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Old 28th October 2009, 06:07   #16
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If you have a day at Guwahati, do visit Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, has the densest population of rhinos and is very less known than Kaziranga but the adventure is much more out here. Sitting on the elephants bare back we chased and tracked rhinos.
To add to the wildlife theme. Unusual and highly endangered: Gangetic dolphin (Kolohi) and Golden Langur (best known Manas, but Chakrashila IMHO better)

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Old 28th October 2009, 12:08   #17
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I realised that in December the road to Tawang gets icy and sometimes is snow bound
Yes it looks like December end surely snow will be there with much sliding on Sela Pass. Saw a couple of youtube videos of around that time, with all passengers of the Sumo getting down and pushing.

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To add to the wildlife theme. Unusual and highly endangered: Gangetic dolphin (Kolohi) and Golden Langur (best known Manas, but Chakrashila IMHO better)

Sutripta
There are some lesser known WLS, which will always give a gem of an experience without that hype.


One query -> Other than a mad rush from Kolkata-Guwahati in around 21 hours - any good place to stay overnight beyond Siliguri on NH31 itself, lets say another 3-4 hours towards Guwahati itself? All tourist places booked to brim in N Bengal around that time, so no accomodation now available in those "eco camp" areas - also just need an good hotel to sleep the day out and start for Guwahati at night. How is the night traffic towards Guwahati? would be more relieved if there which means it is safe to travel at night towards Guwahati.

Last edited by adc : 28th October 2009 at 12:17.
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Old 28th October 2009, 12:15   #18
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I have been to Tawang in December, and I did not find any snow in Se la, although there was some snow in Jaswantgarh. Depends on whether there has been recent snowfall at the time you drive through, weather conditions are unpredictable and snowfall is intermittent.

I have driven Guwahati-Siliguri in 6 hours via Goaplpara and Cooch Behar, combating peak evening traffic conditions, and if you apply adc's superfast time of Siliguri-Kolkata of 9 hours, that means you can do Guwahati-Kolkata is 15-17 hours.
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Old 28th October 2009, 12:26   #19
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I have driven Guwahati-Siliguri in 6 hours via Goaplpara and Cooch Behar, combating peak evening traffic conditions, and if you apply adc's superfast time of Siliguri-Kolkata of 9 hours, that means you can do Guwahati-Kolkata is 15-17 hours.
6 hrs for Guwahati to Siliguri is fantastic timing. 9.5-10 hrs to Kolkata-siliguri only in the night with NH34 being now smooth as it can be. Just recently one friend of mine did this Kolkata-Siliguri journey on his Bhutan trip by daytime it was like 13 hrs via NH34 [did not take the NH2-Panagarh route], not to say about the tiring effect. Needless to say while coming back did the overnight trip and like all vowed again not to do this trip ever daytime.

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Old 28th October 2009, 13:18   #20
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Default lots of inputs pouring in

Thank you everyone for your inputs, I think we also need to look for the lodging/accomodation. I will start looking up for this information. There are very few resources available on the net.
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Old 28th October 2009, 14:02   #21
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Thank you everyone for your inputs, I think we also need to look for the lodging/accomodation. I will start looking up for this information. There are very few resources available on the net.
Guwahati has some decent accomodations. But for other places, it would help a lot if you someone local as decent accomodations are far and few.
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Old 28th October 2009, 14:23   #22
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There are some lesser known WLS, which will always give a gem of an experience without that hype.
<snip>
also just need an good hotel to sleep the day out and start for Guwahati at night. How is the night traffic towards Guwahati? would be more relieved if there which means it is safe to travel at night towards Guwahati.
Hi,

Re: Kolohi and Chakrashila, the thrill is if spotting an endangered animal gives you a kick. Not much of a forest experience. But it is unusual and almost unknown.

I dont have much knowledge of hotels on this circuit (don't need to stay in them, except Hollong), but I think Jalpaiguri and CoochBehar are off the tourist trail. Hotels in both. The fastest route bypasses Siliguri.

No real safety concerns at night on the route through Boxirhat. Whether the checkgate is jammed or empty, whether the police wave you through, or want to check everything is a matter of luck.
The coal trucks at Jogigopa drive very badly.

Snow in Tawang is a matter of chance. One of my white knuckle moments was there, well below Se La, where the snow had melted and refrozen as black ice. It was difficult and dangerous to walk on it, let along drive. There was hardly any snow on the side of the road, and the road itself SEEMED clear.
At other times, no problems. Ive not been to eastern Bhutan in winter, but I believe its similar. Maybe Sudipto can throw light on it.

Will be Jpg/ Slg side end 1st week Nov. Want me to enquire about anything?

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Old 28th October 2009, 14:35   #23
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Road to Eastern Bhutan can get closed down temporarily at Trumsingla, but otherwise the road is open.

I have stayed in Hotel Priya Palace in Ulanbari in Guwahati - a little expensive though (2,000 + rates). Lots of hotels in Guwahati to chose from, especially if you go near teh Railway Station area, on GS Road itself.

At Gauripur, one of the Assam cops stopped me, tried to harass me because I was an out-of-State car, but i simply brushed him and drove off. Otherwise, I had no problems with cops anywhere.

I drove through Boxirhat by day, no problems. Nowadays, because the Bongaigaon road is in bad shape, most of the truck traffic goes this way. I have driven through this route several years ago by night, I did not think it unsafe then (especially in Cooch Behar district). I was told that in some parts of Assam- ULFA-strong areas, mostly in Dibrugarh side - night driving is to be avoided.

I did not find any good hotels in any of the towns between Guwahati and Siliguri, although I guess you may find them inside town (not on the highway/bypass).
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Old 28th October 2009, 15:18   #24
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Chief, wante dto know is the drive to Tawang especially from Siliguri as hard on the vehicle as our Ladakh drive. If ladakh was 10, how would rate this drive?
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Old 28th October 2009, 15:26   #25
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Chief, wante dto know is the drive to Tawang especially from Siliguri as hard on the vehicle as our Ladakh drive. If ladakh was 10, how would rate this drive?
Tezpur-Bomdila-Tawang is a cakewalk in comparison with Ladakh. Except for some dirt road sections in the final ascent to Se La - which itself is not very steep and only 13,700 feet high, way below most of the high passes in Ladakh region which are mostly 15,000 feet and above - the road is very good. For distance-time comparisons, I did Tezpur-Bomdila in 4.30 hrs (160 kms), Bomdila-Se la in 3.30 hrs (110 kms) and Se La-Tawang in 2.40 hrs (80 kms).

Rating - it will be 6/10.
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Old 28th October 2009, 16:19   #26
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....
I have stayed in Hotel Priya Palace in Ulanbari in Guwahati - a little expensive though (2,000 + rates). Lots of hotels in Guwahati to chose from, especially if you go near the Railway Station area, on GS Road itself.
....
Arun, suggested me a hotel which is in the out-skirts of Guwahati. Its was a very good hotel. It was around 1400/1500 (including all the taxes and charges) per day. I am unable to recollect the name, Arun shall know it. I guess Arun can also get a good discount out of them (oh! he also knows the cute girl at the reception!!!)

Yes there were lot of hotels near Railway Station, but none seemed to be as good as the one I stayed(at least from outside, but heard they are very economical).
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Old 28th October 2009, 16:54   #27
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@ Sudipto: Thanks a lot. We intend to do a Siliguri - Kharagpur run on our return as per your info on driving times. Thanks for the precise directions regarding the turn off after Panagarh. Incidentally does "Morh" mean a junction or something - like "Phata" in Maharashtra? That would explain the numerous Darjeeling Morh - meaning Darjeeling Junction. Will try for accomodation at Central Plaza as it is tried and tested by you both on the way in and back.
Yes "morh" means a crossing in Bengal, a turning point so to speak. I think it's a Hindi word as well and there is a famous song from Satte Pe Satta called pyaar hume is morh pe le aaya but if you didn't spend your teenage in the 70s you wouldn't know this song.

Suri to Siliguri is a relatively short distance. If I was starting from Suri I would proceed further east towards Alipurduwar (or at least Jalpaiguri), without the stop in Siliguri.

For accomodation details in Suri ask AKRoy. That's his domain. If you find Rambha to Suri is a bit of a longish stretch, you have the option of a slight detour of 20 km towards Shantiniketan from a place called Ilambazar which comes 20 km or so after Panagarh. Shantiniketan will have lots of tourist accomodation available.
Have fun.
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Old 28th October 2009, 16:56   #28
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Arun, suggested me a hotel which is in the out-skirts of Guwahati. Its was a very good hotel. It was around 1400/1500 (including all the taxes and charges) per day. I am unable to recollect the name, Arun shall know it. I guess Arun can also get a good discount out of them (oh! he also knows the cute girl at the reception!!!)

Yes there were lot of hotels near Railway Station, but none seemed to be as good as the one I stayed(at least from outside, but heard they are very economical).
During my visits to Guwahati, I used to stay in Hotel Nandan on GS Road near Paltan Bazar very near to the ASTC Bus Stand. A bit noisy area but right in the heart of the city. Tariff in 2006 used to be about 1200 for single occupancy rooms. If you move a little towards Dispur on the GS Road, there are quite a few good hotels in similar price range.

Btw can you now get the ILP's arranged in Hyderabad? Last time when my in-laws had gone to Arunachal, I had to arrange the ILP from Arunachal Bhawan in Delhi by paying Rs 25/head.
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Old 28th October 2009, 17:16   #29
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Will be Jpg/ Slg side end 1st week Nov. Want me to enquire about anything?
Sutripta
Sutripta any information like any tea garden area where one spend day and night, all those on the net under "tea tourism" are like very, very expensive.

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Snow in Tawang is a matter of chance.
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I have been to Tawang in December, and I did not find any snow in Se la, although there was some snow in Jaswantgarh.
And I thought like how can a 13.5k feet height pass remain snow free in late December when all other passes in the himalayas have closed all long back!

Without snow it will be somewhat disappointing, but then the views being in winter should be absolutely clear - but again no snow will kill some of the fun.

Any idea like how is the tourist rush around end December in Tawang - since the plan for me can be finalized only a few days before the actual date and will be landing there without any reservations or such, plus on which days where at will change accordingly whether Kolkata to Guwhati is done nonstop or with a break.

Last edited by adc : 28th October 2009 at 17:36.
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Old 28th October 2009, 18:41   #30
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Sutripta any information like any tea garden area where one spend day and night, all those on the net under "tea tourism" are like very, very expensive.
<snip>
Any idea like how is the tourist rush around end December in Tawang - since the plan for me can be finalized only a few days before the actual date and will be landing there without any reservations or such, plus on which days where at will change accordingly whether Kolkata to Guwhati is done nonstop or with a break.
How many people in your party? Send me a PM as to what exactly you want.

Tawang is the new Tsango. (If you have gone there before it was "discovered" and after, you will know what I am talking about. And judging by the explosion of threads on Ladakh, Ladakh is also about to go the way of Tsango). If with family, would definitely want confirmed accommodation. You seem to be interested in the wildlife/ wilderness aspect. Check out Eagles Nest. Dont know if they are open in winter or not.

Must check out precipitation records in Se La. In 2005 or 06, forget which, faced very heavy snow in end feb. People there said it had been perfectly OK the week back.

Guwahati has a Ginger now.

Sutripta

Last edited by Sutripta : 28th October 2009 at 18:43.
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