WHAT TO DO IN DARJEELING
DARJEELING AND ROMANCE

So everyone already knows about Darjeeling and its love affair with “Romance”. I also knew that. But what I did not know was that this is totally a couple’s place, so much in fact that going there with friends or family (no offence intended!) would be a shame.

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DARJEELING TRAVELS
TWO FLASHPACKERS

 

This getaway to Darjeeling was a very spontaneous decision without much planning involved. The only thing we had planned was to enjoy the place purely as a romantic destination without bothering too much about the sightseeing. After all that’s what weekend getaways should be about: to Zone off from the normal humdrum of life and spend time together!

WHEN TO GO
We always advocate travelling during the shoulder season to avoid crowds and high prices. October-April is the peak season here. November is a bit quieter as the post festival holiday crowd is gone. The weather in mid-November is also pleasant, a mix of foggy and clear skies; the cold just right- enough to style those winter layers but not that much to turn on your hibernation mode!

Avoid June-September for the rains and landslides that may occur in this route.

 

DARJEELING TRAVELS
TOTAL RELAXATION

A ROMANTIC GUIDE TO DARJEELING:

To enjoy Darjeeling the way it should be, I have compiled a little guide for you and your loved one in order to maximize your time there and get the most out of it without making it tiresome and exhausting.

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  1. DO NOT PLAN

This one is a no brainer. I took a break from the point to point itinerary planning that I usually do and decided to go with the flow for once. This place deserves it. The only planning involved should be for booking your flight/train tickets.

DARJEELING TRAVELS
ROAD LEADING UPTO THE BACK ENTRANCE OF MAHAKAL MANDIR

 

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  1. STAY AWAY FROM THE MALL

So your romantic getaway needs an equally romantic place to stay right. You don’t need crowds or noise to mar your peaceful vacation. Book your accommodation a little away from the mall. There are quite a few reasonable options located within 10 minutes of the mall. We stayed at a fantastic little resort called “Little Tibet Resort” which played a huge role in making our stay memorable.

Read our tripadvisor review here➡ Little Tibet Boutique Resort Review

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LITTLE TIBET BOUTIQUE RESORT
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ENJOYING AT OUR CHARMING LITTLE PLACE
  1. LIMIT YOUR ACTIVE SIGHTSEEING TO ONE DAY

Let me be honest. The sightseeing in and around Darjeeling is average. If you are well traveled, you may not be very impressed. Do not be over ambitious and try to cover all. So select a few places to explore and junk a few. This is the perfect place to explore slow travel.

SIGHTSEEING TIPS
Most tours offer 3 point and 7 point itineraries for day trips. To make your choice easier, these are some tips.

Do not make separate car tours for viewing the Batasia Loop. View it during your toy train ride itself (more on that below)

Skip the Japanese Pagoda. Its pretty average.

The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and the Zoo remain closed on Thursdays. If you plan to visit these places, make your schedule accordingly.

Make a day trip to Mirik if you have the time. It takes around 2 hours to go there.

 

DARJEELING TRAVELS
THE BEST WAY TO START THE DAY
  1. TAKE LONG WALKS

The weather is pleasant, the roads are quiet and the scenery beautiful. Take long walks and get a bit of an exercise. We were panting at the end(speaks volumes about our fitness!) but it was very romantic walking hand in hand along the hilly lanes of a hill station. Just like in the movies!

 One good route is to walk past the Governor’s house uphill till you reach the back entrance of the Mahakal Mandir. Pass through the temple and exit via the front gate, walking through the Mahakal market and downhill till you reach the mall. 
DARJEELING AND ROMANCE
LONG WALKS IN THE HILLS

 

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  1. VISIT THE MAHAKAL MANDIR

Whether you are a believer or not, if there is  one place I would suggest  it is this. I usually avoid temples but this one was special. This lovely little temple dedicated to Shiva, is a fusion temple where Buddhist Mandalas and prayer bells coexist peacefully with Hindu idols and rituals. Such a beautiful example of our syncretic culture. Make sure to enter the temple via the back entrance (route explained in the above point) where you will come across numerous colourful Tibetian flags fluttering and no one around to disturb you.

DARJEELING TOURISM
SPINNING PRAYER BELLS AT MAHAKAL MANDIR
DARJEELING TRAVELS
MAHAKAL MANDIR
  1. RIDE THE TOY TRAIN

It’s a cliché but also a fun, unique experience. Seeing the steam engines bring back a lot of old world charm. Bring out your inner child and revel in nostalgia!

PRACTICAL INFO ABOUT THE TOY TRAIN RIDE
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway offers rides To/Fro Siliguri and Kurseong. But these are long journeys of 7-8 hours. If you lack the time, the best option is taking the ride upto Ghoom station and back. The journey takes 2 hours and includes a stop at Batasia Loop for 10 minutes along with a 30 minute stop at Ghoom station to view the Railway museum. Pretty much everything you need to see there.

Use the Indian Railways website/app to book your tickets. Put the Starting station as Darjeeling and the destination code as DRZ. Both Steam and Diseal rides are available. Steam ones cost Rs 1300/PP and Diseal ones cost Rs 800/PP. The rides get full pretty quickly so make sure to book your tickets beforehand.

 

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ENJOYING THE TOY TRAIN RIDE !
DARJEELING TRAVELS
CHECK THIS OUT !
  1. WATCH THE SUNRISE OVER KANCHENJUNGA AT TIGER HILL

There will be many people who will put this activity at the top of this list. But I did not simply because its not necessary to wake up at 3 am on a holiday to view the sunrise. We did not. We went around noon but the day was very foggy and so missed seeing the peak. If waking up that early in the cold is not your thing, you can always go later during the day (like we did) and try your luck at catching a glimpse of the peak. We failed this time but are planning to try our luck in Sikkim!

KANCHENJUNGA AND THE WEATHER DILEMMA
Getting a glimpse of the fabled Kanchenjunga is a bit of a lottery. The weather here is erratic, with cloud covers changing positions every 5 minutes. If viewing Kanchenjunga is at the top of your list, the most important thing is to check the weather forecast during planning and before booking your tickets. Check the weather conditions on the day of your trip or else your pre dawn wake up call will be in vain! If your schedule is flexible, opt for another day if the conditions are not right. Wait for 15-20 minutes at Tiger Hill. A lot of luck is involved here so try next time !

 

DARJEELING TRAVELS
TOO COLD TO STAND STILL
  1. PLAN SOME SPECIAL FOODIE EXPERIENCES FOR TWO

We enjoyed some amazing meals in Darjeeling, be it having breakfast in our balcony amidst fog and clouds; rooftop lunches or candlelit dinners and created some amazing memories.

Enjoy authentic Tibetian food at Kunga’s. Situated on the mall, this little joint produces delicious food at reasonable prices. Look beyond wantons and Thukpas and try your hand(and mouth!) at other dishes like Thenthuk.

Have a rooftop meal at Glenary’s, the iconic restaurant famed for its food and the view. Enjoy some house wine and chilli pork in their amazing ambience.

We also wanted a special candlelight dinner which our wonderful hotel planned and arranged in our balcony (No, it wasn’t our anniversary/birthday!)That was one experience I will cherish.

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CANDLELIT DINNER IN OUR BALCONY
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WINE WITH CHILLI PORK
  1. VISIT THE DALI MONASTERY

How can a visit to Darjeeling be complete without visiting a monastery? Most people visit the Ghoom monastery which we found to be very uninteresting and average. Instead visit the Dali monastery which has a beautiful building and interiors. Turn one of the giant prayer bells and make a wish. Play with some of the little monks in training. Admire the colorful art and the giant Buddha.

DARJEELING TRAVELS
REFLECTIONS AT DALI MONASTERY
DARJEELING TOURISM
PLAYING WITH THESE LITTLE MONKS

 

GETTING THERE
Plenty of flights and trains to and from Kolkata. A handy Spice Jet flight leaves at 6 AM. Book taxis from the prepaid taxi counter. Taxi from Bagdogra Airport will cost Rs 1800-2200 approximately.

Journey time is 3 hours (if no traffic)

Stop at Kurseong Tourist Lodge for a meal.

There is no local transport in Darjeeling apart from walking. All sightseeing is done via car tours which have 3 point and 7 point itinerary tours. Choose one that suits you.

 

DARJEELING TRAVELS
JOURNEY

 

Hoping this guide proves handy for you in planning your weekend getaway!

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DARJEELING TRAVELS

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