Darjeeling Sightseeing Tours


What to expect

If you are planning to experience some of the lovely tourist places and vistas in and around Darjeeling, you will need to plan a tour, preferably a guided or a conducted tour. Depending on what you want to see and how much time you have, there are several options of sightseeing in Darjeeling. 
Exploring Darjeeling by car 
Most tourists come here for short vacations, take the local half day sightseeing tours that are known as 3-point, 5-point, 7-point and mixed-point tours covering preset points or tourist places in and around the hill town. These local sightseeing packages offered by taxi drivers and local tour operators are most popular amongst tourists. And an experience which is seldom missed is a toy train joy ride. 
But, if you want to get deeper into the magical attractions of Darjeeling hills, then your next step would be to take a scenic drive to one of the many amazing places close to Darjeeling, enjoy the bounty of nature like wonderful mountain landscapes, drive by the rolling tea gardens &áquaint villages, watch waterfalls &álakes etc and come back after spending a day of great joy &áfulfillment... there are many such fascinating day trips from Darjeeling. 
There are also tours &ásafaris to national parks &ásanctuaries which are habitats of amazing and rare Himalayan high-altitude animals. Some tour operators have started offering Village Tourism. If you like to exlore heritage and historical buildings and monuments in Darjeeling, you can take a heritage walk of the town to visit many historical places that reflect the life &áculture of British Raj days. 
Tea Tourism is increasingly becoming popular that includes staying at original tea planters' bungalows that retain the colonial aura (or alternatively stay at tea garden worker's home stays) and get opportunities to explore tea garden life including tea plucking, factory visit to witness tea processing, local culture, and of course relishing fresh aromatic Darjeeling tea. 

Local Package Tours in Darjeeling

These are short half-day tours covering sunrise views, monasteries &átemples, art &ácraft, museums, zoo, tea gardens, parks, ropeway rides and more. These are the most popular sightseeing tours with the common tourists and provide a quick flavor of Darjeeling. There are several preset packages offered with various combinations of the sites and attractions, and are accordingly named as 3-point, 5-point, 7-point tours depending on number of sites covered. You can choose the ones you like. 
All taxi drivers offer such tours. But conditions of taxis could be quite bad at times, and the drivers may ask for arbitrary price depending on demand. For better experience, you should go through a good tour operator who can provide a good car of your choice and a driver.  

Toy Train Joy Rides &áServices

There are regular 2-hour joy rides offered by Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR) on its toy trains from Darjeeling. The narrow gauge train with steam engine makes a round trip to Ghum via Batasia loop and back. This is a scenic ride offering great views of Darjeeling landscapes and the Eastern Himalayan snow peaks. This tour by Toy Train is extremely popular with tourists. Many visitors who can't take the 7-hours long toy train ride from New Jalpaiguri to reach Darjeeling, take this short ride. 
Toy train at Batasia loop, Darjeeling 
Toy train at Batasia Darjeeling 
The train stops at Batasia loop for 10 minutes so that you can soak in the views of the town and Kanchenjunga snow peaks forming the backdrop. The garden at Batasia is also very charming. There is also a Gorkha war memorial here at the center. At Ghum station the train halts for a while so that you can take a look at the Ghum museum (entry ticket included in joyride price) before returning. 
You should book toy train seats well in advance as the capacity is limited and demand can be very high in tourist seasons. Although the DHR increases number of trains during high season, almost all trains get full with long waitlist queues. Morning trains have higher demands because chances of getting great views of Kanchenjunga is higher in the morning. Indian nationals can book seats through the Indian Railways website irctc.co.in, alternatively all can book through local tour operators. 

Day Trips &áTours From Darjeeling

Although Darjeeling town is small, the district of Darjeeling spans over more than 1,200 square miles of area (including Kalimpong which is now a separate district) and includes majestic mountains &ávalleys, beautiful tea gardens, lakes, waterfalls, forests, villages and more. 
So you have great opportunities to take lovely scenic drives to some amazing places where you can spend the day, have lunch &ásnacks, enjoy the scenery and return, or even stay back if you like. Some of the great day trips from Darjeeling includes drive to Mirik, Kalimpong, Lamahatta, Namchi etc. 
Mirik Lake 
Mirik lake from western bank 
Mirik is about 2.5 hours from Darjeeling and famous for its central lake, has nice restaurants and children's entertainment like horseback riding, fish feeding etc). Kalimpong is about 2 hours drive and offers lovely scenic views including that of Kanchenjunga. It has several great monasteries, temples, view points, flower nurseries etc. 
Lamahatta is a relatively new tourist place which is run by the villagers. Apart from lovely Kanchenjunga views, there is a wonderful garden by the roadside with many different plantations, flowers etc. Namchi is part of Sikkim but can be easily reached from Darjeeling. It has become well known as a religious and cultural tourism place. It's full with grand temples and places of worship. 
While most taxi drivers at the taxi stands would offer these day trips (and not follow any standard rates), it is better to go through a proper local tour operator who can provide a car in good condition with a knowledgeable driver. Price would be higher but definitely worth considering. 

Heritage Walk of Darjeeling

Very few people know that there is a self-guided walking tour to explore the rich heritage and history of Darjeeling. During the colonial days of 1800s and early 1900s, the British have left behind many heritage landmarks. They built schools, parks, museums &ámonuments as they converted miles of raw forests in Darjeeling hills into a natural holiday resort &ásanitarium, and laid thousands of acres of tea plantations to make it a place for world's best aromatic tea. All these along with the people, flora and fauna, the landscapes and majestic mountains are integral part of Darjeeling's heritage. 

Sandakphu and Phalut by Jeep

Not many can trek the steep routes of Sandakphu and Phalut. But anybody who loves mountains and the snow peaks, will love to make it to these places once in a lifetime. Where else can you view four of the five highest peaks of the world? A great way to do that is to take a jeep safari. 
Kanchenjunga view from Sandakphu 
Kanchenjunga from Sandakphu 
You need to plan an overnight stay at Sandakphu or some place along the way like Tumling. Phalut will ideally require one more day. Tour operators in Darjeeling can arrange for this Jeep safari. If you go down to Manebhanjan which is about 1 hour 20 minutes drive from Darjeeling, there are old British Land Rovers which can be hired to make a trip to Sandakphu and Phalut. 
Due to high altitude of Sandakphu &áPhalut (12,000ft), routes are often not accessible by vehicles in winter due to heavy snow. You should be prepared with heavy woolens. 

Jeep Safari To National Parks

Singalila National Park 
Spread across the Singalila range, this high altitude national park can be accessed from Manebhanjan which is located 26kms from Darjeeling town. This is one of the stunningly beautiful parks that offers plethora of flora &áfauna, and breathtaking view of the Himalayan snow peaks. 
There are numerous types of orchids, rhododendrons, magnolia, primula and many other flowers that bloom in abundance during the season. You will pass through forests of thick bamboo, oaks and silver firs. The reserved forest area has many exotic and rare high altitude animals like Red Panda and Pangolins that you see only in the books.  
Red Panda at Singalila 
The park has over 120 species of birds. And you will get rare opportunity to view some of highest peaks of the world including Everest and Kanchenjunga family. However this tour will take 2-3 days to complete. Know about the complete description of the national park, how to reach, best time to go, where to stay and many other details. 
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary 
This 158 square kilometer dense forest across varying altitude is full of exotic wildlife, lush vegetation and plethora of birds. From Darjeeling you need to go down to the southern gate of the forest which is located at Sukna (about 2.5 hours drive one-way) and then enter the jungle. You should ideally take a petrol vehicle like a Jeep/Gypsy although diesel vehicles like Sumo are also allowed. The forest authorities provide guides but not vehicles. You need to use the vehicle that you bring from Darjeeling. 
Dirt trail through Mahananda WLS 
Mahananda WLS has over 330 types of flora, more than 35 species of wildlife (including elephants, Indian bisons, deers, wild boars etc) and over 240 species of birds. The sanctuary is part of the elephant migration zone. The total safari route inside the forest is for 8kms (out of which 6kms is paved way) and it takes about 2-3 hours for the safari. 

Tea Garden Tours &áStay

Tea tourism is about spending a few days in a sprawling tea estate, staying in original planter's bungalows that offer British colonial ambience, walking through the tea gardens to experience garden life, visiting the factory to watch tea processing, and tasting some of the greatest teas the garden offers to the world. 
Bungalow in a Darjeeling Tea Garden (Singtom) 
Singtom Tea Estate  áResort 
And all these can be combined with nature &ávillage walks, day trips to nearby sites and view points, witnessing ethnic cultural dance &ámusical performances by the local villagers, and enjoying many other nature activities including even wildlife safaris and white water rafting. Sounds interesting? 

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Visitors' Reviews/Comments

Ayan Acharyya (November 2022) 
On 12th December, 2022, we are planning to go to Darjeeling. On that very day I need a short sight-seeing plan inside Darjeeling. I prefer to go to Cable-car (ropeway). What else I can add. Say, we will start at 1PM. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) November 2022 
Depending on the time remaining (there can be long waits at the ropeway ticket counter), you can visit one or two nearby attractions such as HMI/Zoo, Tenzing Rock, Lebong Tea Garden, Tibetan Self Help Refugee Centre. 
Alaka Medhi (September 2022) 
Dear Raj, I would like to appreciate your help towards people once again. Kindly help me again. Actually I am confused, which one is better for me, to sightseeing by own car or by local taxi. With thanks 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2022 
Hello, you can do local sightseeing by your own car using Google Maps to get directions, but only if you get a mobile tower, which can be a big problem at some places in the hills. And at some sites, you might find parking issues as well which the taxi drivers manage. There are a few sites like Tiger Hill in Darjeeling where no vehicle is allowed other than local taxis/commercial vehicles. So, using a local taxi will avoid all these hassles... the only issue here is, you will need to follow their timings and won't have the flexibility to spend time at sites as you like. A vehicle &ádriver taken from a local tour operator or your hotel is likely to have some flexibility, but the cost will be higher. 
Swadhin Banerjee (October 2021) 
Hi Raj, Can I do Rock garden park &áGanga Maya park Vs áLamahatta , Tinchuley, Takdha excursion in a single day? Which one do you recommend? I am hearing from some tour operator that Rock garden is not maintained well, is it true? 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2021 
Hi, Rock Garden is the way it has always been... you wish it was maintained better, but that being said, it is quite okay. The two day-trips you mentioned offer two different experiences, so can not be really compared. For Takdah, Tinchuley etc you need a full day and should start early, while Rock Garden/Ganga Maya Park is a half-day trip... you can do boating at Ganga Maya Park... it's more like a family picnic place. The Takdah Tinchuley route is presently closed due to landslides... clearing work is ongoing. 
U Rao (December 2020) 
Hi! Raj, We are a group of some 8 families, of about 20 persons, who generally travel together. Are 24-25 seater mini buses allowed in Darjeeling and surrounding areas for sightseeing? Also how much in advance would bookings be required to be made to ensure good accommodation with sufficient capacity? 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) December 2020 
Hi, there is no restriction to use private mini-coaches in Darjeeling as such. However, due to narrow roads, roadside parking is not allowed in Darjeeling town. Under normal circumstances and during high seasons (i.e. April to mid-June and October to End-December) most good hotels get full almost 3 months in advance. However, in the current situation, although demands have recently started to surge, you may still be able to get good accommodations within 30-45 days. 
Sk Sahid Hossain (September 2020) 
Hello, Raj, first of all thank you so much for the information about Darjeeling, it has helped me to plan my first trip to Darjeeling. We are a four people group, visiting from 23 October to 28 October. I have made plan like you have described in your itinerary. I have just one query. I want to book a car or a taxi which would include the 3 point, mixed points trip and also a day trip to Kalimpong. I want book just the same car for three day or four days. Which agency or tour operator should I contact? It will be very helpful if you could help with information. Thank you. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2020 
Hello, You can go through this tour operators page where I have discussed several credible operators in Darjeeling. You can choose the one you get a good deal from. Ashmita has been quite consistent in the past. They can offer a complete package starting from pick up and drop at the station/airport. Having said that, all are slowly trying to get their feet back on the ground after the prolonged lockdown period, so expect them to be slow in response. Also, note that in Darjeeling, the car won't stay with you at nights... they will go back and report next morning. If you want the same car and the same driver, you must insist and get a confirmation on that in writing, otherwise, it could be different cars on different days depending on your tour plan. 
Rajib Paul (September 2020) 
I want to go to Dhotrey, Chitrey, Tonglu by car, not Trekking. We are three, all adults. This is my plan á- 
1st day - Dhotrey straight from New Jalpaiguri taking a hired car. I shall stay there for two nights. 
3rd day - Leave Dhotrey and go for Chitrey. I shall stay here for one night. 
4th day - Leave Chitrey and go for Tonglu or Tumling depending on Tonglu Trekkers' Hut accommodation. I shall stay here for two nights. 
6th day - Leave Tonglu and go for New Jalpalguri. 
Now, my questions - 
1) Is this plan okay? I don't want to go to Sandakphu, because I have heard that the road condition is not good for car after Gairibas. 
2) for Dhotre to Chitre how can I get car? I have to go to Manebhanjan by a local car and from Manabhanjan I have to take Landrover for Chitrey and Tonglu, isn't áit? The car from New Jalpaiguri will only drop us at Dhotrey, will not say with us. 
3) If I want to trek from Dhotrey to Tonglu, is it required to take a guide, porter and permission from Manebhanjan or I can get them from Dhotre? Thank you. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2020 
The plan is okay but little odd... not sure why do you want to go to Dhotrey and stay for two nights without trekking. In any case, from Dhotrey you need to get a local car and get to Manebhanjan and then take a landrover for Chitrey and Tonglu. Up to Tonglu and Tumling, there is no guide or porter required, you can trek on your own. If you still want a guide and/or a porter, you can get it from Guide and Porter Association at Dhotrey. 
Rajesh Dalmia (February 2020) 
I want to visit Darjeeling on or about 11th April 2020 for 3/4 days. I am an old man around 77 years old and not able to walk much and shall request you to guide me what I can see and enjoy in Darjeeling in this time. Regards, 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) February 2020 
Hello, firstly, try to keep a car for yourself to get around Darjeeling... most roads have steep gradients, so it won't be easy to walk and most sightseeing spots require some walk except a few. You can take the 2-hour round trip toy train joy ride from Darjeeling station. Batasia Loop is the highlight of this ride. Book the ticket in advance (one can book online through irctc website, take someone's help if you can't manage it yourself). 
Another day you can visit Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center. This is a handicraft center set up by Tibetans refugees who fled from Tibet during the Chinese invasion and took refuge here in Darjeeling. On your way back, see the Tenzing Rock by the roadside... this is where Tenzing Norgay used to practise rock climbing. As you return, you can also visit Happy Valley Tea Estate and see tea processing in the factory... the full factory walk can be cumbersome because there are stairs to climb as well. You can buy great quality packaged tea from the factory outlet (don't buy from the stalls outside... they are often fake). 
The Mall (locally known as Chowrasta) is the town center and is a pedestrian zone. Cars can not go up to that point, but not seeing that would mean not feeling the heart of the town. Ask the car to drop you at Gorkha Bhavan. You can then walk for about 5-6 minutes along Mall road (relatively flat terrain here) and reach the Mall... it's an open public square. Sit on a bench and do some people watching and soak in the lively ambience... there are lots of shops lining the Mall. 
You can make a half-day trip to Lamahatta, a small hamlet about 1 hour from Darjeeling. There is a wonderful manicured roadside garden fringed with dhupi and pine forests. You can relax and watch the scenic views around and that of Kanchenjunga snow peaks. 
If you are more adventurous, make a full day trip to Mirik (2.5 hours one-way) and see lovely tea estates and viewpoints along the way and spend some time at Mirik lake, have lunch at Hotel Jagjeet (in Mirik) and return... on your way back you can also visit Jorpokhri... another nice lake. Regards, 
Banasree Nath (February 2020) 
Hi! First of all I want to appreciate you for what you are doing. It's a great help for us. I wanted to ask if the local sightseeing can be done on shared jeep in February 2020. We 2 friends have planned for 2 days 1 night Darjeeling plan this February. We have a tight budget so we are not able to book private cars .. please help. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) February 2020 
Hi, the shared jeeps/cabs for local sightseeing tours are usually not available in low season such as February because there are not enough tourists to avail that. However, you can walk to several attractions in Darjeeling (if you stay near the Mall area or town centre). You can also take the shared Jeeps from Chowk Bazaar area that ply to various destinations, and visit places like Batasia Loop, Ghum Station, Samten Choling Monastery (Ghum), Ropeway, HMI/Zoo, Tenzing Rock etc. 
Vivek Menon (March 2019) 
Hi Raj, áFirst of all, I want to congratulate you on the amazing job you are doing here. I am planning to visit Darjeeling for my honeymoon between Sept 7 to 10, 2019. I will arrive on Sept 7th morning and will leave on Sept 10th morning. So basically I have 3 full days. I am planning to visit the below places during this time. Do you think I should add/remove any places?  
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Tiger hill, Batasia Loop, War Memorial, Japanese Peace pagoda, Himalayan mountaineering Institute, Rock Garden , Singalila National Park, Observatory hill, Darjeeling Ropeway, Ghoom Monastery, Happy Valley Tea Estate, Bengal Natural History Museum, Tinchuley, Padmaja Naidu Zoo, Rafting in the River Teesta. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2019 
Hi, Singalila National PArk is closed between June 15 - Sep 15 during monsoon. You can take local 3 point and 7 point sightseeing tours to cover most of the places you mentioned below. Visiting only Tinchuley is not a great idea, also combine Lamahatta roadside garden with it. Rafting on Teesta is currently not operational following an accident which took place sometime back. 
Mayukh Dey (March 2019) 
Hi, you made a wonderful job by this website. I have a question, can you tell me Raj where will I get a rental motorbike or cycle in Darjeeling town ? 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2019 
You can get it at the company Adventures Unlimited located on Zakir Hussain road (near Mall). 
Bharat Rohilla (December 2018) 
Hi Raj, Thanks a ton for providing all the info one need before visiting Darjeeling. Appreciate this. Me &ámy wife are planning to visit Darjeeling for 4 nights. our hotel is at 6, Rock Ville Road, Near Telephone Exchange, Darjeeling. from where we are planning to cover rock garden, tiger hill and Japanese pagoda by taxi and planning to cover Zoo, History Museum, Happy Valley tea estate, Rope-way, Mall road, Observatory hill, Mahakal temple, Nightingale park, Bhutia Basti Monastery by walk. So just wanted to check with you as you are the most familiar person is it feasible? and from rope way we are planning to go to love road.  
Just wanted to check are there any safety concerns which we should take care while going on love road alone? and is it safe to roam around in Darjeeling even if we are going on a narrow road where there are not much of people. Request you to please guide us. Also, if we are going for joy ride can we get down on a station and do they allow us to catch next train or we need to go via same train in which we came? Awaiting your response. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) December 2018 
Several places you mentioned would require long arduous walks... hope you are used to that. Ropeway is currently closed and there is no immediate signs of it reopening. There is no safety issue as such during the day time. Love Road is usually quite deserted and may give you an eerie feeling... you may consider visiting in a group. In general, you should avoid walks on lonely routes with a lady, particularly after dark. In Joy Rides, you can not change trains. 
Abhijit Majumdar (April 2018) 
I would like to add that everybody should beware of some impostors claiming to belong to some tour operators or having their own vehicle. I came across one such cheater named Amit Rai, just where the road from Sinclairs Hotel merged with the main road. He charged Rs. 100/- as advance for booking to go to Tiger Hill and promised áto come at 4am on 31.03.2018. He did not turn up at all. At 4am his phones were found to be switched off. His mobile no.s are 8768238848/ 7001419189. I would request Darjeeling Tourism to circulate the no. in some of their caution list so that other people may become aware of these cheats. Thanks Darjeeling Tourism for being with us and guiding us. 
Manjari Chattopadhyay (January 2018) 
Is it possible to cover 3 point tour,toy train ride and 7 point tour in same day? 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) January 2018 
Possible but it can get very hectic and tiring, and you need to carefully time the three tours. 
Michio Sato (December 2017) 
Mr. Raj Bhattacharya, Thank you for your prompt reply. May I ask you two more áquestions ? 
1. Following day of our arrival at Hotel Mount Royale on 16 Jan'18, we would like to go to Tiger Hill to see sun rise. Is it easy to get transport or should we pre-arrange vehicle ? áand around what time should we depart in this season ? 
2. On same day after return from tiger hill and rishing breakfast, we want to enjoy to ride steam Toy Train from Darjeeling stn to Ghum departing around 1030am. Can we (4adults)buy tickets on same day ? Best regards and thank you, 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) December 2017 
Shreyasi Goswami (June 2017) 
Hello Raj, this is by far the best source of information on Darjeeling tourism! So many of my queries were answered. I needed some information on toy train. If I have one full day for Darjeeling sightseeing, can I include the toy train ride in my itinerary? I'm interested in Diesel engine train only (Darjeeling-Ghoom-Darjeeling). 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) June 2017 
Hello, start your day sightseeing early and take the last available diesel toy train ride (ask the driver to drop you at Darjeeling station on time at the end of your sightseeing trip). 
Ojas Tayal (January 2017) 
Respected Sir, My friends and I were planning a road trip this January and wanted to know if we can take rented cars to and roam within Darjeeling with them. Are there any restrictions and if so what kind of permission is needed to overcome them? Regards. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) January 2017 
Self driven rented cars are hard to find in Darjeeling area. But you can rent a car with a driver from a tour operator and roam around in most parts of Darjeeling district without restrictions. 
Avijit Banerjee (July 2016) 
Hello Raj. My visit to Darjeeling from 28/5/16 to 2/6/16 was simply awesome. Actually what I did was, planned a tour for myself after going through your writings vividly. I fulfilled most of my dreams, rode the toy train, from Darjeeling to Ghum (3.35PM), visited the Ghum museum, wrote my comments there, overwhelmed to visit the Old Monastery. An interesting episode occurred. At Mall the 102 birth centenary of Tenzing Norgay was going on, where I met his niece, Mrs. A. Sherpa. She told the experiences how she guided a group of German mountaineers upto base camp-2 enroute to Everest. Hair raising - a lifetime sacrosanct memory. 
I would definitely recommend all tourist to go Observatory Hill áand see the sunrise as well as sunset. The road to Mirik, and Simana was great. Even I could see the Red Panda playing in the zoo. I took a fabulous vedeo of the lovely one. My child 4.5 yrs jumped with glee. Visited Rock Garden and spent some time there, one would really feel relaxed out there. 
I am going again around April17, for some off beat tour, but with a Darjeeling Card this time. Raj, You have done a wonderful job not only helping the tourists, but beholding the beauty of Nature with lot of passion and respect. 
Ashish Acharyya (July 2016) 
Hi Raj, I am visiting Darjeeling in Oct-2016. I will stay there for 5-6 hrs and travel back to NJP by shared conveyance in the evening. I'll be there from 10 am to 3pm. What all places should I visit. Also, is it worth visiting Tiger Hill during the day? I wanted to see the Kanchenjunga. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) July 2016 
Hi, get off at Batasia on your way and see the loop. Take a shared jeep from there to Darjeeling. Visit HMI/Zoo and Japanese Temple &áPeace Pagoda. Get to the Mall (Chowrasta). You can see Kanchenjunga from the Mall Road viewing areas. Walk up to Mahakal Temple on top of Observatory Hill. Get back to Mall and enjoy the scenes around. Take a walk along Nehru Road (full of shops). 
Murali (June 2016) 
We as a family of four with two kids are planning for a trip to Sikkim and Darjeeling in December this year. áWe have one day in Darjeeling. We would like to go to tiger hill to see sunrise and nearby points, do local sightseeing and take toy train joyride. Is it possible to cover these in one day? Can we take the 4pm toy train in the evening in winter? Will there be visibility? Thanks in advance 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) June 2016 
Yes possible. It would get dark half way through the toy train ride. They can change the winter timings though. 
Nita (September 2015) 
Hello Raj, this site is really informative. Thanks for that. We are planning to visit Darjeeling on 19 th November . It is possible to visit tiger hill early morning and same day 8:00am joy ride train. And then local sightseeing? 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2015 
Possible but can be quite hectic. Do only Tiger Hill in early morning instead of all three points, because the toy train will take you to Batasia Loop anyway. 
Kugan (July 2015) 
Raj, I was stunned by the details which you provided in this site. I really appreciate yours efforts. As I am planning to visit Darjeeling in October 2015 along with my family, how many days it really required to cover all the most important tourist attractions in Darjeeling. Also am planning to visit Gangtok from Darjeeling. Advise the number of days for site seeing for both Darjeeling + Gangtok. Regards. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) July 2015 
6 days 7 nights would be a good plan to visit Darjeeling and Gangtok (one more day would be even better). Split it evenly between the two places. See my forum discussions on Darjeeling and Gangtok itineraries
Arijit Banerjee (April 2015) 
Dear Raj, regarding sightseeing, since it is a season, can we arrange for cabs once we reach Darjeeling or do we have to fix something form NJP. Thanks for your valuable suggestions. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) April 2015 
During high season, you will get very high rates from the local taxi drivers and there are actually no fixed rates. They can ask for anything depending on the opportunity (i.e. demand) and then you may engage in extreme haggling. Be careful of the touts who pose as drivers but will hand you over to another driver once the deal is finalized. If you then ask him why is he doing that, the standard reply is - it's his own car and his brother will drive. They all have an understanding and he actually settles a hefty commission with the real driver. The man will go back and stand at the same place again waiting for his next prey. 
There are two ways to go about booking a local tour in high season. Either you book a tour in advance through a reliable local tour operator of Darjeeling. They too will be expensive during high season, but you won't have to face the haggling, and the condition of cars and quality of drivers are usually quite better. Otherwise walk down to the taxi booking Kiosk located at the upper Clubside stand on Gandhi Road. It's run by the taxi drivers association. They will give you a taxi by turn at rates fixed by them. However in high season, taxis may not be always available with them. They too take advance booking for a tour later in the day or next day. 
Note: Do not book taxi at NJP or Siliguri for local sightseeing in Darjeeling. They will charge much higher and have little idea about the sightseeing spots. Good luck! 
Mehul Patel (June 2014) 
Dear Raj.. I go through your website for many useful information. I am coming on a trip to Darjeeling and Gangtok for 25th Oct to 1 Nov. My booking is confirmed. I want to do direct booking of hotels over there. But I have a problem or confusion on touring 7 days... Darjeeling 2 days, Gangtok 3 day, Lachung 2 days with all sightseeing. Can I get taxi after reaching Darjeeling and what do they charge for this type of package. We are 4 adults and 2 kids. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) June 2014 
Hi, Local Taxis are usually not in good condition. During high season their rates can be anything depending on demand and opportunity. They will likely take short cuts through the tours to save on petrol and time. I suggest that for local tours in Darjeeling, you go through a good tour operator like Ashmita Trek &áTours. They are good and reasonable. Note that they offer 15% discount on Darjeeling Tourism Card. While booking hotels directly, select one where discount is given on tourism card (many good hotels of different categories offer attractive discount on the card). However you must have the card and give its details at the time of directly booking the tours and hotels. 
Note that in Sikkim (i.e. Gangtok, Lachung etc), you will need to take a separate taxi once you reach. In Sikkim, the taxis from Darjeeling (West Bengal) are not allowed for sightseeing and vice versa. The tourism card also works in couple of good budget/mid-range hotels in Gangtok. If you use the card judiciously, you can save a lot. 
Ron Rodrigues (September 2013) 
In February 2014 my wife and I plan to visit Darjeeling. Having just read Path to Glory covering the two climbs of Everest by George Mallory I am interested in finding out more of the journey from Darjeeling to Base Camp or a point where we could get a good and clear view of Everest. Any information would be greatly appreciated. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2013 
Hi, In Darjeeling, a good place to get a view of Mount Everest is from Tiger Hill. You should visit the place to view the sunrise amongst the Himalayan snow peaks. Early in the morning and with clear sky (you need to have a bit of luck for this) you áget a wonderful view of some of the highest peaks in the world including Everest. You can see Everest between the peaks of Kanchenjunga and Makalu. Although it looks quite close, it's at a distance of about 225kms from where you stand. So carry a binocular. Tiger hill is 11kms from Darjeeling town and you can take a jeep or private taxi to reach the sunrise point. You will find more information here: Tiger Hill 
Another great place to get a view of Everest is from Sandakphu. It's the summit of the Singalila range and a popular trekking destination. It's also accessible by jeep or Land Rovers. You can organize a trip or a trek to Sandakphu through a tour operator in Darjeeling. However, in February the routes are often closed due to heavy snowfall in the area. The season actually begins from April, but the best views are available between October through November. Here is more information about Sandakphu 
Mahesh M (August 2013) 
I am planning for a 10 days long trip with my wife and 3 years old kid from Oct 05 - Oct 14. My wife is physically challenged but may be able to walk some distance with good support. But mostly would require wheelchair. Firstly, Is it possible to Manage sightseeing in Darjeeling and Gangtok. If so what would be the best plan when you are travelling with Physically challenged and a small kid. Last year i could take my family to Jaipur, Udaipur, Agra, Fatehpur-Sikri( Just for more info). 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) August 2013 
Hi, Darjeeling and Gangtok are both on steep hilly terrain. Most tourist attractions won't be accessible or suitable for wheelchair bound persons. Also note that it's unlikely you will find a taxi or van in Darjeeling which can accommodate a wheel chair, or has a site door with a ramp etc. You will require a folding type wheelchair which can be taken in the car boot. 
If she can manage to walk a bit and get into a taxi, then you can certainly take her around for a scenic sightseeing tour to view the landscapes, tea gardens (like Happy Valley Tea Estate, Rangeet Valley Estate etc from the taxi of course). Unfortunately most tourist attractions in Darjeeling require quite some uphill walk or climbing stairways from the car park. There are some exceptions though like Bengal Natural History Museum, Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center, Tenzing &áGombu rocks, Ava Art Gallery, Samten Choling Monastery in Ghoom etc which are relatively easier to access and are suitable for most who are physically challenged. However you won't find a packaged local tour that covers these assorted places. You will need to negotiate with the taxi driver and make a local sightseeing day tour of your own. All these can be easily covered in 4-5 hours. 
I have discussed the most suitable hotels in Darjeeling for physically challenged in the link below (it considers taxis being able to reach up to the door step, elevator in the hotel, ramp for wheel chair etc etc): Darjeeling hotels for handicapped 
Nivedita Seal (May 2013) 
Hello Sir, a wonderful blog with loads of information and no doubt they are priceless for travelers like us. Six of us are planning to visit Darjeeling in the first week of December 2013 though our plan was for Sikkim but 2 of us will be from Bangladesh so we are planning for Darjeeling. We want to enjoy the core beauty of Darjeeling for 5-6 days and we want to include Jorpokhri, Mirik, Maneybhanjang etc. Will you please inform us from where we can get best view of Kanchenjunga? And we will be traveling with 2 year old kid and want a good budget or 2 star (if we get discount) hotel. Will you please suggest which one will be good as per service and view? Is there any way that we can get some snow around any places near Darjeeling? Will it be possible for us to visit Sandakaphu with the kid? Eager to hear from you. Best regards 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2013 
One of the best family hotels with Kanchenjungha views in Darjeeling is the main building of Darjeeling Tourist Lodge. The attached small private balconies in the rooms offer great views. Check out the following link for my detailed reviews of Darjeeling hotels with great views: Best View Hotels in Darjeeling 
You can also go down to the Mall road view points (specifically the one just next to the Dolphin Hotel and close to Raj Bhawan). In December you should get excellent views from there. If you can wake up early in the winter morning, try out Tiger Hill to see the sunrise and the range of snow peaks including Kanchenjunga. It's likely to be quite cold in December, but snowing is very rare in Darjeeling town. 
You can go to Manebhanjan and take a jeep towards Sandakphu. In fact you should get enough snow in Tumling itself (about half way to Sandakphu) around that time. But with an infant with you, you should be very careful. It will be biting cold over there and there are hardly any facilities. All accommodations are basic. Even if you decide to go, do not go further than Tumling around that time with a kid. Take adequate measures and warm clothes. While you may see plenty of snows, you may not be able to see snowfall. There is nothing in Manebhanjan and do not plan to stay there. Darjeeling to Mirik via Jorpokhri is a nice drive through the tea gardens. You will enjoy boating at the Mirik lake. 
Sunanda Choudhury (May 2013) 
If I want to visit 3 points &ámixed points by a shared jeep how is that possible....coz a shared jeep wont wait in every point for me. Please suggest me the plan of day 2: three points tour &ámixed points tour &áday3: Mirik with Pasupati market tour by a shared jeep.... 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2013 
Only Sunrise from Tiger Hill and Batasia Loop on the way back can be planned on shared jeep. Rest can be done on reserved taxi. Shared jeeps ply between Darjeeling and Mirik. You can get off at Pashupati market and take another one from there to Mirik. You will get more information about fares and timings here: Darjeeling to Other Places 
Nikhil Jain (April 2013) 
Hi Raj, Thanks for your wonderful work in this website. We 3 people are coming to visit Darjeeling. We want to hire a cab in NJP itself, from there we need 3 days package (NJP to Darjeeling, sightseeing there and drop us to NJP railway station on 3rd day). Can you please let me know will any one offer this and how much approximate charges would be. Would be grateful if you let us know reliable guy for this. Thanks, 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) April 2013 
There are tons of such tour operators, many in Siliguri area which you can get by searching the web. In Darjeeling, you can contact Subash Tamang of Ashmita Treks &áTours. You will get his contacts here: Top Tour Operators. Take my reference, it can help 
Rajiv Chanda (March 2013) 
Let me congratulate you on this awesome site. It has provided me most of the info needed for travelling to Darjeeling. I plan to come there on 30/5/13 to 6/6/13. I just wanted to know should I book the transport before hand as we are 3 families including 6 kids. Though you have already mentioned that Prepaid taxis are available from NJP. I was wondering if they are easily available or will have to wait. The charges that I find for drop are about Rs. 3000 per Innova and about 1600 per Sumo. Would it be better to book now or take a chance once we reach there? And secondly it seems that 14 seaters or more are not available (for sightseeing) in that area. We enjoy traveling together, but it is being suggested that we need to take 2 separate vehicle. Also vehicles are for point to point basis only and not available on per day or per km basis. Can we find 14 seaters if we explore on reaching there. Warm regards 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2013 
Hi, Pre-paid and reserved taxis are easily available at NJP unless you are reaching at an odd hour. 14-seaters are not easily available in this area. You can either book a vehicle for a pickup/drop service or local tours, usually not both. For that you should contact a credible travel/tour agent who can offer a tour package for your entire stay including pickup and drop services. The charges will depend on your tour plans. Most good hotels in Darjeeling offer such services as well. If you want to go through a tour operator, then look for one in Siliguri/NJP area since the pickup and drop will take place here, and the overall charges would be most economical. Here is one in Siliguri that you may look into: 
Kings Travels, 94 Bankim Chandra Road. Siliguri-6. 
Airi Chang (March, 2013) 
Hello Raj, after I saw the Bollywood hit movie (Barfi), I was totally in love with Darjeeling's nature beauty. Now I am planning to visit Darjeeling around end of April. Is it possible to ask you to provide information of any local travel agency who conduct Barfi location tour, or can you suggest any shooting location to visit? Thanks in advance. Warm regards. 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2013 
You can call up and check this out with Subash Tamang of Ashmita Treks &áTours. You will find his contacts here: Top Tour Operators 
Amrita Kumar Mukherjee (November 2012) 
Respected Sir, I shall reach Darjeeling on 19/01/2013 at about 12 noon and leave within 12 noon of 21/01/2013. I am in extreme need of your valued advice for local sightseeing along with DHR Joy Ride. 
Q-1) Is it be possible to do 7-Point/5-Point and Tiger Hill-Batasia etc. and DHR Joy Ride of 13:40PM Train on 20/01/2013. 
Q-2) How much I have to spend for those. 
Q-3) If any other advice in details, as I am in first time in Darjeeling. We are three Self-Wife-Son (7 years) 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) November 2012 
Hi, It is possible to take a half day local sightseeing tour and then take the toy train joy ride in the afternoon. For that you will need to start the sightseeing tour early. Ask the Taxi driver to pick you up by 8am and finish the tour by 12:30pm. However the 7-point tour will be difficult to complete as HMI/Zoo takes time and so does the Ropeway (cable car), and both have specific opening hours/operating time that you have to keep in mind. But if you are willing to just breeze through the spots quickly, then it may still be possible by sequencing the visits correctly. Ask the taxi driver and he will help you on that. 
The 5-point tour or Tiger Hill/Batasia are easily doable in first half, but don't try both. You can also mix and match (mix point tour) between the options and work out an optimal sightseeing plan. But you will need a private taxi of your own rather than joining a set tour offered by an operator. I have indicated the tour and ride rates in appropriate sections of my website which you can use as reference for working out your budget. 
Darjeeling in January is gong to be very cold. So take lots of woolens and warm clothes, and carefully select a hotel that offers proper room heaters. 
Somanath M (From Chennai, Aug 2012) - A customized tour in Darjeeling 
We reached on 13th August, by noon. Then we went around to Chowrastra for a short hang out. Mr.Subash (of Ashmita Tour &áTrek) then explained the points of interest in Darjeeling. We started on the next day early morning at 4 to Tiger Hills. The scenic beauty of sun rise was like a heaven. It was amazing and the best part of our trip... those 45 minutes are still in front of our eyes. Then we went to Buddhist Monastery in Ghoom, followed by the War Memorial, here the view of mountains that glitter under the sun was amazing. There was a short break for breakfast.  
We then resumed to Japanese temple, then to Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Zoological Park. Then we had the local lunch, then to few mountain view points. We were back to the hotel by evening. Then we took a walk to local bazaar in the evening. 
On day two, we started at 9 in the morning and went to Mirik Lake, a hang out place. On the way we saw the parade by school students, (since it was Aug 15th), it was very nice. We then had lunch and went to Nepal border, then to a mountain view point Jorpokhri. Next day, we had some shopping then back to NJP by cab. 
P.S: It was a well planned, organized and structured tour by Mr. Subash of Ashmita Tour &áTrek. A Pleasing smile of Mr. Subash confirms you the pleasure of your trip. They welcome even salty feedback with pleasant smile and take things with sporting spirit.