Our arrival in Kolkata didn’t go well. The flight from Bangkok arrived after midnight, and a big Indian city is not the best place to start searching for a hotel in the wee hours. So we pre-booked our first night, savvy travelers that we are. Our friendly taxi driver bombed his ubiquitous yellow cab at breakneck speed to the hotel, and guess what…it was closed up, shutters down, and not even a rat in the gutter outside, definitely a bad sign. After a total of 16 hours travel, via pick-up truck, speedboat, taxi, 2 flights and another taxi, that is not what we needed. But of course our chirpy driver knew the perfect place, so off we went. One rip off later, and Leslie and I awoke in the chaos of Kolkata. After an inauspicious start, it was great to be back in India.
The main tourist hangout in Kolkata is Sudder Street. Here you’ll find most of the cheaper end hotels and guesthouses, great cafes where backpackers and flashpackers congregate, a decent pub, and amazing street food of which Leslie and I simply couldn’t get enough. We ate curry and samosas by the bucket full, and at 5 rupees (5p or 7c) a piece, why not. When I thought it was getting silly, over eating simply because it was so cheap and delicious, I dumped myself on some electric scales. The result gave me cause to jump around whooping and hollering like some crazed banshee, and permission to carry on stuffing my face- apparently I need fattening up!!
If you ever come to India, which I highly recommend, and you find yourself in Kolkata, do try and stay around Sudder Street. It has an amazing atmosphere, a safe, friendly vibe, and everything you’ll need close at hand. Did I mention unbelievable samosas?
After 3 days, it is time to leave the stifling chaos of Kolkata for the cooler climes of Darjeeling, the fabled hill station in the foothills of the Himalayas. We’ve a 10 hour overnight train booked in 3rd Class Sleeper; It’s been a long time since I did that, and should be an adventure. I for one am excited, and can already smell the delicious tea of Darjeeling brewing ready for my arrival.
Cheers Kolkata…it’s been a blast.
Darjeeling and probable altitude sickness, here we come!
If you’d like some tips on accommodation or what to do in Kolkata, please feel free to ask via the comments section.
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All Images By The Nomad.