Jaisalmer, the golden city embodies the spirit of Rajasthan. It has everything the state has to offer: magnificent fort, an endless stretch of sand dunes, mouthwatering food, colorful atmosphere and of course warm-hearted people.
Here, I present you personally curated 3-day itinerary for Jaisalmer. For ease, I have taken the starting point to be Delhi 🙂
Day 0: Leave from Delhi for Jaisalmer
Dilli Jaisalmer Express, which runs daily, leaves Old Delhi Station (DLI) at 1735 and
reaches Jaisalmer by 1130. Another way to reach Jaisalmer would be taking a semi-sleeper
Rajasthan Tourism Volvo from Delhi via Jaipur which costs around INR 2000 (check their website for the latest fare)
- Avoid a break journey from Jodhpur. The private buses from there end up taking close to 7-8 hours for a distance of 270 KM
- If you land in ‘no-other-option’ situation, always prefer government buses no matter how rickety are they
Day 1: Reach Jaisalmer | Explore SAM Dunes
If the train is on time which usually is, you will reach Jaisalmer by noon. Don’t waste your time with scores of travel agents hauling at station or bus stop. Simply avoid them by saying you already have a pre-booking (even if you don’t). Once the commotion settles, corner one agent and ask for some good deals (if you haven’t pre-booked one)
If you are running short on time, go for a packaged deal of dune stay (including food and safari) and city stay. If not, explore the option of booking dune stay and city stay separately. I went for the second option, booked dunes stay for INR 2000 per person and city hotel stay in Hotel Priya for 1500 per night
NOTE: In city accommodation, don’t opt to stay with breakfast option as the food outside are way better
After booking everything, reach the hotel and drop your extra luggage at hotel cloakroom and head for the desert with only a small bag pack with essential items required for the desert stay
Dos & Don’ts
- Freshen up and have lunch at the Hotel itself (or you can explore, it’s a very small city)
- If you haven’t taken a comprehensive package which includes transportation to and from Sam Dunes, hire a bike (look for it on Just Dial). Leave for SAM Dunes 1 hour before the start of camel safari (usually starts at early evening – around 4-4:30). Your Hotel helpdesk will be a better judge – ask them). Save bikewala’s number as there is no garage on the way
- Sam dunes is around 30 KM from the city. The road is one of the best roads for biking – deserted, flat, smooth tarmac and with fewer curves. But at the same time, it is full of drunk driving jerks. So, Drive safe
- Pack a Hat and suns cream and one warm jacket for the chilly desert night
- Keep your phone charged and carry a power bank (just in case) – You will need a lot
of help from google maps. Also, keep asking locals for directions
- Buy liquor from the city itself if you don’t want to pay double rate in the desert. If
planning to drink beer, ask your tour operator to drop your cans in the camp refrigerator (or you can ignore all this hassle and buy it from the camp caretaker at double rates)
- The camelwala will lure you for a longer ride in the desert for some payment. DON’T let him. He will also ask money to feed his camel named Shahrukh, Salman, and whatnot. Pay 20 – 50 Rs.
NOTE: Ask your camelwala for your camp location. There are hundreds of camps.
- Sit at some nice quiet sand tilla for amazing sunset and reach your camp before dusk
- Enjoy camp hospitality – Chai Pokode or Poha, Cultural program, and traditional
- Sit around the campfire, and drink beer only after the rest depart for their tents. Don’t create a nuisance
- Go for a stroll in the night. It is beautiful
- Hiring a car – they charge around 2500. Make sense when you are in a large group
- Don’t Stop at Kuldhara village on the onward journey, you will have an ample amount of time to explore it while returning
NOTE: if you are interested in star trail photography, this is your destination
Day 2: Explore Jaisalmer City
After a lovely night, you might not want to wake up early for a sunrise. Well, don’t. The sunrises are not that amazing as the sunset. Wake up before the breakfast gets over. While returning, make hundreds of stops at places of your choice. While returning visit:
- Ghost village of Kuldhara: Everybody knows its history, google it if you don’t.
- A small Jain temple with intricate carvings – Don’t know the exact name
After reaching the city, check-in to your hotel and relax. if you are in a mood for Rajasthani lunch, Desert Boy’s Dhani is a perfect choice. Below are some of the place to explore in the city, distribute your visits as per your appetite:
- Jaisalmer Fort and adjoining market: It the most photogenic fort I have ever visited and more so you will find this fort on every postcard of Jaisalmer. It the heart and soul of Jaisalmer. They charge INR 100 for the camera along with entry fees but its worth it. It will take more than 2 hours to walk around. The photography point at the top is the point from where you can see whole of ‘yellow’ Jaisalmer.
- Patwaon ki Haweli: It is a cluster of five small havelis and took almost 55 years to be built. This Haveli is the Atilla of Mumbai and the Patwas are the Ambanis of Jaisalmer. They charge INR 100 for the camera along with entry fees for entry into main Haweli. Rest of the abundant havelis doesn’t have an entry fee and are very photogenic at the same time.
- Salim Singh ki Haveli: It is not so majestic and you can avoid it
- Gadsisar Lake: Pick up an empty spot and spend your evening here. It is a beautiful Lake with duck and swans swimming around. Take a ride on a boat if you want to.
Where and what to eat
- Chai, Pyaaz Kachodi, Mirchi wade with chatni: Any Thella
- Desert Boy’s Dhani for lunch: Best place to have Dal Baati and Churma sitting under the shade of a big tree in the courtyard in the afternoon. Also, try Ker Sangri, and my favorite Papad ki sabji. Google Map link
- The Lassi shop (originally Bhang Shop) near Fort gate: Have bhang lassi if you want to 😛
- For dinner, find some good rooftop restaurant with a good view of fort lighting.
Day 3: Explore some more and wrap up your memories
Enough said. Just roam around, click some memories, have few last sips and bites and leave with a memory of a lifetime.
Some suggestions for places to eat
- Breakfast Any poha stall with chai. I had great chai, poha, pakode and other snacks at the corner of the main road of Hotel Priya
- Lunch at The Trio: At the main roundabout. Famous for chicken items and mutton saag
- Sweets: Dhanraj Bhatia Sweets in the bylanes of the fort. Pack some Ghotua Ladoos and Panchdhari Laddos
Here are some the memorable pictures from my three trip to the city to get you excited for the trip: