Why This Under-the-radar Asian City Is a T+L Reader Favorite
Travel + Leisure readers chose Udaipur, India, as their favorite city in Asia in the 2018 World’s Best Awards.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated cities on their sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.
Long considered a must-see in India — along with other major metropolises like New Delhi, Mumbai, and Jaipur — this Rajasthani city has preserved its charming past. And its smaller scale is what makes Udaipur such a memorable place to visit, from the ornate palaces and narrow, winding streets, to the boutique jewelry stores and bustling markets. It’s no surprise that these attributes have made it a T+L reader favorite.
Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards
Udaipur is known as the City of Lakes. Renting a rowboat and exploring it at leisure is one of the city’s most iconic activities. Those who want a bit of cinematic history should book a stay at the luxury Taj Lake Palace, voted one of the Top 10 Asia resort hotels by readers this year. The hotel was used as Octopussy’s Floating Palace in the 1983 James Bond film of the same name.
Architecture and history aficionados should stop at City Palace. Started in 1553 and taking more than 300 years to complete, the palace is a stunning mélange of Rajasthani, Mughal and British styles of architecture — but it’s often the antiques and paintings inside that make the biggest impact on visitors. Don’t leave without visiting the City Palace Museum and Durbar Hall, the royal reception room with a dizzying amount of crystal chandeliers.
Sajjan Garh, also featured in Octopussy, may not be quite as opulent, but it is still worth a visit. The late-19th-century palace has become run-down since its heyday more than 100 years ago. However, visitors still trek up the mountain to see its fantastic sunset views. If you’d rather take things easy, ride the Udaipur Ropeway (cable car) up the mountains to see the city from above without breaking a sweat.