As its name suggests, this is a a hotel that floats on the River Hooghly. Floatel offers guests relatively cheap rooms, an in-house bar, roof-top restaurant, and easy access to the city centre. Visitors looking for an off-the-beaten-path hotel should definitely check in here.
South Park Street Cemetery
Get an unusual insight into Kolkata's colonial excesses at the South Park Street Cemetery. The 1600 tomb structures from the 18th and 19th centuries include Gothic architecture, intricately carved obelisks, towering Corinthian columns, and even traces of Hindu temple art.
Staying true to old world 'Calcutta', these tours take you through West Bengal's capital on foot and you can also opt for a cruise tour along the river. Visitors ready to experiment should try Bengali cooking lessons or a graveyard tour.
The brownies here can easily compete with those from world-class bakeries. These rich, chocolatey treats are one of the Kookie Jar's bestsellers and are reason enough to visit the store. You can also feast on sinfully delicious desserts that range from cookies to rose-shaped chocolates to tangy lemon tarts.
This is the only city in India which still has operational trams and you should grab the opportunity to ride of one of these symbols of old Calcutta. Fares are inexpensive and this is a great way to tour the city on the cheap.
Kolkata has come a long way from Dominique Lapierre's City of Joy. True, there is still plenty of traffic, noise, and commotion, but through it all the city's resilient and fun-loving Bengali spirit shines through. Kolkata has produced Nobel Laureates, award-winning filmmakers, and celebrated artists, and Kolkata continues to claim its place as a haven for the intelligentsia. But its young population keeps Kolkata's nightclubs rocking until the wee hours of morning, has its restaurants and cafes constantly reinventing themselves, and has given the city an boost of energy and vibrancy that makes it one of India's top destinations.
As you explore the city, it might seem like the British never left the hallowed halls of the Tollygunge Golf Club and Calcutta Club which still remain members-only. The criss-crossing tram lines and colonial-style bungalows are also a throwback to Kolkata's days as the capital of the British Raj. If all of this doesn't compel you to hop on a cheap flight to the city, its food certainly will. The creamy smoothness of mishti doi, the deep-fried doughy goodness of roshgullas, and the sinful sweetness of roshmalai is more than enough to make booking flights to Kolkata worth the effort. Bengalis do food well, and desserts even better, so be sure to make the most of both during your stay in Kolkata.
International and domestic flights to Kolkata land at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU). The airport is located at Dum Dum, approximately 18 kilometres from the city centre. Airlines that serve this airport include Lufthansa, Emirates, British Airways, and Air India. Domestic carriers like Kingfisher, Jet Airways, Spicejet, and IndiGo also operate flights to and from this airport.
Cheap Kolkata flights are easy to find in February, which is also when you can enjoy pleasant weather in the city. The peak tourist season here extends from November to March, but prices tend to fall by early February.
As with most places in India, temperatures in Kolkata go well into the 30s (Celsius) in the summer months between April and June, after which the monsoons descend on the city. While the majority of visitors avoid booking flights to Kolkata during these seasons, there is a certain charm to sipping a hot cup of chai in one of the city's cafes as you watch the rain stream down. In addition, airfares are a lot cheaper during this time.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU) has one terminal each for international and domestic Kolkata flights. Passengers can use the following ground transportation options to travel from the airport into the city.
Buses: Although public transport buses depart from the airport to several destinations across the city, this is not the best travel option for first-time visitors to Kolkata. One-way bus fares cost less than $1 CAD.
Trains: Overground and metro trains run from Dum Dum Station which is located about 10-20 minutes away from the airport. You can take a taxi or buses on Route 30B to the station and then proceed to your final destination in the city. An Airport Train also connects the airport's domestic terminal to Sealdah Station in the city. However, the frequency of services on this line is limited to just two trains each day.
Airport Shuttle: Air-conditioned state transport buses run between the airport and areas like Tollygunge, Taratala, and Santragachi. The frequency of buses is not the best, but this is a cheap and convenient option for passengers who are not in a hurry. Fares cost approximately $1 CAD for a one-way trip.
Hotel Shuttle: Having your hotel send a car to collect you from the airport is the easiest option. You might have to pay for the service, but on average the charge is no more than $10-20 CAD.
Taxi: Pre-paid taxis are available from the airport and are the best option for visitors unfamiliar with the city. Metered cabs are also available at both terminals. Cabs with electronic meters are easier to use as the price you need to pay is displayed on the screen. However, passengers using older cabs will need to ask for a conversion chart which tells you how much money you owe the driver.
You can also pre-book a cab to collect you from the airport by contacting companies like TaxiforSure and Kolkata Cabs in advance. One-way fares into the city will cost between $3-5 CAD depending on your destination.
Car Rental and Chauffeured Cars: Passengers can rent cars from the airport by approaching the booking counters at both terminals, but a preferred option for first-time visitors or those unfamiliar with Kolkata's roads is to hire a chauffeured car instead.