Getting there & away
Varanasi’s small but chaotic bus station (2203476) is a few hundred metres east of Varanasi Junction train station. Frequent express buses run to Allahabad (non-AC/AC Rs 60/107, three hours), Faizabad (Rs 105, seven hours), Gorakhpur (Rs 121, seven hours) and Lucknow (Rs 160, 8½ hours). Two buses run daily to Khajuraho (Rs 248, 12 hours) departing at 4.30am, while one AC bus goes to Bodhgaya (Rs 252, seven hours).
Buses to Sarnath (Rs 10, 40 minutes) leave from outside the Varanasi Junction train station, as do share jeeps (Rs 20) to Mughal Serai train station.
Luggage theft has been reported on trains to and from Varanasi so take extra care. There have also been some reports of drugged food and drink, so it’s best to politely decline any offers from strangers.
Varanasi Junction train station (132), also known as Varanasi Cantonment (Cantt) train station, is the main station. Foreign tourist quota tickets must be purchased at the Foreign Tourist Assistance Bureau (8am-8pm Mon-Sat, 8am-2pm Sun) near the UP Tourism information office in Varanasi Junction train station.
Many of the faster trains between Delhi and Kolkata stop at Mughal Serai train station (255703), 12km southeast of Varanasi. You can make reservations at Varanasi Junction train station for trains leaving from Mughal Serai. Share jeeps (Rs 20, 40 minutes) are the best way to travel between the two stations, but buses and taxis are also available.
From Varanasi’s Babatpur airport, Indian Airlines (2502529; 10am-5pm Mon-Sat), with its office located off the Mall, has direct daily flights to Delhi (US$112), Mumbai (US$184), Khajuraho (US$82) and Kathmandu (US$110). Jet Airways (2506444; Krishnayatan Bldg, Kennedy Rd, Cantonment; 9am-5pm Mon-Fri, 9am-2pm Sat) flies to Delhi and Khajuraho for similar fares.