By Air , Rail & Road to Darjeeling
You can reach Darjeeling from Delhi, Bombay, Kolkata or Gauhati by air or train first to New Jalpaiguri or at airport Bagdogra. From there you can take shared taxi ( Commander Jeeps or Scorpio) to Darjeeling in less than four hours. Some cars take about two and half hours if they take Pankhabari route but that route is not suggested as it has very sharp bends and very steep climbing. Since, last 20 years or so due to Gorkhaland agitation rods are not properly maintained. Please try to take Hill Cart road or the main road to Darjeeling!
Fare would be around Rs.150/- to Rs.200/- or US$ 4-5 in shared jeep. But you can pay for two for the front seat or for four for the back seat.
- Family Travel
Himalayan Mountain Railway
The best and the coolest option to travel to Darjeeling is by Himalayan Mountain Railway's Toy Train from New Jalpaiguri. Now driven 6 time by Diesel Engine, it is faster and takes about 6 to 7 hours to reach Darjeeling from Jalpaiguri. On way, you shall cross many beautiful locations and stations like Teen Dharia, Kurseoung, Sonada, Ghoom and many more!
But in these fast days, no one wants to spend a day in this train. But I suggest and recommend that you travel to Darjeeling by this Toy Train , you will not only be able to see locals, take pictures, get the breathtaking views of the hills and mountains but it will also acclimatise your body to a great extent. You can return by road, which runs parallel.
The fare would be around Rs120/- or about US$3 in second class, but this is just nothing compared to what you get in return.
- Family Travel
Go by steamengine narrow gauge railway.
To see the Dargiling by Jeep car or toyota car is really nice but by the steam engine narrow gauge train is really great experience.
You will get this train from Siligudi . To and fro travell u can do by this train and this train is the world heritage now as it is only steam engine which is running ....!
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Taxis in Darjeeling and in fact in most North Bengal region are Jeeps.
They will have a board on their windshield showing where they're headed.
Fare will depends on the destination, but not fixed, so there's room for bargaining.
For instance from Darjeeling to Siliguri should be between 80 rs to 130 rs.
Typically the jeep will wait until they have around 8-10 passengers before they start the journey.
toy train of course.....
You can take either a toy train if you have enough time if not catch a shared jeep or hire a van from new Jalpaiguri in case reaching by train ...if by flight to Bagdogra then have to hire a taxi...in and around mostly you can go around by foot as most part of darjeeling taxi's are not allowed otherwise you get shared jeeps avaliable....
The toy train runs from NJP near Siliguri to Darjiling daily rising from 100m above sea level to 2200m. Although it is slow it is well worth it just to view the scenery and villages on the way up. The 80 km trip takes 7 hrs and departs NJP at 9 am and costs around 250 rupees, but having taken the bus before i think my last experience on the train was the best. Take plenty of snacks with you if you are particular about your food, although there are opportunities to purchase snacks on the way up.
- Historical Travel
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway!
UNESCO’S World Heritage Committee inscribed Darjeeling Himalayan Railway as a World Heritage Site on 2nd December 1999. The DHR has popularly known by the name as ‘Toy Train’ which is in fact was never an official term it is just a popular expression found in literature. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway operates a number of tourist train services. These are:
Daily Toy Train Services: Historic diesel and 'B' Class steam locomotives with various combinations of first and second class carriages, which run all the way from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling.
Joy Rides: Diesel and 'B' Class steam locomotives that take passengers on short trips from Darjeeling to Ghoom return. The joyride includes a 10 minute stop at Batasia loop and 30 minute stop at Ghoom Museum.
Jungle Safari Holiday Trains: Locomotives which run from Siliguri to Tindharia return, with the highlights being views of the picturesque Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and "Z" reverses (where the train zigzags forwards and backwards up the slope). The Jungle Safari stops for lunch at Tindharia, where stunning valley views can be enjoyed, before returning to Siliguri.
Update: Fare for the Darjeeling-Ghoom up-down ride (16km) will now be (Darjeeling-Ghoom-Darjeeling) steam engine-run train - Rs 1,165/each and the diesel engine-pulled train - Rs 695/each - up from the previous Rs 400/each for both steam and diesel loco rides.
Similarly, chartered rides in two coaches (both steam/ diesel versions) will now cost Rs 55,000, up from Rs 22,000.
There are 132 unmanned level crossings in the route.
- Family Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Transfer from airport/railway station
If you are visiting Darjeeling you will be most probably reach up to Bagdogra (by flight) or New Jalpaiguri (by train). Take a pre-paid taxi from either West Bengal Road Corporation (or something like this) or Sikkim Transport Corporation. They have counters inside airport and railway station. They charge correct fare, give you receipt and their drivers are licensed and experienced. You need to pay money at counter and take a receipt. After driver has dropped you at your destination, you will hand over the same to him. You should not pay any thing extra.
Note: The taxis are allowed only upto city centers. From there to your hotel, you will have to take a local taxi (this is understanding between various local taxi unions, I was told). However by coaxing, the driver most of them take you till your hotel. Remember to tip them in such cases ;-)
Bus from Siliguri to Darjeeling
We took a taxi from New Jalpaiguri to Siliguri. We were also offered a shared jeep, all the way to Darjeeling, for 90 R per person, and 800 Rs for a jeep-taxi to ourselves. But we chose the bus. The train would take approx. 9 hours and the bus 3-5 hours.
The road up was dramatically beautiful. We saw traces of landslides, which probably had occurred during the monsoon. We drove past the train, it ran very slowly. Train tracks criss-crossing the road, and there were signs of "stop, look, run ..."
There were also many signs like this along the road that would remind people to drive carefully:
"Hurry Burry spoils the Curry"
"Good gave you your life, save it!"
"Give your blood to the blood bank, and not to this road"
"Do not mix drive and drink"
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Toy Train (Darjeeling Himalayan Railway)
This train is awarded world heritage by UNESCO in 2000.
It's running between Darjeeling to New Jalpaiguri (NJP).
However at the time we were there in Dec 2010, it was only running from Darjeeling up to Kurseong because of a landslide.
You can book the ticket from these websites:
- http://irctc.co.in/ (Official Indian Railway website, but apparently more confusing to book)
- http://www.cleartrip.com/ (Easier to book tickets from this website)
From Bhutan (Paro) to India (Darjeeling) by road
If you are in Paro and if you want to drive to Darjeeling, you have to drive down to Phuntsholing, which is the Bhutanese border town. This will be your transit point for stepping into India. The adjacent Indian town is Naigaon, which is in the West Bengal state of India. You will have to proceed to Siliguri by road and then change to Toy train/Jeeps that will take you to Darjeeling. In all, it will take you more than 10 hours from Paro to Darjeeling via Phuntsholing.
The two hotels (Windamere and Mayfair) in Darjeeling are among the good Hotels there. Worth staying there. You get a very colonial feel.
- Mountain Climbing
- Road Trip
The nearest railhead is in Jalpaiguri district the station is NJP or new Jalpaiguri fron here also it takey give and take 3.5 hours.The code is NJP