You’ve probably seen them on the road, but never really hopped onto one of the purple buses in Delhi, perhaps one of the best ways to thoroughly explore the city. HOHO buses, Delhi Tourism’s hop-on hop-off-ferry passengers to and fro 19 meticulously selected ‘must-visit’ spots in the capital. The journey begins at the HOHO Centre, Baba Kharak Singh Marg (opposite Hanuman Mandir) and the stops are an eclectic mix of monuments, museums and markets, and include Red Fort, National Gallery of Modern Art and Saket Malls, among others.
A ticket costs Rs 300 and is valid for two days. Board the bus at the centre or one of the 19 stops, and alight it at the stop you wish to explore. Once you’re done, get on the next bus — there’s a bus every forty-five minutes. You can hop-on and hop-off, as many times you like. Also, every bus has on board a Guest Relations Executive (GRE), a tour guide who points out the landmarks and important buildings, and briefs you about the stops.
These buses are air-conditioned, comfortable and affordable — great for a city tour. “It has a higher standard than any other Hop-on Hop-off bus (in other countries),” says Derek, a tourist from Canada, adding: “Taking a taxi would have been too expensive.” Eugene Lyubezny, from Chicago, says: “These buses are a fantastic way of sightseeing.”
And, to save your time, you can buy your entry tickets to the Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar, from the bus itself. For Dilli Haat, your HOHO bus ticket suffices to get you a free entry.
Oddly enough, many still don’t know about this bus service, which started last year as part of Delhi Tourism's initiatives for the Commonwealth Games. “I didn’t know Delhi had a hop-on hop-off,” says Simon Leow from Singapore. BB and Sharon, from Malaysia share the sentiment. “People had no idea, when we asked them about the HOHO bus,” says Sharon.
Not just for foreigners, the HOHO bus is a great way for Delhiites too, to get going and explore the city.
Hop On: The Pros
It’s big, air-conditioned, comfortable and purple.
The bus runs like clockwork.
The ticket is valid for two days. There’s something (on the bust-stop list) for everyone. You can buy water bottles on the bus.
The stops are fascinating.
You can stop to eat, shop, sightsee, and just hop back on, when it’s time.
Along with the ticket, you also get a route-map, so you know when to catch the next bus.
1. Go in a group, it will be more fun.
2. Carry your own music. You may get stuck in traffic.
3. Read up before, or carry a traveller’s guide book. You
may feel a little lost at some destinations.
4. Many stops are fantastic food destinations, you don’t need to carry any food.
Hop Off: The Cons
Be warned: Shirenna, who was travelling with some friends from Canada, had a bad start.
“At the HOHO centre, I was told only two tickets are available (this when the bus was half-empty). They tried to get us to take a Taxi. It was only when I clarified at the Delhi Tourism office, that I got the tickets.” she says, adding: “Had I not gone there to clarify, these guys (Canadian friends) would have been fooled into taking a cab so expensive.”
What: Hop-on hop-off (HOHO) bus
Where: HOHO Centre, Baba Kharak Singh Marg (opposite Hanuman Mandir)
When: Runs every 45 minutes from 8.30am to 4.15pm. The last bus reaches the HOHO Centre at 8pm
How: Buy a ticket for R300 (R150 for children under 3-feet-tall) from the Centre, or from the bus itself at any of the stops. You can also buy the ticket online.