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Old 2nd November 2014, 20:41   #46
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Default re: Sailed through North Sikkim in Sedans, Hatchbacks and an SUV

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Originally Posted by imove View Post
A truly inspiring travelogue for the hatchbackers and sedan lovers. It shows what can be done. The crisp narration and superb photography just rounds it all up.

Superb job Samba.
Thanks a lot.

Sharing few pics from our other team members, as they are not in Team Bhp. Team Bhpians from our team will upload there pics themselves in there free time.

Pics clicked by Mrs.Keya Adhikary (Wife of Mr.Rana Adhikary)

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Pics clicked by Mr Souradeep Chaudhury

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Last edited by Samba : 2nd November 2014 at 20:45.
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Old 2nd November 2014, 22:42   #47
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Default re: Sailed through North Sikkim in Sedans, Hatchbacks and an SUV

Thanks a lot for the wonderful and detailed travelogue Samba. Very well written and excellent pictures I must say. You did portray all the important aspects of the trip. It was the first time I was driving on hill road and all that we got to experience at Dzongu is not what I was looking forward to.

Samba has done most of the saying. All that I want to add is this is strictly not sedan/hatch territory and more so not front wheel drive friendly. So venture here if you have GC and a rear wheel drive atleast.

My Dzire took a bad hit in the most unexpected of areas where the road was somehow decent as the stone was camouflaged with a layer of mud which led me think it was a pile of mud :-( . Result, a dented left front running board. That apart, I must say that the sedans and the hatches did handle the mud, slush, boulders, rocks and pebbles really well.

Now some pictures from my side.
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Old 3rd November 2014, 11:34   #48
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Default re: Sailed through North Sikkim in Sedans, Hatchbacks and an SUV

Excellent travelogue Samba, loved the pics!

I think i missed reading the dates of your travel (while admiring the pics), could you please specify again, thanks.

I had also travelled to North Sikkim (Feb 2014) and loved every single moment. I would like to mention that you missed out on Lachen/Thangu/Gurudongmar Lake. It is a 2-3 day detour but totally worth it.

Cheers
Rohan Mittal
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Old 4th November 2014, 12:58   #49
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Default re: Sailed through North Sikkim in Sedans, Hatchbacks and an SUV

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Thanks a lot for the wonderful and detailed travelogue Samba. Very well written and excellent pictures I must say. You did portray all the important aspects of the trip.
Thanks a lot. It was a pleasure compiling our wonderful experience in Team Bhp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rohan.xj View Post
Excellent travelogue Samba, loved the pics!

I think i missed reading the dates of your travel (while admiring the pics), could you please specify again, thanks.

I had also travelled to North Sikkim (Feb 2014) and loved every single moment. I would like to mention that you missed out on Lachen/Thangu/Gurudongmar Lake. It is a 2-3 day detour but totally worth it.

Cheers
Rohan Mittal

Thanks a ton.

Yes we did miss Gurudongmar lake this time. The reason's were firstly the permit authorities were not willing to give us permits for our low ground clearance cars. They were insisting on SUV's. May be on further requesting we could have got the permits from them but our second reason was more concerning. We had two kids among us aged four years. So taking them to a height of 17,000 feet was a bit worrying for there parents. So for there safety we skipped it. There is always a next time.
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Old 5th November 2014, 18:30   #50
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Default re: Sailed through North Sikkim in Sedans, Hatchbacks and an SUV

Sambo ,

Crisp travelogue !
So I missed the fun on last day ,
Anyway it was rather very smooth drive on last day.
we checked in Mainak around 1630 hrs , had
an evening outing at Siliguri , next day morning
checked out at 0600 hrs, had a breakfast after
Purnea turnabout , reached Naugachia at 0930
hrs, took the Vikramshila bypass and avoided the
horrible road in front of Vaibhav , after Vikramshila
there was a bit Truck queue, drove on right side and
cleared Bhagalpur within half an hour . had a nice
lunch at Dumka , and reached Burdwan at 1630 Hrs.

Cheers

Last edited by Captdey : 5th November 2014 at 18:46.
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Old 6th November 2014, 17:33   #51
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Default re: Sailed through North Sikkim in Sedans, Hatchbacks and an SUV

Thanks so much for such an excellent travelogue Samba. Really amazing pics btw.

Still wondering how the cars managed that kind of roads without too much of an issue - and how the drivers succeeded in keeping their eyes on the road with such stunning surroundings!!!
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Old 6th November 2014, 19:14   #52
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Default re: Sailed through North Sikkim in Sedans, Hatchbacks and an SUV

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Sambo ,
Crisp travelogue ! Cheers
Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ABS9 View Post
Thanks so much for such an excellent travelogue Samba. Really amazing pics btw.

Still wondering how the cars managed that kind of roads without too much of an issue - and how the drivers succeeded in keeping their eyes on the road with such stunning surroundings!!!
Thanks a lot. Yes i must agree after this trip our faith on our cars has doubled!


Well finally succeeded to upload the video's for our whole trip. After two failed attempts i have cut the video in 5 parts and uploaded them separately. The total run time for all the five video will be approximately 2.07 hours.

Sharing them-

Video 1 ( Rongpo - Gangtok - Dzongu)




Video 2 (The climb down from Dzongu, while going we did this stretch at night!)




Video 3 (Dzongu to Lachung)



Video 4 ( Lachungu-Yumthang- Near zeropoint- Temi tea garden.) The most scenic part of our journey.



Video 5 (Temi Tea Garden to Dalkhola)


Last edited by Samba : 6th November 2014 at 19:23.
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Old 7th November 2014, 12:38   #53
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Default re: Sailed through North Sikkim in Sedans, Hatchbacks and an SUV

Amazing is a small word for your TL my friend. Truly inspiring! Marvelous pictures and narration.

The terrain no doubt seems tough. Salute to all of you to have even thought of it! Congrats to all of you on conquering this kind of a terrain.
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Old 16th November 2014, 22:02   #54
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Well, what more to say about the vivid and detailed coverage of the trip done by Samba (Sambo), excellent! I have experienced all of this beautiful narration, of course in more than one way, will come to that a little later!
Samba apologies for my delayed update on the details, you have been requesting for some time to include my part of the journey, if only I could do it sooner!
Firstly, I was a bit confused since the title of the thread surely wonít match the part that I covered. But then it did not make sense to make a separate thread altogether, since significant and descriptive parts of my journey are covered in great detail here, it will be easier to read and refer!
A short intro on how I got tagged along in this beautiful group- Mr. Rana Adhikary (Rana Da), has been dreaming this trip for a long time. I did not happen to meet any of the other members before this. Myself and Rana have been talking about this trip since July 2014. However, I could not confirm my participation until the very last moment! By then all the permits and home-stays in the locations like Dzongu, Lachung were done for the entire team! Also I had 3 other concerns at the back of my mind
  • My one and half year old Mithi
  • My 7 years old Indica (not the car but all in my mind) and
  • The permits and homestay were already booked so extending it this late may not have yielded confirmed results.

So, Rana had a quick suggestion up his sleeves. My trip was like this
1. Siliguri (Day 1) - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post3562606
2. Darjeeling (Day 2, 3 and 4)
3. Deolo (Day 5 and 6)
4. Temi Tea Graden (Day 7) - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post3563182
5.Bhagalpur (Day 8) - The above link from Samba's post will cover up this part

Reaching Siliguri - Day1 (11th Nov 2014)
I was super excited the night before. We packed up and retired early. However, slept only for about 3 hours! The next morning I met with Avrendu at the NH34, Belghoria Expressway crossing at about 3:45 AM, the journey started for us! We reached Dankuni barely a few minutes after 4 AM.

A picture I took of the group, which embarked on this exciting trip, some of the members were yet to reach! I was meeting them for the first time, except for Rana. That's Avrendu, Indarnil, Souradeep and great Sambo from left to right.
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In no time the whole gang was there! A quick intro and we set off! Samba has covered the journey from here on in details. One point that comes to my mind
The road from Seorakhuri more till Pattabari is good with some construction work every few kms, one should be a little careful here as certain raised sections may be dangerously close especially for low GC hatches. Also, one may find local village fellows asking for money for various reasons! We found about two or three such groups extorting money both during our onward and return journeys! You may avoid them by surprising them with some witty statements, they appeared to very fearful of police! Donít try to dodge them unless 100% confident!
All through this journey the six other cars were constantly around and we travelled in a well knit group!
Vaibhav Inn at Bhagalpur was again a very good experience of all in Bihar that we got for the entire trip! Both this and the worst has been already covered by Samba

At Siliguri I had an acquaintance at Hotel Vishal from my previous trips. Itís very near to Hotel Mainak but not on Hill Cart road! This is a budget hotel @ Rs 600 per night and a decent parking! The rooms are indeed very average just enough for a night halt! Thatís all I needed! I called up and already ordered our dinner! So I checked in at Hotel Vishal, the rest of the members were staying at Mainak.
Food at Vishal hotel is again average, however the chicken we ordered was way beyond our expectation. We liked the chicken preparation so much that we ordered another plate, but it was not as good. More importantly all baby food we ordered was made ready in no time!

Siliguri to Darjeeling Day 2-4 (12th Nov -15th Nov 2014)

We started off at around 10:30 AM next morning. I was very excited as this was truly my first visit to Darjeeling. Met with the gang at Mainak, they were also ready to start their journey to Gantok!

We were speeding through the hill cart road, some of the snaps on the way
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Kept on Hill cart road and was on Rohini Road in almost no time. Smooth silky roads with great surface.
Sukna forest by our side to start with and then Rohini Tea garden. The turning on the right for the Rohini Road can be missed easily due to the fast smooth drive. My GPS on Xperia phone was guiding me flawlessly and giving that added confidence. One has to pay a toll of Rs. 30 (one way) to use the beautiful Rohini Road Some pictures of the beautiful surroundings.
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Rohini Road sets a very high standard, once you hit hill cart road at around Kurseong the quality of surface degrades a bit, but all in all you will enjoy driving. Watch out for the toy train, the track will cross the roads umpteen times. So negotiating those track lines at places with oncoming traffic and train, if your are lucky , may take first comer by little surprise. The rest is bliss! Some snaps to celebrate reaching Darjeeling!
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Look where the Alto 800 is parked
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Our Stay was booked at Hotel Broadway (Annex), the approach to this road was a bit tricky. With the GPS getting confused in the narrow entwining hilly roads, I was having a tough time locating the hotel. We entered Darjeeling station around 1:30 PM with a very relaxed and satisfying drive. However, lost an hour in figuring out the one way mayhem in Darjeeling. This hotel is located in Jalpahar area on Dr. Zakhir Hussain Road and the views from here are excellent. You also get some decent space to keep your car, which is an absolute scarce thing in Darjeeling! But, this road is very steep on its approach and has at least 4 of the steepest and shortest hair pin turns Iíve seen.
The below snaps are an attempt to describe the turns I was mentioning, these were actually taken on our way back from the hotel, the day we were leaving for Deolo.
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The hotel room
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A view from the balcony just after reaching
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The parking in front of hotel, it's really precious in Darjeeling
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We spent the next 3 days enjoying the different tastes of Darjeeling. Broadway food was not great but ok. It was cheaper compared to the rates you get in these areas. So breakfast and lunch we would take a 15 minutes steep walk down to the mall area and enjoy Keventers, Glenarys, Shangri La, Kunga and so on. Some of the lovely food we had
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Some snaps around Darjeeling on our way from the hotel to the mall and areas around it!
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At night we would order food from the hotel. Room service is fine in Hotel Broadway! We did not move around in Darjeeling much idea was to relax. We saw gorgeous view of Kangchenjunga on day two of our stay in Darjeeling. The snaps from the balcony of our room at Broadway!
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We were extremely lucky for these wonderful views of Kangchenjunga from the hotel balcony!
We kept all the local site seeing for next time when Mithi be a little more grown up, this time we were already very satisfied. We continued enjoying the view, some shopping and eating!
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Old 17th November 2014, 00:09   #55
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Darjeeling to Deolo Day 5-6 (15th Nov -17th Nov 2014)

We started from Darjeeling around mid-day on 15th morning, I guess the intertia of relaxing caught up with us a bit. We had to cover about 60 odd kms we made it about 3 hrs. The road till ghoom was a known surface as we came through the same roads. Took a small break around Batasia Loop park but we did not go inside the park. The two little kids resulted in restrictive mobility. So we kept all that for another visit! From ghoom one has to take a left turn onto Volka Ė Alipurduar road. This road has a good surface and passes through the Senchal forest. Very scenic roads but itís really steep! Enjoyed the entire drive a lot, experienced very clear skies and sunshine on the entire drive. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of this part of the drive except just this one.

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My phone was my GPS and I felt really lazy to open it from the dock each time. I left the point and shoot inside the bag which was way below in the luggage space! realized the same a bit late and by then I've missed what I should have captured!

We crossed NH31A and started approaching Kalingpong. Around 4-5 kms approx. on our way up towards Kalingpong we got a couple of 360 degree turns. The road is narrow and steep, so one has to be absolutely careful and at the top or your reflexes. Upon entering Kalingpong we were slowed down a bit by the traffic, however it was nothing significant. The road surface was clean and smooth after we crossed the town the roads got a bit patchy with occasional pot holes. This continued for about 8-9 kms till the left turn to Dr. Grahams School. Once we took the turn the roads surface improved again and we could climb very smoothly. Dr. Grahams School is a missionary boarding school famous for the various infrastructure they maintain and the academic curriculum they follow. Itís quite an old school with lot of history behind it. We stopped here for a while and saw the various workshops that were around. One has to continue for another 5 odd kms till you reach the foot of the Deolo hills. The beauty magnifies here when you realize that you have arrived at the top. The roads are a mild incline around the Deolo hills which keeps going around the hill for about 3 kms and we arrived!

The surroundings were really amazing and even that would be an understatement. I felt like I was walking in a postcard.

Some pictures that were taken the next day

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I pre-booked the room from Kolkata. Luckily got the ground floor room, since all the top floor ones were booked. I thought it turned out good for me. The views were pretty good from the ground floor. For the ultimate view one has to anyway walk down to the view points across to an elevated landscape, so no point in shelling out 4000 bucks for that. The rooms I booked were 2100 bucks a night.

We settled down in our room, one large bedroom, a balcony from where you will get a very good view of the Kangchenjunga, a smaller cloak room to keep your luggage and other stuff. The toilets were clean but the fittings were worn out and under maintained. The flush had a leaked pipe and nothing could be done within our stay to restore it!

Got fresh and took another quick view of the spectacular surroundings. We were hungry by this time since we did a heavy breakfast in Darjeeling, we lasted this long! So ordered fried rice and chilly chicken as that was the most readily available option! Milk and handmade chapatti for the little ones. The food quality was decent! I acquainted a bengali family and was quickly connected to local guy named Salmon! I was looking for a vehicle the next morning to visit the Kalingpong town, Moon had some shopping to do! Parking was problem and I did not know the city, also I wanted to relax a bit, thus hiring was only option! Salmon is a local resident of Kalingpong whoís also worked in IT industry in Bangalore. We gelled really well and Salmon was ready to be my guide for the next day trip! INR 700 for a to and fro journey and about 3 hours to spend. The deal was done!
That evening I started feeling a little sick! Moon was interested in some evening snacks and ordered a plate of onion bhujia. I took a couple of those and was feeling worse! I needed some rest, a bad headache with a very uneasy feeling! I slept off! Dinner was already ordered Chapatti and Chicken Bharta, I had to skip it!

Woke up with a shrug from Moon! Looked outside the windows and the spectacular was there. Kangchenjunga peak was clearly visible from our room! I ran to the view point and snapped a few pictures from there!


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A few more snaps of the peak

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At around 9 AM we saw many vehicles entering the huge premises of the Deolo Tourist Lodge! It was a shooting team! They were shooting for a mega serial. Upon asking they were not allowed to disclose the broad casting channel or the name of the serial. We watched the shooting for a while a car was involved, a Bolero! The shot was that of a girl escaping from a girlís hostel, I could not figure out why the Bolero was featured. Haranath Chakraborty was the director, we saw Manali Dey of the Mouri fame (Bengali Mega Serial actress).

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The outing with Salmon in his i10 went very well. We started around 10 AM, Salmon was helping us all the while with managing the kids, guiding us to the various shops from where we picked up all we needed. We came back after a very well spent 3 hours around 1 PM.

Salmon's i10
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A view point just below the Deolo hill
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A snap with Salmon
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The conference room at Deolo

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The shooting party was still there! We completed our lunch and spent the evening walking around and enjoying the beautiful surroundings! At around 8 PM the shooting party packed up and disappeared! From the rooms after darkness one could easily see the floating clouds right outside the window. Itís feels great to walk through them, they leave you moist and cold, enjoyed the same a bit and it was time for dinner. Next day was our journey to Temi, so a little early to bed and pack-up for next morning departure from Deolo.

The parting shot from Deolo, leaving for Temi!

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Old 17th November 2014, 09:04   #56
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Default re: Sailed through North Sikkim in Sedans, Hatchbacks and an SUV

Deolo to Temi Team Garden, Sikkim Day 7 (17th Nov -18th Nov 2014)

We started at about 10:30 AM from Deolo. Had to cover about 73 Kms to reach Cherry Resort in Sikkim, I took a heads-up of the route from Salmon yesterday, when he dropped us. The road from where we entered the Deolo Tourist lodge continues onto Rangpo through Lava and Mansong. He updated that this route is shorter and the road condition is good. I decided to take this route. The entire route is very scenic and we reached comfortably. At Rangpo I filled up and continued another 40 odd Kms to our destination. The next 10 Kms to Singtam was on NH31A. The road is in good condition, we found one landslide area where one has to drive very cautiously as it’s a narrow pass through which all vehicles had to pass. From Singtam we continued on towards Tarku. The roads from Singtam as we started climbing was not so good any more. The top surface was rough with many potholes and ditches, but you can drive around most of it if you maintain a modest speed. After crossing Temi one needs to continue on for another 8 Kms. approx. through lovely tea gardens. It was in this stretch that I realized the entire North Sikkim gang was right behind me. We kept climbing through the beautiful Temi Tea garden, leaving behind the Organic Tea Factory and the Cafeteria of Temi. Reached the Cherry Resort around 2:30 PM as far as I could recall, forgot the exact time of arrival. From here on just like the journey, the travelogue will meet at Day 7 of Samba’s post here
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post3563182

This is somewhere after crossing Mansong

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Just after crossing Teesta at Singtam, there is a decent restaurant right after crossing this bridge on the left.

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Shot right after reaching Temi

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By the time our Vahans could position themselves, the sun went behind a higher ground

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This was shot the next morning, with the Sun beating down on the other side of the above view
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The lush Temi Tea Garden
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The cafeteria on our way back to Bhagalpur, place to buy some temi tea packs
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Mr. Rana Adhikary's Punto
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The final parting shots from Temi of the Red hatches
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The Sunset at Burdwan on our way back,which Sambo shot beautifully
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Well I did say I experienced the North Sikkim trip in more than one way. One of those two ways is off-course reading through Samba’s posts here, but the other one was the live narration of the trip till midnight of this Day 7. I never knew when two hours whizzed away. Avrendu, Rana, Souradeep, Indranil and Samba gave me goose bumps as they narrated their experience! I’m thrilled to have shared the roads (a part of it) with such passionate people. I’ll carry this memory with me always. I thank each and every one of this group and their families for making it a wonderful experience to travel and to drive with.
These people eat, think and sleep driving, and when they are not doing any of those they are driving! They simply– Live and Love to drive.


My Stays and experiences of the same

Siliguri, Hotel Vishal – Location is good, extremely cheap! Quality average, all facilities are there, best for a night and if you are up to cost cutting. Has a decent space for parking, but not recommended for a large convoy! Try Hotel Sharda for little more up standard, if that’s a requirement! Mainak is always there!

Booking Process - Ideally these budget options are available on the fly, during season it's better to remit some money and secure a room, numbers are available with me.

Darjeeling, Hotel Broadway (Annex) - Location is average in terms of proximity to the mall, it’s around 15 mins walk down to the mall. One may enjoy such a scenic walk, but with 2 little ones we were having to really work our way up to the hotel. One will get a great view of the Kangchenjunga and a decent space to keep your car, hatch to SUV, that's a precious thing in these parts. You will have to negotiate some steep climbs to get to this hotel. Food is average, service is good! It’s a good value for money!

Booking Process - http://www.broadwaydarjeeling.com/ online booking no hassles

Deolo, Kalingpong, Deolo Tourist Lodge – Location is excellent and you will forget all negatives! Rooms are not maintained and you will feel the pinch after paying a handsome. Food is very average and very costly. Certain items are just too costly. Service is virtually non – existent. The rooms in the upper storeys are slightly better maintained, but it’s double the price. Considering the location one would not mind the rate, but we experienced lousy service and complete lack of maintenance. One more annex building is on the making, expecting things to improve in future

Booking Process – One has to go physically to the below address, carry cash and be there by 4 PM (3.45 PM). The below number was working when I booked! 50% of the rent for the stay needs to be deposited. Rooms are allotted on spot on a first cum first serve basis.
GTA Tourism, Gorkha Bhavan, Salt Lake (GTA Lodge Booking & Info)
No. DD28, Sector 1, Salt Lake City, Kolkata - 700064
Gorkha Bhavan is located opposite the City Center Mall.
Phone: 033 - 23377534

Temi Tea Estate, Cherry Resort– Awesome! It’s costly but you will enjoy every penny of it! Service is excellent! Food is costly and mostly good, but the hospitality and ambiance is mind blowing! Highly recommended!

Booking process – Cherry Resort, http://www.cherryresort.com/contact.html, one may call and collect the required information from the above link.

Vaibhav Inn – Already recommended by Samba!

Last edited by arindam_xeta : 17th November 2014 at 09:18. Reason: Typos
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Old 17th November 2014, 20:34   #57
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Default re: Sailed through North Sikkim in Sedans, Hatchbacks and an SUV

Quote:
Originally Posted by JASMEET MATTOO View Post
Amazing is a small word for your TL my friend. Truly inspiring! Marvelous pictures and narration.

The terrain no doubt seems tough. Salute to all of you to have even thought of it! Congrats to all of you on conquering this kind of a terrain.
Thanks a ton.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arindam_xeta View Post
Well, what more to say about the vivid and detailed coverage of the trip done by Samba (Sambo), excellent! I have experienced all of this beautiful narration, of course in more than one way, will come to that a little later!
Samba apologies for my delayed update on the details, you have been requesting for some time to include my part of the journey, if only I could do it sooner!
Thanks a lot Arindam Da.

No apologies for the delay, it was worth waiting. Your updates are really fantastic. Its as good as a 5* rated independent travelogue.

Off late i got hold of few more pics from Mrs.Keya Adhikary (Rana da's wife). The pics taken by her are really awesome. So sharing them over here.

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