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Calcutta-based January Trip: where to go?

Calcutta-based January Trip: where to go?

Sep 11th, 2004, 04:21 PM
  #1  
owl
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Calcutta-based January Trip: where to go?

We plan to visit India and Bhutan Jan 1-21. We figure 10 days would be a good trip to Bhutan and 10 days in India. Do you agree with this split?

We're using miles and the only destination city available is Calcutta. Where would you go with 10 days around Calcutta in January?

Thank you!
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Sep 12th, 2004, 06:46 AM
  #2  
 
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Consider Gangtok ad Darjeeling. Beautiful landscapes. Stay at the Norkhill in Gangtok and the Windamere in Darjeeling.
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Sep 12th, 2004, 07:55 AM
  #3  
owl
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Thanks for the suggestion, Hobbes. Do you think this area will be similar to Bhutan?
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Sep 12th, 2004, 05:52 PM
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Not at all. Fly from Calcutta to Baghdogra. From Baghdogra take a helicopter to Gangtok. The ride is subsidized by the Sikkim Govt and will cost you only Rs. 1500 i.e. approx US$35 per head for a 40 min ride with amazing scenery. Use Gangtok as a base for amazing treks. Then hire a car to take you to Darjeeling. At Darjeeling enjoy the "toy train", a British legacy and one of the oldest narrow gauge railways running at considerable altitude - an engineering marvel. Acco at the Windamere (www.windamerehotel.com) is outstanding. Wake up early for the trek to sunrise point. Is not oriented towards sights and temples as Bhutan is so sure you will enjoy the experience esp if you enjoy trekking.
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Sep 13th, 2004, 01:48 AM
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I disagree with Hobbes on this one. While Bhutan and Darjeeling are different in terms of culture, I think your time in India would be better spent in areas other than cold hill areas, esp as you will be in India in January which is so good weather-wise for north India. After you spend a few days in Calcutta, I would get on a plane and go to Delhi and explore a bit of Rajasthan and possibly Varanasi. Delhi is an interesting city and worth 2 or 3 days. You could also make a 2 day trip to Agra. Not sure how much time you have after that, if you could get down to Varanasi that would be good as well. Of course you could also skip the whole culture thing entirely and just go to Goa or Kerala for great beaches and relaxation. January is a great month in much of India so you do have a lot to choose from.

How are you getting to Bhutan? I would assume you are flying through Delhi as I did not think there were flights from Calcutta. If you have to go to Delhi from Calcutta anyway, I might be tempted to skip Calcutta altogether and concentrate on the area around Delhi instead.

For flights try

http://www.jetairways. - private airline in India, very good
http://indian-airlines.nic.in - state-run airline, domestic schedule

For railroad schedules try www.indianrail.gov.in. - state railway of (India)

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Sep 13th, 2004, 04:10 AM
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Owl - and Cicerone! -, my suggestion assumed u want to stay around Calcutta for whatever reasons. Cicerone is abs correct - if this is a first time trip to india and you are willing to travel some more, Rajasthan, Agra, Kerala, Goa are all great options. However, Gangtok & Darjeeling are beautiful in their own way and my holiday there was very memorable. Guess u need to figure out what your agenda is, whether you think you will be back in india, etc.
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Sep 13th, 2004, 12:47 PM
  #7  
owl
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Thanks for the feedback. I can only fly into Calucutta (bec I'm using miles and this is the only cit open). Then I'm flying to Bhutan from Calcutta (at least on the outbound). It's all a question of extra expense and time.

Here's an idea:
January 1 US to Calcutta to Bhutan
January 10 Bhutan to Delhi (costs $130 extra each to fly back to Delhi rather than to Calcutta)
January 10-21 Delhi-Agra-Varanasi-Calcutta (by train?)
January 21 Calcutta to US

I think I prefer to itinerary to Darjeeling area since I'm interested in more cultural sites in India and we will be taking in a lot of Bhutan's scenery (which is potentially more beautiful than Sikkim?--though I know it's hard to compare apples to oranges). What do you think?

Thank you very much!
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Sep 13th, 2004, 03:36 PM
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I comp agree wth your idea of taking in some culture and also think your nitinerary looks very doable - as a matter of fact in 10 days you could add another destination without setting too bruising a pace! Jaipur? Del-Agra train connections are great. It is a 3 hour fast train called the Shatabdi. Agra-Varanasi someone posted on earlier so pull that up. U could also take a quick look at www.indiamike.com as the administrator has posted a long post on trains in India,
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Sep 13th, 2004, 09:43 PM
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Also explore the option of flying or taking the train from Cal to Varanasi, Varanasi-Agra know there is a well timed overnight train (think u board 6ish and disembark the foll morning) then Agra-Jaipur by road, then Jaipur-Delhi by train. Also, US$130 is pretty much the same as what domestic air fares are for Del-Cal one way so see if it works better for you to just transfer to a domestic carrier rather than use your carrier to transfer u. Also look into the air passes on Indian Airlines and Jet - 1 of them may work for u and will certainly save u lots of time. Pull up earlier posts on the passes on the forum.
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Sep 14th, 2004, 07:29 PM
  #10  
owl
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Thanks for the info, Hobbes!
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