Friday, December 7, 2007

siliguri and NJP travel info

Pop: 258,000
Phone Code: 0353

You might have to come here while traveling to Darjeeling, Kalimpong, the Northeastern states or to Sikkim. The main railway station is located in New Jalpaiguri (known as NJP), which is 8km south of Siliguri. Siliguri is a hectic uninteresting town and you will most likely want to leave this town the minute you get to it. Foreigners can cross the Nepal border near here at Kakarbhitta.

Information
The towns of Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri are connected by one long north–south road called Tenzing Norgay Rd. Siliguri Junction railway station and New Jalpaiguri railway station are 8km apart, with Siliguri Town railway station between them. You can get the toy train from any of these stations. The airport is 11km west of Siliguri.

The West Bengal Tourist Office (431-974), on Tenzing Norgay Rd, south of the river, can book accommodation at Jaldhapara Wildlife Sanctuary. Open Mon to Fri 10 am to 4 pm & Sat 10 am to noon. There are tourist counters at the railway stations and airport.

The Sikkim Tourist Office (432-646 or 24602), at the Sikkim Nationalized Transport bus stand in SNT Colony, gives information and issues permits for the Gangtok area and West Sikkim (need one photo). Trekking permits must be gotten in Gangtok. Open Mon to Sat, closed 2nd Sat.

The State Bank of Indian, Mangaldeep Building, Hill Cart Rd, changes American Express travelers cheques in US dollars and British pounds. The Hotel Mainak and Hotel Sinclair change money.

There are post offices at Pradhan Nagar, near the Tenzing Norgay Central bus stand and on Bidhan Rd, near the railway booking office.

Internet is available at various places on Hill Cart Rd. Net-N-Net, in the Biswadeep complex is a good choice (RS 30 per hr).

The Foreigners' Registration Office, is on track 4 of the NJP railway station.

Sikkim Permits
You can get a permit to visit Sikkim from Sikkim Tourism (251-2646) at the office of the Sikkim Nationalized Transport (SNT) opposite the bus station. Open daily except Sun 10 am to 4 pm.

Where to Stay
Siliguri Lodge,(533290) next to Sikkim Nationalized Transport bus stand on Hill Cart Red, has nice, clean rooms for Rs 200/250 with common bath and Rs 500 with bath. It has a nice garden.
Rajasthan Guest House, near the Sili-guri Town station, is a popular place with rooms with common bath for Rs 135/175 and with bath for Rs 150/200.
Hotel Mount View (242-5919), 1km from the Siliguri Junction station on Hill Cart Rd, is a nice budget place with clean rooms for Rs 300/450 to Rs 400/550. It is a good, friendly place.
Hotel Chancellor (432-360), at the intersection of Tenzing Norgay and Sevoke Roads, has good rooms for Rs 175/250 and with a balcony for Rs 300. The front rooms can be noisy. It is a well-managed recommended place.
Tourist Services Agency Guest House (430-872), near the bus station, is a popular friendly place with rooms for Rs 250/300. Hot water in a bucket. It is a good value, but is often full.
Hotel Baidanath, (561613) near the New Jalpai-guri station, has good rooms with bath and hot water for Rs 250/300 to Rs 300/500 with TV and hot water.
Hotel Holydon (269-1335; Email: hotelholydon@sify.com), next door, NJP Station Rd, has clean rooms with common bath for Rs 250 and rooms with bath and hot water for Rs 350 and Rs 525. It is friendly place.
Ranjit (431-680), Hill Cart Rd, has a selection of clean rooms. It has a good restaurant.
Hotel Vinayak (243-1130; fax 253-1067), Hill Cart Rd, opposite the tourist office, has clean comfortable rooms with bath for Rs 500/600 and with A/C for Rs 1050/1100. It is a good place.
Mainak Tourist Lodge (West Bengal Tourism) (430-986), has clean comfortable rooms for Rs 500/600 and A/C rooms for Rs 900 to Rs 1400. It is a well-managed friendly place with a nice garden. It has a good restaurant. Recommended.
Embassy (435-098), George Mehbert Rd, is a good business hotel with comfortable rooms.
Hotel Sinclairs (251-7674; fax 251-7743; Email: sinclair@sancharnet.in), 2km north of the bus station, has comfortable rooms for Rs 1400/1600 and with A/C for Rs 2200/2500. It has a pool and a good restaurant.

Where to Eat
Miami Restaurant, near the Hotel Holydon, has Chinese and South Indian food.
Hill Mount View has good Chinese food.
Cindrella, Sevoke Rd, has a veg restaurant.
Oriental Room, in the Hotel Sinclairs, is one of the best places in town.
Hotel Vinayak has a good restaurant.

Local Travel
A taxi from the New Jalpaiguri railway station to Tenzing Norgay Central bus station in Siliguri is Rs 120, an auto-rickshaw is Rs 50 and a bike rickshaw Rs 25 (45 minutes). There are a few buses between Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri.

Travel
Air Bagdogra Airport is 11km west of Siliguri.

Indian Airlines (251-1509; fax 431-495; Airport: 450-666) and Jet Airways (253-8001; have flights to Delhi ($220), Calcutta ($110) and Guwahati ($75).

There may also be flights to Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. Indian Airlines (431-495) is at the Hotel Mainak, Hill Cart Rd and Jet Airways is in the Hotel Vinayak, Hill Cart Rd.

A taxi from Siliguri to the airport is Rs 140. From the airport you can get a taxi to Bagdogra Bazaar (Rs 40, 3km) and from there, you can get a local bus to Siliguri. There is a bus from the airport to Darjeeling (3½ hr, Rs 75). A taxi to Darjeeling is Rs 700 or Rs 150 for a seat in a shared taxi.

Train All trains running on the broad-gauge line go through New Jalpaiguri station and not Siliguri. The Siliguri stations are only used by the toy train to Darjeeling. There are trains to Calcutta, Delhi, Patna, Mughai Sarai (for Varanasi) and Guwahati. From Sealdah station in Calcutta the Darjeeling Mail departs at 7 pm (12 hr). It returns from New Jalpaiguri railway station at 6.45 am.  

Calcutta Kamrup Exp #5960 (4.45 pm, 14 hr), Kanchanjunga Exp #5658 (8 am, 12½ hr); Delhi Rajdhani Exp #2423 (12.40 pm, 5 days weekly, 21 hr) North East Exp #5621 (5.30 pm, 33 hr); Guwahati Rajdhani Exp #2436 (2 pm, 5 days weekly, 6½ hr), North East Exp; Patna North East Exp #5621 (5.30 pm, 11 hr).

To go to Bangladesh you can take a train to Haldibari (2 hr) and from there it is 7km to the Bangladesh border town of Chiliharti, which has a railway station.

The toy trains departs from New Jalpaiguri at 9 am and during the high-season (May to the end of July) also at 7.15 am. It stops at Siliguri Town and Siliguri Junction railway station and then proceeds to Darjeeling. It is best to get on the train at New Jalpaiguri, because there is no reserved seating. The trip takes nine hours to get to Darjeeling and four hours to reach Kurseong (58km).

There is a booking office (423-333; reservations 431-493) on Bidhan Rd, off Tenzing Norgay Rd, near Kanchenjunga Stadium at Siliguri. Open Mon to Sat 8 am to 8 pm and Sun and holidays 8 am to 2 pm. You can go to the Chief Reservations Officer office on the side of the building to get a first class ticket.

Bus Bengal State buses (NBSTC) depart from the Tenzing Norgay Central bus station. Private buses also depart from there. There are buses to Darjeeling (3½ hr, departs in the morning), Mirik (2½ hr), Kalimpong (3 hr). Guwahati (12 hr, 5.30 pm), Calcutta (12 hr, in the evening), Berhampore (8 hr) and Malda (6 hr). A luxury bus departs to Darjeeling from the WBTD Mainak Tourist Lodge at 8 am. The overnight Rocket bus to Calcutta takes 12 hr and is uncomfortable. There is luggage storage at the Tenzing Norgay bus station.

For Nepal there are buses to Paniktanki (1 hr), which is across from Kakarbhitta, the Nepal border town. Buses to Bhutan and some places in North Bengal depart from the Dooars bus stand, on the corner of Bidhan and Sevoke Roads.

Sikkim Nationalized Transport (SNT) (20528) buses depart from the SNT station to Gangtok (5 hr) hourly during the day. There are deluxe buses at 7 am and 1 pm. The booking office (21496) is open 10 am to 4 pm.

Taxi and Jeep You can get a shared jeep outside the Tenzing Norgay bus station and at the taxi stand on Sevoke Road. Shared jeeps go to Darjeeling (3 hr, Rs 50), Mirik (2 hr, Rs 40), Kalimpong (2½ hr, Rs 45) and to Gangtok (4½ hr, Rs 110).

For Nepal you can get a shared taxi to the border town of Kakarbhitta.

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1 comment:

Shailabh Rauniyar said...

Very informative post. It would be awesome if you could provide contact details of any of the hotels near NJP Railway station. Thanks.