Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Kanchanjungha Youth Hostel - a decent option for Solo Backpackers halting at Siliguri

Kanchanjungha Youth Hostel - a decent option for Solo Backpackers halting at Siliguri
Merry Christmas good folks! Hope you are gracefully enjoying the end-December chill, and at times counting Santa's stale surprises stuffed inside your stinky socks. Today, I'll be sharing with you my pleasant experience of spending two nights at Kanchanjungha Youth Hostel, Siliguri en route to Darjeeling. There was a time couple of decades back when Siliguri had her special charm among tourists due to the exclusive availability of smuggled electronic goods. Siliguri doesn't have many places of tourist interest, yet it's mostly touristy. It acts as a transit city, the sole gateway to hills of Darjeeling, Sikkim, other Northeastern states of India, Nepal and Bhutan. Added to the overwhelming tourist influx Siliguri is also the business hub of North Bengal.

Although reviewing accommodations is not my cup of coffee, sheer convenience and value for money proposition associated with this staying option compelled me to highlight it for the best interest of other solo backpackers visiting Siliguri. I was riding to Darjeeling to join a trekking itinerary from there. May be it was possible to reach Darjeeling on the same day itself, but I try my best to avoid long distance motorcycling post sunset. Yours truly was smart enough to book his stay at Kanchanjungha Youth Hostel well in advance. Rest was simply a matter of navigating through the busy city of Siliguri, locate the Kanchanjungha Stadium and claim his bed in the dorm.

Kanchanjungha Youth Hostel - a decent option for Solo Backpackers halting at Siliguri
Guess what? I was the sole occupant of a 12-bedded dormitory for the night!
Seldom I choose hostels. It is not just lack of personal space, but my constant apprehension of prospective interactions with fellow travellers sharing the dormitory discourages me from opting for this accommodation type. Guess what? I was the sole occupant of a 12-bedded dormitory for the night! Located at the heart of Siliguri, Kanchanjungha Stadium shelters the Kanchanjungha Youth Hostel which is maintained by the Department of Youth Services and Sports (Govt. of West Bengal). It is no more than 4 kilometres from the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station. An auto-rickshaw would charge you around 100 bucks. If you're driving your own vehicle lookout for Venus More.

The spacious dormitory of Kanchanjungha Youth Hostel is nestled in the right arm of Gate No. 12 of the stadium. It can accommodate 11-14 standard sized single beds. Bed linens and blankets were manageable if not very tidy. As I was there in the middle of December, inadequacy of ceiling fans didn't bother me. But it would surely concern any traveller during warmer months. Washroom was clean and roomy, with facility of hot water round the clock. Relax, you don't have to squat. There's Western style lavatory too. All beds are designed to store luggage securely at their bases and fitted with locks.

Kanchanjungha Youth Hostel - a decent option for Solo Backpackers halting at Siliguri
Kanchenjunga (also spelled as 'Kanchanjungha') Stadium has hosted many national level cricket and football matches.
You can easily park your vehicle outside the dorm veranda. It didn't seem very safe to park Benu outside for the entire cold night. Thankfully, hostel officials were considerate enough to let me drag my motorcycle onto their office corridor at night. I've noted that people tend to be more lenient towards you when they come know of your long motorcycle journey. There is a canteen in the same compound but you should certainly venture out and try diverse street food options over the nearby Hill Cart Road. Having the entire dormitory for myself I exactly knew how to tailor-make my bedtime rituals. Ah, yes I had a good sleep!

So, who should book his accommodation at Kanchanjungha Youth Hostel? Any solo backpacker or budget traveller who needs to spend a single night at Siliguri can try it out. This is also ideal for travellers who're not very sure whether they'll end up halting overnight at Siliguri. Spending 175 rupees for an excellent backup option doesn't hurt at all. It is to be remembered that on-spot reservation is not entertained even if the entire dorm is vacant.

Kanchanjungha Youth Hostel - a decent option for Solo Backpackers halting at Siliguri
4-bedded private room maintained by Municipal Corporation just adjacent to Kanchanjungha Youth Hostel.
Booking online at least one day prior to your travel date is mandatory because booking for the same day is not possible even from the website. Although there are official check-in and check-out timings, hostel staffs are least concerned to remind you of the policies unless they have a large group booking for the following day. As long as you don't expect any active cooperation from hostel staffs, there won't be any scope for disappointment.

If you really need a private room, get friendly with the on duty staff. He might allow you to stay at one of those 4-bedded private rooms maintained by municipal corporation just adjacent to the hostel. You can only book those in person from corporation office during working hours. Otherwise, if there's a vacant room and you succeed to strike a chord with the hostel caretaker you'll get one. I enjoyed this privilege on my way back from Darjeeling. Department of Youth Services and Sports run youth hostels in different places of West Bengal. I'll try to explore few of them in my subsequent rides. 

Meanwhile confront your procrastination. Listen to the timid whispers of your heart. Give a chance to its nomadic dream. Set off on the voyage of memory hunting. Take care till we meet again. 


  1. Very well articulated @poetryofroads. Thank you for writing about something which is less known by people. This will surely help the solo travellers out there. Waiting for more such posts. Keep riding and keep writing! Cheers!

    1. Thanks Rachit. Hope you enjoyed your short stay there :-D


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