Darjeeling Gangtok Itineraries - Page 11

Hi Raj, 
I was born in Kalimpong and studied in SJC. Now after more than 50 years we are planning a trip to that wonderful land! Read your passionate, very useful and practical advice on the planning of the tour. I have also bought the Ebook. Will get the Tourism Card also. 
Tentative days are from 27 Feb 2020 to 5/6th Mar. During this time would like to visit Gangtok, Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Places where I have visited or stayed in childhood! Arriving from Guwahati either by train or flight and leaving for New Delhi from Bagdogra. 
Can you suggest some itineraries, hotel plans etc? Should I book myself or through agents? 
Many thanks and with regards 
Yuvraj Singh (December 2019) 
Your are visiting when the winter is at its peak... you would know that it's the lowest season in the hills here. I suggest you book the hotels directly... that way you get best discounts and best rooms. Bookings through agencies are almost always given low priorities. Depending on your budget, choose from the hotels I have discussed on my website for each of these places, call them up and book directly. 
Suggest you visit the places in this order... Gangtok, Kalimpong, Darjeeling. This is because while returning from Gangtok or Kalimpong, there could be huge traffic jams in Siliguri and elsewhere which can badly impact your schedule. Route from Darjeeling to Bagdogra is different and is usually free of serious traffic jams. One catch... West Bengal registered taxis can only go up to Deorali stand (2kms before Gangtok town) and you need to take another local taxi to your hotel. It's better to ask your hotel at Gangtok to arrange for a pick up. 
Since your time is short (barely 2 days for each place), try to remain within town limits and do local sightseeing. Avoid local taxis, instead ask the hotel to arrange sightseeing tours or go through a proper tour operator... cost would be little higher but the experience will be better. While visiting Darjeeling from Kalimpong, go via Lamahatta to see the nicely manicured roadside garden and the views around. While returning from Darjeeling to Bagdogra, go via Mirik and stop at Simana (Nepal Border) viewpoint. Regards, 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) December 2019 
Dear Raj, 
Thanks for the prompt reply and very valuable feedback. On your recommendations, I am rerouting my itinerary and will let you know. Once finalized I will also call the Hotels for booking. Call or book directly online? 
Q: While in India áI've visited Rajasthan, HP, and Utrakand booking through the Govt tourist bungalows. Is there something similar available here, good locations, better and cheaper ?? 
BTW I am now based in Canada and are used to severe winters and snow. However, the facilities here are also much better. áRegards, 
Yuvraj Singh (December 2019) 
Darjeeling and Kalimpong there are hotels/lodges run by West Bengal Tourist Development Corporation (WBTDCL)... locations are some of the best but lodging quality and service may not be top class, but mostly acceptable. Go through my review of WBTDCL lodge in Darjeeling
In Kalimpong, try to book Morgan House (also of WBTDCL). You can find my review of Morgan house in this page. In Sikkim, there are only privately run hotels. 
You can book WBTDCL lodges online through their website. For private hotels, it is better to call them up first to see if you get any better deals and then book accordingly or online. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) December 2019 
Hi Raj, 
Based on your advice and inputs have revised the itinerary as follows: 
27th Feb, Guwahati to New Jalpaiguri by night train. Reach by NJP early morning and then to Gangtok by taxi. 
Q: Can you suggest which night train? Some good ones are reaching too early 03:00 in the morning! Taxi on the spot or book in advance? 
- Gangtok x 3 nights. Hotel Sonam Delek. What's the take on Hotel Elgin? My main concern is walking up to it? Do I need a permit for Sikkim? Do I take it before or after I check-in at the hotel? From Gangtok would also like to visit Gurdwara Nanak Lama Chungthang. 
-2nd Mar Gangtok to Kalimpong via Rangpoo halt 
Kalimpong x 3 nights. Hotel Morgan House 
- 5th Mar Kalimpong to Darjeeling via Lamahatta 
Darjeeling x 3 nights. Hotel Shangrila 
8th Mar. Kalimpong to Bagdogra via Simana view and Mirik. We will have to start early to catch the flight to Delhi!  
If falling short of days in Gangtok can increase it by one day and decrease Darjeeling by a day? 
Many thanks and with regards 
Yuvraj Singh (December 2019) 
Hi, try to book a train that reaches in the morning at a comfortable time (like Kanchanjanga Express) or Even Kamrup Express which reaches in early evening. If you book taxi on spot, take it from pre-paid taxi counter (opens at 7am and closes by 7pm). Visit the Gangtok Hotels Page where I have discussed the two hotels (Sonam Delek and Elgin Nor-Khill): 
Being an NRI/Foreign National, you will need Inner Line Permit (ILP) to enter Sikkim. Since you are coming by train, you can get it at Rangpo checkpost which is located on the border of East Sikkim and on the way to Gangtok. You must have your passport, visa and photographs. The check post office is usually open between 8am to 8pm. 
Gurdwara Nanak Lama Chungthang is in North Sikkim and for that you need a separate Protected Area Permit (PAP). You need to go through a registered tour operator to get that permit while in Gangtok and also take their vehicle to visit the place. Your hotel can also arrange this through their own connections with tour operators. Being foreign nationals, you must be in a group of two or more to get the permit and travel together. You should give it a day's time to get the permit, so initiate the process as soon as you reach Gangtok. 
Your overall itinerary is okay, you should ideally stay in Gangtok for one more day. Regards, 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) December 2019 
Hi Raj, 
We 3 people are visiting Darjeeling and Gangtok. Stay is for 4nights. We are reaching Bagdogra airport on 27th March at 11:00am 
Day 1- Bagdogra- Gangtok 
Day 2- Nathula pass, Tsomgo lake, Baba mandir 
Day3- 7 point tour at Gangtok and proceed to Darjeeling. Night stay at Darjeeling 
Day 4- Tiger hill sun rise and local sightseeing 
Day 5-proceed for Bagdogra (flight is at 2:45 pm) 
My query is can we visit Kalimpong (only deolo hill )? If so, on which date can we visit? 
Rashmi (January 2020) 
Hi, it's a busy plan and there is not enough time to visit Kalimpong. One option is to visit on day-1 on the way to Gangtok, but that would mean a detour of 3-4 hours (including time spent in Delo). You should then pre-book a car, pre-paid taxis at the airport won't take such detours. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) January 2020 
Hi , 
I am planning below itinerary to cover Sikkim. Please let me know if this is possible. Also can we skip Pelling if we are visiting other places similar or more beautiful than it or is it worth to visit? 
1 May : Airport to Gangtok 
2 : Gangtok to Baba Mandir to Zuluk 
3 : Gangtok to Lachen 
4 : Lachen sightseeing and Lachen to Lachung 
5 : Lachung sightseeing and return to Gangtok 
6 : Gangtok sightseeing and Pelling 
7 : Pelling sightseeing and stay 
8 : Pelling to Darjeeling sightseeing 
9 : Darjeeling sightseeing and travel to Mirik (2.30hrs 62Km 4905). Stay in Mirik. 
10 Mirik to Airport (1.50hrs 55km) 
Dipshree (January 2020) 
Hi, suggest you skip Pelling to give yourself a full day in Darjeeling. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) January 2020 
We, 2-adult couple plannig a trip to Darjeeling are in June 2nd week, 2020. 
1. Fly into Bagdogra , proceed to Gangtok - 2 nights 
2. proceed to Pelling - 2 nights 
3. Proceed to Darjeeling - 2 nights 
4. Fly out 7 th day Bagdogra. 
Is June safe from monsoons in this area? We greatly appreciate your advice. Thank you, 
Ram Shankar (January 2020) 
Hello, your itinerary is okay. However, the official monsoon season starts from June 15 and ends on Sep 15. So expect rains. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) January 2020 
A very happy new year to you. 
I'm planning a visit Takdah - Gantok - Darjeeling in a single go. Initially the plan was to cover Takdah and Darjeeling however, after going through your webpage for Darjeeling Gangtok combined tour, intends to change my plan and include Gangtok as well. 
Appreciate if you could confirm if this is practical or not to cover all these three places in a single tour. 
Thanks in advance. 
Gourab Saha (January 2021) 
Hi, happy new year! 
Yes, it is quite possible, but you should have an adequate number of days to enjoy each place. If you plan to travel by reserved taxi, you can visit the places in the following sequence: Gangtok - Takdah - Darjeeling, or the reverse in order to save on travel time. 
If you want to use a shared taxi wherever possible, then visit Takdah first (you can get a shared taxi from Siliguri Vishal cinema stand), then take a reserved taxi to Darjeeling, then a shared cab to Gangtok, then a shared taxi to NJP. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) January 2021 
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