Sunday, September 11, 2016

From South to North-East: Reaching Gangtok from Bagdogra.

Direct flights were not there from Bangalore. Our flight to Bagdogra was via Kolkata. Bagdogra Airport has prepaid taxi booth where we hired a cab for Gangtok. We wanted to share the cab with other travelers to reduce expense. Unfortunately, we didn't find anyone traveling to Gangtok as most of them were going to Darjeeling. Out of curiosity, we consulted about chopper (Yes, chopper service is available) as well.

The route from Bagdogra to Gangtok is quite scenic. Teesta river follows us all the way from Darjeeling district till Gangtok. Our driver showed us the diversion which leads to main Darjeeling town. We also passed through Coronation Bridge, also known as baghpool due to the fact there are lion statues at the entrance of the bridge. The bridge was built in 1941 but it still looks beautiful and new. We also passed through Sikkim Manipal University which is situated on the banks of Teesta River. The campus looks beautiful from the main highway. It's about 20 km before Gangtok.
It took us about 4.5 hours to reach Gangtok. After entering main Gangtok town, I started looking for the hotel on GPS. It was showing our hotel behind M.G Road. The road had massive traffic and hundreds of pedestrians ( the majority of them were tourists). The taxi dropped us at M.G road as the road leading to our hotel was not quite accessible via car.

We finally booked a non A/C cab (Omni) for 2400. We took the receipt and came out of the airport to find the driver. The driver gave us the option to upgrade to A/C Innova cab for the same price. I was apprehensive initially and lots of bad thoughts were coming in my mind. I consulted with my wife and went ahead with the upgrade offer. We were a bit uncomfortable initially as the driver asked us to rent his friend's cab and we didn't have any proof that we booked this cab. about 10-15 minutes, I asked the driver why did his friend upgrade our cab for the same price. He replied that he was going to Gangtok anyway so why go alone when he can get passengers and earn some quick money. He already had a booking from Gangtok. His reply gave us confidence and gradually we spoke a lot about Sikkim's culture, best places to visit etc. 

Our Hotel. Image source: Hotel's website

It was our home for the next 3 days. The hotel was strictly average and we had our share of bad experiences which I'll share in a separate blog.

Make sure you go through my post on how I planned the whole trip, how much was my expense. I'll appreciate your views, queries, and suggestions in the comment section below.

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