India: Rajasthan itinerary with kids
It’s time to experience Rajasthan region and the boys first taste of the Indian desert. We are heading west towards Pakistan to see the great forts of India. We are planning to travel to Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodphur and Udaipur on our journey.
Most people only stop a day or two on their journey to this region, but we have a much slower pace planned. We’ll be staying in Jaipur for 5 nights, Jaisalmer for 4 nights with 1 night on camel safari, Jodphur for 4 nights and Udaipur for 5 nights.
The draw for this region is the harsh landscape, the large and majestic forts that stand high above the Indian plains and of course the camels!
Here is our Rajasthan itinerary with kids…
Our train to Jaipur was a full day travelling as we boarded at 7am and arrived in Jaipur at 11pm. But it’s ok, we like trains – who doesn’t?! You get to roam around, have beds to lie on and can make noise without disturbing those around you. Train journeys are ace!!
Jaipur is known as the Pink City and it’s huge. Just finding your way to the gate and then wandering around the city is a feat in itself! But there are plenty of places to visit in Jaipur. It’s been a while since we have paid for excursions (Both Golden palace and Wagah Border were free!). Luckily the activities in India are cheap enough to visit a number of attractions.
While in Jaipur we enjoyed wandering the streets (this also keeps the budget down). It’s a great way to see India day to day life too. We also get to see the stark contrast between the more upper class areas of India, which can be quite surprising! Within the pink city you will find shops, shops and more shops under covered walkways. It’s actually a novelty not having to walk on the roads avoiding cars, scooters, dogs and cows!
We found some really nice eateries & cafes in Jaipur, many had a distant lebanese feel! I’m not sure where this influence comes from?! But they also had great coffee!!!
While in Jaipur we took a 40 minute tuk tuk ride to Amber fort, which is by far my favourite to explore. We also visited Hawa Mahal with its pocket size windows and coloured glass – the boys knew it as it was featured on one of their favourite TV programme ‘All over the place – Asia’. After which we also visited the Jantar Mantar Observatory which is a wide open space with numerous astronomical instruments and the worlds largest sun dial!
We also arranged to meet another travelling family while in Jaipur and arranged to meet at a coffee shop. The evening was spent chatting endlessly! It’s good to talk.
On our last day we had a whole day to kill before we could board our train, so we headed to Jaipur Mall for the afternoon/evening and treated the boys to some games and a movie at the cinema! Felt like we were on holiday, ha ha!
Travelling, again by train, deeper into the Indian desert and closer to the Pakistan Border, we arrived in Jaisalmer on our overnight sleeper train. It was a late one, as we only getting on at midnight but the boys did well and promptly fell asleep as soon as they boarded.
Wandering around the ‘golden city’ is much easier as it’s more compact than Jaipur. We explored the streets and spent most of our time wandering around the back alleys. One day we did venture out towards the lake, but it wasn’t overly impressive. Still nice for an explore.
The highlight of our trip was the camel safari. We booked an overnight stay with Hotel Roop and camped under the stars. One night was definitely enough as my legs were killing me from riding the Camels!
It was a very enjoyable and relaxing few days in Jaisalmer.
Next stop was only a short journey away and another train journey before we arrived in the Blue City.
Another huge city, but actually the fort was the focus point and the tourist areas were quite easily accessible on foot. We stayed in a fabulous Haveli (traditional indian house) with a gorgeous roof top restaurant. The place had such a nice ambience and kids for our boys to play with. It was so nice to relax and meet other travellers.
While in Jodphur we explored the fort area, but didn’t actually go inside. I think we’re a bit forted out. We visited a rock garden area, which was really nice and interesting for the boys. There were lots of temples but mostly we wandered the streets looking for the blue houses. To be honest, it wasn’t as blue as I imagined – there were just snippets.
Still, when you get a nice hotel which felt so warm and friendly, we didn’t want to move much anyway!
After Jodphur we were convinced by the hotel owner that it would be just as cheap and more convenient to travel by car. The bus would have cost us 2200 rupees, but we could have a driver for 3500. Also, we could stop at Rankapur temple on the way. So we thought, why not – it would be door to door and save us lugging baggage in and out of tuk tuks. I still have no idea how Keith agreed to it, but I wasn’t complaining!
This was en-route to our last stop in Rajasthan; Udaipur. This city is a fabulous lakeside location and famous as being the movie set from James bond’s Octopussy… (Which clearly we made the boys watch before we arrived!).
I have no idea why, but I expected a romantic, slow pace in Udaipur. Maybe it was the idea of a palace on the lake or maybe I’m just getting my Princess head on. Either way, it was not a small, quaint, Lakeside village. It was rather hectic and quite loud.
The highlight of the visit had to be our (slightly above our budget) cooking class! Ethan had been demanding a class since we’d arrived in India. So this time all 4 of us attended, keen to learn the tricks. You’ll have to wait for my blog to find out more.
Rajasthan is a lovely area to explore, but it was hot even in winter so time your visit otherwise you won’t enjoy it as much as you could!
On the whole we spent more time than we needed in most of these places. You could easily spend just a couple of days in each area to tick all you need.
The forts were all pretty impressive, especially in jodphur. Make sure you get a nice rooftop terrace to enjoy the best views!
We found the easiest form of travel was by train, always assume you are going to be delayed. Then it’s a bonus if you arrive on time (which only happened to us once!)
More detailed info to follow soon!