Mist covered Darjeeling Mall
And in seconds, the mist is gone!
K. Seetharama Prasad (October 2018)
I took your statement true that the trip to these parts in monsoons depends on the eyes of beholder. It was wonderful. We travelled in the third week of September. There were all kinds of weather that we experienced in a short time. Sunny, balmy, drizzle, mild to moderate cold and finally a memorable trip. Thanks a lot.
Supratim Chattopadhyay (June 2018)
First of all, I'd like to thank you for your informative, detailed and passionate writings on Darjeeling, which are very helpful for tourists. I'm very much thrilled and impressed after reading your take on the aforementioned subject. I'd certainly like to explore Darjeeling in monsoon for enjoying it's beauty. Now I'm troubling you with some queries. If you're kind enough to reply in email, I'd be highly obliged.
1) Does JOYRIDE remain open at all during late August, say 22nd? If open, is JOYRIDE steam a safe option in monsoon or should I opt for the diesel one? I mean, can landslides cause fatal accident there?
2) Tires of car tend to skid in monsoon. The journey to and from Darjeeling involves Zigzag roads. Which car should we hire to minimise this risk? Can landslide happen in front of us and large boulders thrashing our car? I may sound timid but my mother would be with me. Also, my uncle. I'm thinking of their perspective too.
3) For three of us, we want two beds in a room or two inter-connecting bedrooms. I'm not so high on budget to afford Windamere but I'm ready to spend my money if my mother and uncle are satisfied and if they can enjoy rain and lushes of green from their room's window or balcony, sipping a cup of Darjeeling tea. Also it must not involve steep walking because my mother is a patient of Osteo arthritis. If it's near Glenarys/ Keventers, that would be great. So can you think of some good choices?
4) You've already written about this, but once more I want to ask, is there a good Bengali nonveg restaurant in Darjeeling? In Shangri-la, dishes taste like North-Indian ones. I don't know what cuisine they serve as dinner in Glenarys because I'm yet to try. This question is particularly for my uncle, because he loves Bhat - Dal - Aluposto - Alubhaja - Machher jhol type Bengali food a lot. Is there a good option? Thanking you in advance and regards.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) June 2018
Limited toy train joyrides operate even in monsoon unless there is some track repair work in progress. You can choose either of steam or diesel engine... has no correlation with landslides. A small car is good enough to reach Darjeeling town... the entire road is tarred. There are plenty of options for hotels... I have discussed the good ones in my site. If you are in medium budget, you can consider two upper-floor rooms (large rooms) in Darjeeling Tourist Lodge. You need to keep a car if you want to completely avoid walks on hilly roads. Also almost all hotels would have stairs to negotiate. Bengali food is best served in Mahakal Restaurant on Robertson Road, but may not still satisfy one who only seeks homemade traditional Bengali food.
Dr. Md. Nahiduzzaman Talukder (June 2017)
Hi Raj, Me and my wife are going to visit Darjeeling in 28th June. I know it's not a good season to visit. But, due to Eid holiday we chose this time. My question... is there any outdoor activities even if there is continuous rain?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) June 2017
Hi, most tourist sites remain open in monsoon although it may not be always practical to visit some places when it's raining. Toy train too usually operates.
B Vijaya Kumar (June 2017)
Excellent article. It is scary as well as exciting. As you rightly said, whether to visit Darjeeling in monsoon or not depends upon the visitor's liking.
Anindita Das (July 2014)
Hi Raj, First of all let me congratulate you on the amazing job you have done with this blog! Superlative, and I think I've read each article several times :) Me & my husband are scheduled to be there from 15th Aug - 18th Aug, and trust me the choice to travel in the monsoon was a lot due to your article on it! So, after a lot of research we have shortlisted and checked availability for the following 3 hotels: - Villa Everest, Golden Heights, Broadway. Now, our requirements are clean rooms, good views (as it maybe raining a lot & we might have to be indoors), hot water & good breakfast. Would love to have your views on them and any other recommendation would also be very helpful! Waiting to hear from you soon! Thanks a lot!
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) July 2014
Hi Anindita, All the hotels you have selected are in my recommended list. Considering all your requirements, Golden Heights would be my choice. They have an excellent lounge and dining area where you can spend a lot of your time. The lounge and some rooms have good views too... but in monsoon do not expect any views of the peaks.
Himesh Biswas (May 2014)
Hi, It seems we will be going there during the unstoppable monsoon but it would be wonderful if you recommend us some outdoor activities (if any) if it rains all day long. We are prepared to go out in rain.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2014
If it keeps raining then rafting, paragliding etc are not possible. If you get a dry spell, it may be possible. When you reach Darjeeling, get in touch with the operator Offroad Adventures located by the Mall. They are one of the best in all these. You will find their details in my site.
Chandra Sekhar Chatterjee (May 2014)
I must thank you for the wonderful article about Darjeeling in monsoon. Inspired from your writing, I spent about 10 days at Darjeeling, last July & it has been one of the best experience of my life. Had a great time, deep inside the tea garden & watching the rain gradually engulfing me. I feel Darjeeling is at its best during monsoon. Also had a great time enjoying Dalle Khursani, Squash & Carrots, & nothing to beat the early morning fresh Loaves from Glenarys, with Darjeeling Tea.
Siobhan Tomkinson (January 2014)
Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me how dangerous it is to travel to and from Darjeeling by jeep during the Monsoon season? I have been to Darjeeling before and loved it - it was one of my favourite places in all of India and I would love to return and show it to my husband and son, but the only time we can be in India is between mid June and mid September. The last time I was there we traveled by jeep and the mountain road was pretty scary, I think it would be very frightening during heavy rain! Your article mentions landslides - is this common. Are there many accidents on the mountain roads during Monsoon? Does the toytrain run at this time - is it safe? safer than the roads, or less safe? I hate to sound so timid, but I will be with my 3 year old baby and want to make sure he is safe! Many thanks for any advice you can give me,
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) January 2014
Hi, Landslides are quite common in the hills during monsoon and they cause road blocks. While most times alternative routes can be worked out, some times you may get stuck in traffic jam for hours. However accidents in monsoon or those caused due to landslides are rare. Toy train is not running from NJP/Siliguri to Darjeeling since several years, although the damaged track is scheduled for repair soon. Landslides cause similar problems to rail track as well as both the main road (highway) and toy train track run side by side for most part.
Abhijay Awasthi (June 2013)
Hi Raj, I found your 'Darjeeling in Monsoon' piece wonderful. There are very few such informative pieces on the internet. It would be good if you could post some more cool pics of the monsoon :)
Shalini Mitra Roy (June 2013)
Hi, This is an amazing site. Kudos to you. It would be of great help if you can help me with few of my queries:
1. Though I have read your column of "Darjeeling in Monsoons" but still I would like to ask... would you suggest we go to Darjeeling during the 1st week of August - 4th Aug to 7th Aug ( I have never being to Darjeeling). We (my husband and I) mainly want to relax and celebrate our 2nd marriage anniversary...
2. We are thinking of Central Nirvana (the hotel guy said Deluxe room will cost us 4500 rupees - MAP after discount). would you suggest that we go for it? we particularly want cleanliness and at least a 3 star property (since we might have to stay within the hotel premises if it rains too much)
3. Can you suggest certain places to visit during that time. I understand that the view of kanchenjunga will not be clear during that time. We have accepted that.
4. How high is the probability of landslides and us getting stuck there? Thank you in advance for your help. It means a lot.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, June 2013)
Hi Shalini, If you have read my article on 'Darjeeling in Monsoon' and asking me whether its worth visiting Darjeeling in monsoon or not, what do you think my answer would be? :)
If you love the raindrops, lush greenery and the mist ... you must go. Check out the article 'Darjeeling in Monsoon' once again, I have recently added some more pictures of monsoon on request from other viewers.
I hope you've read my detailed review of Central Nirvana ... you will know how I feel about the hotel. It's quite okay if you can take the 5-minutes downhill walk from the taxi point (and uphill on your way back). Keep in mind that after dark, this place is going to be completely desolate, although it's very close to the Mall.
I think during the monsoon you should not plan much of outdoor activities and sightseeing. Make a spot plan, If the day looks good, get hold of a taxi and visit a place quickly and come back. The weather can change any time. Around this time of the year all taxi drivers are free and there wont be any dearth of taxis. However you can certainly make plans to visit some places irrespective of rains, if that are of any interest to you...
1) Monasteries ... particularly Old Ghoom Monastery in Ghoom and on the way, Samten Choling Monastery.
3) Ava Art gallery (can be covered on the way to Ghoom)
5) Step Aside (located right next to Hotel Central Nirvana)
Landslides can take place although not very common. But mostly they don't pose much problems unless it's a huge one which is rare. In most cases alternative routes are available to reach NJP/Bagdogra. So chances of you getting stranded is slim. But do take enough buffer time (at least 2-3 hours) when you return just in case there is any delay along the way. Don't forget to carry large umbrellas.... you should enjoy the rains after all. Good Luck!!
Saumitra Dutta Gupta (April 2013)
What do you say about a quiet monsoon trip to Darjeeling Hills. Is it worthwhile to stay 2 nights each at Makaibari, Selim Hill, Goomtee, and Chota Mangwa. Or 4 nights each at two places. What should our ideal Itinerary be? Do we get big discounts during monsoon period. We have limited funds, and must hire car from point to point. We are a retired middle-class couple in our late 50's. Seeking your advice. Regards.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, April 2013)
If you like lush wet mountainous landscapes and a quiet vacation without many tourists, you will greatly enjoy Darjeeling in monsoon. 2 nights in four places will make it too hectic. You can plan 3-nights each in a couple of Tea Gardens, and 2/3 nights in Chota Mangwa. You will need to organize the car transfers through the gardens. In Chota Mangwa, they will get a private car/taxi for you for a drop at the station/airport, but the charges will be higher than normal taxi rates. You should contact all the places and get a clear idea about the budget. Each place will offer all inclusive package including stay, food and some recreational activities.
Saumitra Dutta Gupta (April 2013)
Thanks. In this context, out of the four tea gardens, can you suggest the best and reasonable tea garden accommodation that affords the best scenery even on a rainy day.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, April 2013)
I have described all these tea gardens & the accommodations in details in the link below. All are beautiful and unique in their own ways: Darjeeling Tea Garden Tours
Out of the tea gardens I described, Gelnburn would be most expensive but probably the best from tea tourism perspective (accommodation, natural beauty including forest & stream, food, staff, organized activities etc). Selim Hill, Goomtee and Makaibari are all in Kurseong area and offer nice views. Do ask for off season discounts.
Makaibari garden workers offer homestays which are quite nice and cheap. They have extended/renovated their own homes for tourists. The rates include all meals. If you like such stays, you can even try that for a change. You will be close to local village families and learn about their lives. Some of such accommodations are in nice places with lovely views and have modern toilets etc.