India, and especially Rajasthan, are very well trodden and thus well documented too. We want to add our own journey into the mix, without boring you with another long account of fort exploration in such and such city.
So, we’ve decided to break down our Rajasthan adventures into 3 simple blog posts; our favourite journeys, our favourite hotels and meals, and our favourite sites for getting your tourist on.
Rajasthan is huge and varied, so hopefully this can give you a little taster, as well as some tips, to inspire and help you plan.
Banty Tuk Tuk tours in Jaipur
Hiring Tuk Tuk drivers for the day is common place for sightseeing in India and when you pick the right guy it is seriously the best way to travel around. The sights of Jaipur are pretty widespread throughout the city so some form of transport is necessary, but with our driver, Banty, we would have been happy just to drive down the road and hang out in cafes. He absolutely made our stay.
Banty hangs out around Moustache Hostel, which we’ll tell you about next week, usually smoking a cigarette and wearing a fancy floral shirt. He is a lovely guy who loves his job and showing tourists around his city. In our two days with him he not only showed us around the major sites, in and outside of town, but he took us to his favourite eateries and out for drinks with his friends too.
We loved our days with Banty in Jaipur so much that Oli made him a little website to showcase his tuk tuk tours and to help other travellers find him.
Motorbikes in Pushkar
After riding through the Himalayas for 10 days, Oli was itching to get back on the bike and the quiet town of Pushkar was the perfect location to do so. Somehow, Oli convinced Courtney and I to get our own bikes and so he taught us to ride geared motorbikes and we tore around the town for two days!
Pushkar has a series of large drainage ditches running around the edge of the city and they were empty enough to learn in, bar a few sad dead dogs and playful monkeys. While I don’t have much experience to compare it to, this place was so much fun to ride in, especially for our first few miles.
Once we got a little more confident we head out on the roads North from Pushkar and just kept riding until we got tired. We didn’t see much more of Pushkar but it didn’t matter, we loved our time there.
Camels in Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer is the magical desert capital of Rajasthan and most people head out there for a camel safari. Whilst camels have got to be the most uncomfortable form of transport ever, there is nothing quite like summiting a huge sand dune atop one of these ungainly beasts, out into the middle of nowhere, and then dining and sleeping under billions of stars. There is no better way to experience the area.
We organised our tour with Surya Paying Guesthouse, where we stayed and it was great. Despite the fact we got caught in a lighting storm out in the middle of the desert, we were well looked after and especially loved that our guides played local games with us on the dunes.
Tuk Tuk tours in Udaipur
Udaipur has plenty of sites in the centre of town to keep you busy but if you have time we really recommend a day in the rural outskirts with a tuk tuk driver.
We hit up another beautiful lake fringed by rugged hills, we amazed over the views of Udaipur, it’s lakes and hills, from atop the Monsoon Palace and our lovely driver navigated the spice market with us in tow. The spice market was especially fun; we spent hours wandering the tiny lanes, haggling for cumin and high-fiving school kids. For once, it was just us and the locals and piles of colourful vegetables.
Most tuk-tuk drivers hang around the palace, so follow your instinct and make friends.
A Stopover in Chittorgarh
One of our best friends had told us about Chittorgarh a few months before we went to India and had raved about it, but it almost slipped our minds when no one else mentioned it on our journeys around Rajasthan. It wasn’t until we got stuck with train journeys to Varanasi that we started thinking outside the box and decided to venture to Bundi, a much smaller town in Rajasthan. Chittorgarh was on the way, so we made it a stopover on the way from Udaipur.
Now, bearing in mind we had already seen a lot of forts and palaces in India, Chittorgarh blew us away. It was hands down the best historical site we saw and, amazingly, there was hardly anyone there.
Taking the early train from Udaipur we were there very early and seemingly had the whole place to ourselves. We hired a tuk tuk driver as the place is huge and overpaid by accident. 500 rupees should be enough for the day and you still might not see it all. We left at around 4pm which was the perfect amount of time, unless you stay over and break up the day to not get overwhelmed.
Do not miss out on Chittorgarh, especially because you should also not miss seeing Bundi and they are close enough to do both in a few days.
Just look at these photos, aren’t they amazing?
The Best of Rajasthan in Journeys
So there you have it, our favourite journeys in Rajasthan. We would highly recommend making any or all of these a priority for a trip to Rajasthan, as they each show a unique side of the state in a number of adventurous ways.
We especially vouch for tuk tuk city tours because we really believe that this is one of the best ways you can invest in the local tourist economy and you will almost always make friends with kind and knowledgable locals.
Have you been to Rajasthan? Did you take any of these trips? Are there anymore that we have forgotten?