famous mountain railway, Toy Train, India

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway — the toy train you MUST see

Last post we talked about how to get around Darjeeling. One particular way was using the toy train. The story of this remarkable rail system speaks to the complex past of Darjeeling.

Referred to as the “Toy Train”, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was built in the late 1800s, while Darjeeling was under British rule. It runs throughout the West Bengal region and is a major attraction for tourists. It uses both steam and diesel locomotives.

A fascinating documentary about the railway can be viewed below. Next post, we’ll dive a little deeper into how tourists can get the most out of the experience.


Airport Taxi Lineup

How to get from the airport in Darjeeling?

Tourism accounts for a major part of commerce in Darjeeling. Visitors usually come in through Darjeeling Airport and getting transportation from the airport to their accommodation is pretty easy. There are a few different ways to get from the airport in Darjeeling, and what you choose will depend on budget, availability, ease, and personal preference.

  1. The most common way for tourists to get from the airport in Darjeeling is by use of taxis. There are a few different taxi services in Darjeeling and most will already be available for use when you walk out of the airport. A small car will run you about 2000 rupees. Some tourists find that it is most cost effective to share a large van and split the fare. The main benefit of a taxi is no wait time. The taxi is there waiting on you and you have privacy if you want to take one alone. The downside is that a taxi isn’t the most cost effective option.
  2. Tourists can also take a bus from the airport. A bus trip will cost a fraction of what a taxi will run at about 200 rupees. Unfortunately, you will have to do some travelling to the bus stop. Another downside is waiting on a bus to show up. However, it is the most cost effective option.
  3. The toy train is also very cost effective. It will cost about 200-400 rupees for first class which most tourists will prefer. The toy train has a cultural feel and the ride can be interesting. The downside is lack of space and having to wait on the train to arrive. However, it is the best option if you really want the Darjeeling experience!
  4. The most expensive but most comfortable option is to take a limousine from the airport. While using luxury transport might seem odd to a tourist, there are many benefits to choosing this option. The main benefit is extra space and legroom. After a long flight, it is relaxing to be able to stretch out comfortably in a limousine. Another benefit is extra privacy. With a limo, you won’t have to wait on a bus or train to arrive, and you won’t have to compete with other travelers for a taxi cab. You just reserve a limo and it comes to you. Naturally, a limo will be much pricier than any other option. If you want customized, chauffeured service but don’t need a stretch, another option is hired car service. Most limousine companies offer spacious cars instead of stretches. To make any of these options more affordable, consider sharing the vehicle and splitting the fare.

Regardless of how you choose to get from the airport in Darjeeling, know that there are always plenty of options. Always have a back up plan and do extensive research before you arrive. Make sure you are clear with the company regarding rates and added fees for luggage. Take into consideration the travel time when choosing your option.