Rent a bicycle or moped or scooter at Hampi. This is one of the best means to explore Hampi ruins scattered over 26sq.km.
Mopeds & Scooters obviously can cover the longer stretches faster than bicycle, but exploring the sites using a bicycle has its own charm & fun. The bicycles available for rental in Hampi are generally gearless, so you may find the uphills (though there are the same amount of downhills too!) a bit tiresome, if not impossible.
So first makeup your mind and decide if you would go for a moped/scooter or game for the bicycle ride.
Most of the two-wheeler rental shops are located around the Hampi Bazaar area, some of them in Kamalapura and a few in Hospet town too. The ones at Hampi Bazaar & Kamalapura are the convenient for you if you are staying at Hampi.
If you are operating from Hospet (about 12km/ 8 miles from Hampi) and prefer a ride by yourself all the way to Hampi and a few side trips on the way, hire it from Hospet town itself. Just enquire at the hotel or lodge where you are staying for help and reference to get a two-wheeler on rent.
The tentative rental rates are given at the end in the table.
Using a two-wheeler in Hampi has a few advantages over the other options (i.e. by walk, car, auto-rickshaw or Horse cart). First of all it can practically get you to any nook of the ruins, where the rickshaws & cars won’t take you. The next advantage is that you can pick and chose the paths you like and explore the sites at your pace. You may park your bicycle anywhere and opt to go for a local exploration by walk, for examples a trek to the hilltop temple nearby. The best part of using a bicycle or moped in Hampi is this flexibility and freedom you can enjoy in sightseeing.
Also you can ferry the bicycle or scooter across the river by the coracle (Rs10). This is especially helpful as the attractions on the other side of the river (ie. Anegondi area ) is relatively far apart and the transportation options are sparse.
Lamps of the mopeds may not be in working condition, as they are used only during the daytime in general. So check this before you set out if you are planning for a late return. There is only one fuel station in Hampi. That is near the Kamalapura junction. The two wheelers are usually rented out with an almost empty fuel tank (may be with just enough fuel to reach Kamalapura).
The rental shops typically ‘help’ customers to get it filled locally at a slightly worst fuel cost (about Rs75 a liter) compared to the standard fuel cost. The mopeds offer a mileage of around 25kilometers (16 miles) a liter, the scooter around 40 kilometers (25 miles) a liter and the 100cc bikes about 65 kilometers (40 miles) a liter.
Ensure that you’ve filled enough fuel before you begin. A day’s ride could be typically 40-80 km (25-50 miles).
A great majority of the trails in Hampi are unpaved. Stick to the trodden trails as much as possible. Straying too much out of the trails can land you with flat-tyre, as the open expanse is strewn with thorny shrubs.
What if a puncture has happened? Head for the nearest main road and catch an auto-rickshaw to the puncture shop (ask help from the driver to locate one). Mopeds and bicycles can be easily loaded in an auto-rickshaw and taken to the workshop directly. For the larger two wheelers you may have to pull it all the way to the puncture workshop. Or go there and bring the mechanic along with his foot-pump and other gadgets. The whole puncture episode could set you poorer by about Rs150 including the rickshaw fare.
As a norm the rental shops look for some surety from your side. Typically people pledge an ID card or Driving License. As a matter of prudence try to avoid giving something like a credit card or a passport (just imagine by mistake the passport got swapped with another customer). Generally they may accept a photocopy of the passport along with a mention of your hotel's address. An alternative is to get the help of the guesthouse caretaker. The next day probably you can approach them all by yourself.
Do not bother too much about the nitty gritties of this. You can manage to get a two wheeler of choice rented out once you reach Hampi. It is as much as in their (business) interest too to rent you a bicycle or scooter. The matter gets better since there is competition among the rental shops!
Rental shops in Hampi open typically by 8am in the mornings, some early birds even by 7am. You can leave back the rented bicycle by sunset; again some shops are open even till 9pm.
The rental rates vary a bit with the season.
Bicycle (without gear): Rs 30 per day / Rs5 pr hour
Bicycle (with gear) : Rs 50 per day. (a few places rent bicycle with gear)
Moped : Rs 200 per day
Scooter : Rs 250 per day
Motorbike : Rs 300 per day
Fuel cost: Rs55 per liter.
Open sites of Hampi. bicycles are fun and smart way to explore the ruins. Seen are the Saraswathi Temple (Saraswathi Temple 2) on a small hiltop. Further ahead on this trail is the Octogonal Bath and a number of palace complexes.