INDIA IN MY EYES | JAIPUR & AGRA - 4 Days in India
Who says that traveling in India is difficult? - Let's visit the Taj Mahal and the Pink City and travel comfortably in a private car!
"Ploy.. do you want to go to India? We are going there."
This is the beginning of my India trip that only had 2 weeks of planning!
Four days in total which costed around 16,xxx baht. A once in a lifetime trip! Let's go!
First, I have to admit that I never thought about going to India. I only wanted to see the Taj Mahal - one of the seven wonders of the world and a monument of a king's love. However, when my five HR colleagues and friends at the company invited me on their trip, I knew that if I missed this trip, I would never have the chance to go to India again. So I booked a ticket for an Airasia flight which was only 6,xxx baht.
We had two weeks to prepare for this trip:
1 ) India E-VISA (1700 baht) from the review on pantip. It only takes one day and it is very convenient.
2) Jaipur Jantar Hostel (300 baht/night per person) - My Korean friend recommended the hostel in Jaipur on his last visit so it was easy to choose!
3) Transportation (15XX baht/person) we hired a taxi from a taxi company that also found us a driver. The price includes picking up/dropping off at the airport, driving around the city and also the drive from the airport to Agra city (approximately 4 hours) and from Agra city back to the airport on the same day.
4) AIS SIM2FLY (399 baht) It's not bad but not that fast. Sometimes the signal is lost but saves time from getting a SIM at the airport.
DAY 1 Bangkok — Jaipur Airport — Agra
We left Donmeung International Airport, Bangkok at around 9.30PM. It took 4 hours and a half to reach Jaipur International Airport. We arrived at midnight(India time is 1.30 hours slower). The immigration has a manual system so the fingerprint scanner had to be wiped many times before being able to work properly. The line was quite long but not too bad.
The airport here is quite small so meeting up with our driver wasn't difficult; we could see the sign immediately. However, the driver couldn't speak English. We tried to contact the taxi company but they couldn't give us a good answer. We decided to go on with it anyway and used Google Translate and photos to help communicate with Deshraj - our driver who will travel with us for 4 days.
From Jaipur International Airport, we went to Agra city so we can visit the Taj Mahal in the morning. On the way, we ask Deshraj to find us a coffee shop or restaurant because we were starving and tired. However as expected, there aren't many shops along the way except those that looked like this one:
It looked like an empty building, but it's actually a tea shop. The shop mainly sells Masala tea (5-10 baht/cup). The cups were cute and small. (Deshraj likes to stop at these tea shops and he drinks the tea very often).
At first, we were hesitant, but we finally tried the Masala tea which is a kind of tea that is mixed with ginger.
Some shops that we go to, they grind fresh ginger into the tea. After drinking the tea, we slept on the car until we got to Agra.
In the morning, we saw lots of people walking on both sides of the road even though it's only 6AM in the morning. Finally, we arrived in Agra city after 4-5 hours.
Deshraj contacted a guide for us as he insisted that we travel with a guide because it is dangerous around here (that's what the guide said through the phone)...
However, many of my friends had no problem walking around. They just had to avoid large pushing crowds. Finally, the guide met up with us. Guides here always end their trip with the words:
“IF you are happy, you pay me. if you ain’t, you do not have to pay.”
But since we walked around together the whole day, of course we had to offer him something.
Because we had a guide, we learned many new things about the Taj Mahal.
The entrance fee was 530 rupees and we gave the guide a tip of 200 rupees.
Considering all the information he gave us during the trip and the photos he took for us, the price is quite reasonable.
They say that you should visit the Taj Mahal in the morning because it is slightly foggy and it is not very crowded so you don't have to queue for a long time and the weather is not too hot (but very dry for Thai people so don't forget your sunscreen).
The first time I saw the Taj (this is how the guide calls the Taj Mahaj) from the main door, there was excitement.
From a far distance, the Taj Mahaj is very large and elegant. This is why you must visit it at least once in your life!
There is a contrast between the beauty inside the walls and the world outside. In Agra, there are many houses along the sides of the road and the people have to avoid many kinds of animals - cows, dogs, pigs, cats, chickens and goats. Also, the people here have to honk very often; maybe to tell the animals to get out of the way?
We made a stop at Agra Fort and looked around on the outside as there wasn't much time left. It was very crowded as Indian people tend to visit tourist attractions when visiting another city.
Finally, we went to Fatehpur Sikri which is considered as the capiutal of the Mughal empire before leaving for Jaipur. There are shrines where you can pay your respects, a grave yard and an underground tunnel that will take you to Agra(the place is huge and filled with street vendors).
You can see the view from the outside :D
After a long and tiring day, we traveled back to Jaipur by car and visited a Masala tea shop on the way as Deshraj wanted to have some tea. I noticed that the people here are very addicted to tea - you can see them selling tea in bottles at tourist attractions.
After drinking tea and watching the cars go by, Deshraj took us to the back of the shop where there is a field to look at... buffaloes. At first I was confused as to what he wanted to show us, but he just wanted to show us the buffaloes...
The buffaloes here are so cute! There horns are curled and they are extremely tame. So I fed them(I don't even know to whom they belong to).
We checked in at Jaipur Jantar Hostel - a hotel in Jaipur.
It is only 300 baht per night including an All you can eat breakfast. The hotel is very clean too!
The hotel staff also helped us order some Indian curry pizza from Domino Pizza(you must try it! It tastes very different).
DAY 2 Albert Hall Museum — Gaitor Ki Chhatriyan — Jal Mahal — Rooftop bar
After getting a good night's rest, we went to the Albert Hall Museum to look at the art of different eras and the English architecture of that time. There were so many pigeons there so you can take pictures with them.
Then, we went to Gaitor Ki Chhatriyan or the Chaipura Maharaj Monument to remember the late Maharaj who used to rule the city. The monument is built with marble and it is not very crowded. It is one of the most beautiful places.
I recommend having lunch at the Jawal Mahal Restaurant. This restaurant is widely recommended on Tripadvisor. The staff are very helpful. They asked me to review the restaurant if I liked it. They even followed me out of the restaurant!
In the late afternoon, I walked around in the market near Jal Mahal (the palace in the middle of water). In the evening, it is very crowded in the market. However, the shops in the market sell similar things. Most importantly, you can ride camels here!
After taking photos with the locals, we went to have an Italian dinner at Kaleidoscope since we had so much curry already from the past meals :) Then we went to a roof top bar called "F-bar" to have a cocktail before going to bed.
DAY 3 Naharagrh Fort— Panna Meena Ka Kund — Amber Fort
Deshraj picked us up at 10 AM as arranged and took us to Naharagh Fort on the mountain. This fort is one of the most important tourist attractions in Jaipur. The fort's guard will come and talk to you can ask for small tips from the tourists. We learned many things the guards. For example, there are windows in the fort so that the Queen can look at the view of Jaipur from above and there is a bedside window to look at the view too so you can see the parties held inside the fort etc.
From the fort, you have a bird's eye view of Jaipur city. If you have time, visiting the fort in the evening will probably get you a magnificent view!
We had lunch at La Palma because it was recommended on Tripadvisor. I advise you to look up restaurants on Tripadvisor if you don't know where to eat. This shop has just recently opened. The pizza here tastes like real Italian pizza and made in a stone stove too. Other foods was also delicious so I really recommend this place :)
Then we went the the city's stepwells called Panna Meena Ka Kund. This place is a stepwells - a well that has stairs so you can go down the well to get water. The well wasn't very large. Normally, you can't go down the well and there is a guard there. The guard will allow you to go down the well to take pictures if you pay 100 rupees per person.
The last place we went to today is Amber Fort - a large fort on the mountain with a lake nearby. It was very large inside. There are beautiful angles where you can see the walls around the city.
In the evening, there is a lights and music show. It is fun to watch and you can learn more about the history of the fort and city.
DAY 4 Hawa Mahal—City Palace— Pink Square Mall — Bangkok
On the last day before returning to Thailand, we went to the landmark of the Pink city - Hawal Mahal (also know as the Wind palace). Many of you must know the place from other reviews. This palace is located in the middle of the city next to the main road. If you want to get a full picture of the place you have to stand on the other side of the road where there is a cafe called Windview cafe which is a popular cafe among tourists.
After visiting the palace you must go to City palace. If you want to visit the beautiful room, it costs around 2500 rupees(1250 baht). However, as there is not enough time, we only walked around the outside which was equally beautiful :)
If you want to buy souvenirs for a good price, I recommend visiting a mall and buy them Pink Square Mall on the bottom floor in the Big Bazaar. There are a variety of souvenirs such as tea and Himalaya. You can also walk around in the mall (there is Central here too!).
Before leaving, I wanted to try Henna. The artist was very skilled. She didn't need to draft before painting.
Our flight is around 1 AM, so after saying goodbye to Deshraj, we took the plane back to Thailand and landed safely.
Today, traveling to India isn't too difficult and not expensive. It is easy to travel around. The people here are quite excited about Asian tourists, but they are nice and they always thank us. What you must be careful of is getting cheated to pay more money, but you can avoid that by being cautious. If you can do that, you can see the exotic Indian civilization.
If you ask me if I will go back there again?
The answer is:
Of course :)