We wrapped things up in Agra within a day which is what I would recommend, then caught our train from Agra to Jaipur at around 6pm. This time we opted for the sleeper class. Someone recommended we give it a shot as it’s supposed to be an ‘experience’ (for those that don’t know, this class is lower then 1-3A and second class. I plan to do a more detailed post explaining the trains, classes, recommendations etc in future). We only took this class from Agra to Jaipur because it was only 4hrs and we weren’t sure what to expect. As with the other parts of India this didn’t let me down and was certainly a culture shock, but a good experience none the less.
Above: Me with my bunk mate. Below: The carriage view (hard to get a good picture without being rude)
The train was busy and there seemed to be no designated seats. We were told which seats we were sitting in which were already filled by a middle aged couple who just seemed to smile and nod when were repeatedly asked them to move. To avoid the ensuing farcical event we put our bags under the seats and took any available space. The train was reasonably pleasant and the fellow passengers are usually very friendly and happy to invite you to share their food. I ended up on a top bunk but swapped a few times throughout the journey. After about 2 hrs of sleep I was woken by a random man. I’m my dazed confusion I jumped off the bunk and took the seat he was pointing to. Only after waking up a bit more did I realise that he had just moved me so he could lie down. My tip would be to take a seat and don’t move for anyone. If you go to the toilet when you have a good seat, someone will take it.
The train arrived in Jaipur 2.30hrs late and we managed to get off at the wrong stop… Jaipur has 2 stops and because the trains move when they want to, we wanted to avoid getting stuck so jumped off at the first station. We began spesking to some local boys who were in Jaipur for work/school from all parts of India. They were flatmates and had decided come back to the city early so they could enjoy themselves for the holiday, away from their strict parents. It looks like teenagers are all the same no matter where they live! They helped us order a taxi and even offered us local sweets and giftd us a scarf. We arrived at the Moustache hostel in Jaipur just after 1am, checked in and headed to bed.
We woke up early and met our friend from Agra, Lara. We then saw some sights in Jaipur like the Red Fort, Water Palace, City Palace and more. It was a beautiful city and it’s easy to see why they call it the pink city. I then managed to make my first purchase and got a little ripped off for a formal top (kurta) and 2 bottoms (pajamas). I only found out later that I had paid through the nose after speaking with the employees at the hostel. Still glad to have a genuine India kurta though. (When I say ripped off, I paid £40 for a tailored suit and 2 pajamas. So it wasn’t bad in relative terms. Someone explained an easy way to bargain in India to get a resonance price. When they give you the price of something, you should usually pay a 1/4 of the price. If they don’t go for this then just walk away).
Above: Meeting an elephant on the street. (They will expect you so pay after you take a picture). Below: Meeting some kids near the hostel
We relaxed on the 3rd day as we had our train to catch that evening to Jaisalmer. We followed the delay times on trainman.com (great site for trains in India) and saw that our train was running over an hour late. So we decided to arrive at the station a little later, to avoid waiting on the platform. In India, this is NOT a clever idea. Being honest, no one really knows when the trains will arrive so just be there on time and sleep on the platform with the locals if you have to. In short we missed our train and had to stay another day in Jaipur. Always good to keep your plans flexible when traveling.
Big thanks to the staff at the Moustache Hostel Jaipur for helping us out so much. They allowed us to come back and arrange alternative transport, freshen up, and also sleep in the common room, even though the hostel was fully booked. Highly recommend the hostel and their staff.
We managed to book an overnight bus to Jaisalmer instead of the train. Will keep you posted on the experience.