How to reach
Kalimpong is well connected by road from various places including NJP (New Jalpaiguri), Siliguri, Bagdogra, Darjeeling and Gangtok.
From NJP the distance to Kalimpong is about 73kms by road via Teesta Bazaar and takes about 2.5 hours to reach. You will need to first take Sevoke Road, then National Highway NH31A, come to Teesta Bridge and cross the bridge over river Teesta. While NH31A continues all the way to Gangtok, you will soon take a right into Rishi Road that goes uphill through Kalimpong hills and leads to Kalimpong town.
If you are visiting during Autumn or Spring, watch the beautiful flowering wild poinsettia and bougainvillea along the way when you go up the Kalimpong hills.
From Siliguri the distance to Kalimpong is 65kms (2.5 hours drive) and from Bagdogra airport 75kms (2 hours 45 minutes drive). The journey is similar. From Bagdogra the route initially passing through the townships of Bagdogra, Matigara etc before getting on to Sevoke Road and then it's the same journey.
You will sometimes find that the local taxi and truck drivers briefly stop at the Sevoke Kalibari (temple of goddess Kali) on Sevoke road, offer a short prayer and then move on. This is to take the blessings for a safe onward journey through the winding roads of the mountains. It's a nice way to start the uphill journey anyway.
You will then reach a place called Kalijhora. This is where a massive road construction work is going for the past several months. This place is quite dusty and prone to traffic jams. Sometimes the workers make it one way and allow traffic to pass only in one direction at a time.
However from Darjeeling, the drive to Kalimpong is wonderful. You will need to first come to Ghum (which is 8kms from Darjeeling, takes 20 minutes) and then shortly ahead from Jorebungalow take the Peshoke road towards east. The road passes through lovely forest of cryptomaria and further down through the forest of sal, oak, maple and fern. You will be amazed looking at the landscapes of dense forests interspersed with rolling tea gardens.
Halfway down Peshoke road and just after a bend you will reach a lovely view point, known as Peshoke View Point. This is from where you get a spectacular view of the confluence of river Teesta and Rangeet in the beautiful valley below surrounded by towering mountains.
Soon you will pass by Peshoke and Lopchu Tea Estates. The road descends by about 6,000ft in the last stretch of 19kms down to Teesta. Finally you will come down to Teesta bridge, and from here on it is the same road to Kalimpong as the one from NJP or Bagdogra.
Distance & time between Kalimpong and other places
Darjeeling: 55kms (2.5 hours by car)
Gangtok: 75kms (3 hours by car)
New Jalpaiguri (NJP): 73kms (2.5 hours by car)
Siliguri: 65kms (2.5 hrs by car)
Bagdogra: 75kms (2hours 45mins by car)
Lava: 34kms (1.5 hours by car)
Loleygaon: 52kms (2.5 hours)
Rishyap: 29kms (2 hours)
Pedong: 20kms (1 hour)
From NJP station and Siliguri, you will get private taxis (small and large vehicles) and shared jeeps. Buses are available from the Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminal located in Siliguri on Hill Cart Road. There are pre-paid taxi counters available both at Bagdogra airport and NJP railway station where you will get pre-paid taxis for Kalimpong.
From Darjeeling, you will get both shared and private Jeeps to Kalimpong from the stands (Clubside stand and Chowkbazaar stand). Shared Jeeps are also available between Kalimpong and various other places including Gangtok, Lava, Loleygaon etc. Note that the shared Jeeps are usually available between 7am and 3pm. They take about 10 passengers and keep the luggage on the roof.
At Kalimpong you will get the shared Jeeps from the bus stand area. Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT) buses as well as several private buses leave for Gangtok from the Kalimpong bus stand. GTA (erstwhile DGHC) mini coaches also ply between Kalimpong bus stand and Darjeeling. You can make reservations on the mini coaches at Kalimpong Tours & Travels located at the motor stand.
The road condition between Kalimpong and Lava as well as Loleygaon are quite bad. I would suggest that you take a larger vehicle like a Scorpio or Sumo. From Lava area the road to Rishyap can't be negotiated by a small car. It's broken and full of rocks and boulders. Take a Jeep or similar vehicle.
Indicative Taxi Fares to Kalimpong (Updated January 2016)
Small cars are makes like Alto, Maruti Van, WagonR etc and can accommodate up to 4 persons. The larger vehicles include Sumo, Jeep etc. They can take up to 8 persons. The luxury vehicles like Innova, Tavera take up to 7pax and usually have higher rates.
Bagdogra/NJP to Kalimpong (small car 4pax ): Rs. 2200/-
Bagdogra/NJP to Kalimpong (bigger car 8pax): Rs. 2500/-
Darjeeling to Kalimpong (small car 4pax): Rs. 2500/-
Darjeeling to Kalimpong (bigger car 8pax): Rs. 3200/-
Gangtok to Kalimpong (small car 4pax): Rs. 2500/-
Gangtok to Kalimpong (bigger car 8pax): Rs. 3200/-
Shared Jeep rates vary depending on the distance you travel. Per person rate ranges from Rs. 75-175 depending on the distance.