I never knew Jaipur existed, till one fateful day when i was browsing through cheap flights on Scoot and chanced upon this peculiar destination filled with such exotic charm.
For one, i’ve always wanted to go to India. It’s a country which i’ve heard and seen so much about, yet i’m still unable to have a full grasp around it. It’s an ironic land of rich opulence pitted harshly against a backdrop of extreme poverty, and that to me has added layers to its mysterious appeal. A lot of people cringed when i quote India as my dream travel destination, citing poor hygiene and “delhi belly” as their image of India. So i scoured the net and did my homework, and my trip to the exotic east was the most unforgettable birthday trip i’ve ever planned.
This post is my gift to all you curious wanderers out there who’s had so many questions about Jaipur! It took a lot of research and asking around to make this trip happen, so i hope my guide will help in your planning!
Please note that my itinerary is NOT THE BEST so don’t follow it exactly. I had trouble planning the route due to communication breakdown with my driver and i wish i had planned better in some ways. You can however, note the places i’ve visited and take this as a reference! A quick google and you’ll find that most tour packages include Delhi, Agra and Jaipur aka the “Golden Triangle” Tour Package. I wasn’t interested in Delhi so you won’t find any information about that in this guide.
JAIPUR > AGRA > PUSHKAR
Day 1 Jaipur
Day 2 Jaipur > Agra
Birla Mandir Temple
Chand Baori (Pit Stop)
Taj Mahal @ Sunset
Day 3 Agra
Agra Fort @ Sunset
Day 4 Agra > Jaipur
Taj Mahal @ Sunrise
Day 5 Pushkar
INDIA VISA APPLICATION
For tourist visa, click on this link >> http://www.blsindia.sg/touristvisa.php <<
I applied for the visa physically at the Little India Centre (visa can be applied electronically but i am not familiar with the procedure).
BLS International Services
Unit 14 – 02/04/05
Sim Lim Tower
10 Jalan Basar
Nearest MRT – Rochor MRT
Call Centre Number +6531635611, +65 31632615
Submission Timing :
Monday to Friday
9:00 AM – 03:45 PM ONLY
– Photocopy of the passport bio-page and Original passport with validity at least six months beyond the Validity of visa.
– Minimum two visa blank pages should be available to stamp the visa.
– All applicants applying for visa must bring passport copy and IC copy (NRIC, Re-entry permit, EP, S Pass or work-permit)
– 1 latest white background passport size photograph. Photograph should be taken less than 6 months.
(Center provides photocopying and IC photo-taking service at a fee.)
Cost of applying:
– SGD$59.80 per tourist visa application. Additional miscellaneous fees apply for photos, forms etc.
– Center does not accept credit card or NETS payment, so please draw enough cash before you go. Otherwise the nearest ATM is pretty far away from SIM LIM.
Speed of application:
– 2 hours at the center including waiting time for documents to be submitted. Do avoid reaching the centre near closing time (345pm) so that you don’t risk getting rejected at the counter. The crowd usually builds up at that hour.
– My application got approved the next day. Approval was notified via sms.
BOOK YOUR DRIVER
If you’re looking for a hassle-free and safe mode of transportation, having a driver is a MUST. I got my driver from a referral! His name is Subhash and he was basically our 24/7 chauffeur!
His services include;
– 2 way transport to and from airport and across cities
– Pre-trip planning of places to visit
It starts with whatsapping Subhash and letting him know the main places you want to hit. He will act upon your preferred route, filling in the gaps with his own suggestions along the way. However, note that his ability to understand and communicate in English is rather limited, so it’s better that you give him a clear direction, rather than trying to “figure it out” with him.
Do take his advice though! We thought we could stay 2 nights in Agra, but turns out, 3 days in Agra is way too many. 1 night would have sufficed, because there is really nothing much to do after 5 or 6pm in that city.
Word of Caution:
He will ask if you like to visit textile, leather, carpet, gemstone workshops as pitstops because well, he gets commission. You can choose to politely decline if you’re not a fan of touristy souvenirs.
– Expensive Restaurants.
He may bring you to expensive restaurants if you have no preference. So if you want to go somewhere cheap and good, but don’t know where, you can ask him for advice. He brought to a decent mid-tier family restaurant one night in Agra when we asked for it. 🙂
Subhash was really accommodating throughout the trip and we love him for his honest personality and good nature. We went back to the Taj Mahal 3 times (yes we cray), once before the sun rose at 5am and he willingly brought us there.
If you want to get down and dirty and have more time to explore and make mistakes, feel free to brave their local modes of transportation!
TOUR GUIDE (OPTIONAL)
- There are additional tour guide services at certain locations. We had one who joined us in Agra and he accompanied us to all the sites and gave us a brief history of the places as we toured the sites.
- Such tour guides are exceptionally useful if you are a photographer, cos he acts as an additional photography assistant lol! Ours helped us carry us stuff and block out crowd when we needed a shot with a clear view.
- However, you may choose to opt out of having one if you prefer. Just let the driver know!
- Be wary of tour guides roaming outside the touristy spots. They may pester you into engaging their services but just reject politely and walk on.
- Bring enough cash! ATMs are not conveniently located and many were out of service when we went on an ATM hunt.
- Buffer additional cash for donations (unless you refuse to make them).
- Buffer additional cash for TIPS! Driver tips, waiter tips etc. You never know who you have to tip seriously!
- Activate your credit cards, data roaming for international use. My credit card activation could only be done via sms, which meant i had to activate my data roaming. Check with your bank!
- I checked with Changi Recommends but they did not cover Jaipur, Agra. I’m not sure which other wifi egg services cover india that you have to find out.
- SIM Card… was my alternative solution but due to communication breakdown, i failed to buy one.
- My driver shared his wifi with me via personal hotspot throughout the trip, but the connection was pretty unstable.
- It generally hard to get connected over there so… relax it’s fine! Time for digital detox!
- ONLY drink bottled water.
- I stuck to family restaurants. No roadside food unless you want to challenge your body and test fate.
- GOOD LUCK.
- Generally, try to choose a hotel NOT situated by the road. Traffic can be quite noisy at night. We were woken up by wedding processions along the road on 2 nights!
WHAT TO WEAR
- Modesty modesty! It’s good to have a scarf with you so that you can cover your head/shoulders when you need to, for eg on holy grounds.
- Better to wear pants/skirts that extend beyond your knees.
- Footwear, comfy shoes so that you can climb ard, scale steps. You’ll be required to take off your shoes at many locations so nothing too branded, just in case your shoes get stolen!
To be honest,
you will never know enough to be prepared.
So, come on, let me take you on a magic carpet ride! YOU ARE READY!
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