My family and I visited Darjeeling in January 2018.
Darjeeling is a busy little hillside town in northeastern West Bengal.
My route –> Bangalore to Bagdogra (flight)
Bagdogra to Darjeeling (by Innova)
#Bagdogra airport really needs a Facelift. One of the worst airports that I have been in India
We had stayed at Sterling Darjeeling resort during that trip. From Sterling property, we can see an spectacular view of Kanchenjunga Mountain ranges. So we avoided the trip to Tiger mountain hill. If you plan for this place, you will have to wake up very early in the morning to reach there before sun rise. Located 10+ kms from Darjeeling is Tiger Hill Mountain, popular for its sunrise view.
The main idea behind this trip was to take a ride in the Toy train.
Its really an amazing journey. It’s good to pre-book the tickets, to avoid any last minute rush.
Tickets can be pre-booked in the website www.irctc.co.in
You can give the source destination and target destination as below:
Select the Joyride (Steam) option.
You can book the First class ticket (only option). The entire journey is 2 hours.
2. Basilica of Bom Jesus
This church is often called as Basilica of Good Jesus and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The structure has stood the test of time and has been preserved quite well. The church holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier.
3. We also managed to do a small Cruise journey with lots of music and dance. It was exciting.
4.Tried some water sports . It was a nice experience.
If interested, you can also try your luck in some Casinos here.
There are so many nice beaches in Goa like below (read somewhere that there are more than 25 beaches)
We had stayed in Sterling Resorts ‘Goa Villagio’. It was a decent resort but slightly far from the happeneing places.
We had taken a Car for rent and tried to explore some interior villages in Goa. That was fun and exciting. Goa’s interiors are rich in biodiversity and wildlife.
The Goan’s are renowned for their fine multi-cultural cuisine.
Two hotels that I would recommend based on my experience are (though slightly expensive):
1. Zeebop Sea food Restaurant:
We were told it is one of the best places to go to in South Goa. If you are staying in Dabolim this is a convenient place to get to with a scenic drive through the Goa countryside with its churches and Portuguese era country mansions ending on the quiet beach where this restaurant is located.
We really enjoyed the Fish menu in this hotel. Ambiance was also nice, quite near to the sea.
2. Martin’s Corner:
Another highly recommended hotel as per Trip Advisor reviews.
This is indeed a bigger restaurant with a wide spread of Sea food menu.
Not too many options for vegetarians.
The seafood served here is simply awesome.
How to reach:
By Air: Dabolim Airport is 29 kilometres away from the state’s capital, Panjim. It is well connected by daily flights from Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Cochin and Bangalore.
Mopa Airport is an under-construction greenfield airport being built at Mopa in Noth Goa(As of dec 2018)
By Train: The two major railheads in Goa are Madgaon and Thivim, which are well connected by trains from all over the country.
By Bus: There are a number of public as well as private bus operators in Goa, which offer options for intra-city and inter-city conveyance.
The train takes you till Ghum station and comes back in the same route to Darjeeling.
I have seen many of the co-passengers getting down at the Ghum station. This can save your time, if you have a tight packed journey plan.The train stops in between for water refilling.
Couple of other places that we visited were:
1.Rangeet Valley Ropeway
If you want a panoramic photograph of tea plantations, Rangeet Valley Ropeway is a must. This was built in 1968 and is the first cable car in India. It’s a 15 minute ride over the sprawling field and an epic view. The ropeway stops at a small village of Tuvkar, where you can keep walking to its tea estate and visit its factory. The ropeway met with an accident in 2003,a cable car fell off killing four people. However, it reopened in 2012.
2. Japanese temple and Peace Pagoda
The Japanese Temple is the symbol of peace. It is located in the Jalapahar Hills and is built in the traditional Japanese style. The view from here is simply wonderful.
3. Chunnu Summer falls (Rock Garden)
The Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park are two beautiful parks located close to each other. Rock garden is a terraced garden that has been cut through the rock and seating arrangements are made in between. The major attraction here is the cascading waterfall.
4. Batasia Loop and War Memorial
Batasia Loop is a garden and one of the scenic routes for the Toy Train . The valley view from this park is stunning. In this park there is a war memorial dedicated to Gurkha soldiers.
5. We also visited a couple of Monasteries and temples.
Overall, It was a nice 2 days vacation in Darjeeling.