This train has been and gone. It cost about £300, including your ticket, wash stops and beer, which is what I predicted below.
You need at least the price of the ticket, and half as much again in case things go upside down, in your pocket. I’ll make up a proper post about what the numbers are looking like, now it’s come to decision time, later.
The price for the trains is £136!. It was £128, but the we realised we are actually travelling on 16 calendar days not 15, even though the trip takes 15*24 hours. But there are some extras if you intend to eat or wash, and we’ve also some road sections. The rail pass is obtained from IndRail.co.uk, contact S.D. .Enterprises, and mention this trip. If you want it posted back to you it’s an extra £6 in the UK. Alternatively you can just trust me to turn up with it in Mumbai. You need to include your name, age and passport number in a letter with cheque to
103, Wembley Park Drive,
Wembley, Middlesex. HA9 8HG.
or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and then a phone call with your credit card details (extra 3%). he cant easily do non UK postal as few places have guaranteed delivery outside couriers, which will work out at £20 or £30. If you trust me I can bring yours to Mumbai. I will not be alone so, should I not be able to make it at the last moment, there will be others on that flight. If you want a pass for longer, you can get the prices at the bottom of this page http://www.indiarail.co.uk/indrail.htm
You will need to eat, wash, and on 2 occasions sleep. One is at what now seems likely to be Dibrugarh. You should be able to get a decent room for Rs 500 upwards, I’m still waiting on some quotes . The second is Darjeeling where you can get a bed from anywhere between £3 and £103. Eating will be about £5 per day.
I have a quote from Pine Villas in Udhampur who I’ve told that we’d like to mob them for an afternoon,
Their quote is as follows. If you don’t want to eat their food then no problem. Actually they are prepared for 30 of us to muck into 2 rooms which I don’t think is going to work,. With the group size no loking like mid-teens we shoud probably take 3 rooms. It’s still coming in under a £5 a day food budget. Nice web site here http://www.pinevillaguesthouse.com/aboutus.html
Meals Rs 120 per meal
Rooms Rs 650
about £5 each for two meals, one eat in, one take away in the tiffins and a share of the 3 rooms.
Potentially the most expensive part of the trip will be how plush do you want to spend your one night of freedom in Darjeeling. If you are cash rich but time poor you might want to spend both resources here, http://www.windamerehotel.com but it’s an eye watering £100!. I’m sure there’s something still very nice that you can treat yourself to for a fraction of that.
We’ve 4 road sections.
Dwarka – Probander
Makhu – Amritsar (also to Wagah and back)
25 seater @ Rs. 6,000/-, so about £6.50 again
Rs 2,000 per Maruti van (seat 8, we’ll have 5 in each), plus some other stuff, may be Rs 700 each including a meal at Singphow eco lodge
Night in Dibrugarh
There are some nice options here, such as Chang Bungalows, or you could go for something cheaper. We’ll sort these details out later.
Northside of Brahmaputra-Dhemaji
less than Rs 200
Sliguri – Darjeeling
standard run, no more than Rs 200 a head for a shared taxi
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway back down is free on the pass but not bookable. I think we need to pay for the “joy train” which is the steam train that goes from Darjeeling to Ghum (highest point on the network), but it will only be a few quid.
There’s also the price of shared rooms for washing. That’s impossible to work out, I’d hope it to be no more than £2-3 anywhere. So add another 30 quid for that (that’s overkill).
Oh! and there’s a tram, a taxi and a ferry ride in Kolkata.
£150 should do it, it really all depends on what you spend in Darjeeling. I’ve been through these prices again, we’ll aim to get it well under this quote, £100 looks more like it, but you need about £150 in your pocket. You’ll have plenty of time to get some extra cash in Delhi and Kolkata if you’ve been spending all your time in the dining car downing brandies (if you didnt get that please contact me for an explanation, and hold fire on the plane tickets).
We’ve also got someone who will do branded tiffin carriers, replete with authentic dabha wallah address marking on the top. He also has an option for getting them delivered full of food. I’ve had a mixed response about the tiffin club, Some of our more “seasoned” travelers think it’s sissy. Well it’s not obligatory, but if you don’t know whether you can survive on Indian Railway omelets for 2 weeks, I suggest you jump in with me and the sissy gang. I know for certain I cannot survive on train food for 15 days.