With a population of half a million in 2011 census, Siliguri is the third largest city in West Bengal after Calcutta and Asansol. It boasts the highest literacy rates in the state. With its environs such as Bagdogra included, the population of Siliguri urban agglomerate reaches three quarters of a million.
As one of the most important transportation hubs in the north east, Siliguri has recently become something of a boom town. Sprawling and boisterous, modern condominiums dominate the landscape on entering the town, followed by endless streets of market stalls that surround a core of up-scale shops and shopping malls. Due to its position as a shopping and business hub and its high concentration of colleges and institutes of learning, the city enjoys a sophistication and range of shopping rarely found outside the five metro cities.
While it is a popular place to shop and do business for people from the North East and Bhutan, it has little to offer in the way of tourist attractions and so there is no good reason for tourists to linger in Siliguri. However, travelers heading towards Bhutan, Darjeeling and Sikkim may need to spend a night here.
The people of Siliguri have a reputation for their business prowess, but at the same time are known to be friendly and welcoming to outsiders.
Siliguri has two important railway stations - Siliguri Junction and New Jalpaiguri Junction (NJP) - and Siliguri Town railway stations. NJP connects Siliguri with Gauhati/Dibrugarh in the north-east, Calcutta in the east (actually south of Siliguri), Delhi/Jaipur/Jodhpur/Kashmir, etc. in the north, Mumbai/Gujarat, etc. in the west and Trivandrum/Cochin/Bangalore, etc. in the south. All the railway tracks in Siliguri are broad gauge now and meter gauge has ceased to exist. The narrow gauge track to Darjeeling remains, of course. NJP is about a twenty to thirty minute ride from the city center.
Some trains pass through both Siliguri Junction and NJP but the majority of the trains pass through only NJP. There NJP is the favored railway station to take a train from Siliguri to any place in India.
Siliguri Bus Station is located across the street from the Sher-e-Punjab Hotel on Hill Cart Road (Tenzing Norgay Road).
There are regular buses to/from Kolkata. The well-known and comfortable Siliguri Rocket, run by the North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC), leaves Kolkata at 8PM arriving Siliguri at 8am (Rs. 245). Some private bus lines also ply the route. The 'Royal Cruiser' Volvo buses run by Gupta Travel (Tel: +91 353 251-3451) leaves Kolkata at 8PM arriving Siliguri at 9am (Rs. 745 AC/Rs. 325 non-AC).
Under a joint understanding between Indian and Bangladeshi transport authority, there are regular bus services to/from Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh. BRTC (Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation) buses leave Dhaka everynight at 8 PM and reach India-Bangladesh border at Changrabanda post at early morning. These buses will not cross the border and the passengers have to clear customs, walk a few hundred yards to cross the border and board the waiting Indian buses for another three hour ride to Siliguri. The buses are air conditioned, very comfortable and depart on time. One way fare from Dhaka to Siliguri is between USD 20 to 25, depending on conversion rates.
There is a regular bus service from Phuentsholing in Bhutan and the Bhutanese border town of Jaigon. The bus from Phuentsholing heading towards Siliguri leaves at 7am,7:30am,8:15am and 3pm daily and takes approximately 4.5hrs.
Reserve cars also available from Kings Travels, dial- 098304-28401/ 093319-39486.
The closest major international airport is at Kolkata, approx 570km south of Siliguri. The Bagdogra Airport is just 14km from the heart of Siliguri and has links with most major Indian cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Guwahati, while Druk Air operates flights from Bangkok twice a week (incoming in Sundays and Wednesdays, outgoing on Tuesdays and Saturdays). Flights on the Bangkok route begin or terminate in Paro, Bhutan. Taxis are available from the airport to Siliguri, as well as to Darjeeling and Gangtok, though these are expensive. Cheaper options are available from Siliguri bus station.
Moving in and around Siliguri is cheap. Cycle-rickshaws, Auto-rickshaws, buses, taxis are easily available in almost every region. One can walk around the market place. Cycle-rickshaws can be hired to move around within the radius of 1-2 km. The fares are pretty nominal. To go about 5-10 km, one can hire/share auto-rickshaws. You just need to flag down one and when you leave you pay a fixed amount.
Cars can be arranged by many companies, such as Kings Travels (098304-28401).
On the way to Darjeeling via Siliguri, crossing Coronation Bridge (Tiger Bridge)
Salugara Monastery. A monastery in the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The compound includes a 100 foot stupa consecrated by the late Kalu Rinpoche.
Sevoke Kali Mandir, Sevoke. This is around 20 kms from Siliguri, near the coronation bridge. This is a temple of goddess Kali, the goddess of destruction, and is considered very holy. People from far off places come here to pray and worship her.
Iskon Temple. International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), also known as Hare Krishna Movement manages the ISCKON temple, Siliguri. The temple houses many idols of Advaita Acharya, Lord Narasimha, Lord Chaitanya and many more.
The Coronation Bridge at Sevoke. This is about 23 km from the city on way to Gangtok/Kalimpong and Dooars on the National Highway 31.
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Sukna. This is a wildlife sanctuary at the foothills of the Himalayas. You can hire a vehicle and enter the sanctuary at a minimal entry fee. Different types of wild animals are found here. However it is famous for its wild elephants and peacocks. It is said that these elephants travel for around 1000kms sometimes and come here. However, the sanctuary is closed in the rainy seasons, from 15 July to 15 September.
Tea Gardens, Dagapur. You can take a view of some tea plantations over here in dagapur.
Kalchakra Monastery, Salugara (7 KMs from Siliguri towards Sevoke). 15 - 20 minutes from Siliguri. The Kalchakra Monastery at Salugara was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama when he visited Salugara, a suburb in Siliguri, for the Kalchakra ceremonies in 1996.edit
Dudhia, Siliguri-Mirik Highway. A common tourist spot on the Siliguri-Mirik highway.edit
Science City, Matigara. The campus has a museum, a planetarium and an Interpretation Centre that displays various type of flora.
Basically, Silguri sells its wares on two streets - Hillcart Road and Sevoke Road. The former offers more traditional stores and is home to many of the city's hotels, while Sevoke offers more upscale shopping and is the center of the city's banking.
As the centre of a tea growing area, Siliguri is an excellent place to pick up some Darjeeling and other brands of the leaf. You can get good quality tea from Jaiswal Enterprises, (Mr. Ajit 09832079893).
Hong Kong Market, Hill Cart Road. Specializes in imported goods - mostly from China, but also from other Asian countries such as Nepal, Thailand, etc. However, beware of duplicate items. Even items made in Delhi stamped with "Made in China" are being sold here. Keep in mind that the actual price of the item will be 1/2 or 1/3rd of the price the shopkeeper asks.
Seth Srilal Market. buzzing market in the heart of the city . get the best deal in this mkt. also famous for its momo gali edit
Mainak Tourist Lodge, Hill Cart Road, Pradhan Nagar, ☎ +91 353 251-2859. Not as grand on the inside as on the outside, but still good value.Standard: s 340Rs, d 450Rs, Deluxe: s 525Rs, d 700Rs. edit
Dewan's Hotel, (NJP Railway Station. After exiting station, turn into first alley on right (adjacent to the taxi parking lot). The hotel is at the end of the alley.), ☎ +91 353 734-007. A simple hotel located just outside New Jalpaiguri (NJP) Station.edit
Athithi Guest House, Hill Cart Road. A well maintained hotel at low rates with AC and non-AC rooms.edit
Hotel Holydon, N.J.P. Station Road (5 minutes from the station, following the auto-rickshaw route), ☎ +91 353 2691335 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +91 353 2690118). Pleasant enough tiled interior - somebody once cared. Bathrooms could use some attention. Standard rooms best value for money. TV, with English channels, in most rooms. Ticket booking facilities.Std. d 400Rs, Deluxe d 600Rs; Triple 700 Rs. edit
Hotel Heritage, Hill Cart Road, Pradham Nagar. Tel:+91 353 734-003. Conveniently located across from the city's main interstate bus station, Heritage is a well maintained and efficiently run hotel. 500rs non A/C to 2,500rs for suite.
Hotel Manila, Hill Cart Road, Pradham Nagar. Tel: +91 353 251-9342. Located next to Hotel Heritage. 600rs non A/C to 2,400rs for suite.
Hotel Central Plaza, Hill Cart Road, Pradham Nagar. Tel: 91 353 251-6119. Located about a five minute taxi ride from main bus station. Clean and acceptable facilities. 650rs non A/C to 3,500rs for suite.
Marina's Motel, This is just a stones throw away from the IXB airport. You can go through their website http://www.marinasmotel.com/home or contact Mr. Rajib directly +91 9749093020.
Barsana Hotel, Khaprail Road, Matigara. Tel: 91 353 257-1662/3  A beautiful hotel with all the modern amenities. Very reasonable as per the infrastructure and facilities.
Hotel Cindrella,  A four star hotel on Sevoke Road.
Hotel Sinclairs, Pradhan Nagar. Tel: +91 253 251-7674 . A well maintained hotel with good facilities. Located about a five minute taxi ride from main bus station.
Royal Sarovar Premiere, 3rd Mile, Sevoke Road. Tel: +91 353 2216-999 Email: email@example.com . A smart hotel located on the outskirts of town. Convenient for Orbit and Cosmos Shopping Malls. Good views over the Darjeeling Hills.
Viramma Resort.  A luxury resort on the Darjeeling highway.
There are a host of internet cafes in the lanes behind Hotel Heritage/Hotel Manila (across from the main bus station). There is also an internet cafe among the row of restaurants directly outside NJP Station. Web connections in Siliguri are fast and reliable.
There are several banks on Sevoke Road that offer money change and ATM service. A fee of up to 4 US dollars is charged by the ATM for withdrawing money in Indian rupees using a foreign credit or debit card from that ATM (The charge appears in your monthly statement).
Phuentsholing. The Bhutan Government buses depart for Phuentsholing at 7:30AM and 1:30PM everyday from directly across from the bus station (near Hotel Heritage) - tickets are available on the bus. There are more frequent Indian buses to the border town of Jaigaon.