Royal palaces, ancient forts, jewelry markets, pink sandstone buildings… There is no better place to spend 2 days lost and exploring than in Jaipur, India.
Officially dubbed as the “Pink City of India,” Jaipur charms both locals and foreigners who marvel at its pink-hued theme! As the capital of the Rajasthan state of India, Jaipur often gets overshadowed by India’s other color-themed cities like Jodhpur or Jaisalmer. However, during our travels in Rajasthan, Paul and I made some of our most favorite memories in Jaipur!
With that said, discover how to spend 2 days in Jaipur, India below! Read about our personal experience while discovering the top places to visit in Jaipur. Plus, I give you all the juicy details about where to shop, popular Instagrammable places in Jaipur, traveler’s tips, and more!
How to Spend 2 Days in Jaipur, India
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Day 1 in Jaipur, India
On our first day in Jaipur, we visited the Amer Fort, the Water Palace, outdoor market, watched the sunset at Birla Mandir Temple, and had dinner at Hanuman Dhaba. Our day one itinerary allows seeing the central places to visit in Jaipur while getting a good feel of your surroundings! Plus, everything here is entirely walkable or visitable with a quick tuk-tuk ride.
Arriving in Jaipur + Visiting the Amer Fort
Getting from Agra to Jaipur is fairly easy with the train. Make sure to book your seats in advance, though, especially during high season. After a chilly early morning journey from Agra, we finally have arrived in Jaipur. Our shoulders and feet ache, but we have a day full of exploring waiting for us!
We hop from one scene of madness to another. Finding a trustworthy taxi or Uber always proves to be difficult in India it seems, but not impossible! Paul and I make our way to the official government stand located just outside the station. With lots of help from the locals, we finally hitch a ride to our Airbnb some 7km away.
We arrive at Puneet & Usha’s, our Airbnb hosts. Their home is close to dining, shopping, and attractions yet it is quaintly tucked away in a safe and quiet neighborhood. They also do Airbnb experiences and a Jaipur Instagram tour! We eat a homecooked breakfast and take a restful nap before grabbing a tuk-tuk and going to the Amer Fort, located a few kilometers north of the city.
How to get to the Amer Fort in Jaipur
Getting to the Amer Fort in Jaipur will be a little expensive regardless of the mode of transport. Uber might be just as expensive as a tuk-tuk, so you might as well try negotiating a deal with a tuk-tuk driver for a special price round-trip.
The best part of tuk-tuks is the open-air, sort-of leisurely drive. On our way, we got to have a sneak peek of Jaipur’s Pink City which gave us a little taste of what was yet to come.
We speed through traffic, pass by a palace floating on a lake, and zig-zag up the hill. I gasped at the sight of the Amer Fort, which made our tuk-tuk driver chuckle! Sat perched on the mountainside, the Amber Fort looks out across a large lake. In the background is a rocky mountain, with miles of an ancient wall that lines the top of its peaks.
It’s one of those “Wow” travel moments I can’t get enough of!
Getting a Guide at the Amer Fort
Our favorite experience of all time in India was perhaps learning from our Amer Fort tour guide, H.S. Meena. Paul and I leisurely explore the mountainside, climbing the steps one at a time to get another look around at the view.
To get a guide at the Amer Fort, all you need to do is ask for one at entry. Some will approach you on their own. Guides will cost around 200 rupees (not including tip). We accepted H.S. Meena’s offer because of his grandfather-y demeanor. He was extremely gentle and knowledgeable.
The story of how we met our guide is a cute one… We enter into the large, open courtyard where people are scattered taking pictures. Paul and I begin our climb up the second set of stairs to enter the palace when I spot an elderly man. Atop his head sits neatly a red turban which contrasts with his baby blue, buttoned-up suit. He is holding a wooden cane.
He asks me if we would like a tour, but I half decline because I fiddle to get out my camera. Plus, I wasn’t interested in a guide, thinking only of avoiding scams. Paul says no and smiles. We continue to climb the stairs when I notice a few moments later that the same elderly man is climbing them, too, but at half the speed.
We pass the security guards, round the small corner, and make it out to the top, where we see a vast courtyard, towering pillars, and shining mosaics on the opposite wall. The elderly man is waiting just nearby, holding his cane elegantly. He raises his hand and motions for us to wait on him. I forget what he said, but the gentleness in his eyes already said enough.
We decided to take him on as our tour guide. He points to his official, shiny badge on which is written, “H.S. Meena” and lends a courteous smile.
He begins to tell us about the Amber Fort and the city he grew up in, Amer, which can be seen just beyond the palace walls. Did you know? Amer used to be the capital of Rajasthan before they moved it to Jaipur.
Paul and I both listen eagerly. He reminds us both of my Grandpa. He tells us to stay safe on our travels and says, “Don’t trust anyone!” while pointing his finger in the air. I giggle and tell him joyfully, “Well, except you, we can trust you!” To which he said, “No! Don’t trust anyone!!”
Maybe that’s why we loved the tour so much. H.S. Meena was a refreshing break from all the other guides and shopkeepers trying to screw us over. I’ll spare you the lengthy details of all that he taught us, you’ll just have to go and hire him as your guide too! 🙂
After our tour, Paul and I backtracked around the fort to take pictures. Definitely swing back by the Palace of Mirrors to marvel at all the light reflections.
Traveler’s Tip: Plan an extra hour at the fort to first learn about it/do a tour, and then go back through and take pictures/have time to reflect. Doing so gives a lot more time and attention to the guide and you will feel free to get creative with the fort and your photos. It’s such a beautiful place, after all!
If you have extra time, check out hiking along the walls that encircle the fort nearly all the way around. Our guide told us it was about 12 miles long, but I’m not sure if that number is accurate. In any case, the fortress walls feel very much like the Great Wall of China, at least in a miniature size!
How to Visit Jaipur’s Water Palace (Jal Mahal)
On our way back into Jaipur, we asked our tuk-tuk driver to drop us off at the Water Palace (Jal Mahal). This palace sits in the heart of the lake, just by the road (hence its name).
It appears to be floating, yet the building is submerged at least two stories below the surface which you cannot see. I wish we had more time to explore this place!! Apparently, you can tour it via boat, but I’m not sure of prices, etc.
Instead of touring it, we just marveled at it from the shore. There were several baby wild hogs playing around, scrounging for food, where the shore meets the lake.
If you wish to find cheap local knick-knacks, the outdoor market which is lined along the sidewalk by the Water Palace is the ideal location. I found the cutest colorful Indian-style shoes, made in India, for only $2-3! There are plenty of bags, dresses, jewelry, and so much more I can’t even think of it all!
I found the prices to be a little cheaper here than in the center of Jaipur, simply because the market catered less to tourists and more to locals. We did get quite the crowd around us when we were selecting which pair of sandals to buy though!
Sunset at Birla Mandir Temple
If you’re back in the Pink City and want a great spot to watch the sunset (that’s also a free activity), then go to the Birla Mandir Temple. The sun’s rays make the white marble of the temple glow and the flowers/garden that is around the area makes for a nice sunset stroll!
Leave your shoes outside of the temple and stroll around. It was pretty busy when we went for sunset. It was mostly locals, who eagerly asked Paul and me for a selfie. I wonder if it was because I was wearing my hippie flower pants that day…
Dinner at Hanuman Dhaba (near Raja Park)
If you’re near Raja Park, a very local, yummy, and cheap place to eat is at Hanuman Dhaba. You won’t be able to miss it, as it’s very busy.
Right next to it on the corner is a shop (we think it shares the same kitchen) where you can get seasoned paneer tikka kebabs. These tasty bites of fire-roasted paneer cheese (and veggies) on a stick is one of the best dishes we had in India. It’s definitely our favorite street food and one of the cheapest meals we had on our travels.
We then filled up on traditional dishes (like dal bhat or aloo masala) at Hanuman Dhaba, just on the corner. Everything was delicious, local, and affordable–just the way we like it. It was a special way to celebrate Valentine’s Day together!
Day 2 in Jaipur, India
On our first full day (Day 2) in Jaipur, Paul and I shopped at Babu & Jahari bazaar, visited the Hawa Mahal (and snake charmer), had milk tea on a secret rooftop, toured the City Palace, and failed at visiting Jantar Mantar, went on an improv bead manufacturing tour, and concluded the night with dinner at Tapri the Tree House.
You will definitely be able to squeeze in 1-2 more things to do in Jaipur if you plan well. We kinda went with the flow that day and just let things unfold on their own!
Shopping at Bapu & Jahari Bazaar
Wake up fresh and early to go shopping at the markets in the Old City. The Bapu bazaar is great for textiles, while the Jahari bazaar is known for its jewelry. In any case, you can circle the Old City, hitting all the bazaars at once on foot.
Within the first 30 minutes, I’d already set my eyes on 5 pairs of shoes and 10 sets of silver Indian earrings, but I finally caved when I saw a pink elephant dress hanging outside a typical Indian shop. It cost me something around $7, and being in the Pink City, I felt pressured to get it. So I did.
Traveler’s Tip: Shopping early might get you great deals, as you will most likely be the shop’s first customer. They want to start the day off with sales, so it’s likely you can negotiate for a fair price!
How to Visit the Hawa Mahal
You can’t spend 2 days in Jaipur without going to see the Hawa Mahal!
The Hawa Mahal is probably Jaipur’s most visited attraction, aside from the Amer Fort and the City Palace. And with its unique pink-red sandstone architecture, it’s no wonder why! If you’re looking for all the best places to visit in Jaipur, the Hawa Mahal is at the top of the list.
Also known as the “Palace of Winds,” Hawa Mahal was used by the royal women for watching any type of event or occasion out on the street without being seen by the public. Its entrance is not on the street, but actually from inside the City Palace. After all, Hawa Mahal is an extension of the City Palace!
Traveler’s Tip: If you have seen the Hawal Mahal on Instagram from the opposite side of the street (where you can see it in full), that view was taken from the Wind View Cafe.
Most people, at this time, tour both locations (Hawa Mahal + City Palace). However, Paul and I got sidetracked with other plans… Let’s blame it on the snake charmer.
Side Story: The Snake Charmer
Initially, we didn’t even notice the Hawa Mahal because of a snake charmer who was just feet from us. Have you ever seen a cobra rise out of a basket?? It can be pretty “What the ****” at first, but then it’s kinda cool and sad. The Cobra has had its fangs cut, to keep the charmer and people around him, safe.
Nonetheless, we were hesitant to approach until the snake charmer spied my failed attempt to capture a picture of him without tipping him. Of course, why would he be doing it, if not for money? So I caved and sat next to him while he “charmed” the snake. Paul made his best effort to take a picture without directly looking at us (he’s petrified of snakes).
The man, who is in good humor, then quietly leaned over and asked me for 2,000 rupees. Ha-ha! So I gave him something like 100 rupees instead, which he took happily. Didn’t H.S. Meena (our guide from Amer Fort) just tell me not to trust anybody? In the end, I ended up getting a neat picture and a sweet short story to tell.
Tea on Rooftops (Behind the Hawa Mahal)
If you have extra time, please pass the Hawa Mahal on the street and take a left up some stairs which will lead you to a quiet courtyard on the other side.
Apart from the Holy Man reading on his bench, and the gentle shopkeeper enjoying the morning, there was hardly anyone but Paul and me.
We take some pictures. The shopkeeper approaches us to ask about what we were doing in India and then invites us for some tea around the corner. We watch in awe as his friend mixes the milk tea by throwing it in the air with a flick of his ladle. We take a secret stairway to the top of the building just behind the Hawa Mahal, where we sit the shade of a temple peak, looking out of the little, carved window which had views of the Nahargarh Fort far off on the mountaintop.
The secret rooftop behind Hawa Mahal
Remember that pink dress I bought from the bazaar? Well, I change into it here and we take pictures dancing on the rooftop. The tourists looking out from the top of the Hawa Mahal are gazing over at us, probably wondering how on earth we got up on that building. I think we got a better view. 😉
How to Visit the City Palace in Jaipur
After spending the afternoon on rooftops, chatting and hanging out, we realized we didn’t have much time left of our day to visit other attractions. So we rush to the City Palace around 3 pm.
Because we had such a great experience with H.S. Meena, our guide at the Amer Fort, Paul and I went with another guide for the City Palace. It was 200 rupees, so around $2-3.
Inside the City Palace
The tour was super interesting, but also speedy, too touristy, and impersonal. There were several occasions where our guide took us into the City Palace shops, as “part of the tour,” but really it was just to make money. I knew this ahead of time and refused all the fancy stuff they offered, until…
At the end of the tour, we go into a pashmina shop (still apart of the City Palace), to see how they are made with the “soft fur of the goat’s neck” and to learn a “trick” on how to spot a real pashmina vs a fake one. They said it will burn and turn into ash and smell like burnt hair, unlike the mark-off, synthetic pashminas, etc., etc. They showed us all the evidence, which made them even more believable. But I couldn’t help thinking of H.S. Meena.
Unfortunately, I fell so in love with this golden-yellow scarf that I couldn’t resist falling into the tourist trap. They negotiated so hard with me, to the point where we left and walked out. The store manager even came running after us and gave us a price I couldn’t refuse. And to think I was probably still overpaying!
My mission in the City Palace was to learn about all the garments, history, etc., and of course to see the beautiful blue room that I had seen everywhere on Instagram. But little did I know that you had to pay a crazy $20 or something to access these rooms and the little private courtyard. So beware!
We did get some fancy pictures in front of the season doors that feature Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. They are lavishly adorned with different Hindu gods, animals, etc.!
Overall, if we had to do the City Palace TOUR twice, we wouldn’t. You can easily walk around yourself and read all the descriptions of the rooms, garments, etc., which are written in English next to every display case!
Despite our slight disappointment with our guide, the City Palace is a must-see place to visit in Jaipur.
Getting a Tourist Pass to Jaipur’s Main Attractions
Purchasing the “Composite” attraction ticket at one of the 7 main attractions in Jaipur will save you money and the hassle of buying new tickets for each attraction. It costs 400 rupees for foreigners (100 Rs for nationals) and 200 for foreign students.
Here’s what the tourist pass covers:
- Amber Palace (Amer Fort)
- Jantar Mantar
- Hawa Mahal
- Albert Hall
- Sisodia Garden
- Vidhyadhar Garden
A Peek into Local Life: Private Mala Beads Tour
After the City Palace closed, we rushed over to see if we had time to enter Jantar Mantar, the observatory which houses 19 unique architectural astronomical instruments. But sadly, the entry gate was already closed so I got a picture instead. Funnily enough, the guard kept yelling at me that the attraction was closed. “Huh, ya don’t say…” I thought.
So instead, Paul and I went exploring in the Old City near the bazaars. Paul, as part of his online business, wanted to seek out a manufacturer of mala beads to sell back in France. It was getting late and we were feeling tired, so he was all “Ehh” about the idea. But I really wanted to find this place, lost on the map, hidden in the streets of Jaipur.
And you know what, after some inquiring at local shops and back-alley exploring, we finally found their manufacturing store–a 10m² room on the second floor of a dark, wet, cramped building, somewhere where tourists definitely do not tread.
The owner showed us his methods of production, management, supply, and more! We were shown the top-quality sandalwood samples, freshly and sustainably cut to encourage regrowth (so he said…), compared to lesser quality sandalwood. Plus, we learned how to spy the “fake” bracelets often overpriced and sold to tourists on the street versus the real ones.
The coolest part was perhaps watching how the workers perfectly shape and sand each bead until it’s ready to be strewn with an elastic thread and turned into a bracelet!
No, it’s not one of the top places to visit in Jaipur, but it was one of the most unexpected experiences that made our time in Jaipur all the more unplanned, real and authentic.
Dinner at Tapri the Tree House
The perks of staying with a host family via Airbnb is that you get to hear about their favorite places to go eat. Our host mentioned Tapri the Tree House earlier, so after our private mala bead tour, we hopped on a tuk-tuk and drove away.
If you enjoy dinner by candlelight out on a cozy rooftop while dining on delicious bites and appetizers, and finishing the day off with friendly people and a nice drink, then Tapri the Tree House is the place to be. Tapri is a little more pricey, but the view and the service make it one of the best places to visit in Jaipur when you’re hungry!
I can’t remember the names of the dishes but the server won’t mind if you ask him to repeat three times. I say that because we had to do the same, and he was more smiley and friendly each time. When in doubt, just order the staff recommendations!
Nahargarh Fort in the distance
Other Top Places to Visit in Jaipur, India
Because I want you to make the most out of your trip to the Pink City, there are lots of places to visit in Jaipur that Paul and I didn’t get to see.
Panna Meena ka Kund – Stepwell
A famous stepwell made Insta-popular overnight for its lovely architectural design. I’ve heard you can no longer climb down on the steps to take “the shot,” unless you can successfully bribe the guard. Any updates on this, anyone? Let me know in the comments or write to me!
The Jantar Mantar is a well-known observatory famous for it’s 19 astronomical instruments. Be careful, this place (along with the City Palace) closes early at around like 5:00-5:30 pm. Get there early before the tourist tuk-tuks roll in!
Jawahar Circle Garden
I was so sad to miss out on the Jawahar Garden because of its magical rainbow-colored entrance gate. No doubt you’ve seen it on Instagram! If not, go now!
Another line of defense for the kings that ruled in time’s past. The Nahargarh Fort overlooks the capital of Jaipur from its majestic seat atop the Aravalli Hills.
Another hit among the Insta-community, the Bar Palladio is a dreamy, electric blue café and lounge that brings in both locals and tourists alike to have a seat in their lavish interior.
Final Thoughts — Jaipur, India Itinerary
Jaipur, India is a romantic, exciting, busy, crowded, rich, poor, beautiful, ugly, and an overall magical place to visit in Rajasthan. There are so many things to do in Jaipur in 2 days, so I would definitely recommend staying a minimum of 2 days to see the main sights.
There’s A LOT more to see in Jaipur that Paul and I didn’t have time for, so if you want to fully cover Jaipur, I recommend dedicating maybe 3-4 days or more.
I hope you enjoyed this 2-day itinerary to Jaipur, India! Please feel free to write to me or leave me a little comment below. Plus, if you find any mistakes, or wish to add helpful tips to the article, feel free to comment below to share with the community!
Thanks for reading and namaste everyone!