Darjeeling, the popular hill station of West Bengal is the best introduction to the North Eastern Himalayas. Darjeeling hill town is located at an altitude of 6,710ft in northeast India and is part of the state of West Bengal.
The steep mountainside, surrounded by green tea plantations, and towered over by the majestic Khangchendzonga (8598 m), Darjeeling is among the best hill stations in India. Perfect for families, honeymoon couples, nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts, the hill town offers some of the best experiences to be cherished for a lifetime.
But the list of the most amazing things to do in Darjeeling goes beyond these attractions. The lovely tea gardens on the rolling hills, the orchids, pines & rhododendrons, the beautiful Himalayan toy train selling its way through the mountains combined with great sightseeing tours, food, shopping and other exciting activities, there’s so much that this stunning town has to offer.
The nearest airport is Bagdogra and the nearest major railway junction is New Jalpaiguri (NJP). It takes about 3 hours to reach Darjeeling from both these locations by car. Private taxis (available at NJP and Bagdogra), shared taxis (available at NJP) and bus (available at Siliguri bus stand which is 8kms from NJP) is the main public transports to get to Darjeeling from NJP station or Bagdogra airport. Alternatively, you can take the fascinating toy train ride from NJP or Siliguri all the way up to Darjeeling soaking in the scenic sights of Himalayas on a lazy journey.
To help you have the best time of your life, here are the top Things to do in Darjeeling when you visit this picturesque hill town.
Tea Tours in Darjeeling
Though the tea gardens of Darjeeling are world famous. Tea tours is not a new concept in Darjeeling.
A refreshing sea of green on the developing hill-slopes. Harmony universally cracked only by the chirping of birds and gurgling of streams. The vibrantly clad tea workers gently plucking the famous two leaves and a bud, droning many merry tunes. And finally, royal comfort in fabulous Bungalows with a hot cuppa – finest blend of aromatic… its Tea all about!!
The hill station is blessed with numerous sprawling tea gardens. The ‘Mecca of tea’, Darjeeling has 80 odd working tea gardens. Don’t just visit the tea gardens in Darjeeling, plan to stay in the tea gardens. The tea estates have designed various comfy lodgings. All the Darjeeling estates are heritage gardens, more than 100 years old. Choose from the option of a British Era Colonial mansion or a simple budget lodging, the experience is a cherished memory. Away from the chaos of cities spend a few days in the blissful environs. [Read More…]
Sunrise at Tiger Hill
Your trip is not successful until you have seen the sunrise at Tiger Hill. The beautiful lookout at an altitude of 8482 feet offers blessed views of the sun rising over the majestic snow-covered mountains of Himalayas. Especially the peak of Mt. Kanchenjunga shines like a beauty beyond words and illuminate it in gorgeous colours, that view is simply breath-taking.
Do not miss an early morning outing to Tiger Hill at any cost. Every tourist visiting Darjeeling comes here to catch the sun’s first rays as they hit the distant snow-covered peaks of the Kanchenjunga peak.
Visit the Peace Pagoda
Sitting atop the Charlemont Hill, Darjeeling’s Peace Pagoda is one of the 30 such pagodas in the world that were established by the Japanese Buddhist monk Nichidatsu Fujii as a way of promoting World Peace and harmony.
The Peace Pagoda’s was built for the purpose to promote peace. The divine site allows a uniting space in the search for world peace. It is a perfect place to escape the busy schedules and experience a spiritual connection. Visit the pagoda for an outright serene and tranquil experience.
Enjoy the fresh air of foothills at the Batasia Loop
A short distance from Darjeeling, lying en-route of the Toy Train, the Batasia Loop is one of the must-visit attractions to check out. Venture out to Batasia Loop, the historically and scenically significant junction and a great option for sightseeing in Darjeeling! If you’re travelling via the Toy Train, or walking back from Tiger Hill, look out for this famous railway loop that goes around the open-air Gorkha War Memorial, established in honour of the brave soldiers from the region who laid down their lives in WWI and WWII and among the important places to see in Darjeeling.
Enjoy the view of toy train chugging down the slope making a 360-degree loop here. Right in the centre of the gardens, rests a War Memorial dedicated to the Gorkha Soldiers. The serene location with incredible views is a good place to check out in the hill station.
Rock Climbing at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute located at Jawahar Parvat in Darjeeling conducts a number of mountaineering and adventure courses at various levels ranging from beginners to expert.
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is a pilgrimage for all climbing enthusiasts. Adventure lovers from all over the world, wishing to scale the heights of Mt Kanchenjunga cannot miss a visit. The institute, in essence, is an inspiration to trek some of the highest mountain peaks in the world. HMI has Rock Climbing and other basic activities for one-time tourists who do not want to get into the full-fledged courses and are visiting the town only for a few days. Be it the nature lovers, adventure junkies or any visitor, this is a popular tourist attraction of Darjeeling.
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
Located in the famous town of Darjeeling, exploring the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is one of the top things to do near Darjeeling. Built on the mountainside, the hilly landscapes copy the inhabitants’ natural habitat.
Look for red pandas, Tibetan wolves, Himalayan black bears, the beautiful clouded leopard and other big cats. The natural setting helps the species of northeastern Himalayas survive without difficulty.
Darjeeling Observatory Hill & Mahakal Temple
As the name suggests, this place on a hilltop is one of the greatest spots in Darjeeling to observe the panoramic views of the mountains and it also has a temple at the summit called the Mahakal Temple. The Observatory Hill is located at the Mall area and is encircled at its bottom by the Mall Road. As you walk along the Mall road, you will see this steep hill rising on one side.
A little further, originally where the Bhutia Busty Gompa stood, stands a revered Hindu Mahakal temple. The area holds significance to both religions. As the mystical hill rings with the sound of temple bells, feel the connection with the divine. Sit in the midst of the fluttering prayer flags, but watch out for groups of disorderly monkeys who have made it their home.
Darjeeling Mall, Chowrasta
You talk to anybody who had visited Darjeeling and ask about great places in the hill town, the Chowrasta Mall will surely be one thing that will figure in the description. That’s true. The Chowrasta or the Mall is the heart of Darjeeling town.
Located on top of Nehru Road, this is a nice flat land where tourists and locals come to lounge in the sun, take a seat on one of the many benches along the periphery, and watch the wonderful views of the mountain peaks and valleys all around.
Shopping at Bhutia Market
Darjeeling never runs out of things to do. Even shopping here is really fun. From the local-favourite Chowk Bazaar to the tourist haunt of Mall Road, there are many places where you can go shopping. Bhutia Market is a row of temporary stalls set up by the local Bhutias and is located on a narrow lane that leads down from Chowrasta (The Mall), next to Nathmulls.
It’s a shopping paradise for tourists and it’s where you’ll get all winter wear (like sweaters, gloves, woollen caps, mufflers, etc), jackets and even jeans at very reasonable prices. One of the fundamental things to do in Darjeeling is to go to Nathmulls and buy yourself a huge stock of the refreshing Darjeeling Tea from an array of shops.
Joy Ride Toy Train
Most Picturesque Journeys in the Historic Toy Trains of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
One of the oldest train routes in India, The Darjeeling toy train, officially known as the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR). The railway was completed in 1881 and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
The Toy Train ride is an absolute must. You can start your ride from Ghoom and get down at Kurseong, to eat at the many food joints, for Darjeeling sightseeing wherein you get a breath-taking panoramic view of the surrounding hills that transport you into a world of romance. It is one of the most fun activities in Darjeeling which cannot be missed. [Read More]
Ride on Darjeeling Ropeway
One of the best ways to experience the panoramic views that Darjeeling is so famous for is by taking a ride on the ropeway. It’s also called the Rangeet Valley Passenger Cable Car because of the spectacular view of the valley around the river Little Rangeet. You will need to board the cable car from Singamari which is 3kms (i.e. 1.8 miles) away from Darjeeling Chowk Bazaar.
As you ride the cable car, in about 45 minutes you will travel from an altitude of about 7,000 ft. (or 2134m) down to 800 ft. (or 244m) where the last station Singla Bazar is located. However, presently the ride has been shortened to a station called Tukvar from where the Gondolas return.
River Rafting in the Teesta River
For one of the best experiences of river rafting in India, head to the Teesta river and find out why it is one of the best things to do in Darjeeling for all adrenaline junkies! The activity is loaded with series of rapids with varying intensities, ranging from Grade 1 to 4, wherein the latter is only allowed to seasoned, trained rafters because of the level of danger involved in it.
The River Teesta offers exciting river rafting opportunity all around the year. Avoid the monsoon season, roughly months from July to September. The best time is between December to June. But during winter, the water can be ice cold. Meanwhile, March to June is the peak season.
Thukpa And Momos
Darjeeling has delicious answers to your food cravings while you’re there.
You can enjoy some delicious variety of Darjeeling food like Thukpa and momos that are available in the street joints at almost every nook and corner of the town.
Darjeeling has many lavish eateries, restaurants and food joints. However, Hasty Tasty treats for all the foodies visiting the hill station.
Packed from the minute it opens, this strictly vegetarian cafeteria, by all means, delivers fast, delicious food. The specialities of the hill town feature on the menu. The highlight of grabbing a seat here is to view uninterruptedly gaze across the valley at Kanchendzonga.
Having breakfast at Keventers should definitely be on your list of Darjeeling highlights.
Don’t forget to try the delicious Cheese Toast when you’re dining here.
Churpi is a kind of chewing bar that is not exactly sweet in taste but has a delicious flavour nevertheless. What makes this unique is the fact that it keeps the body warm during winters and gives energy.
It is available in almost all street shops selling groceries and comes at a nominal price. You can stock a horde to treat your winter blues when you’re back home.
Wondering why we have this in our list of things to do in Darjeeling? Well, getting a Tattoo in Darjeeling is an experience unlike another. Unlike other places in India, the body art here is crafted uniquely.
A hippie essence coupled with Buddhism imagery being a significant part, the creation is in fact inimitable. Get yourself inked with some inspirational quotes or some inspiring image of Lord Buddha meditating.