Tea plantations in Darjeeling, India
Holidays to Darjeeling, India
Up in the hills, looked over by the mighty Khangchendzonga and surrounded by tea plantations, the town of Darjeeling is the ultimate Indian hill station town. Here you can trek and bike to your heart’s content, shop at the buzzing bazaars and catch an epic sunrise over the Himalayan horizon. And when you need a break a good cup of Darjeeling tea is the ultimate salve.
For a touch of history, take a ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, known locally as the toy train. It made its first journey along two foot wide tracks in 1881 and, unlike many other hill railways, it’s still operating today. If you're keen to have a go on this novel UNESCO World Heritage Site there are regular services to and from Kurseong which take around 2 and a half hours.
If you want to pick up some truly authentic souvenirs pay a visit to the Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre. This centre is many things to many people; it’s a home for the aged, a school, an orphanage and a Tibetan Buddhist monastery to boot. It also offers craft workshops that create carpets, carvings made out of wood and woollen goods. Guests can walk through the workshops and then buy a handicrafts afterwards. Be sure to check out the photographic exhibition documenting Tibetan history through a charged series of captivating black and white photos. Another purchase you might like to make is Darjeeling tea – for obvious reasons there is no better place to stock up than this town.
For another dose of history, squirreled away in the grounds of the zoo you’ll find the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, which has provided training for some of India’s best mountaineers. At its museum you’ll be able to browse details and items from the 1922 and 1924 expeditions, which left from Darjeeling. Speaking of Everest - for a view you’ll never forget, wake up early and head to Tiger Hill. From here you’ll be able to see dawn break over a staggering stretch of Himalayan horizon, including Everest.
If you like your travelling with a side of heart pounding fun, there is excellent mountain biking to be done in these parts. Darjeeling boasts excellent tracks and cyclists will love the thrill and natural beauty that riding them affords.
Summit Tiger Hill to watch the sunrise over Mount Everest
Sip the best Darjeeling tea of your life
Take a ride on the historic toy train