Darjeeling Travel Information

 
 
Hi Raj, Could you please provide a ballpark figure about the fares / rates of shared jeep/taxis for local sight seeing (just as a reference, as its understood it might vary depending on the on/off seasons) so that one can have an idea of the bargaining limits... same also applies for the hotels you have mentioned (as you must be aware that we Indians are always game for bargaining &given a chance will try it at Wall mart or McDonald as well - LOLz)...  
 
 
 
I'm planning to visit Darjeeling mid Oct this year &hence this info will be really helpful for me as well... Also how about providing some info about backpackers style travelling - i.e. the cheapest &best way avoiding the clutches of touts... As a matter of fact if you can provide the names &contact info of some of the Taxi/jeep drivers or tour operators offering reasonable rates &are dependable will be of great help... Am I getting demanding? Thanks in advance for your valuable time &please keep up the good work... Cheers... 
 
Anjan (June, 2012) 
 
Hi Anjan, 
 
  • I have actually indicated the fares (shared Jeeps, cabs, buses etc.) in the link below. Understand that it might had been difficult to find that from the maze of pages. Darjeeling Fares 
  •  
  • I have also indicated the hotel tariff range in my section Darjeeling Hotels Guide 
  •  
  • I have covered backpackers style of travelling under Hotels for Backpackers
  •  
  • There are lot many taxis &drivers in the town fighting out their lives in such grim economy of the hills. I don't purposely want to take names of a few, as that would be unfair to many other great drivers who we may not know. 
  •  
  • One other thing... I noticed that you asked for ballpark costs for the local sightseeing tours. I haven't mentioned that because it varies widely depending on demand. Recently I paid Rs. 1,400 for a full day local tour in a Maruti van that included Tiger Hill and all of the 7-point sightseeing. But that was my price :) For half day, it can usually vary from Rs. 600 - 800. I have mentioned all the good tour operators here: Darjeeling Tour Operators 
  •  
    Cheers! 
     
    Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
    June, 2012 
     
     
    I'm planning to come to Darjeeling, Kalimpong &Gangtok for about 5/6 days. Anything happening around beginning to mid Oct? What would you suggest.  
     
    I love the local contact &have just read up about Makaibara Tea plantation (homestay &tour), Chota Mangwa. By staying at these places and arranging with them to have local contact with villagers is what I would like to do, to learn &appreciate the culture &life in Darjeeling. 
     
    I also found out about Tiger Hill &the DHR. Could I combine sunrise Tiger Hill with any wildlife or bird watching or nature walks etc. By travelling to new places we learn about them, &I'm in that process now. Do you know much about Sikkim? Would appreciate your suggestions and advise or if you have any questions. Best Wishes. 
     
    Jyoti Ondhia 
    September 2012 
     
     
    Hi Jyoti, 
     
    Durga Puja in West Bengal starts on Oct 18th this year and Darjeeling gets flooded with Bengali tourists during the Puja vacation. There is a mad rush almost everywhere, all hotels get full and many restaurants run out of stocks... a chaotic situation which is better avoided. Makaibari Tea Estate and Chota Mangwa are great choices during this time. Hope you have read my website articles on these two places.  
     
    Visit the Senchal Lake &Wildlife Sanctuary after Tiger hill. It's close by.  
     
    Have a great time in Darjeeling... share your experience with me when you get back. 
     
    Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
    September 2012 
     
     
    Hello Raj, Thank you very much for the reply and information. All the information I got are from your website, so thank you again and I hope to be able to arrange and go there. I am working with a travel agent who may try to suggest hotel stays but that's not my thing! 
     
    Although I would have liked to see Durga Puja, timing won't work out as my week or so trip would be beg to mid Oct, and if it is crazy busy probably best to be out of there! Let's see how everything works out &for sure I would contact you to let you know. 
     
    No contacts on Sikkim? I presume it's easy to arrange a car/driver through the homestay for Tiger Hill and Sanctuary. Is it cool weather in Oct in Darjeeling/Sikkim area? This year monsoons late everywhere, has it affected this area? I found your e-mail in the junk mail so will wait for your reply &if not in inbox will check junk again! 
     
    Thanks &best wishes, 
     
    Jyoti Ondhia 
    September 2012 
     
     
     
     
    Hi Jyoti, 
     
    Private cars for Tiger Hill and Sanctuary won't be a problem. But if you are planning a direct visit from Makaibari homestay or Chota Mangwa, it may not be possible. It would take close to 2 hours from either place to reach Tiger Hill, and you must be there by 4:30am. I won't advise you to drive at night, even if you get a driver who agrees. So, you need to come and stay at or close to Darjeeling on the previous day. The closest to Tiger Hill would be Sterling Resort at Ghoom. While I don't personally like Sterling (too many rooms and people), it also gives you an opportunity to make a quick visit to Darjeeling while avoiding the crowd. 
     
    Although I have visited Sikkim and its different parts several times, honestly I'm yet to put all the information together. In fact I do plan to write about Sikkim sometime in the near future since many tourists like yourself do visit Gangtok (of Sikkim) from Darjeeling. 
     
    It's raining quite heavily in Darjeeling over the past few weeks. So by the time you reach, hopefully you will get clear sky and great views of Kanchenjunga snow peaks. Usual October temperature in Darjeeling area is 9- 16 degree C (min-max) and that of Gangtok is slightly higher (9 - 21 deg C). 
     
    Strange that you found my email in the junk folder. No other viewer had ever indicated this. I found nothing unusual in the mail I had sent you. Check your spam filter setting in hotmail and see if it eliminates mails based on any phrase used in the earlier subject. 
     
    Regards, 
     
    Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2012 
     
     
    Hi there! since I'm planning for my 1st trip to Darjeeling this Durga puja (20th Oct), I wanted some assistance from you that will make my journey a bit easier. Actually I will be reaching New Jalpaiguri around 1pm. So if I plan for a bus journey then I will be reaching Darjeeling in the evening. My concern in this matter is that will I be able to find a cheap hotel less than Rs. 1000/ day without any headache as the town gets deserted at night? 
     
    Dibyajeet Ojha 
    September 2012 
     
     
    Hi Dibyajeet, There is usually a mad rush in Darjeeling during the puja days. It's a holiday and peak tourist season. I would strongly advise against landing up there and trying a hotel on the fly. Even if you find one, they will take opportunistic chances and charge very high prices. 
     
    It won't be deserted in the evening during the puja time. Tourists, mostly Bengalis will be there all over. But finding a hotel will be a challenge. Good Luck!!! 
     
    Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
    September, 2012 
     
     
    Thanks a lot! One more thing I wanted to know is the name of the specific area where I will get numerous cheap hotels so that it will ease out my searching work. 
     
    Dibyajeet Ojha 
    September 2012 
     
     
    Best place to start would be the Gandhi Road Police Chowk area, and scanning up along the road. There are numerous small and mid range hotels along Gandhi road. The place is also convenient with shops &restaurants, plus the Mall is in walking distance. 
     
    Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
    September, 2012 
     
     
    I am visiting Darjeeling, Gangtok, Namchi, Kalimpong and Pelling starting 6th October. I want mobile no of Norbhu, your favourite driver. As I have small daughter I believe it's best travel via HIll cart Road NH55 which has more plain area rather than steep curves.  
     
    The other request is whether there are any other ROAD TRAVEL risks during October? We leave to Pelling from Darjeeling on 8th. We start from Bagdogra airport to Darjeeling, please advidse and provide mobile no of Norbhu, the gentle driver. Please provide your mobile number also  
     
    Thanks 
     
    KDV Prasad, Hyderabad 
    September, 2012 
     
     
    Hello Prasad, 
     
    Hill Cart road is closed up to Kurseong (a place at the mid point to Darjeeling). So the drivers will take another road (usually via Pankhabari or Rohini which are quite steep &winding) up to Kurseong, and then the Hill Cart Road all the way up to Darjeeling. If the Pankhabari/Rohini road is closed for some reason (which was the case a few weeks back), then they will take a much longer but scenic route via Mirik. The fare will also be higher. 
     
    Unless anyone in your family has hill sickness which happens with some while driving on hilly roads, there is no other risk. 
     
    Take a pre-paid taxi from Bagdogra airport and most drivers here are well behaved. For some local reasons, I am unable to share phone numbers of any driver. However, do not drive after dark in this region because of the road conditions and poor visibility on foggy days. 
     
    If you need any further information, let me know over email. Regret that I don't share my phone number as a matter of privacy. 
     
    Regards, 
     
    Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2012 
     
    Good afternoon/ good evening Raj, as u live in kolkata.. I live in usa and I had travelled different states of usa as well as different parts of the world including India. But never been to mountain b4:-) thus few questions I need to ask to u... 
     
    If I want to view tiger hill other time of the day instead of the traditional way b4 sunrise, can I to do that and view the kanchanjangha as I will be travelling mid Octo. As ur weather chart weather will be clear and little chilly. As a solo traveller I am little scared to go only with driver or guide early in the morning. Let me know. 
     
    Other thing is that is it ok to move around by myself? It was ok in other parts of India but never been to mountain b4:-) U said taxi will take only from Bagdogra to taxi stand.. if I pay them little extra will they drop me off to my hotel.. yes I know u said yes but still they do that? Or changed the system. 
     
    Thank u raj.. Take care  
     
    Fahmida (September 2012) 
     
     
     
    Hi Fahmida, 
     
    I can understand your concerns. During October (the Puja vacation time), there will be hundreds of tourists heading for Tiger Hill everyday early in the morning. You can easily combine your visit with a person or a family if you want. Ask the hotel reception or the taxi operator to help you with that. 
     
    You can visit Tiger Hill any time during the day. On a clear day you can get great views of Kanchenjungha and several other peaks. But you can never predict the weather in Darjeeling. Even in the best season, one needs luck to have a clear view. 
     
    Also note that during the day time, there will be hardly any tourists at Tiger Hill. All essentially go there to view the sunrise. Often many get to see only heads of others in front blocking the view when the actual sunrise takes place. It's a shame that our people do not understand the basic courtesy towards fellow tourists and give equal opportunity to others as well. Instead they will be every where in front of you and least bothered about who else gets to see the sunrise, just because they can't miss it. 
     
    However just to view Kanchenjungha, you don't need to go all the way to Tiger Hill. You can get a great view from the Mall Road as well (take the right entry to the Mall Road from Chowrasta Mall and go to the second viewing point area). 
     
    Yes, taxis will drop you to the hotel if you pay them a little extra. However, there are pedestrian only zones in Darjeeling (like around the Mall area) where vehicles are not allowed. If your hotel is located there, then you will need to walk with your luggage to the hotel from the nearest taxi stand. If that is the case and your hotel is not too close by, then look for a porter to carry your luggage. 
     
    As you had asked earlier (for 4-star hotels), consider Viceroy. Taxis will go right up to the gate (without any extra charge). It's also at a very convenient walking distance from the Mall. But again, it may not be the best 4-star hotel in Darjeeling. Why should you care as long as it's good for your requirement? After all it's a 4-star :) 
     
    Regards, 
     
    P.S.: I guess, most hotels would be full by now for October. So hurry up! 
     
    Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2012 
     
     
    Thanks Raj for ur information about tiger hill and other issues. And thanks for reminding me about that pooja thing, I guess it is durga pooja season am I right? :-) 
     
    Hmm....so I guess October will be crowded month with full of chaos which I dont like, I like people but not overloaded city :-) winter months I don't want to come. Enough snow I see here, so why I need to go that far for that:-) sounds weird is not it?  
     
    I have visa till march, so what do u think about feb or march, little less crowded? less chaos? :-) let me know. My first choice was Shimla, second Darjeeling, let me see which one my fate will offer me:-). After reading your article about this tea - mountain city my mind is clicking me to go there. As I travel by myself this reason i prefer to stay in good secure hotels. Your suggested hotel I like, specially because the car will take me to the hotel directly. 
     
    Anyway I wish instead of Kolkata you would have lived in Darjeeling.. as like me all the solo tourists can get help from u live, coz after reading your awesome article about Darjeeling.. who else can be the best guide beside you? in some unknown city? 
     
    You know when some one does the best job we say over here U GO BOY...same words go to you, :-) keep up the good work. Other thing U did not tell me how r the people of mountain, as they sell gurkha so wonder do their persona match with that? :-) 
     
    Thank u and take care 
     
    Fahmida (September 2012) 
     
    Fahmida, 
     
    November end or December beginning would be a good time ... not too cold, clear sky, less tourists. Feb and March are extremely cold in Darjeeling with temperature hovering around zero deg Celsius. 
     
    Majority of the population in Darjeeling are Nepalese. In general they are very nice people, friendly and hospitable. They speak Hindi, but some also understand Bengali, and little bit of English. 
     
    I suppose by "Gurkha" you mean Khukris, the curved knives ... those are part of Nepalese tradition, and are mostly used as decorative (show) pieces for homes. No one carries them. So, don't need to be scared of that. 
     
    Regards, 
     
    Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2012 
     
     
    Hello! I am visiting Darjeeling for the first time and am obviously unfamiliar with it. I wanted to ask you about some heritage and nature walks in Darjeeling. Also is there and any place I can jog in Darjeeling. I am planning on coming to Darjeeling on the 18th and will be free till the 21st. Your suggestions will be priceless. Also please give me a contact of a good guide there and daily charges. Thanks a tom. Eagerly await your reply. 
     
    Vivasvat (viv) Chauhan (September 2012) 
     
    There is only one person (an ex Help Tourism staff and a friend of mine) who organizes Heritage walk in Darjeeling hill town. But it will depend on timing and his availability. I have discussed the heritage walk here: Darjeeling Heritage Walk 
     
    Unfortunately, there is not much opportunity for nature walks in Darjeeling town area. It's become too congested and thickly populated. For that you need to go to an offbeat area like Makaibari, Chota Mangwa or Jorpokhri. Check out: Offbeat areas around Darjeeling 
     
    However, for a nice walk through some unspoiled area and forested land with great views, go down to the Bhutia Busti Monastery from the Mall and then take the onward route to Lebong Market (should take close to 2 hours with a halt at the Monastery). From there take a shared jeep back to town (Chawk Bazaar). 
     
    The most popular joggers' route is the Mall Road (i.e. Bhanu Bhakt Sarani) which takes a full circle around the observatory hill. It starts from one end of the Mall and comes back from the other side. Check out Darjeeling Mall Road to know what the Mall road offers. 
     
    A good Guide (and also my young friend): Subash Tamang ... he may not personally accompany you but can refer you to someone knowledgeable. He runs a tour company these days. You can get his contacts in the link below. Take my reference (mention my name and website), it should help: Darjeeling Tour &Trek Operators 
     
    Regards, 
     
    Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2012 
     
    Dear Sir (Mr. Raj), I will arrive from Kolkata and will fly back to Delhi from Badgdogra. I shall be reaching NJP on 29 November morning by train and plan to fly back on 3rd or 4th December. Please advise should we go to Bagdogra/Darjeeling first. My query: is it an adequate time to visit/see Darjeeling/Bagdogra and other important places on the way. 
     
    Ideally what should be the mode of transport from NJP. Would it be possible to get sharing Jeep/taxi to Gangtok or Darjeeling. Which place we visit first Darjeeling or Gangtok. Please also advise what will be the transport cost of private Jeep or sharing taxi/jeep point to point to both the towns. Please advise suitably so that proper itinerary be chalked out and if possible advise reasonable hygienic hotels Tea Estate. Please inform Tariffs in Darjeeling near the places of interest or taxi stand. Regards.  
     
    Pradeep Bhatia (September 2012) 
     
    Hello, 
     
    Presently I provide information only about Darjeeling (and not Gangtok). However, here are few points you may like to consider: 
     
    1. Visit Gangtok first because Darjeeling is nearer to Bagdogra airport. It will be easier for you to return. 
    2. You can take a shared jeep from NJP or Siliguri (5kms from NJP). There are also buses available from Siliguri for Gangtok. You can of course take a reserved car as well. 
    3. 4-5 days in total is going to be hectic if you are planning to cover both places, but possible. Gangtok to Darjeeling takes about 4 hours drive. You will get shared jeeps or reserved cars from Gangtok. 
    4. There is nothing to see in Bagdogra. This is where the airport is located. 
    5. For hotels, check out the menu options of my website 
    6. For fares/transport rates for Darjeeling, check out Fares for Darjeeling 
     
    Raj (September 2012) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
    Hi,  
     
    We are visiting Darjeeling in late November and are wondering whether we should pre book accommodation for this time of year, We will be there and in Sikkin from 30 November until 17 December and want some flexibility in our itinerary. 
     
    We are hoping to do a jeep tour in Sikkim, trek the Singalia Ridge and do general sightseeing. Can we organise accommodation and tours/treks once we arrive? We understand that this period is heading into the low season. Please advise us based on your experience. Thank you for your help.  
     
    Kind regards, 
     
    Jeanene Piper (October 2012) 
     
    Hi, 
     
    Late November until Mid December is low season in Darjeeling as well as in Sikkim. You can turn up and make your bookings in Darjeeling town and Gangtok. There should be plenty of accommodations available during that time and you get good bargains as well. But for trekking, this is a high season and I would advise that you book your accommodations in advance along the Singalila route. 
     
    Regards, 
     
    Raj (October 2012) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
    Hi, I have a couple of questions. First, I will be staying in Darjeeling on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Is it absolutely essential to book accommodation during the holiday? I'm looking to stay in a budget accommodation. Will rates increase during this time? 
     
    My second question concerns getting transportation out of Darjeeling. I am taking a train at 9:50am from New Jalpaiguri. Can a taxi be easily arranged from Darjeeling to NJP early in the morning, or should I try to get to Siliguri by the evening before and sleep overnight there? When do shared jeeps stop running from Darjeeling to Siliguri? I would prefer to spend the extra night in Darjeeling, but not sure what kind of transportation options I will have that early in the morning. Thank you in advance. 
     
    Bryan Fleck (October 2012) 
     
    Hi, 
     
    There's usually lot of rush in Darjeeling for New Year celebrations. Most hotels go full. You are likely to struggle to get a decent accommodation unless you book in advance. You might still be able to get one though if you just turn up and try, but you are only taking chances. I won't advice that. Hotels offer no discounts during this time, which means you pay full tariff. 
     
    Returning early in the morning by private taxi is not an issue. You will only need to pre-arrange that, i.e. book it on the previous day and ask the driver to pick you up at a specific time. You won't get one on the fly that early. Shared jeeps are usually available until it's dark. 
     
    Raj (October 2012) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
    Are there any plans by Darjeeling Tourism to start Helicopter Services from Bagdogra Airport to Darjeeling in the near future? 3.5 hours by road doesn't seem very comfortable. 
     
    Secondly I shall be visiting Darjeeling arriving from Delhi by Air on 7th afternoon and returning to Delhi on 12th Afternoon by Air (Air India Flight departure at 2.30 p.m). I wish to know whether I need to know what type of woolens I need to carry since I would be accompanied by my wife and my twins aged 11 years. We have a reservation at Hotel Sailung (via my company). 
     
    For my return journey to the Bagdogra Airport if check in time is 12.30 p.m approximately what time should I leave the Hotel? 
     
    Indravir Saran Das (November 2012) 
     
    Hi, 
     
    There are no helicopter services from Bagdogra to Darjeeling and there is no such plan announced yet. 
     
    You haven't mentioned the month of your travel. Assuming December/January, you will require heavy woolens. Check out the appropriate section of Darjeeling Weather to know what kind of weather/temperature you may expect during that time. Also check with your hotel about what kind of room heating provisions they have. 
     
    You should target to reach the airport at least 2 hours before the flight departs. It takes about 3.5 hours by car between Darjeeling &Bagdogra. You can now back calculate when to leave the hotel. Add some safety margin as well. Regards, 
     
    Raj (November 2012) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
    I told myself I will go and hike in Darjeeling tea plantation for my 50th birthday......I plan to make it in august but I read about the weather; As you seem to be an expert and to be the one to recommend it what would you say???? Thank you very much for your help. 
     
    Isabelle Besson (January 2013) 
     
    Hi, 
     
    August is in peak monsoon in Darjeeling and not suitable for hiking.. Chances are it'll be raining most of the time. September/October would be a better time. Check out the following link for expected weather in Darjeeling by month: 
     
     
    Regards, 
     
    Raj (January 2013) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
    We 5 are visiting Darjeeling on 11th march and stay up to 14th(!). I have two queries: 
    #1 Will there be a general strike on 14th and 15th making our departure on 14th will be impossible? 
    #2 I live in AUSTRIA and therefore not possible to book 5 tickets through internet with Toy Train to Batasia on 12th or 13th. What is your suggestion so that we do not miss this life time experience? Thank you very much for your kind help, Best regards 
     
    Abhijit Ghosh (February 2013) 
     
    Hi, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has called for strikes on March 14 &15. So you are better advised to leave the hills and come down to Siliguri town by 13th evening. On 14th, you won't find any transport in Darjeeling if the strike is in force, neither it would be safe to make an attempt to depart on 14th. For the toy train tickets, contact one of the Darjeeling tour operators I mentioned in my site. You will need to call them up and talk to them. They may ask for money transfers. 
     
    Raj (February 2013) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
    We are a family of four and both kids are under 10 yrs. We are planning to visit Darjeeling in May. Firstly I want to know about the medical facilities available in Darjeeling. Are chemist shops conveniently located for basic medicines like paracetamol and cough syrups? Or should I carryall the medicines? Secondly can the hotel provide us with local car facility? We do not want to travel on all days. Maybe spend two days travelling by car for sightseeing. Other two days we want to stroll around Darjeeling. If we book a car from Mumbai, we have to pay for all 4 days irrespective of whether we use the car or not. Kindly suggest what we should do? 
     
    Shilpa Kamath (March 2013) 
     
    Hi, Darjeeling has several well stocked Chemist Shops... you don't need to carry basic medicines. There is one large Pharmacy on Nehru Road (the road that leads to the Mall). All hotels would be too pleased to provide cars. Most budget and mid-scale hotels organize private cars and take commissions. The upscale ones have their own cars in nice conditions. But both would be pricey. The best is to take a private taxi (bargain the rates if possible ... unlikely in May though). They are the most economical and available all the time in plenty for local tours and day trips. So don't book a car in advance. 
     
    Raj (March 2013) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
     
    We are visiting Darjeeling between 30th March and 2nd April and staying at the Dekeling Hotel. The price of a jeep to collect us from Bagdogra being quoted by the hotel is Rs. 3,000. This seems more expensive than other prices on the internet; is it easy to get a private taxi from the airport or should we ask the Dekeling for a reduction (other companies seem to be about Rs. 2,100). 
     
    When in Darjeeling we would like to visit the Happy Valley Team Museum but it is not clear which days it is closed. We are in Darjeeling on a Sunday and Monday; is the museum open on one of these days and if not, are you able to suggest an alternative? Finally, is the Rope Car operational and if so, are there opening closing times for this? Any help and information you are able to provide would be greatly appreciated. Yours sincerely 
     
    Iain McIntyre (March 2013) 
     
    You can easily take a pre-paid taxi from the Airport. There is a prepaid taxi counter at the arrival hall and the fare to Darjeeling would be around Rs. 1800 for a small car. For jeeps, the fare is around Rs. 2100. There is no need for the hotel to arrange it. 
     
    Happy Valley Tea Estate and the factory is open from 8am to 4pm (Tuesday to Saturday). Other days you won't be able to see tea processing although you can still see the gardens. Another option is to try the Rangeet Valley Tea Estate in Lebong area. While you can go around the gardens, you can't see tea processing there. 
     
    Rope Way (Cable Car) is open 10am to 4:30pm daily. It doesn't go the full stretch yet (only up to Tukvar). There too you can see the Tukvar Tea Estate. 
     
    Regards, 
     
    Raj (March 2013) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
     
    Dear Raj, 
     
    Liked your post....very informative and detailed... We (Me and my maa age - 50yrs, Niece- 6 yrs, and son- 4yrs) planning to visit Gangtok and Darjeeling between 28th May- 2nd June. We are boarding train on 27th from Sealdah to Jalpaiguri and would board back for Kolkata on 2nd June. Wanted your help on the followings: 
     
    a) What is the best way to travel as in first Darjeeling n then Gangtok or Gangtok- Darjeeling? 
     
    b) Since we plan to visit only Gangtok &Darjeeling , how do we divide our days (e.g 3 nights in Gangtok and 2 Nights in Darjeeling) 
     
    c) Since we are all women travelers would request you to recommend a safe &friendly hotel for us.... 
     
    d) If u can help me with estimate charges e.g cab from Jalpaiguri to Gangtok and Gangtok to Darjeeling and back from Darjeeling to Jalpaiguri 
     
    e) Since me n my son is tarvelling from Mumbai to Vijag, Vijag to Kolkata ...Kolkata to Gangtok and Darjeeling and back to Kolkata and finally back home in Mumbai......hence would like to keep our travel easy and relaxed instead of trying to catch a glimpses of every corner of the city. 
     
    f) The objective of our trip to have a good time and give happiness to my son..... 
     
    hope to read your response soon....followed which i shall be booking the hotels. 
     
    Purnima Gupta (April 2013) 
     
    Hi Purnima, 
     
    It doesn't matter where you go first ... Darjeeling or Gangtok. Since you do not want to travel around much in the hills, then keep 3 nights in Darjeeling and 2 in Gangtok. In Gangtok Town itself, there is nothing much to see unless you take a drive to places like Rumtek Monastery, Chhangu Lake etc which are quite far away and require day trips. 
     
    I don't know your budget for hotel stay. Going by a mid-range hotel, In Darjeeling you can stay in Darjeeling Tourist Lodge (West Bengal Tourism). You can book online, but do not book rooms in the annex building. I do not yet offer suggestions for Gangtok. 
     
    To get some ideas about fares, check out the two links below:  
     
     
     
    Regards, 
     
    Raj (April 2013) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
    Please provide me the distance between Darjeeling Bus Stand and Mall. Thanks. 
     
    Bhaskar Roy (April 2013) 
     
    The Chowrasta Mall is little less than 2kms away from Darjeeling Bus Stand, but it's mostly an uphill walk to the Mall. 
     
    Raj (April 2013) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
    Sir, I Planed to reach NJP at 11.05.2013 late evening. I like to know about the starting time of availability of Shared Jeeps in the so early morning (5-6 A.M) to Mirik and also then back to Kurseong in evening (5-6pm). More over I like to know about any dormitory beds available at NJP, Kurseong, Dargeeling, Kalimpong, Gangtok (I am in a group of total 4 guys) 
     
    Muthu Palaniappan (April 2013) 
     
    Shared jeeps are generally available between 7am to 2pm. NJP station retiring room has dormitory beds (30 beds x 2 rooms). In Darjeeling you can try Tenzing Norgay Youth Hostel. Other places you need to go and enquire. Taxi drivers will be able to let you know. 
     
    Raj (April 2013) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
    Thanks for your kind information sir. I saw your website. I got very valuable Information for people like me from the south India searching about Darjeeling. I am really so impressed about your speedy reply too. Thanks, 
     
    Muthu Palaniappan (April 2013) 
     
     
    Hello Sir, A wonderful blog with loads information and no doubt they are priceless for traveler's like us.Six of us are planning to visit Darjeeling in the first week of December 2013 though our plan was for Sikkim but 2 of us will be from Bangladesh so we are planning for Darjeeling. We want to enjoy the core beauty of Darjeeling for 5-6 days and we want to include Jorpukhri, Mirik, Maneybhanjang etc. Will you please inform from where we can get best view of Kanchenjunga? And we will be traveling with 2 y/o kid and want a good budget or 2 star (if we get discount) hotels. Will you please suggest which one will be good as per service and view? Is there any way that we can get some snow around any places near Darjeeling? Will it be possible for us to visit Sandakaphu with the kid? Eager to hear from you. Best regards 
     
    Nivedita Seal (May 2013) 
     
     
    One of the best family hotels with Kanchenjungha views in Darjeeling is the main building of Darjeeling Tourist Lodge. The attached small private balconies in the rooms offer great views. Check out Darjeeling Hotels With Views for my detailed reviews of Darjeeling hotels with great Kanchenjunga views. 
     
    You can also go down to the Mall road view points (specifically the one just next to the Dolphin Hotel and close to Raj Bhawan). In December you should get excellent views from there. If you can wake up early in the winter morning, try out Tiger hill to see the sunrise and the range of snow peaks including Kanchenjunga. It's likely to be quite cold in December, but snowing is very rare in Darjeeling town. 
     
    You can go to Manebhanjan and take a jeep towards Sandakphu. In fact you should get enough snow in Tumling itself (about half way to Sandakphu) around that time. But with an infant with you, you should be very careful. It will be biting cold over there and there are hardly any facilities. All accommodations are basic. Even if you decide to go, do not go further than Tumling around that time with a kid. Take adequate measures and warm clothes. While you may see plenty of snows, you may not be able to see snowfall. There is 
    nothing in Manebhanjan and do not plan to stay there. Mirik via Jorpokhri is a nice drive through the tea gardens. You will enjoy boating at the Mirik lake. 
     
    Raj (May 2013) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
     
    Hi Raj. This is wonderful blog which you have wrote, I got all the information required, hope to get such websites for sikkim also. I am planning to visit Darjeeling on 29th Sept - 2nd Oct, I love scenic peaks can you please advise what shall be sky condition during this time &what kind of clothing required. How much time it take to bagdogra down the hill. Thanks in advance. 
     
    Shabbar Saleem (August 2013) 
     
     
    Hi, 
     
    There can be few showers in Sept end. Sky may get clear/cloudy off an on. Not a great period for viewing peaks, but with some luck, possible. You should take light woolen or jackets. Takes a little over 3 hours down to Bagdogra. But watch out for the political unrest in Darjeeling before you finalize your trip. Do not land up if political stability has not been restored. 
     
    Regards, 
     
    Raj (August 2013) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
     
    Dear Raj, 
     
    Thank you for the loads of information. But I am confused about how early can I get shared Jeep from Darjeeling to Gangtok and from Gangtok to New Jalpaiguri in the morning? Do i need to book for those? I have to reach New Jalpaiguri from Gangtok at around 17:15 at the NJP railway station. Thank you. 
     
    Samir Rathod (August 2013) 
     
     
    You will start getting shared jeeps from about 7am onwards up to about 2pm from both Darjeeling and Gangtok. You can't book shared jeeps in advance. Just hop in. They start as soon as they get full (about 10 persons). 
     
    Raj (August 2013) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
     
    Hey Raj, Your website is very nice and full of information, however i've certain queries. 
    1. We are planning to visit Darjeeling in October 2013. So is it essential that we should book some package tour? 
    2. For travel from NJP to Darjeeling is it necessary to book train/(bus) tickets in advance? 
    3. Is it appropriate to search hotels after reaching Darjeeling? 
    4. What are other places near(500kms) Darjeeling? And how to reach there? 
     
    Piyush (September 2013) 
     
     
    Hi, 
     
    It is not necessary to book any package tour. You can make your tour plans easily after reaching Darjeeling. Taxis are the best for local sightseeing. But book your hotels in advance, October is peak season. No need to book transport from NJP to Darjeeling. You will get private taxis and shared jeeps from NJP station and bus from Siliguri (5-6 kms). There are countless places near Darjeeling. Do some research on my site or the net. You may like to visit Kalimpong (3 hours) and Gangtok (4.5 hrs) by road. 
     
    Raj (September 2013) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
     
    We a family of 3 adults are planning a trip to Darjeeling/ Gangtok. We will reach Bagdogra at 1.30 PM. My queries are : 
    1. Should we proceed to Darjeeling/ Gangtok same day or next day ? 
    2. What is the state of roads ? 
    3. How reliable is Helicopter option ? 
    4. Are holiday packages arranged by operators worthwhile or one should plan independently. 
    5. Will Gangtok- Bagdogra run on same day will be too strenuous for 50+ adults ? 
    6. What hotels ( 3-4 star category with room tariff in Rs 4000 range) are most suitable at Darjeeling which do not require steep climbs by walking ( more than 50-60 M)? 
     
    Atul Bhatnagar (October 2013) 
     
     
    Hi, Here are my comments: 
     
    1) You can proceed to Darjeeling (3.5 hrs by road) or Gangtok (4.5 hrs) on the same day. 
     
    2) Darjeeling road is steep and winding. If they take Rohini, some patches can be bad. Pankhabari route (usually taken on return) is still okay. You can alternatively take the scenic road to Darjeeling via Mirik (4.5 hours). But it'll get dark along the way. Gangtok road is okay. 
     
    3) Helicopter service is available only for Gangtok, and it is subject to weather. Book in advance (only 5 seats). You will get full refunds if the flight is cancelled.  
     
    4) You should plan your trip independently if you want to optimize your trip. Otherwise go through a reputed tour operator. 
     
    5) Gangtok - Bagdogra is 4.5 hours and usually not a problem. Most come directly and catch the flight. 
     
    6) There is no 4 star category hotel in that range. You can consider Viceroy Hotel. Rates will be a bit higher. 
     
    Raj (October 2013) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
    Raj Thanks a lot. Very useful information and will be shared on facebook. I have four days available. I intend spending two days at Kalimpong (as I have got govt accommodation) and two days at Darjeeling. From the natural beauty and siteseeing aspect 
    (1) do you recommend Darjeeling or Gangtok ?  
    (2) how will be the road journey from Kalimpong to Gangtok ?  
    (3) To catch 1330 flight from Gangtok or Darjlg, what time should we leave Gangtok/ Darjeeling ? 
     
    Thanks. 
     
    Atul Bhatnagar (October 2013) 
     
     
    Hi, With Kalimpong (which is part of Darjeeling district), I would suggest Gangtok, so that you can see a bit of Sikkim as well. From Kalimpong, both Darjeeling and Gangtok are equidistant (about 2.5 hours by road). Kalimpong to Gangtok road is okay. From Gangtok, start 6.5 hours prior to flight departure, and from Darjeeling 5.5 hours before. 
     
    Raj (October 2013) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
     
    Raj, We are planning a week trip to Darjleeing , KaliMpong and Gangtok in mid Nov from Mumbai.Few questionss in mind. 
    1)How should the itenery be , if u can help us chalk that out. want to make the best of our stay. we have a 4 year old kid. 
    2) Hows the weather and what kind of woolens to be carried 
    3) Suggest some best luxury hotels to stay 
    4) Want to experience the shortest Toy train Ride 
     
    Thank u so much 
     
    Arya (November 2013) 
     
    Hi, 
     
    Difficult to suggest an itinerary without knowing specifics of what you may like. Take a look the this forum page where I have discussed several options: 
     
    Mid-November can be cold, particularly during early mornings and night time. Temperature can come down to around 8-10 Deg C. So plan accordingly. 
     
    You may consider the following luxury hotels: 
     
    Darjeeling: Mayfair, Windamere (more enjoyable for couples and honeymooners than families), Viceroy 
     
    Kalimpong: Elgin Silver Oaks 
     
    Gangtok: Mayfair Spa, Elgin Nor Khill 
     
    For a short toy train ride, take a joy ride from Darjeeling, get off at Ghoom and get back by car. 
     
    Raj (October 2013) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
    Hi Raj, 
    My friend &I have planned to visit Darjeeling in Feb,2014. We are from Kolkata. I want your suggestion on our trip plans. 
     
    Plan 1: Reach NJP by Darjeeling mail(8am)/ Padatik Exp.(9.05am). Reach Kurseong by shared jeep/ Bus. We will have our lunch at Kurseong keeping luggages in the cloakroom. Short visit around Kurseong then catch the 3pm toy train to reach Darjeeling. 
     
    Question: 
    1. Is there any bus service between NJP/Siliguri &Kurseong? 
    2. Fare of shared Jeep &Bus upto kurseong? 
    3. Time taken to reach kurseong by Bus/ Shared jeep? 
    4. Is there any Cloakroom available in the kurseong rail station? 
     
    Plan2. Reach NJP by Saraighat Exp(1.40am)/ Teesta Torsha Exp.(2.40am). Take Bus/shared jeep up to Darjeeling. Catch 10.15am toy train up to Ghoom. Visit Ghoom Monastery, Batashia Loop, Senchal Lake. Lunch at Ghoom. Catch 5.08pm toy train and return to Darjeeling. 
     
    Question:  
    1. From NJP/Siliguri when the Bus/jeep service starts? 
    2. Is it possible to reach Kurseong before 7am and catch the 7am toy train and make the plan 1 trip in the morning? because in 3pm toy train we hardly watch the scenery for 1hr. 
     
    Next morning we have plan to visit tiger hill. Could you please suggest some other places which we can visit along with tiger hill? Our Darjeeling trip is only for 2days. On the 3rd day morning we have to go to coochbehar. So I have another question when the jeep service starts in the morning from Darjeeling to Siliguri/ NJP? Please reply. 
     
    Thanks, 
     
    Tanmay Biswas (November 2013) 
     
     
    1) There is no bus service now from NJP/Siliguri to Kurseong. The bus goes to Darjeeling via Mongpu and Ghoom.  
     
    2) There is no cloakroom at Kurseong station. 
     
    3) Shared jeep takes about 1 hour 45 mins to reach Kurseong. 
     
    4) Shared Jeep fare from NJP/Siliguri to Kurseong will be to the tune of Rs. 75/- per person. 
     
    5) Shared jeep service usually starts after 7am, both at NJP/Siliguri and Darjeeling. So, you can't reach Kurseong before 7am if you plan to take shared jeep. 
     
    6) On your way back from Tiger Hill, you can cover Ghoom Monastery, Batashia Loop, Senchal Lake (permit required), Ava Art Gallery etc. 
     
    Regards, 
     
     
    Raj (October 2013) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
     
    Dear Raj, appreciate your effort to ease travellers apprehensions...A Noble Gesture on your part...After going through querries &solutions, I could not stop myself to ask you one thing... I, with my family, would be reaching New Jalpaigudi(NJP) on 29th Dec 2013 at about 7.30 pm by Saraighat Express... my queries are: 
     
    1. should we directly proceed for Darjeeling on reaching NJP or Should we stay at New Jalpaigudi overnight and then proceed for Dajeeling next morning. 
    2. How will be the weather at NJP on Dec end. 
    3. How much is the usual charge of Pre-paid Taxi from NJP to Darjeeling. 
    4. How will be the weather in Darjeeling? should we expect snow fall at that time? 
    5. How to go to Bagdogra Airport from Darjeeling. Is there any chance of Road Block due to heavy snowfall at the end of Dec i.e. on 31st or 1st january 2014. 
    6. I have booked room in a hotel in Darjeeling. I hope there is adequate arrangements of room warming in hotels. What's your opinion? 
     
    Thanks, 
     
    Chandrakant Patel (December 2013) 
     
     
    Hi, 
     
    1) The only problem of driving at night on the hills here is possibility of fog. So I would advise you to stay back at NJP/Siliguri and proceed next morning. 
     
    2) Darjeeling will be very cold in December end. So go with adequate winter clothing, caps, gloves, warm jackets etc. Visit the website menu option 'Weather' to get more info. 
     
    3) Prepaid taxi fare (small private taxi) from NJP to Darjeeling is around Rs. 1800. Return fare will be to the tune of Rs. 2500 (same rate for Bagdogra or NJP). 
     
    4) Snowfall in Darjeeling is rare. Routes won't be blocked 
     
    5) Take a taxi from Darjeeling to Bagdogra ... takes about 3.5 hours. 
     
    6) Check with the hotel about room heating. Some do not have adequate heating arrangements. There is no central heating in any Darjeeling hotel. Most will offer blowers or small room heaters at extra cost, you may need more than one. Some hotels additionally provide hot water bags at night. So check with the hotel. The upscale hotels offer bigger room heaters which are adequate and some good mid range hotels have introduced electrical bed heating systems. 
     
    Raj (December 2013) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
     
    We have prepared our Itinerary with the assumption that we would have share transport from one major place to another during 9.00AM morning to 4 PM evening. I am sorry to ask you one more thing as you are not a doctor but what can you suggest for travel sickness for people having trouble like hiccups and vomiting during transport . I mean, what people generally prefer to take for such trip. I am worried as I would need to travel continuous 7 hours in hill area (Gangtok to Lachung ) (zig -zag road) which only makes me ill and getting vomit. 
     
    Sameer Mehta (February 2014) 
     
     
    Shared Jeeps are available at most places ... like between NJP-Mirik, Mirik-Darjeeling, Darjeeling-Gangtok, Gangtok-Kalimpong etc. However they are mostly available between 7am to 2pm, at the most 3pm. You are unlikely to get a shared Jeep after 3pm anywhere unless you are lucky. So you should not plan on shared jeep if your travel starts after 2pm. 
     
    Most use Avomine tablets for motion sickness and nausea in the hills. It works miracle for my wife. Have a tablet at least 30 minutes before you start. Consult a doctor as some with ailments like allergy can have a bit of side effects. 
     
    Raj (February 2014) 
    darjeeling-tourism.com 
     
     
    We are planning holiday with kids age 4/5/7/11 to Darjeeling/sikkim/gangtok Is this good place to take them. We are planning for April last week or May first week so I want to know which month is best to go. 
     
    Jitesh Chhajed (March 2014) 
     
     
    Time of travel is okay. It's the high season in both places. If this vacation is primarily for the kids, then you should plan your stay and vacation carefully depending on what the kids like. For example in Gangtok you may plan to stay at Kanchenjuna Tourist Complex ... it's an all inclusive complex with children playground and activities like rides etc. 
     
    Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2014 
     
     
    Hi RAJ 
     
    This is my first tour to north east and i am very confused. I am going on 18th march and will be coming back on 23rd march on a tour to darjelling and gangtok. Kindly advise me wheather i should go to gangtok or i should take a tour of darjelling and its surroundings. What i've planned is on 18th we will land at around 1700 hrs so instead of going to darjelling we should stay in mirik, and on 19th we should start off for sandakphu rather going to darjelling. From sandakphu we will go to gangtok on 21st and will stay in gangtok for two days and will explore gangtok but i am very interested in staying at chota mangwa and even wanted to see tiger hill which is totally a different route from sandakphu and gangtok so kindly help me out to plan my itinerary. 
     
    Shshank Malhotra (March 2014) 
     
     
    Hi, 
     
    You should not plan so many places in such a short time. One option could be Mirik, Sandakphu and Darjeeling. You can also cover Tiger hill sunrise from Darjeeling. Another option is Mirik, Darjeeling, Gangtok. If you go for the second option, then go through the Suggested itineraries of Darjeeling &Gangtok
     
    Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2014 
     
     
    Hi Raj, 
     
    Thank you for your reply, I've few more queries what I think the first option is interesting for me or if you can suggest me going to sandakphu is worthwhile or gangtok . Do I need any permit to go to Nathula and changu lake.  
     
    Thanks &Regards 
     
    Shshank Malhotra (March 2014) 
     
     
    Sandakphu is essentially a trekkers place. You won't get any amenities there (not even electricity). The gravel road from Maneybhanjan (4+ hours drive) is extremely bumpy and back breaking. But you get sweeping views of the 4 highest peaks including Everest and Kanchenjunga, and that's the main reason one goes there for. If you are with your family and looking for comfort with modern amenities, then plan for Darjeeling and Gangtok. Yes, you will need a permit for Nathula and Changu which takes one day. It's a restricted and an army area. On some days they may not issue permits or may issue limited no. of permits. You should at least stay for two clear days in Gangtok if you plan to visit Changu and Nathula. Your hotel or travel agent can arrange for that. But carry proper photo ids and two passport size photos each. PAN cards are not accepted. Regards, 
     
    Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2014 
     
     
    Hi Raj, 
     
    Amazing site .. I have been travelling around the world and I look for travelogues before visiting a place . I should say you are doing a splendid Job. 
     
    I am visiting Darjeeling for the second time , so the famous points and regular itinerary I covered last time. I have 4 days , suggest me some hidden treasures :) . Also , I want to taste authentic local food, saw your few tips . Suggest me some local eateries where I can feel the taste of local street food and typical authentic darjeeling food. Some shopping tips in Mirik would help. Regards 
     
    Jaspreet (May 2014) 
     
     
    Hi, 
     
    For local food and eateries, go though Local food &drinks 
     
    For hidden gems, consider the following: 
     
    1) Few points in the Heritage Walk of Darjeeling like the Old Cemetery. 
     
     
    2) Walk down to Bhutia Busti Monastery and come back via Lebong. The hike is enjoyable as you walk through Bhutia locality. 
     
    3) Go through the Offbeat Stays menu option in my website where I have described several places that are still virgin and have had far lesser tourist footprint than the conventional places. 
     
    Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2014 
     
     
    Your website is fantastic. Anyone can get any type of details regarding Darjeeling. But one thing I want to know, is there any cloak room in Darjeeling ? At railway station or any where else where I can keep my luggage. As I was planning to go in morning, travel the whole day there, and return at night. 
     
    Romel Bhattacharjee (July 2014) 
     
     
    There is no cloakroom in Darjeeling. There is one at NJP station. 
     
    Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) July 2014 
     
     
    Hello -- 
     
    My friend and I (two women in their late 20s) will be flying into Bagdogra Airport on October 13 and flying out October 21. We are interested to explore Darjeeling and Sikkim and wondered if you could recommend an itinerary. I have read your other posts, and there are some differences to our travel I wanted to note: 1) We are interested in doing 1 or 2 day hikes -- do you recommend where and with whom to trek? 2) We are flexible about mode of travel and where to stay -- very low maintenance. Do you have any suggestions on where to stay that is low budget but clean/safe? And whether we should be taking buses / group taxis or hire a private car for safety purposes? 3) My friend is foreign and will need to apply for a border permit for Sikkim. I have a foreign passport, but also an OCI card -- will I need a border permit? 4) I know it is high season for the tourists when we are visiting, and as of now, we have not booked anything. Is that going to be a problem? Should we book everything in advance, or is it quite easy to make arrangements upon arrival? 5) Neither of us speak Bengali or Hindi -- is that going to be a problem, or are there sufficient English speakers in the area? Thank you so much for your help and advice! 
     
    Geetha (September 2014) 
     
     
    Hi, firstly I would advise you to go through a reliable operator for any hikes or treks, instead of a stranger who may pose like a guide. You don't want to spoil your fun just to save a few dollars. Offroad Adventures or Ashmita Trek &Tours would be good choices. Both of you will require Restricted Area Permits for Sikkim. You can get that from the Foreign Tourist Registration office in Darjeeling (near State Bank of India on Ladenla Road). You won't get any decent hotel around that time unless you book in advance. It's already very late. Don't land up and fall prey to touts... it can easily spoil your party. Standard hotels and guides would understand English and can manage communications. In Darjeeling, stay at Andy's Guesthouse if available.... it's cheap, clean and only foreigners allowed. Buses are limited. Shared jeeps are okay... try to take the front seats next to the driver. If they take three persons instead of two on front seats, then book all three for two of you. 
     
    Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2014 
     
     
    Abhijeet (October 2014) 
    Sir, I am planning a Darjeeling tour by my own car (Ertiga) in Nov 14. Are local drivers/guides available to drive/guide my car around Darjeeing. Are fee parking places available near Mall/Chowrasta/or any other convenient place? Can my Ertiga climb up to Tiger Hill?Can I use my car for doing local sightseeing or I have to compulsarily hire local cabs.Where can I find snow in the second fortnight of Nov nearby Darjeeling? Thanks 
     
     
    You can find a guide... contact a tour operator. Roadside parking is almost non-existent in proper Darjeeling area except in designated cab stands which are used by taxis and commercial vehicles. You can however do local sightseeing on your own car if it's a personal car and not a commercial vehicle of any type. You will get temporary parking at the tourist places. While jeeps are preferred for Tiger Hill, but Ertiga can make it. In fact some take small cars there as well. You will unlikely get snow in November in Darjeeling. If at all, Tiger Hill area can be one such place. 
     
    Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2014 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
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