GANGTOK

* From New Jalpaiguri or Silliguri , you have to take a car or bus ride. If you are a large group of 8 or 10 or more, then getting a car is not a problem, because Rs 4000 per trip can be conveniently divided per head. But if you are just two or three, better take Sikkim Nationalized Transport Bus service from Silliguri. Don’t fall into agent’s trap of package sightseeing offers at NJP or Silliguri. They include ride from NJP to Gangtok at exceptionaly low price just to tempt you.


* If you have to go from NJP to Silliguri, take local autos , after leaving station area. Autos and rickshaws parked near rail station ask for exorbitant fares.

* SNT BUSES doesn’t give much halts during the 5 to 6 hours ride. So  have your lunch and freshen up at SNT Canteen and Toilet before boarding bus.

* You have to get off car ( not bus ) outside Gangtok city proper and take a local taxi to reach your respective hotels.

* In Gangtok, wherever you want to go, you have to take the only transport available, a non metered taxi. No rate charts are on display. You give what driver asks. But normally Sikkimese are honest people.

* In Gangtok food is expensive. Price is  more than even higher altitude places like Pelling, Gheshing, Jorthung.

* Most shops, restaurants etc down their shutters by 7.30 or 8 pm at night so if you have plans to eat out, rethink.

* From Gangtok, most tourists go for sightseeing, to Nathula Pass China border, Baba Mandir, Tsongmu or Chunge Lake. You have to get a military permit for going to these places for which you need to deposit two photos, Address & ID proof copies a day in advance with your car booking agent. Nathula Pass is CLOSED FOR TOURISTS ON MONDAYS AND TUESDAYS.


* Visit to Nathula Pass China border, Baba Mandir, Tsongmu or Chunge Lake are done in car, either booking the entire car or on share basis. If on share, your car booking agency gives you car number when receiving payment, on day of journey you need to take a taxi from hotel to car pick up point Deurali and from there begins your journey. Car will also drop you at the same place. Apart from Tata Sumo like big cars, taxis can also be booked at bit lesser amount but do enquire beforehand if small vehicles are being given clearance at that time of year.


* Chartered car will pick you up from your hotel and drop you at your hotel after sightseeing.

* Permit clearance usually costs around Rs 500.

* For shopping , visit M.G.Market. It remains closed on Saturdays. If you think M.G.Market is costly, move to the other end of the market till you find stairs going down on your rightside. Take the stairs to find another bustling market beneath. For local flavours, you can also visit Lallbazar Market.


* SMOKING, LITTERING, DEFECATING, SPITTING WHERE EVER ONE WISHES , IS BANNED IN GANGTOK.

* Make sure, your hotel provides geyser 24 hrs because some switch it off from outside after a stipulated period. In most hotels it is 2 to 3 hrs per day only.

Return from Gangtok to Silliguri can be done in chartered car or bus. SNT Bus service from Gangtok is regular and way cheaper than car. Just make sure to buy tickets as early as possible. Counter opens at 6am. SNT BUS SCHEDULE CHART FROM GANGTOK IS GIVEN BELOW :

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TAJPUR

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* From Kolkata by train, you get off at Ramnagar. From their Tajpur is reached by Car. Make sure you call up your hotel and book a car. Otherwise all you have is local public transport not promising a very pleasant ride.
* There is an old forest through which you can walk straight ahead until you reach the sea beach. Make sure not to change directions or you may get lost in the forest. There are foxes in the forest and soft sand covered holes with water underneath.
* The entire area plan is quite simple. Four factors lie side by side. Hotels, road, forest, sea beach. 
* Cooking in hotel can be too spicy for your health. 
* The forest is a great spot for picnic but don’t be there after sunset.

PURI /


* Present Puri proper is a box jam packed with shops, people, more shops and a sea beach.


* Strong lights of shops covering quite a large portion of beach area makes an awful lot of light pollution for you to appreciate the sea at night.
* The beach is dirty with waves bringing in at times, empty beer bottles, leftover food or chocolate wrappers etc.

* While sitting on beach, hawkers bother you every now and then with their wares.

* Camel riding, horse riding, shops on the beach have completely ruined the aesthetics of Puri beach.

* Food quality in Puri is poor. Rice is of cheap quality. In the many of most standard restaurants, there is an option called Fine Rice which costs more than normal rice. Well that Fine rice is also just passable. All snacks near beach area is over priced.

* Orissa / Odisha is not good for tourists, most being dishonest.

* The famous Jagannath Temple also has it’s own features which seemed unfair to commoners. Chart with rate for pujas are given, for Jagannath, Balaram and so on. You have to choose a package as per the chart. The minimum being 500 in the year 2009 ( if my memory serves me right ). For bhog you have to pay extra. Leather products are not allowed inside temple, so its better to carry things in fabric bags while visiting temple. And only HINDUS are allowed inside temple as per notification.

CHANDIPUR-ON-SEA /

* Rice is of very substandard quality here, served in hotels and eating joints.

* Foods are excessively priced at proper Chandipur.

* Tourists have to get off from train at Balasore and take an auto to Chandipur. They are advised to ask the same auto to pick them up for station when leaving Chandipur On Sea.

* Lodging is available in OTDC Panthasala but there are few other hotels near by offering rooms at cheaper prices. Do check.

Diamond Harbour

* Plan a trip during winter season, the colder the better.

* Stay should be preferably in West Bengal Tourism or West Bengal Fishery Department Guest House , because they offer the best view of the river.

* This Harbour spot is a place for tourists as well as young couples looking for a few hours of intimacy and fun. Hotels and Guest Houses offer room to them charging by the hour. So if you are visiting with your family, don’t be offended if you are stupidly mistaken to have come for some cheap fun.

* Go on a trip to nearby Portuguese Castle or whatever remains of it.

* Couples booking a hotel room for few hours for fun and frolic is far more lucrative business than tourists booking it for days. Do the math. In former case entries are not made in register. So even in West Bengal Tourism Lodge Sagarika, manager and waiters are eager to know When You Are Leaving ( if you have booked via the official route ) .This can be very irritating.

* Food served in both Government Lodges mentioned above are good. 

* 3 days stay in Diamond Harbour is more than enough. Government Lodge bookings can be done from Kolkata.

* Private hotels are located a bit far from the river, so you may get good service but not the river view.

About this blog

This is the post excerpt.

This travel blog has been created exclusively for Budget Travellers who prefer to travel with their family or friends and dislike going on Agent conducted Package Tours. This blog will only inform travellers about problems they may face in various places. There are hundreds of websites painting a rosy picture about places with beautiful photos but seldom anyone mentions the problems of a place which tourists need to know. – blogger S.Gupta , WhatsApp/Call : 9674290833