As a first time traveller to India, I had no idea what to expect, my best reference to the diverse and colourful land was a few movies and my favourite novel ‘Shantaram‘! Although thinking back to Roberts words and the pure brilliance in which he describes his life in India nothing could have prepared me for the sensory and emotional overload I felt when waking up in Jaipur.
As a city in the famous Golden Triangle, and with its extraordinary culture and history, Jaipur holds a prominent position in Rajasthan tourism. The charm of Jaipur can be seen in the rich clan of historical forts and palaces. Also known as the Pink City, because of its buildings and monuments within the pink wall that gates the entire old city. The historical reason for the uniform colour lies with the Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh (1835- 80) and his extreme strategy to impress Prince Albert during his 1876 tour of India!
After 16 years since Air Asia first took flight, the airline boasts an expansive network of unique routes and connections allowing you to expand your wanderlust. I was lucky enough to be invited on Air Asia’s inaugural flight from Kuala Lumpur to Jaipur that took place on Monday the 5th of February as they added another gem to the list of amazing places to explore! You’ve heard the cliche’ the journey is the destination, that couldn’t be more true for Air Asia X! Read on to hear about my fabulous experience to Jaipur with Air Asia!
Sunset from Hot Air Balloon, Jaipur India, Feb 2018
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Flying to Jaipur with Air Asia
Myself and around 20 Air Asia all-stars, journalist and influencers took part in a special ceremony to celebrate the inaugural flight to Jaipur with Air Asia! The check-in gate was an array of colour and chaos which seemed to match the characteristic of Jaipur nicely. We were greeted by the beautifully dressed hostess and shown to our roomy seats in the ‘quiet area’ section on the Airbus A330.
This new service to Jaipur is part of Air Asia’s goal to meet the growing demand for regional connectivity to tier-II cities in India. Through the increase in flight operations from airports, India’s regional connectivity will be enhanced. The airline will operate four times weekly, with promotional fares offered regularly! (Syd to Jaipur is around $350 AUD one way)
I flew from Sydney to KL with a day layover before my flight to Jaipur. The entire AirAsia X journey was an absolute pleasure, from the very moment I checked in at Sydney to when I arrived home a week later! Yes, it is a budget airline and things are fairly basic but I found several standouts from the leg room, to the customer service to the delicious onboard meals!
It’s actually genuinely impressive how comfortable the cabin is, despite the full flight from Syd to KL there was plenty of space in the overhead locker! And on my flight to KL to Jaipur I was able to lay down! The other standout was definitely food. During this trip, I flew on 4 flights, so that’s 4 meals and all of the meals I tried were the best I have ever eaten. On any flight. Ever.
Although not included in the price of your ticket, to add on a meal or buy onboard is less than $10! Like I said above all of the food I tried was really good, in fact, I didn’t even feel like I was eating aeroplane food! I sampled the butter masala, nasi lamek, chicken lasagna and green Thai curry!
Tips to make your experience extra comfortable:
+Order a meal!
+Make sure you fill up a water bottle before boarding. Although you can buy a bottle on board, you can only use cash or they have a minimum on credit card.
+Ask for a window seat. Views of the clouds and cities as you land are just amazing.
+Book in the quiet area!
+ No entertainment is provided for free. There are iPads available for hire with entertainment preloaded – they can be booked in advance, or purchased on board for about $18. I always download some movies or TV shows from Netflix/Stan to my Ipad and some podcasts and reading material to my phone.
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The Pink City
The enthralling and historical Jaipur and Rajasthan’s capital is the perfect introduction to the extraordinary land that is India. The city’s colourful, and chaotic streets are a delightful mix of old and new. Frantic buses hustle against marching elephants, whilst behind the madness of the bazaar men sit sipping homemade chai from tiny cups. Everywhere buzzing rickshaws survey for easy prey and monkeys swing from one power line to the next. Yet in the midst of all this mayhem, the true splendours of Jaipur’s majestic past, stand quietly in a wave of dramatic escape and calmness.
The capital of Rajasthan offers an abundance of architectural, cultural and historical marvels. A distinct pink wall that gates the entire old city really is just the beginning. Wander around the gorgeous mirror and glass mosaics that turn Amber fort palace hall into an inverted jeweller box, bask in the presence at the dusky pink facade of the Hawa Mahal. Let the curiosity tale over at the outdoor observatory of Jantar Mantar, an astronomer playground. Get lost amidst the chaos of the bazaar, or flee the city and discover the other side of Jaipur with a hot air balloon ride of the countryside.
‘There are some parts of the world that once you visit, get into your heart and never leave. Although I was only there for a short time India has found a place next to my beloved Turkey and Bali. There is something about the devastating yet rich culture. I was overwhelmed by the exotic architecture of Jaipur, the crazy streets, and taken by surprise as I landed in our hot air balloon in the middle of lush green fields! Moments after arriving my senses were overloaded with concentrated intensity from the smells of spices, the sounds of chaotic traffic, the colours of palaces and saris that women wear so beautifully. India you stole my heart and I will be back.’
Hot Air Balloon Ride, Jaipur India, Feb 2018
What to do in Jaipur
Here are some of our highlights from the interesting and impressive Pink City!
-Bask in the presence of Hawa Mawal
-Visit the weird and wonderful Chohki Dani
-Discover the ancient Amber Fort
-Explore more of India in Hot Air Balloon Ride
-Wanderlust over the views from Nahargarh Fort
-Be inspired by The City Palace
-Shop till you drop at The Bazaar Johari Bazar, Tripolia Bazar, Nehru Bazar
-Explore the Chand Baori
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The view of Jaipur from Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur India, Feb 2018
I flew to Jaipur with Air Asia and was a guest as part of their inaugural flight. The media trip was a shared famil between Air Asia and Rajasthan Tourism. As always all opinions, photos and ideas remain my own.
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