He organized a guide Vijay Singh Rathore. We have never experienced such a superb and professional service as he provided. He was capable of opening all doors. He knew everyone and everyone was pleased to see him, including members of the royal family. A truly modest man who brought a touch of joy and magic to our holiday.
He tailor made a programme second to none. We saw Bikaner with all its treasures as if we were indeed royalty instead of two retired educationalists. We went to a real village and met the people before going camel trekking in the desert and witnessing the wonder of silence and sunset. We met Vijay's wife Daisy, as well as young travelers who were staying in his hotel, the pride of their owners and managers, their obvious delight in visitors, even those who were not staying there was amazing. Everyone knew Vijay and everyone was pleased to see him from prince to the stall holders on the market. He even arranged for us to visit a village school and meet the staff and pupils. The joy of the children at having visitors and their to practice their english and eagerness to learn with minimal facilities was inspirational.
Unfortunately shortage of time meant that we could not take a longer camel safari so we will have to return as tales told by people who had experienced the trip made us green with envy. We settled for a romantic candlelit dinner under the stars in the courtyard of a heritage hotel where we were entertained by puppeteers and Rajasthani Dancing. all arranged by Vijay.
We returned home to the shri ram hotel each evening to the peace and tranquility that we had hoped to find as a balance to the vivacity and brilliance of india. The brigadier's son and his wife who managed the daily running of the hotel would be available if required and each morning we enjoyed sharing our adventures with them.
Please inform visitors that here they will find a spiritual and uplifting experience. We hope this freshness and integrity doesn't change as it is rarely found in larger commercial establishments. this is a chance to be a traveler rather than a tourist.
If everything went well, I send you these fine people, our neighbor pieter and his parents jaap and Nel, who bring to you the tents that we promised to you.
We were very pleased with your fax reading that everything is all right with you. We hope your wife and child and your staff are ok too. We send them our best wishes. And don't forget to say hello to our dear Mr. Vijay Singh!. Unfortunately, we will not be coming to india too soon. Things are keeping us busy in holland at the moment, but we hope to see you again in the future. The tents are "igloo"- shaped, light weight and easy to put up. We think pieter will be able to demonstrate them to you. We hope you will be pleased with them, and of course the people who will sleep inside them.
We told pieter all about our wonderful camel safari with you. that is why he came to Bikaner in the first place. We trust that you can give them the same king-size treatment as you gave us. we wish you all the best.
As we were approaching Bikaner by train we were wondering whether we should stay at one of the so called resting rooms in the train station or whether it would still be possible to find a room at 2:00 A.M. We decided to give it a go and followed your recommendation for Vijay's Guest House. At the rickshaw stand there were the usual fights between the wallahs who to take us there and after one guy came up to us offering a cheaper price and pretending to know the way we embarked on his little vehicle. after a 2 min drive he stopped and asked us again where we wanted to go, pretending this time not to know the place and said he would know another nice hotel.
We already know this usual ritual and insisted to be taken to our chosen guest house and told him that it is opposite the Sophia school (thanks for writing this in your book as it seemed to make things easier!) The wallah told us there is no guest house anywhere near that particular school and stopped at some other place. To make a long story short, we finally arrived opposite sophia' school and had to look for Vijay's Place ourselves as the driver deliberately stopped some 50 meters too early.
We were, despite the late hour, warmly welcomed by Vijay himself and shown the huge rooms which reminded us of "1001 nights". After a good sleep we thought of following our bible's(i.e. rough guide) advice and booking a camel trip in Bikaner rather than in the seemingly touristy Jaisalmer.
Vijay informed us very professionally about his various arrangements and we decided on a 2 day, one night tour. The trip was great, we had some interesting discussions and learnt a lot about Hindu and indian culture. Food was great, although we feel a bit stuffed now as we ate about as much as we would usually have within a whole week.
We were also very happy about your hint that Vijay is offering scooters free of charge, since this was the easiest (and probably most fun) way of exploring the rat temple in Deshnoke.
All in all we had a lovely time here in Bikaner, are happy to travel with the rough guide and willb keep you updated (we will sent you some updates especially on the train special, which became a bit of a fetish of Emma).
Bikaner, Rajasthan, India. After many years of traveling, it is my opinion that Vijay Guest House and Camel Safari is one of the most professional, welcoming, and well-priced attractions for any kind of traveler, be they backpackers, families, vacationers with money to spend, or even a single female. The accommodations are beautiful, spacious, and well equipped, as is the rest of the house and garden Available for guests to enjoy. Vijay is a generous and professional host who offers his time and help when needed, while avoiding pressure selling that is especially common among camel safari operations. He offers meals that are among the vest Indian cuisine I have enjoyed, which are often eaten with his lovely Wife and children. The rooms range from 150 to 300 rupees, the latter being the most generous I have seen for anywhere near that price! Chai tea (and rum for those who wish to partake) are considered the 'house drink' and so are free and available at any time. Vijay will often put on bar-b-que dinners with music and food in abundance. And more, he offers bicycles and motorized scooters to guests for FREE!
The camel safari is beyond expectations. We cannot offer high enough praise for so many aspects of this adventure we enjoyed, which Vijay has been operating since 1983. The staff made us feel comfortable - one of the family. There is likely no safari superior to it for its knowledgeable guides, extravagant meal Spreads three times a day, ICE-chilled water on call, impressive visits to local villages where in some cases the camel owners live, and nights under the stars of the Thar Desert. That is not to say that one has no choice in how pampered or rough the journey will be - the guides are willing to help make the experience something you will enjoy, and they work proudly to ensure absolute satisfaction. Starting at 400 rupees per day per person, the safari offers three basic meals and all basic amenities to ensure comfort and satisfaction. At 600 rupees, the meals are full and varied - a treat for anyone who enjoys food! 800 rupees provides an English-speaking guide - worth every penny. And for the ultimate camel safari experience, 1050 rupees per day will seem a very small price for what may be the #1 experience of its kind, which even includes musicians! Nothing comes close to Vijay's camel safari. We looked far and wide and this is a fact. Even the friendly people of Bikaner offer praise for his high standards and value.
By the way, don't let his removed location deter you from going a little further from the city. There is a short taxi ride away from the train station where the air is little fresher and the noise a little lower. Between his guest house and the city center!
Our stay with this prince among hosts, whose commitment to excellence is of the highest caliber, was the highlight of a tour that has covered 4 continents. Lonely Planet has always been in our pack, but in this case, your most recent edition failed to mention something that should be at least considered.
The message list goes on and on and on.........................