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 and 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 & Peace 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. We 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 & Tours. 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 get 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 & Gombu 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 & mixed 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 & mixed points tour & day3: 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 & Tours. 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 & Tours. 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 & Trek) 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 & Trek. 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.