Estimated Budget for Darjeeling Trip – Rs.8000/person inclusive of travel, stay, food and sight-seeing.
Total Duration: 3 nights/2 days.
Places to Visit:
- Tiger Hill– It is the highest point of the city at 2590 m above the mean sea level. Watching the sunrise from the hill is an amazing experience. It is at 30 km distance from the main city (40 min journey). Private cars are the only means to reach here which charge Rs. 500-600/trip (early mornings). However, public buses and trekkers are available throughout the day till 5 p.m. which charge Rs.15/person.
- At 10 km distance from the town, is the famous Rock Garden which has terraced gardens at different levels that have been cut through the rocks, having a waterfall with a nice seating arrangement. Moving 3 km ahead, there is the Ganga Maya Park which has the famous Flower Garden of the place, nurturing more than 65 types of ancient medicinal herbs and decorating flower beds. Buses from the main town take 20 min to reach here for Rs.7/person and further from there trekkers can take you to the park in 10 min for Rs.5/person. However, taxis charge Rs. 250/trip to take you to both the places.
- On moving 15 km upwards towards the west is the Japanese Temple in the Jalpahar hills built in traditional Japanese style and symbolizes peace and tranquility.
It also has a museum attached to it that exhibits Japanese culture and related articles. The place has a charisma of itself which can be enjoyed along with the Japanese delicacies from the Dhaba. At 10 min walking distance from here is the Peace Pagoda, the oldest Buddhist Monastery of Darjeeling. No private transport is available so book a cab for Rs.250-300 for the entire trip.
- The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is one of the best sights of the place situated 8 km (40 min) from the city. Walking 10 min down the road is Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) established in honor of Tenzing Norgay and also has the Tenzing Rock where mountain climbing adventure can be had. It also has a well-stocked museum with mountaineering displays and many expeditions. The entry fee is Rs.40/person. The way to park is through Batasia Loop created by the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. At this point, the track spirals around over itself through a tunnel over a hilltop into which the park is situated. Toy trains run through the Loop and charge Rs.25/person. This place also has a War Memorial of the Gorkha soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the Indo-Pak and Indo-China war. Entry fee is Rs. 15/person. On your way back, you can again enjoy the toy train ride to the main city Tram Depot for Rs. 50/person. Otherwise, taxis are also available to take you back which take 1 hour of travel time and charge Rs. 120/person.
- The best way to experience the panoramic views of Darjeeling is by taking a ride on the Rangeet Valley Cable Car Ropeway. You will need to board the cable car from Singamari which is 3 km away from the main town. After about 45 minutes of travel at such high altitude, the cable car stops at Tukvar Village which is well known for its vast stretch of tea estate that started in 1856, followed by another village called Burnesbeg, and then the Singla Tea Estate.
Halt for 10 min at each tea estate is given and the entire journey costs Rs.100/person.
Delicacies of Darjeeling:
- Momo is the most popular local snack of Darjeeling. If you like Tibetan cuisines then do visit The Denzong Kitchen Restaurant near Chowrasta (10 min walking distance from hotel) and enjoy more than 65 types of Momo and Thukpaa for Rs. 99/plate.
- Traditional Nepali Thali of The Revolver Restaurant for Rs. 299 is a delight. This place also offers dishes of Naga cuisine like Pan fried smoked pork for Rs. 150/plate.
- Nathmull Lounge is a tea corner offering 65 flavors of authentic Darjeeling tea including Ice- tea, black tea, red tea and the newly launched Purple tea (vitamin tea) starting from Rs. 99 to Rs. 999 per cup.
- Flight: Kolkata to Bagdogra flights are available which cost Rs. 2200-2500 (depending on availability) and a travel time of 1 hour 10 min. From Bagdogra, another 1-hour journey takes you to Darjeeling for which buses and shared jeeps are available for Rs. 80-100/person. Reserved taxis charge Rs. 300-500/trip.
- Train: Darjeeling mail from Sealdah Station takes 10 hours to reach New Jalpaiguri Station (NJP) (3 AC fare Rs.965/person). From NJP station, a 3.5-hour journey by road takes you to Darjeeling which costs Rs. 250-300/person. Reserved taxis charge Rs.1000-1200/trip. (visit www.irctc.co.in for further details)
- The Darjeeling Palace: This is the best 2-star hotel situated on the Chowrasta (main place) offering single rooms for Rs. 1015/room day and executive suits for Rs.1544/room day. Free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, excellent room service and easy transport availability makes it the best-staying option.
- Olde Main Bellevue Heritage: This is a 4-star resort at Jalpahar hills which is 19 km (35 min) away from the main town. It charges Rs. 4250/room per day and provides Spa, Resto-Bar, and Gym free along with other amenities. Its location and scenery make it an awesome place to stay in.
- The place has an awesome climate and a very serene and green scenic beauty. Try exploring it as much as you can. Do buy Tibetan Garments like we bought a pair of Hand woven Shawls for only Rs.499.
- Do negotiate on the fares charged by the tax drivers as they are too high most of the times. Try taking walks in the evenings to enjoy the sunset view.
- Do buy packets of Darjeeling tea from Chowrasta for Rs.1000/kg as you will surely not get the same anywhere.
PS: This trip was taken in March 2016