Darjeeling – the queen of hills is a beautiful hill station situated at the northern part of West Bengal. With the magnificent view of Mount Kanchenjunga over the rolling tea gardens, Darjeeling is simply awesome. Darjeeling is a popular for its amazing rolling hills, vibrant culture, adorable toy trains and tea gardens. In this article I will describe about all of Darjeeling visiting places.
Darjeeling visiting Places or where to visit in Darjeeling:
Darjeeling Zoo and Himalayan Mountain Institute
Darjeeling zoo or Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is one of the most attractive places to visit in Darjeeling. The zoo is the only zoo for conservation and breading of rare Himalayan animals like Red Panda, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear and other endangered species. Here you will find all of the animals which live on Himalayas.
HMI is a must visit place for all mountain lovers. HMI is located in the same complex with Zoo, so both of these places can be visit together. There is a museum inside HMI which displays many artefacts associated with top notch expeditions. There is a separate theatre where you may enjoy show related to mountaineering.
Timings: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM in summer and 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM in winter. (Remain open for all days)
Sunrise at the Tiger Hill
If you want to enjoy mesmerizing sunrise on the top of the Mount Kanchenjunga then this place should be at the top of your list while visiting to Darjeeling. Tiger Hill is the most popular tourist attraction among Darjeeling visiting places. The view of magical ray of sun over Mt. Kanchenjunga and Everest ranges is bound to make you spell bound.
Timings: Throughout the day but if you want to witness sunrise over peaks then try to visit as early as possible in morning otherwise you will face a terrific traffic jam on the way.
Old Ghum Monastery
One of the beautiful monasteries in Darjeeling. The monastery has one of the oldest statues of Lord Buddha. Photography is prohibited inside the monastery. You will get wash room to freshen up you. Beside monastery there is a prayer hall.
Timings: Everyday from Sunrise to Sunset
This is a beautiful garden situated 5km away from Darjeeling town. At Batasia loop the railway track of Darjeeling Himalayan railway created a loop by taking a sharp bend here, thus this place is named as Batasia Loop. The panoramic view of entire landscape is awestruck. In the middle of the garden there is a war memorial to pay homage to the Gorkha Soldiers who sacrifice their lives for nation.
Entry fee: Rs 20 per head
Timing: Every day from 5:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park
Rock garden is another beautiful place to visit in Darjeeling. This place is created by cut through rocks. There is a beautiful cascading waterfall flowing through the middle of the garden. You will find some eateries and seating arrangements here.
Ganga Maya Park is located just 3km away from rock garden.
Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda
The beautiful Japanese temple is located at Jalpahar hill. This temple is made as the symbol of peace and the temple is built in traditional Japanese style. There is a statue of Lord Buddha at the middle of the white peace pagoda. This place is surrounded by the pine trees.
Timing: Everyday 4:30 AM to 7 PM
Happy Valley tea Estate
Your Darjeeling trip is incomplete without visiting a Tea garden. Happy valley tea estate is the best place to enjoy the beauty of tea garden. You will also get to know about tea making process here. If you want to buy Darjeeling tea then this is an ideal place.
Timing: Tea estate and factory remain open from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Tuesday to Saturday.
Orange Valley Tea Estate
Like Happy valley Tea estate orange valley tea estate is another beautiful tea garden situated on the way to rock garden. One can enjoy beauty of tea garden with Mt. Kanchenjunga at the back drop from here.
Timing: Tea estate and factory remain open from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Darjeeling Mall or Chowrasta
Darjeeling mall or Chowrasta is the best place to stroll around in Darjeeling. This is the most happening place of the town. One can sit on the benches to enjoy the view of the mall or can take authentic foods from local restaurants. No vehicle is allowed to enter this place. Kids can enjoy horse ride here.
Mahakal Temple and Observatory Hill
Mahakal temple and observatory hill is located just behind the mall. The temple is the main temple of the town.
Timing: Sunrise to sunset.
How to reach Darjeeling
Darjeeling is well connected with all of the major cities of India by rail, bus and flight. New Jalpaiguri (NJP) is the nearest rail head of Darjeeling. Bagdogra is the nearest airport of Darjeeling. Shared taxis are available from NJP or Bagdogra. A share taxi from NJP / Bagdogra will cost anything between Rs 150 – 300. You can also book your seat in a share vehicle through online. You may try wizzeride for that. Buses are also available between NJP and Darjeeling.
Best time to visit Darjeeling
Darjeeling can be visit throughout the year. But if you want to enjoy the glimpse of Mt. Kanchenjunga then winter months(November to March) are the best time. If you want to enjoy rolling hills with floating clouds then monsoon(June to September) is ideal for you. Summer (March to May) is pleasant in Darjeeling.
Darjeeling staying options
You will get lots of different kinds of Hotels and Homestays in Darjeeling. Most of the hotels are situated near Darjeeling mall and the price varies from Rs 1500 – 4000. You will find many homestays in and around Darjeeling and the price ranges varies from Rs 1200 – 2000. Homestays are cheap and you will get to know about local culture. Most of the homestays provide local food with stay in Darjeeling.
Looking for good hotel in Darjeeling? Here is a list of some good rated hotels and Homestays in Darjeeling you may book it from here
Local transportations in Darjeeling
You will get buses and taxis as local transportation in Darjeeling. In fact you can use toy train service to travel between major places like Ghoom, Kurseong, Kalimpong, NJP, Batasia Loop. Share taxis are also available between major places and the cost varies from Rs 50 -150.
Car booking: There is a taxi booth just beginning of the Mall road. You can book a taxi for your local sightseeing or for your to and from trip to Darjeeling. This taxi booth is operated by local taxi union and prices are fixed and reasonable.
What to eat in Darjeeling
Darjeeling is a popular tourist destination among foodies. You will get Tibetan foods, nepali cuisine also bengali cuisine here. Lots of different kinds of eateries are there. A normal Tibetan dish will cost you around Rs 200, a nepali dish will cost you around 250 and a bengali dish will be around 300. You may also rely on street foods. You will get street foods starting from Rs 30. Tea is available in every corner of Darjeeling. A cup of tea will cost you anything between Rs 5 to 50.
Where to eat in Darjeeling
Many popular eateries are there along with some fine dine restaurants. I will mention here some of the best restaurants in Darjeeling.
Keventers : This is the most popular restaurant among tourists. This roof top restaurant is situated at the beginning of Darjeeling Mall.
What to eat : Hot chocolate, chicken and pork platter, salami, ham.
Cost : 800 -1000 for two person.
Kunga : The best restaurant where you will get Tibetan foods. This restaurant is situated just after mal road and entrance of Gandhi road.
What to eat : Chop Suey, Fung, Soup, Thenthuk, Bhagthuk.
Cost : 700 – 1000 for two persons.
Glenary’s : The best place to have your dinner in sophisticate ambiance. If you are a cake and pastry lover then this is an ideal place for you.
What to eat : Hamburg, Stake, Cake, Pastry.
Cost : 1000 to 1400 for two.
16 Ana Bangali : If you are looking for Bengali cuisine like Mach Vaja, hilsha, vetki paturi, galda chingri, pabda jhal then you should must visit this restaurant. This restaurant is situated on mall road.
What to eat : All kind of Bengali cuisine.
Cost : 700 – 800 for two persons.
What to buy
You will get varieties of woollen. Local people craft various woollen garments. The prices are also reasonable. You may buy famous Darjeeling tea. Lots of tea retailers are there on mall road.
Is it safe to travel Darjeeling now
Yes Darjeeling is absolutely a safe tourist destination. In recent years there was some Gurkha movement happened but this year the scenario changed completely. Now there is no problem at all. Though you can make your peaceful Darjeeling trip now but before going always read the news on Darjeeling if there is any band or strike is happening there then drop you plan for later.
Darjeeling trip Budget
Darjeeling trip is possible in all budgets.
Accommodation : Various types of accommodations are there in Darjeeling. A normal hotel will cost you around Rs 800 – 1200. A luxurious hotel will start from around Rs 3500 . Many homestays are there. A normal homestay will cost you around Rs 1200 – 2000. If you are a budget traveller then you may stay in a Holiday Home. A holiday home will cost you around Rs 500 – 700.
Food : Darjeeling is a popular destination for foodies. You will get different types of foods option here. A normal local dish will starts from Rs 200. Streets foods are very cheap it will starts from Rs 50. A cup of home-made tea will cost you around Rs 10. A nepali cuisine will cost around Rs 350 – 500. You will also get Bengali cuisine here in Darjeeling and the cost will be around Rs 500 – 800 for a meal. You will get various breakfast options here starting from Rs 50.
Transportation: Local transport is very much convenient in Darjeeling. You will get local transportations and shared taxies in everywhere. For transferring between two places a local taxi will cost you around Rs 30 -50. For sightseeing you will get local taxi, a full taxi will cost around Rs 1500 for a day and a big one will cost you around Rs 3000 for a day. The prices are variable according to season. In Darjeeling many kind of packages are available for local sightseeing. Packages are like 5points visit, 8points visit, 10points visit and the costs will varies on the number of points you will visit. The 10points tour will cover most of the Darjeeling visiting places.
So for a budget Darjeeling trip the budget should be around Rs 1000 – 1500 per head per day. In this budget you should get a descent shared accommodation, some good foods, a number of sightseeing and a couple of cup of Darjeeling Tea.
How many days require for Darjeeling trip
For a complete Darjeeling trip you will need at least 3 days. But if you want to enjoy more you can stay what ever days you want.
Itinerary for Darjeeling Trip :
I am sharing here itinerary for 3days. I also followed this itinerary when I went there.
Day 1 : New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling. Check in hotel, take your lunch. Visit Darjeeling mall at afternoon and return back to hotel after having your dinner.
Day 2 : Start early morning visit Tiger hill for watching sunrise. Then take your breakfast at Ghoom monastery. Visit ghoom monastery, batasia loop, darjeeling zoo, HMI, rock garden, tea garden, Japanese pagoda. Then take your lunch. After that return back to hotel, take some rest and then in evening pay visit to Darjeeling Mall.
Day 3 : Start your day with a cup of Darjeeling tea. Today you may visit to rope way, may enjoy rock climbing. You may visit mahakal temple. If you want to buy woollen garments then may visit to local markets. On the second half of the day start for New Jalpaiguri to catch your train.
Money saving tips in Darjeeling Trip:
- Travel like a local: Always try to use local transport for your transfer. It will save lots of your transportation costs. You will get local transportation for every place in Darjeeling.
- Try to stay in Homestay: While in Darjeeling try to stay in Homestay, generally homestay in Darjeeling provides complimentary foods with stay. It will help you to cut down your cost.
- Use shared vehicle for sightseeing: If you are traveling solo or traveling couple try to form a group with other people looking for sightseeing option in Darjeeling. It will help you to save money on your sightseeing trips.
- Eat local foods: Darjeeling is full of eateries. You can rely on street foods of Darjeeling. Street foods are cheap and you will get lots of varieties.
- Walk around by foot: Sightseeing like HMI, ZOO, Mahakal Temple in Darjeeling are in a walking distance. So instead of booking a car or taxi better to visit this place by walk. It will help you to save your money as well as you will get chance to enjoy the beauty of the road.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway:
Darjeeling Himalayan railway, also popularly known as Darjeeling Toy Train is one of the famous railway track in India. This railway started in 1828. You may read more about DHR here.
DHR Joy ride:
Joy ride is the most popular Toy train ride in Darjeeling. It starts from Darjeeling Railway Station and goes up to Ghoom Railway Station then take a break of 30minutes and then return back to Darjeeling Station. Joy rides are available on two types of trains – steamed engine and Diesel engine.
How to book Joy ride:
To book Joy ride visit railway booking website. At source point give code as DJ and at destination give code as DJRZ, then search availability as per your date. If it’s available then book the ticket by paying online.
Only first class tickets are available in Joy rides and the costs are for Steam Engine: Rs 1500 and for Diesel engine: Rs1000.
Nearby Offbeat Places:
|Stay||Location / Description|
|Several tea estates in Darjeeling district offer fabulous stay in their homestays that let you take a glimpse of tea garden life, villages, culture and nature surrounding it.|
|A beautiful small hamlet 28kms from Darjeeling once used to be a cantonment area for British officers during colonial days. Enjoy tea gardens, pine & cedar forest walk, great views of mountains, orchids, heritage home stay & more.|
|Lamahatta||A quiet and serene village 23kms from Darjeeling with a vast beautiful roadside garden, great views of Kanchenjunga peaks & rivers, nature trails etc.|
|A calm and quiet village at an altitude of about 5800 ft, 32kms from Darjeeling and offering wonderful view of the majestic Kanchenjunga and the Himalayan range.|
|A sleepy hamlet. Highest point of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and full of animal & bird life, and great views. 1.5 hours from NJP.|
|A beautiful village at the foothill of Singalila National Park and having a mountain stream passing through it. A paradise for nature lovers.|
|A lake, forest and wonderful views of Kanchenjunga in a quiet tranquil place. Takes little over 1hr from Darjeeling.|
|About 2.5 hours from Darjeeling, a place with lush jungle and wonderful views in a quiet and serene ambience.|
|19kms from Darjeeling (takes about 45 minutes by car). A great place for nature lovers and honeymooners. Excellent views of Kanchenjunga.|
|A serene tranquil hamlet with amazing flora & fauna. It’s 1.5 hours drive from Darjeeling Town.|
|A small eco village in the wilderness with great views of Kanchenjunga, and forests full of wildlife and birds. Located 1 hour 30 minutes from Darjeeling, 80kms from NJP.|
Rishyap (or Rishop)
|A small sleepy hamlet at 8,500ft meant for nature lovers with stunning views of vast stretch of Himalayan range. About 4 hours from Darjeeling via Kalimpong.|
|Rangbhang is a beautiful place situated near Mirik and it can be reach from Darjeeling very easily.|
|Soreng, 1 hr 20 minutes from Darjeeling, about 2.5 hrs from NJP. Live farm with many fruits and vegetable plantations.|
|Gorubathan, about 2 hrs from Darjeeling and NJP. Live farm – garden fresh organic vegetables. Take part in programs like farming activities, art & craft, learning simple living, cooking Nepali food, etc.|
|Kolbong (close to Bijanbari), 3 hrs from Darjeeling.|
You may watch my Darjeeling travel guide video on Darjeeling visiting places
Extended Darjeeling itinerary
You can extend your Darjeeling trip as per your choice. I am suggesting here a sample plan for 5days trip. You may alter it as per your need.
Day 1: NJP to Darjeeling. Darjeeling Mall in evening.
Day 2: Darjeeling local sightseeing.
Day 3: Darjeeling local with shopping.
Day 4: Darjeeling to Taba koshi.
Day 5: Taba koshi to Njp via mirik.
Looking for a homestay in India, you may like to visit our Homestay database :
NJP Railway Station Retiring room booking process
For booking of a railway retiring room you need to have a valid PNR number. Visit irctc website first. Login there, and then put your PNR hit search button. Then you will be redirected to booking page. You can book either for source station or for end station.
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