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Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kolkata: an Unusual First Trip to India

Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kolkata: an Unusual First Trip to India

Old Aug 1st, 2011, 10:06 AM
  #101  
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Bob, we used a booking website based in NYC, gtahotels.com They were excellent - good prices, good service. Since we used them, they have been bought out by another company and are now dhr.com I have no experience with the new company.
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Old Aug 1st, 2011, 04:54 PM
  #102  
 
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i was just trying to pretend i was interested...
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Old Aug 1st, 2011, 06:09 PM
  #103  
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Making points with Karen, eh?
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Old Aug 6th, 2011, 12:09 PM
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Kathie, I am thinking of skipping Pelling altogether. I think that would give us 3 nights Darjeeling and 3 nights Gangtok plus 3 nights in Kolkata and 3 nights in Singapore (this may be non-negotiable with Jeane). We would have an overnight in Bangkok most likely before heading to Kolkata. What do you think? Any idea what the travel time or best route would be from Darjeeling to Gangtok?
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Old Aug 6th, 2011, 01:17 PM
  #105  
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Personally, I think it is a shame to miss Pelling. If it were me, I'd skip Darjeeling instead. But you two might like Darjeeling more than we did.

The drive from Darjeeling to Gangtok is about 4 - 4.5 hours. So figure 4 hours from the airport at Bagdogra to Darjeeling, and from Gangtok to Bagdogra will be about 4.5 hours.
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Old Aug 6th, 2011, 04:41 PM
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So why Pelling? If I have missed something in your report, please let me know. I am going by the photos which may not tell the whole story.
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Old Aug 6th, 2011, 05:41 PM
  #107  
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From above "I really think I'd opt for two nights in Pelling not only because of the capriciousness of the mountain views but just for the atmosphere of the place. You can walk from the hotel to the Pemayangtse Monastery which is really lovely. The only other visitors there were small clusters of school children. The other reason to stay for a full day in Pelling (two nights) is so that you don't have two consecutive days of 4-5 hours of driving."

Also, there are lovely walks in the area. The countryside is gorgeous, and much more undeveloped than other places you might walk (like around Glenburn). You can also walk down to the Rabantse ruins (a former capital) which are visible from the grounds of the monastery (photo #13 in the Pelling section).

We just loved our time in Sikkim. It is so beautiful, so peaceful.

I understand that Pelling might not be what you are looking for, but we really enjoyed it. Darjeeling felt much less special than Sikkim to us.
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Old Aug 6th, 2011, 06:40 PM
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I'm getting it now, Kathie. May be just what we want. More research to do...
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Old Aug 7th, 2011, 12:35 PM
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Kathie, Lonely Planet Northern India describes a "relaxing" and interesting walk to Darap Village as a day-trip from Pelling. This sounds great and would be something we might really like to do, especially if we do a 3 night stay and skip Darjeeling. Did you consider doing or hear of anyone else doing this walk?

I am getting the impression that Pelling is worth it for the drive alone to or from Gangtok (in addition to the amazing views from the Elgin). I am going to have to figure out whether driving between Bagdogra and Pelling in one day is a good idea (I gather it isn't) and look at the alternatives.
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Old Aug 7th, 2011, 01:32 PM
  #110  
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We did meet some people doing long walks. Indeed, there was one couple who was there for about a week doing various walks. They gave the walking rave reviews. The managers can give you recommendations for walks.

You can do the drive from Pelling to Bagdogra in a day (or the other way around). I'm not sure how long the drive is but it isn't as long as you think it is... we met a couple who were leaving Pelling for Bagdogra.

Contact the Elgin Hotels, ask them for a price for both your accommodations and transport, and ask about drive times. Do ask for a Toyota Innova for your travels.
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Old May 8th, 2014, 08:21 AM
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found this one too.

A different take indeed, Kathie!
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Old Oct 19th, 2014, 09:31 AM
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Kathie, re-reading trip reports on preparation for my next trip,to India . . . what time of the year did you and Cheryl make this trip?
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Old Oct 19th, 2014, 10:55 AM
  #113  
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We were there in the last half of November. It was a good time of year to be there. Are you considering going to Sikkim?
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Old Oct 19th, 2014, 04:11 PM
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Going in June or July - avoiding heat is primary. I've re-read trip reports to seek advice about weather - heat and monsoons.
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Old Oct 19th, 2014, 05:11 PM
  #115  
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You won't have problems with heat at that time of year, but the rain - 24 inches in Gangtok in both June and July. Take a look at www.westherbase.com
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Old Oct 19th, 2014, 09:01 PM
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http://www.weatherbase.com/
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Old Oct 20th, 2014, 07:14 AM
  #117  
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thanks for the correction, MmePerdue
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Old Sep 9th, 2017, 07:51 PM
  #118  
 
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I finally found your trip report Kathie and have thoroughly enjoyed it.
I am really interested in whether Craig decided on leaving out Pelling in his Sikkim trip.
We will be in India and are going to Calcutta probably for 5 - 6 days (one of which will be spent in Chandinagore (old French town on the Hooghly). Calcutta walks sound really good although I think 8 hours will be too long for us. We can certainly do the New market by ourselves. The new market also used to have its own flower market but I am sure that the wholesale one by the Howrah bridge would be immense.
Thanks again for a very interesting and well written report.
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Old Sep 9th, 2017, 11:38 PM
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Craig I read your comments in Kathie's trip report and wondered whether you finally did your trip to Darjeeling, Assam and or Sikkim. I tried to search your profile on Fodors, but it was a bit of a nightmare. I would love to hear what sort of trip you did. We are thinking of 5 - 6 days in Calcutta, 3 days in Darjeeling and then a few days in Assam or Sikkim depending on what transport can be arranged. Kathie's report of long drives on bumpy roads did not appeal to us. We would need at least two days to recover with sore backs.
As a child I have driven down the GT road from Nepal to India when it was first made so am familiar with hairpin bends, trucks over the side of the road and road works as the road is being built. All in the back of an army truck. 50 years later, I don't think I want the same experience again. The flight (one a week) was via a military plane only seats along the sides of the plane, and no pressure in the "cabin". Certainly no "hosties"!
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Old Sep 9th, 2017, 11:46 PM
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We used Calcutta Walks for 2 days last November - I sent our preassigned guide a list of all the places I hoped to see & she came back with them sorted into a sensible itinerary for each day, plus some other ideas. Both days worked out realky well, we had an excellent car & driver provided, as well as the very knowledgeable & friendly guide. We were out all day but had breaks and didn't find it too tiring - lots of variety. There are also 2 good guidebooks available written by Keith Humphrey - Calcutta Walks & Calcutta Revisited - if you are interested.
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