Maafushi is a concealed pearl that relatively few know about. The absolute first guesthouse for vacationers was constructed distinctly in the year 2009, and from that point forward a few more have mushroomed across the island. In contrast to other popularized traveler objections, a stay at Maafushi is unwinding and reviving.
Swimming: Witness The Marine Life!
All guesthouses and 3 jumping organizations in Maafushi offer energizing excursions to stunning reefs that are loaded with delightful corals and are abounding with marine life. Probably the best swimming destinations are Maavelaathu, Banana Reef, Vilivaru Corner, and Maafushi Corner. You may likewise join up with a PADI affirmed swimming course in the event that you are a fledgling and might want to become familiar with a couple of speedy swimming tips. An accomplished guide will manage you through the reef and give you fascinating goodies pretty much all the eminent things you will see under the sea. Make certain to convey a veil, balances, and snorkel, from home on the off chance that you can, as the stuff is very overrated at the island.
Shoal Tours: Explore Around
No outing to the Maldives is finished without a shoal journey. Shoals are produced using snow-white sand that structures in a shallow territory of the ocean. The tones radiating from a shoal are really hypnotizing, with various shades of greens and blues mixing into one another making a show-stopper like no other. At the point when you pursue a shoal trip, you will be taken to a little shoal for an entire day! You will plunge into the tidal pond, and furthermore swim the external reef on the off chance that you wish to. These visits are semi-private visits, where you will appreciate the excellent sea without anyone else!
Night and Day Fishing: Catch Uniques Species Of Fishes
Most visitor houses in Maafushi put together fishing visits for their supporters during day time, yet in addition around evening time. In the event that the visitor house you are remaining at doesn’t offer this, essentially approach the closest jump place for an alluring bundle. The fish that you catch can be cooked in a café for a tiny charge. Or on the other hand, you could set up a grill yourself and relish your catch as you watch the sun go down against the scenery of the delightful blue waters.
Island Hopping: Explore The Nearby Islands
In the event that you are burnt out on swimming and extravagant a difference in landscape, head out to do some island jumping. There are various islands around Maafushi that you can investigate. Your visitor house will readily orchestrate private exchanges with a guide, upon demand. Various visit administrators likewise give island bouncing bundles at rather moderate rates. The most well-known island-jumping road trip is to the capital city Male. In any case, on the off chance that you wish to go through a tranquil day investigating away from the group, make certain to request that the visit administrator alter an outing to one of the numerous calmer neighborhood islands. A road trip will incorporate breakfast just as lunch with a possibility for you to move up to a comprehensive extravagance road trip.
You may likewise decide to remain for the time being in a water cabin at one of the numerous hotels on the island you visit.. A significant number of these visits likewise incorporate restrictive spa bundles. The exchanges forward and backward, the islands are for the most part done by boat!
Extravagance Resort Stay: Get Pampered
One of the most activities on Maafushi island is to book a stay in one of those extravagant resorts found right by the sea. Maafushi gives you a brilliant chance to appreciate a stay at one of these hotels where you can awaken to the enchanting perspectives on the sea and appreciate different extravagances in the retreat. This sort of spot is ideal for couples on a special first night or sentimental get-away.
The trek to Sandakphu, which is considered the highest point of West Bengal, takes you through dramatic paths, the wild Singalila National Park, not to mention wide array of flowers, wild life and scenic views all along the path.The starting point for this trek is a small sleepy place at the border of India and Nepal, called Maneybhanjan. You get almost all the things you need for this trek including your guides and porters in this small hamlet amidst the hills.
Day 1: NJP/Bagdogra to Manebhanjan
There are many options to reach Manebhanjan from NJP. You may hire a private vehicle from NJP or Bagdogra to drop you till Manebhanjan which is the most convenient of all options, as well as quite costly, especially so if you are not a group of 4 to 5 people. Shared cars are not available directly to Manebhanjan from NJP.
First option is to take a shared jeep to Darjeeling from NJP. Shared cars for Manebhanjan are available from the old taxi stand area of Darjeeling. You can also opt for a private drop from Darjeeling to Manebhanjan which will be a comfortable and time saving journey.Alternatively, you may take an auto or van to Darjeeling More from NJP. It will take roughly around 30mins from NJP. From Darjeeling More you get direct share jeeps to Manebhanjan, but they are subject to availability. You can also opt for a drop till Sukhia (much more readily available) and then take another drop to Manebhanjan from Sukhia (7kms only, will take not more than 30mins).Once you reach Manebhanjan, visit the Highlanders Guides and Porters Association office. Book your guide or Guide cum porter to start your trek early next day. You can also buy dry foods and other necessary items for the trek. Wafers or exotic dry fruits are not available and must be carried.Sleep well in the night to prepare yourself for the journey next day…To know more about accommodation or food availability in Manebhanjan kindly refer to the article on Sandakphu in the Travel Blogs Section!!!
Day 2: Manebhanjan to Tonglu or Tumling
Today start the trek from Manebhanjan. Guides generally suggest an early start to cover the road with ease and allow you more time. The first stretch of two kilometers till Chitrey is the most tiresome. Some may even think of giving up after this first 2kms of trek. Steep uphill climb till Chitrey is more or less balanced by a relatively less steep road to Meghma, another 7kms from Chitrey, crossing the village of Lamaydhura. From Meghma, the road splits. One goes to Tonglu, again one steep uphill of 2kms.Another 2km road goes almost plain with little undulations here and there straight to Tumling.Trekkers generally stop for the first night at either of these 2 places. There is only one GTA trekkers lodge in Tonglu. However, in Tumling, there are a few more options for lodging. Sikhar Lodge is easily the best.oth these places offer amazing views of the snowcapped peaks on a clear day. The peak of Sandakphu is also visible at a distance. Ask your guide to wake you up for a mesmerizing sunrise over the Kanchenjunga group of mountains, if the weather is clear.To know more about fooding and lodging in Tonglu or Tumling kindly refer to the article on Sandakphu in the Travel Blogs Section!!!
Day 3: Tonglu or Tumling to Kalapokhri
If you are lucky enough, enjoy the sunrise over Kanchenjunga. Relax for some time, have a leisurely breakfast and start the journey today. Today’s trek is comparatively easy. From Tonglu you climb down to Tumling and enter the Singalila National Park Region. You might as well take the permits from here if you have not arranged it from Manebhanjan. There are display boards right at the entry point to the park with pictures of various flora and fauna found in this region.The Trek to Gairibas from Tumling is mostly downhill, roughly 7kms in total. Ask your guide to arrange for a bamboo stick to help support tiring knees if you don’t have trekking sticks. Downhill walk is more strenuous and painful for the legs than uphill.You cross the beautiful Nepali village of Jhaubari on your way to Gairibas. After taking refreshments in Gairibas, continue your journey. 2kms uphill from Gairibas is Kayakatta. From Kayakatta walk on the gravel road for another 3kms to reach Kalipokhri, where most trekkers halt for the night.Alternatively you can also stay at Gairibas, which I personally did during my trek. Gairibas is a calm abode of greenery, hills covering almost from every side of it. The only accommodation option here is the GTA Trekkers Lodge. Not only is the stay very comfortable, but also the early morning trek next day through the forest might give you a better chance to see different rare animals and birds the region is so famous for, including the endangered Red Panda. But be prepared for a slightly longer journey next day to Sandakphu as you also need to cover the extra 5kms to Kalipokhri before climbing the end stretch to Sandakphu.For more information on Gairibas and Kalipokhri kindly refer to the article on Sandakphu in the Travel Blogs Section!!!
Day 4: Kalapokhri to Sandakphu
Today we trek the last stretch and reach Sandakphu by afternoon. If you spent the last night at Kalapokhri, today’s hike will be relatively easy except the last climb up from Bikeybhanjan. From Kalapokhri Bikeybhanjan is 2kms on almost level ground. The climb is toughest in the last stretch of 3 and half kilometers steep uphill from Bikeybhanjan. It is better to rest little and walk little during this uphill climb. The beauty of the hills around and valley below is breathtaking. Energy Tablets or drinks go a long way to provide that extra boost of energy.Enjoy the journey with slow and tiny steps and take rest after 10-15mins of hike. This is by far the most reliable method as I discovered during my own personal experience of the trek. Have light food to munch along on the way and keep sipping on some energy drink or plain water to avoid complete fatigue or breathlessness and dry throat. Enjoy mind blowing views of Mt Kanchenjunga and the neighboring peaks of Pandim, Kumbhakarna, Kabru, Simvo and Narsing. The entire sleeping Buddha is clearly visible. Other peaks you see upon the horizon are Mt Everest, Mt Makalu, and Mt Lhotse in the left and also the Three Sister peaks. Complete 180 degree views of snow covered peaks of the mighty Himalayas adorn the Sandakphu skyline, provided you get a clear weather.
For more information on Sandakphu kindly refer to the article on Sandakphu in the Travel Blogs Section!!!
Day 5: Sandakphu to Srikhola
We climb 15kms downhill today to reach the small village of Srikhola crossing the villages of Gurdum (10kms from Sandakphu) and Timburay. Srikhola is 5kms from Gurdum. The swift river Sri flowing through this village gives it a very picturesque touch. The entire stretch today is downhill through dense forests of the Singalila National Park. The chance of Red Panda sighting is high today as you cross dense bamboo forests.This stretch of 10kms up to Gurdum is continuous and with no halts in between. With melodies of different birds and animals the distance is easily covered. Have some delicious lunch at Gurdum before continuing to Srikhola.Various lodges and homestays are available at Srikhola as well as Gurdum.Trekkers visiting Phalut will cover a distance of 21kms from Sandakphu to Phalut. Downhill trek from Phalut takes one more extra night as you cannot cover the entire distance to Srikhola from Phalut in one day. You can stay one night at Gorkhey or Rammam and then come down to Srikhola the day next.Shared jeeps are available from Srikhola to Darjeeling. They depart at fixed time, 6AM and 11AM every day. The hotel owners in Srikhola can arrange this jeep for you. Private vehicle can also be arranged from Srikhola.
Bakkhali-The Perfect Weekend Gateway
BokKhali is a deserted beach in the deltaic zone of West Bengal, in the Sundarban area. It is well connected to Kolkata through railways and roadways. There are numerous trains from Sealdah station in Kolkata that takes you to Namkhana station, the nearest railway station from Bok Khali. The journey takes around three hours. One can also avail bus services from Dharmatala in Kolkata. Namkhana has decent shops and eateries for a quick meal before heading for Bok Khali which is almost a two hour drive from here. There is a small creek called Hatania Doania to be crossed in a Ferry boat. These Ferry boats are also the only option to carry cars and motor bikes to the other side of the creek. The road from Namkhana to Bok Khali is good. Regular bus service is available from Namkhana to Bok Khali, though one can also hire a private vehicle for a comfortable journey. The road winds through several small villages to reach Bok Khali. Loads of staying options are available among which the West Bengal State Tourist Lodge will easily be the most decent place to stay in. This Lodge, though, needs to be booked before hand from their office in Dharmatala.
The beach is very long and beautiful and away from the maddening crowd of cities. It is a mixture of soothing calm and peace for those who dwell in busy streets of the cities. The beach looks gorgeous on a full moon night, the sea glistening in the silver moon light. The waves are very gentle accept for the high tides when there are relatively bigger waves. The market place in Bok Khali provides almost all the things required by tourists, but the most interesting thing is the various kinds of sea fishes available in the market. The hotels, too, serve a variety of these fishes; an absolute must try as it is pretty much the delicacy of the place.
Several places can be visited for sightseeing. The Henry Island is an isolated island at close proximity. Hired motor vans are available which takes around 30 mins to reach Henry Island. The beach is covered with red crabs, a delight for photographers and tourists alike. The WBS
TDC guest house is the only option if one wishes to stay at Henry Island. The Jambu Dwip is another uninhabited island only accessible through motor boats from Bok Khali. The one hour boat ride with forest on one side is a pleasure, though it is disappointing that stepping on the island is not allowed. Many kinds of birds among the mangrove trees keep drawing attention during this boat ride. The animal park in Bok Khali has some deer and crocodiles and is also a place worth visiting.
BokKhali is great for a quick, short, unplanned getaway. It will prove to be a refreshing and pleasing trip for sure.
Sillary Gaon The ‘New Darjeeling’
Sillary Gaon, a quiet hamlet in the lap of nature, in the Darjeeling district, is a wonderful weekend getaway for those who are tired of crowded streets and horn blaring all day long. The name ‘Sillary’ is derived from the name of a plant called ‘Cinchona’ that grows in abundance in this region. The Cinchona plant is used as a medicine to treat Malaria and is still cultivated in this region. Nestled amidst huge pine forests, this village offers panoramic views of the ‘Mighty Kanchenjunga’ and the FishTail peaks during the winter months when the sky is crystal clear. The sky remains covered with fog most of the time in the other seasons of the year. Thus, viewing the peaks in their full glory will be left to the fate of the tourist during the Spring, Summer and Monsoon months. The place, but, surely looks enchanted, for different blossoms of all colours and sizes cover up the region during these months, giving it a marvelous heavenly charm.
Sillary Gaon is at a height of about 6000ft, a growing tourist hub, often lovingly called the ‘New Darjeeling’ owing to its beauty. Sillary is a five hours journey from NJP Railway Junction. One might choose to hire a car till Pedong, or opt for a shared vehicle. A stony diversion, three kilometres before Pedong, half a kilometre ahead of ’20Mile’, another tourist spot, leads to the sleepy village of Sillary. The 4.5km undulated path is motor able, but trekking this stretch is better option to avoid a bumpy, roller coaster ride of half an hour in the car.
Our host, Mr. Dilip Tamang welcomed us very warmly in the Nirmala Resorts. Every facility was provided to us by Mr. Dilip. The village offers many other homestay options as this is the mainstay of many of the families residing in the village. The village shelters about thirty families and tourism is the main source of income for them. The warmth and hospitality of these simple village people is sure an added bonus to the charm and beauty of the place. Walking lazily around the place, listening to the songs of birds and watching the sun go down behind the towering mountains was time well invested for us in the evening of our day of arrival.
The next morning we headed to the Teen Chuley viewpoint. A trekking trip to the Tin Chuley viewpoint as well as the Ramitey viewpoint is a must-do when you visit Sillary. The Teen Chuley viewpoint, along with its grand view of the snow peaks, also overlooks the Sillary Gaon at a distance and the lush greenery of the hills and the pine forests all around. The breathtaking calm and peace, that nature serves in ample here, soothes and heals the very soul of a person. The Ramitey viewpoint has something more magnificent to offer. The sunset and sunrise over the beautiful white peaks is a priceless experience; but, this view point, a trek of 1.5kms from the village, presents unmatched beauty of the Teesta Valley. A long stretch of the Teesta River , with its numerous bends and turns, as well as its confluence with the Rishi River is visible from this point. A clear, fog-free day might even ensure visibility of the city of Gangtok at a distance. It, surely, will mesmerize any person, giving a picture that will stay in the heart forever.
The second day of our stay in Sillary brought about an unexpected and distinct experience. Mr. Dilip Tamang suggested a refreshing bathing experience in the Reshi Kola river. The river is more like a small and swift flowing mountain stream with mirror-clear, cold water. The water does not run much deep in this section at Rishikola and huge boulders in the bed of the river ensures a great bathing experience, although one must be careful of slippery and shaky pebbles. This destination is a forty-five minutes drive from Sillary and Mr. Dilip happily made all the arrangements, including hiring the car at a minimal cost. An unforgettable surprise, just a little example of the enormous hospitality we received from our host and the locals during our stay in the village.
The Damsang Fort and Hanuman Top are other sight seeing options around the place. The Damsang Fort, built in 1690, last had sheltered the Lepcha king, Gyabo Achuk. The fort, however, has now been turned into ruins by the inevitable hands of time added on by the earthquake of September, 2012. Beyond the Damsang Fort is the Hanuman Top with a sculpture of the Hanuman. It gives one a bird’s eye view of Kalimpong and the adjoining regions along with the lofty peaks.
Sillary Gaon, with all its grandeur, the pristine calm, and awesome sights, has surely made a permanent place in our hearts. The stunning beauty of the Nature made our departure difficult. We did leave, as we had to, only with a promise that we sure would come back, someday.