I had high expectations from RTDC and hence booked both the night and the full day tours.
Pink City by Night Tour (Sights shown from outside only)
As we reached Jaipur by afternoon, we started with the night tour which begins from the Jaipur railway station at 18:30.
The tour cost was Rs 325/- per person which includes a basic buffet dinner. I would have stated that the price is very reasonable had the tour been conducted properly. If you are a family of four then you would spend 1300 on this tour, add a little more and you could hire your own personal car.
The tour started 40 minutes late with no apologies from the authorities. The next surprise was the tour was going to be organised in a Tata Sumo, and we had 11 people including the driver and guide. The vehicle is supposed to seat at the max 8 people including the driver. Clearly this was against comfort or safety. We were lucky to occupy the 4 rear seats but the other family travelling with us and a solo traveler were clearly in discomfort. With windows open and unenthusiastic guide, we hardly got any information from him. The dinner was quite good considering the price and the fact that it was included in the tour. Overall this version of the tour was disappointing, had RTDC hired a mini bus and provided a microphone/loudspeaker to the guide, this could be great one too.
Full Day Tour
Starts at 09:30 from the GPO. We were told by the RTDC personell at booking that the tour begins at 08:30. We skipped the hotel breakfast in order to be in time only to learn that he had mis guided us. The fact that he had written the time on our receipt clearly proved the RTDC official was unaware of the timings himself.
>>Price - The tour is priced at Rs 250 per person, and this includes transportation and the services of a guide at all monuments. Additional costs are entrance tickets, approximately 160 per person and cost of hiring a jeep to amber fort (approx Rs 30 per person) and you pay for the lunch. So the tour will cost your 440 per person excluding the lunch. I would say the price is very reasonable as you have the services of a guide all along. The guide speaks in English as well as Hindi.
The fact that we were told the wrong time and that the night tour was disaster, made me expect the worst. But this time around the tour was a in a good Bus (non AC) and the guide was quite in command. Although the tour started a few minutes late, the guide was very particular that the tourists return to the bus on time. To that extent he would not hesitate to leave behind anyone who was late. This is a good approach as we Indians are usually very lax towards following a strict schedule. Most people our trip very quite good in this regard and hence we had no delays and were able to visit all attractions in due time. The tour is recommended only for Indian tourists or tourists who would like to quickly visit all attractions in one day. Its very fast paced and hence you cannot expect to see the monuments or museums in detail. The guide did a good job and I would not have expected to know so much about the places if not for him. The other problem with both tours is that the organizer stops at a government shop for 40 minutes and over here there is no strict restriction on the time you take to shop. This attitude kind of annoyed everyone in the bus. But this is quite common in India, as most drivers take you to a shop where they get a commission on the stuff you buy.
Overall advice - Skip the Pink city by night tour and do join the Full day tour if you have only one day to see most of Jaipur.
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