Darjeeling is a town located in the Lesser Himalaya in the Indian state of West Bengal. It’s famous for its tea industry, as well as for its Toy Train, just one of the many modes of transportation in Darjeeling.
The Toy Train
The Toy Train was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2000. More properly known as the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Toy Train operates a number of tourist train services. The train also connects passengers from Darjeeling to New Jalpaiguri. Though the train typically runs throughout the year, its routes sometimes become unavailable due to landslides. And while it is slow, the train is well worth the trip so as to view the scenery and villages throughout the journey. A trip departing from New Jalpaiguri takes seven hours, with departures leaving at 9 a.m. at the cost of around 250 rupees. There are opportunities to purchase food along the trip.
On the Road
While air and train services connect cities such as Delhi and Bombay to New Jalpaiguri, the final leg of the journey to Darjeeling typically requires use of the Toy Train. However, passengers can also take a shared taxi to the city in less than four hours. Some cars make the journey in about two and a half hours if they use the Pankhabari route, though that path is not suggested due to the very sharp bends and steep climbing involved. Over the last 20 years, this path has not been properly maintained, and travelers are encouraged to use the Hill Cart road or main road to Darjeeling. Most taxis to and in Darjeeling are Jeeps, with signs on their windshields indicating their destination. Fares are not fixed and tourists can bargain, but beware that these taxis will typically wait until they have between eight and 10 passengers before departing.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about transportation in Darjeeling.