Thursday, March 10, 2016

Darjeeling on Vacation : Queen of the Himalayas (Part 1 of 5)

This winter holidays we planned to go East and had no clue where. From Shillong to Bhubaneshwar, finally settling in on Darjeeling

As usual my plan is for lazy vacationers - It will take 4 nights, provide time for siesta and early morning means 9-10 am. (This rule is flouted for 1 nite - will explain that later).

This milestone on the way to Darjeeling sums up the mood for the vacation. (It is West Bengal :-))

How to get there

Chennai* to Darjeeling and Back
(*My trips are usually indexed to absolute origin of the universe 0,0,0 - Mylapore)
  • Chennai to Bagdogra (Hop over without changing planes at Kolkata) - Indigo (And obviously returned via Kolkata with a 4 hour wait). 
  • Took a car up there from Bagrdogra to Darjeeling - plan 4 hours! comfortably one way to Darjeeling (including eating for about 30 mins, light traffic jams ). Theres a place called Kurseong thats somewhat midway and is the head quarters of the Darjeeling railway . Just before Kurseong is a restaurant called the Kurseong Tourist Lodge that serves hot food (momos and fried rice etc) . Its an interesting point to lunch at (replete with wooden flooring, an age old bar and self service station). The food is average but hot, so if you are hungry its a great place.

The train line comes alongside the road and its fun to see the steam loco struggle up the tracks

Most darjeeling roads and places are so chock-a-block, it is best to take a local cabbie. (The hotels can usually set you up for a decent deal)

Where to stay

A view from the hotel restaurant
We tried booking ourselves between Christmas and New Year and every good hotel was booked except Central Heritage. Have heard and seen better places. This place is as its name says (a) Central - Excellent location - you can walk to the mall, Glenarys' (a nice bakery and restraunt), Station (about 15 mins) and more (b) Heritage - Really old - stay in the club or premium rooms and you feel it. (c) Decent food for a hill station (My theory is that no hill station can usually get its food right) (d) Good crowd - families with children and quite helpful staff

The cons (a) Felt cramped out despite taking the premium rooms (b) bathroom fittings were dated - clean but could do with a lot of makeover (c) caught a small mouse (the staff used a glue pad) on one of the nights
(Part 2 - What to do at Darjeeling )

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


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