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(updated listing dinesh)
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*<sleep name="Hotel Roma" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="09339424307" url="" checkin="12 noon" checkout="11AM" price="Rs 1300-2000" lat="" long="">Located near the mall , the views are nice, but the 3 min walk to mall. ,  There is also a restaurant,</sleep>
 
*<sleep name="Hotel Roma" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="09339424307" url="" checkin="12 noon" checkout="11AM" price="Rs 1300-2000" lat="" long="">Located near the mall , the views are nice, but the 3 min walk to mall. ,  There is also a restaurant,</sleep>
  
*<sleep name="dinesh" alt="ghate" address="pune" directions="on the left, south of Chowrasta" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Rs 300 / 400" lat="" long="">This place has an amazing hostel owner and worker. They make you feel at home. They don't try to overcharge you, the rate is fixed. They only have double beds, but you may be able to get it cheaper if you are alone and it's not busy. The rooms are clean, have a TV, squat bathroom, shower, a great view, and hot buckets costs 20 rupees. The location is great, on the quiet street below Chowrasta, away from the noisy main road. My only gripe is that moths can get in and are attracted to the tube lighting.</sleep>
+
*<sleep name="Abhi Satya" alt="" address="" directions="on the left, south of Chowrasta" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Rs 300 / 400" lat="" long="">This place has an amazing hostel owner and worker. They make you feel at home. They don't try to overcharge you, the rate is fixed. They only have double beds, but you may be able to get it cheaper if you are alone and it's not busy. The rooms are clean, have a TV, squat bathroom, shower, a great view, and hot buckets costs 20 rupees. The location is great, on the quiet street below Chowrasta, away from the noisy main road. My only gripe is that moths can get in and are attracted to the tube lighting.</sleep>
  
 
*<sleep name="Birds Eye View" alt="" address="Dr. Zakir Hussain Rd" directions="near the top of the hill on the south end of Darjeeling. From the jeep drop off and train station it is up to the very top and then keep going right" phone="9832321037, " url="" checkin="" checkout="noon" price="Rs 300+" lat="" long="">Opened in October 2008. </sleep>
 
*<sleep name="Birds Eye View" alt="" address="Dr. Zakir Hussain Rd" directions="near the top of the hill on the south end of Darjeeling. From the jeep drop off and train station it is up to the very top and then keep going right" phone="9832321037, " url="" checkin="" checkout="noon" price="Rs 300+" lat="" long="">Opened in October 2008. </sleep>

Revision as of 20:23, 20 May 2013

Darjeeling is in a small city in West Bengal, India.

Contents

Understand

Tea gardens of Darjeeling

Originally just a cluster of villages that was administered intermittently by Nepal and Sikkim, Darjeeling grew in prominence during the mid 19th century when, because of its climate, the British first established a hill station there after leasing it from the Chogyal of Sikkim and later discovered that the area was particularly well suited for tea plantations. In 1849, the British annexed the area and Darjeeling became a part of British India. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was opened in 1881 (it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the town became the de-facto summer capital of India during the days when the Raj was governed from Calcutta.

Because it was a popular hill station during the days of the Raj, a lovely Victorian town was built among the Himalayan foothills, the remnants of which are still visible around the Chowrasta and Darjeeling remains a popular summer and fall resort for the natives of Kolkata today. For foreign tourists, the main attractions are the cultural diversity (many Tibetan refugees moved here after Tibet was annexed by China and they co-exist with the descendants of the many Nepali and Bihari laborers brought to work in the tea plantations), the beautiful views (including the wonderful vista view of Kanchenjunga), a variety of trekking options, and the opportunity to cool down after a stint in the plains. The town is also a jumping off point for travelers heading to Sikkim.

There has been intermittent political action from Gorkha groups demanding an independent state (Gorkhaland). In June 2008 a strike paralyzed the area, with closed hotels, restaurants and shops, and the accompanying protests even turned violent a couple of times. Though inconvenient, tourists generally are not at risk, but recently they do check the status before going there.

Get in

By plane

The nearest airport is Bagdogra, near Siliguri, 96 km from Darjeeling.

Air India (fomerly Indian Airlines), India's largest airline, has flights from:

  • Delhi - IC 880 (Tu/Th/Sat) and IC 879 (Mon/Fri - via Guwahati)
  • Guwahati - IC 879 (Mon/Fri)
  • Kolkata - IC 721 (Tu/Th/Sat)

Jet Airways, a private airline, has flights from:

  • Delhi - 9W 601 (Mon/Wed/Fri - Via Guwahati) and 9W 602 (Tu/Th/Sat/Sun)
  • Guwahati 9W 601 (Mon/Wed/Fri)
  • Kolkata 9W 617 (Daily)

Spice Jet also operates flights from Kolkata & Delhi.

Indigo has also started direct/indirect flights to & from Delhi and Guwahati since April, 2009 end.

Go Air has daily flights to and from Delhi.

Druk Airways has also commenced direct flights to & from Paro as well as Bangkok, twice a week for both destinations

All other cities major cities can be accessed by taking a flight to Delhi/Kolkata and connecting.

You can take a prepaid taxi or shared jeep from Bagdogra to Darjeeling as explained below.

Getting to and from Nepal can be tricky, despite their close proximity. One can catch a share jeep to Siliguri and a bus to the Nepalese border, changing buses in Nepal. An alternative is that Juniper Tours and Travels - located just next to the clock tower in Darjeeling offer a service where a driver can take you across the border and drop you at the Bhadrapur airport in Nepal for your connecting flight to Kathmandu. It is more expensive than organising your own transport but they make a concerted effort to look after you and will help you out if the situation becomes dicey (particularly with strikes in Nepal), they cannot be recommended highly enough and this is unusual for India.

By taxi/shared jeep

Siliguri is the nearest town connected to the mainline rail network. Ample transport is available to Darjeeling from here. The most popular modes of transport are taxi (usually shared by three to four passengers), shared jeep (ten passengers) @ Indian rupee 100-200 depending on bargaining skill.

Shared jeeps depart regularly, from several locations around town. They are probably cheapest at the main bus stand. They leave when full, and are a cheap and fast (but uncomfortable as roads are poorly maintained) way to get to Darjeeling. An air conditioned prepaid taxi will cost Indian rupee 1800 (as of December 2012) - if you can find people to share it with you it will obviously be cheaper!

If you have arrived by train at NJP, you can take a taxi or shared jeep to reach Darjeeling from the booking counter at the taxi stand in front of the railway station. There is also a prepaid taxi stand in front of the train station. Note that if you arrive too late for the jeep to make a return journey from Darjeeling, you may end up paying more, e.g. Indian rupee 200 per person. The prepaid counter will tell you that no jeeps are available, so you'll have to find one via a fixer or by negotiating directly with drivers.

Tourists often opt to buy an extra seat or two to have more space for the 3 hour journey up to Darjeeling! Luggage is carried for free on the roof. Jeeps may stop for a snack and toilet break on the way up (normally a few km short of Kurseong).

While going to Darjeeling from NJP, try to hire a Taxi/Jeep/Sumo with overhead carrier, which has just arrived from Darjeeling, as this will be much cheaper if you hire a vehicle which is going directly from NJP to Darjeeling.

Reserve cars are available from Kings Travels, dial: 098304-28401/ 093319-39486 for tour purpose in Darjeeling.

By bus

There is a regular bus service from Silguri to Darjeeling. However, they are quite slow due to the steep, twisty climb up to Darjeeling. Shared jeeps are almost as cheap, and faster.

By train

Toy Train of Darjeeling

New Jalpaiguri (NJP) near Siliguri is the nearest station on the main inter-city line. Direct trains to NJP run from Delhi (approx 27 hours) several times a day. If you are traveling from Kolkata (Sealdah Station) the best train for you will be Darjeeling Mail (circa 12 hours) running nightly at 10:05PM.

From there (NJP), the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), known to all as the 'Toy Train' completes the journey to Darjeeling. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was the first, and is still the most outstanding, example of a hill passenger railway.It is now listed as a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO.

This route is very popular with tourists as it passes through some very picturesque mountain scenery and has been the subject of many romantic articles. The line has a series of zig zags and loops to gain height and runs straight up several village main streets!

NJP to Darjeeling Toy Train service is suspended after railway track damage due to recent earth-quake (September 2011). The service may not be restored until 2013. The train now starts at Kurseong and terminates in Darjeeling Railway station though times are not fixed. It is probably best not to rely entirely on this service rather reach Darjeeling by other means and go for a joy ride if and when time permits. Collect enough information if you are planning to reach Darjeeling by Toy Train.

The steam 'Joy' train operates from Darjeeling to Ghoom round the famous Batasia Loop, once or twice a day (10AM)&(1:40PM) – enquire at Darjeeling station. Costs about Indian rupee 250 (First class)/ Indian rupee 50 (Second Seating). Strongly suggested you buy tickets for earlier train as the 2nd train rarely has enough people. Website DHR: [1]

A steam train also operates Siliguri to 'Agony Point' above Tindharia most Saturdays and Sundays. Enquire to Siliguri station. There is also a daily 'School Train' that leaves Kurseong at 06:15 arriving Darjeeling at 08:45. It leaves Darjeeling at 16:00 arriving Kurseong at 18:30. This is still hauled by a steam engine and is one of the last 'day to day'/ordinary steam trains running anywhere in the world. IR keeps changing the times for it and it is notoriously unreliable often running hours late.

Get around

Darjeeling is a small town and the salubrious climate means walks around town are an extremely enjoyable means of getting around. For longer trips, taxis are available in stands near the entrance to the Mall.

A great way to spend a day is to take a share-jeep to Ghoom (the next town up the ridge), visit some monasteries there and walk back to Darjeeling via some of the villages.

See

Kunchenjunga covered with snow
A view of river Teesta, flowing through the mountains
Mirik Lake is a nice place for boating
View of Kunchenjunga from Tiger Hill
Toy Train at Batasia Loop
  • Himalayan Mountaineering Institute(HMI), (naveen), 09711100094, [2]. This is one of the most visited spot in Darjeeling. This institute was created by the late Tenzing Norgay. He was a Sherpa who climbed the Mount Everest on 29th of may 1953 with Sir Edmund Hillary. All the equipments used in that climb are still a highlight in that institute.
  • Himalayan Zoo (Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park - shares the premises of HMI). It has a good collection of animals found in the Himalayan region. Animals seem to be treated well (particularly by developing country standards), but some of the big cats don't look very happy in their small-ish cages. Indian rupee

40 for Indians, Indian rupee 100 for foreigners, Indian rupee 10 per camera. Ticket also includes entry to the HMI Museum.

Please note that the HMI & Zoo are closed every Thursday.

  • Buddhist monasteries
  • Japanese Peace Pagoda. This impressing building is part of a grid of around 30 pagodas spanning the whole globe. Constructed by the Japanese Buddhist Nipponzan-Myohoji Order, the one at Charlimont on the outskirts of Darjeeling was consecrated in 1992. A small temple just lies alongside. If you're woken up due to the sound of drumming in the streets of Darjeeling between 4 and 5AM: These are the monks (Theravada) of the Japanese temple having their early morning walk.
  • Tiger Hill - Ideal to visit early morning when the first rays of the sun kiss the Mt. Kanchenjunga and give it a golden color. To visit the hill, one needs to get up at 3AM in the morning. You can taste some excellent tea on your way to the hill, which will provide much needed warmth on cold Darjeeling mornings. When getting into a taxi at 4AM keep in mind that they are shared taxis and your driver might wait around in vain for others to join your taxi causing you to miss the sunrise! Those travelling alone or as a couple might want to squeeze into an already occupied jeep to insure full viewing pleasure. Though it has an executive lounge (Indian rupee

40/- per person) and special lounge (Indian rupee 30/- per person), nothing beats having a view from open area, as you can have a full paranomic view from outside avoiding crowd in the lounge. The earlier you can arrive, the better place you can find to stand inside or outside the observatory tower. If you are late, you may find yourself standing behind many people with a lot obstructions to feeling the sunrise and magic lighting on Mt. Kanchengunga. You may also need to walk a lot to reach there via a steep ascendent road. The tip of Mt. Everest can also be seen on clear days.

  • Observatory Hill: Observatory hill is the oldest site in Darjeeling. This hill is also known as the “Makal-Babu-Ko-Thaan” in local area. It is said that a Red Hat Buddhist Monastery stood at this very spot. Nepal people destroyed this monastery in the 19th century. It also offers a good vantage point for viewing the himalayean range.
  • Rock Garden. Its a beautiful place with a small waterfall. This place has got varities of flowers landscaped in the rocks. Females can also get dressed in the local dress and take pictures.
  • Batasia Loop. Batasia Loop is bascally a place where the legendary toy train makes a loop. there is a Gorkha martyr memorial here. There is also a landscaped park. If you go early in the morning (before 8 am) you can get the glimpse of a local crafts market here. One can get dressed in the local attire and get their pictures taken.
  • Nightingale Park/Srubbery Park. It is about 2-5 kms from Darjeeling Railway Station and walkable from the Chowrasta. It is a beautiful park with a package of cultural program performed daily during the tourist season and its opening time is 4.00 p.m. and closing time is 8.00 p.m. The park has recently been extensively re-developed, and now comprises of a giant Statue of Lord Shiva, a temple, and provisions for live-interactive entertainment. The best time to visit the park is in the evenings. Entrance fee is charged and nominal charges for photography may also be required to be made by the visitor. You may think alternative of Tiger-hill to see the sunlight magic on Kanchenjunga from this Park. Good spot for photographers. This place is not very crowded and you can enjoy your photography from here. Nice landscape is visible from this park.
  • Ropeway/Cable car- Darjeeling Ropeway started in 1968 and went through a major upgrades in 1988. It is a joint venture between the Forest Development Corporation of the state and a private company called Conveyor and Ropeway Service Pvt. Ltd. Over the years, it had become one of the key tourist attractions in Darjeeling. However since an unfortunate accident that took place in October 2003, the ropeway has remained closed. Three cable cars slipped out of track from the Darjeeling Singamari station and crushed into the tea gardens some 100 feet below causing death of four passengers and injuries to several others.

But the good news is that after the second inspection by the Public Works Department, clearance has been given to reopen the ropeway. There is a plan to restart the operation after the 2011 October Durga Puja. The staircase leading to the cable car station seemed virtually inaccessible due to lack of maintenance.It hard to believe that it could reopen soon.

Darjeeling Ropeway has re-opened for the tourists recently. It is presently going up to Tukvar and back. Tourists can get off at Tukvar, enjoy the lush tea gardens, take their time and come back to Darjeeling Singamari station. The total round trip costs Rs. 150/- per person (subject to change). *Timings- 10am to 4pm during winter and up to 4:30pm during summer (the timings are subject to change). There is no advance reservation required. However, during the peak season there are often long queues for the rides. *Location- The Darjeeling Ropeway or cable car station is located at Singamari which is 3km (1.8 miles) away from the Chowk Bazaar (the main market center of Darjeeling at the lower level). You will get cabs or shared jeeps from Chowk Bazaar that takes about 15 minutes to reach unless there is a traffic jam in the market area which is often the case. Get down at North Point on Lebong Cart Road which is quite close to the St. Joseph's college. Across the road you will find a narrow and steep stairway that leads to the Singamari cable car station located at a higher level. You can see the station at a height from the road and the cable cars passing over your head down to the valley below

Do

Darjeeling is one of the oldest hill stations in India, and has plenty of options, both for those seeking a lazy getaway from the hot plains, as well as nature enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies. Do not get fooled by the touts trying to talk you into Indian rupee 100/spot. Almost all the tourist attractions are located in 3-4 clusters of walking distance. Apart from sights within the town, there are plenty of trek options along the Himalayan ridges on the Indo-Nepal border near Darjeeling. The most popular one being the Singhalia Ridge Trail. Bookings for guides, porters and accommodation on the trail can be made in Darjeeling or in the nearby town of Manebhanjang, which serves as the trail-head. Be aware that from July to mid-September the Singalia park is closed, but because of the rain, clouds and fog it is less enjoyable anyway.

  • Shruberry Health Club. less visited but offers unique and charming views of Kanchenjunga.Few locals can been found jogging here and offering prayers to various deities.
  • Singalila National Park, (west of Darjeeling, adjacent to Nepalese border). Singalila is a trekking destination in the far northwest corner of West Bengal state. Kanchenjunga, the world's 3rd highest peak, is visible for much of the trek, to the north, on the Nepalese border with Sikkim. Usually the park is accessed from Maneybhanjang, approx. one hour, or 30 km. west of Darjeeling. The park can also be accessed from Rimbik, where many trekkers finish up, or from Bijanbari, with one extra day's walking. Trekkers must pay a 100rp fee to enter the park, and must hire a guide. Porters can also be hired in Maneybhanjeng. Many trekkers sign up for a 3, 5 or 6 day trek in Darjeeling, where various trekking companies make all of the arrangements. Passports must be carried, as the trek crosses briefly into Nepal, then back into India. Sleeping bags and layered warm clothing are a must, as the temperature dips well below freezing most nights. Overnight lodging is done at assorted huts or simple guesthouses along the way, and hot meals are available at the same. Starting from Maneybhanjang, most trekkers stay overnight in Gairbas or Kalipokhari, and press on to Sandakphu for the 2nd night. Sandakphu at 3636 meters, is a favorite spot to view the high Himalayan peaks of LLotze, Everest, Makalu, etc., in early morning when visibility is good. 3 day trekkers turn aside and head downhill to Rimbik for their final night, while others head further north for spectacular views from Sabarkum and Phalut, then downhill for Raman, and finish in Rimbik for the last night. For greater cash outlay, non-trekkers, or those pressed for time can hire a jeep as transport from Maneybhanjang to Sandakphu, and stay overnight to catch the sunrise views. The ideal time to visit is April or May, in spring when the rhododendrons are in bloom, but Singalila can also be done in the fall, after monsoon season.
  • Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, nicknamed the "Toy Train", is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow-gauge railway from Siliguri to Darjeeling in West Bengal, run by the Indian Railways. It was built between 1879 and 1881 and is about 86 km (53 mi) long. The elevation level is from about 100 m (328 ft) at Siliguri to about 2,200 m (7,218 ft) at Darjeeling. It is still powered by a steam engine. A modern diesel engine is used for Darjeeling’s mail.
  • Mountain Biking, [3]. Mountain biking is an adventure and the best way to explore the beauty of any mountain or hilly area. This is the best way to explore the natural beauty of the Darjeeling. Darjeeling has many exciting tracks for the motor biking. Adventure lovers love to ride on these roads as they provide them the opportunities to explore the natural beauty at their own with some adventure and thrill.
  • Walk along trails northeast of the center,, (Starting at the south entrance of Chowrasta entrance, fork right, downhill, just behind the benches). Walking down the path one will encounter houses, great scenery, and local people walking about -- kids going home from school, women sweeping the trails, farmers transporting vegetables. The path goes downhill, the first sight is Bhutia Busty Gompa. Further down, forking left, is the Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre. Forking right leads to the public grounds (known as stadium by locals) in Lebong, near Hill Cart Rd. Cheap momos and thukpa can be had at a restaurant there. Shared jeeps are available to take you back up to Darjeeling via the main road for 16 rupees.


Buy

  • Tea. Darjeeling is famous the world over for its teas, which are very aromatic and have a delicate taste. Shops selling teas (usually owned by local tea gardens), dot the area in and around the Mall, and at the Chowrasta. Golden Tips & Nathmulls are especially known for their tea and also ship worldwide, but their prices are 3-4 times more expensive than the shops on the road near Rink Mall. Stop by to smell the numerous varieties they have to offer. 'Darjeeling Tea House' located just diagonal to Nathmulls is also a good place to purchase tea.
  • Curio items pertaining to Tibetan and Himalayan cultures, such as thangkas, miniature monasteries and garments made from yak wool. Shops are located in and around the Rink Mall, Chowrasta and Darjeeling Local Haat.
  • Dorjee. The most unique shop that perhaps has the most facinating & exotic collection of local oriental & Buddhist artefacts is located just opposite the General Post Office. This place, though surprisingly small, is more like a mini Alladin's cave. A must-visit for all objet-d'art lovers. However, The owner is rude towards Indians and they are frequently cold shouldered unlike the deep interest shown to foreign customers.This behaviour stems from the fact that the Indian tourists see through the sham of the mentioned shopkeeper. Yes this is very true. When buying artifacts it is best to take a round and not to appear in a hurry. You may try few other shops which are opposite the state bank of india and also below the mall, chowrastha.
  • Hand Pick. Located inside the Rink Mall, this place offers a plethora of handicrafts not only from in and around Darjeeling but several places across the country. Ethic garments, statues in wood, metal, etc., leather goods & ethnic dresses & footwear, singing bowls, artificial jewellery, paintings, thangkas, Rajasthani decorware & gift ware, furnishings, etc. Prices labelled & reasonable.
  • Oxford Bookshop, Chowrasta. Excellent selection of titles. Local travel guides.
  • Das Studio, The Mall. Posters and picture postcards. Excellent selection of posters and cards depicting scenes of the Himalayas. Handbags & junk jwellery- Darjeeling is a place where you can get variety of ladies hand bags and junk jwellery at an completely affordable price. you can try some bargain if you really like a piece.

Eat

Several eateries which dish out North Indian, Nepali, Tibetan, and continental fare dot the area around the Mall. Vegetarian and Jain food is available at several restaurants. "Momos", a steamed Tibetan delicacy are a staple food offered by almost every eating joint.

Keep in mind that everything closes pretty early in the night (The town goes to sleep before 9PM). So, do keep something in stock to eat, if you are planning to stay up late.

  • Glenary's Bakery and Cafe, Nehru Road (The Mall). A good place for cakes, pastries, the ubiquitous Darjeeling cuppa, sizzerlers and North Indian fare. Offers nice views of Mt Kanchendjunga on clear days.
  • Hot Stimulating Cafe. On the way to Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, on Hooker Road, is this lovely little cozy place with pictures of Bob Marley covering one whole wall. The Momos here are awesome! They even offer a Momo-cooking course! The guy who owns it can double up as your local guide, trekking along with you to some adventurous outings from Darjeeling.
  • Hotel Lunar, (Near the clock tower and the Dekeling Hotel). This is probably the best vegetarian restaurants in town where you can enjoy a great view and wonderful service.
  • Hotel Chanakya. If you are looking for an authentic Bengali restaurant in town where you can enjoy both veg and nonveg dishes then this is the place where you should go.
  • Kunga's, 51 Gandhi Road (Very close to the clock tower and the Dekeling Hotel). An excellent Tibetan place, situated just above the clocktower. It serves superb Tibetan food, including hearty Tibetan soups (Thentuk is recommended). It is, however, tiny, hence often full and crowded.Visit with a bit time in your hand and enjoy the delicious food.
  • The Park, (50 meters from the clock tower). Located near the clock tower, this restaurant is especially popular with tourists. They have two menu cards, one Thai and the other Indian, and the cook mastered both cuisines. The Thai cuisine is quite excellent. Try their Thai style chicken rice noodle. Rs 90-150.
  • Keventers, (Nehru Road (The Mall)). This place with it's awesome western delicacies and cool view was featured in a number of movies and books. Don't forget to try the chicken sausages and the chocolate milk shake.
  • Kanika's (Veggie Lovers), H.D. Lama road, (beside Bank of India), 91-0354-2258721/22/23. A small but artistically designed hotel with lot of intersting painting. For vegetarians good place to eat with North and South Indian dishes, Chinese. One must taste Thupka (soupy noodles) here. If you play guitar just pick the guitar keep in the reception and start playing it! Medium range.
  • Golden Tips Tea Cosy, Chowrasta, The Mall, 0354-2253251, [4]. 0830-2100. The finest collection of Darjeeling Tea in loose (estate) & handcrafted Gift Packaging. Over 250 varieties - Darjeeling Black, Green, Oolong, White, Flavored, Herb Teas. Gourmet Tea sit in service with a handsome and well presented range of snacks and eatables. Tea Menu with almost 75+ kinds of different hot & iced teas, tea mocktails. Tea Paraphernalia like metal /' silver tea sets & pots, strainers, infusers, spoons, tea cosies, etc. Rs. 300-12,000-00.
  • Nathmull's Tea Cosy, The Rink Mall (Opposite General Post Office), also another location at Chowrasta, 0354-2257309, [5]. A great place tastefully done up with an amazing ambience and collection of hundreds of varieties of the finest Darjeeling Teas. Serving almost 100 varieties of tea & tea mocktails from a Tea Menu. A large collection of tea accessories such as silver tea pots & sets, tea cosies, tea strainers & infusers books on teas & other paraphernelia Rs. 20 to Rs. 12000-00.
  • Boney's Snack Bar, Capital Market, Ladenla Road (Opp Clock Tower, Near Hayden Hall). Serves very good grilled sandwiches, sandwiches, pizzas, burgers and even pastas.
  • Cake Lady, 00919547457734. Cake Lady makes cakes, muffins and brownies to order and even delivers them free of charge to your hotel or home in Darjeeling town. The cakes are a taste of home using quality ingredients (sourced locally and organic wherever possible) and are known to be the best in town! Just call 0091 9547457734 and order the day before. She does not have a retail outlet.
  • Boney's Snack Bar, (30 meters from the clock tower). Located in the market building near the clock tower, it is very easy to miss the place. They have a mind boggling variety of sandwiches, out of which one must try the Grilled Chicken Salad Sandwich. Portion size is massive. Also of note are their Chinese recipes and French Fries
  • food stands south of Chowrasta. There' a bunch of food stands that sell momos, egg rolls (a flour tortilla with an egg fried over it, then stuffed with vegetables. It's possible to add extra eggs and cheese), steamed buns, chowmein, oily deep fried stuffs (chicken legs, meat stuffed puris) and more. 30 rupees for 5 chicken momos and 5 rupees for chai at the two northmost stalls. Not the greatest quality food, but it's fresh and cheap. Except the fried things; They're terrible.
  • a Tibetan family-run joint, (Across from the food stands south of Chowrasta there are three restaurants, this one has no curtains, no signs, and some incense stocked in front of the store window). They begin making and selling meat momos at around 12pm. It comes with some broth. They sell thukpa and large pork baozi too.
  • Kalden Cafe, (nestled between the food stands below Chowrasta). The soup (Gyanthup?) is delicious. There's a choice of vegetable, chicken, or beef. It might be possible to mix them. They also sell a hot ginger lemon tea, which is fun to drink.

Drink

  • Tea. Darjeeling tea is world renowned after all. Also called the 'Champagne of Teas', You can taste and buy the best teas in the market & at Tea Cosy, the tea parlors with an excellent environment located inside the Rink Mall and at the Golden Tips Chowrasta.
  • Joey's Pub, (On a small road opposite the Post Office and the Rink Mall, which also contains Darjeeling's only cinema). Open from 5PM. Pop into Joey's Pub for some cheap beer, great hospitality, cricket on TV etc. A British-looking pub popular with travellers. A good place to pick up trekking information and travel partners to fill a jeep to Sikkim or down to the plains. Featured in an Indian movie called Chowrasta.
  • Kho Cha, Laden La Road, +913542257308, [6]. a snazzy Tea Boutique having a very wide frontage even though the place is not all that big. Over 50 kinds of finely packaged teas from Darjeeling & other areas in India. Oolong, black, green, white, CTC, Spiced, herbal & many more. Besides, they also have almost 25 kinds of estate teas to see, taste & select The place even has of a small 4-seater tea bar with a proper Tea Menu ! Interesting and very well located. Few accessories also available. Teas can also be bought from their online website which is quite nice www.khochateas.com 80 - 9.000.
  • Happy Valley Tea Estate, At the end of the T P Banerjee Road - a small, steep road off Hill Cart Road (Approx 3km from Chowk Bazaar, 1km from Botanical Gardens). 8am to 4pm from Tuesday to Saturday. This tea estate is within walking distance of Darjeeling - don't bother with taxi drivers who will want to charge you 1800 rupees(!) to get you there. You'd get there quicker walking anyway as the traffic on Hill Cart Road is always terrible. The walk back up to Hill Cart Road is quite steep (not recommended for anyone who's feeble) but it's worth it. You'll need to pay a guide a small fee to show you around the factory (around Rs.50-70) The best quality tea at the Happy Valley Tea Estate is known as SFTGFOP (Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) - seriously. Make sure you also visit the Happy Golden Cafe in the small shack-like building nearby. Kusum is a very friendly lady who gets the tea from Happy Valley as her family members work at the estate and get a weekly quota of the tea. She will show you how it's made and will happily talk about the different varieties that are around. Depending on availability, a cup of delicious SFTGFOP tea will set you back a mere Rs.50

Sleep

Darjeeling has a large number of hotels and lodges. However, on the whole, budget accommodation is of poor value compared to elsewhere in India. Most places target groups coming in from West Bengal; backpacker-oriented accommodation is sparse and you probably won't get touts coming to pick you up at the bus stop so it pays to have a few ideas in advance.

There are several forest guest houses in the Darjeeling area. In order to stay at any of these a special permit from West Bengal Forest Department [7] is required.


Budget

  • Hotel Aliment, 03542255068. checkout: 10AM. Located at the top of the hill, the views are nice, but the 15 min walk from the clock tower is quite steep. In some double rooms there is hot water 6:30PM-7:30PM, but they can fill up a bucket with hot water the rest of the day. There is also a simple restaurant, which houses an impressive library. Rs 250-600.
  • Hotel Roma, 09339424307. checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 11AM. Located near the mall , the views are nice, but the 3 min walk to mall. , There is also a restaurant, Rs 1300-2000.
  • Abhi Satya, (on the left, south of Chowrasta). This place has an amazing hostel owner and worker. They make you feel at home. They don't try to overcharge you, the rate is fixed. They only have double beds, but you may be able to get it cheaper if you are alone and it's not busy. The rooms are clean, have a TV, squat bathroom, shower, a great view, and hot buckets costs 20 rupees. The location is great, on the quiet street below Chowrasta, away from the noisy main road. My only gripe is that moths can get in and are attracted to the tube lighting. Rs 300 / 400.
  • Birds Eye View, Dr. Zakir Hussain Rd (near the top of the hill on the south end of Darjeeling. From the jeep drop off and train station it is up to the very top and then keep going right), 9832321037,. checkout: noon. Opened in October 2008. Rs 300+.
  • Darjeeling Tourist Lodge, Bhanu Sarani, Darjeeling (7 minutes from Mall, near Gymkhana Club), +91 354 2254411/12/13 (, fax: +91 354 2254412), [8]. checkout: noon. Property belongs to West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation and has a breathtaking location with views of Kanchenjunga. Rs 900-1,600.
  • Hotel Pineridge, The Mall, Darjeeling (on the left before Chowrasta), +91 354 2254074. Few rooms face Kanchenjungha. Rooms are dank & dreary with rickety old furniture. Offers a hint of the old world charm. Rs 2000/-.
  • The Parklane hotel, N C Goenka road (from Darjeeling station on the way to chowk bazzar), +91 354 2256902. checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 12 noon. All rooms office good hill view with balcony. Pure vegetarian restaurant is attached with hotel. Rs 850-1,600.
  • Hotel Prestige, (Staircase up from main post office, near Rink Mall). checkout: 12AM. Simple hotel with cozy rooms, running hot showers and T.V., free WiFi. Owners are nice couple of Indian (Iranian ancestry) and Japanese. Single for 400Rs, Double for 500Rs (01/2013), bargaining little discounts is possible. Rs 400-1000.
  • Revolver, 110 Gandhi Rd (behind Union Church, go through the Open School Gate.), +919434428935, [9]. checkout: 12 noon. A Beatles themed lodge and restaurant. The lodge features five cosy rooms, each named after the fab four and Brian Epstein, considered the fifth Beatle. Very affordable, each room has a double bed, attached bathroom with hot water and closet. The lodge showcases a constantly growing list of Beatles memorabilia. Free WiFi available. Rs 799-899. (27.376°N approx,88.2647°E approx)
  • Zakir Hussain Rd Lodging, Zakir Hussain Rd (Top of the hill). Offers a clutch of backpacker-oriented places. On a north-facing slope which is perpetually misty so these places get very cold and damp, with the lack of sunshine often being felt in the attitudes of the proprietors too. Rs. 180-150.

Mid-range

  • Bellevue Hotel, P O Box 28, The Mall, Darjeeling, W.B. 734101 (Right at Chowrasta, the central square within the pedestrian zone), +91 354 2254075 (), [10]. Run by a Tibetan family for around forty years, the hotel features a modest, dry and warm interior, rooms are wood-panelled and clean. Free WiFi. Rs 1800 - 2,000.
  • Hotel Dekeling (At the south end of the Mall), 51 Ghandi Road, +91-354-2254159, [11]. checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 12 noon. Cozy atmosphere and honestly caring oweners/staff. Wide range of nicely timbered rooms, breakfast buffet (Rs 227). Free hot water bottle every evening. Has free WiFi and a computer (at a price) in the community area. Rs 600-3,000. (27.042156,88.267225)
  • Hotel Fairmont, +91 354 2253649. around Rs 2,000.
  • Gymkhana Resort, 1, +91 354 2257325. Rs 2,500+.

Splurge

  • Mayfair Darjeeling, opposite Governor House, The Mall, +91 354 2256376 (, fax: +91 354 2252674), [13]. Hill resort offering good views. This property was once the summerhouse of the Maharajah of Nazargunj. Rs 8,000.
  • Hotel Sinclairs, [14]. It has 46 beautiful rooms and suites, with satellite TV. The wooden interiors give it an ambience of a traditional country home. Rs 3,500-7,300.
  • Windamere Hotel, Observatory Hill, +91 354 2254041/42, [15]. Established in the 19th century as a boarding house for bachelor English and Scottish tea planters, it was converted into a hotel just before the outbreak of the Second World War. Has been the subject of many stories in the international media. It is situated on Observatory Hill, a Darjeeling landmark. Has wifi. Rs 6,650-12,500.
  • Elgin-Darjeeling, +91-354-2257226/2257227 (, fax: +91-354-2254267). - A luxury heritage hotel in Darjeeling .The hotel has stories to tell from the time of its first owner the Maharaja of Cooch Behar to Nancy Oakley in the 1950s.

Get out


Routes through Darjeeling
END  N noframe S  KurseongJalpaiguri




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