Here are ten scenic bus routes in India you can try this holiday season

Travelling by buses save travellers from the hassles of parking, paying tolls, and the stress of driving long distances, among others. Photo: Shutterstock/ Thanipat Peeramatukorn

In the wake of a long holiday weekend due to the Navaratri festival, people might already have packed their bags to set forth for short trips with their friends or families. For those who haven't or are in plans for a trip, opt for a journey by bus to explore these ten picturesque routes in India. 

Travelling by bus can also be stress-free and typically relaxing, since it is economically viable, while also saving the travellers from the hassles of parking, paying tolls, and the stress of driving long distances, among others.

Here is a list of the top 10 bus routes that will help people reach these tourist destinations while minimizing their carbon footprint and also de-congesting the roads.

Mumbai to Panchgani
To escape the oppressive city heat, visit the Western Ghats' luscious hills! The landscape changes every few kilometre thanks to the journey's hairpin bends at the ghats, vast highways, little villages, waterfalls, and forts. Bus travel from Mumbai to Panchgani takes roughly five hours.

Panchgani buses depart often from Mumbai. There are numerous private operators running buses between the two cities in addition to state-operated buses. Buses for different budgets are available, ranging from luxury to semi-luxury and economy. Buses towards Panchgani are best taken from Mumbai's Nariman Point.

Malshej Ghat is a mountain pass in the Western Ghats range in the Thane-Pune Road of Maharashtra. Photo: Shutterstock/ V.K.Madhav

Pune to Mahabaleshwar
This is one of the most picturesque drives in Maharashtra and a must-do. The expressway offers a comfortable ride via the Satara Ghat and concludes after a three-hour journey. Make sure to get a glimpse outside while passing by this section of the highway for panoramic views of the Sahyadri mountains.

From the Pune Central bus station, several buses depart for Mahabaleshwar. However, there are pickups from many locations throughout the city, and passengers can select the most convenient option available on digital ticketing platforms.

Shimla to Manali
A 250-km trip towards the northeast of Shimla will take you to Manali, with the route passing through the majestic and rugged mountain range of the Himalayas. It takes 7-8 hours to reach Manali from Shimla, which also includes breaks for breakfast and lunch. The spectacular mountains on one side of the road and the lush green, deep valley on the other, make the entire Shimla to Manali drive, scenic and lovely.

Refuse to sleep on the bus with your buddies so that you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the Beas river in the middle of the road. Buses for this route begin from the ISBT in Shimla, and customers can simply book tickets online.

Christ Church Shimla. Photo: Shutterstock/ Jim W Kasom

Delhi to Leh
Leh is one of the most sought-after destinations in India, making it unquestionably a bucket list location for practically all tourists. However, this route is one of the world's highest, and most difficult motorable freeways. This bus trip will take you from the comfortable plains of Delhi to the chilly heights of Leh via Chandigarh, Kullu, Manali, and Keylong. The driver and the passengers' mettle will be put to test not only by the menacing temperature variations but also by the gruelling altitude.

The bus ride concludes after 1,100kms and 40 hours of heart-wrenching desolate environment, meanwhile, the passengers only need to pack their bags and board a bus at ISBT Delhi.

Guwahati to Tawang
Guwahati to Tawang is one of the most beautiful and adventurous routes across India, this rather long trip will set you back by roughly 21 hours but considering the snow-covered mountains and picture-perfect landscapes, it all seems worth it.

To reach Tawang from Guwahati one must change buses from Tezpur, after which it takes about 12 hours to reach Tawang. Buses are available throughout the route with a plethora of options to choose from. Booking for the same is available online.

Beautiful view of Araku Valley, on the way to Araku village, Andhra Pradesh, India. Photo: Shutterstock/ P.V.R.M

Visakhapatnam to Araku valley
Lying 111km west of Visakhapatnam city is Araku valley, surrounded by the thick forests of the Eastern Ghats mountain range. When in Araku valley, one must visit the Tribal Museum which is dedicated to the area's numerous indigenous tribes, known for their traditional Dhimsa dance.

The journey from Visakhapatnam to Araku is smoothly covered by a bus in four hours. The first bus from Visakhapatnam to Araku starts at 05:00 am and the last bus leaves from Visakhapatnam at 02:15 pm operated by APSRTC.

Bengaluru to Coorg
Coorg is the way to go if you are on the lookout for a road trip from the busy life and schedule of an IT professional in Bangalore. The picturesque Coorg region, in the southern state of Karnataka, is well-known for its verdant green scenery and breathtaking mountain views.

The bus ride from Bangalore to Coorg is convenient and takes about 5 hours and 30 minutes. The alternatives available to travellers are numerous and include Volvos and non-AC buses. Additionally, visitors have the choice to purchase their tickets online and offline.

Ooty - Curvy Road. Photo: Shutterstock/ Sagar Keluskar

Bengaluru to Ooty
There are several things about Ooty that are well known. Beautiful woodlands and famous botanical gardens, in addition to misty streams and waterfalls. Additionally, Ooty is also known for its chocolates. This is where you should ideally go when in Bengaluru, searching for a fun-filled yet peaceful getaway.

Depending on road conditions, it will take you six to seven hours to travel the distance. There are numerous bus operators with regular services from Bengaluru. Tickets for such tours would roughly cost Rs 900, however, travellers can optimise their expenditure by booking tickets online and ahead of time.

Hawa Mahal Palace or Palace of the Winds in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Photo: Shutterstock/ saiko3p

Jaipur to Jaisalmer
This bus tour highlights the best of Rajasthan. Smooth highways define the eight-hour ride. Keep your eyes and ears open, and refrain from sleeping because you will almost certainly spot a couple of peacocks and elephants on this journey! The trip is made more enjoyable by well-kept roads and a variety of dining alternatives.

There are numerous buses that run between Jaipur and Jaisalmer. There are also numerous pickup points throughout Jaipur, and tickets for this route can be purchased online.

Mumbai to Gokarna
Mumbai to Goa has to be one of the most popular routes throughout the year in India, needless to say, the entire state is famous for its beaches and easy-going culture that brings in high demand and traffic. However, if you wish to see isolated beaches and beautiful trek routes, Gokarna is an amazing option

There are various options to travel to Gokarna, with the bus being the most flexible and stress-free mode of transport. The bus routes pass by the western ghats, making it a well-rounded trip with scenic views and empty pollution-free beaches.


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