Safari Booking in Jaisalmer, Taking Back Control?

Jodpur was such a bust that we decided to leave first thing in the morning.  Maybe we would be able to get to Jaisalmer early in the afternoon, book a safari and see the town.
It was raining anyway, so we gathered up our driver that slept in and sped off down the road.

View-of-Jaisalmer-from-fort

View of the City of Jaisalmer

If you missed our last post and wondering why we are so unhappy you can read it here at Hiring a Car in Rajasthan, What were we thinking?

Taking Control of our Situation

We are stuck with our driver so we decided to lay down some ground rules.
We told him, no more expensive lunches or hotels.
So we pulled over at a market for Pakoras and fruit and felt much better about everything.
While we made our plans in the back seat, we discussed the fact that we were going to book our camel safari through who we wanted.  When we got to the guest house that Shanker (our driver) had planned for us, we were not going to let them sell us on their safari.  We were going to say thanks, but no thanks we have our own.
A big bonus was that Shanker got us a place for 350 Rs and it was very clean and quiet.

How Quickly we Lost Control

Salesmen in India have a way of making you feel out of control.
When we got to the guest house, they had us look at the room before bringing up our bags.  We approved the room, but instead of getting our bags, they told us to come up to the rooftop for a welcome tea.
We were in no mood for a welcome tea. It was getting late in the afternoon and we wanted to see the town and book our safari.
But we went up anyway.
We sat down, they brought us our tea and then left us alone.
After awhile, no one came back so we went down for our bags.
Shanker and the rest of them seemed confused that we didn’t want our tea, but they obliged.
After we unpacked we had to go back up to the roof to sign in.

India Hotel Registration Policy

In India they have this strange rule.  At every hotel, guesthouse or hostel etc. You have to fill in all of your information on a form.  It takes awhile to do.  They need your passport information our visa information, where you have been and where you are going.  They can track each tourist easily this way.
It is also the perfect time for someone to sell you a tour.
While we filled in our forms one person at a time, he told us of their safari options.
We politely listened as time ticked by.
It was now pretty late in the afternoon and there was no way that we were going to be able to eat, find the place that we wanted to go on safari with and book it in time.
If you didn’t read our last post, we are now on a time schedule.  We hired a driver and we had to be in Agra in 13 days. We can’t waste a single minute if we wanted to see everything that is on our list. Having a driver means…no more flexibility and time is money.

Suckers!

As usual, they make everything sound so good, how can we refuse.
We asked all the right questions.

  1. Does our guide speak English?
  2. Do we each get our own camel?
  3. Do we get to steer our own camel? we don’t want a guide walking in front of us like we are at a circus.
  4. What kind of food do we get?
  5. Do we get a jeep to drive us out to the dunes?
  6. We don’t want to be on the tourist path?

They had the right answer for everything and we were very satisfied with their price and with the answers to our questions.
I know, I know, we told each other that we were not going to take any tours from people other than our planned company.  But sometimes we can be idiots.
We had our tour booked and we were free to explore Jaisalmer for a couple of hours before the sun went down.
For the first time in days, we were feeling optimistic. We just may make this driver thing work.

jaiselmer-fort-india

Jaisalmere Fort

By the time we went to bed, we were feeling pretty happy with ourselves, little did we know what lay ahead.

Information

  • Accommodation- Shiva Palace Hotel 350 Rs/night shower with hot water!
  • Booking through Sun Travels at our guest house
    Camel Safari – 3 days and two nights – 800 Rs per person, per day
    Includes meals, fruit, blankets, camels and storage of bags.
    A stop at the Jain Temple and Desert Village and a jeep ride 30 km out to the desert.

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