Arriving at our hotel in Lataguri (elephant country) we were greeted by the young owner with a big belly and a smile to match. The place was spacious and clean (except for the pile of rubbish round the back being set on fire by the gardener who worked all day long on legs as thin as straws) and the staff were enormously attentive.
Arriving in Mane Bhanjang we discovered that to reach our desired destination (Sandakphu – the highest peak in the state, 1500m higher than our current position), we would be entering a national park and thus would need a permit, a guide, a Land Rover, a driver and 4hrs of time (you can also reach by foot – which we would have preferred – but then you need several days).
A trailer for the next blog instalment…
We woke up in the town of New Jalpaiguri (NJP – where the train dropped us the night before) to blue sky, cows, horns, rubbish, and I to a sore throat and a snotty nose.