We're going to attend a friend's wedding in Bangalore, and since we'll be there for a week, we want to take in the sights and sounds of the city through one of the local tour operators. Can you suggest a few? Bangalore is one of the fastest growing cities in Asia, a booming yet elegant metropolis with an interesting mix of history, culture and modernity. There are many tour operators offering all kinds of sightseeing experiences, and while nearly all are quite inexpensive, choose carefully and look for hidden costs.
Bangalore Round is a new daily tour introduced by Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (www.bangaloreone.gov.in, www.bmtc.info.com; 0091 80 2295 2311 or 0091 98 4426 3157). Luxurious air conditioned buses - equipped with fully reclining seats, LCD TVs (for music, entertainment and the latest city news) and plenty of legroom - take tourists on daily, properly mapped-out tours of the city. Choose from Silver Class, (US$4.50; Dh16), and Gold Class seats ($6.4; Dh25). The tour starts at 8.45am from Kempegowda Bus Station and returns by 8pm; it only operates on Sundays and holidays. Entrance fees to heritage sites not included.
Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC, www.karnatakaholidays.net), the state tourism board, offers a variety of sightseeing options - including walking tours, and half-day and all-day bus rides that take in important destinations and places of interest. A typical half-day excursion on an air-conditioned bus includes stops at Tipu's Palace, Lalbagh, Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple and the famous bull temple. $4.50 (Dh16) per person. 7.30am to 1.30pm or 2.30pm to 7.30pm. It operates on Sundays and holidays. Entrance fees to heritage sites not included.
City Swaps, launched by Conceptree Creations Enterprise (www.cityswaps.in; 0091 80 6571 5056), is a tour service that operates open-air double-decker buses that cover 15 tourist spots with live commentary on each. Passengers receive a day pass that allows them to hop on to any of the five buses on the 14km route around the city (they come by every 30 minutes or so), allowing for greater flexibility. The buses offer accessible seating for the physically challenged (on the lower deck), an on-board cafe, special packages for families and low fares for those above 60. Wednesday to Monday, 10am to 8pm. A 24-hour ticket costs $6.40 (Dh25) per person. Two-hour tours are also available for S$4.50 (Dh16) per person.
Bangalore Walks (www.bangalorewalks.com; 0091 98 4552 3660) takes people on walks round the city conducted by well trained guides. It offers themed excursions - heritage trails, green walks, history walks, weekend walks and customised tours. $11 (Dh40) including breakfast (prices may vary depending on the number of tourists per walk and the number of sights in the itinerary). From 7am to 11am, right through the year. Return flights on Emirates (www.emirates.com) from Dubai to Bangalore cost from $353 (Dh1,295) including taxes.
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