Darjeeling is a small hill town in West Bengal, India. The nearest airport is Bagdogra , located in Siliguri about a 2.5 hourlong ride from Darjeeling .There are direct bus services from Dhaka to Siliguri as well.
I went there 6 years back, with less money, less experience and with 10 people. It was the cheapest outbound trip I’ve ever had. I spent 12000Rupees for a 5 day trip leaving the bus fare which was around 5000tk both ways from Dhaka.
Journey started at 11pm from Dhaka and we reached Burimari Border around 6am. The border is actually a small hut with chairs and tables for the formalities to be done by the immigration officers.From there it took 3 hours to reach Siliguri.
Our journey was very tiring so we stayed in a hotel for that night in Siliguri and left for Darjeeling the next morning.However I can say that the 2.5 hour journey from Siliguri to Darjeeling is one of the most amazing rides I’ve had with breathtaking views.Mountains, clouds, waterfalls, streams, oak trees and very moody natural beauty are the highlights of the journey.
We didn’t book any hotel there and it’s not needed unless you are visiting in the peak season.There are several hotels with a variety of prices.
Day1: Relaxing and walking around the town.Tibetian handicrafts,shawls and oriental food shops are definitely worth paying a visit .
Day2: Morning in Batasia Loop(a garden offering distant view of the himalayas where the famous darjeeling toy train takes a loop).
Afternoon at Peace Pagoda for some spiritual wisdom and traditional Momo shops to try different types of dumplings .
Day3:Early morning ride to Tiger Hill sunrise point to see the mighty Kanchenjunga peak.The place is chilly so make sure you are packed inside warm clothes;carry binoculars and a good camera.Mostly people get tired after returning to hotel; that day we slept and cancelled further plans.
Day4: After breakfast we went to Rock Garden. It’s a very beautiful place to walk around,take pictures with a waterfall, variety of flowers and also wear traditional Gorkha clothes.From there we went to the town centre shopping mall and enjoyed a hindi movie in their multiplex.
Day5: We visited Darjeeling’s famous tea gardens and came to Siliguri after lunch as we had to return back to Dhaka the next day.
• Book hotels ahead of time
• You can hire cars from hotels in Siliguri towards Darjeeling
• Altitude sickness is common
• Food shops are abundant
• Every hotel in Darjeeling has package trips to all landmarks and tourist attractions so you can choose between places and they have good deals.
• You have to pay travel tax when you cross the border for India from Burimari ( 600tk in cash for each person).
• Warm clothes, Camera, Walking shoes, binoculars.
• Carry your business card or Job ID
• Try to travel in a group to enjoy max.
• There are other places around Darjeeling; like Mirik, Lava and Sikkim which are beautiful but for Sikkim you need to obtain travel permits from Kolkata if you are a Bangladeshi. Though I’ve heard that permits will be exempted for Bangladeshi nationals soon. Darjeeling is always a great choice for nature lovers who are stressed by the hot and humid south east asian city life. I’ve lost all the good pictures from the trip so hope to go there again for new experiences.