Prepaid GSM
Getting around

Delhi, Agra, Rajahstan
Part 1

11.12: Hong Kong -> Delhi
12.12: Delhi -> Agra
13.12: Agra -> Jaipur
14.12: Jaipur
15.12: Jaipur -> Pushkar -> Jodhpur
16.12: Jodhpur -> Jaisalmer

17.12: Jaisalmer
18.12: Jaisalmer -> Bikaner
19.12: Bikaner -> Shekawati -> Sariska National Park
20.12: Sariska NP -> Delhi
21.12: Delhi -> Bangkok

(continued from the China 2004 Travelogue)

Overview and overall impression

This is a report of a 10 days trip across northern India (Delhi, Agra, Rajahstan), which we started and finished in Delhi. I was arriving from Hong Kong, while my wife Shirley and her sister Sara came from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). For this trip we rented a car (Toyota Qualis) with a driver. Time was indeed limited and it took some rushing to cover all locations in 10 days. I would have liked to spend some more time in Jaisalmer and perhaps visit the Bharatpur bird reserve. Overall it would have been better if we would have added two or three more days.

Driving across Rajahstan turned out to be less tiring and stressful than I had expected. I think a major factor was that we had our own car + driver and the driver shielded us from the local people, acting as a translator and negotiator in addition to drive us around.

Having said this, I can recommend to everybody our driver Mukesh - reliable and always friendly and helpful. He can be booked through the Yatri house guesthouse in Delh (address below)i. The person with whom you'll make the deal, Sanjay, the owner of the guesthouse and of the cars, is also a very reasonable person.


We stayed in cheap to midrange hotels, paying between 600 and 2000 Rs per night; on average around 1200 Rs. The cost of the meals varied, but was relatively low. For transportation we spent US $460 for the car + an additional 960 Rs for using the A/C (which led to a higher fuel consumption and wasn't originally booked). The entry fees were quite expensive, compared to the overall price level in India. The ticket to the Taj Mahal was 750 Rs for instance.

Money  / Exchange rate (December 2004)

1 Euro = 1.32 US $ 
1 Euro = 10.27 HKD (Hong Kong dollars)
1 Euro = 57.9 INR (India Rupees)
1 Euro = 51.7 THB (Thai Baht)
The cheap dollar (all the above currencies were more or less tied to the USD exchange rate) made our holiday less expensive. For current exchange rates check the Universal Currency Converter.

Mobile phones / Prepaid GSM cards

We bought an Airtel GSM prepaid card for 875 Rs with 370 Rs of call time on it. For this we had to give our name and address (we gave them the hotel address) to the shop owner. The day before Shirley had bought another Airtel card, for 540 Rs, which we couldn't use because it needed to be activated (the second card was activated in the shop). Coverage was good - we had a network in most places where we were.

Internet access

Internet access is cheap and available everywhere in India.


A bit fresh at night and in the morning, but quite warm during the day. The more we drove to the west into the Thar desert, the warmer and more sunny it got. In western Rajastan we needed A/C in the car during the day. Very foggy and poor visibility in Delhi and Agra. No rain.

Health / Vaccinations

I took the usual set of tropical vaccinations (polio, tetanus, diphteria, Hep A + B, typhoid). I didn't take any anti-malaria pills (not even as a standby medication).

VISA / Entry requirements

A visa is necessary for nationals of most countries. I got mine at the Indian consulate in Munich. Quite expensive at 50 Euro.


In India I felt safe all the time. There were no accidents and people didn't try to cheat us (well, they asked every now and then a too high price, but we didn't accept their offer.

Getting around

We used a car + driver, paying US $460 + 960 Rs for the A/C for 11 days in a Toyota Qualis. Mukesh, the driver, is friendly and reliable and can be booked through the Yatri guesthouse in Delhi (address below, contact Sanjay, the guesthouse owner). Driving across Rajahstan was no problem, as most roads are in good conditions and top speeds of 110 km/h are possible when the road is empty, which is the case in the western part of Rajahstan.

Predeparture plan

This is the plan for the trip to India:

Dec 11 Hong Kong-BKK-Delhi 20:40: meet in Delhi airport, transfer to hotel
Dec 12 Delhi-Agra leave in the morning for Agra; arrive before noon and check in the hotel. Afternoon and evening visit the Taj Mahal and Agra (option: sound & light show at Taj Mahal)
Dec 13 Agra-Jaipur visit the Agra fort in the morning, in the afternoon transfer to Jaipur. Visit the ancient town of Fatehpur Sikri on the way to Jaipur. Check in in the evening at the hotel in Jaipur.
>>Option: stop at the Bharatput nature reserve on the way to Jaipur
Dec 14 Jaipur Jaipur city sightseeing: Maharaja City Palace, Observatory, Hawa Mahal multi-layered palace
Dec 15 Jaipur - Jodhpur arrive in Jodhpur by 1pm, check in at the hotel, lunch. Sightseeing of Jodhpur in the afternoon
>>Option: stop at Pushkar near Ajmer
Dec 16 Jodhpur - Jaisalmer sightseeing of Jodhpur in the morning, leave after lunch, arrive in Jaisalmer late afternoon. Check in at the hotel.
Dec 17 Jaisalmer sightseeing of Jaisalmer, a beautiful desert town
Dec 18 Jaisalmer - Bikaner arrive in Bikaner by 1pm, check in at the hotel, lunch. Sightseeing of Bikaner in the afternoon
Dec 19 Bikaner - Mandawa afternoon sightseeing of the Shekawati area around Bikaner
Dec 20 Mandawa - Delhi Delhi sightseeing in the afternoon. Sarah & Shirley fly to KL/Singapore in the evening
Dec 21 Delhi Delhi sightseeing. Alfred flies to Singapore in the evening

Copyright 2005 Alfred Molon