Traveling To West Bengal During Covid

Last updated on 21 June 2021

What To Keep In Mind When Traveling To West Bengal During Covid

Hilly hamlets boasting a mountainous skyline, a fusion of cultures and influences, home of renowned poet Rabindranath Tagore and home to colonial architecture from the British Raj, West Bengal is a state full of riches. Blanketed between the Himalayan ranges and the Bay of Bengal, this state truly has so much to offer. Its capital city Kolkata itself is a landmark location of importance dating back to the colonial era, and it retains architectural and cultural significance from that time.

Traveling To West Bengal During Covid

Traveling to West Bengal is something everyone should undertake at some point, but traveling during the Covid pandemic is not to be taken lightly. Staying home and social distancing has become the norm, and though travel is opening up, you must comply with Covid regulations and state travel restrictions. Here’s everything you need to know about traveling to West Bengal during Covid; from ideal places to visit to travel tips, we’ve covered it all.

How To Get To West Bengal

Practically every corner of India is accessible by some mode of transportation or the other, making it easy to get around the country on even the cheapest of budgets. However, traveling during Covid entails certain precautions. Avoid public transportation as much as possible, and keep abreast of the state travel regulations as these can change without warning.

What Are The Covid Restrictions For West Bengal?

All passengers entering West Bengal are required to submit the Self Declaration Form on arrival and download the Aarogya Setu and Sandhane apps on their phones. Irrespective of which state you’re coming from, a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure is compulsory, failing which you’ll be put in institutional quarantine for 14 days.

Getting To West Bengal By Air

The Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport is one of the main airports in West Bengal, located in Dumdum, Kolkata. It is around 17 km from the city center. Another airport of importance is the Bagdogra International Airport in Siliguri, which makes for good connectivity to hilly destinations like Kalimpong and Darjeeling. There are also a number of smaller domestic airports in the state.

Getting To West Bengal By Train

West Bengal is well connected to the rest of India by rail, and its main stations are Sealdah, Howrah, and Kolkata. Sealdah is the main station for those arriving from the North East, while all other trains arrive either at Howrah or Kolkata. There’s also the Ghum Station in Darjeeling, which is the highest station in India and makes for easy access to the hills.

Getting To West Bengal By Road

West Bengal enjoys a vast road network and is well connected to its neighboring states. National Highways connect it to major cities across the country. Catch the NH 19 if you’re coming from Delhi and the NH 16 if you’re coming from Chennai.

Places To Visit In West Bengal

From the hills of Darjeeling to the mudflats of the Sunderbans, the colonial architecture of Kolkata to the several beaches along the coast, there’s tons to see in West Bengal. Finding out about the famous attractions is easy, but we recommend avoiding crowded locations due to the coronavirus. Instead, look through these hand-picked locations that are certain to be safer bets when traveling to West Bengal during Covid.

Traveling To West Bengal During Covid

Samsing

Nestled high up in the hills at an altitude of 3,000 meters above sea level, Samsing is the gateway to the Neora Valley National Park and a stunning little location. The drive to Samsing itself is as stunning as no other; it takes you through stretches of tea gardens called the Dooars. Literally meaning “doors’’, the Dooars are the foothills to the Eastern Himalayas. The land is undulating, occasionally cut across by small streams. 18 passages run across the Dooars, used by the Bhutanese to communicate with people living in the plains.

Once you get to Samsing, your breath will be taken away. There are lush green trees, pretty little flowers, thick shrubs, and the ground is carpeted with soft green grass. Streams tinkle across the hills, filled with icy cold water. And you have an unbeatable view of the Himalayas towering ahead. Skip out on the famous Darjeeling and head to Samsing instead for an experience like no other. In case you want more of the hills, head to offbeat Kalimpong.

Sunderban National Park

Instead of worrying about the coronavirus and dodging crowds of tourists, surround yourself with nature instead! A sprawling delta spread across 40,000 sq km that is home to the majestic Bengal tigers, the Sunderban National Park will steal your breath away. The forests have been reserved since 1865, and the region was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1977. The thick mangroves are interwoven with a network of tributaries and creeks, and the boat safaris show you a whole new world and a thriving ecosystem.

Traveling To West Bengal During Covid

While the winter season is best to visit the UNESCO-designated national park, summers are also doable as long as you can bear the heat. Avoid visiting in the monsoon season. Winter season also has the added bonus of spotting Olive Ridley turtles nesting on the Kalash Island!

Traveling To West Bengal During Covid

Shankarpur

An offbeat beach destination that is shielded from the crowds, Shankarpur is around 4 to 5 hours away from Kolkata. Its beaches are spotless, and instead of the roar of tourists drowning out the waves, all you can hear is the waves as they crash on the shore. Don’t expect flea markets or quaint cafes serving continental snacks here; Shankarpur is a true escape, and perfect for those seeking to get away from popular tourist attractions for some one-on-one time with nature.

It is also possible to go beach-hopping when at Shankarpur; from here, you can head to Mandarmani Beach and Digha Beach.

Tajpur

Another offbeat beach destination around 5 hours away from Kolkata, Tajpur is the place to be if you seek the company of nature’s creations. Tiny red crabs waddle along the beach, leaving trails crawling through the sand. Wild Gangetic dolphins can sometimes be seen splashing around in the water, and occasionally, the Olive Ridley turtles drop by! Local organizers also sometimes arrange adventure activities for the few people that show up here.

Tips For Traveling To West Bengal During Covid

  • Even when travel restrictions in West Bengal are being relaxed, keep in mind that these rules can change overnight.
  • Look up Covid facilities in and around your destinations so that you are prepared in the event of an emergency.
  • Avoid exchanging currency and opt for cashless transactions to avoid the spread of the virus.
  • Monitor your own health conditions closely. If you start to exhibit symptoms or feel unwell, get yourself examined at the earliest.
  • Traveling responsibly is the need of the hour, and being responsible today will only bring us closer to traveling without boundaries or restrictions in the hopefully near future.

Traveling To Darjeeling During Covid, Traveling To West Bengal During Covid

FAQs

Is There Lockdown In West Bengal?

As of 21 June 2021, there are Covid-related restrictions until the end of the month with a night curfew from 9 pm to 5 am.

What Is The Best Time To Visit West Bengal?

This depends on where in West Bengal you want to go. If you’re staying mainly in the cities, then the best time would be from October to April to avoid the heat. The national parks each have their own specific best times; winter is the best for the Sunderbans. The hill stations are pleasant throughout the year, but April to June is generally the best.

What Is West Bengal Famous For?

West Bengal is famous for its gorgeous hill stations (Darjeeling, Siliguri), its colonial heritage and architecture, its position as the birthplace of Rabindranath Tagore and the culture he influenced, and the Sunderban National Park, to name just a few.

Is Kolkata Safe To Travel?

In terms of crime, Kolkata is one of the safer cities in India, though basic safety precautions are to be followed irrespective. There are 7 government-designated Covid hospitals in Kolkata, and the daily Covid-19 cases have been on a steady decline in the state. Follow safety precautions and Covid regulations and you’ll do fine.

Which Hill Station Is Near To Kolkata?

Siliguri is the closest hill station to Kolkata, around 13-14 hours by road. While this makes for an exciting road trip, you can also take a train; around 7 trains run between the two destinations on a daily basis. You also have the option to catch a flight to Siliguri’s Bagdogra Airport.

How Can I Go To Sundarban From Kolkata?

Sundarban is 109 km away from Kolkata, and can only be accessed by boat. Suburban trains run from Kolkata to Canning, from where you must head to either Namkhana, Raidighi, Sonakhali, and Najat; motor launch services are available from these destinations. The same applies for road trips; head to one of these four areas to make your way to the park.

How Can I Go to Dooar From Kolkata?

Your best option to go from Kolkata to the Dooars is to take the Kanchankanya Express. It leaves daily from Kolkata’s Sealdah station at around 10:30 pm, and reaches New Mal Junction the next morning at around 9:20 am via New Jalpaiguri.

How Can I Reach Darjeeling From Kolkata?

The quickest way to reach Darjeeling from Kolkata is by flying to Bagdogra Airport, then taking a cab to Darjeeling. It will take you around 4h 45m to get there. You can also take a train to New Jalpaiguri, which is around 5 hours away from Darjeeling.

What Is The Best Time To Visit Darjeeling?

The months from April to June are the best time to visit Darjeeling; the temperature is pleasant, and the weather allows for several activities to be explored.

Which Is The Coldest Month In Kolkata?

Temperatures can drop to as low as 9°C between the months of December and January in Kolkata.

What Are Famous Foods In West Bengal?

Bengali cuisine is delicious, and some of the famous must-have dishes are Aloo Potol Posto (potato with pointed gourd, poppy seeds, and chilies), Ilish Macher Jhol (spicy fish curry), Shukto (vegetable curry with spices and milk), Tangra Macher Jhol (Tangra fish curry), and their several desserts like Sandesh (milk sweet made with khoya) and Mishti Doi (sweetened yogurt).

What Are Some Of The Precautions Should I Take While Staying At A Hotel During The Covid-19 Pandemic?

Opt For A Covid-ready Hotel: Most hotel websites now explain the processes in which they’re keeping their premises sanitized. Only opt for such hotels and ensure that the safety norms are adhered to.

Wash Your Hands: Irrespective of where you are, the mask and sanitizer rule applies. Use a sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content and wash your hands thoroughly.

Avoid Contact: As far as possible, opt for cashless transactions and avoid contact with common touchpoints like elevator buttons, doorknobs, faucets, etc. If you do, wash your hands before touching your face.

Dine In: Instead of eating at the hotel’s restaurant, opt to dine in as it reduces your exposure to other guests.

How Can I Protect Myself And Others From Getting Covid-19?

Masks And Social Distancing: This is the basic tip when it comes to Covid safety. You should avoid meeting people and if you have to, keep at least 1 meter away from them and wear that mask!

Sanitizing Your Hands: Your hands touch a lot of surfaces that may have the virus on them. Touching your eyes/nose/mouth without washing/sanitizing your hands can risk you transferring the virus into your system. That’s why you must wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Stay Home: In case you come down with a flu or develop Covid-like symptoms, take no risks; simply stay at home until you recover.

  • A Guide To Traveling To West Bengal During Covid
  • A Guide To Traveling To West Bengal During The Coronavirus Pandemic