60 rupees

Ride-sharing apps: Ola and Uber

Uber and Ola have made us lazier beings, as we succumb to the ease of booking a ride to take us directly to our destination. There are designated areas outside of the arrivals area where your Uber or Ola driver can pick you up from. Although there are no official signs to guide you, you can ask travellers or airport staff to point you in the right direction.

  • Cost: Approximately 250 rupees to 400 rupees (fares fluctuate according to demand)
  • Ensure you have data or internet connection, as well as the Uber/Ola app already downloaded on your phone to make your booking experience seamless
  • Note: Traffic at certain times of day in Delhi can cause long delays; thus, if you need to be somewhere at a particular time, do factor this into your plans.

Taxi

One of the most frequented methods of getting to central Delhi from the airport is via prepaid taxi. This service is overseen by the Delhi Traffic Police: taxi drivers are held accountable for their service.

Prepaid taxi are available at both domestic and international arrival areas. Upon arrival at Terminal 3, you’ll find a prepaid taxi counter inside the terminal as well as another one when you exit and head towards the taxi zone. We advise travellers to arrange for their taxi from the counter inside the terminal to avoid being approached by unofficial taxi drivers and touts. Your fare is pre-determined by the government and varies depending on the area you are going.

  • Cost: approximately 400-500 rupees to the city centre (a surcharge of 25% is applicable for late night travel from 11pm to 5am)

Here are few tips to ensure you have a smooth experience:

  • When you pay for your taxi at the counter, you will be handed two receipts (one green and one pink) with taxi’s number.
  • The green receipt is to be handed to the driver at the end of the trip; this is what he needs to show to get paid by the taxi office. Ensure that you do not give the taxi driver this receipt until you arrive at your destination. If your driver is being difficult, this receipt will be useful in navigating negotiations with him.

Bus

Buses are another cheap way to get into the city. Most buses are owned by the State-owned Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) or private companies. DTC runs shuttle services every 30 minutes, taking passengers from Terminal 3 to central New Delhi (for example, Connaught Place and Interstate Bus Terminals). These buses also offer comfort of air conditioning.
  • Pick-up/drop-off point: Terminal 3 “staging area,” across from the Centaur Hotel
  • For detailed routes and schedules visit: http://www.delhi.gov.in/wps/wcm/connect/DOIT_DTC/dtc/all+services/igi+airport+bus+service
  • Note: when on the road in Delhi, traffic can pose a problem so do keep in mind that getting into the city centre may take longer than expected.

Happy travels! We can’t wait to take you around Delhi.

Welcome to Mumbai: getting from the airport to the city centre

Finally, you’ve made the decision to visit Mumbai and explore all it has to offer!

We’ve put together a summary to help you decide how to get into the city upon arrival at Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport:

1) Taxi

This is a straightforward method to get into the city. There are two types of taxis you can take: pre-paid or normal metered taxis. Normal taxis be distinguished by their black and yellow exteriors, whereas the pre-paid taxis are equipped with air conditioning (sometimes referred to as “cool cabs”).

We recommend taking pre-paid taxis over metered taxis to ensure you get a fair rate into the city, irrespective of traffic conditions/travel time.

  • Cost: The average rate is around INR 500 – 600 for pre-paid, INR 625-700 for metered taxis
  • Travel time: 25 minutes to 2 hours

*Note that the time of day you arrive/depart and traffic will affect the length of time it takes for you to get in or out of town.

2) Ridesharing apps: Uber and Ola Cabs

Oh the wonders of technology and ride-sharing apps! Travelling via this option is seemingly effortless: the airport has designated pick-up points for Uber and Ola riders, as well as signage to direct you to these pick-up points.

Ask for the Uber or Ola Cabs counter upon exiting any terminal premises and you’ll be directed accordingly. In case you don’t have either application downloaded on your phone, Uber or OLA representatives at these information counters can help you book a ride. Rates are fair, fixed, and you can rest assured that you’ll be dropped off exactly where you need to be.

  • Cost: The average rate is around INR 250-500
  • Travel time: 25 minutes to 2 hours

3) Auto Rickshaws

These are the beloved black and yellow, compact three-wheelers that roam Mumbai’s streets. We daresay that autos are the most popular and cost effective means of travel around the city. Moreover, Mumbai’s auto-rickshaws are always metered, so there is no need to fret about price negotiations.

Auto rickshaws in Mumbai, however, only operate in the suburbs and cannot enter South Bombay (Colaba, Fort area). The only terminal where you can catch an auto to reach the suburbs of Mumbai is from Terminal 1B, domestic departures. If you’re thinking of catching an auto from Terminal 2, the only way you’d be able to get one is to get to a nearby train station first.

4) Bus

This would be a difficult to navigate if you aren’t familiar with train travel in Mumbai; however, there are bus services that connect both international and domestic terminals to  train stations nearby—making it a cost effective means of getting into town.

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  • Bus Route number 312: stops at Vile Parle (East) and Andheri (East) railway stations
    – Opening hours: 04:50 am to 22:50 pm.
  • To Vile Parle Railway Station include: Bus route 2, 35, 39, 322, 330, 374 and 384
  • To Andheri (East) railway station: Bus route 308
    – Opening hours: 05:10 am to 22:10 pm.
  • Vile Parle East: Bus route 321

*Note that buses do not run overnight. So, if you arrive at odd hours in the morning/night, you’ll have to take a cab/Uber/Ola.

5) Train

Unfortunately, Mumbai’s airport isn’t directly connected to any train station. But if you’re adventurous and would like to make your way into the city centre via Mumbai’s local train system, you can do so by travelling to the nearest station via auto/taxi first. Train travel is the fastest way to get into the city centre during peak traffic hours.

Here are some helpful points of reference:

FROM TERMINAL 1

  • Vile Parle Railway Station: only 2.1 kilometers from Terminal 1, which is about 20 minutes away
  • Other stations include: Asalpha Railway Station (8 km), Sakinaka Metro Station (12 km), Marol Naka Station (6.4 km), Airport Road Metro Station (6.2 km)

FROM TERMINAL 2

  • Andheri East Railway Station: 6 kilometers from Terminal 2, which is about 30 minutes away
  • Other nearby stations: Santa Cruz Railway Station (6 km), Khar Road Railway Station (8 km), Karla Junction Railway Station (13 km)

Happy travels, and hope to see you soon in Mumbai.

Balaji Subramaniyam

Balaji’s Story: Living & Working In Dharavi Slum

My name is Balaji and I am 27 years old. I live in Dharavi and have worked as a tour guide at Reality Tours and Travel for over 5 years now.  As a local from the slum, I have a lot to say about my neighbourhood –  the way it has changed with time and the changes that have happened to me in this time too by learning new skills in my job.  

Continue reading Balaji’s Story: Living & Working In Dharavi Slum

Camera Not OK Please: Why We Don’t Let You Take Photos On Our Slum Tours

Our very first tour of Dharavi was in January 2006; shortly after this, we introduced a ‘No Photography Policy’. Some press coverage had been critical of people going to Dharavi and taking photos, and when we saw the results, we agreed.

Over a decade on and the policy remains unchanged: guests on our educational slum tours are not permitted to take any photos for the entirety of their time with us. In a world where social media likes, shares, and retweets carry such clout, a ‘No Photography Policy’ might seem a bit outdated. Back this up with the old Indian adage that ‘the guest is God’, and the more recent marketing maxim that ‘the customer is always right’, and the policy might not only seem outdated but downright detrimental to our desire to grow our business.

Certainly, not being able to capture and share first-hand the vibrancy of the Dharavi, and Sanjay Colony slums may be a frustration for a minority of our guests. But whilst we want to exceed our guests expectations in every other way, there is another stakeholder group that takes precedence – the slum communities we serve… Continue reading Camera Not OK Please: Why We Don’t Let You Take Photos On Our Slum Tours

Manoj Medwal- Tour Executive

Manoj’s Story: Making A Dream A Reality

My name is Manoj Ramesh Medwal and I was born and brought up in Mumbai. My parents both come from Delhi and I have one elder brother and one younger one. We live together with my mum. My elder brother is married and has two wonderful children. I’m really proud to be a nice uncle. We live in Mahalaxmi, an area in the South of Mumbai, not too far from Dhobi Ghat, the famous open-air laundry place of the city. This is my story… Continue reading Manoj’s Story: Making A Dream A Reality