I am in between jobs for almost a month, in May, 2017. This allowed me to plan travelling at leisure. After looking into my options, I decided to explore well-trodden paths to Sikkim and Darjeeling over a period of around three weeks. Since, I had to book tickets well in advance, I decided to do everything via trains and AirBnb, so that I will be able to recover most of my money in case there is unforeseeable cancellation. So, in the end. My itinerary involves taking all modes of transport except waterways, a total of 5 days journeying by train. 4 major and two minor destinations and lots of exploration via AirBnb, Oyo, Couchsurfing etc.
I checked out a lot of tour packages, starting from the government sponsored ones to some of the hugely popular and lonely planet recommended offbeat itineraries provided by some. A combination of reasons around cost, destinations, experiences etc. predominately being cost, made me decide not to go for those. i found the flexibility of planning my own trip and the underlying uncertainty of it all exciting and rather appealing.
I have ended up with plan that involves 4 days at Darjeeling, 3 days at Pelling, 5 days at Gangtok and more than a day at Kolkata. Things that I hope to do, at a high level –
- Mountain biking at Darjeeling
- Try out most of the local cuisine and popular joints
- Visit important monuments and monasteries.
- Explore a lot of woods, coutryside
- Drink locally brewed beer.
My total budget for this entire trip is around 40k. Although, I have had set aside a total of 50k including contingencies.
My total expenses so far –
- Travel from Bangalore to Siliguri – 2195
- Stay the night at Siliguri – 1050
- Book Stay at Darjeeling – 4000
- Book Stay at Pelling – 3500
- Book Stay at Gangtok – 7500
- Another Night at Siliguri – 1050
- Travel from Siliguri to Kolkata – 2900
- Night at Kolkata – 1200
- Travel from Kolkata to Pune – 6000
Total – 29,395