1 July, 2021 | Reccy Guide
One of the lesser-known travel destinations, Bagdogra, lies close to Darjeeling. Cradled in the lush, green forests, this beautiful place accompanies travelers on their way to Darjeeling. Known for its pristine views, lush green landscapes, and idyllic hills, Bagdogra can make the perfect weekend getaway for anyone. It is situated at 136 meters in the Siliguri District of West Bengal, which results in comfortable weather all year round. Unlike Darjeeling, which reaches freezing temperatures during the Winter months, Bagdogra can offer you a cozy stay at an affordable range. Bagdogra is the gateway to two important treks in eastern India: Goechala Trek and Sandakphu Trek
It takes two hours to go to Darjeeling from Bagdogra. On the way, you pass through various small towns like Shibmandir and Matigara. You will also pass through the banks of the Balasun River and enjoy the tranquil ambiance of this shrouded land. Amidst the canopy of the wild, tall trees, you can soak in the unstained beauty of the natural landscapes that follow you like a friend. Bagdogra isn't a crowded urban city, which is eager to welcome you to view its happy and straightforward way of life.
The locals are warm people, which adds to the numerous reasons why you should visit this place. The Mechi River flows in the west of Bagdogra. The land is sloping, from North to South, and the climate is quite forgiving. During the summer months, the temperature can rise to 35 degrees Celsius, while in the winter months, it can go as low as 9 degrees Celsius. This is a place where you can stare out of your car's window and look through the clouds, only to see the majestic heads of the marvelous Himalayas staring back at you. Even though it is a passing town, its vivid beauty and vibrant culture make it one of the most amazing places to visit in North-East India.
How to reach?
If you want to embark on some of the reputed North-Eastern Himalayan treks, you should keep a tab on the transport options available. The closest train station to Bagdogra- the hub for such treks, is the New Jalpaiguri or NJP railway station. The NJP station is one of the most significant stations located just 18 kilometers away from Bagdogra. Siliguri encounters several long-distance trains passing through and arriving at this station from various Indian cities. You can choose to come to Kolkata and then take a train to the NJP railway station. Alternatively, if you are heading for Bagdogra from any other parts of the country, you can take a long-distance train that is east-bound or north-east bound that passes through New Jalpaiguri. The NJP bus stop is also a viable option from where you can get private and government buses and cabs on hire to reach Bagdogra. There is also the provision of a long-distance night bus service from Kolkata to NJP. You will get both government buses and private buses that you book using apps. Of course, the bus fare is on the higher side for the latter. If you are traveling from any Indian metro city, you can book flights to the Bagdogra airport, and it will get you tantalizingly closer to a lot of North-Eastern adventure trails. One of the downsides is that the flight tickets tend to be a tad too pricey when it comes to Bagdogra. Hence, you can book flights to the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata, and then travel to Bagdogra.
Where to stay?
Being a popular tourist hub for adventure activities, accommodation is relatively easy to find in Bagdogra. There is a huge variety of accommodation options, ranging from boutique hotels, villas, regular hotels and guesthouses, homestays, lodges, hostels, etc. The cost of accommodation for a single night varies according to your choice of accommodation and the add-ons and amenities according to your preferences. While luxury boutique hotels and villas might charge more than USD 100 USD (INR 7500) per night, standard hotels and guesthouses charge between USD 30 to 35 (INR 2500 - 3000) per night. Lodges, homestays and hostels are relatively cheaper, with the charges per night per person being well within USD 20 (INR 1500).
If you are in the mood for shopping, the Bagdogra market is a bustling area where you can find all the items that you need. It is filled with local stores selling items, ranging from jewelry to tea to antiques and souvenirs. You can get traditional or tribal jewelry in most markets here, along with Tibetan designs. You can also get shoes and watches from the Bagdogra market, along with Woolen garments and other stylish clothing items.
There is a City Centre Mall in Siliguri, located just 11km from Bagdogra. It has various kinds of stores along with a cinema hall where you can revive your urban soul. You can also visit the Hong Kong Market in Siliguri, as it takes only 24 minutes to reach there from Bagdogra. It has garnered hefty attention from tourists over the years simply due to its sheer volume of products. You can get authentic Chinese or Tibetan artifacts here, along with a plethora of items like jewelry, clothing, utensils, souvenirs, carpets, and so on. The Bidhan Market, also located quite close to the Hong Kong Market, houses similar shops offering a vast range of items to tourists from all over the world.
One of the things you should get while visiting North-East India is the aromatic and authentic Darjeeling Tea. At Bagdogra, you can get that from the Darjeeling Tea House, one of the oldest and most respectable tea sellers in Siliguri and Darjeeling. You can also opt to get your tea from Surajmukhi Tea Pvt Ltd, or you can even visit the Bagdogra Tea Estate to get a first-hand look at the whole Darjeeling Tea Business.
You can visit the tranquil Gurudwara, the Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha at Bagdogra. But if you want to soak the natural essence of this beautiful town, you should visit the Jorpokhri Wildlife Sanctuary. The Mahananda Wildlife sanctuary at Siliguri deserves a shout out as well, as it is one of the most beautiful wildlife sanctuaries at Siliguri, located only 33 minutes away from Bagdogra. The Salugara Monastery lies 18km away from Bagdogra- which is a pristine monastery that you must visit if you are there. The Bengal Safari at Siliguri also offers an unforgettable short journey where you get to witness the fantastic free wildlife North-east India has to provide you with.
If you wish to enjoy your time doing some fun and thrilling activities, you can check out the Dreamland Amusement Park at Siliguri. There is also the Savin Kingdom, a waterpark that you can visit for a fun-filled day out.
If you have plans to go to Darjeeling from Bagdogra, you cannot miss the joy-filled toy train ride you can avail yourself of at Darjeeling. It is a unique experience, assured to give you invaluable memories to take back home. But suppose you are in the mood for something more adventurous. In that case, you can always opt for the Goechala Trek or Sandakphu Trek with touring and travel agencies or operators for an unforgettable, adrenaline-filled experience.
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