Udaipur is a great place to decompress and enjoy life after traveling around India for a while. Beautiful setting, friendly locals, and lots to see and do. In this article, we share our 13 favorite attractions, eats, and other places to visit in Udaipur in 3 days — plus where to stay, how to get to Udaipur from Jaisalmer (and Jodhpur), and more!
Why three days? Well, we’ve found that that’s about the average length of time travelers we’ve spoken to plan to stay in Udaipur. After a few days in this evocative and one-of-a-kind place, however, don’t be surprised if you find yourself hungry for more!
13 Amazing Places to Visit in Udaipur in 3 Days (or More!)
We’ve included the map below to give you a sense of where all of the places we discuss below are in Udaipur, including where we stayed (and recommend! — see Lodging section later on).
The center of the city is very walkable, though tuk-tuks (auto-rickshaws) are available near the waterfront as well as deeper into town.
If you want to make the best use of your time and get the best value for your money, we recommend this highly-rated full day private city tour, which includes stops at many of the places we cover in this post.
1. Explore Udaipur’s Ancient Lanes & Alleyways
No matter how you end up in Udaipur, it’s hard to deny that this is one great city to wander around in for a few days.
While certainly showing its age (much of the city dates from the 16th century, after all), Udaipur is a beautiful place built around a handful of lakes and surrounded by dramatic mountains.
Owing to its historic city center and dramatic scenery, Udaipur has been the setting for a number of Hollywood and Bollywood movies, most notably the James Bond movie Octopussy, which they really play up in these parts. In fact, a number of venues offer daily screenings of the film.
Udaipur is also popular for weddings and honeymoons and is often billed as the most romantic city in India.
Walking around central Udaipur not only gives you a sense of the history and culture of this amazing city, but also offers endless opportunities for getting lost in its bustling streets and winding alleyways.
And the best part is, you never know what you may find around the next corner…
2. Chat Up Residents at Local Shops
Chatting up the locals in the city center was also one of our favorite things to do in Udaipur.
This part of town receives a lot of tourists, and local residents here seem to speak a lot more English than we’ve encountered in other cities across India.
But the best part about chatting up locals in central Udaipur might just be the relaxed atmosphere and absence of the high pressure touts we’ve encountered in places like Agra, Varanasi, and Delhi.
3. Visit the Ghats of Lake Pichola
Ghats are those steps you see in a lot of river and lake towns in India running down into the water. Some are holy and/or historic places, while others just make for a stunning place to rest.
Four ghats you should definitely check out are Gangaur Ghat (the “ultimate sunset point” in town), Ambrai (Hanuman) Ghat for stunning city views and delicious food, Laal Ghat, a holy site for pilgrims and devotees, and Nav Ghat, the city’s boat dockyard.
One important thing to note about Lake Pichola water levels. We visited Udaipur toward the end of the monsoon season when the lakes were at their peak depth. Yet, large portions of the lake actually dry out for much of the year, making for a popular recreational area for residents (see below).
Short on time and want to see the ghats by boat instead? Book a guided ghat tour and boat ride and get a unique perspective from everyone else.
Hit the weather and the crowds right and you might very well discover that the ghats end up being among your very favorite places to visit in Udaipur in 3 days!
4. Tour the City Palace
You can’t spend three days in Udaipur without visiting the City Palace. Heck, the palace is so conspicuous, it’s virtually impossible to escape a view of it!
The City Palace is actually a number of separate palaces constructed over a span of 400 years. The entire complex is now a museum open to the public, except for Shiv Niwas Palace and the Fateh Prakash Palace which both have been converted into heritage hotels.
The palace houses a number of artifacts, paintings, and decorative furniture once used by its former royal residents.
City Palace is one of the top places to visit in Udaipur, so make sure you buy your tickets as soon as you arrive in town.
5. Take a Boat Out to Jag Mandir
Part of our City Palace ticket included access to the palace boat docks from where you can catch a ferry out to Jag Mandir, one of Udaipur’s famed lake palaces.
While it’s not the Lake Palace (Jag Niwas), it’s certainly worth the journey and the time strolling around the grounds.
There is a cafe operated by a local hotel group within the palace courtyard. However, if you’ve spent the last month backpacking around India like we have, you may find the cafe prices a bit hard to stomach.
We passed on the food but opted for a couple of Kingfishers, which came to US$7.00 for the two. Given that we were used to paying about a buck each for beer in India, it seemed quite ridiculous.
But after touring the palace there isn’t a lot to see at Jag Mandir, and the highlight of being here may just be having a relaxing beverage and looking out at the stunning scenery.
A couple of midday beers turned out to be a good investment for prime seating in the shade on the lake.
From the ferry to (and from) Jag Mandir, we got a close-up view of the famous Taj Lake Palace Hotel (not to be confused with the Taj Mahal in Agra or Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, of course).
Scenes from 007’s Octopussy were filmed here and now it’s an exclusive hotel.
6. Visit a Henna “Tattoo” Parlor
If you’ve got three days in Udaipur, you might as well get some henna work done.
These Indian “tattoos” aren’t really tattoos at all, but intricate ink designs that fade after about two weeks.
Lori’s henna a day or two later, after the paste had dried and fallen off. We were pretty impressed with the work.
Make sure you choose a reputable place to get your henna done, as less scrupulous parlors across India have been known to use caustic chemicals that can leave permanent scars.
It’s also worth noting that some people have reported allergic reactions to the dye.
With that said, Lori’s experience was very positive.
7. Explore the 17th century Jagdish Temple
Jagdish Temple was located very close to our guesthouse, but we waited to visit it until our last full day.
Call it temple burnout or just bigger fish to fry in Udaipur, but Jagdish ended up at the bottom of our shortlist of things to do in Udaipur.
But we were so glad we did fit it into our visit and encourage others to visit as well.
It’s not to be missed and is definitely worth exploring if you happen to be in this part of town.
8. Take a Trip to the Monsoon Palace
We enjoyed viewing the Monsoon Palace at sunset every evening from our guesthouse balcony. Sadly, this is as close as we got to exploring this top attraction.
Ironically, it was monsoon season that kept us from visiting the Monsoon Palace. Every morning, we’d peek out to see what the weather was doing and would see nothing but a wall of grey in the direction of the Monsoon Palace. Ideally, we wanted to make the trip up there when we’d run the best chance of having a view, but the timing never worked.
All that to say, we’ve heard and read great reviews about visiting the Monsoon Palace and suggest anyone visiting Udaipur look into visiting.
There are a number of tour companies in the city center that offer day trips, and many guesthouses and hostels can also arrange a trip as well. You can even book a private sunset tour of the Monsoon Palace online!
Just don’t have your heart set on making the trip if you are visiting for a short time in the rainy season. But not to worry, there are tons of other places to visit in Udaipur in 3 days!
Places to Visit in Udaipur in 3 Days: Favorite Bites
We found Udaipur to be a most agreeable place in no small part due to the food! Udaipur has a great selection of cuisines and the food is top-notch, not to mention that the views at some of the places we ate were worth the cost of the meal, alone.
Here are a few of our favorites:
9. Dinner at Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel Restaurant
Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel Restaurant was our favorite place of all — a bit pricey for India (ran us around US$13 and we generally share a thali or entree/appetizer) but well worth it.
The dining room is in a really cool setting surrounded by the palace with a great view of the lake.
The restaurant serves Indian, Continental, and Chinese dishes, but they are known for their local specialties.
10. Dinner at Ambrai
Ambrai was perhaps our second favorite place to eat in Udaipur, with great views of the city, and within a short walk of our guesthouse.
Also a bit pricey by India standards (US$10 splitting a meal), but worth it. Most people seem to visit Ambrai for the atmosphere and the tasty tandors!
11. Breakfast at Namaste Cafe & Cafe Edelweiss
These two cafes are right next to each other, offering good coffee, tasty pastries, sandwiches, and European breakfast offerings that were better than most attempts we’ve come across in India.
If you’re from Europe or North America and missing a taste of “home,” these two places might quench your craving.
12. Dinner and/or Drinks at Jasmine Hookah Lounge
Near Dream Heaven Guesthouse and along the canal, Jasmine is a low key outdoor bar type place that serves snacks and drinks.
It’s a good, cheap bet for a quick snack or relaxing sundowner, but bring your mosquito repellent!
13. Anything at Dream Heaven restaurant
Coincidentally, the guesthouse we stayed in cooked up some of the tastiest snacks we had in Udaipur (try their cheesy naan!), along with a very good breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Best of all, we didn’t have to go far to enjoy it.
Not to mention, that view!
Learn to Cook Your Favorite Indian Dishes in Udaipur!
There are a number of excellent cooking class options available for visitors to Udaipur.
We really wish they had this when we were staying in Udaipur!
Where to Stay in Udaipur
Dream Heaven Guesthouse
Best. Guesthouse. Ever. (Or at least one of our top choices in all of Asia.)
Whether you visit Udaipur for one day, three days, or an entire week, Dream Heaven quite possibly has it all, rooms with balconies and incredible views, A/C and hot water, great food, and a really nice common area atmosphere.
It’s the right balance of hotel [amenities, comfort, cleanliness, peace, and privacy] and backpacker/hostel [a good mix of travelers from all overcoming through and hanging out in the restaurant/bar].
Plus, it’s centrally located, yet removed (by a small footbridge) from the hustle and bustle of the city center and the majority of sights. All for about US$18 per night.
Be sure to book / request one of the balcony rooms above the restaurant — you won’t be disappointed.
Click here to check current rates and availability.
Getting to Udaipur from Jaisalmer (via Jodhpur)
Taking the Train from Jaisalmer or Jodhpur to Udaipur
Udaipur is located in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, about 250 miles southwest of Jaipur.
Coming from Jaisalmer, it wasn’t immediately clear how to get to Udaipur, as there is no direct rail link between the two cities, which we found incredibly surprising given India’s vast network of rail.
Even if we had backtracked to Jodhpur, there’s still no direct service, even though Jodhpur and Udaipur constitute two of the most significant population centers in the state and are only about 150 miles apart.
We did find, however, that if you wanted to travel exclusively by rail, you can take the overnight train from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, then hop the train to Marwar Junction, change for Ajmer Junction, then on to Udaipur — a very long journey for a very short distance!
Or…better yet…you can do what we ended up doing and take the overnight train from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur and catch the early morning express bus to Udaipur, which only took us about five hours and cost far less than piecing together a rail journey.
And best of all, it’s a surprisingly scenic ride over mountains and through jungle (more on that below).
Taking the Express Bus from Jodhpur to Udaipur
In India, the government buses generally seem to be the safest based on our own experience and from what people have told us. We’ve found them to be reliable and generally on-time as well.
To catch the government bus in from Jodhpur to Udaipur, we got off the train from Jaisalmer a stop early at Raika Bagh, rather than taking the train all the way to Jodhpur station. Raika Bagh is where the government bus stand is located.
From the train station, it’s less than a five-minute walk out and around to the bus stand.
Our overnight train from Jaisalmer arrived at 5:10am and the bus to Udaipur was scheduled to leave between 5:30am and 6:00am. We purchased tickets for the bus at the bus stand right before departure, and were satisfied with the level of comfort and safety of our bus journey.
Private Transfer from Jodhpur to Udaipur
If that all sounds like to much work (or you just don’t want to mess with a 5:30am departure), there are plenty of private shuttle options available too.
This one is an excellent option for US$40 and even includes a stop-off at the Ranakpur Temple.
Monkeying Around En Route to Udaipur
While riding the bus from Jodhpur to Udaipur, we were a bit caught off guard when we pulled over high up in the mountains in what seemed like the middle of nowhere and the driver quickly abandoned the bus.
Often, this might be a cause for concern or a sign of a long delay, but in India on the road to Udaipur, it simply meant that it was time to feed the monkeys.
The driver pulled out a box full of bananas and ready to go, gave out a loud whistle and we all watched from the bus as a dozen or so Grey Langurs of all ages emerged from the jungle and waited eagerly for their treat.
While I’ve seen loads of monkeys over the years, many in the wild, I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything quite like this.
Watching the feeding frenzy unfold, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was part of the driver’s daily work routine and what compelled him to start doing it.
If you ask Lori and me why we love to travel so much, it really comes down to moments like these.
Little surprises that appear quite random and not the least bit contrived, that have a way of catching you completely off guard. The type of moment that seems so foreign from anything we would ever experience back in the States, but at the same time, familiar enough to easily process and connect with the experience on a human level.
As travelers, we thrive on experiencing unscripted slices of humanity that are not done for the sake of “the tourist,” and that would likely take place regardless of whether we were present or not.
Long term travel makes it possible to return home and see the mundane through a foreign lens, which fosters a deeper appreciation for places and things we had previously taken for granted.
But then again, this shouldn’t surprise me. One thing we’ve taken away from India is the deep empathy and connection people have with the life around them, which is reflected in their treatment (and worship) of all things bovine and the insane number of vegetarians.
Sometimes I wonder, though, why this same loving-kindness isn’t extended to other humans.
As an outsider, we observe based on our own perceptions and it’s difficult to understand how in many ways non-humans are elevated above some groups of people, especially those of the lower castes — not a judgment, merely an observation.
One Final Word of Advice
The vast majority of travelers to India don't encounter serious issues with safety and security. With that said, we've had stuff happen affecting our travel — severe weather, road accidents, broken bones, and other nasties.
When we've had these sorts of setbacks while traveling, it's been a huge relief to have solid international travel insurance — from a financial standpoint, but also to have the support of English-speaking health care experts at any hour.
And That’s Our List of 13 Amazing Places to Visit in Udaipur in 3 Days!
Have you spent 3 days in Udaipur? Was it a good amount of time? Tell us what you thought in the comments below.