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India (north-east) + Maldives ititneraty help

India (north-east) + Maldives ititneraty help

Old Mar 6th, 2017, 11:55 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 7
India (north-east) + Maldives ititneraty help

Dear travelers,

Now it`s my time to ask for some help with my itinerary...

I have almost 3 weeks to explore India and Maldives in November. I`m interested in visiting North -East of India (Varanasi, Sikkim). Really wanted to go to Arunachal Pradesh, but probably need to forget about it because of time of getting to places.. Please let me know if my itinerary looks realistic in terms of distance, times and places to visit. Would appreciate any advice. So, here it goes:

Nov 25: early morning arrival to New Delhi (spend the entire day in New Delhi)
Nov 26: early transfer to Jaipur
Nov 27: Jaipur
Nov 28: Jaipur - Agra
Nov 29 Agra transfer to Varanasi by a night train
Nov 30: Varanasi
Dec 1: Varanasi - (night train to Darjeeling??)
Dec 2: Darjeeling
Dec 3: Darjeeling to Sikkim by bus
Dec 4: Gangtok (Sikkim)
Dec 5: Gangtok (staying at the hotel and exploring the area)
Dec 6: Gangtok
Dec 7: Gangtok
Dec 8 ?? Arunachal Pradesh to see the tribes?
Dec 9: Flight to Maldives?? what airport??
Dec 10: Maldives (Thoddoo island)
Dec 11: Maldives (Thoddoo island)
Dec 12: Maldives (Thoddoo island)
Dec 13: Maldives (Thoddoo island)
Dec 14: Maldives (Thoddoo island) - flight back to US.

Please let me know what you think! Any help would be appreciated!

Thank you,

kireina is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2017, 04:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,075
I'd recommend that you make a stop in Pelling (Sikkim( between Darjeeling and Gangtok. It has fabulous mountain views and a fascinating monastery. It also breaks up the long drive a bit. Then move on to Gangtok. You are right, you won't have time for Arunachal Pradesh unless you decide to cut the first part of your trip to Jaipur and Agra. And there is no night train from Varanasi to Darjeeling. Indeed, it looks to me like you haven't researched the logistics of this trip. When I went to Sikkim, I flew into Bagdogra and had a 4+ hour drive to Gangtok. On the way out, there was also a 4+ hour drive from Darjeeling to Bagdogra, the closest airport. You will have o get to a major international airport to go to the Maldives. Kolkata is likely the closest. We flew from Bagdogra to Kolkata. Do some research on flights (and trains). There was a rumor that they were going to build a airport at Gangtok, but I don't think it has been built.
Kathie is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2017, 06:11 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,628
There are no direct trains from Varanasi to Darjeeling. You would take a train to Kolkata Howrah, change stations to Kolkata Sealdah on the other side of the river, take a train to New Jalpaiguri, and then take the "toy train up the mountain. Assuming it was running. That is likely to take two nights and most of a second day.

For info on trains in India go here:


For information on the "toy" train go here:


I thoroughly enjoyed riding the train up to Darjeeling, although I only got to ride the top half as a landslide had temporarily closed the bottom half, but I freely admit it is not for everyone.

In any case, on such a short trip, you had better figure on flying if you want to include Sikkim. If the NE and the Maldives are your most important destinations, forget Jaipur and fly from Delhi to Varanasi.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2017, 06:57 PM
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Thank you, Kathie! You`re right - I`ve just started planning the logistics. Have you had a chance to go to Arunachal Pradesh? Does it worth it?..
kireina is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2017, 07:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,075
Sorry, I haven't been to Arunachal Pradesh.
Kathie is offline  
Old Mar 15th, 2017, 03:30 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 7
Kathie, Thursdaysd, thank you! I am a solo traveler. I know that there is a special permit required to enter Sikkim.Is there any way to travel without a tour guide in this case?
kireina is offline  
Old Mar 15th, 2017, 07:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,075
You don't need a tour guide, just the permit. You will need a car and driver for a number of days. We didn't use a guide anywhere in Sikkim or Darjeeling.
Kathie is offline  
Old Mar 23rd, 2017, 11:40 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 678
Better to take the train to Jaipur. The Ajmer Shatabdi runs at 6:05 arriving in Jaipur in about 4.3 Hrs. There are several morning flights to Jaipur as well, not very expensive.
The road to Jaipur passes through a very busy industrial corridor with large lorries plying at all times of the day,keeping you company, till Chandwaji some 35 miles short of Jaipur! Blaring horns, jockeying for space, breakdowns due to over-load, is not a pleasant experience on your second day in India!!
I am not sure if there is a train to Siliguri from Varanasi. There is definitely the low-cost Indigo flight from Varanasi to Kolkata. From Kolkata you may fly into Bagdogra,the next morning, a very pleasant flight with the Teesta visible as a narrow ribbon flowing below you and the Himalayan massif on the horizon!
Bagdogra to Darjeeling is about 60 miles/4 to 5 hrs by surface.
Happy travels!
vp_singh is offline  
Old Mar 24th, 2017, 05:26 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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@vp-_singh - if you had bothered to read my post, you would have learned that you have to change trains and stations in Kolkata to get from Varanasi to Siliguri.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Mar 24th, 2017, 09:50 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 678
I thought I was writing to Elena's post!
And btw, there is one train, The Amritsar-Dibrugarh Express, that does run from Varanasi junction to New Jalpaiguri rail station!! The distance to Darjeeling from New Jailpaiguri is some 75 odd miles. It is a different matter it runs only once a week.
vp_singh is offline  
Old Mar 25th, 2017, 05:53 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,628
It is usual practice, or at least polite, to read what others have written before adding your post. A once a week train is certainly better than no train, but stands a good chance of running on the wrong day for the OP. Seems the date I checked was one of the many when it did not run.
thursdaysd is offline  
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