Good Day Raj,
We are planning for a 8 day trip which covers some places in Sikkim and Darjeeling. I have laid out an itinerary and we have also booked places to stay in these places. I just want your valuable advice just in case if we are falling short on certain things and how we need to go about with them.
1) Day 1 - Flying from the New Delhi Airport to Bagdogra in October. We are reaching the Bagdogra airport at about 1.30PM and planning to take a prepaid taxi to drive down to Gangtok (Is prepaid taxi a better option than booking a private taxi earlier?).
We had already booked out the hotels at first. Later after reading many of your posts, I was in a fix whether to travel to Gangtok on the very same day. Since we are reaching Bagdogra in the afternoon and it may take about 5-6 hours of drive to Gangtok, I'm not too sure if its a wise option to drive down at that time? Say even if we leave from the Bagdogra Airport at 2.30PM, can we reach Gangtok before it gets too dark and if its safe to travel such far at this time?
If the above option seems feasible, please go through the rest of the itinerary.
2) Day 2 - Gangtok Sightseeing - Local sight seeing after early morning breakfast. We are thinking to cover -
a) Tashi View Point, Ganesh or Hanuman Tok
b) Ranka or Rumtek or Enchey Monastery (Which one do you suggest out of the three Monasteries?)
c) Ban Jhakri Waterfall
d) Handicraft Center
e) Flower Exhibition Center (Is October a good season to visit the Flower exhibition? If not, we can alternate with some other place).
f) Chorten Stupa and institute of tibetology - Are these two places worth visiting? Pretty sure the Stupa should visible from many places in Gangtok.
Evening at leisure. If we have some time left, stroll in the M.G. Marg and the market for local shopping.
3) Day 3 - Trip to Tsomgo, Baba Mandir, Nathula and Chumbi valley - We are allowing one day for this to get the permits sorted out. This is more of a 1 full day trip. Can we squeeze in any more places that you think we can cover while we get back to Gangtok? And if are early to reach back, are there any good restaurants (upscale preferably) to have a sumptuous dinner?
4) Day 4 - After the morning breakfast we will be heading towards Pelling. How much do you think one shells out for a taxi ride from Gangtok to Pelling? Is it wise to hire one there or book them advance on any of the websites? On the way to Pelling, we are thinking to cover the Buddha Park situated in Ravangla. Is it worth visiting this park? Given that I see a lot of ads showcasing this Buddha statue on most of the Sikkim tourism brochures. If yes, we can do this and then move to Pelling where we have booked a place in the Chumbi Mountain Retreat.
5) Day 5 - Pelling Local Sightseeing - We are not too sure what to cover in Pelling. One of my mate advised me to go to this place and so we are. We are just thinking of a short trip visiting the Kechopalri lake and the Monastery. Do you think any other places that we can cover in one single day?
6) Day 6 - Pelling to Darjeeling - After morning breakfast, we are heading towards Darjeeling. Do you think its wise to make a stop at Namchi and visit the Char Dham? Or just drive down to Darjeeling straight? Given that we haven't planed for any sight seeing on that day in Darjeeling. If you don't want us to do Namchi, is there any other place that we can do instead?
7) Day 7 - Darjeeling Local Sight Seeing - I have already made my morning reservation of Toy/Joy Train ride from the Darjeeling railway station which covers the Batasia loop and Ghum Monastery. Given the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute & Zoo is closed on Thursday's, we want to cover this place and Japanese temple & Peace Pagoda after the Toy train ride.
8) Day 8 - Visit to Tiger Hill - Early morning drive to Tiger hill for the sunrise (subject to weather conditions). Not too sure what can be done for the rest of the day. Once we are back from the tiger hill, I think the best is to just stroll around the Nehru Road and Chowrasta mall, eat at the Glenary's and do some local shopping and evening we have at our leisure.
9) Day 9 - Wake up early morning and take a taxi ride back to the Bagdogra Airport. What route would you suggest we take? Would that be from Mirik?
Looking forward for your thoughts on this!
Thanks & Regards,
Bharath Rao (August 2016)
Driving from Bagdogra to Gangtok at that hour is okay. Suggest you book a car from the hotel because pre-paid taxis (unless Sikkim registered) will not be able to take you all the way to your hotel in Gangtok. You will need to change the taxi at Deorali.
Since you are visiting Banjhakri falls, visit Ranka monastery (very close to it). You can skip Chorten Stupa and Institute of Tibetology if you like to save time.
Day3: From Nathula you can go further up towards original (old) Baba Mandir and Kupup Valley (and see the historic Silk Route which was used once used for trading silk before Tibbet was taken over by Chinese).
You can go to Pelling via Buddha Park. In Pelling visit Singshore Bridge (Asia's 2nd highest).
Do stop at Char Dham at Namchi on the way to Darjeeling (keep some 2 hours for char dham).
Keep day-8 at leisure as you have mentioned. Walk up to Mahakal Temple on Observatory Hill top (from Mall road), if you can. Return to Bagdogra via Mirik.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) August 2016
I seek your advise on my itinerary below. I am planning to hire Innova vehicle for the entire tour. We are 4 adult members, may be staying at Post Office Inspection Quarters at both the places. Please help. Thanks once again in advance.
14. Nov. 09.15 hrs. Reaching NJP
14th Nov. (Monday) 10.00 hrs. NJP to Darjeeling via Mirik Lake - stay & night halt at Darjeeling.
15th Nov. (Tuesday) 04.00 hrs. Early morning (04.00 a.m.) – Tiger Hills for sunrise from Mount Kanchenjunga – on the way back from Hills - Ghoom Monastery and Batasia Loop - come back - after breakfast - enjoy toy train ride – Darjeeling – Ghum & back – stay & night halt at Darjeeling.
16th Nov. (Wednesday) 08.00 hrs. Visit to Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, P.N. Zoological Park, Tenzing Rock, Tibetan Refugee, Self-help Centre, (Sunday closed) Ava Art Gallery, Japanese Temple, Rope way, etc. - stay & night halt at Darjeeling
17th Nov.(Thursday) 08.00 hrs. Proceeding to Kalimpong - Visit to City, Colonial Architectured Dr. Graham’s Home, Mangalam Temple, Durpin Dara for Mt. Kanchenjunga and other snowcapped view - stay & night halt at Kalimpong.
18th Nov.(Friday) 08.00 hrs. Proceeding to Gangtok – visit to Handicraft Centre, Bakthang Falls, Tashi Viewpoint, Ganesh Tok, (Flower Show) / Chorten Tibetology etc. and MG
Marg for shopping handicrafts etc. - stay & night halt at Gangatok.
19th Nov.(Saturday) 06.00 hrs. Visit to Nathula Pass (Mon & Tuesday holiday) – Tsomgo (Changoo) Lake, Baba Mandir etc. - stay & night halt at Gangtok.
20th Nov.(Sunday) 10.00 hrs. Visit to left over places in Gangtok if any and local shopping etc.- stay & night halt at Gangtok
21st Nov. 10.00 hrs. Return to NJP
Chandan Singh (October 2016)
Nice itinerary. Add Dello hills in Kalimpong as part of your sightseeing. You will require 30-45 minutes once you reach. Takes 15-20 minutes to reach from Kalimpong town. In Gangtok, try to visit Rumtek Monastery, Ranka Monastery and Banjhakri Water fall. This will require half day.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2016
I have planned an itinerary for a visit with my family with the help of your suggestions on this forum. Kindly provide your suggestions on this.
20th Oct : Reaching Bagdogra 1:30 PM , transfer to Darjeeling via Mirik . Can we get a taxi from the airport itself for routing through Mirik ?
21st Oct : Starting early morning to visit Tiger hills, Batasia loop and Ghoom monastery. Returning to Darjeeling, in the rest of time enjoying a toy train ride and visiting Mahakaal temple.
22nd Oct : Taking a 7 point or mixed point tour of Darjeeling
23rd Oct : Checkout and transfer to Gangtok, visiting MG road and local market for the rest day. (Can we cover Bakthang waterfall on our way to gangtok ?).
24th Oct : Visiting Nathula pass, Tsomgo lake and Baba mandir .
25th Oct : 10 point sightseeing tour of gangtok.
26th Oct : Start for Bagdogra in the morning for a flight at 2 PM.
We also want to visit Yumthang valley, kindly guide how can it made possible . And also guide how we can improvise it considering it doesn't become hectic for mom dad to cope up. Except the toy train ride what else can be booked earlier ? Thanks.
Himanshu Sharma (October 2016)
At Bagdogra pre-paid counter ask for a taxi to Darjeeling via Mirik. The fare will be higher but you should get it. Bakthang is at a short distance from Gangtok but not on the way when approaching Gangtok from Darjeeling. Rest of your itinerary is okay. It's not possible to fit in Yumthang Valley in your schedule. You need two extra days. You can book virtually everything in advance. Go through a tour operator.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2016
Hi We are planning a trip to Gangtok and darjeeling but the problem is we have a really short time in hand. We have planned something just wanted to get a feedback if it is possible or not? If not can you suggest something within 4days of time
18th: train from Sealdah at 11.15 pm
19: reach Gangtok at around 2pm and go for cab and permit for next day then leisure
20: take cab from stand to Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir, Nathula Pass (Full day trip)
21: take cab to Bakthang Waterfall and Himalayan Zoo then get a cab for darjeeling at 2pm
22: 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. Come back and take your breakfast in the hotel. Later visit the Chowrasta Mall. Sit on a bench and relax for a while, then complete a round along Mall Road. Then take a cab at around 4 to get back to NJP.
Mrinmoy Chatterjee (October 2016)
Hi, yes doable. On 21st start local sightseeing early.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2016
Kindly provide Your expert advice on my below vacation plan for 2 adults and 1 kid(8yrs) travelling in May 2017.
Day 1) Reach Bagdora Airport at 11:50 AM - Bagdogra to Darjeeling Via Mirik. overnight in darjeeling.
Day 2) local sight seeing in dajeeling with afternoon Himalayan toy train ride. overnight in darjeeling.
Day 3) early morning to Tiger hill and 3 points. evening ropeway ride.overnight in darjeeling.
Day 4) Darjeeling to Gangtok transfer.evening local sight seeing. overnight in Gangtok.
Day 5) Full day excursion to Tsongmo Lake and Baba Harbhajan Sing Temple visit Nathual pass. Overnight in Gangtok.
Day 6) Gangtok to Kalimpong. Local sight seeing. overnight in Kalimpong.
Day 7) river rafting and paragliding in Kalimpong.overnight in Kalimpong.
Day 8) leave by 9.00 AM to Bagdogra airport to catch 12.20 flight.
Kindly suggest if I need to add an extra day to this plan, where to spend this extra day?
Looking forward for your valuable reply soon.
Thanks and best Regards,
Murtaza (November 2016)
Your itinerary is okay, although I think reaching Gangtok and setting out for local sightseeing on the same day after hotel check in could be a bit hectic, but possible. Same comment for Kalimpong. Rafting may not be possible due to the recent dam constructions, but coordinate through the operators for suitable timings. Start for the airport by 8am because of traffic jams that often take place near Kalijhora. Talk to the hotel staff and take their advice on the current situation at Kalijhora before deciding on the timing.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) November 2016
I have gone through several of your blogs and I find them quite informative.
I have prepared a detailed itinerary of my family trip: Bagdogra- Kurseong- Darjeeling- Gangtok- Bagdogra from Dec. 17 - Dec. 22 2016. We are 5 people and two of them are aged people. Can you please let me know whether the below itinerary is doable and suggest changes.
17/12 - Reach Bagdogra at 2.15 PM by flight. Have lunch and proceed to Kurseong by cab. Reach Kurseong and stay in a hotel for the night. If possible, go for local sight-seeing in Kurseong town.
18/12 - Go to Kurseong Rly. stn and catch the 7 AM train to Darjeeling. Reach Darjeeling at 10 AM and go for local sight-seeing in Darjeeling.
19/12 - Local sightseeing and night stay in Darjeeling
20/12 - At 7 AM, proceed from Darjeeling to Char Dham . Visit Char Dham and proceed to Gangtok. Reach Gangtok in the evening and stay there for the night.
21/12 - Visit Tsongmo lake and Himalayan Zoo. In the evening, shop around MG Marg
22/12 - Start from Gangtok at 9AM and reach Bagdogra Airport to catch the flight at 2.50 PM.
1) Are there good places to stay in Kurseong not far away from the Railway station?
2) Can the journey Darjeeling-Char Dham-Gangtok be undertaken during this time of the year? If yes, can it be covered in 10 hours (7AM to 5 PM)?
3) Can you also suggest whether we can fit in some other Gangtok local sightseeings (like Rumtek monastery) in any of the days.
David (November 2016)
Hi, do not plan to board the toy train at Kurseong with heavy luggage. There is no luggage van with the trains originating at Kurseong. Darjeeling - Char Dham - Gangtok on the same day is possible.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) November 2016
our two families (6 adults +1 child 9yrs.) are planning a tour to Darjeeling / Gangtok/ Pelling / Lachung. According to your suggestions in following plan we will start all our bookings.
We will likely to reach Bagdogra at 14.45hrs.
Saturday 15 April To Sunday 23 April
Day-1: Mumbai to Bagdogra flight. Reach 14.45hrs.
proceed to Gangtok at 15.30 hrs. O/N gangtok
DAY-2: Full day Local Sightseeing. O/N gangtok
Day-3: Tsomgo lake / Baba mandir / Nathula.
Day-4: Gangtok to Lachung.
Day-5: Yumthang Vally / Zero Point.
Lachung to Pelling.
*(Is it advisable to go directly to pelling?)
Day-6: Pelling Local Sightseeing.
Day-7: Pelling to Darjeeling.
Evening Local Sightseeing. O/N Darjeeling.
Day-8: Darjeeling Local Sightseeing.
*(Can we see All local sights & Toy train ride in single day?)
Day-9: Darjeeling to Bagdogra. Flight will be at 12.30 hrs or 15.00 hrs.
Is it a hectic schedule Or we should add one more day? Especially 5th day. Is it feasible? And if to add a day Where do you suggest?
Shailendra Shidore (December 2016)
Lachung to Pelling direct transfer should not be attempted. You can not see all in Darjeeling plus toy train on a single day. You need minimum two days.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) December 2016