A holiday to the “Queen of Hills” is perhaps on every Indian’s wish list. While there is plenty of information out there, we’ve covered the basics in this travel guide.
HOW TO GET THERE
Get off a plane at Bagdogra Airport or alight a train at New Jalpaiguri Railway Station in Siliguri, West Bengal. Next, you need to catch a taxi (reserve or share) or bus to Darjeeling.
Reserved cab to Darjeeling: 2500-6000 depending on the season.
Bus from Bagdogra to Darjeeling: INR 400.
Bus from Siliguri to Darjeeling: INR 103.
By road, NH-34, NH-2, NH-30, and NH-31 link Kolkata, New Delhi, Kanpur, Varanasi and Patna to Siliguri. From Siliguri, catch NH 110 to Darjeeling.
Distance from Siliguri to Darjeeling: 76 km
On the way to Darjeeling
There’s no dearth of hotels in Darjeeling. Here are some good options, which are not more than 15-min away from the Mall:
The Elgin | Windamere Hotel | Summit Grace Boutique Hotel | Crescent Resort | Summit Swiss Heritage Hotel | Dekeling Resort | Ramada by Wyndham | Sterling Darjeeling | Sinclairs Darjeeling
Fairmont Hotel | Revolver | Hotel Capital | Alice Villa | Dekeling Hotel
Happy Valley Homestay | Nestle Homestay | Samir’s Homestay | Norbu Homestay | Little Singmari | others
TOURS AND ATTRACTIONS
Sightseeing tour: Opt for the classic sightseeing tour if you are a first-time tourist. This will cover Darjeeling’s important sites such as New Ghoom Monastery, Batasia Loop, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, P N Zoological Park, and Japanese Peace Pagoda.
Two worthwhile things to experience only in Darjeeling include watching the sunrise from Tiger Hill, the highest point in Darjeeling. On a clear day, you can view several Himalayan peaks including Mt. Khangchendzonga and Mt. Everest. The other is taking a joy ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, recognised as a UNESCO heritage site. The steam engines are still running and are a real treat to ride on.
Heritage walking tour: Darjeeling is speckled with charming British architecture, so if history is your thing, then go on a heritage walking tour. These 2-3 hour tours will cover Darjeeling Tower, Darjeeling Planters Club, Darjeeling Gymkhana Club, and St. Andrews Church, with an additional stop at Das Studio, the oldest in town, for pictures of old Darjeeling.
Tea tour: Carpeted in tea gardens, you can make a day visit to any of the tea estates, which allow you to walk through the tea gardens, take a tour of the factory, and do a tea tasting at the end.