This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Vadodara. To help you make friends with Vadodara before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Vadodara, India, is the modern name for Baroda. Most of the locals still call it this (and it's much easier to pronounce than the way the Gujaratis say Vadodara!). It's a city of around one-and-a-half million people and has plenty to see and do in and around it.
Highlights are the toy train; the colourful Khandarao Market; the magnificent Lahmi Vilas Palace (the Maharajah still lives here and it is said that this is the largest private residency in India); the nearby Kai Mati temple (Pavaghar); and the famous ghats and temples at Channod, where you can take a traditional boat (now motor-powered) down the Namada River to visit the temples. It can be difficult to haggle down the price to a reasonable level; as an alternative, it is also possible to walk, although you have to ford a shallow tributary of the river to do it. This is also the traditional ancient route of the pilgrims. Sayaji Baug is a beautiful park near the train station where people run, do yoga and aerobics, or just go for a leisurely stroll through the gardens. There is also a planetarium and a small zoo here.
The people of Baroda are refreshingly honest and not at all used to tourists, so prices are close to what an Indian pays. Most of the budget hotel accommodation is concentrated around the main railway station, but as this is not really a tourist town, it caters more for business rather than backpacker, so Vadodara, India hostel prices are a little higher than in other parts of India, and proper hostels in Vadodara, India, are in short supply. This balances itself out by the fact you are paying less for everything else.
City buses and autos are just outside the railway station, and for once you can actually get the autos to use the meter (with some persuasion). The city buses are also here, but for a longer route you need to go to the main bus station, which is on the road to the left of the train station main entrance. You enter via the new mall there. There is a tourist office inside the mall, and on the top floor there is a cinema, which shows some movies in English.
Written by local enthusiast for Vadodara hostelskaramba