Of all my world travels, India was the country I was most nervous about winging-it in. It was undoubtedly the most challenging environment and the vastness daunted me a little. Although Amritsar was definitely an ‘in the deep end’ introduction to India, our three weeks spent travelling around Rajasthan were bursting with vibrancy and fun! Here is my three weeks in India itinerary. You could also follow it as a ‘two weeks in Rajasthan’ route!
I’ll follow up with individual blog posts on each city, but for now here’s an overview of our route, where we stayed and a couple of must sees!
Three Weeks in India Itinerary
First stop: Amritsar
We flew from Colombo, Sri Lanka in to the Punjab city of Amritsar. It borders closely with Pakistan and is home to the most sacred Sikh pilgrimage site in the world: The Golden Temple.
Amritsar was all things heat and hassle. It’s intense, busy and a lot to take in. It’s also culturally vibrant, bursting with excellent street food and ultimately very friendly, genuinely helpful people.
Where we stayed: goStops Hostel
- Good location though does require a walk
- Mattress like a plank of wood
- No windows in private bedroom
- Friendly staff & activities
- Ultimately wouldn’t stay again
Cool things to do in Amritsar
- Visit the Golden Temple
- Buy a Punjabi scarf from one of the shops
- Do a street food tour with Amazing Amritsar Tours (one of our favourite activities on our India trip!)
- Learn about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre
- Go to the Wagah Border Show
Then onto: Delhi
We took the train from Amritsar to Delhi. Train travel in India is a great way to get around and a cool experience.
Tip: Booking trains in India it can be very complicated as a foreigner – use 12GoAsia in advance or ask a local to help you book online for a small commission.
I loved our weekend in Delhi! Rather than visit the obvious tourist spots, we headed to Old Delhi and wandered around Chandni Chowk. It’s a gigantic market area and you’ll see all sorts of weird and wonderful things being sold from the lanes and lanes of little bazaars.
I also really enjoyed the bustling Main Bazaar Road where we stayed. Eat at Krishna Cafe – we went there for breakfast and dinner and loved the food, service and view.
Where we stayed: Backpackers Heaven @ New King
- Good location right near New Delhi station
- Comfy private room
- Helped sort a SIM card (tricky as a foreigner)
- Helped book onward train travel for a small fee
- Would stay again and recommend
Cool things to do in Delhi
- Explore and shop the markets of Chandi Chowk
- Take a food tour of Old Delhi
- Eat at Krishna Cafe overlooking the crazy square below
Next stop: Agra (Taj Mahal)
We took the short train journey from Delhi to Agra purely to visit the Taj Mahal. It didn’t disappoint. When I thought of India, the famous white marble palace was what I’d conjure in my head.
I’ll write a separate post on tips for visiting the Taj because I have many but it’s definitely worthwhile. You can time it so you only spend one night in Agra. Visit the Taj early then carry onwards on your trip.
Where we stayed: Joey’s Hostel
- Amazing view of the Taj from the rooftop
- Comfy, large private room
- Very noisy: rooms are around a central atrium and TV/loud chatting noise was very annoying late at night with a very early alarm set
- Expensive for a hostel but very short walk to the Taj
- Good but very westernised food served in the hostel
- Would stay again for the Taj
My favourite of the cities: Jaipur
We left Agra and took a train to Jaipur. This was my favourite city for the sheer beauty and magnitude of the architecture and palaces.
Where we stayed: Bunkstop Hostel
- Good location to explore via Tuktuk (you can book these on Uber)
- Comfortable private room
- Room very, very light at night
- Hostel advertised activities not running
- Would stay again but there are plenty of other great hostels in Jaipur to choose from
Where we stayed: Samode Palace Hotel (press stay)
- Absolutely stunning former palace with grand suites, beautiful grounds and exquisite lounge rooms
- Large swimming pool
- Brilliant food (though room service lacked so would only recommend dining in the restaurant)
- Relatively far outside of the centre of Jaipur and quite remote (equalled very overpriced taxi to airport as no Uber etc)
- Would absolutely stay again and would recommend as a bucket list stay for the sheer beauty of the palace itself!
Cool things to do in Jaipur
- Visit the Patrika Gate
- Visit the City Palace
- Visit the Amber Fort (we missed this due to sightseeing fatigue and it upset me to here they give elephant rides to ignorant tourists)
- Stay at Samode Palace (I’d list this as a thing ‘to do’ – it’s more than just a hotel!)
- Shop at Bapu Bazar
Next stop: Jaisalmer
We flew from Jaipur to Jaisalmer. It’s the gateway to the Thar desert and unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. We were fortunate to stay at Suryagarh, where they arranged meals and excursions.
I can’t recommend Suryagarh highly enough. The attention to detail is outstanding! The hotel is relatively new but has been built so sympathetically within the landscape of the desert that it looks as though it must have been there forever, in the best possible way.
The food is a gastronomic delight, if excessively portioned. The salt treatment at the spa was an almost other worldly experience (I felt like I was floating!) and the staff are so passionate and knowledge about the desert environment.
If you are looking for a truly special stay, Suryagarh is it. It’s one to put on the bucket list and save for and then simply arrive and let Suryagarh look after you. You’ll leave with a full belly and a head full of incredible folklore and stories!
Where we stayed: Suryagarh (press stay)
- Modern, attractive bedrooms and no little touch unthought of
- Knowledgable and passionate staff
- Excellent food and a wide range of choice
- Mesmerising desert location
- Would absolutely stay again!
Cool things to do in Jaisalmer:
- Take a guided tour of the Golden City
- Shop for beautiful hangings at Craft Palace, Sanwala Para (the pieces are made from recycled saris and garments)
- Venture into the Thar desert
Stop number five: Jodhpur
I’ll be honest, Jodhpur was my least favourite stop on our itinerary. It may simply be that I was tired and a bit fed up of moving on every two or three nights. In hindsight I would have also preferred to have stayed in centrally located properties.
Where we stayed: Rohetgarh
- Very peaceful lakeside former palace with pretty rooms and large gardens
- Lovely swimming pool
- Some beautiful original features
- Serves good western food! By this point I was very happy to be offered some pasta…
- Isolated feeling and a little far outside of Jodhpur itself, unless you’d rather stay somewhere peaceful and arrange excursions via the hotel (not usually my style)
- I would not choose to stay again due to the rural location but I would check out their sister property Mihir Garh for total relaxation (it’s stunning!) or their new central Jodhpur property, which I think would’ve been better suited for us
Cool things to do in Jodhpur:
- Umaid Bhawan Palace
- Nirvana House rooftop restaurant
Final stop: Udaipur
The final stop in our three weeks in India itinerary. Unfortunately there’s no train station in Udaipur so we had to hire a driver. This limited experience did make me so glad we had travelled by train for the rest of our trip! Using a driver was a lot more expensive, less comfortable, took longer and felt more hassle. (No, you can’t stop at your friends restaurant en route, no we don’t want to go a monkey temple… etc etc).
Udaipur is stunning. Stay lakeside and I promise you will have such a peaceful time. It’s such a different Indian experience to the bustling cities and was a perfect way to round off our time.
If I’m honest, we didn’t actually do much. Instead we relished the views of the lake from the hotel and used the time to rest.
Where we stayed: Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel (press discount)
- Stunning lakeside location with views of the famous Taj Palace Hotel
- Brilliant restaurant serving excellent Indian and western dishes
- Central to all the main ‘things to do’ in Udaipur
- Beautiful, cool interiors and plenty of lakeside window seats to relax with a good book in
- I would definitely stay again; we actually paid to extend our stay here as we loved it so much!
I hope that gives you a good idea of our three weeks in India itinerary! Keep an eye out for in depth posts on each city.
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