Travel G-spots

ASIA: West Bengal and Sikkim Itinerary

Definitely not my idea … I would never dream of traveling to Sikkim. It was one of those late nights where I kick back and chat with my ‘khor khor’ via IM … dreaming of the next escape from our otherwise 80 to 90-hour work week. And to think that I was upset when not a single organization and university wanted to extend a full scholarship in architecture to me when I came of age.

In any case, after much ‘study’ it seem do-able. However, the research and planning was hellish – Sikkim is really not a place frequented by local and foreign tourist. Coupled with the fact that I had wanted to go during the Tibetan Buddhist festivities with an experienced photographer fixer and driver … it was near impossible.

Eventually, I secured myself an adventure-travel guide (who guides daredevils and  Eddie Bauer advertising agencies location scouts) and a local mini bus (it’s a 4×4 Mahindra actually) driver. As for a photo fixer, oh well, I got my mother who has amazing people skills.

So here’s the itinerary that includes a quick spin to Darjeeling – can’t miss out on the old coal train, can I? – and of course Kolkata, the gateway to West Bengal.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

the ITINERARY

WEST BENGAL and SIKKIM

a 8D/7N trip

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

  Day 1

KUALA LUMPUR – KOLKATA – NEW JALPAIGURI (NJP)

Flight Air Asia

 KUL (ETD 1430) – CCU (ETA 1550)

Train Darjeeling Express

 CCU Seladah (ETD 2205) – NJP (ETA 0800 +1)

Day 2

NEW JALPAIGURI (NJP) – GANGTOK

Arrive at 0800 – transfer to Gangtok.

Half day sight-seeing in Gangtok – Enchey Gompa, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Do Drul Chorten & Gompa. Overnight at home stay.

Day 3

GANGTOK – KALIMPONG

Stop by Rumtek Monastery on the way to Kalimpong.

Arrive at Kalimpong – walk around town, visit some nurseries.

Overnight in Kalimpong.

Day 4

KALIMPONG – DARJEELING

Drive to Darjeeling.

Take Darjeeling Toy Train to Ghoom. Visit Ghoom Monastery, Mountaineering Institute and Zoological Park (white Bengal Tiger).

Overnight in Darjeeling.

Day 5

DARJEELING – BAGDOGRA – KOLKATA

Drive/Hike to Tiger Hill to witness the sunrise.

Onward transfer to Bagdogra airport to board flight to Kolkata.

Flight options:

Kingfisher IT2812 flight

(ETD 12:25 | ETA 13:50)

Daily

Jet Air 9W2481 flight

(ETD 13:55 | ETA 14:55)

Daily

Indian Airways IC722 flight

(ETD 14:40 | ETA 15:35)

Tues / Thur / Sat

Indian Airways IC722 flight

(ETD 15:15 | ETA 16:10)

Wed

Spice Jet SG324 flight

(ETD 15:25 | ETA 16:25)

Daily

Day 6

KOLKATA

Arrive in Kolkata. Stroll along Free School (Mirza Ghalib) Street towards Park Street.

Overnight in Kolkata.

Day 7

KOLKATA

Visit New Town Market in the morning followed by Indian Museum (opens at 10am).

After lunch take Metro to Victoria Memorial and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Take metro to North Kolkata and stroll around, covering where possible only the following:

Chitpur, Bagbazar, Belgachhia, Shyam Bazaar, Shobha Bazaar, Maniktala, Jora Sanko and College Street for old, quaint buildings dating back hundreds of years along narrow lanes.

Overnight in Kolkata.

Day 8

KOLKATA – KUALA LUMPUR

Rise before the sun rises and make way to Howrah Bridge to witness fog dissipating as the sun rises. Walk to Mullik Ghat Flower Market.

Explore Kolkata city on foot and make way to the airport (allow 2 hours for traffic congestion).

Flight Air Asia

 CCU (ETD 1635) – KUL (ETA 2305)

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