Within places and their surroundings you sometimes move on foot – and sometimes it’s too far and a vehicle is needed. That can be a taxi, but it doesn’t have to be. There are alternatives that are not only cheaper and more ecological, but also show you much more of people’s everyday lives.
Metro is interestingly still quite new in India and not that widespread. But they are working at full speed to complete more and more lines. Delhi is the furthest along with many kilometres of track and many many people using it. Here we definitely recommend to ride it once! Kolkata was the first to have two lines, but they didn’t upgrade them for ages. Now they are – just like in many other cities. The first compartment is always a women’s compartment. You pay a token to your destination and then start. At the end you throw it into a slot and the barrier opens. The tokens are very cheap.
A metro ticket is also very cheap in Yerevan and Tbilisi. In Soviet times, only cities with over 1 million people were allowed to have metros. Yerevan was below that – but with a trick they managed to get a building permit – and so the 10 stations on 12 kilometres of track are well served. The metro in Tbilisi was built in 1966 and has 23 stations on 2 lines. Most of them are underground.
There is no metro in Nepal and Kyrgyzstan.
Riding a bus in cities where you neither speak the language nor know the characters is a big challenge. But there are guides who can do it with you. If you are aiming for destinations in the immediate vicinity of cities, a bus can often be a very good transport option. In general, people are very helpful and make sure you get where you want to go. Sometimes only the bus stops at the official stops, but sometimes it stops wherever someone wants to get on or off.
Another very good choice of transport is the rickshaw in India. The small, manoeuvrable three-wheeled vehicles can be found almost everywhere and take you straight to your destination without complications. Negotiating the fare can sometimes be a hassle, but there are also places like Mumbai where it works surprisingly well with taxi meters. In Delhi, a rickshaw with a fixed price can also be ordered via a taxi app. A rickshaw is actually always nearby when you need one. In addition to the car rickshaws, there are also hand-pulled vehicles in Kolkata and, in many places, cycle rickshaws. Delhi, at least, also has e-rickshaws, some of which travel certain routes and take various passengers – or you pay for yourself. These are not suitable for longer distances within megacities. On the one hand, you have a cool breeze, on the other hand, of course, you have a lot of road fumes (cloth or mask are a good idea here).