The following are just a few tips that have come to mind for those traveling to Rajasthan, but many of you will surely have others that can really help travelers. In this case, if you have anything to report to me, I ask you to do so in the comments, so that it remains available to those who may need it or seek information? Thanks and happy reading !!!
Although on my trip to India I found a country that was really difficult to deal with from a psychological point of view, do it yourself travel in Rajasthan it was really extremely simple: there are several ways (and means) with which to move, there is a wide choice of hotels, guesthouses and hostels for all price ranges and above all you will never be alone because wherever you arrive the people you meet will be very available to help you and give you a hand (perhaps in exchange for a few coins).
In the meantime, before leaving for a trip to India you need it apply for and obtain a visa tourist which can only be issued by the diplomatic / consular offices of the country present.
Traveling with a driver two weeks may be enough to visit the Classical Rajasthan. An example of 2 week itinerary could be the following (not necessarily in the following order):
Delhi – Bikaner (tempio dei topi) – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur (via Ranakpur e Kumbalgarh) – Udaipur – Pushkar – Jaipur – Fatehpur Sikri – Agra (Taj Mahal e Forte Rosso) – Delhi
However, I would suggest you to evaluate at least one more week, because the beauty of this trip is also to stop in the villages you will meet along the way, or to take a detour and enjoy a few days of relaxation on the Mount Abu, or visit the very pleasant Bundi. Eventually if you had to "do it first" you can also join the overwhelming journey Varanasi , easily reachable from Agra or Jaipur in one night by train.
Travel itinerary in Rajasthan and Varanasi
Getting around: Driver
The best way to travel to Rajasthan especially if time is limited it is with a driver.
Traveling with a driver it is cheap enough for our pockets and allows a freedom that public transport does not give. You can take your time, ask to make small deviations from the itinerary, travel comfortably seated in the car instead of on some bus that is crowded beyond belief. You can also ask to take you to some reliable restaurant, or to some place where they make a special tea.
To find a reliable driver you can either contact the agencies directly when you arrive in Delhi (and in any case do not worry if you do not find them, they will find you thanks to the customer finders present practically everywhere) or search for them on the internet, or you can ask on the forums or directly on travel blogs (like this one).
When negotiating the itinerary it is essential to explicitly ask (and also have you write it down) that included in the established price includes unlimited km and petrol. Another tip: contract with the agency to pay half at the beginning of the tour and the other half at the end. The implicit threat of not paying if you are not satisfied is practically a guarantee.
The driver will try to take you to the hotels where he takes a commission. Personally, I have no problem with this, quite the contrary. In my experience I have learned that often the driver knows the hotels well (certainly better than you who have only seen them on the internet) and it also happened in the end to pay for the same hotel less than what it would have cost me to book it and pay it with booking. The only caution when the driver takes you to the hotel ask, before accepting, to show you the room and agree on the price. If you are not satisfied, ask him to take you somewhere else.
If, on the other hand, you really don't want to let the driver take you where he says, just let him notice it firmly, but always be kind.
If you still have doubts about getting a driver you can read on our experience.
Buses and trains
Traveling to India by bus it's really exhausting. The roads are terrible, full of holes, dirt roads, flooded when it rains, full of mud and generally the average speed is 20 km per hour. Which means that in Rajasthan to move from one place to another you will have to travel for ten, twelve hours each time. The buses are very old, they break often and in the end you will curse yourself for back pain. The bus is one of my favorite means when I travel, but in India I advise you to do it only if you have a lot of time available and therefore you can afford to waste a few days and rest for a couple of days before resuming the "road".
Traveling by train in India
Un trip to India it cannot be defined as such if it does not include the experience of a journey in train. Tickets can be purchased both at the ticket offices, if you have the courage to face the endless queues, and in one of the countless travel agencies, or through the Internet which remains the best way since places often sell out days in advance. Slow and often late, crowded beyond belief, they are a true Indian life experience. Absolutely not to be missed and, of course, in third class in the midst of ordinary people.
Hostels, Haveli and guesthouses
The choice is really wide and there is something for all tastes and budgets. The quality / price ratio compared to our standards is really favorable, given that the average price for a high-end hotel with air conditioning in the room, private bathroom and other facilities is around $ 25 per night for a double room. Already with ten / fifteen euros per night per room you can find good accommodations (it was more or less our standard during our trip).
If you want to treat yourself to a night as a maharaja you can do it in some beautiful haveli by spending from 50 euros per room upwards.
Unlike me, you are not gods unconscious devourers of street foodHowever, in India you will find plenty of places to eat. In reality, in restaurants for tourists, the quality standard is quite high and the menu is quite varied so you won't have to have problems having a good lunch and dinner with an expense between 5 and 10 euros per person. If, on the other hand, you want to eat "like a local" then in non-tourist restaurants, get ready to find delicious dishes even if very spicy, indeed I have tried some so spicy that at the end of the meal they could have removed a tooth without anesthesia.
Street food in India
Personally my favorite dish was the Palak Paneer that is, small pieces of cheese (paneer) in a cream of spinach and tomatoes. An advice? Taste it !!!
In India you can really indulge yourself with shopping. The prices are really much lower than here and the offer is really wide, especially for fabrics: they are of excellent quality.
If you have chosen to travel with a driver he will try to take you to the shops where he will have a commission, as with hotels. Also in this case if the place sells good quality items even if not at an exceptional price you can feel happy and satisfied, because in any case, even if you enter a shop decided by you, the price will always be higher that for the locals risking more to catch a good rip off.
Furthermore, many travelers tend to trust the shops recommended on Lonely Planet or other guides more and this is well known by the shopkeepers. In those shops you will therefore find much higher prices than elsewhere.
Negozio a Jaipur, Rajasthan
When you buy something you bargain, bargain and bargain. I know that for us after a while it really becomes a stressful thing, but there you use it, you do it and you also save a lot, the first price they offer you is usually quite crazy.
In India, as in many other places in the world, everything has two different prices: one for foreigners and one for local people and foreigners are paying more and more. Also no wonder, do you remember what some Fiumicino taxi drivers did with Japanese tourists a few years ago?
Vaccines, precautions and remedies
So I am not a doctor and I do not want to have anyone on my conscience, so the most sensible thing I can advise you is to go there a little before leaving in one of the travel medicine centers e ask for advice to those in charge with regard to the necessary vaccines and possibly an antimalarial prophylaxis. However, the usual precautions are always valid to try not to get caught Montezuma's infamous curse and in addition I recommend that you print a list of hospitals or clinics of a certain level. If you feel bad about anything, who better than a local doctor can help you?
In addition, I will never tire of repeating it, before leaving, stipulate an travel insurance
Below you will find one short list of hospitals that my travel medicine doctor recommended. Again, as before, check (or show it to your doctor) because it may not be updated.
Medical Emergencies, Evacuation, Rescue and Assistance (MEERA), Cen-tral Alarm Control, 112 Jor Bagh, New Delhi; tel. 011 – 24653170 (24 ore), 24658075, 43196666.
Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Sector C, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi; tel. 011 42255225, 26137603, 26898147,42255295.
Max Medcentre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi; tel. +91 11 2649 9870, 26201401, 26499870.
Fortis Flt Lt Rajan Dhall Hospital, Sector B, Pocket 1, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, Vasant, New Delhi.
Anand Hospital, B-52, New Krishna Park-18, Delhi; tel. + 91 11 562 4283.
Bhagat Hospital, D-2/48, Janakpuri-58, Delhi; tel. + 91 11 555 1898.
Amit Jaggi Memorial Hospital, Bibhavav Nagar, Agra; tel. +91 562 233 0600.