Best Tour & Trek Operators in Darjeeling
Tourism is one of the main drivers of economy in Darjeeling and therefore it is obvious that there will be plenty of tour operators & agents. Many of them are specialized in the area of adventure tourism including treks & hikes, and some even offer white water rafting, mountain biking, mountaineering expeditions and other activities along with gears & equipment.
Offering tours has become one of the common & easy occupations in Darjeeling. While this can be a great advantage for tourists, the flip side is some very low quality operators have also come into play.
In my section below, I have tried to review the well known operators in Darjeeling who have been providing services for the last several years and have done well so far. My evaluation is based on the quality of guide, the vehicle, the equipment and the gears they provide for the tours and adventure activities, and also the credentials they have acquired over the past years of operation.
Update November 2016: Hot Air Balloon is no longer operated in Darjeeling. Rafting is limited due to low rapids at river Teesta (because of damn constructions) and run mostly by local operators at Teesta Bazaar.
Treks & Adventure Operators
NOTE: I strongly suggest that you contact operators based only on their strengths, i.e. the activities they actually specialize in. Otherwise you may not get the right service. For example, do not contact an adventure operator for local sightseeing tours or vice versa although they may offer everything that comes their way. I have listed below the key offerings for each operator. Specify your exact requirement and contact more than one operators to get quotes and compare before selection.
The most popular adventure activities & tours in Darjeeling includes mountain trekking, paragliding, mountain biking, rafting & camping, canoeing (kayaking) etc. Visit Darjeeling Adventures
to know about all the different adventure sports, tours & activities offered in Darjeeling hills.
Ashmita Trek & Tours
Subash Tamang runs this outfit in Darjeeling. He is a smiling and friendly young man who is in second generation of the business that was started in 1980 by his father. But being an adventurous and enterprising character all his life, Subash honed his skills as a trekking and tour guide between 1998 and 2007. During this period he spent much of his time in Darjeeling, Bhutan and Sikkim areas. He organizes tours and treks in Darjeeling and Sikkim areas through his small team of skilled guides. He also has a well established network to conduct other adventure activities. His office is located on Nehru Road (the main commercial road that leads to Chowrasta Mall), and next to Keventer's Restaurant.
Their offerings include:
Darjeeling Local Sightseeing and Day Tours & Trips
Sandakphu & Phalut Treks with experienced and certified guides along with all necessary equipment
Darjeeling and Sikkim tour packages
Day trekking in Singalila range
Sikkim Treks including Dzongri & Goechala treks that start from Yuksom
Village, Eco Tourism, Buddhist Monastery & Cultural tours
Singalila National Park and Sandakphu & Phalut Jeep Safari
Cycling day tours from Darjeeling.
In April 2018, Ashmita has been accorded the status of Recognized Tour Operator / Travel Agent by Department of Tourism, Govt. of West Bengal.
Location & Contacts:
Ashmita Trek & Tours
3A Nehru Road, Opposite Planters Club (near Keventer's), Darjeeling, West Bengal 734101, India.
Owned and managed by an enterprising local Gautam Shrestha and supported by his wife, they are themselves adventure enthusiasts and a well known adventure sports operator in Darjeeling area. They provide all equipment and gears as part of the packages.
Their offerings include:
Motor bike and mountain biking tours along with rentals. For motor bikes, they usually provide Royal Enfield makes and in good condition. You can also extend your tours to Sikkim and other nearby areas including Tibbet, Bhutan, Nepal etc.
Trekking. They conduct Singalila, Dzongri & Goechela (West Sikkim) treks apart from many other areas. They provide guides, porters, permits, equipment and all other support.
White water rafting in Teesta and Zanskhar rivers that are two of the most forceful streams of the North East India and accessible from Darjeeling area.
Kayaking on Teesta river. Package includes life transfers, jackets, food, tents and guides. They also provide lessons at all levels.
Village Tours with home stays where you experience the local life & culture.
Location & Contacts:
Their office is located only few minutes walk from the Mall and on Zakir Hussain road.
Hotel Norling Complex, 142/1 Zakhir Hussian Road Darjeeling - 734101
This eco & adventure outfit is run by Sangay Sherpa, a native of Darjeeling and an avid sport & adventure enthusiast. He worked in the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) in Darjeeling and subsequently garnered many achievements in adventure sports like ranking 5th in National Sport Climbing in 2005, working as instructors in various foundations and institutes etc. They have modern equipment & gears, qualified guides & instructors some of who are trained from HMI.
Their offerings include:
Treks in Darjeeling and Sikkim areas with complete packages. All Equipment like Tent, Sleeping Bags, Rucksack, Feather Jacket, Head Torch, Walking Sticks etc are provided in the trek packages. They have professional trekking guides (certified by GTA tourism and Himalayan Mountaineering Institute).
Trekking equipment & gears on rent.
Paragliding and tandem paragliding (with a guide) since 2007. Each flight is a minimum of 15 minutes and a maximum of 30 minutes. They have several take off and landing areas. The most popular are at Jalapahar (near St. Paul's School) landing at Lebong field and Tukvar Tea Garden area landing at Jamuney.
Mountain Bikes and Motor Bikes (Bullets, Pulsar) on hire on daily rents as well as on organized tours. They were deeply involved in the initiative of inaugurating the Cycling Park in Darjeeling which is the first Mountain Biking park in India.
Water sports like White Water Rafting on river Teesta and Rangeet, Kayaking (can be combined with camping).
Rock / Sport Climbing, Rappelling.
Camping on Teesta bank combined with rafting, camping on Tiger Hill etc. Teesta bank camping is a river side jungle camp. The Teesta camping point is at Triveni which is the confluence of river Teesta and river Rangeet.
Zorbing - a large transparent ball is used (made of soft plastic and blown up like a balloon). You will be secured inside and then the ball would be rolled on the ground. This is quite exciting for children. Needs advance booking.
They are also the first to introduce Hot Air Balloon in the state of West Bengal (in 2011). However they fly the balloon subject to a minimum group size of 15 persons. The Hot Air Balloon usually takes off from the grounds of Jamuni (about 45 minutes drive from Darjeeling town) during festivals. ... Update 2015: No longer available.
Location & Contacts:
Location: Off Road Adventure, H.D Lama Road, Near Vodafone Office, Darjeeling.
Phone : (+91) 9832054944, 9832756130
Blue Dragon Adventure & Travel
The outfit is run by Dawa Gyalpo Sherpa. He is an adventure enthusiast and had undertaken training at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) in Darjeeling. Worked as a Rock Climbing instructor in Australia (Pulse Climbing), in RIMO Expeditions as a mountaineering leader, and also worked as a mountaineering instructor in Himalayan Mountaineering Institute Darjeeling (HMI).
Main activities of Blue Dragon Adventure and Travel are:
Paragliding: They have their own certified and experienced Paragliding Pilot Certified from PAI (Paragliding Association of India), APPI (Association of Paragliding Pilots and Instructor, Switzerland), FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale).
Mountaineering Expeditions: They organize expeditions in Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan and that includes Everest, Lobuche, Brumkhangse, Frey Peak, and more.
Mountain Biking - Rental & Tours: They offer rentals and customized tours on mountain bikes - Trek, Specialized and Giant.
Motorbike Tour & Rentals: They have Royal Enfield bikes. All are well maintained. Bikes are serviced after every trip.
Trekking: They offer guided trekking for Sandakphu & Phalut, Dzongri & Goechela (Sikkim), Kanchanjunga Base camp (Sikkim), Everest Base camp & Annapurna Base Camp (Nepal), Snow Man Trek (Bhutan).
Monastery Tours, Cultural Tours, Village Tours, Luxury Tours, Jeep Safari, Adventure Tours
They also sell nice souvenirs of Darjeeling in form of key chains and fridge magnets.
Blue Dragon Adventure & Travel is a partner of Darjeeling Tourism Card
and offers attractive discounts in adventure activities to card holders.
Location & Contacts:
3A Nehru Road, Singalila Market (Top Floor) Darjeeling - 734101
Phone: (+91) 9593367746, 8101211554
Himalayan Bike Tour
This outfit is run by Subash Chetri, and enterprising local of Darjeeling. He offers:
Royal Enfield bikes for hire on daily rate.
Bike package tours for Darjeeling, Sikkim and Bhutan.
They are one of the few operators who have their own Royal Enfield 350 cc classic motor bikes in Darjeeling. Indicative rate: Rs. 1,800/- per day per bike (Rate Updated: November 2016)
Himalayan Bike Tour is a partner of Darjeeling Tourism Card
and offers attractive discounts to card holders in adventure activities.
Location & Contacts:
C.R. Das Road, Upper Bhutia Busti, Near Mall (Chowrasta), Darjeeling (near Deshbandhu Museum).
Hot Stimulating Treks N Tours
Rumba operates the treks personally and is also the guide. He is the husband of Lily who runs the small tin shack eatery Hot Stimulating Cafe on Jawahar Parvat road close to the HMI. You can often find Rumba in the eatery unless he has gone on a trek. He is a great man, very knowledgeable of the terrain and specializes on Singalila trek along Sandakphu and Phalut. He also offers Dzongri and Goechala treks in Sikkim area. His key strength are his knowledge of the mountains in this region where he spent most of his life and his great friendly attitude to go beyond the role of a guide and show you the way to the heavens.
NOTE: You must ensure that Rumba himself accompanies and conducts the trek as a guide. I have heard that sometimes when he is unable to go himself, he organizes the trek through his own resources. In such case the experience can be altogether different. So set the conditions accordingly. They also offer local sightseeing tours in and around Darjeeling. However there are other operators (mentioned above) who are better equipped for such activities.
Location & Contacts:
Hot Stimulating Treks N Tours, Hooker Road,
Near Governor’s Palace, Darjeeling - 734101
Tenzing Norgay Adventures
This was founded by Late Tenzing Norgay Sherpa who was the first to climb the Mount Everest along with Sir Edmund Hillary in the year 1953. Today the outfit is run by his son Jamling Norgay who had also followed his father's footsteps and made it to the summit of Everest in 1996. He offers some great treks and expeditions in and around Darjeeling areas.
Here are the highlights:
Nepal Treks that includes Everest Base Camp, Island Peak, Annapurna Sanctuary, Mustang etc.
Tibet treks and tours including Mt. Kailash trek and Tibet overland tour.
Bhutan treks that includes Johomolhari
Darjeeling & Sikkim treks that includes Singalilla Ridge, Sandakphu and Goechala.
Location & Contacts:
1, D.B. Giri Road, Darjeeling 734101
They are located on Nehru Road inside a shopping Mall and offer adventure trekking tours. There are experienced trekking guides who will accompany you. They also offer all the trekking gears and equipment as part of the package. Depending on the trek and the vehicle required for drop & pickup to/from the trekking point, they offer packages with per day charges that are quite reasonable.
Location & Contacts:
Tsewang N. Trogawa
Singalilla Arcade, Nehru Road, Darjeeling: 734101.
Phone: +91 (354) 225-6611
Cell: +91-98320 83241
General Tours/Travel Agents in Darjeeling
The following local Tours & Travel agents in Darjeeling are all registered under Darjeeling Association of Travel Agents. Most offer local sightseeing tours, transfers and car rentals.
Clubside Tours & Travels Pvt Ltd
(recognized under state government)
Chowrasta Road, Darjeeling 734101
Blueline Tours & Travels
5 Ladenla Road, Phone: (0354) 225-5775
Samsara Tours & Travels
7 Ladenla Road (above General Post Office), Darjeeling.
Phone: (0354) 225-6370/225-2911
Bansal Tours & Travels
1 Chachan Mansion, Hill Cart Road, Judge Bazar,
Hill Cart Rd, Limbugaon, Darjeeling. Phone: 0354 - 225 3031
They offer customized (tailor made) tours. Offerings also include Botanical tours, Cultural Tours, Religious tours, Trekking etc.
Marjorie Villa No.1, 12 Dr Zakir Hussain Road, Darjeeling
13 Robertson Road, Phone: (0354) 225-6045
Himali Travel Specialists
30, D.B Giri Road, Phone: (0354) 225-5672 / 225-2741
Juniper Tours and Travels
Ladenla Road, Phone: (0354) 225-2095
1, Toong Soong Road, Phone: (0354) 225-4293/ 225-2035
Pineridge Travels (Near Mall)
Nehru Road, Below Pine Ridge Hotel, Phone: (0354) 225-3912
Jawahar Parbat Road, Phone: (0354) 225-4077
Sagarmatha Tours & Travels
No. 4, B Block, Old Super market
Phone: (0354) 225-6030 / 225-3072
Roderick Sutherland (February 2018)
Hi, I'd just like to say that I found your homepage extremely interesting. I used it a lot when planning my trip to Darjeeling, and found it very easy to navigate between sections. Loads of good, sound advice all in one place. Our trip was very enjoyable. We used a trekking company called Asmita Treks, and the owner Subash Tamang was very helpful and professional as was the trekking guide Dawa lama. We were met at the airport and shown around Darjeeling before starting the trek. Excellent service and a nice hotel. Once again thanks for a great homepage. Keep up the good work. Kind regards
B. Rajagopal (March 2017)
We arranged our itinerary with Mr.Subhash Tamang of Ashmita Travels. It included the trip to various tourist spots in Darjeeling and a one-day trip to Namchi. Our pickup from NJP station and drop at Bagdogra airport was also arranged by Ashmita Trek and Tours. The full tour was done in Toyota Inova car. We had a very cheerful and friendly person named Mr. Nima as our tourist guide and our driver.
Baskar (February 2017)
Besides the hot and amazing momos, the owner of the Hot Stimulating Cafe Mr. Rumba(9932260769, 8343014617)who is having very good exposure of the places around and he took us to the places which was my dream to visit and I must assure that the trek was more than worth for your money. We had a 5 days Trek around Sandakphu, Phalut where you can see Sleeping Budha- the third highest peak in the world and Mt. Everest. About Mr. Rumba he easily mixed up with us (11 people we were) and he used to call every one as his brother. He knows many people around these places and he has very good knowledge about these places and its history. If u want to do a trek around these places give a shot at Hot stimulating cafe Trek and I assure that you wont regret it.
Aditya Rai (November 2016)
Hello, my name is Aditya Rai from Siliguri. Me and my friends from Bangalore had booked our Adventure Tour with Blue Dragon Adventure & Travel in April 2016. They had arranged the tours with Paragliding, Cycling, Camping, Rafting & Trek for 9Days. Our experience and tour was excellent. Team were so professional that we can not say in words, their hospitality was also very good, food was good (felt like we were at home). Overall was very very good. Like to visit them soon again with my friend. They were so friendly that they were like our friends from a long time. But we could not do the rafting due to the dam project in Teesta river and at that time it was not suitable for rafting, but instead of rafting they organized a motorbike day tour in Darjeeling. It was so nice and wonderful to ride the Royal Enfield in the Himalayas with narrow roads. Overall an excellent Tour and well organised. Thank you Team Blue Dragon Adventure & Travel.
Payel (October 2016)
Hi Raj, First of all thanks a lot for such a wonderful site. I planned my entire trip of Sikkim and Darjeeling based on your website and would be visiting Gangtok on Nov 12th and Darjeeling on Nov 17th. But I am facing a lot of trouble in getting hold of any of the tour operators that you have mentioned. I sent out mails to everyone and called all of them as well. Only one of them replied and even though i called multiple times they seemed busy or never called me back.
Can you please share some other tour operator number who will respond, so that i can discuss and finalize on my tour. I will be very grateful to you for that and i am now pretty sure that whoever you suggest would be verified and trusted.
I would also request you to put this word across to the tour operators with whom you are associated. I have traveled a lot many places in India and had good experiences with most of the travel agents. This was the first time that I faced such neglect and that again made me feel that this is the reason that Eastern or North eastern India remains a less traveled place for people from the rest of the country because of this same laid back behavior and this really sours ones travel experience for a traveler who is coming from Hyderabad to visit these places. In tourism industry customer service matters the most.
Finally, I can see how you want the world to know about these beautiful places and you are doing a wonderful job there. Thanks again. Regards.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, October 2016)
This is a very busy time for the operators in Darjeeling. Unlike many other places, high tourist seasons are rare in the hills here and they actually execute orders during such time more than taking orders. They can not scale their operation with more staff only for 3 to 4 months a year. So expect slow response.
You can also contact Club Side Tours & Travels. They have a larger operation and may respond better. If you provide clear & specific requirements, you can expect faster response. If you want to engage an operator into discussions, this is not a good time, not up to Diwali.
While unfortunately your personal experience with them may be unsatisfactory, far too many tourists have had great experiences over the years (as evident in independent site reviews like in Tripadvisor as well as my site) to have any doubt on their credibility. Regards.
Chris McMahon (June 2016)
I was in Darjeeling 11 years ago and after a 6 week back packing tour through North India we arrived in this absolutely breath taking location. I wanted to trek in the region, but wasn't sure where to go. We stumbled upon the sign that led us to Trekmate. The next day we were off on what I can only describe as the best 5 days of trekking I have ever experienced.
Runjun, who was my guide, had an intimate knowledge in the areas of flora and fauna, as well as all the geographical features that we came across. He knew the villagers personally and I was honoured to spend time in many a home enjoying the hospitality that the locals are renowned for. I hope to one day return to this majestic land and experience the love and vibrancy of the locals and see Kanchenjunga once again. Thank you.
Sajan Skaria (March 2016)
Dear sir, I am a NRI person with family. I would like to visit Darjeeling and Gangtok for 4 days. If I am coming by train to new jalpaiguri shall I get tour operators there?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, March 2016)
Most at the station area will cheat you and offer low class tours. Better prearrange through one in Darjeeling.
Paul Williams (February 2016)
Subash (of Ashmita Trek & Tours) organised a 2-day trek for us along the Singalila Ridge, part walking, part Land Rover, to see the sunrise over the Himalayas from Sandakphu. Our guide was excellent, always courteous and helpful, even offering to carry our sleeping bags as we only had day rucksacks with us. He was very knowledgeable as well about the area and its flora and fauna.
Hospitality at all our stops was good, although I would advise anyone doing this trek in the cooler months to make sure they've adequate warm clothing - the room we stayed in had no heating and the nighttime temperature was below freezing.
Sleeping bags, blankets and hot water bottles are provided, but you will still probably need to keep all your available clothes on! The place was spotlessly clean, however, and the hot food provided was good and very welcome! Our sunrise view was not the best as there was quite a lot of mist, but it was still spectacular and the weather is not a trek organiser's responsibility! Overall an excellent trek and well organised. Thank you Subash.
Geetika Saraswat (January 2016)
Just wanted to share that I had a very bad experience with Clubside Tours & Travel Pvt. Ltd. They are not professional at all. We booked Gangtok, Darjeeling tour with them. They never informed us who is going to pickup, what time driver will be coming. Sightseeing was done according to the convenience of driver. We booked them from 25th Dec till 1st Jan'16.
Peter (December 2015)
Just wanted to say the Darjeeling-Tourism web site is very informative for first time visitors to Darjeeling. I used it to connect with Subash of Ashmita Trek and Tours. I would thoroughly recommend this independent company for anyone who is looking for a well organised trek. We did a 2 day trek to watch the sun rise over Kangchenjunga which was amazing. The whole thing was very well organised and I would not hesitate to recommend.
Indrajit Roy (September 2015)
I would like to know if the tour operators mentioned in the website have sightseeing tours by bus or jeep in shared manner. I will be travelling alone on November 21st. Can I book the tour packages
after reaching there. I have booked my hotel in Hotel Broadway Annexe.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, September 2015)
Tour operators do not offer shared transport. Ideally you should book your tours in advance and the card discount works only on standard/published package rates. Some have tried to walk in and book a package after negotiating rates, and were refused.
Tim Sebastian (United Kingdom, April 2013)
Hi Raj, Thanks a lot of your helpful website and recommendations. We had a great time exploring various tea gardens in Darjeeling together with a great tour of Sikkim. Adventures Unlimited are real professional team of young adventurers who were so helpful in organizing our 10 days motorcycle tour and a five dayer Singalila ridge trek. We highly recommend this company. Regards,
Iain McIntyre (March 2013)
Dear Raj, Thank you for taking the time to reply. May I ask for a little more information/advice? On our first day we may visit the Rope Way and/or take a short trip on the Toy Train and explore the town. On the second day, we hope to be able to get to see sunrise from Tiger Hill followed by a trip to a tea plantation and perhaps a short scenic walk or trip to areas of interest. To do this it is probably best if we organize a knowledgeable guide and driver for one day to see the tea plantations and surrounding area; are you able to provide a couple of suggestions for local guides/drivers (or operators) that we could approach to arrange this. We have been in contact with Adventures Unlimited originally to arrange whitewater rafting (which we are no longer proposing to do as we have been told the Teesta is unsuitable at the moment); they have offered to arrange a trek but we do not know if they are suitable for this? Any further help you are able to provide would be greatly appreciated. Regards,
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, March 2013)
Hi, Adventures Unlimited is a well known company. There are several other options (I discussed on this page). You may contact couple of them, compare the offerings & rates, and then take a call.
Kim Jun Tae, Korea (August 2012)
We have been to Darjeeling and our trip with Ashmita treks & tours really felt like a special holiday. And Mr. Subash is very kind friendly person !!! We have many information about Darjeeling and Sikkim. We will definitely recommend this company with our friends. Thank you Subash.
Kevin Chao (June 2012)
Follow the recommendation here. I went to Darjeeling and found Ashmita Trek and Tours. It's really great and a fantastic experience. Mr. Subash, he is the kind of person you'll always feel warm and comfortable with. He is a professional and would like to share his experience. The most important thing is that, since I'm not local person here, lots of things I'm not familiar with, but he helped not only during trekking days, but also any time I needed help. He gave me advise and help with hospitality, no mater when or for what kind of trouble, you'll always see he facing your problem like his own problem. I feel so warm during this trip, and so not only beautiful mountain view, but beautiful heart.