How To Reach Darjeeling
By Train, Road and Air

Darjeeling hill town is located at the northern part of West Bengal at an altitude of 6,710 ft. There is no airport or a regular broad gauge railway station in Darjeeling town itself. If you are visiting from other parts of India, you will first need to reach either New Jalpaiguri, Siliguri or Bagdogra, and then approach Darjeeling. 
While Siliguri is the main town close to Darjeeling, New Jalpaiguri (NJP) is actually the nearest major railway junction, and Bagdogra is where the nearest airport is located. All these three townships are located at the lower plains of Darjeeling. So once you reach one of these three places, you will travel along flat land for a while after which the uphill journey begins. And depending on the place you arrive, you will get ample transport options for Darjeeling, including private & shared taxis, buses and even the famous toy train operated by Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. 
Here are your options for reaching Darjeeling from other parts of India.  
(1) Take a train up to NJP (New Jalpaiguri). Darjeeling is only 88kms from here. You will get ample taxis and shared jeeps from NJP to reach Darjeeling in about 3.5 hours along the main highway NH-55 (also known as Hill Cart Road). Few long distance trains pass through Siliguri as well. You will also get plenty of shared jeeps, taxis and buses at Siliguri. You can even take a toy train ride from either NJP or Siliguri through scenic mountain route that takes about 7.5 hrs to reach Darjeeling. The toy train track runs parallel and next to the Hill Cart Road for most part. 
(2) Fly down to the nearest airport Bagdogra which is 94 kms from Darjeeling town and take a private taxi. Shared taxis and buses are not available here. It takes about 3.5 hours to reach Darjeeling from Bagdogra airport. 
(3) There are regular buses including Rocket and Volvo services from Kolkata (Calcutta) to Siliguri Main Bus Terminal (known as Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus located on Hill Cart Road). From Siliguri main bus terminal area, you will get buses, shared Jeeps and private taxis for Darjeeling. Siliguri to Darjeeling is 80kms. 
Bulk of the tourists come to Darjeeling from Kolkata because of location proximity. Other than many short flights, even trains from Kolkata are quite convenient and take about 12 hours to reach NJP. Some trains like Darjeeling Mail offers a convenient overnight journey. There are also regular flights and buses from Kolkata.  
Following section will give you details about all transport modes to reach Darjeeling from various places in India as well as journey details. 
1) Kolkata to NJP/Siliguri & then Darjeeling: How to reach NJP or Siliguri from Kolkata, onward road routes and transports to Darjeeling. 
2) Trains to Darjeeling: Although Darjeeling itself doesn't have a long distance railway station, but there are many trains from various parts of India passing through NJP and Siliguri. Here you will know about such trains that you can avail to reach Darjeeling. 
3) Flights to Bagdogra: Flight services to get to Bagdogra (the nearest airport for Darjeeling) from places like Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad etc 
4) New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling: All the onward transport options available from NJP to reach Darjeeling including private and shared taxis, buses, shared jeeps and even the narrow gauge Toy Train of Darjeeling Himalayan Railways. 
5) Siliguri to Darjeeling: Siliguri is a twin city located close to NJP and also offers many convenient transport options for Darjeeling. Many tourists prefer to go down to Siliguri and then take a transport for Darjeeling. Siliguri itself has two small railway stations - Siliguri Town and Siliguri Junction. Siliguri Town is only 5kms from NJP. Siliguri Junction is further 3kms away and this is where most of the public transports are available for Darjeeling. 
6) Bagdogra Airport: All that you can expect once you land in Bagdogra including airport facilities and onward transportation to Darjeeling & other places. 
7) Bagdogra to Darjeeling: The road route and the journey from Bagdogra airport all the way up to Darjeeling. 
8) Route to Darjeeling via Mirik: You will know about how to reach Mirik and then onward to Darjeeling via a scenic route that goes through several tea gardens. 
Update January 2015: The Toy Train service to resume soon between Siliguri Junction and Darjeeling after over 4 years. The resumption of service was earlier planned on Christmas Day (25th Dec 2014) but was deferred. A landslide in June 2010 caused severe damage to a part of the Toy Train track as well as the Hill Cart Road (NH 55) at Pagla Jhora just before Kurseong. This made the rail track and the road completely inaccessible there. So toy train ceased to operate between NJP and Darjeeling since then, and vehicles took alternative route via Rohini and Kurseong to reach Darjeeling. A second landslide in September 2011 caused further damage to the track and the Hill Cart road at Tindharia before Pagla Jhora. The railway track has been now repaired. Some trials runs of the Toy Train are currently underway. 
Transport fares to Darjeeling 
Visit Fares to Darjeeling to know about bus, taxi, shared jeep and toy train fares from NJP/ Siliguri/ Bagdogra up to Darjeeling. 
Roads To Darjeeling 
From the NJP railway station, Siliguri or the Bagdogra Airport, there are actually several roads to reach Darjeeling. The route taken by the local drivers from the airport is usually different from the one taken from the Railway Station unless a detour is necessary. Sometimes you may find that a road is closed due to repair work, land slides or other reasons. In such cases, you will need to take an alternative route and the fares would be higher. Check out Roads To Darjeeling to know about the roads that lead to Darjeeling, directions, distances, landmarks on the way and lot more. 
Reaching Darjeeling from Bhutan, Nepal & Bangladesh 
Many tourists particularly foreigners combine a visit to Bhutan, Nepal or Bangladesh with that of Darjeeling. Often the Nationals of these countries also visit Darjeeling and Kurseong which are well known for boarding schools that are popular with foreign students. Reaching Darjeeling from such places may be cumbersome unless you are familiar with the routes and transports. Visit Neighboring Countries to Darjeeling to know about the approaches and transport options available to reach Darjeeling from Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. The link will also let you know about the basic immigration & visa formalities that are required to cross the borders. 
Related Articles 
1) Returning from Darjeeling: The best options of returning from Darjeeling.  
Visitors' Reviews/Comments 
Ana Sabuwala (March 2014) 
Hi Raj, Was happy to come across a "helpline" of sort like this. Hats off to your good efforts. My reason to write to you is that, we, my husband and myself are planning to travel in the first week of May, 3-8 precisely. We are landing in Kolkata on 3rd morning. Have checked out the train schedule and feel that the night train, Darjeeling express suits us good so that we reach New Jalpaiguri in the morning. Would love to experience the toy train but seems that it takes 7 hrs to reach Darjeeling !! We are planning to cover 2-3 destinations in those 5 days; including  Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Siliguri & a little time in Kolkata of course. Would these destinations be proper or do we visit some other too to get a good feel of the region ?? Though Darjeeling is must !! :) Would appreciate your expert opinion and kind response on this, for us to plan our trip accordingly. Thanks :) 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com), March 2014 
Hi, It's Darjeeling Mail (not Express) ... a good train. There is no toy train these days from NJP all the way up to Darjeeling. A part of the track is lying damaged in between. Option ... take a taxi (pre-paids are also available) from the station and go to Kuseong (takes about 1hr 45mins). You can take your lunch at the WB Tourist Lodge (nice restaurant with a view) and then take the 3pm toy train that leaves Kurseong station (located nearby) for Darjeeling.... takes about 3.5 hours. If this is too much of a hassle, then take a 2 hour toy train joy ride from Darjeeling itself on any day (there are 4 round trips on a day). Plan Darjeeling and Kalimpong or Gangtok (NOT Siliguri.... it's a messy crowded township and you will hate to spend a minute). 
Ranjeet Banerjee (March 2014) 
I have plan to travel to Darjeeling on 18th May'14, my flight shall reach Bagdogra at 3.45pm, is it safe to travel to Darjeeling at that late evening with family. if not then kindly let me know which is the hotel to put in for the night in Bagdogra. Kindly let me know. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com), March 2014 
There is no problem as such. You will reach Darjeeling by 7:30pm. But driving in mountains in the dark is not enjoyable. Sometimes fog can create visibility problems, but it's unlikely around that time. There are several hotels in Bagdoga. You can see reviews in Tripadvisor and select one based on your budget. You will be better off staying in Siliguri. There are far more options both with stay and restaurants. There is nothing much in Bagdogra. 
CA. Rajiv Chanda (May 2013) 
Hi Raj, In your earlier mail you mentioned prepaid taxis are available unless we reach at odd hours. We would be reaching at about 6 to 7 p.m. Though the schedule arrival time is 3pm but Barmer Gauhati exp. normally runs 3-4 hrs late. So arriving at 7pm, would we get transportation for Darjeeling from NJP ? Thanks again !! Warm regards. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com), May 2013 
At 7pm, you might get private taxis outside the station. You will be better off going through a travel agent and booking a car to pick you up if you anticipate that you may be that late. But I would recommend not to travel in the hills after dark (mainly because of the fog problems around this time) and reach the hotel at night when there may be nobody to receive you. If you reach late at NJP, stay back at Siliguri and travel next morning. If you still decide to go ahead, call up the hotel and tell them that you will be arriving late at night and  there should be somebody to check you in. Otherwise you will end up banging the doors whole night shivering in the cold. 
Jane Hadley (February 2013) 
Hello Raj, Thank you for the information; The only thing now is the tricky question of getting to Darjeeling! Tom and I have been looking at the train timetables but honestly, it is a little confusing! From what we can see it looks like we would have to get a train (the Mail Express) to New Jalpaiguri then another one from there up to Darjeeling. It looks like both of them would take several hours; the first one from Kolkata to NJP an overnight one.  
Is this correct? How easy is it to book from overseas or would it be better to do this once we are in India?? 
We would like to do that Toy Train loop but we understand we need to book well in advance. You can see it is hard for us to actually say to a hotel exactly what/how many nights we need. The Shangri-La wants a 50% deposit! We would be leaving Kolkata to travel to Darjeeling on the 28th October so that would probably mean we would need a hotel on the 29th; would that be accurate? We need to be back in Kolkata by the 2nd November so we would need to leave Darjeeling on the 1st November. Again, would this be accurate? I'm thinking of how long the trains take to get from Kolkata to Darjeeling and then return! Thank you again. Regards  
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com), February 2013 
Jane, You are mostly right. Let me clarify a few points. There are several trains from Kolkata to NJP, and most are overnight trains. Kolkata has two stations - Howrah (HWH) and Sealdah (SDAH). The best train is Darjeeling Mail which leaves from Sealdah station at about 10pm and reaches NJP at 8am. Although the name is Darjeeling Mail, it does not go up to Darjeeling. You will need to get off at NJP. 
From NJP, earlier there was a provision to take a toy train (Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or Mountain Railway train) that would take you up the hill to Darjeeling town. It took some 7 hours to reach. But that is not operational these days (track damaged due to landslides). So you should take a private taxi (although shared jeeps are also available and used mostly by locals) and go to Darjeeling (takes about 3.5 hours from NJP). 
Trains from Kolkata to NJP in October would get fully booked 2-3 months in advance, because that is the peak season and Darjeeling will be swamped by tourists. So you must buy the tickets well in advance. Use the Indian Railway website www.irctc.co.in to buy tickets online. 
But a much better option would be to fly from Kolkata to Bagdogra (which is the nearest airport for Darjeeling). Flying time is less than 1 hour. From Bagdogra, it takes the same time (3.5 hours) to reach Darjeeling by car. You will get ample pre-paid taxis at the airport. Check out flights to Bagdogra 
Abhra Shau (February 2013) 
We'll (5 persons) reach NJP around 7 pm from Kolkata by train. Is it possible to get a taxi to travel to Darjeeling at that evening? 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com), February 2013 
Hi, It may be possible to get a private taxi (you won't get shared jeeps around that time). I won't recommend driving to Darjeeling at night mainly because of fog. Secondly the Hill Cart Road (the main road and the national highway) is closed up to Kurseong. Also note that unless you have booked in an upscale hotel with adequate staff, most hotels in Darjeeling would close their main entrance after 10pm, all staffs leave and you may get stranded. You are better advised to stay back in Siliguri for the night and start next morning. Regards, 
Subhajit Manna (September 2012) 
Hi Raj, We are a group of 5 friends & plan to go to DARJEELING this Christmas 2012. Possible departure date 26 or 27 of Dec. We came to visit your website by searching the info about DARJEELING. I swore it's very helpful...... I want to know one more thing from you. I am sure that you must have bus services at that time in December due to the peak season. If you kindly tell me what will be the bus timing and ticket price and place for spot booking, I will be really thankful to you.......... With Regards, 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com), September 2012 
Hello, You will get the bus tickets from Tenzing Norgay Central Bus Terminus at Siliguri located on Hill Cart Road. Ticket price is Rs. 50-80 per person (depending on the route it takes. Presently Hill cart road to Darjeeling is closed and buses go via Mongpu). You will need to find out the timing at the bus terminal. 
Deepak Kumar Das (Aug 2012) 
Sir, Please inform me how to return from Darjeeling by bus/shared jeep to arrive at NJP Railway station by 7pm. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com), Aug 2012 
You will get plenty of shared jeeps from the chowkbazaar (lower market) area as well as from Clubside Taxi Stand (across Gandhi Road Police Point). They leave frequently during the day time. So come to the stand by 3pm. Buses also leave from Chowkbazar area, but since a part of the Hill Cart road is closed since a long time, the buses go via Mongpu. Buses will however come up to Siliguri Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand. You will then need to take a taxi, auto rickshaw or a cycle rickshaw for NJP station (only 8kms away). So go to the Darjeeling bus stand a day earlier and inquire about the timings. 
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