Need advice on Orissa, West Bengal & Sikkim itinerary; please help!

#1 Nov 21st, 2010, 11:08
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#1
Hello there,

Over the next few days we hope to cover the highlights of Orissa, West Bengal and Sikkim. We have a tentative itinerary as follows, but would like to get it sorted out completely with your advice/suggestions. Please help!

Bhubaneshwar
Day 1: Bhubaneshwar - Lingaraj Temple, Mukteswar Temple, Raja Rani Temple, Parsumrameswar Temple

Day 2: Day trip to Konark, Puri temple, Pipli village

Day 3: Udayagiri & Khandagiri Caves & State Museum
Overnight bus to Calcutta

Calcutta
Day 4: Victoria Memorial, St. Paul's Cathedral, Academy of Fine Arts

Day 5: Indian Museum, Maidan, BBD Bagh Area, Howrah Bridge, Mulik flower market

Day 6: Two days/One night visit to Sunderbans

Day 7: Two days/One night visit to Sunderbans
Return to Calcutta in the evening

Day 8: Marble House, Kumartuli sculptors, Tagore House, Jain temples

Day 9: Rest day
Overnight train to Siliguri

Darjeeling
Day 10: Arrive at Siliguri at 8am. Shared jeep to Darjeeling.

Day 11: Around Darjeeling

Day 12: Day trek around Darjeeling

Day 13: Shared jeep to Siliguri. Bus to Gangtok - 5hrs.

Gangtok
Day 14: Around Gangtok

Day 15: Bus to Pelling - 5.5hrs (departure at 7am & 12:30pm)

Pelling
Day 16: Pemayangste Monastry and Rabdentse ruins

Day 17: Day trip to Tashiding Monastery

Day 18: Bus back to Gangtok - 5.5hrs (departure at 7am & 12:30pm)

Northern Sikkim
Days 19 thru 22: Jeep (shared) tour of Northern Sikkim:
Labrang, Phodong, Mangan-Singhik, Lachung, Yumthang

Please note:
- We are not into religious places but like to visit architecturally important sites.
- We do not wish to cover each & every attraction of the states; just the best of them all.

Please help !

Regards,
10yearitch
#2 Nov 21st, 2010, 12:04
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#2
Appreciate the research that has gone into the post.

Not much to add except for hoping that you have looked into the road conditions between BBSR and CAL to make it by bus. I know it is a National Highway, but then rains and human neglect can do a lot of damage.
#3 Nov 21st, 2010, 14:03
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#3
Wow, this is what I call trip planning. Everything looks perfect, except I would second Narendra's concern. Any particular reason you chose the bus trip from Bhubaneshwar to Kolkata? And secondly, I'm not sure you will be able to see the sculptors in Kumartuli in action. There's no puja coming up soon.
#4 Nov 21st, 2010, 14:05
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and more thing ... are you going on an escorted tour to the Sunderbans?
#5 Nov 21st, 2010, 14:24
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#5
Hello Arindamdas & Narendra,

The only reason that we thought of taking a bus to Cal is because train tickets are hard to come by ... especially since we tend to plan our itinerary only a couple of days before . But now that you mention that the road conditions could be bad, we will try to take the train instead. Thanks so much for pointing it out.

And yes, we hope to go through a resort like Sunderbans Tiger Camp for the 2-day trip to the Sunderbans. We figured this would be most time and (our) energy efficient. However, we are open to suggestions. Pls let us know if there's a better way of exploring the area.

Thanks so much for your help. Totally appreciate it!
Regards,
10yearitch
#6 Nov 21st, 2010, 14:30
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#6
From their website, it looks to be a pretty nice property. You might want to start praying for the tiger god(dess) to show up when you are there, :-) Seeing is a tiger in the wild is an awesome experience, but I just haven't had the good luck (or fortune) of seeing one in the Sunderbans (I've seen them in Kanha though). But I'm pretty sure you will see deer and crocodiles (and if you like shrimp, the local variety is one of the best).

Have a safe and fabulous trip!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 10yearitch View Post Hello Arindamdas & Narendra,

The only reason that we thought of taking a bus to Cal is because train tickets are hard to come by ... especially since we tend to plan our itinerary only a couple of days before . But now that you mention that the road conditions could be bad, we will try to take the train instead. Thanks so much for pointing it out.

And yes, we hope to go through a resort like Sunderbans Tiger Camp for the 2-day trip to the Sunderbans. We figured this would be most time and (our) energy efficient. However, we are open to suggestions. Pls let us know if there's a better way of exploring the area.

Thanks so much for your help. Totally appreciate it!
Regards,
10yearitch
#7 Nov 21st, 2010, 14:45
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@10yearitch: Please, I am not suggesting that the roads ARE bad, but COULD be. Please enquire locally or hopefully someone here with a recent experience will chip in.
A tiring road trip at night can sap your energy and enthusiasm the next day and affect you in many ways. A train or flying is always preferable.

You can try TATKAL tickets on trains that open up just 2 days before and are a good choice if you don't want to fly. Choose trains that start in or around BBSR. For ex 2838 Puri-HWH exp has tatkal availability for the 23rd as an example in 3A and 2A.

Book thru IRCTC or cleartrip or any other site. Bookings open at 8am 2 days before trains departure from the originating station. So tomorrow at 8 am you can book tickets for trains starting on 24th. The busy trains get booked fast, like you are late if you try at 8.05am, so be quick
#8 Nov 21st, 2010, 14:51
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#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by arindamdas View Post From their website, it looks to be a pretty nice property. You might want to start praying for the tiger god(dess) to show up when you are there, :-) Seeing is a tiger in the wild is an awesome experience, but I just haven't had the good luck (or fortune) of seeing one in the Sunderbans (I've seen them in Kanha though). But I'm pretty sure you will see deer and crocodiles (and if you like shrimp, the local variety is one of the best).

Have a safe and fabulous trip!
Yeah, we did hear that spotting a tiger in the Sunderbans is quite rare. Oh well, like you say, there's nothing we can do but hope and pray to sight one ... or at least just have a great experience out there. And yes, I love shrimps .... yummmmmmmm !
#9 Nov 21st, 2010, 14:56
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#9
Please post a report on your Sunderbans trip. I would be in Kolkata in Dec. 2011, and might do this trip, depending on your experience.

Arindam

Quote:
Originally Posted by 10yearitch View Post Yeah, we did hear that spotting a tiger in the Sunderbans is quite rare. Oh well, like you say, there's nothing we can do but hope and pray to sight one ... or at least just have a great experience out there. And yes, I love shrimps .... yummmmmmmm !
#10 Nov 21st, 2010, 15:08
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by narendra.d View Post @10yearitch: Please, I am not suggesting that the roads ARE bad, but COULD be. Please enquire locally or hopefully someone here with a recent experience will chip in.
A tiring road trip at night can sap your energy and enthusiasm the next day and affect you in many ways. A train or flying is always preferable.

You can try TATKAL tickets on trains that open up just 2 days before and are a good choice if you don't want to fly. Choose trains that start in or around BBSR. For ex 2838 Puri-HWH exp has tatkal availability for the 23rd as an example in 3A and 2A.

Book thru IRCTC or cleartrip or any other site. Bookings open at 8am 2 days before trains departure from the originating station. So tomorrow at 8 am you can book tickets for trains starting on 24th. The busy trains get booked fast, like you are late if you try at 8.05am, so be quick
We have had luck with Tatkal in the past, but lately it hasn't helped. Like you say, we've probably not timed the booking correctly. But will definitely try for the Cal one. We prefer train journeys especially if we manage to get 2-tier AC tickets as its far more comfortable on long journeys than buses.

Thanks for all your inputs!
#11 Nov 21st, 2010, 15:20
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by arindamdas View Post Please post a report on your Sunderbans trip. I would be in Kolkata in Dec. 2011, and might do this trip, depending on your experience.

Arindam
Sure thing!

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