It was David Rocco in his TV show ‘Dolce India’ that first inspired me to visit Rajasthan. My fourth day in India (and second day in Jaipur) was supposed to start with a hot air balloon ride, but the humidity that morning didn’t really permit us to fly. That also meant I didn’t have to wake up way too early.
As an alternative to the balloon ride, we rode a Rajasthani elephant instead as we climbed up the hilly Amber Fort. We were greeted by assertive sellers on our way up and this urged me to purchase a beautiful small acrylic art painted on a satin cloth which I still keep today. Upon reaching the top of the fort, I was amazed at the magnificent view of the town as it was unlike any other.
Jaipur is also popularly known as a “Pink City” as the walls surrounding the city center are built and painted in shades of pink (terracotta pink in particular). Painting the houses and buildings in pink was mandated by the local government many years ago. It’s amazing how they still managed to preserve this unique tradition.
Check out some of the photos I took during my trip:
For an obsessive-compulsive traveler like me, detailed itineraries and maps are my bible whenever I visit a new destination. It’s almost second-nature to me to plan ahead for my trips — by creating a dozen pages of daily schedules; developing comprehensive street maps and public transport points; and drafting a list of must-see, must-do, must-eat, and a myriad of other must-tries.
But why did I dare take a solo adventure — without itineraries and not having properly research about the place at all — to a distant, foreign country such as India?
For some people, they call it “bravery.” Yes, I traveled solo. But technically, I also didn’t. I was actually traveling with a concierge. The concept may sound foreign to some travelers my age, especially for people who are used to backpacking and traveling free-and-easy. Being escorted by a professional local travel companion makes all the difference.
I wandered in India with Ravishing India Holidays, a luxury tour operator headquartered in Singapore which specializes in travel concierge services in this rich, beautiful South Asian region. With a personal concierge who will help craft your itinerary even before you arrive and who will customize it depending on your mood and requirements while you are on journey, everything became easier and more fun than I expected it to be.