Santanu Rakshit (May 2021)
Hello, I have never driven on hills before. I wish to take my own car to reach kurseong. Will it be best for me to drive through hillcart road from Siliguri ? Thanks.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2021
Yes, that will be the easiest route... it's a highway (NH-55).
Sourav (April 2021)
Hello Raj, Your blog is very good and informative. I am planning to travel to Darjeeling in October'21. I am having driving experiences but first time in hilly area. I am planning to take my Creta for this trip. Can you please suggest which road should I take from Siliguri. Please advise the roads with less steep and less turns. Time is not a factor for me and we can take the longer route if required. Mention the road conditions as well.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) April 2021
Hi, You can take NH-55 (Hill Cart Road). The road is overall okay, there are little rough patches along the way (particularly after Kurseong).
Bharathi (March 2021)
Hi Raj, Thanks for all your insights. I would be arriving at the Bagdogra airport and planning to hire a car for self driving. Kindly suggest me a route to Darjeeling, that is easy on the driver and scenic at the same time. TIA!!
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2021
Bharathi, it's all about the eyes of the beholder :)
Turn left on Matigara (just after the flyover), keep going, go past the army cantonment area, once you reach Simulbari (shortly after Long View Tea Estate), turn right into Rohini road. Stop and ask if you are confused. Thereafter, it's only one route to Darjeeling... quite scenic. Rohini road eventually meets Kurseong on the main highway (NH-55), turn left. Good luck!
Rahul Mukherjee (February 2021)
Hi Raj, Requesting your help here. I plan to drive by my self on my Honda City from Kolkata thru to Gangtok with a stop over at Siliguri. Could you kindly outline the route I should take from Siliguri to Gangtok.
Do note that I have a 4 yr old with me as well and though I have huge experiences of driving all over India and in some of the hills down South India I havent eve driven in Sikkim or Darjeeling. Hence requesting you to provide with the safest of routes. Also which would be a safe route from Gangtok to Darjeeling.
Similarly do advise on the route from Darjeeling to Siliguri which would be less taxing. Hopefully road conditions would be good now. I intend to travel from 6th March onwards.... Looking forward to your inputs please...
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) February 2021
Hi, take Sevoke Road (NH-10) from Siliguri... NH-10 crosses over Teesta near Teesta Bazaar and goes all the way to Gangtok. From Gangtok take NH-10 to come down and take Peshoke Road near Teesta Bazaar area which goes up and meets NH-55 (Hill Cart Road) at Jore Bungalow/Ghum area. Continue on NH-55 to Darjeeling. On your return, take the Hill Cart Road (NH-55) all the way down to Siliguri.
Nigel Vincent (June 2018)
Dear Raj, Thanks for all the details and information that you have provided. Very very helpful. I'll be visiting Darjeeling in October 2018 with my parents (aged 64+), sister, wife and daughter (age 2 at that time). Wanted your opinion and advice on traveling to Darj from NJP station. Taking ages into consideration should we go via hill cart or via Mirik?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) June 2018
Hello, hill cart road is shorter but steeper. Mirik route is a much longer route but the gradient is easier although there are sharp turnings on that route too. If you reach in the morning, like to take breaks in between and enjoy views, then Mirik route is good.
Gunjan (January 2017)
Dear Mr Raj, I have back issue.. had minor slip disc.. I just want to know how are roads currently. roads are bad? roads are having lots of curves (hair pin bends)? Roads in month of june? any new rail connectivity? It's very impressive.. your blog.. thanks and regards.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) January 2017
Roads to Darjeeling and Gangtok have pot holes in patches but generally okay. Monsoon takes its tolls and road repair takes place in the winter. Yes, there are many sharp bends.
Dr. Maulik Varu (May 2016)
Hi Raj... Very informative guidelines by you indeed. I just want to know if I return from Darjeeling to NJP by a car and want to visit Rangtong (Rongtong), which route should I take?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2016
Hi, Hill Cart Road (i.e. NH-55) is not accessible shortly after Kurseong (on the way to NJP). So at Kurseong take Rohini road, go down to Sukna via Simulbari, and then drive up along Hill Cart road for 7kms. You will reach Rangtong.
S Ravi (February 2016)
Hi Raj, This is Ravi here. I am going thru your website and its really helpful with all the tips and info. I am planning a trip from Mumbai to WB and Darjeeling this Apr-May and thinking of driving all the way. It will be really helpful if you could give me some tip on the following points. Driving around in this area, road conditions and if there are any restrictions on private vehicles. Waiting for you reply. Thanks and kind regards.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) February 2016
Roads are generally okay. Take the route from Siliguri to Darjeeling via Mirik - great views of tea gardens, Mirik lake and drive along the Nepal border without restrictions. There will be security guards though at several places along the way, but won't bother you unless there is anything suspicious. No permits are required in Darjeeling, but you can't take cars to pedestrian only zones like the Chowrasta (Mall) area. Select a hotel which has parking. Roadside parking of private vehicles are not allowed. Roads are steep, narrow and winding. You should have experience in hill driving. Avoid driving at nights.
Kuldeep Kumar (February 2015)
Hi Raj, I want to know about the road condition, between NJP to Darjeeling and Darjeeling to Gangtok.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) February 2015
Hi, The normal route from NJP to Darjeeling is via Siliguri, Sukna, Simulbari, then by Rohini road up to Kurseong and then Hill Cart Road (NH55) to Darjeeling. Up to Kurseong the road condition is good. The Hill Cart Road from Kurseong onwards is quite patchy with potholes along the way, but overall bearable. From Darjeeling, the route to Gangtok is via Ghoom/Jorebunglow all way downhill to Teesta bazaar, and then uphill along NH-31A. Up to Teesta the road is okay. After that it gets patchy - road repair work going on along the way.
Joydeep Chatterjee (November 2014)
Dear Sir, I will be a first time driver on the hills, which road will be most suitable with wide passage and minimal curves to reach Darjeeling from Siliguri ? Is the Hill Cart road fully operational now, as I have learnt that it is wider with minimal curves than other roads. Will a normal front wheel drive hatchback able to climb the heights? Thanks in advance.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) November 2014
From Siliguri your route will be Hill Cart Road - Sukna - Simulbari - Rohini Road - Kursoeong - back on Hill Cart Road - Ghoom - Darjeeling.
Hill Cart road is still damaged and closed beyond Tindharia and therefore the diversion through Simulbari and Rohini road. Rohini road is a toll road and in very good condition. Driving is not difficult along this route if you are a seasoned good driver, even if it is for the first time. Normal cars can make it. Few tips since you will drive first time in Darjeeling hills (I am a veteran on this)
1) Drive slow and on low gears.
2) Honk while taking turns and when you can't see cars coming from the other side. Most accidents in Darjeeling hills take place at the blind turns because you need to take a wider circular curve to go uphill and thus veering into the wrong side. And when a car coming down from the other side doesn't see you or you don't see it, there is a big risk. So keep honking at the turns.
3) If you need to stop on a slope, use handbrakes.
4) Do not overload your car, in fact keep it as light as possible... you should be able to easily move up on first gear after you have halted on a steep gradient or while taking a sharp uphill turn. Your car must not go backwards downhill. This is usually the biggest problems for first timers on such hills.
Deeksha (November 2014)
Hi Raj, I m travelling to Darjeeling this month and need to know if the route from Bagdogra airport to Darjeeling full of steep hills or is it combination of plains and hills. As per pictures and your description I believe the hills are not very steep but still need your advice.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) November 2014
Hi, The initial stretch up to Simulbari (about 40 minutes from Bagdogra) is on flat terrain. After that the roads are winding and steep for most part, but you will get relatively flat stretches at times.
Tanmoy Mitra (September 2014)
Dear Mr. Raj, I am planning to go Darjeeling very soon. I want to know what will be the smartest way to reach Darjeeling from Bagdogra Airport. I know there are so many options by road. But one of my partners has vomiting problem in car. So I am very much worried about that. So please suggest me in this matter.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2014
You can take the Rohini road which is the shortest. Mirik road is longer by 1 hour but not as steep and winding as the other.
Rahul Biswas (May 2014)
Dear Mr. Raj, May I please know if there is any one way traffic restriction on Pankhabari Road? I shall like to reach Darjeeling from Siliguri side, climbing by Pankhabari Road. But someone from one automotive forum had said that Pankhabari Road is completely made one way for traffic in recent times and upward climb is not permitted by the authorities. Is it true? Please understand that I have over thirty years of experience in hill driving. And I think you must admit that the steepness of Peshok Road, Pankhabari Road and the Darjeeling-Jorethang Road is very rarely found elsewhere. It is also a joy for the drivers to drive on those roads. Here I do not wish to mention anything about Sandakphu and Pkalut, as those places need a 4WD/AWD vehicle.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2014
Pankhabari road is now one way for coming down. It's too narrow to allow both way traffic. But the guards make exceptions for VIPs, Journalists etc. For reaching Darjeeling, you need to use the Rohini Road. It has been done up recently and is in excellent condition. It has been made a toll road (Rs. 10 for small cars, Rs 30 for larger vehicles like Tavera, Innova etc).
Divya (May 2014)
Hi! we are planning for Darjeeling in June 14, but 10 years son has nausea in hilly roads, can you advise us the road condition from NJP to Darjeeling.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2014
From Rohini onwards the road is quite steep and winding (for about 2.5 hours). Otherwise road is okay. You can go via Mirik. Will take longer (4.5 hours), but the gradient is comparatively more gentle.