I am sure that right now you find yourself in one of these situations:
- This year you are going to India. You already have the typical tour mounted by Rajasthan and I just screwed up your life with a new destination that from what you can begin to intuit … is really cool.
- You already know places to see In Darjeeling is because you’ve been to India. Surely, you got there because a friend recommended it to you and now you want to reaffirm yourself, reading this post, that it was a helluva decision.
- You are a PRO mountaineer and you are looking for info about the surroundings of the Kanchenjunga to give you a volt.
- You have no idea what, who, how, under, behind is Darjeeling and your curiosity has piqued.
- You have seen “A train to Darjeeling” and you have plenty of Indian trains but no idea what can be done there.
Where is Darjeeling and how to get there?
Darjeeling is in the fifth pine, so it does not usually appear in the TOP TEN places to visit in India.
It is located in the Northeast, next to Nepal, which is your guide Lonely Planet (or the Bible) appears as West Bengal.
Normally, tourists (travellers, nomads or whatever you want to define yourself) come to Darjeeling from Calcutta, Varanasi or Nepal. The 3 options have the same city as base camp: Siliguri.
Siliguri is shit punctured on a stick (in my opinion, of course, you still find your dream home there …) but it is the place from where the ” jeep ” will take you to Darjeeling.
These cars do not have a departure time or anything like that until they are full they do not leave. You will think, well we are two (if you go as a couple), driver 3 … a couple more and we go out !.
NOOOOO, in India and Nepal the concept of space is not the same as ours, for them, there fit 20 or 30 baggies and beware that they do not put you in the trunk. 🙂
Once the jeep decides to start the road you have a 3-hour trip, if you are afraid of heights you still get a little scared, since Darjeeling is 2134 meters away and to go up there you will see some nice little cuts and forget about “fear breakers” on the road.
When to go to Darjeeling?
The recommended thing is NOT to go in Monson (the months of June, July, August), we go when all the people have their holidays. You may be wondering why, because of the rain? NO, an image is worth a thousand words:
Views from Darjeeling in October
Views from Darjeeling in August
If, like ordinary mortals, you have a summer vacation … what are you going to do! GO AWAY.
You will not see the 8000 (even if you think you are still lucky: NO) but even so, Darjeeling is a place worthwhile for all these other reasons that I will talk about in the next point.
Places to see in Darjeeling?
It is the upper part of the city since Darjeeling is located on a hillside. This is where all the “Movida” is, backpackers, shops, cafes in true British colonial style and everything you may need.
Tea Fields and the Happy Valley Plantation.
The biggest tourist attraction in Darjeeling apart from the Kanchenjunga (if you go in summer, as I said, forget it) is Tea. Tooooodo is surrounded by slopes and slopes where the famous Indian tea from Darjeeling is grown, but … where does this tea come from?
Here goes a historical Plate 2.0: At the end of the 19th century, the kingdom of Sikkim ceded a part of its mountains to the East India Company and it is here that the British founded Darjeeling, originally as a sanitarium and resting place for officers and officials.
As we already know, the English are real tea junkies, and seeing the characteristics of the terrain and the weather they decided to plant small bushes to satisfy their craving for “dirty water”. Historiography also comments that the original idea of the British was to break the monopoly that the Chinese had on this product and therefore they began to plant tea.
Be that as it may, currently Darjeeling tea is one of the most recognized worldwide and this region produces about 25% of total production.
The “Happy Valley Tea Estate” plantation is very worth visiting, where a friendly “darjeelinianés” explains the whole process of harvesting, drying etc of the black, green and white tea. After taking the FREE tour of the factory they let you walk through the fields at your leisure.
Only the women collect the tea leaves, I don’t know if because the men would uproot half a plant, pure and simple machismo or for what reason.
Rangit Valley Ropeway
It is an elephant tee that goes down to the cultivation area, takes about 30 min to descend and the views are incredible. From here you can visit the cooperative factory, although I can’t tell you about it because I wasn’t there.
The Train station and the famous «toy train»
The Siliguri road to Darjeeling is shared by buses, taxis, trucks, cows and toy train tracks.
It is a mini train, Unesco Heritage, which until a few years ago made the Siliguri-Darjeeling route (7 hours) , currently it only reaches Ghum where you can visit some monasteries or Buddhist gompas.
Tiger Hill or Tiger Hill
11 km from Darjeeling to the south is the Tiger Hill. If you visit the area in summer do not go because you will not see anything.
If you go on other dates, from here you can see Everest (8,848 m), Janu (7,710 m), Lhotse (8,501 m) and Makalu (8,475 m), like this, at a glance.
The best thing is to do the excursion at sunrise and you can contract the trip with a local agency or make an agreement with a taxi driver to take you there.
Tibet refugee center
The most interesting thing about visiting this center is to see live and direct how women weave the famous Tibetan rugs. The workshop and machines of yesteryear can give you great photos if you are a photography lover.
If you are thinking of bringing a wonderful hand-woven rug, forget it, they are all uglier than pico. The women, the poor, do a Chinese job but the taste … ñaaaaaa.
Observatory Hill and Monasteries
Among the most outstanding gums: Bhutia Busty Gompa, Yiga Choling Gompa and Sakya Choling Gompa.
Drink tea like an English posh
If you want to indulge in a tea-like a real Lord, you can do it at the Windamere Hotel from 4 to 6 pm. It is a British colonial house converted into a piji hotel with several rooms where you are served tea with pastries, sandwiches and all the paraphernalia.
That yes the joke is for € 7 head, now you will think that it is cheap (especially if you live in Donosti that coffee costs € 21 without a lottery ticket) but there it is all sooooo cheap that it will seem expensive to you.
I did not do any because the time was not good and I had to ration the days that I had left. If you’ve been to one, come make an effort by typing and tell me.
- Flights: Book flights to Delhi before they get on!flights to Delhi
- Accommodation: Take a look at Darjeeling hotels.
- In winter it is cold that you shit.
- In summer a jacket is required.
- The Tibet Home hotel has not washed the sheets since the Tibetans were expelled from Lhasa in 1959.
- You eat well in the “Lunar Restaurant“.
- You can buy tea in a very mythical store: Nathmull´s.
- Mind you, something you can NEVER miss if you travel for free is travel insurance. Yes, I have also travelled in the past insane thinking that nothing would ever happen to me but … “it happens to those who walk.” This is like vaccines, please take insurance, the one that angers you the most but always carries one. If you book it from here, you have a 5% discount for being a reader of this blog.