De Villa Gangtok
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... again meant to have views of the mountains, but only got a slight view when woken up by aerobics with music played through the stadium speaker system at 6am!!! J-Lo at 6am isn't the best start. Anyway that only happened twice, the other times we had the army drilling, perhaps practicing with the worst bagpipers I think I have heard, all carried perfectly from the stadium to our window! All part of the fun.
Anyway we were up at the monastery and were ...
... to forests and natural reserve of Sikkim area. Carry These Documents!
- Get a at least 5 copies of your passport and Indian visa, as well as 5 passport sized photo. This is essential as you go through many checkpoints within Sikkim district and there may not be a photocopier all the time.
Caught the night train from Kolkota to New Jalpaiguri at 10pm. Took 11 hours and cost 295 rupees (about #3.60) Actually manged to get some sleep and it arrived at a sensible time the next morning. Took a shared jeep from the train station up to Darjeeling for 150 rupees and it took 3 hours. It's a long winding road up the mountain side on narrow roads but there are literally hundreds of these ...
... accent we knew they were from Birmingham , finally people from close to home !
They had just come over the border from India the day before and gave us a few suggestions for places to stay in Darjeeling and we gave them advice for Nepal , this is often how things work and its great to hear about the experiences other people are having.
We packed up and left our hotel and walked the few mins to exchange our money at the bank and then tried to ...
... port of call (On Zoe's recommendation) was the Zoo. About a 15 minute stroll downhill from Darjeeling centre it also contains the HMI (Himalayan Mountaineering Institute). The Zoo was mostly made up of local Himalayan goats, Wolves and big cats. Most noticeably the very rare Snow Leopard and some Bengal Tigers. It also housed what must be the worlds smallest aquarium (You'd be disappointed by it's size if you were in a pet shop), lots of red pandas, some parrots ...