Last minute transport to Nagaland problematic

#1 Aug 3rd, 2016, 10:11
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  • Peterjones is offline
#1
On a whim I have decided to leave Gangtok and visit Nagaland for my last ten days outside of Calcutta. But it looks complicated and/or expensive.

Keep in mind that I do not have a bank or SIM card.

First thought was get a shared jeep to NJP and take the train to Nagaland. Well, it is a 2-step trip and they are full for months (huh?)

OK, I'll take a flight from Siliguri's airport to Imphal, then take a shared jeep or bus. I don't gave enough time to 'enjoy the journey', just get ASAP. Well, none of my web searches show any direct flights. They all go through CCU. So, $$$.

Is there any simple and cheap way to get to Nagaland that doesn't take two days? I don't have the luxury of time right now.

I can't even go to a travel agency, and pay them to solve my problem, because all the shops open late (compared to Vietnam). Clearly I have to get to Siliguri, and maybe accept a 'tadkal' (?) emergency/last minute seat on whatever I can get. Be advised - the SNT office in Gangtok is a lot less busy than Fairlee Place in Calcutta. As in - zero queue.

I was told there are twice a week direct flights IBX -> IMF. This appears to be old/false/seasonal.

Short story: Travel to N.E. takes planning and patience. Or extra monry. It's not like going from say Bagpur to Mumbai, presumably because it is out of the way.
#2 Aug 3rd, 2016, 10:54
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
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  • theyyamdancer is offline
#2
Distance is a factor, as are the dismal state of the roads. Infrastructure is lacking in the North East, as you have surely discovered. If you were to spend money on a flight to Imphal (from Guwahati?) it would be slightly quicker than going by bus.

Take a look at these comparative solutions, giving the timings and cost:
https://www.tripigator.com/gangtok-to-kohima-rf3

Nagaland is the most difficult place to access in India, I reckon, but worthwhile the effort.
#3 Aug 3rd, 2016, 13:02
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  • steven_ber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterjones View Post
First thought was get a shared jeep to NJP and take the train to Nagaland. Well, it is a 2-step trip and they are full for months (huh?)
I can find trains with berths available for tomorrow.

Brahmaputra mail direct New Jalpaiguri to Dimapur

Or Capital Express from NJP to Guwahati, then another train on to Dimapur.

Difficult to provide any detail as you don't mention your preferred class, or date of travel.

Use www.erail.in to find trains.
#4 Aug 3rd, 2016, 18:40
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#4
Darn, I was hoping to respond to my own post before all you great posters did!!

SO...

I took a bus rather than a shared jeep. Actually a lot more room. The driver stopped just short of the border post in order so passengers could get drinks which made it a little inconvenient for doing the exit paper work from Sikkim, but whatever. I keep running into gov't offices where there is no take a number, no signs. I could hang around for half an hour before anyone tells me that I needn't even be there - yet they ask a bunch of questions. Very strange. Like when I went into the Border Control office in Darjeeling. The clerk asked me a bunch of questions and then tells me to get the permit at the check post in Rangpo. Anyway...

The ride was scenic (rivers, forests, mountains) and we passed several soil slides being fixed. It doesn't take long for the weather to change to no longer rainy and foggy and cool. Drat! The driver was safer in road habits than most Cambodian bus drivers.


It is a brief walk to both bus station and NOT NJP rail station, just plain Siliguri. The booking clerk tells me there is no seat until tomorrow. Turns out that one of express trains has ONE first class seat tomorrow, meals included. For an old man like me (60+) hat is INR1965. At first I almost choked, then I calculated in USD. All the way to Dimanpur in Nagaland. About 12 hours. So, I must overnight in NJP which I head to next by an 'auto' (shared Bajaj)

At Silguri's main rail station (NJP), everything changes. It's the hustle of 'real India' again. Kind of grungy, busy, noisy. Hot, dry. I mean compared to 'chill' (in both senses) Gangtok. Station is large actually - must be a major transit station to N.E. A lot more beggars, middle men and hangers on than Gangtok.

The great thing about this station, in fact *all* big rail stations is the cloak room. Who wants to haul bags around? For a nominal fee one can stash one's bags. Too bad one can never seem to get a private retiring room easily anymore. Maybe one always need reservations in advance. Easy to find a basic room for under 700 nearby.
#5 Aug 4th, 2016, 18:09
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  • theyyamdancer is offline
#5
I am always happy to talk about visiting Nagaland, even if my yesterday's travel advice is of no use to the OP.

Coincidentally, a chum of mine in Kolkata is planning a trip for January 2017 to Nagaland, and so I am looking up my old preparation notes from three/four years ago. I just came across a great summary of travel options into Nagaland, ℅ the site
http://www.explorenagaland.com


Quote:
Travel by Air
Travelling by air is by far the quickest way to reach Nagaland and many travellers opt to fly here rather than travelling overland.

There are regular flights to and from Dimapur on the border with Assam. Dimapur is the ideal entry point for those travellers who wish to head up to Kohima for the Hornbill festival in December or to visit the area in and around Kohima, perhaps for the WW2 cemetery or the Angami villages of Khonoma, Kigwema and Tuophema.

Alternatively, combining air and rail travel by flying to Guwahati in Assam and onwards by rail to Dimapur is a popular option with many visitors to Nagaland. This journey from Guwahati to Dimapur takes around 5 hours. You will need to book tickets at Indian Railways or buy your ticket locally at the station which can be found at Pan Bazaar, Station Rd, Mawhati, Paltan Bazaar, Guwahati, Assam 781001. Travel by bus is also possible and an overnight journey takes around 10 - 12 hours. Tickets can be bought in advance at Network Travels online or again bought locally at Network Travels, 17, GS Road, Paltan Bazaar, Guwahati, Assam 781008. Network Travels phone number is +91 361 260 5335.

Flights are operated by all the major domestic airlines including IndiGo, Jet and Air India from Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai.

Travellers who want to visit the Konyak district in the North East of Nagaland, perhaps for the Aoleang festival of the Konyaks around April time, should fly to Dibrugarh on the Assam/Nagaland border.

Again flights are operated by all the major domestic airlines including IndiGo, Jet and Air India from Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai.

Another option is to fly to Imphal and then travel onwards to Kohima by road which would take around 4 hrs. Flights, as before, are operated by all the major domestic airlines including IndiGo, Jet and Air India from Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai. Buses and taxis are available locally. The Nagaland State Transport Bus Station is probably the best option. This can be found at NH39, DM College Campus, Imphal, Manipur 795001.


Travel by Rail
You can travel from Kolkata to Dimapur, in Nagaland by rail. The journey takes around 24 hours or more.

The only direct train that operates every day is:
15959 KAMRUP EXPRESS operated by Indian Railways
Departs HOWRAH JN (HWH) at 5:35 PM and arrives in Dimapur at 9:25 PM next day.
A 23hour 08minute journey for (at the time of writing) Rs. 520 upto Rs. 2145.
This train continues to Dibrugarh for those wishing to travel to the North of Nagaland.

On Wednesdays there are 2 additional direct trains.
15901 DIBRUGARH EXP
Departs HOWRAH JN (HWH) at 2:25 PM and arrives in Dimapur at 1:52 PM next day.
A 23hour 27minute journey for (at the time of writing) Rs. 540 upto Rs. 2100.
This train continues to Dibrugarh for those wishing to travel to the North of Nagaland.

12525 KOAA DBRG EXP
Departs KOLKATA (KOAA) 9:40 PM and arrives in Dimapur at 8:48 PM next day.
A 23hour 8minute journey for (at the time of writing) Rs. 570 upto Rs. 2145.
This train continues to Dibrugarh for those wishing to travel to the North of Nagaland.

Alternatively, combining air and rail travel by flying to Guwahati in Assam and onwards by rail to Dimapur is a popular option with many visitors to Nagaland. This journey from Guwahati to Dimapur takes around 5 hours. You will need to book tickets at Indian Railways or buy your ticket locally at the station which can be found at Pan Bazaar, Station Rd, Mawhati, Paltan Bazaar, Guwahati, Assam 781001. Flights are operated by all the major domestic airlines including IndiGo, Jet and Air India from Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai.

Trains operate all day from Guwahati, the fastest being:
JAN SHATABDI EX - 12067
Departs GUWAHATI (GHY) - 06:30am, arriving DIMAPUR (DMV) - 10:37am.
A journey of only 4 hours 7 mins.
This costs (at the time of writing) Rs.140 or Rs. 455.
This train continues to Jorhat for those wishing to travel to the North of Nagaland.
Note this train does not run on Sundays. Please check with Indian railways for other trains.


Travel by Road
After reaching Dimapur, either by rail or air, it is possible to get a shared taxi from Dimapur railway station to Kohima (approx Rs 250) or Mon (approx Rs 700). Most taxis to Mon leave early in the morning as the journey is around 10 - 12 hrs.

From Kohima it is possible to get shared taxis and local buses to most destinations in Nagaland or onwards to the other North Eastern states.

It is becoming increasingly popular to cycle to Nagaland. We have recently hosted guests from the UK who have cycled from London to Singapore and passing through Nagaland and Manipur and then into Myanmar. You can find out more about this on the Cycling Without Borders Facebook site.

We've also hosted a motorcyclist on his travels through Nagaland by road, Paul Erdmann from Germany who did B to B - Bangkok to Berlin. His facebook site has more information.

None of these options talk in much detail about local bus travel. So, Mr PJ, if you are so kind, please tell us your bus adventures, to complete this summary.

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