Following a landslide scare, Akash and I came down to Siliguri directly from Okhrey. It took around 8 hours and the downhill drive was pretty smooth. While the mountains were wet and cold, Siliguri was comfortably warm. Bright sunshine, blue skies, and clear days created the perfect spring weather and all around Siliguri, the forests were thriving.
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In Siliguri, try to stay centrally located
We stayed at the modest, yet comfortable Manor Hotel in Siliguri, which apart from its very centralized location had nothing much to boast about. It was right in the middle of the action at the chaotic, busy transportation hub town and everything was just a step away. Thus we had ATMs. public transport, pharmacies, restaurants, shops, and a gurudwara all around us and all imaginable facility needed a short walk. This worked pretty fine for both Akash and me, who spent most of our Siliguri days resting our tired Sikkim mountain sore bodies. This is quite usual and Siliguri is mostly used as a breakpoint for an overnight stay for travelers going up or coming down from the Himalayas. We stayed three days in Siliguri and surprisingly quite liked our time there. Though there was nothing spectacular about this foothill town, it was a pleasant comfortable place with lots of things to do around it. Check out the travel facts on Siliguri and why this North Bengal town deserves more than an overnight stay.
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Siliguri Travel Facts
Siliguri is the only other city in West Bengal which has an airport apart from Kolkata. It is located at crossroads between the plains and the Himalayas and is an extremely busy place. Snugly located in North Bengal, Siliguri sits on the foothills of the Himalayas and is encompassed by lush tea gardens. Aptly named as the passage of North East India, it is the transportation hub for heading towards Gangtok, Mirik, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Kurseong inside India and furthermore to neighboring nations like Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar.
How to reach Siliguri
- By Road – Siliguri is well connected by all means of transport. It has two railheads and Bagdogra airport. Siliguri is also well connected to other Indian cities by road and direct buses ply from major cities like Kolkata, Patna, Muzaffarpur, and Guwahati. Located on Hill Cart Road, the Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus is the main hub of Siliguri. It is 8 km away from the New Jalpaiguri Junction (NJP) railway station. One can also find a daily overnight bus service from Dhaka which drops travelers at the India-Bangladesh Border in Changrabanda. There is a regular bus service from Bhutanese town of Phuentsholing and the journey takes 4.5 hours.
- By Flight – The Bagdogra Airport is 15 minutes drive from Siliguri. It is well connected to cities like New Delhi, Kolkata, and Bangalore.
- By Train – The city has two train stations. One is the Siliguri Junction and the other is New Jalpaiguri Junction (NJP). The NJP is the busier one and is well connected to all major cities of the country.
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Things to do in Siliguri
Siliguri is a perfectly good holiday destination by its own right and has sufficient things to see and do.
- Jaldapara National Park – Situated on the banks of the Torsa river, this park stretches over an area of around 215 kilometers. Comprising of riverine forests as well as grasslands, the park is famous for its Royal Bengal Tigers, elephants, one-horned rhinoceros, and various other species of deer.
- Mahanadi Wildlife Sanctuary – Opt for the North Bengal Wild Animals Park, which is an integral part of the Mahanadi Wildlife Sanctuary. It covers an area of 300 hectares and contains a wide variety of flora and fauna.
- Bengal Safari Park – Very touristy and loads of fun, especially for children, this park has a huge array of birds and animals including tigers, clouded leopards, gharials, and Himalayan black bears. Choose between a jeep safari or an elephant ride to enjoy the park to the fullest.
- Sepoy Dhura Tea Garden – The Sepoy Dhura Tea Garden is one of the top places to visit in Siliguri and Darjeeling. It’s conveniently located near Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and is very photogenic. There’s not much to do except appreciating the beauty and relax in the lap of nature.
- Chilapata Forest – The Chilapata Forest is a dense forest which forms an elephant corridor between the Jaldapara National Park and the Buxa Tiger Reserve. Sighting of rhinos is rare in the forests, but leopards appear quite frequently. Other attractions include the ruined forts of the Nal kings, Tonga rides and boating on the Bania River. It is at an hour drive 68 kms/42.3 miles from Siliguri. Being rich in wildlife, it is recommended for visitors to take a jeep safari.
- Mirik – Around 50 kilometers from Siliguri, Mirik is famed for its picturesque beauty, its pristine Sumedu Lake, and its monastery. The bowl-like Sumedu Lake offers fishing, boat rides and breathtaking view of the hills bordering the lake on all sides.
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE