The Golden City of Jaisalmer is a royal experience. The city of havelis, rajwada, encompassing forts and a golden sandy desert has been an attraction for tourists since a long long time. Jaisalmer is fascinating but at the same time traveling here is time consuming and confusing. If you are traveling to Jaisalmer and want to explore this beautiful city of Rajasthan in the coming time then here are a few quick tips.
This blog is written keeping the requirement of budget travellers and backpackers in mind but other tourists will also find this post useful.
How to visit Jaisalmer
People who visit Jaisalmer normally combine their trip with Udaipur and Jodhpur. Jodhpur is 6 hour away from Jaisalmer so it becomes the entry point for the tourists. A lot of people start their trip from Udaipur (who get down at Abu Road and then take a cab for Udaipur). The recommended itinerary for the travellers would be
Day 1 – Jodhpur arrival
Day 2 – Jodhpur and Ossian sightseeing
Day 3 – Jodhpur – Jaisalmer
Day 4 – Local sightseeing and then to desert via Kuldhara
Day 5 – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur
Day 6 and 7 – Jodhpur and Jaisalmer
Day 1 – Udaipur arrival
Day 2 – Chittorgarh or Kumbhalgarh (if you want to explore both places then you need to keep a day in hand for either of them)
Day 3 – Udaipur – Jodhpur (You can take a quick stop at Kumbhalgarh and then reach Jodhpur by evening)
Day 4 – Jodhpur sightseeing
Day 5 – Jodhpur – Jaisalmer
Day 6 – Sand Dunes
Day 7 – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur or Jaisalmer – Jaipur (Jaisalmer to Jaipur will almost take ten hours to travel so book your train or flight tickets accordingly)
How to Explore Rajasthan with Jaisalmer
You can combine many places during your trip to Rajasthan. Most of the tourists and backpackers who come here cover all the major places including Jaisalmer.Here are a few options
Option 1: Jaipur – Pushkar – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Jodhpur/Ossian – Jaisalmer – Bikaner – Jaipur
Option 2: Jaipur – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Jodhpur – Jaisalmer – Bikaner
Option 3: Jaipur – Jodhpur – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Mount Abu –
Option 4: Jodhpur – Jaisalmer – Bikaner – Jaipur
Option 5: Mount Abu – Udaipur – Jodhpur – Jaisalmer – Bikaner – Jaipur (Most recommended)
How many days do you require to explore Jaisalmer?
From a backpacker’s perspective, you can take a slow exploration of the city and take up to 5 days to experience this town at the best. Considering the fact that you’ll be using a public transport and hitchhiking to most of the part, you’ll spend a lot of time traveling from a place to another.
I’ll consider the fact that you will arrive Jaisalmer by morning as most of the trains and buses from Delhi, Jaipur and Jodhpur reach start from their respective stations in evening or late night.
Day 1 – Upon reaching Jaisalmer, you can relax and then visit the Golden Fort. The Golden Fort is a small town located inside. There are Havelis, hotels, museums, temples and lovely viewpoints. Exploring this place would consume at least 40% of your day. If you are a little high on budget, you can try staying in one of the guest houses inside the fort as well.
You can spend the rest of the day exploring the market area located adjacent to the fort.
Day 2 – Explore the local havelis then hire a bike or auto rikshaw for Kuldhara and other abandoned villages. Return by evening.
Notes for Kuldhara: Make sure that you start early morning or post lunch so that you don’t have to bear the hot afternoon sun in the desert. A return auto rikshaw will charge INR 500 while you can hire a bike for 24 hours for INR 1200 per day.
Desert Safari in Sam Dunes
Visiting Jaisalmer is sort of incomplete without a Desert Safari. I mean it is not a compulsion but it is still one of the mandatory activities. Normally most of the hotels have tie ups with a desert camps and after your city sightseeing you can check out and travel to the campsite for overnight stay. The price of these camp stay starts from INR 1500 and goes upto INR 12000. These campsites have compulsory sunset camel safari in the desert, authentic Rajasthani meal buffet, traditional dance and night stay in the camp.
So what would a backpacker with limited budget do if they want to explore the desert and spend the night under the stars?
There are special safari camps for the budget travellers. Jaisalmer is full of community hotels where you can share a bed in a room with other travellers. Hostels like Zostel, Stop and Moustache are a few of the prominent hostels that are set inside local havelis. Their price per night is somewhere around INR 400.
These hostels take fixed departure trips to desert and you get to share the cost with other travellers. You don’t get to spend the night in a royal camp but instead you’ll be spending the night in a nomadic style home. This experience along with a four hour desert safari will only cost you INR 2000 per person.
Barmer, Pokhran and Bikaner are some of the important places nearby where you can explore post Jaisalmer trip. If you have a flight from Jaipur then it is better to stay for overnight in Pushkar and reach Jaipur next morning.
Keep a water bottle with you. Jaisalmer is hot and faces water scarcity. It is recommended that you carry a waterbottle to escape dehydration.
Cover your face and eyes in the desert
A lot of camel and jeep safari people fool tourists by telling them that they’ll take you to Pakistan border. In reality they don’t go anywhere close.
I hope I have answered most of the questions about Jaisalmer trip. If there is any other query then let me know in the comment section.