Travel Tips and
Seeing the Sights in
Agra and Jaipur
Note: this article is solely for the first time traveler to India from the perspective of a first-timer (me!). Also, take precautions when you are traveling to another country. Check with the state department for any travel warnings and be very much aware of international news. Use common sense and be flexible. You might actually have to change your destination.
Travel Tip 1. If you normally wing it on your own, travel tips for Agra and Jaipur suggest that you consider having a personal tour guide. The guide can arrange transportation throughout the trip, take you on tours and recommend hotels. It takes an extremely experienced traveler very familiar with India to get around. Travel Tips for seeing the sights in Agra and Jaipur: The streets were extremely crowded, almost in a maze, making it not only difficult to get around but unsafe. It was not uncommon to be grabbed and touched as you walked by. The guide walked us when we needed to get from the van to the excursions.
Special travel tip for Agra and Jaipur: We hired a van and guide for each city to travel and see the sights. We were picked up each morning and dropped off directly at the door of the hotels. One hotel required us to pass through security scanners and to have our day bags go through luggage scanners each time we returned. The guide not only arranged the admissions to each site, but also had tours for local artisans and businesses. We were given a tour of the shop and then presented with items to buy to support the local tourism. Only in Delhi did we wander the streets like we would normally do in European cities.
Travel Tip 2. To get a good view of the country on the ground, fly into Delhi and travel by van or train to other cities. If you've flown straight from the USA and if you land late, you may want to stay over in Delhi and get a fresh start the next day. Have this arranged either at the tourist desk in the airport, or prior to your arrival to India.
Travel Tips for Agra
Travel Tip 3. In Agra, the top sights for us were: the Taj Mahal, of course; the Tomb of I'timād-ud-Daulah, also known as the Baby Taj; Fort Agra; various artisan shops and one of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. Travel tips for Agra and Jaipur: go to the websites for the sights to know the rules for visiting.
Travel Tips for Jaipur
Travel Tip 4. A journey by train to Jaipur, in the recommended first class, is almost 150 miles further east. The top sights were Amer (Amber) Fort; Jaigarh (Victory) Fort, home to Jaivan Cannon; Jantar Mantar, a fascinating collection of astronomical instruments completed in 1734 that is still accurate in telling time within 2 seconds; City Palace, residence of the current Maharaja of Jaipur, the Hawa Mahal, known as the Pink Palace, and more local artisans. In Jaipur, we rode elephants, arranged by our guide.
Travel Tip 5. We took almost all of our meals at the hotel, which was almost a problem because the kitchen almost closed on us twice before we returned from the day. One lunch was arranged at a local restaurant since we would be out all day. Travel tips for Agra and Jaipur: check ahead of time to ask about dining at the hotel.
Special Travel Tip for Agra and Jaipur: When you're ready to head back to Delhi, there are a few options: plane, train and van. The domestic flights were inexpensive in 2017, but there was a concern with baggage (since we spent slightly more than a week, we had between 40-50 pounds each). The train was another option, but the timing was a problem for us to get to the airport in time. We opted for the van for the 166 mile trip from Jaipur to Delhi. We had to leave extremely early in the morning, but we got to Delhi early enough to do a walking tour of part of the city and then the van took us to the airport.
Our thoughts: your safety and health is the most important consideration when traveling away from your home country. Investing in a private van and tour guide was not as expensive as you may think and it takes the guesswork out of everything.
Thanks for reading about our travel tips for Agra and Jaipur, India.
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