Thailand, Northeast India and Nepal in Autumn, alone. Suggestions appreciated.

#1 Jun 27th, 2008, 02:59
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  • MrBaltona is offline
#1
It's my first post on this forum so hello everyone!

I'm a 27 year old guy from Europe and I'm just planning a trip to Thailand, North India and Nepal. I want to spend a month and a half there and I'm going alone. I plan to travel on budget but I can pay for additional flights etc. if it's worth it.

Here's my plan:
I will arrive in Bangkok around 19th August and spend about a week there. Next, I want to fly to Kolkata. Then, after couple of days I plan to get to Darjeeling by train via NJP. Id love to make a trip to south Sikkim. From Darjeeling I will go to Kathamandu with possible stop somewhere in the Therai (preferably in a place that hasn't been described in Lonely Planet).
From Kathmandu I will flight to Lukla and from there I'll go on a hike to Everest Base Camp lasting about two weeks (yes, I know that I have to acclimatize and I'll hire a guide). Finally I plan to reach Varanasi by land, and from there come back to Kolkata, then to Bangkok, then home. Alternatively I will go straight back to Kolkata by plain, depends on time left. My time will be limited by the date of the return flight.

I think the best way to get a feel about a city is to spend a least couple of days there so I don't want to rush from one place to another. I want my route to be a compromise between well known and off the beaten track places.

My background:
I spent 7 months in Bangalore (now Bangaluru) and I've been to Mumbai, Chennai, Pondicherry, Delhi, Jaipur, Mysor, Alappuzha and many other places, mainly around Bangalore but I've never traveled India by train. I've never been to Thailand nor Nepal. I don't have much trekking experience.

I will be grateful for suggestions about what is worth seeing or visiting along the route, and for any practical tips about organizing transport etc. I'm quite flexible regarding my itinerary but I must be back home till 12th October. I plan to return from Bangkok because it's much cheaper to get a round-trip ticket.


Greetings,
Baltona
#2 Jun 27th, 2008, 20:37
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  • singsub is offline
#2
sounds like a good plan. hopefully the unrest in darjeeling will have died down by then. drop a day or two in nepal if you have to so as to include varanasi.
#3 Jun 27th, 2008, 21:19
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Actually, that bothers me a bit. I hope Darjeeling and Sikkim will be accessible to the tourists by September.
#4 Jun 28th, 2008, 20:07
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  • shapes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBaltona View Post Actually, that bothers me a bit. I hope Darjeeling and Sikkim will be accessible to the tourists by September.
Darjeeling as of now seems to be pretty calm but it could be calm before the storm - hopefully not because I am planning to be there in a week or so .

Mr.Balton, since I didn't see any questions or concerns about your itinerary, here are my suggestions:
NJP to Darjeeling via Toy Train takes roughly 10 hours but if you are not in a hurry to get into town, the views are to die for.
Once in Darjeeling: 1. make sure you wake up early one morning and go around the MALL on top of the hill, the views are truly magnificent. Walk around town without expecting much and you will tour a beautiful little town (congested unfortunately!). Visit the botanical gardens and the little zoo. The HMI institute inside the zoo is pretty very interesting. If I remember correctly, they display items used by Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Sherpa.
Check out Glenarys for internet cafe and some good tea . Don't forget to check out the local scene for MOMOS (meat dumplings that you will encounter at every corner - they are safe, I tried them last year and so did my girls).
For your route to Sikkim: Fist make sure you have your permit to enter Sikkim. If you don't, go to the foreign registration office near the Municipal Office, they're fairly easy to make. Then go to the lower motor stand and hitch a ride to Gangtok with the locals. Avoid the clubside motor stand that is near Chowrasta - they are more expensive and geared towards the tourists. You can always opt for the more expensive cars of Clubside motorstand if you prefer something more private.
The drive to Gangtok is a spectacular one. Through hills and tea gardens.
Unfortunately, you should check the news frequently for updates on the political situation like I intend to do once I'm in India. It has never been a violent region, the media hypes it up more than need be. But if there is a strike once you get into town, you are safe and you are given warning of future strikes so you can leave town.
Darjeeling/Kathmandu: You will have to come to Siliguri to get to the border of India and Nepal. Its a little town called Kakarvitta. You can get to KTM by plane from a town called Bhadrapur for about 80/100$ or take the night bus to Kathmandu. Both of these are cheaper options as opposed to flying to delhi or kolkota and then flying out to Kathmandu. Since I am doing this next week, I have done my homework on this . The flight into Kathmandu is a tiny plane and I hate small planes . So I may be flying to Kolkota and then out to Kathmandu.
Kathmandu: check out Thamel. It is the place to be for all travellers and nowadays the hip young locals love it too. You will have plenty of company there .
Bon Voyage!

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