Help with Rajasthani Adventure

#1 Dec 27th, 2009, 03:07
Join Date:
Nov 2009
Location:
Charlotte, North Carolina, US
Posts:
7
  • tdobbi51 is offline
#1
Hello,

Iím traveling solo and have about 8 days to spend in Rajasthan. I think Iíd like my two main destinations to be Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, but Iím also curious about the ďoff the beaten trackĒ places in between. My main focus is photography (pun intended) and Iíd really like to see some of the ďrealĒ India rather than spend time on group tours, museums and tourist traps.

Iím leaning towards hiring a car and driver/guide to help me explore some places other than Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, but Iíve done zero research and have no idea how this it done. Is this something I need to selectively arrange in advance or can I just hire someone from a hotel or tourist bureau while Iím there?
Does anyone have a suggestion or opinion about this? I just donít want to waste time with a poor quality driver/guide.

Hereís my tentative Rajasthani itinerary:

Iíll be arriving in Jodhpur by train from Agra and would like to spend a day or two exploring what Jodhpur has to offer. Then Iíd like to hire a car and driver (who doubles as a guide) to take me to Jaisalmer, maybe stopping for a night or two at some interesting places along the way. Another night or two will be spent in Jaisalmer, either with or without the car/driver (Iím thinking he wonít be needed here, but I guess if he can show me some Jaisalmer hunts I wouldnít find on my own, then Iím open to that).

From Jaisalmer I need to make my way back toward Delhi. Iíd like to hire another car/driver (or maybe the same guy) and head in that direction. Again making stops along the way, either all the way to Delhi or to someplace where I can take a train back to Delhi. My only certainty is that I need to be at the Delhi airport for a 1:40 AM flight on February 10. It would be really nice if my driver could drop me at the airport but thatís not a requirement.

Iím not sure what my second question is here, I guess Iím just looking for some advice on what to do, where to go and how to hire an appropriate driver who will be a good guide. Iím open to any suggestion you are willing to offer.

Many thanks.
Tim
#2 Dec 27th, 2009, 05:55
Join Date:
May 2005
Location:
Western NC USA
Posts:
3,805
  • camelgirl is offline
#2
You can have a nice trip in 8 days in Rajasthan. We hired a car & driver for a week from the RTDC (Rajasthan Tourism Development Corp) Government Tourist Office in Jodhpur. You pay by the type of car (A/C or non) and per kilometer. It's very reasonable. The driver takes care of his own sleeping either in his car or some hotels have a place for drivers.

Our route for the week was from Jodhpur to Bikaner to Jaisalmer to Jodhpur. The driver took us to a place we didn't know about called Nagaur Fort, which was really interesting and zero tourists. Then we stopped to see the Karne Mata Rat Temple in Deshnok, right outside of Bikaner. The only rat temple in the world. Bikiner has some interesting places and the driver can take you there--Camel Research Station and other places. Then on to Jaisalmer.

We had a great time, stopped when we wanted to and it was really perfect. We didn't like a hotel we booked, so the driver took us around until we found one we liked. He was a nice young man who clearly wasn't a real guide but knew enough to make it nice for us.

Another alternative is to book it before you leave home. Many people here on IM have had good luck with this company. http://www.namasteindiatours.com/

I haven't tried them, but I would if we went back. I think you are dealing with a more professional guides with them.

There is nothing "tourist trap" or unreal about any of the famous sights in India. They are all wonderful and pretty amazing. You will find touts everywhere, but that doesn't make the sights not real.

Taking a 1/2 day tour either on your own with a rickshaw or taxi or with a group will give you a good oversight of things to see & help you get oriented in cities. We go to the government tourist office (every State has a real (many fake) government tourist offices) & book a 1/2 day tour wherever they are available and they are excellent. Usually filled with Indians and a couple of foreign tourists.

Whatever guidebook you use can tell you the address of the real Govt. Tourist Office.

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