Getting Around, Varanasi Travel, Transport and Car Rental

(Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India)

Photo of Indian cows resting on a street in the city centreThe choice of transport available in Varanasi is really quite impressive, with buses, trains and taxis being popular with visitors to the city. Also available in Varanasi are the infamous auto rickshaws, which are speedy three-wheeled motorised carts and by far the cheapest way to travel.

Cycle rickshaws are also available and although considerably slower than auto rickshaws, are often very handy for short distances, particularly within the Old City, where motorised transport has been banned. You could of course just simply walk if you have the time, and this will be necessary if you are headed for the winding alleyways based around the waterfront. For longer journeys, Varanasi is very well connected to the Indian rail network and each day, trains travel to major cities all across India.

Aerial view of the city centre and traffic

Babatpur Airport (VNS) / Arriving by Air

Address: Varanasi, IN-221006, India, IN
Tel: +91 0542 622 155
Babatpur Airport also goes by the names Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport and Varanasi Airport, and is situated approximately 22 km / 14 miles to the north-west of the city centre itself. Bus transport runs between the terminal and the centrally located Hotel Vaibhav, on the Raja Bazaar Road, and these travel daily at 10:00 and again at around 13:30, although these times to fluctuate depending upon actual flight times. Auto rickshaws and taxi transport (slightly more expensive) is also on hand and really quite affordable, although it is sensible to agree the fare before you step in. Varanasi Airport serves both domestic and international cities, such as Agra, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi (India), and also Bangkok (Thailand), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), and Kathmandu (Nepal). Air India, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Kingfisher are the main airlines currently operating here.

Car Rental

Self-drive car rental is not very popular in India and the majority of visitors to Varanasi prefer to use the public transport available to them, since it is so inexpensive.

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Riverfront picture, showing the ghats on the Ganges

Buses and Coaches

Local bus transport is extremely popular in Varanasi and buses really do seem to try and squeeze as many people onboard as possible, which can make for a very memorable journey! The city's bus station often appears a little chaotic and is easy to find, being located just a short stroll to the east of the Varanasi Junction train station. Long-distance buses travel to destinations such as Allahabad (three hours), Faizabad (seven hours), Gorakhpur (seven hours), Lucknow (eight and a half hours), Khajuraho (12 hours), Bodhgaya (seven hours) and Sarnath (40 minutes).


For many visitors, trains tend to offer the easiest and fastest way to travel into Varanasi, and regular trains transport passengers both to and from cities such as Agra, Kolkata, Lucknow and India's capital of New Delhi. Varanasi Junction train station is also known as the Cantonment (Cantt) train station are is easy to find, being located on the Mint House Road and near to Station Road. A large number of the faster trains tend to travel from the city's secondary Mugha Serai train station, which lies some 15 km / 9 km to the east of the city centre, being best reached by auto rickshaw or taxi.

View of local cycle rickshaws

Taxis and Auto Rickshaws

Taxis and auto rickshaws really do form the backbone of the transport network in Varanasi and offer a very cheap way to reach the destination of your choice, with the most popular including the Dasaswamedh Ghat and the Benares Hindu University. There are even prepaid booths at the Varanasi Junction train station, available for both taxis and auto rickshaws. It is even possible to enjoy a tour of the city onboard an auto rickshaw, although you will get a much better deal if you bargain hard with the driver.