Traveling & Exploring is never limited to time or season. It is always the best time to travel, should you have the intent to freshen up & ignite your thoughts. So gear up, throw some stuffs inside your bag and make a move.
I am gonna tell you one domestic & one international destination to visit this month to escape the scorching summers (in some parts of the country!) in my First Article of the Monthly Travel PitStops Series.
Locked in the northern parts of West Bengal, the Elite British summer capital, Darjeeling is just at the footsteps of the Himalayas. Mount Kanchenjunga frames its backdrop. The place is known for its scenic beauty & tea plantations along its slopes. The world-famous ‘Toy Train’ operated by Darjeeling Himalayan Railways is accorded the UNESCO World Heritage status & it has been operating since 1881.
(In Pic Above: The majestic & thrilling Darjeeling ‘Toy Train’)
How to Travel?
The nearest airport is Bagdogra & nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (Station Code: NJP). After reaching you can travel by road (75kms, approx. 2.5 hours) or train. A train runs every morning @ 8.30 from New Jalpaiguri (Station Code: NJP) to Darjeeling (Station Code: DJ) (Even the station code sounds musical).
It is always advised to make your bookings quite early to avoid last-minute rush & any disappointment.
The Toy train booking too can be done from IRCTC Website. It runs between 2 sections: Darjeeling-Ghum & Siliguri-Rangtong Jungle Safari.
Now this piece of information can be quite an amuse but important too, read on. The Toy Train rides are always booked roundtrip, visit IRCTC Website and in ‘From Station’ put Darjeeling (Station Code: DJ) & in ‘To Station’ put To Darjeeling (Station Code: DJRZ) & not Ghum. Similarly for Jungle safari Toy Train, input ‘From Station’ as Siliguri Jn (Station Code: SGUJ) & in ‘To Station’ To Siliguri Jn (Station Code: SGUD). The Jungle Safari train is highly seasonal, so you may need to contact the desk before confirming your travel dates. Excited?
What to do & visit?
You can do Trekking, which can range for hours or days if you choose to. You can choose a road trip to Sandakphu which offers superb views of peaks. One can travel to Singalila Forest to do safari. You can pay a visit to The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Museum, Batasia Loop, War Memorial, Peace Pagoda, Barbatia Rock Garden, Shruberry Nightingale Park, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Bhutia Busti Monastery, Senchal Lake
Tip: Take your sports shoe, as you have to do a lot of walking where vehicles can’t go!
Clothing: We do not have option to rent winter clothing, hence it is suggested to carry woollens like jackets, muffler, gloves to protect from evenings which get chilly by night.
Temperatures: Range from 10oC to 20oC
Fact: Darjeeling is home to Asia’s largest ropeway, Rangit Valley Ropeway!
Want to read about India in detail? India – United, Diverse, Unexplored
Remember Shakira’s song, “It’s time for Africa”, yes, it is. It’s a country of diversity & offers a lot to its tourists. Major cities are, Cape Town (is the Legislative Capital, yes they have different judicial & administrative capitals), Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria (Administrative Capital), Bloemfontein (Judicial Capital) & Durban. The country is rich in green cover & is home to dense ecologies. Jungle Safari & Forest Tours are a must here.
(In Pic Above: An aerial view of Cape Town City with Table Mountain at the backdrop)
How to Travel?
Major Airports across the world have daily connections to Johannesburg, Cape Town & Durban. The national domestic airlines fly to other cities within the country.
What to do & visit?
You can visit Kruger National Park, Table Mountain National Park, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape of Good Hope, Robben Island, Gold Reef City, Tsitsikama National Park, Mossel Bay, Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, Sun City, Apartheid Museum, Cradle of Humankind, Bloukrans Bridge (Famous Site for Bungee), Big Hole (A Diamond Mine Pit). The adventure activities you can do are Abseiling Down, Explore Cango Caves, Kayaking, Bungee Jumping, Zip-Lining, Shark-Cage Diving, Skydiving.
Tip: Kruger National Park is prone to malaria-mosquitoes, I would suggest to wear full covered clothing at the time of visit.
Clothing: Keep a jacket handy, although it is pleasant at this time of the year. You will be fine with light clothing having Tees, Jeans.
Temperatures: Range from 12oC to 22oC
Currency: South African Rand (1 SAR = INR 5.5 approx. at the time of writing)
Driving: Left side of the road, right hand drive
Visa: Check visa rules & fee for your country here! It may vary depending on the type of passport you hold.
Fact: South Africa is home to Lesotho, a country within a country (seriously!)
Guys, this is all about this month’s Travel PitStops Series, which is eventually my first article of the series, from next month onwards, I’ll make sure to publish this on very 1st of the month so that it becomes easy to plan your month in advance.
Let me know your thoughts about the blog. If you want me to add any other details going forward in this series, just comment below & don’t forget to subscribe! Kindly share with people who are intending to travel to these destinations.
Want to know about another international destination? Dubai – A truly cosmo-global city!