Ways to get to Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer can be reached quite easily from Jodhpur by bus, train or hire car
We had a car & driver, and the trip took about 4.5 hours. We left Jodhpur at 7.30 am and reached Jaisalmer in time for lunch. The road is not too bad- although it usually has a strange assortment of traffic (camels, elephants, buses, HUGE trucks, motorcycles (many)
The desert scenery is wonderful- and Rajasthani women , walking with their graceful sway, carrying water-pots on their heads, and fierce-looking men in bright turbans and very large moustaches.
BUS will take longer. If you do get the bus- make sure it is an air-conditioned one.
There are buses from Jodhpur (express/deluxe Rs 60/135, 5½ hours, hourly), Bikaner (express Rs 142, seven hours, four daily), Jaipur (deluxe Rs 194, 12 hours, one daily) and Ajmer (Rs 180, 12 hours).
There are numerous trains to/from Jodhpur, including the Jodhpur–Jaisalmer Express (No 4809), which leaves Jaisalmer at 11.15pm, arriving in Jodhpur at 5.15am . The return trip (No 4810) leaves Jodhpur at 11.15pm and arrives in Jaisalmer at 5.15am. The Jaisalmer Delhi Express (No 4060) leaves at 4.15pm, calls at Jodhpur at 10pm (2nd class/chair Rs 97/322), Jaipur at 5.15am (sleeper/3AC Rs 256/690, 313km) and Delhi at 10.43am (sleeper/3AC Rs 322/877, 623km). The other way, the train (No 4059) leaves Delhi at 6.15pm and arrives in Jaisalmer 19 hours later. 2nd AC will cost just a little more, and it usually a better choice.
To get AROUND Jaisalmer there are bicycles for hire, for just a few rupees an hour. There is a stand for bike-hire in Gandhi Chowk. It is also really easy to see a lot on foot.
If you choose to go by road, there are chai stops along the way if you are in need of refreshments, or a toilet break.
Avoid night driving at all costs. Hazerdous.
- Historical Travel
taking the bus from Bikaner to Jaisalmer
The bus from Bikaner takes about eight hours. Busrides in India are great fun. They have the size of schoolbusses and high air jumps and breaking your bones is a promise due to the road conditions.
The huge picture number of gods has its reasons.....pray for a good ride!
But hey, no pain - no gain :-)
You can make arragements to actually travel in the area by camel! I thought about but changed my mind as I felt the 5 days I had already spent on the camel was enough camel fun for a while. There are towns out in the desert that might make a wonderful ride if you have an extra 10 days or so to make the trip. Camel trekking is the most popular way to get out on the camel and have some fun. There are many intineries to choose from and lot's of trekking companies.
- Budget Travel
Taking a Rickshaw
Rickshaws are the most convinient way to get around in places in India. The traffic is chaotic, but there is always enough space between two cars for a Rickshaw and they get through nearly every alley. Plus the open air style cools you down pretty well in the summer heat.
BUT you have to bargain hard for good prices - because they love to milk the tourist cashcows ;-)
Bus to Udaipur
Within the fort (and outside it for that matter) are loads of shops and tour operators offering flights, bus and train trips with a list of destinations, length of journey and price. I wanted to get to Udaipur but it's not connected directly by train, so I booked an overnight bus sleeper. The bus (see photo) was unlike any other bus I had taken up until then and I had a narrow sleeper to myself which felt more like a coffin than a bed! The bus leaves at 3.30pm from a small bus stand at southern end of the fort. The roads out of Jaisalmer aren't too bad but there are 5 or 6 huge holes in the road where we had to go off the road and round before coming back on again. We reached Jodhpur at 9.15pm and stopped for 45 minutes to get something to eat. Take something warm to wear as it does get cold travelling at night if you're going in Dec/Jan like I was. The road from Jodhpur to Udaipur is appalling and we had to go off the road to avoid huge holes and areas where the road was washed away by the monsoon. It was almost like riding in a 4x4 bus and at one point I thought we were going to roll over! We arrived in Udaipur at 5am. It's pretty gruelling and don't expect to get any sleep. The trip cost Rs350.
Camel trek: Car tour
Before we met up with our camels, our driver took us out on a car tour of the popular sites outside of Jaisalmer. We set off, after filling up with petrol and visiting the local market to buy vegetables, and first visited the Bada Bagh which consists of a tank, a dam, a garden and the Chhatries (cenotaphs) of the Bhatti dynasty. After visiting this we made our way to Ramkunda which is home to a temple dedicated to Lord Ram and built in the 17th century. We were the only ones there which was nice! Next up was the highlight - Lodurva which was the ancient capital of the Bhattis Rajputs before they shifted their capital to Jaisalmer in the 12th century. Our final part of call before meeting up with our camels was a stop in our drivers local village called Chhatrel where we wandered around visiting the traditional mud and dung houses and meeting with the local villages.
Train from Jodhpur
Jaisalmer is connected to the rest of India via North Western Railways to cities such as Delhi (which takes some 19 hours!) and Jodhpur which is how I arrived. I took an early morning train from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer (No. 4059) which left late but what can you do. It left 2 hours late at 8:45am and arrived in Jaisalmer at 3pm. On the way you'll notice that you'll arrive at a station in one direction and then leave it going back in the opposite direction. All strange!
The Road Between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer
We arrived in Jaisalmer by car. The four to five hour drive from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer transitions gradually into a sand desert with only enough vegetation for a sparse population of herdsman and wild antelope that can be seen from the road. Between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer though is a great stop at the town of Osian, which has several wonderful Jain and Hindu temples worth visiting.
- Religious Travel
Jaisalmer - Delhi Train
There’s a daily 19-hrs train that runs between Delhi and Jaisalmer. Though it’s a better idea to stop and overnight halfway in Jodhpur. I strongly insist you book a sleeper in an AC cabin, the weather outside is too dry and dusty, it could jeopardize your respiratory system!! And drink lots and lots of water, or you’ll get dehydrated!!
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Udaipur – Jaisalmer
Afternoon bus & Night train, change in Jodhpur
The comfortable bus to Jodhpur (leaving near the railways station in Udaipur around noon) crosses through picturesque landscapes and arrives in Jodhpur before sunset.
The distance Jodhpur – Jaisalmer can be made overnight through train no 4810 leaving Jodhpur at 23,30 – arrives in Jaisalmer at 05,30 (daily).
The train crosses some sandy regions and AC carriages are highly recommended, unless you don’t mind breathing half air half sand.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
You can take the train to Jaisalmer from Delhi, Jodhpur, Jaipur and other cities. Check time tables online, where you can also obtain tickets. Fyi: You do not need to pick up or exchange this tickets. You just have to bring your passport and your printed ticket along.
Camel Rides Around Jaisalmer
I can't provide specifics on the cost, but any hotel in town can certainly arrange for a camel ride out to Bada Bagh (see my things to do tips on this), Lodhruva, and a variety of other interesting places in the desert outside of Jaisalmer. In our case, we had arranged to see Bada Bagh, the memorials to the Bhatti rulers. The desert around Jaisalmer is primarily a true sand desert with sparse vegetation, and the camels do very well in it.
- Horse Riding
Jaisalmer – Puskhar
Night train, change in Phulera and in Ajmer
We did not manage to find a direct night train from Jaisalmer to Ajmer.
From Jaisalmer, we took the Barmer Jaisalmer Delhi Express no 4060 at 16,00 pm, arrived in Phulera at 4 am and waited for the next train to Ajmer (train no 9106 arrives 5,30 am in Phulera and at 7,30 am in Ajmer, daily).
The half hour ride between Ajmer and Puskhar is served by numerous buses all day, so it doesn’t worth taking a cab.
- Budget Travel
- Study Abroad
The only way to travel
If after your overnight stay in the dunes you suddenly notice a sense of invincibility come over you, why not return back to town seated on the thin back door beam of an open, crowded, zipping, taxi pickup truck. It will be unforgettable, if nothing else.
Be sure to have your hands firmly clasped for the 35 minutes of course. Though I believe the wild rushing wind pressing over you would retain your senses more than the fear of falling back-first on the tarmac upon the next big curve.
Or you could just plop inside the car like most. At least then you won't have to fear the big winds splintering your apparel in front of everyone.
- Adventure Travel
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