Thursday, April 7, 2016

Darjeeling Vacation : Queen of the Himalayas (Part 5 of 5)

This is Part 5 of this travelogue covering the penultimate day)
(Links to the Darjeeling Travelogue : Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - (This page)Part 5)

Tiger Hills

Day 4 was the exception to our vacation rule. Me and my son decided to go and see the sunrise on Kanchenjunga. Lets never get to asking a person if it was worth waking up at 330 am in freezing winter and braving an hour long car journey...... (Temperatures were 3 deg without accounting windchill)

To be met by about 10000000000000 people who got there before you and want to be an inch closer.........

When you can see similar sunrises in Mylapore at 5 am having filter coffee..... (of course while wearing a sweater or shawl to bear the cold 20 degrees chennai winter)

Hey wait...... Can you show me this ......

Yes for all the pain it was worth it - me and my son liked the adventure. Its frankly too cold for women, children, old people - Not worth risking them up for there is also a long walk in the dark, hardly any facilities and too much crowd. (See it on youtube from the comfort of your bed if you are not able to make it here)

Shopping continued in the morning after we returned. One interesting (BIIIIIIG climb) was the temple there. Unexpected but very nice and has a nice view too. (You can walk it up from the mall)

Shiv Shani temple

Overall a great tip. The next day we left in the morning after breakfast for a flight from Bagdogra around Noon to Chennai. (Please plan a minimum 4 hrs of travel time to the airport)

Where to eat:

Mostly we ate at the hotel. Except on the day we came to Darjeeling , we ate in the lodge at Kurseong (see Part 1).

Kunga restraunt

Near the shopping area is a place called Kunga . They serve authentic local meals. Momos and noodle soups are out of the world. They are run by a very nice family. They even suggest what portions would be most correct for you.

Have a great time. If you found this useful send me which was useful and what was boring so can edit the pages. Also send me your updates to post if you've travelled recently.

(Quick Links to the Darjeeling Travelogue : Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5)


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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Darjeeling Vacation : Queen of the Himalayas (part 4 of 5)

(Links to the Darjeeling Travelogue : Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - This page - Part 5)

Day 3 was more luxurious. Late rising and breakfast and walk up to the "Mall"
The Mall Road

This is a good place to hangout. Every hill station has one. At the centre they have a short pony ride for kids/adults.

At the end of the open expanse, there are 2 small streets - each has a shopping area

Theres a tea shop called Nathmulls where you can taste and buy exotic teas. They also have an online system - I found the owner to be very enterprising. (If you are desperate for Coffee , theres cafe Coffee day)

Our train was at around 1 , so we kind of landed at the station a little early to see the shunting of the rakes. For more information google up DHR (Darjeeling Himalayan Railway)

Only the first 2 stops are covered and then they loop back to Darjeeling. The Batasia Loop offers a beautiful view of the mountains - don't miss it. The gardens etc are very poorly maintained.

But the train is very very interesting. It is a steam engine and still the same. Difficult to operate but a lot of fun for passengers on a short ride.

They stop at Ghum station for about 20 mins and you can get down to see the Ghum Railway museum (One more engine and a few cargo rakes)

(Quick Links to the Darjeeling Travelogue : Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5)


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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Darjeeling Vacation : Queen of the Himalayas (Part 3 of 5 )

Touristy places (The standard tour Day 2 - Continued)

(Quick Links to the Darjeeling Travelogue : Part 1 - Part 2 - This is Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5)

From the Tenzing rock, we went to the ropeway. The queue was about 3 hours long to get in. So we ditched it and went to the tea plantations

Happy Valley Tea Plantations

I expected to see a plantation, a processing factory, some tasting, factory shop for purchases etc. It was a complete let down. They took us to some corner of it where Tourist could dress up as locals and take photos as if they are picking tea.

It was a let down. To put in context, what Juhu is to Beach after you've seen Marina Chennai. MaPro Mahabaleshwar and Ooty Tea gardens do a wonderful job of showcasing the tea /local produce experience

Buddhist temple and peace pagoda

Our last stop was Buddhist temple and peace pagoda. This place is quite interesting. They had some chanting and we were allowed to participate by drumming. See my out of the world pics of Buddha with a natural halo below.

On the way back to the hotel, we booked the tickets for Darjeeling to Darjeeling - I think there a 4 trains that do the round trip every day - 2 are diesel (costing about 650 per ticket) and 2 are steam (costing 1100 per ticket) - Very steep considering that its about 2 hrs, the scenic ride is spoilt by awful illegal constructions throughout the way, they serve nothing or explain nothing - Please try to book in advance - I was just plain lucky. You can try online, but for some reason I could not get any booking.

Day 3 in next part

(Quick Links to the Darjeeling Travelogue : Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5)


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