How to Reach Darjeeling
Once you reach Bagdogra, NJP or Siliguri, you can make your onward travel to Darjeeling. And depending on the place you arrive, you will get ample transport options for Darjeeling, including private & shared taxis, buses and even the famous toy train operated by Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
NOTE: Only pre-paid reserved taxis (small and large) are available at Bagdogra airport for Darjeeling. Helicopter service is additionally available for Gangtok.
Here are your options for reaching Darjeeling from other parts of India.
(1) Take a train up to NJP (New Jalpaiguri). Darjeeling is only 88kms from here. You will get ample taxis and shared jeeps from NJP to reach Darjeeling in about 3 hours. Few long distance trains pass through Siliguri as well. You will also get plenty of shared jeeps, taxis and buses at Siliguri (takes about 2.5 hours to Darjeeling). You can even take a toy train ride from either NJP or Siliguri through scenic mountain route that takes about 7 hours to reach Darjeeling. The toy train track runs parallel and next to the Hill Cart Road for most part.
(2) Fly down to the nearest airport Bagdogra which is 94 kms from Darjeeling town and take a private taxi. Shared taxis and buses are not available here. It takes little over 3 hours to reach Darjeeling from Bagdogra airport.
(3) There are regular buses including Rocket and Volvo services between Kolkata (Calcutta) and Siliguri Main Bus Terminal (known as Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus located on Hill Cart Road). From Siliguri main bus terminal area, you will get buses, shared Jeeps and private taxis for Darjeeling. Distance between Siliguri and Darjeeling is 80kms.
Roads To Darjeeling
From the NJP railway station, Siliguri or the Bagdogra airport, there are actually several roads to reach Darjeeling. Hill Cart Road (NH-55) is the main route to Darjeeling from the lower plains, and all other routes eventually meet Hill Cart Road at various points up the hill. If a section of the main route is closed due to repair work, land slide etc, an alternative route is taken to bypass that section.
Kurseong and Mirik are two other popular tourist destination in Darjeeling hills other than Darjeelig town itself. But these two places are on two different routes. While Kurseong station and the taxi stand are on the main Hill Cart Road, Mirik is on a scenic alternative route that passes through lovely tea gardens.
There is an alternative scenic route to go to Mirik from Bagdogra or NJP and then onward to Darjeeling. This route goes through several rolling tea gardens. It's a longer route and takes about 4.5 hours to reach Darjeeling.