need help with itinerary

Old Nov 22nd, 2008, 02:22 AM
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need help with itinerary

hi,
I am going to be in Jaipur in early december 2008, traveling solo, and wonder what day trips would be recommended. Also, how many days should I plan on staying and what are the best sightseeing and dining places for a solo woman.
many thanks,
d
sapphoandchloe is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2008, 02:52 AM
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Could you please provide more info on your India itinerary as it stands right now? Explain your trip a little more.

Will you have already seen places in North India before arriving in Jaipur?

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Old Nov 23rd, 2008, 07:05 PM
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Jaya,
hi. I have done a brief sightseeing visit while in Delhi in early September and am adding Jaipur on the end of a conference I am attending in Gurajat. I had to book my return ticket to the south of India so will now have 4 days in Jaipur, one of which I will use to take a day trip to Agra.

Do you have specific recommendations for how best to spend my days in Jaipur as well as dining- I am veg.

Also, I have done absolutely zero shopping for colleagues, family and friends back in the U.S. and wonder if you have any recommendations for shopping while in Jaipur, too.

In early January I am planning my final trip to Kerala, a tour with a stay on a houseboat- do you have any advice/comments on that?

Thanks so much for following up,
d
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Old Nov 23rd, 2008, 07:17 PM
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may i suggest that you go to agra, stay the nite and then drive to jaipur the next day....3-4 days there is perfect...

there are many hotels in jaipur which have wonderful food....there are a few independent restaurants also which you might enjoy...others will supply specific names...

lots of shopping there too but not as much as in delhi...

amber fort, including the elephant ride up the hill, jaipur city palace, observatory, floating palace, and many other places were the highlights for us...

plenty of veggie food

one special shop is the original anokhi
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Old Nov 24th, 2008, 06:52 PM
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thanks so much!
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Old Nov 24th, 2008, 06:57 PM
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I’m assuming you have read guidebooks which led you to pick Jaipur as your destination, so I am little puzzled as to why you are seeking recoos on things to do. But for some I would say:

1. The City Palace which is a huge complex of buildings and in addition to being a palace is a museum with just an enormous collection. It is not especially well-curated, so a guide is helpful there, IMO, esp for something like the observatory. You could spend days there, but I would say half a morning at least. You could use a guide for a bit and then wander on your own as well. The guide could also take you for a look at the Palace of the Winds, which really is just be looked at and photographed and you can climb up a story or two.

2. The Amber Fort with the obligatory (and actually quite fun) elephant ride to the top. I have been there with an without a guide; personally as a woman traveling on your own, the price of a guide may be more than worth it in simply keeping other offers of assistance away. I don’t thin the guides lend a whole lot to the experience, but it is a large fort/palace and they can be helpful in getting you through it. There is not a lot preserved to see and there is a small museum which is curated in English. I would allow at least half a day for that trip, as it is outside the city, and you may also want to spend some time in the countryside as well.

3. Wandering the old town streets near the Palace of thre Winds or along the narrow inside streets of the pink city walls. These are crowded and frenetic with markets and are quite colourful. You can go in one of the entrance gates along MI Road and then walk in the interior old-city portions.

4. Dance performances; many hotels put these on in the evening as part of culture shows and dinner shows and these can be worthwhile. The Rambagh used to do a nice one, you might check there. The Rajvilas does one outdoors with their dinner service, which is also quite nice. (Both restaurants would offer veg options, you won’t have any trouble finding vegetarian food in India.)

5. A trip into the desert, this can be done as on overnight camel trek (check guidebooks like Lnoely Planet or others), or just a drive to someplace like the Samode Palace for a meal which would give you a view of the countryside, a walk in the village, and the faded charm of the Samode, see http://www.samode.com/home/palace/s-place.htm

6. A meal at the Rambagh, preferably lunch or tea on the verandah while reading A Princess Remembers by Gayatri Devi. This is the autobiography of the third and favorite wife of the late Maharajah of Jaipur, and the Rambagh was their principal home. In She was considered one of the most beautiful women in the world. When Jackie Kennedy went to India in 1961 or so, she stayed with the Princess and in the pictures, Jackie looks dowdy compared to her. To read it on the hotel’s verandah over looking the gardens is a surreal experience, as you read this woman’s story of the home she loved so much while you are IN it. (She in fact to the best of my knowledge, still livs on the grounds and is ab out 90 years old.)

7. For shopping, I mostly like Jaipur for jewelry, but do some comparison shopping before you leave to make sure you are getting a good price. I would NOT buy carpets there, I think they are a rip-off from what I have seen. I would not do any shopping in Agra, as I think that is really a rip-off for tourists (as virtually every tourist to India goes to Agra and overpays for things you could get for less elsewhere.)

Gem Palace
Mirza lsmail Road (generally called M I Road)
Jaipur 302001
Tel: 91-141-37-4175
Fax 91-141-37-3586
http://www.gempalacejaipur.com/

The shop itself is fascinating, get someone to show you the upstairs rooms which are hand painted. Their list of clients is impressive. They have new and estate jewelry.

Surana Jewelers
B-7e Surana Enclave
Ram Singh Road
Tel: 91-141-237-2544
http://www.suranajewellersofjaipur.com/

This store has many of the same pieces as Gem Palace, at 25 percent less, and you can bargain a bit harder here.

Rajasthali
Ajmeri Gate
M.I. Road
Tel : 2367176
http://www.rajasthali.gov.in/

This is the government-owned and run handicrafts store for Rajasthan. Prices are fixed, but are very good, as is quality generally. They have a smal but very good jewelry selection, as well as fabrics and handicrafts. This is a good place for gifts and souvenirs. Their main shop is on MI Road, but they also have an outlet at Jagdish Chowk in Jaipur.

Anokhi Textiles
2nd Floor KK Square,
Above "Crosswords Bookstore"
C-11 Prithviraj Road, C-Scheme,
Jaipur - 302005
Tel. 0141 4007244, 45

Anokhi Museum of
Hand Printing (AMHP)
Anokhi Haveli, Khedi Gate Amber, Jaipur - 303101
Tel. 0141 2530226, 2531267
http://www.anokhi.com/

I just found this place on my most recent trip to Jaipur,and I see it is mentioned above. This is the woman who started the hand-blocked print craze decades ago (and worked for Liberty of London for many years and also started the Monsoon brand), and she still produces them in India. These are really beautiful. She has shops in other parts of India too. I have not been to the museum, but I am guessing it would be quite interesting.

Ridhi Sidhi Textiles
9, East Govind Nagar
Amber Palace Road
Jaipur
tel: 91-141-633134
fax: 91-141-632968

They have had really great quality hand-blocked cottons, he supposedly makes fabrics for Liberty of London. His shop is a bit of a mess, so don't be put off, the fabrics were in a room at the back. He also seems to have seconds at very cheap prices, so if you want undamaged goods, look quite carefully.

You can also just wander the main road, MI Road, and there are tons of shops there, eps “antique” shops and sari/textile shops.

I generally am not a fan of day trips to Agra, as you miss sunrise, which is really one of the highlights of seeing the monument. Sunset can also be very beautiful esp in winter as the temperature difference is greater. If it is possible for you to do an overnight, that might be preferable; you could take a late night train down to Agra and then spend the next day in Agra and return to Jaipur. Also, you may feel quite rushed trying to do all of Agra in one day, there actually is quite a bit there.

For Kerala, it has been more than 8 years since I rented a houseboat in Kerala so I don’t have any reccos. We hired our boat out of Alleppey which is another town in the area. I think we paid like US$80 a day, but that was some years ago and it was not a luxurious boat (but certainly fine). My recco would be that you pick an operator that has a few boats and then go and look them over, as they can vary in the quality and size. We did a little inspection and choose the one we liked best.
I did look in my Lonely Planet and they recco using one of the operators listed by the tourist board in Kollam, called the KTPC Information Centre, go to dtpckollam.com. If you Google houseboats Kerala a lot of info will come up...
I did find a reference to a 2004 Conde Nast article that recommend an operator, they charged US$190 a day, that includes all meals, you might contact them for current prices. The article is at http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/...articleId=1084. The group which runs these boats also operates the Brunton Boatyard, which is a good hotel in the area.

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