Planning for a trip to Darjeeling? Not sure which hotels are the best? Which sightseeing are worth visiting and which can be skipped? Things to keep in mind before the trip?

Well, look no further! As I’ve visited Darjeeling recently, I’ve collected as much details as possible and hence you can consider this post to be a ‘Complete Darjeeling Tour Guide’ where I’ll try to share all the information and guidance; hope after reading this you can plan your trip properly by yourself without any help from any tour operator.

Few Details about Darjeeling

State: West Bengal
District: Darjeeling
Municipality: Darjeeling Municipality
(Pincode: 734101)
Phone No.: 03542251084 / 7001916336

Emergency Contacts
Darjeeling District Police: 100 / 03542254096 / 03542252057 / 9083270435
Sadar Police Station: 03542254422 / 9147889057 (OC) / 9733192325 / 9733473110
Darjeeling District Hospital: 03542256790
Ghoom PHC Hospital: 8348639875
Shahid Durga Malla District Hospital (HD Lama Road): 03542252131
Darjeeling Traffic Control Room: 03542252147
Disaster Management: 9434058101
Blood Bank: 03542255636 / 9434557979
Ambulance: 102 / 108 / 9832034919
How to reach Darjeeling

By Train
Probably the most popular way to reach Darjeeling, but tickets get sold out pretty fast so it’s a bit difficult to get confirmed tickets if not planned and booked much early. New Jalpaiguri (NJP) is the nearest and most popular railway station, and Siliguri Junction (SGUJ) railway station is also near enough but trains stopping here are very less. Below are the few most availed trains in this route;

Train No.Train NameDeparture fromArriving atClasses AvailableRunning OnTicket AvailabilityTicket Price Range per Person
12343Darjeeling MailSealdah (SDAH)
New Jalpaiguri (NJP)
08:15am (next day)
II / SL / 3A / 2A / 1AEverydayVery rare, must be booked at least 40 days beforeRs.180 – Rs.2300
22301Vande BharatHowrah (HWH)
01:25pm (same day)
CC / ECAll days except WednesdayAvailable, must be booked at least 10 days beforeRs.1400 – Rs.2800 (food included)
10:55pm (same day)
CC / ECAll days except SundayAvailable, must be booked at least 5 days beforeRs.1100 – Rs.2300 (food included)
09:15am (next day)
II / SL / 3A / 2A / 1AEverydayVery rare, must be booked at least 30 days beforeRs.180 – Rs.2300
08:00am (next day)
II / SL / 3A / 2A / 1AEverydayVery rare, must be booked at least 40 days beforeRs.170 – Rs.2200
06:35am (next day)
II / SL / 3A / 2A / 1AEverydayVery rare, must be booked at least 40 days beforeRs.170 – Rs.2200
01:20am (next day)
II / SL / 3A / 2A / 1AEverydayVery rare, must be booked at least 30 days beforeRs.180 – Rs.2300
13141Teesta TorsaSDAH
02:00am (next day)
II / SL / 3A / 2AEverydayVery rare, must be booked at least 30 days beforeRs.170 – Rs.1300

Other trains are also available in similar route, please check the details here if required. All these trains are having dynamic fare so please check the exact fare during the time of booking, seat locations can’t be chosen manually so it’ll be random, also except Vande Bharat and Shatabdi all other trains tend to arrive late, even it can go up to 6 – 8hrs late sometimes so keep yourself prepared always. Make sure to reach the station at least 20 minutes before the trip start time.
For the return trains, please click here to check the details.

By Flight
This is the fastest option to reach, usually available even a day before but of course a bit costly. Bagdogra (IXB) is the nearest airport of Darjeeling and from Kolkata (CCU) airport it hardly takes 50 minutes to reach Bagdogra. Fare varies all the time depending on season, day of the week and how early / late you’re booking. Usual flights are (as on Apr, 2023);

Flight ByDeparting CCU atArriving IXB atFare Range per Person
SpiceJet11:00am / 02:50pm12:05pm / 04:00pmRs.3700 – Rs.8000
Indigo10:05am / 12:30pm11:05am / 01:45pmRs.3700 – Rs.16000
Air Asia08:45am / 09:55am12:15pm / 01:25pmRs.3700 – Rs.15000

It’s recommended to book the flights beforehand and there are many websites like MakeMyTrip, ClearTrip, GoIbibo, Ixigo etc. for online booking, and web check-in 24 hours before the trip is always a better idea to avoid rush at the airport, make sure to reach the airport at least 80 minutes before the trip start time.

By Bus
One can reach Siliguri by direct bus from different locations, plenty of daily buses are available from different districts and cities across states. If someone is travelling from Kolkata it’ll take 12 – 14 hours to reach Siliguri, online bookings are available from RedBus, MakeMyTrip, GoIbibo, AbhiBus etc. Tickets are usually available but always better to book at least 10 days prior to the trip, fare ranges from Rs.600 – Rs.1100 (Non-AC) and Rs.1200 – Rs.3500 (AC). Bus is a good option as those are frequent, easily available, pocket friendly and departs from many places so easy to access if train isn’t available or station is far, but travelling in bus for long hours can be hectic enough, especially if someone is having vomiting tendency or need to access washroom frequently then bus option is not recommended.

By Car
One can also reach Darjeeling directly by car from any location, it can be either by personal vehicle or by rented cab, and it can be the costliest option depending on the trip plan or vehicle type, also just like bus this is also not recommended if someone is having vomiting tendency or need to access washroom frequently. Car option is appropriate for long road trip enthusiasts and car owners who’ll be driving by themselves, and truly it can be a great road trip experience considering the overall road condition and scenic beauties. Few points to note if you’re planning for a road trip by car;

* If someone is travelling from Kolkata to Darjeeling, the shortest route is of 645km which takes around 18 hours including halts and without night stay. It’ll differ for different originating location.
* A round trip from Kolkata to Darjeeling by rented cab will cost around Rs.14000 – Rs.17000 (in hatchback / sedan) and Rs.17000 – Rs.26000 (in SUV) excluding driver’s hotel fare, sightseeing charges and toll taxes. It’ll differ for different originating location. It’ll be approximately Rs.3000 – Rs.4000 lesser in self-driven cars.
* Parking in Darjeeling is pretty difficult and majority of the hotels are not having sufficient parking spaces.
* Driving in hills are quite different from driving in plains. There are hundreds of hairpin turnings, blind spots, narrow and steep roads, few scary roads without guardrails, sudden slopping, cars passing in speed in narrow spiral roads, few bad and bumpy roads make it difficult enough for someone inexperienced in driving such roads. Considering the risk it’s recommended only for experienced drivers.
* One must carry sufficient repairing tool kits for breakdown situations, always pre-verify and service your car before any such long trips which must include tire condition and alignment checking, break and clutch checking and engine health assessment.
How to Reach Darjeeling (from NJP / Siliguri / Bagdogra)

From NJP to Darjeeling by Toy Train
One can reach Darjeeling from NJP station by toy train, let’s find out the pros and cons of this option;
1) Amazing and unmatched experience as this route is very beautiful
2) Heritage travel experience in iconic toy train which can definitely make the journey an awesome one

1) It’s very time consuming as it takes minimum of 8 hours to reach Darjeeling (84km) on an average speed of 12km/h.
2) Sometimes coaches won’t be having washrooms attached, while most of the time it’ll be there.
3) Seats are usually narrow and not very comfortable, can be difficult for such a long journey.

Seats are limited but usually available, ticket prices ranges between Rs.1200/- to Rs.1600/- per person. Sometimes the train gets cancelled so do check before booking.

Train No.Train NameDeparture fromArriving atClasses AvailableRunning OnTicket AvailabilityTicket Price Range per Person
52541NJP Darjeeling Passenger Toy TrainNew Jalpaiguri (NJP)
CC / FCEverydayAvailable, can be booked from NJP station or online from IRCTC / MMT websitesRs.1200 – Rs.1600
52539NJP Darjeeling AC Passenger Toy TrainNew Jalpaiguri (NJP)
EAMonday, Wednesday, SundayAvailable, can be booked from NJP station or online from IRCTC / MMT websitesRs.1300 – Rs.1600

From NJP / Bagdogra / Siliguri to Darjeeling by Bus
This is probably the cheapest option to reach Darjeeling. Tourists can avail shared auto from NJP station to Siliguri which will cost Rs.30/- per person and can be reached within 10 minutes, then from Siliguri Tenzing Norgay bus terminus the Govt. buses by NBSTC will be available which will cost around Rs.110/- per person from Siliguri to Darjeeling Railway station via Kurseong and it’ll

take around 3:30 hours to reach, fare might go upto Rs.180/- if the bus takes the route via Mirik and that’ll take around 5 hours to reach. Buses are very frequent and easily available, book the tickets from Siliguri Bus stand NBSTC ticket counters.
From Bagdogra to Darjeeling direct buses by GTA are available but those are not easily available and seats are very limited; from Bagdogra to Siliguri direct car / auto are usually not available as it’s about 16km away, but even if available it’ll cost around Rs.100/- to Rs.200/- per person from Bagdogra to Siliguri. Other way is to take a shared auto from Bagdogra to Bihar more which will take 10 – 15 minutes and will cost around Rs.50/- per person, then from Bihar more to Siliguri buses / shared autos are available which will take another 10 minutes and costs around Rs.30/- per person.
In spite of being the cheapest option, bus journey is not very comfortable due to narrow seats, less storage spaces for luggage, minimum halts, no drinking water or bathroom facility and at times the bus gets very crowded as local residents also avail these buses for daily commutes.

From NJP / Bagdogra / Siliguri to Darjeeling by Shared / Private Cabs
This is the most popular and convenient / comfortable option to reach Darjeeling, from NJP station / Bagdogra airport / Siliguri stand cabs will be easily available. There are pre-paid taxi counters available at NJP station / Bagdogra airport which offer decent cab services at reasonable rates, other drivers usually charge a minimum of Rs.300/- to Rs.500/- extra compared to these pre-paid taxi which the tourists need to bargain, and sometimes the pre-paid taxi won’t be readily available. Usual fare ranges from Rs.2000/- to Rs.2500/- in small hatchbacks / sedans, and Rs.2700/- to Rs.3300/- in SUVs from NJP / Siliguri / Bagdogra to Darjeeling via Kurseong which will take 3 hours to reach; it’ll be Rs.500/- to Rs.1000/- extra if the ‘via Mirik’ route is availed which usually takes 4 hours to 5 hours to reach. Before starting, make sure the driver agrees to drop till hotel (if on road) as by default they drop only till taxi stand, and do carry some drinking water / food. Below are few contacts of some reliable drivers, do contact them beforehand if needed, they can provide good cab services (even sightseeing packages at reasonable rate) at comparatively decent rates;

Moktan (Wagon-R) – 7478049766 / 8388899151Premba – 6296650942Bablu Ray (Swift Dezire) – 8927396788
Samdi Puran – 9564552007Nandu (Innova) – 9733043397Madan (Sumo) – 9733444225
Rohit – 9749948328Pappu Sen – 8101328385S Khan – 8617409404
Niranjan – 6297686569Indra Subba – 9933837994Sunil – 9339930149
Hotels in Darjeeling

Just like any other popular tourist places, Darjeeling is also having thousands of hotels and home stays so getting one is not at all difficult, hence even if someone is visiting without pre-booking a hotel it won’t be difficult to find one, but for a perfect stay at your preferred location or hotel pre-booking is must, as these days even in off seasons there will be plenty of tourists there.
Below is a checklist containing the important factors to consider before finalizing you hotel;

  • Distance from Darjeeling Mall
  • Distance from Taxi Stand / main road
  • Distance from the popular food joints / café like Keventer’s, Glenary’s, Kunga, Dekevas, KFC
  • Distance from restaurants serving Bengali food / thali like Padma, Mahakal, Chanakya, Sholo Ana Bangali
  • Room tariff (recommended to negotiate all the time, even during pre-booking, call the hotel directly for discounts)
  • Amount to be paid in advance and refund policy (during pre-booking, amount must not be greater than 50% of the total billing amount)
  • Whether parking is available (if travelling by own vehicle)
  • Availability of sufficient hot running water (during all seasons)
  • Availability of room heater (during winter / spring seasons)
  • Availability of hill view rooms (optional, depends on personal choice and budget)
  • Availability of lift / elevators (optional, might be required for senior citizen tourists)
  • Availability of balcony (optional, might be required for quick cloth drying)
  • Complimentary services (example: drinking water, breakfast, room services etc.)
Best Hotels in Darjeeling / Hotels near Darjeeling Mall

Darjeeling Mall is the center of attraction for tourists visiting Darjeeling, as it’s a wide area with clear view of mountains, valley and Mt. Kanchanjangha during clear weathers and plenty of places to seat, along with markets, street foods, horse riding, artificial fountains and many other options to explore. Popular food joints, taxi stands are also nearby to the Mall, hence I personally recommend to choose a hotel near to the mall. This Darjeeling Mall area looks something like below;

Below are the details of few of the popular hotels in Darjeeling, room tariff varies greatly from season to season and based on room category (like standard / executive / suite / hill view etc.) hence do contact the hotel for details before booking.

Hotel NameContact NumberTariff Range (Rs.)Distance from MallCategoryLocationFeatures
Sunflower03542253358 / 98320615452000 – 6500at MallPremiumBeside Tibet Arts, MallNearest to Mall, hill view rooms are very limited, mostly occupied so must be pre-booked
Jolly Inn8250316599 (WhatsApp)1500 – 4500at MallBudgetBeside Jolly Arts, MallBalcony available in few rooms, no restaurant or room services but outside food is allowed, beautiful hill views
Moon7011172229 / 98352693431200 – 3500at MallBudgetBeside Mall Police Out PostIn house Bengali restaurant, limited hill view rooms
Chalet03542254027 / 70014414261400 – 4000at MallBudgetMallBalcony available in few rooms, heritage hotel so modern amenities are missing, hill views available
Bellevue9800667148 / 89671830951800 – 6000at MallMid-PremiumBeside fountain, MallIn house restaurant Arra, modern amenities are less, hill views available
Sonali7439181827 / 98302353811000 – 300050 metersBudgetAt Dr. Zakir Hussain roadIn house Bengali restaurant, limited hill view rooms
Udaan Nirvana9555033033 / 99333554052500 – 600065 metersPremiumBelow Mall after Jolly InnPure Veg restaurant and room services, beautiful hotel with great views
Windamere03542254041 / 03542254042 / 96473833499000 – 35000150 metersLuxuryBehind the statue of Bhanu BhaktaCostly, car allowed till hotel entrance, steep inclined entrance of 100 meters, heritage hotel, excellent hill views
Alice Villa03542254181 / 03542258640 / 70764907152800 – 7000210 metersPremiumBeside The ElginCar allowed till hotel entrance, limited hill views, in house restaurant
The Elgin03340646300 / 03542257226, 035422572278000 – 20000230 metersLuxuryAt Gandhi road, at the end of New Mall MarketCostly, car allowed till hotel entrance, steep decline entrance of 50 meters, excellent heritage hotel with great hill views
Yashshree Mall Road8744857070 / 7477796107 / 83730625762000 – 6000350 metersPremiumBetween Central Heritage and The Elgin, on roadCar allowed till hotel entrance, lift and Spa available, limited hill view rooms, 2 restaurants available (Noor Biriyani)
Central Heritage79470443302500 – 7000400 metersPremiumAfter taxi stand towards Yashshree Mall RoadCar allowed till hotel entrance, limited hill view rooms, heritage hotel
Shivam NX / Shivam / Mahakal03542252099 / 94348111332000 – 4500400 – 450 metersMid-PremiumBehind Keventer’sCar allowed till hotel entrance, balcony available with excellent views (Mahakal / Shivam NX), famous in house Bengali restaurant Mahakal
Chanakya8159834477 / 81598344621800 – 4500400 metersBudgetBeside Hotel MahakalCar allowed till hotel entrance, in house Bengali restaurant, limited hill view rooms
Lunnar97493619872500 – 6500400 metersMid-PremiumNear Keventer’s and above famous Dekevas restaurantCar allowed till hotel entrance, hill views available, no lift, limited rooms
Deckling96797340482500 – 6000400 metersBudgetAbove Hotel LunnarHill views available, no lift so difficult to reach, limited rooms
Charlie7980679524 / 98361656201500 – 5500450 metersBudgetAt taxi standHill view rooms available, nice in house restaurant
Ramada035435400007000 – 16000450 metersLuxuryBeside Clock Tower and taxi standCostly, car allowed till hotel entrance, lift Spa and swimming pool available, hill view rooms available
R.J Resorts03542258411/ 03542259411 / 70018124403000 – 6500500 metersPremiumBeside Little Tibet resortCar allowed till hotel entrance, hill view rooms available, a little far from Mall
The Revett8250324723 / 81014317371500 – 6000500 metersPremiumBeside Clock Tower, on main roadCar allowed till hotel entrance, limited hill view rooms, new and clean resort, a little far from Mall
Little Tibet9732670717 / 03542259877 / 035422598782500 – 7000550 metersPremiumNear Raj Bhavan, on main roadCar allowed till hotel entrance, great hill views available, beautiful resort, a little far from Mall
Hermitage8250052659 / 035422540493000 – 8000600 metersPremiumNear Raj Bhavan, adjacent to Café House DarjeelingVery famous resort, excellent hill views available, attached Café House, quite far from Mall
The Retreat03542256225 / 81018159353000 – 9000600 metersPremiumBeside Hermitage resortFamous resort but services need improvements, excellent hill views available, balcony available in few rooms, quite far from Mall
Dolphin7679081988 / 98307910642500 – 5500630 metersMid-PremiumBeside Hermitage resortFamous hotel but old, excellent hill views available, quite far from Mall
Viceroy03335442130 / 03335442131 / 03542256165 / 035422595564000 – 13000650 metersLuxuryNear clock tower, after RamadaCostly, car allowed till hotel entrance, lift available, hill view rooms available
Sightseeing in Darjeeling

The beautiful ‘Queen of Hills’ looks amazing from every corner, so just visiting the mall, having some fun moments with friends or family or solo, tasting some nice dishes and street food, random shopping and exploring nearby can be sufficient for a quick vacation. Nevertheless there are plenty of sightseeing spots in Darjeeling and nearby, but choose wisely which spots to visit and which can be skipped as sightseeing can be costly based on the plan chosen. I’m sharing a comprehensive guide below which can help you making your choices…

Peace Pagoda

Sightseeing Spots (Must Visit)
1) Peace Pagoda and Japanese Temple
2) Batasia Loop (ticket Rs.20/ person)
3) Ghum Monastery
4) Mahakal Temple
5) Happy Valley Tea Garden or Orange Valley Tea Garden
6) Rock Garden and Ganga Maya park – Usually extra chargeable with existing package, but amazing parks with fountain & boating options.

Sightseeing Spots (Optional)
1) Tiger Hills – Can be an amazing experience only if there is clear sky which is quite rare, otherwise it’ll feel like a normal sunrise.
2) Ropeway – Depends on personal choice, charges Rs.260/adult for 5km and 40mins round trip, views can be amazing if weather is clear, long waiting at queue.
3) Toy Train – Depends on personal choice, charges Rs.1000 (diesel) / Rs.1500 (steam) for 40mins round trip and halts at Batasia Loop and Ghum station, views are ordinary.

Pine Forest, Lepchajagat

4) Darjeeling Zoo and Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) – Depends on personal choice, charges Rs.60 / person, takes lots of time to cover the entire zoo up to 2.5 – 3 hours but Red Panda is worth watching, HMI is good if someone is interested to explore some activities like zipline, rope walking etc., charges Rs.80 – Rs.210 / person.

Sightseeing Spots (Non-Local, Far from the Main City)
1) Lepchajagat – This beautiful sightseeing spot is 15km away from Darjeeling Mall which takes about 40mins to reach by car, costs around Rs.2000 – Rs.3000/car. This is full of pine forests, comparatively silent and remote with couple of nice viewpoints.
2) Tinchuley-Tukdah-Lamhutta – Another beautiful sightseeing spots which come under a single tour package, around 28km away from Darjeeling Mall which takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach & about 5- 6hours to cover all 3 points and nearby spots, costs around Rs.3000 – Rs.4000/car. Great landscapes, forests, eco parks, lakes and amazing mountain peaks are the main attractions of this package.
3) Chatakpur – A spectacular sightseeing spot which is around 25km away from Darjeeling Mall, takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach, costs around Rs.3500 – Rs.4500/car and only bigger cars and SUVs are allowed here, no small cars. Dense forest, villages in the mountain, mesmerizing landscapes, black water ponds called ‘Kalipokhri’, several viewpoints including clear views of Sandakphu, natural water falls, watch towers and Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary (pre-permission required) are the points of attractions here. It’s recommended to spend at least a night or two here to cover or experience this location fully, a day trip can be hectic and insufficient.

Sightseeing Spots (Far / Offbeat, Night Stay Recommended)
1) Kurseong – Not particularly a ‘sightseeing spot’ from Darjeeling, but many tourists like to spend a day or two in Kurseong as part of the Darjeeling trip. At about 31km from Darjeeling Mall which takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach for Rs.2000 – Rs.2500/car, Kurseong is an amazing tourist location with lots of sightseeing points around including Margaret’s Deck café, Toy Train, Victoria school, haunted forest and Church, Hanuman Tak view point, Chimney village, Netaji Museum and many more.
2) Kalimpong – 52km from Darjeeling Mall, takes 2 hours & 30 minutes to reach, costs around Rs.3000 – Rs.4000/car, one way.
3) Sittong – 54km from Darjeeling Mall, takes 2 hours & 50 minutes to reach, costs around Rs.3500 – Rs.4500/car, one way.
4) Bijanbari – 24km from Darjeeling Mall, takes 1 hours & 30 minutes to reach, costs around Rs.2500 – Rs.3000/car, one way (or round trip for day trip).
4) Mirik – 40km from Darjeeling Mall, famous for the ‘Mirik Lake’ and tea gardens, takes 2 hours & 30 minutes to reach, costs around Rs.2500 – Rs.3500/car, one way. Many tourists prefer to visit here while returning to NJP or coming from NJP, that way Mirik Lake and tea garden get covered, but for other spots nearby or someone wishing to spend nights here are also good plan to explore Mirik.

That’s the end of this tour guide! I know it’s massive, but it covers each and every details you need to know, like a one-stop-shop; hope this post will help you to make a great tour plan! Please share this post with others, and feel free to drop your suggestions, thoughts, appreciations or feedback in the below comment section.