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What would be the best (and fastest) way to get from Bagdogra to Kurseong?

I'm flying to Bagdogra and land there at 1 PM and will make a booking for a toy train from Kurseong to Darjeeling that departs from Kurseong at 3 PM. If there's no flight delay, I think I should be able to get there in time but am interested in what would be the fastest way to do it.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

There are prepaid jeeps and private jeeps at Bagdogra airport that will take you anywhere you like. As my flight was delayed, I had only an hour and a half to catch the toy train so I decided to take the whole jeep for myself. The guy offered to take me up to Kurseong for 900 rupees which is a bit much but it was in my budget. I took his jeep because he said I wouldn't have to pay a thing if we missed the train and although it usually takes around hour and a half to two hours, he said he could get me there in an hour.

To make the story short, we didn't make it but I gave him 400 rupees nonetheless. I know that the drivers usually give false promises but this one would actually make it if he hadn't have lost time at the gas station and if there hadn't have been a huge traffic jam right at the entrance to Kurseong. He used a bunch of shortcuts but unfortunately lady luck wasn't on our side.

Just for the info, one seat in a shared jeep is 90-150 rupees but you do have to wait for the jeep to get full. Also, don't pay for the gas or any expenses before you get to your destination. The price is the same if you decide to go directly to Darjeeling.

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The Bagdogra airport is 12km west of Silguri, from there you can take a bus to Kurseong but according to my book it takes 2 hours for the ride. So even if you have no wait time, you can't make it in two hours on public transport.

A shared jeep between Kurseong and Siliguri takes 90min, so that may be an option. But you have to be lucky, as shared taxis usually wait until there are full before they leave.

So the only safe option seems to be a private cab.

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OK, great. I'll probably have to do that. Do you maybe know whether I can take a cab directly from Bagdogra to Kurseong and if so, is it readily available? –  John Doe Jan 15 '12 at 17:11
    
Sorry, I going there later this summer for the first time, so I don't have any first hand experience. However Any place of arrival in Asia has usually people who want to drive you somewhere. It is all a question of the price. And no, I don't know how much it should be. –  Peter Hahndorf Jan 15 '12 at 19:59
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Bagdogra is a small airport but yes, you will definitely find taxis there. Try to group up with other travellers if possible and get a taxi, don't wait for the shared ones as time is of importance to in your case. And although they might try to rip you off as a tourist, prices in Bengal for taxis are typically much lower compared to Delhi or Mumbai. So make sure to haggle. What I'd be more concerned about is flight delays at your originating airport. (Delhi? Mumbai? Both can be pretty bad at that.) –  Ankur Banerjee Jan 22 '12 at 17:33
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