The highlight of the day is our first encounter with famous Delhi touts without realizing it. Actually, we already bump into another tout yesterday, who is the chaperon of a western traveler who seems stoned on weeds. He offer to bring us to some government tourist center (Rough Guide warn us about numerous fake tourist office), but we remain cautious and would like to do our Rajasthan trip without a tour package.

Menu at Diamond Restaurant
Menu at Diamond Restaurant

Today's tout is more aggressive and skillful, claiming to be the shop owner of the craft shop next door, and offering us cheaper taxi (RS 200) compared to the hotel taxi (RS 300) to the airport. He propose to stop at the "government tourist office" to arrange for our tour and get more information, and claiming the tourist office at the train station is under renovation (another trick highlighted by Rough Guide, but we are not aware at that point of time). Every touts seems eager to bring us to the "government tourist office" at Connaught Place, but I doubt it's the real deal as the tourist office is at 88 Janpath.

Anyway, the hotel manager "saved" us by persuading to stick with the RS 300 taxi to the airport. The atmosphere is quite tense between the hotel manager and the touts. Thinking back, we probably make the right choice.

We took a SpiceJet flight (RS 2800) one way to Bagdogra, but couldn't find our pickup person (we book a hiking tour is Sikkim). Some kind man help us to phone our travel agency, though I am skeptical it might be another trick. As it turns out, our pickup person is already standing in front of us holding a card which is neither our name (some western name) nor our travel company. We still feel a bit suspicious, but decided to go ahead because he mentioned our contact person's name.

The road condition from Bagdogra to Darjeeling town is pretty bumpy with many potholes, and it took many hours of uphill journey. On the way is the famous toy train trek, school children in good looking uniform, plenty of houses and thick mist.

Finally we arrive at Seven Seventeen Hotel. We have a pretty alright window view. The place feels old with a "heritage" feel, but it is slightly damped and squeaky floor.

Beni's, the best South Indian food in Darjeeling
Beni's, the best South Indian food in Darjeeling
Samosa
Samosa
Indian sweets
Indian sweets
Dosa, delicious
Dosa, delicious
Fennel Seeds, provided for free after meal
Fennel Seeds, provided for free after meal