27.07.2016 - 29.07.2016
Boarded the 7pm bus from Mcloudganj for my overnight journey back to the heat & humidity of Delhi..The ISBT bus station is always a hub of excitement no matter what time of day or night & unfortunately after an eleven hour road trip & with minimum sleep, the last thing you'd feel like practicing are your bargaining skills with taxi & auto drivers..My initial thoughts were to catch the Metro, which meant two changes to my destination & fighting the morning work rush.. So at 6am, decision made.. a Rs.150 fare agreed & I was on my way for a few hours of R&R at Bed & Chai Hostel in Greater Kailash..
As a budget traveller on your own or as a couple, Bed&Chai fits the bill ideally.. Being part of the worldwide Hostelworld.com group they are in a good location for most of your shopping, sightseeing and public transport needs within New Delhi .. I opted for a private room with ensuite rather than the dorms, and at the cost of $44 incl. breakfast it suited my needs, even though I paid the rate of a double .. a small range of in house meals can be arranged & prepared by Bibesh or Moses & there is also a variety of menus from local restaurants/pizza/take aways at reception should your tastebuds feel the need to be a little more adventurous...Coraline fits the attributes as manager to the hostel perfectly..always attentive to your needs & willing to be of assistance to your requirements whenever needed..
Private taxi Uber are extremely popular & reliable in Delhi, plus they have their own version called Ola, though not as popular.. I'd consider Uber second best to the metro, although the metro is the cheapest way to get around most of Delhi, on occasions it can be overcrowded & inconvenient, especially after a long & tiring journey..
My 2pm departure from Delhi to Bhagdogra was with popular domestic airline Indigo with an arrival time of around 4pm... The road trip from the airport to Darjeeling is normally about a three hour journey, though that also depends on how you choose to make the trip .. I opted for the cheapest alternative with a shared taxi from Siliguri, a 20min. drive from the airport & where the majority of taxis leave from, for Darjeeling..At Rs.150 compared to a reserved taxi for Rs.2000 I thought the saving was good, not realising I had to hang around for another two hours for them to have a sufficient load to make their trip worthwhile thus turning a normally three hour journey to almost six ... Lesson learnt, so the return trip to the airport is a reserved car, especially seeing as I have a plane to catch back to Delhi on the 6th.August..
Being my first trip to Darjeeling I was excited & looking forward to my ten days here... Unfortunately, the monsoon season & rainfall may dampen (pardon the pun) the spirits a for treks & trips around the region, so lets hope I get a few breaks of sunshine while I'm here to catch a glimpse of the surrounding mountains, including the third highest in the Himalayas, Mt. Kanchenjunga.. Darjeeling itself is quite a beautiful & old english colonial hill station, with plenty of buildings/landmarks & traces of the British Raj scattered around town.. So my first day was spent just checking out the city & it's main points of interest, markets & restaurants and thinking of alternative & creative ideas with my photography due to the overcast weather...The main mall & central square is the place to be for all the local activity & chances of practicing your street & candid photography skills..With a large TV screen set up on an open stage, it's where you'll find most people from in & around town, including tourists watching indian music videos & the odd documentary... Wifi is unfortunately an issue at the hotel, though it's difficult to understand how they can blame the weather & isolation, when every cafe in town that offers free wifi don't seem to suffer the same issues.. Ah well..every more the reason for another cup of famous Darjeeling tea & nepalese patience..
Brave the showers for another five minute walk into town & another cuppa, me thinks.!!..Free wifi..upload this blog & catch up on emails & facebook ....