Trip Itinerary
Darjeeling & Gangtok

If you are planning a combined trip to Darjeeling and Gangtok, this section can help you design a great itinerary and tour plan. In the section below, I have shown some popular itineraries. Subsequently a forum discussion follows where I have answered many questions on Darjeeling-Gangtok combined itineraries. Once you reach Darjeeling or Gangtok, you can take a local taxi from the stand or a car from a tour operator to get around and visit the tourist places. 

Visit Darjeeling or Gangtok first?

The first question that comes to mind is "Which place to visit first? Darjeeling or Gangtok?" Darjeeling is under the state West Bengal, while Gangtok is the capital of the state of Sikkim. It takes about 4 hours to reach one place from the other by car. However, from Bagdogra/NJP, Gangtok takes around 4.5 hours by car and Darjeeling around 3 hours under normal traffic conditions. While you can visit either place first, there are some practical reasons to visit Gangtok first and then Darjeeling. 
From Bagdogra/NJP you need to take the National Highway NH10 for Gangtok (there is no alternative route). This road passes through congested Siliguri areas in the plains and there can be massive traffic jams in several sections here (particularly between Matigara and Darjeeling More) as well as further down at places like Kalijhora, Setijhora etc where some major road repair work has been ongoing. So when returning from Gangtok, if you are stuck in such a jam (could be several hours at times), you may end up missing your flight or train, which by the way is not uncommon. 
Darjeeling on the other hand is much nearer to NJP railway station or Bagdogra airport than Gangtok, and the route is different (NH-110 and there are few other routes too). You are unlikely to get into any traffic jams on these routes. So while returning, you can be lot more comfortable and relaxed. And you can avail this solution by visiting Gangtok first and then Darjeeling. 
But if you still decide otherwise, you must keep minimum of 8-10 hours for your return from Gangtok to Bagdogra or NJP and start your journey as early as possible to avoid the traffic jams. Secondly, if you visit Darjeeling first, you are likely to face some vehicle entry restrictions in Gangtok. From Darjeeling the West Bengal registered vehicles won't be allowed beyond the Deorali taxi stand (located 2kms below Gangtok town). From Deorali you will need to transfer to a local taxi to get to your hotel in Gangtok. This is a state restriction and you can not do anything about it. On the other hand, if you come to Darjeeling from Gangtok, you can be dropped right up to your hotel by a Sikkim taxi. 
Recommended Resources 
The eBook on Darjeeling & Sikkim is a great resource to plan your tour and get deep insights into various attractions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Sikkim including trips, tours and rides. 
Before you take a look at the itineraries below, I suggest you go through Darjeeling & Sikkim Area Guide to understand where the important tourists destinations are located and the road routes. 

6 days/5 nights Darjeeling & Gangtok itinerary

  • DAY1: Arrive at NJP/Bagdogra. Transfer to Darjeeling via Mirik by taxi (this is a longer but scenic route. Takes about 4.5 hours. Pre-paid taxis take shorter route. So you will need to pay a bit extra to the driver or take a separate taxi. You will see Mirik lake and lovely tea gardens on the way). However this is possible if you reach NJP/Bagdogra in the first half. Otherwise take the usual route (3.5 hours). Night stay in Darjeeling. 
  • DAY2: Take 3-point tour early in the morning to watch sunrise over Mt. Kanchenjunga from Tiger Hill, followed by visit to Ghoom Monastery and famous Batasia Loop. Don't miss out on the Samosas (singaras) sold by the locals at Batasia. Come back and take your breakfast in the hotel. Later visit the Chowrasta Mall. Sit on a bench and Relax here for a while, then complete a round along Mall Road. Walk up the Observatory Hill to Mahakal Temple from the Mall road and soak in the views and wonderful ambience. In the afternoon, go for the 2-hour Toy Train Joy Ride. But book the tickets in advance. In the evening, take a stroll along Nehru Road through many shops and Bhutia stalls... do some shopping. Try to take your dinner at the famous Glenary's Restaurant. Overnight in Darjeeling. 
  • DAY3: Take breakfast at Keventer's on the open roof terrace. You can get the famous full English breakfast here if you want. Then take a sightseeing tour of Darjeeling- go for either 7-point or mix point tour. The main attractions to cover are Happy Valley Tea Estate, HMI & Zoo, Tibetan Self Help Refugee Center, Tenzing Rock, Ropeway (cable car), Rock Garden etc. Take your dinner at The Park - a great Thai & Chinese restaurant on Laden La Road. 
  • DAY4: Check out in the morning (by 8am), take a taxi from the stand and move to Gangtok (takes about 4 hours). Check into the hotel, freshen up and walk down to MG Marg, the hub of Gangtok - Smoke & vehicle free boulevard square with shops and restaurants lined up on both sides. A great place to sit on a bench and feel the carnival like ambience. Walk down to a restaurant, take a relaxed lunch. Post lunch, do some shopping. Also walk down to nearby Lal Bazaar for more shops. Remaining day at leisure. Overnight at Gangtok. 
  • DAY5: Go for a full day 10-point sightseeing tour (see Gangtok sightseeing tours). 
  • DAY6: This is the day to check out and transfer back to NJP/Bagdogra. If you have time in the first half, then take a taxi and visit some unseen attractions like the Himalayan Zoo - you will see many rare and endangered species of Himalayan animals like Red Panda, Snow Leopard, Tibetan Wolf, and lot more that are kept in natural habitats. It's a large zoological park in forested area. You will need some 1.5 to 2 hours for the visit. 

    7 days/6 nights Darjeeling & Gangtok itinerary

  • Follow the same itinerary above from Day1 to Day5.  
  • DAY6: Make a full day trip to Tsomgo Lake - a glacial lake at an altitude of 12,400ft and followed by visit to the much fabled Baba Mandir. You can also combine Nathula Pass
  • DAY7: Transfer back to NJP/Bagdogra. 

    Itinerary with East & North Sikkim

    Some may not have the opportunity to return to Darjeeling & Sikkim again, at least in the short term. So many of such tourists intend to maximize their visit to this part of the hills and do not mind travelling more than usual and making the trip a bit more hectic than normal. The following itinerary is for them: 
    Assuming here that you reach NJP or Bagdogra in the morning half and finally depart in the second half of the day. Otherwise you need to fine tune the itinerary as it may suit you. 
  • DAY1: Reach Darjeeling via Mirik Lake and enjoy the beauty of many tea gardens, the lake itself and Indo-Nepal border villages along the way. Reach hotel, roam around in the Mall, do some shopping, take dinner at Glenary's
  • DAY2: Take a toy train joyride in the morning. Later, take a half-day 7-point sightseeing tour of Darjeeling. 
  • DAY3: Transfer to Gangtok (about 4hours). Ask the driver to stop at Lamahatta along the way if possible. Rest of the day at leisure, roam about on MG Marg in Gangtok, do some shopping, have coffee at Baker's Cafe. NOTE: Once you reach Gangtok, the first thing is to hand over your Photo IDs to a registered tour operator or the hotel so that they can get your permits ready for Tsomgo, Nathula and Yumthang. In fact it's better to send scanned copies of the Photo IDs in advance to arrange the permits before you reach. Some times it can take half a day to get the permits from Sikkim Tourism office in Gangtok, which can jeopardize your trip to such areas. 
  • DAY4: Take a full day 10-point sightseeing tour of Gangtok. 
  • DAY5: Next day start early and visit Tsomgo Lake, New Baba Mandir and Nathula Pass, and return before dusk. 
  • Now you have two options - either visit Lachung/ Yumthang Valley with Zero Point or visit Lachen / Gurudongmar Lake. If you want to visit both then an extra day will be required. 
  • OPTION1: Lachen / Gurudongmar 
  • DAY6: Reach Lachen from Gangtok and stay overnight. 
  • DAY7: Visit Gurudongmar Lake early morning. If you want to visit Yumthang Valley also, then transfer to Lachung and stay there overnight, otherwise return to Gangtok. 
  • OPTION2: Lachung / Yumthang  
  • DAY6: Start for Lachung, check in at hotel in Lachung, roam around in Lachung and do some local sightseeing. 
  • DAY7: Start early. Visit Yumthang valley and Zero Point, and return to Gangtok. Rest of the day at leisure. 
  • DAY8: Return to NJP/Bagdogra 

    Forum Discussions

    The itinerary forum discussions below have been ongoing for long. To see the latest first, you need to scroll down to the bottom and then visit the last page. All itineraries suggested below are mostly valid even at today's time and can be adopted for combined trip to Darjeeling & Sikkim. 
    Ordered from older to recent posts 
    Me and my family (4 persons and an infant) are planning to go to Darjeeling in the mid of June'13 for 6 days. Actually I want to spend two days at Darjeeling, one day at Kalimpong and two days at Gangtok. According to this I want some suggestion from you for local sightseeing and transport. Can you please give me a tour plan for this trip. Actually it will be my first trip to Darjeeling. We will reach NJP via train. Regards, 
    Banani Dutta (May 2013) 
    Dear Banani, 
    I have discussed many itineraries & tour plans for Darjeeling in my forum section Darjeeling Itinerary. Go through that and also Tourist Places and Sightseeing Tours. You should be able to design a 2-day plan in Darjeeling for yourself based on what you like. 
    For Gangtok, you can consider the following:  
    On day-1, you can go for the standard 10 point local sightseeing covering Hanuman Tok (temple with great viewing area), Ganesh Tok, Tashi View Point, Enchey Monastery, Bakthang waterfall, Tibetology Museum, Chorten Stupa, Handicraft & Cottage Industry (closed on Sundays), Flower Exhibition Center, Ropeway (Cable Car Ride... great view of the whole of Gangtok town and landscape). Alternatively you can drive to Rumtek Monastery, Ranka Moastery (excellent place & views but bad roads), Banjhakri fall etc. 
    Next day in the morning, start for a full day excursion to Tsongmo Lake (Altitude 12400Ft / 3780 Mts), distance is about 35Kms and takes about 2hrs one way, and followed by visit to Baba Mandir. The lake has an average depth of 50 ft. A very scenic place. You can take a private or a shared vehicle for the lake. Do not take small vehicle as the road condition is not good and gradient at some places is quite steep. Also note that Tsongmo lake requires permit, which the hotel can arrange. You need to furnish 2 passport size photos and Photo ID cards for each. If you can also cover Nathula Pass on the same trip. 
    Raj (, May 2013) 
    Hello, I am a Colombian citizen and planning to visit Gangtok next June and I' like to know if I need a permit to visit the city. I am planning to leave from Darjeeling around 4pm, would be wise to do that? How long does it take to go to Gangtok? Thanks 
    Luis F Suarez (May 2013) 
    Foreigners (except nationals of Bhutan) need permit to enter Sikkim. You can get it from the Sikkim Tourism Center in Darjeeling. Passport & photographs are required. 4pm is a late start for Gangtok. Try to start by 1pm. It takes over 4 hours. Night driving at the hills is not a good idea. However it's doable. 
    Raj (, May 2013) 
    Hello there! I was very pleased to find your site! 
    I will be in Kolkata in February. I am a lady travelling alone (but confident and sensible) and would like to visit Darjeeling. I hope to do this on my own as tours are so expensive (especially for one person). I intend flying to Bagdogra then getting a taxi to Darjeeling. 
    The questions that I would like to ask you are: 
    1. Can I arrange day trips and the Toy Train (The joy ride to Ghum) when I get to Darjeeling. 
    2. I would also like to visit Gangtok and Pelling. I have been told that I will need a permit for these. Is that so? 
    3. Do you think if I only have a week just to spend the time in Darjeeling? I can see from your page that there are many trips around. Can I book them when I arrive. Basically can I find everything I want when I arrive in Darjeeling. I would appreciate a reply as soon as possible. I thank you in advance for your time. Regards 
    Virginia Leone (July 2013) 
    In February, you can organize all tours and trips easily once you reach Darjeeling. There won't be many tourists then. It's a low season. Best is to take a taxi and get around. Small private cars operate as taxis in Darjeeling. You can directly talk to a taxi driver and arrange for the day tours/trips. That'll be most economical. Alternatively, you can go through a tour operator who will add up his own commission, but will likely to get you a taxi in good condition and a good driver. In low season, you get discounts in hotels and also in taxi tour rates. Since you are a foreign tourist, I have a hunch that operators and taxi drivers may not offer you good rates to start with. 
    I'm not sure if toy train joy rides will operate in February. Even if it does, it'll have fewer runs. In case it doesn't, buy ticket and board the commuter toy train that goes to Kurseong in the morning (around 10am). Get off at Ghoom and get back by a taxi. Almost a similar experience as joy ride. The only difference is the Kurseong train may not alway have first class coaches (seating). 
    Yes, you will require a permit to enter Sikkim. Both Gangtok and Pelling are in the state of Sikkim. But that's easy to get. Just walk over to the Sikkim Touism Center in Darjeeling located right opposite to Glenary's Restaurant (close to Mall, the main town center), carry your passport and couple of photos, that's all. They will issue the permit in few minutes. There is a small cost though. 
    Depending on what you like, 7 days in Darjeeling may or may not be enough. If you start liking the vibe and the place, then stay on. Otherwise, just take a taxi and move on to Gangtok. Takes about 4 hours from Darjeeling. Just do a bit of research on the net to short list one or two hotels in Gangtok. You will get rooms when you land up. But Pelling is a long way off from there. I suggest plan Gangtok and not Pelling if 7 days is all what you have. 
    Good luck! 
    Raj (, July 2013) 
    Hello Mr. Raj, I was reading your suggestions about travel around Darjeeling; and thought of taking your advice. Me and my wife are joining YHAI trek in Dec. It covers Sandakfu, Gurdum, Rimbik. But we are willing to go to Gangtok, Please help us to plan our itinerary, how many days are required? Is it worth to go to Gangtok? I heard about Changu lake may be frozen in Dec. Is it possible to cover these interesting places in 2-3 days? c'oz the trek itself is of 7days. Pl. reply. Regards. 
    Dr. Madnaik Pradeep (August 2013) 
    You should consider Darjeeling rather than Gangtok. Once you get back to Manebhanjan from your trek (via Rimbik), you will need to take a car (private taxi) for Gangtok which takes around 5 hours from there. It's quite far. Darjeeling is only 1.5 hours and you will get shared jeeps as well. But once you reach Gangtok, you can cover the local sightseeing in one day. Tsomgo lake will be frozen around that time but you can still go. It's a full day trip to the lake and one should start in the morning hours. Regards, 
    Raj (, August 2013) 
    Hello Raj, 
    I am planning a travel to Darjeeling, Gangtok, and near by places in Oct. I have prepared this itinerary based upon what I read on Google. Could you please take a look and see if this is feasible? 
    Oct 21 
    9am: Bagdogra to Mirik; Stay in Mirik for some time; Mirik to Sandakphu; Night stay at Sandakphu 
    Oct 22 
    Sandakphu to Darjeeling; Ghum toy train ride; Tea tasting; Night stay at Darjeeling 
    Oct 23 
    Sunrise @ Tiger hill; Drive to Tsongmo Lake; Stay at Mangan or Gangtok (depending upon time we have after visiting the lake) 
    Oct 24 
    Yumthang Valley; Yumesodong; Night stay at Lachung 
    Oct 25 
    Drive to Bagdogra. Reach by 12pm. 
    Thank you so much for you help. Kind Regards, 
    Nitin Malhotra (October 2013) 
    It's quite an adventurous itinerary... but not practical. 
    Bagdogra to Sandakphu will take close to 9 hours drive. With more than normal break in Mirik, it's likely to take longer. Driving around in the mountains after dark is not a good idea particularly if you get caught in fog. Note hat you will require a 4-wheel drive Jeep or Land Rover to get to Sandakphu from Maneybhanjan. 
    Day2 is feasible if you leave early in the morning. But that will mean virtually no time in Sandakphu. Sandakphu to Darjeeling will take about 5.5 hours. Tsongmo (Changu) lake is a full day trip from Gangtok. From Darjeeling you can reach Gangtok (4.5 hours by car), but can't make it to the lake and get back to Gangtok on the same day. 
    From Gangtok, you can make an overnight trip to Lachung/Yumthang (Gangtok to Lachung takes about 6.5 hours by road/car). But you can't catch 12 noon flight next day directly from Lachung ... it takes 10-11 hours to reach Bagdogra by car via Gangtok. 
    Looks like you are new to this region. I suggest you go through a credible tour operator to properly plan out your days. Google road maps and time suggestions unfortunately don't work well in mountainous terrain. Good luck! 
    Raj (, October 2013) 
    Hi Raj, In about 7 to 8 days time is it okay to cover all the places (Darjeeling, Gangtok, Kalimpong, Kurseong, Mirik) mentioned or would it be too hectic for the senior citizens. Also please kindly, if possible, do suggest the route or the order in which we should cover the places i.e should we start with Darjeeling and move on to the other places or follow some other order. How many days should be enough at each of these places? Thanks once again for your time. Thanks a lot. Regards 
    Argha Kr. Banerjee (November 2013) 
    Hi, suggest you skip Kurseong ... nothing much to see. It's essentially a place for great many schools, although there are a few sightseeing areas like Eagles Craig, Deer Park etc, but really not very impressive. But just in case you still want to do it, I have included it below: 
    NJP/Bagdogra to Mirik: 1 night at Mirik or having spent a couple of hours at the lake, move to Darjeeling 
    Mirik - Darjeeling: 3 nights at Darjeeling (while in Darjeeling, make a day trip to Kurseong and back if you like) 
    Darjeeling to Kalimpong: 1 night at Kalimpong 
    Kalimpong - Gangtok: 2/3 nights in Gangtok  
    Raj ( November 2013 
    Hi, At the outset I must thank you for the valuable information you have provided on your site. Having read the information, I feel without going through the information provided by you, the tour of North East would have just been touch-n-go kind of tour where I would not have known the real North East. I would rather postpone my tour and plan properly than to go through a rushed schedule that all the tour operators offer/suggest. 
    I and my family ( 2 + 2, all adults) are planning to visit North East from 22 December to 3 December 2013. The itinerary planned is to arrive Bagdogra on 22nd noon and proceed to Darjeeling (2 nights). From Darjeeling to Kalimpong (1 night). From Kalimpong to Pelling (2 nights). From Pelling to Gangtok (3 nights). From Gangtok to Bagdogra Airport in the afternoon. 
    Need your advise as under: 
    a) Is December end a good time to visit North East? 
    b) Is the route and the time proposed at each location is proper and adequate to visit the Must See places at each location ? 
    c) Looking at the time proposed at each location, must see places the we should not miss, so that I can fit the same in my schedule and plan / book as may be necessary (for toy train for example) 
    d) Is there possibility of getting a private taxi at Bagdogra which will stay with us for the entire trip so that we can move and visit at the desired locations at our convenience and stay at a place longer if we like the place rather than rush from one spot to another. If so, if you would know of any such driver/agency that you could suggest / recommend. 
    e) I plan to book my stay with Summit Group of hotels who have properties at each of these locations like Summit Yashashree (Darjeeling), Summit Garden (Kalimpong), Summit Newa (Pelling) and Summit Norling (Gangtok). With online booking offer of 50% off season discount, I am getting average per night tariff of Rs. 3500 per room and am asked to book 2 rooms since they say no hotel would allow more than 3 persons in a room. So, considering the off season of December, would it be advisable to book in advance at Summit/ any other Hotel or we can reach the location and look for other option / bargain. 
    Would appreciate your revert so that I can plan my trip and initiate the booking. 
    Warm Regards, 
    Kuldeep Sharma (November 2013) 
    Hi Kuldeep, 
    Here are my comments: 
    1) When you consider clear sky and great views, December-end is a good time to visit Darjeeling and Sikkim. But it can be biting cold out there particularly after dark and in the mornings. So go prepared with that in mind. 
    2) Last week of December (Christmas/ New Years eve) is a high time in the area and most good hotels go full during this time. You will be better off to book hotels in advance. However the recent political movements in the region may be a bit of a dampener this year and you may not therefore find that much of rush. Good for tourists I guess. 
    3) Summit hotels are usually okay but often located out of the main town areas. So it's a good idea to have a car at your disposal. Btw, I was in Summit Garden Kalimpong y'day. Kings Travel is a well known agency based in Siliguri (close to Bagdogra). They can arrange a car for your whole trip including airport pickup and drop. Go for a bigger vehicle like Scorpio (since you plan to travel quite a bit and road conditions in some places are far from ideal). 
    4) Note that while Darjeeling and Kalimpong are in West Bengal, Gangtok and Pelling are in Sikkim. So the car should have inter state permit (which is usually not a problem... a car registered in WB can also get its Sikkim permit on the fly at Rangpo, which is the entry point at Sikkim. But this will take away some time).  Secondly in some places like in Gangtok, there are restrictions on non-state vehicles to enter the main town areas. For example WB registered cars are allowed only up to the lower taxi stand in Gangtok and then one has to take a local taxi up to the hotel. So get all that sorted out with the travel agency to avoid such surprises. 
    5) Another caveat with a full time car rental is that the driver may not know all sightseeing points in all places, which a local driver would otherwise know. So the onus is on you to plan out the days and the exact places you want to visit in order to optimize on the days' sightseeing. 
    6) Your itinerary looks a bit hectic to me. Note that none of the four places (Darj, Kalimpong, Gangtok and Pelling) are on the same route. You can imagine them at four different radial locations which can be accessed from a common point (which is Teesta in this case). This means you will need to come down to Teesta area every time you access another point and then go up a different mountain to reach that place. So there will be a lot of travel time involved. You should spend two full days in each of Darjeeling and Gangtok (this will ideally require three nights in each place considering travel/transfer time) and one full day each in Pelling and Kalimpong (so two nights in each). If that's not possible, drop one... a logical drop would be Pelling because it's in west Sikkimg while Gangtok is in East Sikkim. You can then cut out a major travel time.  
    7) Several parts of roads are in real bad condition (under repair or just left as is for years without maintenance... courtesy the long drawn statehood movement in the area). But from Bagdogra if you start with Darjeeling as your first destination, you can avoid some parts of the treacherous roads. 
    8) If you decide to keep a car, then take the scenic route to Darjeeling via Mirik. It takes only one hour more, but worth it. Not just a better road, you can additionally see Mirik lake on the way and stretches of amazing tea gardens on mountain slopes (mostly after Mirik). 
    9) Since you have limited time, do not try maximizing the sightseeing points/activities. Rather choose 5-6 per place, so that you can relax, feel the charm and enjoy the attractions. For example in Darjeeling, the Ropeway, Toy Train, HMI/Zoo etc will require time. In Gangtok, I would sacrifice several attractions for Ranka Monastery and Banjhakri waterfall (horrible roads though... ), Rumtek Monastery will take time not only for its distance but also for the long uphill walk (don't miss the golden stupa, made of pure gold ... no wonder why there are so many sentries) and also the Bakthang Falls. In Kalimpong I would at least spend half a day on Dello Hill Top (unmatched Kanchenjunga views, great scenery, spans of green landscape, gardens with flowering plants, horse riding, restaurant and a nice tourist lodge). Try to stay at the GTA lodge in Dello Hill if you can. From Pelling I would make a visit to Singshore Bridge (Asia's 2nd highest hanging gorge bridge), Khecheopalri lake, Pemayangtse Monastery, Rimbi waterfall, Yuksom etc. 
    10) One last suggestion, do not plan to drive after dark in Darjeeling or Sikkim.... fog can sometimes cause problems and pose a lot of risk. 
    Hope this helps... Good luck!! 
    Raj ( November 2013 
    Hi Mr Raj, 
    Thank you so much for this informative forum. It has been of great help in finalizing our trip Itinery. I understand that you might be repeating yourself on the Trip Itinerary for Darjeeling - Gangtok, but it would be greatly appreciated if you could suggest the most effective 5 days 4 nights starting on 1 Feb 2014. Also we will be travelling with 2 sets of parents (senior citizens), 4 children and 8 adults in the Feb 2014.Please advise if the Itinerary below would be effective in making the most out of 4 nights stay. 
    Day 1 - 1 Feb 2014 
    Reach NJP AT 2.40 AM 
    Hire Sumo to take to Darjeeling vis Mirik route (as you suggested in your email earlier) starting at 7.00am Booked Hotel Sagarika for accommodation - Reach there by 12 noon. 
    Day 2 - 2 Feb 2014 
    Take the 7 points tour in Darjeeling 
    Day 3 - 3 Feb 2014 
    Hire Sumo to travel from Darjeeling to Gangtok via the Peshok road. Stop on the way to Lover's Meet View Point and other Tea Gardens. Spend the rest of the day in Gangtok local sightseeing 
    Day 4 - 4 Feb 2014 
    Planning to go to famous Tsongo Lake, Baba Mandir and Changu Lake. 
    Not sure if we could go to Lachung and then to Yumthang Valley. I reckon it would be too much for the children and the parents. 
    Day 5 - 5 Feb 2014 Catch the train from NJP at 16.00 hrs. 
    Could you please suggest us any better itinerary for Gangtok. We are looking to book an accomodation at Gangtok and need your suggestion. Is there any other hotel/holiday home other than Hotel Sonam Delek. 
    Waiting for your reply. Will we be lucky enough to see the snow in Gangtok in Feb 2014 
    Many Thanks, Regards 
    Shampa Anand (November 2013) 
    Your itinerary looks good. Some points to note: 
    1) Tsongmo lake and Changu lake are the same. You need a permit for visit to Changu lake. And for that all of you will require valid photo id cards and two passport size photos. Your hotel can take care of the permit. PAN cards won't work. You should carry id cards like Voter's Id/Driving License/Passport etc. 
    2) In Gangtok, the local sightseeing may be a bit tricky. They have 7 point and 10 point sightseeing. But unless you ask for it specifically, they won't cover Rumtek Monastery (requires some long uphill walk though), Ranka Monastery (the best in my view, but really bad roads and you need a Scorpio or Jeep), Banjhakri waterfall etc. The Zoo here is first of its kind in India where animals are kept like in their natural habitats. It takes a long time to cover the zoo and requires long walks. With aged people, this may be a bit of a problem. The Zoo is located right opposite Ganesh Tok (temple). So if you are visiting Ganesh Tok, you rather cover zoo as well. Hanuman Tok is an excellent temple with a spectacular viewing area (you can see the entire Kanchenjunga range from there on a clear day). Tashi View point requires climbing some steep flight of steps. Bakthang Waterfall is really nice and right on the roadside. So do your homework properly. 
    3) Drop Lachung/Yumthang ... it's in north Sikkim and quite far away. You can't cover it in such a short time. 
    4) While Sonam Delek on Tibet Road is a very good hotel (I was there last week), it requires a steep walk back up from MG Marg (which is the town centre and the main shopping area). Most good hotels are actually a bit away from MG Marg. Another nice mid-range hotel is Netuk House... also on Tibet Road. 
    Raj ( November 2013 
    Hi Raj, 
    First would like to tell you that all information mention on this forum is very useful. Thanks for that. We are planning to go in May 2014 & total members are 7. Here is my plan mention below; 
    Day 1: Will reach @ NJP at approx 9.10 PM. Proceed to Darjeeling by prepaid taxi. 
    Day 2: 3-Point Tour (4am-7:30am) Tiger Hill, Ghoom Monastery, Batasia Loop and the War Memorial,7 points tour (2 pm to 5.30 pm) Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and the Zoo, Darjeeling Ropeway, Tenzing & Gombu Rock, Happy Valley Tea Estate, Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center, Lebong Race Course, Gorkha Football Stadium. 
    Day 3: 5 points tour (9.00 AM - 12 Noon )- Japanese Temple & Peace Pagoda, Lalkuthi or Lal Kothi, Dhirdham Temple, Ava Art Gallery, Bengal natural history museum.Rock Garden & Gangamaya Park. 2pm-5pm 
    Day 4: After breakfast proceed to Gangtok via Kalimpong. Proceed for excursion tour of Tsomgo Lakeand Baba Mandir. Nathula. 
    Day 5: After breakfast, proceed to visit Handicraft Centre, Flower Show, Tibetology and Ropeway. After lunch, proceed to visit Ranka Monastery and Banjhakri Water Falls/ Gardens. Evening free for shopping. 
    So my questions to you are; 
    1. Is above mention plan correct? 
    2. I have to organise a local tour operator for both the places or can i do by myself? 
    3. Can you suggest me any budget hotel in gangtok. 
    I hope I am not asking any irrelevant question... So hoping for your reply.... 
    Neha Palav (November 2013) 
    1) If you reach NJP after 9pm at night, by the time you reach Darjeeling it'll be well past midnight. So the early morning Tiger Hill sunrise trip may not be feasible. Secondly, it's not advisable to travel in the mountains such late at nights (mainly because of fog which sometimes can create problems). But if you have no other option, better book a car through a travel agent. You may not get a pre-paid taxi at late hours. 
    2) On day-2: take the full day Mixed Point tour (start around 10am) 
    3) Do the 3-point early morning tour on day-3 and keep the remaining of day-3 at leisure, strolling around the Chowrasta mall, walking up the Observatory Hill to Mahakal Temple, do a bit of shopping, eat at Glenary's/Keventers etc etc. You can optionally take a taxi and visit the Rock Garden. 
    4) From Teesta area, Kalimpong is on a different route from Gangtok. You can't do a quick sightseeing in Kalimpong and proceed to Gangtok. So on Day4, go to Gangtok directly. You can not make it to Tsongmo lake or Nathula on the same day you reach Gangtok. It requires a permit (which your hotel can arrange) and all of you should carry valid photo id cards (pan cards wont work) plus two passport size photos each.  
    5) Start early from Darjeeling on day-4 (by 6/7am) and reach Gangtok directly (about 3.5 hours). You can then keep your luggage in the hotel and go for local sightseeing. Note that Ranka monastery, Rumtek Monastery, Banjhakri Waterfall are quite far away and will require time. You can not combine all sightseeing points you mentioned on the same day. Road to Ranka is in very bad condition although it's one of my favorite places. You will need a bigger vehicle like Scorpio etc to visit. Rumtek requires quite a bit of uphill walk. Whereas Ropeway (great experience, you can see the whole of Gangtok), Flower Exhibition center, Tibetology Museum, handicraft center etc are nearby. So plan out the local sightseeing properly. The local drivers offer 5-point (half day) and 10-point (full day) tours. 
    6) On day-5 visit Tsongmo lake and Nathula. But watch out for the altitude... Nathula is not meant for all and take enough caution for cold and breathlessness. If you visit Nathula, start taking Diamox tablets (one per day) before you visit. This will help retaining oxygen in blood. But do consult a doctor. Note that both Tsongmo lake and Nathula require permits ... you need to carry Photo Id (Pan card not accepted) and two passport size photos for every person in the group. 
    7) You can organize the local tours on your own. Just negotiate with taxi drivers. This will be the most economical option. But remember, May is a high season and rates will be high. 
    8) You can look into the following budget/mid-range hotels in Gangtok: Asian Heights, Sagorika, Sonam Delek, Netuk House, Rhenock House. 
    Good Luck!!  
    Raj ( November 2013 
    Sir, we are going to visit Gangtok and Darjeeling from 3/12/13 to 8/12/13. Please help me in this regard. Some queries are as below. 
    1. what to visit first - Gangtok or Darjeeling? 
    2. does a shared jeep from njp to darjeeling go via mirik and kalimpong? 
    3. what are the main places to visit at gangtok? 
    4. what are the tourist points near tiger hill? 
    5. what is the minimum rate of budget hotels and suggest some good budget hotels of gangtok and darjeeling. 
    Mouchumi Sarmah (November 2013) 
    1. Visit Gangtok first and take a Sikkim registered vehicle from NJP. Otherwise they will drop you at the lower taxi stand (at Deorali) and you will then need to take another local taxi to your hotel. 
    2. There are shared Jeeps from NJP/Siliguri to Mirik and Kalimpong. But they won't go to Darjeeling. From Mirik stand you will need to take another one. But Kalimpong is not on the way. It's on a different route. 
    3) There are many sightseeing places in and around Gangtok, some a bit far and some in the vicinity. Tsongmo lake and Nathula will take a day (requires permit, you need to carry photo id cards and two passport photos each), Ranka Monastery (excellent but bad road), Rumtek Monastery (requires quite a bit of uphill walk), Banjhakri waterfall, Bakthang waterfall, Ropeway (excellent view of entire Gangtok), Zoo (first of its kind in India where animals are kept in natural habitats, but requires quite a bit of walk to see them all), Ganesh tok (a mandir right opposite to the Zoo), Hanuman Tok (great temple with excellent viewing area), Tashi View point, Handicraft center, Flower Exhibition center, Tibetology museum, Enchey monastery etc. You can't cover them all in one day. Talk to a taxi driver to plan out what you want to see. They offer standard 5-point and 10-point tours. 
    4) Some tourist points near Tiger Hill are Senchal lake & sanctuary (requires permit), Old Ghoom Monastery, Ghoom DHR Museum, Batasia Loop & War memorial. 
    5) Good budget hotels would have rates between Rs. 1500-2000 per night. However in December you can negotiate and get discounts. In Darjeeling I have discussed them under menu option "Budget Hotels". In Gangtok you can consider Sagorika, Rhenock House, Netuk House etc. However you will also get cheap hotels for about Rs. 600-700/- or so in both places. But I do not personally explore many of them. 
    Raj ( November 2013 
    Our December plan is only for SNOW FALL..... Mainly this trip is planned to see snow fall.... My plan is like this.... 
    22 Dec... Nagpur to Kolkata (by air ) 
    23 Dec-- Arrival at morning to NJP at 9am (by Train) 
    23 Dec- NJP to Gangtok (stayed in hotel and just relaxing and local sightseeing) 
    24 Dec- Tsongmo Lake Day trip for watching FROZEN LAKE and snow fall (If luck favours) 
    25 Dec- Helicopter Sight Seeing in Morning and go to Drajeeling 
    25 Dec- Hotel stay and Local trip 
    26 Dec- Local Sight Seeing - 5 Points 
    27 Dec- Darjeeling to Kurseong by train 
    27 DEC- Kurseong to NJP by taxi 
    I just want to know ... is it a good plan or to be modified? My Hotels are booked.... our main target is to seee snow covered roads, mountains within touching distance and snow fall ... Please advice. 
    Firoz Sheikh (December 2013) 
    Your itinerary looks good. You will see the frozen Tsongmo (Changu) lake. In Darjeeling snowfall is rare, and if at all, usually takes place in Jan/Feb. You need to be very lucky to see snowfall in Darjeeling. On 26th Dec, you may consider 7-point sightseeing (which is more popular) rather than 5-point. Regards, 
    Raj ( December 2013 
    Dear Raj, 
    Further to your suggestion, I planned my trip for 10 nights as per table given below, with 3 nights each at Darjeeling and Gangtok and 2 nights each at Kalimpong and Pelling. Route will be Bagdogra, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Pelling, Gangtok, Bagdogra. I have planned Pelling from Kalimpong so that I am at Gangtok on 31st night instead of Pelling. 
    I spoke to Mr Swarup of Kings Travels. Kings Travels is providing me vehicle for drop/sight seeing for the entire trip @ Rs. 38000/- for Innova/Xylo and in Gangtok, smaller vehicle as permitted by the govt. 
    Mr Swarup was however telling me to keep just 1 night in Kallimpong and increase a day in Gangtok as there is nothing much in Kallimpong for 2 days. 
    Would request if you can at your earliest convenience give views on the schedule: 
    23-12-13 Bagdogra - Darjeeling (70 kms - 2.5 hrs Hotel Check-in and relax), hotel Summit Yashshree near Market) 
    24-12-13 Darjeeling (Tiger Hill, Ghoom Monaestry, Batasia Loop, 7 points and evening toy train), hotel Summit Yashshree, near  Market 
    25-12-13 Darjeeling (visit Mirik Lake with Pasupati Market up to Border), hotel Summit Grace 4 km away 
    26-12-13 Darjeelilng - Kalimpong (50 kms - 2 hrs, Hotel Check-in and relax) hotel Summit Garden, near market 
    27-12-13 Kallimpong (local sight seeing with Delo Hills), hotel Summit Garden 
    28-12-13 Kallimpong - Pelling (100 kms - 4 hrs  Hotel Check-in and relax) hotel Summit Newa Regency, near Market 
    29-12-13 Pelling (local sight seeing) hotel  Summit Newa Regency 
    30-12-13 Pelling - Gangtok (120 kms - 4.5 hrs Hotel Check-in and relax), hotel Summit Ttakshang, 4kms away 
    31-12-13 Gangtok (Tasngu Lake and Baba Mandir) hotel Summit Ttakshang 
    01-01-14 Gangtok (Full day local sight seeing) hotel Summit Ttakshang 
    02-01-14 Gangtok - Bagdogra (125 kms - 5 hrs - Onward flight to Mumbai) 
    Kuldeep Sharma (December 2013) 
    Hi Kuldeep, 
    Plan looks fairly okay. Some comments: 
    1) If the car is always at your disposal including driver & night stay, then the charge looks okay, otherwise very inflated. You will get much better deal for the transport once in Darjeeling. 
    2) Bagdogra to Darjeeling will take 3.5 hours (and not 2.5 hours) 
    3) Day2 in Darjeeling (24th Dec) can turn out to be a bit tiring but doable. Your day starts at 3:45am, you will be back by about 7:30am, then out again  for about 4 hours for 7-point tour and then again for the 2 hours joy ride. So store all your energy for the day. 
    4) You should see both east and west Kalimpong, and that takes a full day. So if you can reach Kalimpong in the morning (by say 9:30am) and immediately go for sightseeing, then you can cut short a night stay in Kalimpong. That would mean starting from Darjeeling at 7am. A 2-night stay in Kalimpong would ease things out . Your choice, whichever you are comfortable with. 
    Raj ( December 2013 
    Hello, I really appreciate you putting together such wonderful information regarding tourism to Darjeeling/Gangtok. I am planning a trip to Gangtok/Pelling/Darjeeling/Sandakfu in April. I have put together following itinerary, can you please review it and let me know if this sounds ok. Please suggest any changes. I am not particular about number of days, I can spend less or more days touring this wonderful part of our country. And any suggestions on travel and hotel accommodation will be greatly appreciated. 
    Day 1 - NJP to Gangtok (100; 5 hrs); Tashi Viewpoint, Rumtek Monastery and other local points; shopping at MG Marg - Lal market 
    Day 2 - Tsomgo lake - 35 kms, Ban Jhakri falls, Nathu La pass (closed on Mon/Tue/Fri), Baba mandir 
    Day 3 - Pelling (2.5 hrs) via Namchi and char dham; Stay in Upper Pelling 
    Day 4 - Pelling - Rimbi Waterfalls, Kanchenjunga Water Falls, Khecheopalri Lake, Pemayangtse Monastery, Rubduntse Palace Ruins 
    Day 5 - Travel from Pelling to Darjeeling (75); Darjeeling Ropeway, Observatory Hill, Chowrasta Mall; 
    Day 6 - Tiger Hill - 11 kms / 40 min- Sunrise; Round Trip Toy Train Joyride, Darjeeling to Ghoom including Batasia Loop; White Water Rafting 
    Day 7 - Darjeeling to tumling via manyebhanjan (3 hrs), night stay at tumling to view Kanchenjunga and see the sunset & sunrise. 
    Day 8 - Tumling to sandakphu ( 4 hrs), night stat at sandakphu. - stay at Sherpa Chalet 
    Day 9 - Sandakphu to phalut (2.5 hrs) & back, night stat at sandakphu. 
    Day 10 - Sandakphu to Darjeeling; Paragliding / Hot Air Balloon 
    Day 11 - Zoo; Travel from Darjeeling to NJP (3.5 hrs) 
    Anupam Kumar (December 2013) 
    Some of the distances and time you have assumed are incorrect. You need to rework on your itinerary a bit. After reaching Gangtok from NJP, you may not be able to visit Rumtek unless you reach in the morning hours and get some time for check in, rest, freshening up etc. You can however visit MG Marg and do some nearby local sightseeing in the afternoon like Tashi View Point, Bakthang Waterfall, Chorten Stupa, Tibetology etc. Ban Jahkri Waterfall is usually not covered with Tsomgo and Nathula (btw both will require permits, so carry photos & photo  id). Gantok to Pelling is 117kms and will take about 5 hours. Day3, Day4 are okay. Pelling to Darjeeling will take about 4.5 hours. You may not be able to ride the Ropeway in Darjeeling because of time constraints, unless you start early. But Chowrasta Mall and Observatory Hill are okay. Day6 is okay but drop white water rafting, that'll be too hectic with the other activities. You will need to go down to Teesta for that and it's usually a day trip, although can be done in half day but preferably in the morning half. Day7 onwards is doable. You must take a Jeep / Land Rover from Manebhanjan onwards. It's a gravel road from there on and other cars can't make it. Overall the plan is quite hectic and will require quite a bit of hopping from place to place ... if you like that then it's okay. Ideally you should add one more day each in Gangtok and Darjeeling. 
    Raj ( December 2013 
    Hi Raj 
    Thanks a ton for quick response. I am travelling with my wife (we are in our forties) and 2 kids - 8 and 12. I am reaching NJP on 12th morning and will be leaving from Bagdogra on 22nd around noon. I have booked return flight, other than that I haven't made any arrangements yet. After writing to you, I also did bit more thinking and now have planned following itinerary. Someone has advised me against going to Sandakfu saying that it will be tough ride even on 4 wheel drive. What do you suggest given that I am travelling with family. If you can help modify below itinerary that will make the best use of 11 days I have there yet will not become too hectic as I really love nature and want to enjoy and not just do sight seeing. 
    Day 1 - NJP to Gangtok; shopping at MG Marg - Lal market 
    Day 2 - Tsomgo lake, Nathu La pass (closed on Mon/Tue/Fri), Baba mandir 
    Day 3 - Tashi Viewpoint, Rumtek Monastry, Hanuman Tok, Ganesh Tok, Zoo 
    Day 4 - Pelling via Namchi and char dham 
    Day 5 - Pelling - Rimbi Waterfalls, Kanchenjunga Water Falls, Khecheopalri 
    Lake. Pemayangtse Monastery, Rubduntse Palace Ruins 
    Day 6 - Travel from Pelling to Darjeeling; Observatory Hill, Chowrasta Mall 
    Day 7 - Tiger Hill- Sunrise; Darjeeling Ropeway, Round Trip Toy Train Joyride, Darjeeling to Ghoom including Batasia Loop; Paragliding / Hot Air Balloon 
    Day 8 - Darjeeling to tumling via manyebhanjan (3 hrs), night stay at tumling to view Kanchenjunga and see the sunset & sunrise. 
    Day 9 - Tumling to sandakphu ( 4 hrs), night stat at sandakphu 
    Day 10 - Sandakphu to phalut (2 hrs) & back to Mirik or Moneybhanjan, night stay at Mirik or Moneybhanjan 
    Day 11 - Travel from Mirik/Moneybhanjan to Bagdogra (4 hrs) - I have a flight at 12:10, hope that this will be ok. 
    Look forward to your guidance. Thanks, 
    Anupam Kumar (December 2013) 
    Hot air balloon will require a minimum group size and prior booking. Paragliding will also require advance booking. 
    You stay one more day in Darjeeling and ride the ropeway, visit HMI & Zoo (great high altitude Himalayan animals like Tibetan Wolf, snow leopard, red panda, yak etc which your kids will love to see), Tibetan self help refugee center etc. On day5 at Pelling you may add Singshore bridge ... 2nd highest hanging gorge bridge in Asia. 
    Tumling and Sandakphu will be backbreaking journey over gravel road. You should prepare your family for this. The stays are also basic. Other than nature and views, there is no other source of entertainment for your family & kids .... accommodations are all basic, no TV or even electricity. If you go, then drop Phalut as you may have already had enough by then. These are great trekking routes, may not be always very enjoyable on a jeep and with families used to comforts of hotels.  
    On your return, stay at Mirik and not in Manebhanjan (there are no good family accommodations there). At Mirik stay at Hotel Jagjit or Mirik Tourist Lodge. 
    Raj ( December 2013 
    Dear Raj, 
    I am planning to visit Darjeeling & Gangtok in April (last week) - May (first week) with my newly wed wife. Here's my itinerary as per your suggestions, for 4 Night stay in Darjeeling & 3 Night stay in Gangtok. 
    Day1: Bagdogra Airport to Darjeeling.Stroll at the Chowrasta Mall and along the Mall road, Observatory hill pathway and the Mahakal temple.  
    Day2: Mixed point taxi tour of Darjeeling.  
    Day3: 3-point early morning tour for Tiger Hill and 2-hour joyride on toy train. 
    Day4: A day trip to Mirik. Darjeeling- Sukhiapokhri- Jorpokhri- Pashupati Market- Mirik- Darjeeling 
    Day5: Will reach Gangtok and check in at Hotel. Take a stroll in a local market.Rest of the day will be at leisure. 
    Day6: Will take standard 10 point local sightseeing covering Hanuman Tok ,Ganesh Tok, Tashi View Point, Enchey Monastery, Bakthang waterfall, Tibetology Museum, Chorten Stupa, Handicraft & Cottage Industry, Flower Exhibition Center, Ropeway. 
    Day7: Tsongmo lake and Nathula pass 
    Day8: Leave for Bagdogra Airport. 
    Based on above itinerary here are some confusions and some doubts which I want to ask, so that I can get your valuable suggestions on them;  
    1) Which destination must be visited first? And if its Gangtok, then from where I will get a Private Vehicle on Bagdogra Airport for Gangtok, which is registered in Sikkim? 
    2) Which hotel must be selected in Darjeeling so that we get our best outing with best views of Himalaya : Villa Everest , Rhododendron Dell Exotic Resort, Swiss Hotel? 
    3) I am planning to take a private vehicle for each and every location that I am planning to visit, is it feasible as well as economical or not?  
    4) Which hotel must be selected in Gangtok so that we get our best outing with best views of Himalaya: Asian Heights, Sagorika, Sonam Delek, Netuk House, Rhenock House 
    5) I also want to visit Rumtek Monastery, Ranka Moastery, Banjhakri fall etc. in Gangtok, but couldn't find exact place for them to fit into my itinerary, so could you please give me your valuable suggestions on that, or modify my itinerary in such a manner that these places will also come in it? 
    6) I have got enough information on Darjeeling from your website, but the same is not true for Gangtok, I find difficult to plan my itinerary there, as I don't know from where I have to book a Private Vehicle for my visits, what will be the approximate fare, what we get to see in the surroundings of Gangtok etc. 
    I will be very thankful to you if you sort them up, so that I can book my Honeymoon at the earliest. Thank you so much in advance. Regards 
    Suresh Sahni (December 2013) 
    Hi Suresh, 
    You have drawn up a nice itinerary. Here are my comments: 
    1) With the present road condition from Bagdogra towards Gangtok along NH31A, visit Darjeeling first. That way you will be able to avoid some part of the bad road. 
    2) For Darjeeling, take a pre-paid taxi from Bagdogra airport. From Darjeeling you won't usually find a Sikkim registered vehicle for Gangtok, unless you get one at the stand by chance which would have come from Gangtok or some place in Sikkim to drop a customer, and now waiting for a return customer. Otherwise the taxi will drop you at Deorali stand which is about 2kms below the town center. From here you will need to take another local taxi to your hotel (Rs. 200 - 300). 
    3) In Darjeeling, try to go for Shangri-La Hotel near Chowrasta Mall (not Shangri-La Regency). Book well in advance. They have only limited rooms that are always in high demand. Otherwise Villa Everest or Swiss Hotel are also good. 
    4) On day5, spend some leisure time at MG Marg. This is where the main market is ... great boulevard like open pedestrian area with shops, restaurants, cafes and bars lined up on both sides. You can plan to take your dinner here. 
    5) If you plan to cover Rumtek, Ranka, Ban Jhakri etc, on day6 don't go for the standard 10 point tour. Instead just hire a large vehicle (like Innova or Scorpio) for day sightseeing. The rate is around Rs. 3000/- for 9:30am  - 4:30pm. In high season like April/May they might hike up the rate a bit more. Ask the driver to take you to the following places (which can be covered in a day) Chorten Stupa, Institute of Tibetology, Ropeway, Saramsa Garden (14 kms), Ranka Monastery, Banjhakri Waterfall, Rumtek Monastery (24 kms), . These are some of the best attractions in and around Gangtok. 
    6) In Gangtok, stay at Hotel Sonam Delek ... take a room in the suite block ... excellent views .... private balcony... terrace and indoor restaurant, pub & bar .... all in the hotel. I mostly stay here. 
    7) You will require permit to visit Tsongmo Lake and Nathula Pass. You should also include Baba Mandir as part of the trip. Both of you must carry ID Proof (PAN card not accepted) and two passport size photos each to get the permit. Sonam Delek offers reasonable prices for the day tour and will also arrange for the permit. You must take a large vehicle like a Scorpio because of the road condition and the gradient. For visit to only Tsongmo Lake and Baba Mandir, the rate is around Rs. 3500 including permit. Add another Rs. 1000 for Nathula. 
    8) You should take reserved taxi for point to point transfers. After all you are on your honeymoon!! And it's affordable. For example, Darjeeling to Gangtok would be around Rs, 2500 in a small car like WagonR or Alto. Same from Gangtok to Bagdogra. 
    Good luck!! 
    Raj ( December 2013 
    Dear Sir, 
    We (self, wife and 14 yrs old son) planning to visit darjeeling, Gangtok and Lachung. My query is whether I can take water rafting on the way from NJP to Darjeeling way on arrival date. I will be reaching 07:45 am by darjeeling mail leaving Sealadh @ 10 pm previous day. Please find below my tentative itinerary. You valuable inputs are highly appreciable: 
    17/05/2014 Saturday Reaching Kolkata @ 19:15 hrs 
    18/05/2014 Sunday Sunderbhan Jungle camp 
    19/05/2014 Monday Sunderbhan Jungle camp 
    20/05/2014 Tuesday Sunderbhan Jungle camp reaching CCU @7pm 
    21/05/2014 Wednesday Kolkata local sigh seeing Full day 
    22/05/2014 Thursday Reaching Jaipaiguri @07:45 hrs water reafting on the way to darjeeling 
    23/05/2014 Friday Darjeeling sight seeing 
    24/05/2014 Saturday Darjeeling to Gangtok. Gangtok half day sightseeing and arrangement for permit to natula pass 
    25/05/2014 Sunday Gangtok ( tasomo lake and natula pass 
    26/05/2014 Monday Gangtok to Lachung "Package to visit Lachung, Yamthang and Lachung. " 
    27/05/2014 Tuesday Lachung to Gangtok 
    28/05/2014 Wednesday Leaving Gangtok to Bagdogra and to Chennai Leave by helicopter 11:35am 
    Jayashankar Nalode (January 2014) 
    Yes you can do the rafting on your way to Darjeeling. But from NJP you will need to take the route via Teesta (and then to nearby Melli) where the Rafting takes place. This is not the standard route for Darjeeling. You will need to negotiate with a taxi driver (outside the station) for the rates. You should ideally keep the taxi waiting at Teesta as it may not be easy to get one out there. From Teesta, there is a road that leads to Darjeeling. 
    Raj ( January 2014 
    Hi Raj, 
    I was tempted to write to you again after going through the website in a more detailed manner. We have booked our accommodation at the following hotels. Your advice regarding the hotels and points to be covered will prove helpful for our travel. We are a family of 4 i.e. husband, wife and 2 daughters age 9 & 4. 
    3rd May: Reaching NJP by train @0800 hrs., proceeding to Hotel Central Nirvana, Darjeeling (2 nights) 
    5th May: leaving for Kalimpong (1 night) @The Soods Garden Retreat 
    6th May: leaving for Gangtok (3 nights) @Hotel Ricasa 
    9th May: leaving for Pelling (2 nights) @De Regency 
    11th May: departing, return to NJP 
    We would love to cover the Toy Train Ride in Darjeeling and basic areas of 
    interest, please suggest. 
    I have one more query. We are planning to take the Duronto Express which reaches Howrah @1930 hrs, and there is a Darjeeling Mail departing Sealdah the same evening 2nd May @2200 hrs. Do you think it is likely that we get this train? Please do let me know your views on the hotels and some good points to b covered at the above places. 
    As mentioned in my previous mail to you, we would require a good transport company for our transfers and sightseeing. It will be nice if the driver were a ‘guide’ too!...if I’m not asking for too much. Warm regards, 
    Ruby Jadhav (January 2014) 
    You can find my review of Central Nirvana of Darjeeling here
    While other hotels are also quite good, but probably not the best in their category. Since you have already booked the hotels, you may as well go ahead. 
    If Duronto reaches on time (which it usually does), then you can transfer to Sealdah station and catch Darjeeling mail. It won't take more than an hour from Howrah to Sealdah unless there is exceptional traffic jam on Howrah bridge or elsewhere. 
    There are plenty of travel agencies out there both in Darjeeling and Gangtok, as well as in Siliguri. Just search in Google. But note one thing .... there are some restrictions of outside cars in Gangtok. West Bengal registered and other outside cars are allowed only up to Deorali which is 2kms below Gangtok town center. You will need to take a local cab from there for hotel transfers or getting to the town for shopping/sightseeing etc. So ideally you should take a Sikkim registered vehicle from NJP which does not have this restriction. A better plan would have been to start with Sikkim and end with Darjeeling. That way you could have taken a car from Gangtok/Sikkim travel agent. Darjeeling or other places do not have such vehicle restrictions. Another alternative is to take point to point taxis (which are all private cars). That way you will have lesser hassles with much lesser cost. There are ample taxis (both small and luxury) available at all these places for local sightseeing tours or transfers. A reserved car for the entire round trip can be very expensive. 
    Raj ( January 2014 
    I plan to make a trip to Darjeeling and Gangtok during May 2014 (2 adults and 2 children aged 7 years). 
    My preliminary itinerary is as follows: 
    05-05-14: Arrive at Bagdogra airport at 1145 hrs. Hire a vehicle to Darjeeling. Reach Darjeeling. 
    06-05-14: Enjoy Darjeeling 
    07-05-14: ½ day in Darjeeling and start for Gangtok. 
    08-05-14: Enjoy Gangtok 
    09-05-14: ½ day in Gangtok. Start for Bagdogra (flight at 1645 hrs). 
    During my stay in Darjeeling (5th – half day, 6th – full day, 7th – half day), I plan to cover the following places: 
    • Tiger Hills - Kanchenjunga sunrise 
    • Rock Garden and Ganga Maya 
    • Japanese Temple & Peace Pagoda 
    • Himalayan Mountaineering Institute 
    • Zoological Park 
    • Mall & Chowrasta 
    • Darjeeling Himalayan Railway 
    • Passenger Ropeway 
    • Observatory Centre & Mahakal Temple 
    • Ghoom Monastry 
    • Tea Garden 
    • Tibetan Refugee Centre 
    Kindly advise if it is possible to cover all above mentioned places within the mentioned time. Please advise what sequence / places should I try to cover on each day. I plan to hire a private car / taxi during the stay. Regards 
    G.M. Krishnan (February 2014) 
    It's possible to cover all the places you mentioned. You should cover Chowrasta Mall, Observatory Hill & Mahakal Temple on your own on the first day itself. Tiger hill along with Old Ghoom Monastery and Batasia loop should be covered on 2nd day early morning. Come back around 7:30am, have breakfast and cover Japanese Temple & Peace Pagoda, Tibetan Self Help Refugee center, ropeway, HMI/Zoo, Happy Valley Tea Garden. On 3rd day take the morning toy train joy ride and then go for  Rock Garden. Regards, 
    Raj ( February 2014 
    Dear Raj Thanks once again for the wonderful website. Would be grateful to let me know whether the below mentioned itinerary would be workable. 
    Day 1 
    Arrive in NJP. Freshen up and have breakfast. 
    Drive to Darjeeling. Check in Hotel 
    Take the Toy train ride via Batasia loop with visit to DHR musuem 
    Ropeway ride with visit to Tea Estate 
    Observatory Hill and mahakal temple 
    Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park 
    Day 2 
    Morning tiger hill Batasia loop 
    Take the Toy train ride via Batasia loop with visit to DHR musuem 
    Ropeway ride with visit to Tea Estate 
    Himalayan mountaineering Institute, Zoo. 
    Evening free to relax, Mall, Chowrasta , Shrubbery Nightingale Park etc. 
    Day 3 
    Day tour to Mirik, Boating, with Jorpokhri, and Pashupati 
    Depending upon time visit Mahananda Sanctuary. 
    Return to Hotel 
    Day 4 
    leave for Gangtok. 
    Arrive in Gangtok. Check in to Hotel. 
    Tashi point, Bakthang water fall, 
    Hanuman Tok, 
    Lunch at Ganesh Tok area or Ropeway point, 
    Rope way ride 
    Some additonal sightseeing like visit to Himalyan Zoo. 
    Evening... Walk along MG road, vehicle free boulevard, sit in the bench, relax, 
    Day 5 
    Trip to Tsango falls, Nathula pass with visit to India China Border. 
    Lunch enroute 
    Return. Back to Hotel. 
    Day 6 
    Breakfast. Check out . Back to NJP for onward return to Kolkata 
    Raghavan N (February 2014) 
    Overall great itinerary Raghavan... almost perfect. My comments.... Rock Garden trip will require at least 3 hours. It won't be possible on day1 with other activities. You can try to squeeze it in day2 in the morning and after the tiger hill visit. As you have yourself guessed, Mahananda Sanctuary may not be possible on the same day as Mirik/Jorpokhri. It's on a different route. 
    Raj ( February 2014 
    Dear Raj, 
    Thanks for a tonne of useful information on your site, though reading through the whole of it was tedious. But based on a few of my understanding, we've broadly planned the destinations. Details of places to visit yet to be finalised based on the input/feedback we receive from you. 
    Reaching bagdogra by air at around 5(flight reaching 4:15pm) on may27th, departing from bagdogra on june 6th(10:40am flight) so we have 10nights. We are two of us (husband and wife) with two kids - boys aged 9 and 4 
    27th - transfer from bagdogra to darjeeling we dont wish to stay long in darjeeling mainly because it would be really crowded and not that clean, we'd like to explore more peaceful places, but if you suggest can shift one more night here - pls suggest after a look at the whole itinerary 
    28th - mainly want to cover toy train, or some major attractions and proceed to kalimpong on the same day. 
    29th may- kalimpong 
    30th may - kalimpong 
    31st may - lachung 
    1st june -lachung 
    2nd june - gangtok 
    3rd june - gangtok 
    4th june - gangtok 
    5th june - bagdogra (can reach bagdora in the evening, mainly this is to avoid travelling in the morning from gangtok to bagdogra for 10:40am flight) 
    Please let us know if the above itinerary is o.k. We wish to cover pelling too without staying overnight there. so can we do it from kalimpong and back. We need to know which places we can cover in each of these places we wish to cover the best places and not maximum as we want the trip to be relaxing. We'd love to explore the local / famous eating joints, local food 
    Although you have mentioned at sm place it is not a good idea to go for a taxi for the whole trip (as driver wud not be knowing all local places)...we'd like to understand how to go about it and make the trip economical and enjoyable too. really need help on this. Would appreciate an idea about the travelling time in each of the places 
    Please suggest hotels too. 
    In lachung - how is fortuna? 
    kalimpong - how is windsongs? saw great reviews but very few rooms.. so not sure if we will get there. please suggest alternative. 
    Looking forward. Thanks! 
    Monika Arora (March 2014) 
    Dear Monika, 
    Your itinerary is quite good. Do not plan any further long day trips from the places you are visiting because you already have enough on your platter. You can of course plan for local sightseeing in each place. Number of days per place is okay. You should not plan for Pelling from Kalimpong. Will take close to 5 hours one way. 
    In Darjeeling ... see sunrise from Tiger hill, take toy train joy ride,visit HMI & Zoo 
    In Kalimpong - Visit Dello hils. It's a large open tourist complex with a GTA run hotel. Great views, horse riding, manicured landscape etc. Try to stay in this hotel, otherwise visit for half a day and take lunch here. Go for other local sightseeing as well like Dr Graham's home, Mangal Dham etc. There are separate 4 hour tour of east and west Kalimpong. 
    In Gangtok, visit Rumtek & Ranka Monastery, Banjhakri water fall ... take a Scorpio ... road is bad in this part. Visit Hanuman Tok as well. Also spend some time on MG Road... great ambience, food, shopping. 
    Take point to point taxis... available in plenty and most convenient & economical. Do not need to book a car for the whole round trip... will cost you a fortune. 
    In Kalimpong, you can consider Himalayan Hotel... book a room in the heritage block. Windsong is great... but it's more of a polished home stay. 
    Raj ( March 2014 
    Hi Raj, we are planning to visit Gangtok-Darjeeling in first week of June 2014. We are 5 (me, mom-dad, my twin sisters). I have read forum on this site. We are planning to visit Gangtok first (for LTC convenience). We will be travelling from Mumbai and will reach New Jalpaiguri late night. I have made a plan... But I need your help to make it better. my plan is as follows: 
    3rd June – New Jalpaiguri to Gangtok. Lunch. 7 or 10 point tour afternoon. Shopping in evening. 
    4th June – Full day tour of Nathu La pass, Tsomgo lake and baba mandir. Wondering on M.G. Road in evening. 
    5th June – Morning trip of Ranka Monastery and Bhan Jhakri waterfall. Breakfast. Gangtok to Kalimpong. Lunch and sightseeing at Kalimpong. Kalimpong to Darjeeling. 
    6th June – Early morning 3 point tour. Breakfast. Rock garden and ganga maya trip. Lunch. Visit to chawrasta mall, chauk bazar, bengal natural history museum, mahakal mandir. 
    7th June – 7 point tour in morning. Joy ride afternoon. Shopping on nehru road in evening. 
    8th June – Breakfast. Darjeeling to Mirik. Lunch and sightseeing at Mirik. Mirik to New Jalpaiguri. 
    Please give some suggestions regarding this plan. Your suggestions are useful for us. Thank you in advance. 
    Omkar Deepak Karmarkar (March 2014) 
    Your plan is okay. 5th June will be very hectic. Try to stay at Kalimpong overnight. Then you can cover both West & East Kalimpong including Deolo hills. 
    Raj ( March 2014 
    I have found the info posted on your forum very useful. I am planning a trip to Darjeeling- Kalimpong- Gangtok in May'14. Our group comprises of two couples,two children and one infant. Our aim is to cover maximum spots in the available time. This is the itinerary that I have planned out:- 
    Day 1 – Arrive at NJP Railway station at 11 am. Reach Darjeeling via Mirrik. Night stay at Darjeeling. 
    Day 2 - Take the 3- pt tour (0400-0730)followed by morning train ride (0800 - 1000). Thereafter, do the 7-point tour in the afternoon. Head for Kalimpong by 1800 hrs and do night stay at kalimpong. 
    Day 3 – Take the half day kalimpong tour and head to gangtok for night stay. 
    Day 4 – Take the 10-point tour at Gangtok. 
    Day 5 – Visit Baba Mandir & Changu lake 
    Day 6 - Reach NJP by 1030 hrs. 
    Please clarify the following points:- 
    1. Is the day2 plan practically possible? 
    2. Is it possible to reach NJP from Gangtok by 1030 hrs? 
    3. At what time are we likely to reach Dajeeling after the halt at Mirrik on Day 1? 
    4. Any other suggestions? 
    Rajul Jain (March 2014) 
    Day2 plan is possible but can be very hectic. After sunrise view at Tiger hill, quickly visit or better skip Ghoom Monastery and get back to hotel for breakfast. Don't stop at Batasia loop along the way as you will go back to the same place (Batasia and Ghook station) by toy train again. If you get back by 6:45/7am, then you will have time to take the joyride. 
    Gangtok to NJP takes about 4 hrs 30mins. So you will need to start early (by 5am latest to keep some buffer time). 
    NJP to Darjeeling via Mirik takes about 4.5 hours. If you stop over at Mirik lake for about an hour or so, you should reach by 5pm. 
    Raj ( March 2014 
    Dear Raj, 
    Greetings & Trust things to be great with you. 
    I have been visiting your site since last year (One of my friends visited Darjeeling and referred this one). Ever since I visited, I wanted to visit the place and have read your site almost 3-4 times including the user queries you keep posting. The information you provide is way above what is expected and is real treasure for anyone. Really appreciate your work! Take a bow!!! 
    I understand that I might be asking the same questions again, but then I wanted to get an expert opinion on the itinerary I thought of. Request your review and comments. We are group of 6 (3 families) having planned to cover Darjeeling - Gangtok from 30th March - 4th April. 
    30th March 
    Expected to reach NJP by 8 AM (from Kolkata via Darjeeling mail). Planning to take a private taxi to Darjeeling and travel via Mirik. Need to know what time we are expected to reach Darjeeling and also what are the places we can cover in the rest of the day. 
    31st March 
    We have our joy rides already booked. Unfortunately, we had to book 2 rides as we couldn't get enough seats at the time of booking. 8 AM and 10:40 AM ride. 
    I believe the 10:40 ride would conclude by around 1 PM and we have rest of the day to visit any of the places nearby. Need your suggestions on this too. 
    1st April 
    We wish to visit Tiger hill by starting early in the morning and upon return proceed to Gangtok. Stay @ Gangtok and cover some night life. 
    2nd April 
    Visit Tsongo lake, Baba Mandir & Nathula Pass (full day) 
    3rd April 
    Planning to visit Yumthang and head to Darjeeling. 
    Another day in Darjeeling and head to NJP on 4th April to catch our train. 
    We have our return tickets from NJP on 4th afternoon. 
    I understand that it's quite a hectic schedule, but then we are travelling from Southern part of India and want to make most out of our visit. Request you to please let me know on the feasibilities of this plan and any other information that you feel would help us to plan better. 
    Thanks in advance for your assistance and please let me know if any other information is required from my end. 
    Best Regards, 
    Narayana Tummalapalli (March 2014) 
    Hi Narayana, 
    NJP to Darjeeling via Mirik will take over 4 hours. But stop at Mirik, enjoy the lake for a while and have breakfast/tea at either Park Hotel (by the lake side) or at Jagjeet. Ask the driver to take you to the Mirik Monastery which can be seen from the lake. Driver will ask for extra. Pay that. Then on the way stop at some scenic tea estates (like Thurbo) and take pictures. Further up, stop at Pashupati Market (a market at Indo Nepal border) where you get foreign goods. The main market is about 1km walk from the taxi stop. There will also be security checks. 
    Move on and stop at another picturesque spot call Simana, which is also on the Indo Nepal border. You can freely cross over from one side to the other. In fact one side of the road belongs to India and the other side to Nepal. The road itself belongs to India. You will find number of temporary stalls here. Have a hot cup of tea from Pashan Lamu, an oldish lady running a tea stall by the road side. Next to her is the stall of Usha Chettri. Buy some Nepal made chocolates from her. From the view point, you can see Maneybhanjan below and the route to Sandakphu on the other side, and of course the lovely snow peaks on a clear day. 
    Further up take a 2km detour from Sukhia pokhri to Jorpokhri. Driver will ask for extra. Pay and see the nice lake. And then finally move for Darjeeling via Ghoom. You will reach by 2/3pm. In the afternoon and after lunch, stroll around in the Mall and take a walk around the Mall Road (Bhanu Sarani). Also do some shopping along Nehru Road. 
    Next day after the toy train ride, take the half-day 7-point tour (keep a watch on tome as some attractions like Ropeway and HMI/Zoo can take time). 
    From Yumthang it makes no sense to drive some 6 hours to Gangtok and then come back to Darjeeling. You will end up driving the whole day. You should rather plan to stay at Darjeeling for an extra day and take a day trip to Kalimpong (and visit Deolo hills along with several other places). From Yumthang you should go back to Lachung and then take a taxi back to NJP on the same day. 
    Raj ( March 2014 
    Hello Raj, 
    First of all your sight is providing excellent help to people in creating the travel plan.Great work. I am not completely sure if you would have idea of Kolkota but in case not no issue. Can you check my below plan and provide suggestions to cover places ( I am first time traveler to this area total 6 people including 2 kids)? Idea is to cover best in available time as I will be traveling from Pune. 
    17th May - Early morning arrival Hawda 
    17th , 18, 19 May - Kolkota 2 days [ what all to cover ?] + Gangasagar 1 days 
    19th Night depart - Arrive to NJP - 20th morning 
    20 May - By road go to kerseong - [ Checked with DHR direct train from NJP to Darj still not on ] and then take toy train to DJ [ OR by taxi to DJ ?] 
    20th - Travel whatever is possible in DJ    
    21st - 10pt tour of DJ ( including butasia lake Toy Train etc ) 
    22nd - DJ to Gangtok ; arive and sightseeing ? 
    23rd - Gangtok - 10 pt tour ? or  tsongmo lake etc 
    24th Morning - return depart to Kolkota [ need to reach by 10 pm to catch train ] 
    Need your advise on whether to do Darjeeling more and Gangtok less or vice versa. Also on practicality of itinerary. Also from NJP first I should go to Gangtok or DJ ( based on route direction as I have to return to NJ and then to Kolkota ). 
    Certainly appreciate your response. 
    K Shah (March 2014) 
    Your itinerary is feasible. Since you will be hopping quite a bit, take direct taxi from NJP to Darj. After reaching and freshening up, take a stroll to Mall and along Mall road. Next day take the 7-pint tour and then the toy train joy ride in the afternoon. Next day start early and transfer to Gangtok (4hrs). Take half day 10 point tour starting 12:30pm latest. Spend the evening strolling along MG road. Next morning go for Tsompgo lake & Baba Mandir (note that you will need to get permits ... so talk to hotel travel desk or your travel agent in advance). On the last day, visit Rumtek monastery, Ranka Monastery and Banjhakri fall (bad roads though, will require a larger vehicle). Gangtok to NJP will require 4.5 hours. So on the last day you should not plan much.  
    Raj ( March 2014 
    Dear Raj, 
    Thanks for the link. With help of link I have made the itinerary, may I request you to please check and confirm it is not very tiring and do I require some change in the plan. 
    DAY 1  Wed 
    Reach  Bagdora at 13:00 hrs- Go to Gangtok (Sikkim) - 5 hrs. 
    Shopping at MG Marg / Lal Mkt.. 
    DAY 2 Thursday 
    Day tour covering Flower Exhibition Center, Handicraft Center (Directorate of Handicraft & Handlooms), Hanuman Tok & Viewing area, Ganesh Tok  & Viewing area, Himalayan Zoological Park, Tashi View Point, Enchey Monastery, Bakthang Waterfall 
    DAY 3         
    Day tour from Gangtok to Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir,  Nathula Pass 
    DAY 4  Sat Gangtok – Namchi- Pelling (127 Km: 6hrs) 
    Depart for Pelling en-route visiting Samdruptse Hill and Char Dham in Namchi 
    After noon drive to Pelling. Stay in Pelling 
    DAY 5 Sun Pelling to Darjeeling(110km: 5hr) 
    After BF ½ day Sight seeing    
    Rimbi Water Falls & Karchen Power House (5kms down from Darap) en route to 
    Khecheopalri lake. Khangchendzonga waterfalls (28 km from Darap) and 5 km before Yuksam. Move to Darjeeling. Check In to Hotel. Evening free. 
    DAY 6 Mon          
    Toy train, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute / Zoo, Dhirdham Temple, Chowrasta Mall 
    DAY 7  Tue 
    MIXED Point Tour of Darjeeling covering: Japanese Temple & Peace Pagoda, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and the Zoo, Darjeeling Ropeway, Tenzing & Gombu Rock, Happy Valley Tea Estate, Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center 
    DAY 8 Wed Depart for Kalimpong (2 hrs) 
    Local Sightseeing (East Kalimpong) - Halfday, 4 Hours  
    Dr Graham's Homes, Buddha statue & park, Kalimpong Sherpa View Point, Durga Mandir, Hanuman Temple,  Deolo Hill,  Mangal Dham. 
    Stay overnight at Kalimpong. 
    DAY 9 Thursday 
    Depart to Airport. 
    Soudipta Adhikari (March 2014) 
    Good... drop Sherpa View Point in Kalimpong .... not well  maintained. Regards, 
    Raj ( March 2014 
    More Itineraries... 
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