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Darjeeling

Photo by Patrick Horton

Darjeeling Itineraries

Darjeeling Highlights

Mountain views, tea plantations and a quaint railway

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Darjeeling is high above the plains and on the edge of the Himalaya. It is best reached via the nearest airport, Bagdogra, an hour’s flight from Kolkata. Then strap in for the exciting journey up, up and away into the hills by either the UNESCO-listed narrow gauge Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or by road. The journey by train is the more interesting one taking about eight hours as it winds around the hills. Landslides swept away part of the track a few years back – so check that the railway is operating. By road the journey takes about four hours if you count in a stop at a roadside teashop. Taxis can be hired at the airport.


Tourist Train

A steam-hauled tourist train runs between Darjeeling and Ghoom. You will need to book this journey however and allow two hours for the return trip. The engines are veritable antiques.


===> Explore local itineraries via the RELATED links below.


Darjeeling attractions

Take a wander around the quaint old town and make your way to the Mall which is a pedestrian only area. It has a good bookshop for guides and maps plus a shop selling tea if you want to take a packet of the famous Darjeeling tea home with you.

Two must-sees are the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and museum, and the adjacent Darjeeling Zoo. The Institute has excellent displays on mountaineering and its history. Norgay Tensing who reached the summit of Everest with Edmund Hilary was one of its first directors. The zoo boasts red pandas and the rare snow leopard.

Check the weather outlook and if favourable book a very early morning taxi from your hotel and go to Tiger Hill to watch the sun rise over the Himalaya. You need to be early to avoid the crowd of vehicles going the same way and to get a good spot on the top floor of the viewing building. As the sun appears it paints the peak of Mt Kanchenjunga from a deep purple to a brilliant gold. Then as the sunlight moves westwards it lights up the shapes of  Everest, Lhotse and Makalu on the distant horizon. From one point you can then see four of the five highest mountains in the world, numbers 1,3,4 and 5. K2, which is number 2 is a long way away in Pakistan.

Taxis in Darjeeling offer regular tours and apart from the magnificent scenery you should include the atmospheric interiors of richly coloured Buddhist monasteries to explore. There are two on the road to Ghoom. A visit through the hills blanketed with tea bushes to a tea plantation is also a must. Learn how tea is produced and maybe try some samples.

From Darjeeling you can travel east in a day into the former kingdom of Sikkim.


What it Costs

Abstract Pricing at a Glance

Prices often fluctuate dynamically depending on capacity, seasonality and deals. We don’t want to lead you astray by quoting exact prices that quickly become wrong. To give you a rough idea for budgetary planning purposes, though, we have indicated general price ranges for all points of interest.

Price ranges are quoted in local currencies.

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Shop
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