Great Homestays in Darjeeling
What to expect
A homestay in Darjeeling is typically an extension of the house of a local. The landlord and his family would stay in one part of the property while there will be separate rooms for guests. Most time the dining room and even the living room would be common so that you can interact with the owner's family when you stay there.
In several such homestays, you can also join a family member in the kitchen and lend your hand in cooking if you so want. Or learn from the family how to prepare local Nepali food which is often delicious. In the evening when you are back after sightseeing or shopping, you can sit with the family members in the living room, chat and watch TV.
So a homestay in Darjeeling is all about staying in a local home, experiencing and enjoying Darjeeling using the ways and eyes of the locals. You can dine with the local family, even participate in their day to day life to get insight into their lives and culture, and of course have delicious homemade food in a homely environment. This is an experience which is completely different from a hotel.
Do not expect professional service like of a hotel, instead you will get lots of love and caring from the family. By allowing tourists in their houses, such local families have decided on a different way of living life where they need to spend a lot of time with outsiders as part of their day-to-day life.
Some great homestays in Darjeeling
Here are some of the nice home stays within Darjeeling town.
Located 15-minute walk from the lower town market area, this home stay takes you to a quiet and tranquil residential area where you will stay in a family home. The owner's family stays in the same house at the top floor and will welcome you like members of the family. You will get a great opportunity of staying in a local home, spend few days of your life the way the real natives do here in Darjeeling and eating delicious local homemade food. And all this while you stay within walking distance to several great tourist attractions of Darjeeling giving your a great location advantage.
A small cozy home stay run by a local Nepali couple. There are only two rooms which are well furnished yet simple having attached bath with western style toilet, geyser and shower. Views of the mountains is great. If you are looking for a cozy budget homestay which is close to the town center (Chowrasta Mall) yet far enough from the crowd, then this can be a great choice.
Located 3kms from the main town of Darjeeling and on the Hill Cart Road, this homestay is run by a lady out of her passion, and offers wonderful view of Kanchenjunga snow peaks from all its rooms and the private balconies. At the same time you enjoy a quiet stay while being close to the town center which is easily accessible in 15 minutes by shared jeeps that ply all the time. The homestay offers simple homemade food and a nice peaceful environment on a hillside.
Samir, a young man and his family have built a 2-room cottage on the roof of their house to offer a great homestay to tourists. The view of Kanchenjunga from the open terrace right in front of the rooms as well as from the windows of the rooms is simply awesome. The homestay has the advantage of facing the east and is located below the Mall road which is one of the best view locations in Darjeeling. Both rooms are nicely appointed with wood paneling, modern furnishing including wi-fi and attached western toilets giving them a very cozy feel. There is also a fully equipped kitchen in case you want to cook your own meals. The family however makes excellent homemade breakfast.
This small homestay with only three rooms is located in a quiet locality below the lower town area, although within walking distance from the main market as well as several great tourist attractions. The native retired couple that runs the homestay are exceedingly hospitable, warm and caring and will make you feel perfectly at home. The view of the adjoining hills and the township from the terrace is wonderful, and the homemade food is delicious.
It's located on Gandhi road and only few minutes walk from the Mall (or Chowrasta). The local Tibetan family stays in the property at the top floor. The rooms are simple and nice. You will be invited to the family dining room to take your breakfast. This is from where you get nice view of the snow mountains on a clear day. View from the roof-top terrace is also great. The rooms have been renovated with Italian floor tiles, pine wood paneling on the walls etc. There is 24-hours hot water in the bathrooms having geysers. There is no restaurant in the Snowlion Homestay, neither they serve any meals other than breakfast. But being located centrally, there are plenty of restaurants within easy walk.
Homestays around Darjeeling
Here are some more nice homestay options in other areas of Darjeeling district:
This tiny home stay is located at the Singell Tea Estate in Kurseong, on a cliff with wonderful views of the tea gardens, surrounding mountains and the valleys. The Moktan family will take care of all your needs with a smile. They are very friendly. The rooms are basic, but nice & clean and bathrooms are of western style. Food is prepared by the family members Lathika and Aruna, and served in their dining room where you can chat with the family and know about their lifestyle. You can enjoy tea garden and tea factory tours, local sightseeing etc. They will organize all that.
The garden workers and villagers in the tea estate have extended their own homes and have made nice clean rooms with western style attached toilets to accommodate guests. They have done so with active support of the Tea Estate management. You will be able to mix with the family, have nice homemade food and at the same time experience & enjoy the tea garden life, nature and village culture.
Keshav Gurung and his wife run this home stay - two rooms upstairs. The family stays in the ground floor. The rooms are nice and clean with attached western style toilets. The views from the roof top terrace are wonderful. You will enjoy home made food and cordiality of the family. Keshav also runs tours and treks, so that's an added opportunity. He will arrange for all your transports and other needs.
Aadil Khan (April 2016)
Hi Raj, Thanks for the immensely helpful knowledge, it really helps us travellers plan! My wife and me are going to Darjeeling for a short 4 day trip. We planned to stay at a homestay, Kumar Kothi, for a couple of nights. Just wanted to confirm, is it safe and ok to do so? Never stayed at a homestay hence the query, with all due respects to our hosts. Also, could you recommend some nice guest house in the Singalila National Park and how to book it please? Thanks in advance.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) April 2016
There is no safety issue as such. However the location is odd and requires good amount of walk. While walking downhill to the bungalow is not a big problem, walking back up can be quite strenuous for most city dwellers and takes much longer. Singalila stretches across a wide area and lodging depends on which side you like to stay. In Tumling, Shikhar Lodge and Hotel Siddharth are most popular, while in Srikhola Hotel Shovraj is the one. However do not expect luxury here like geysers, wifi etc. These are accommodations with basic amenities. Their strengths are location and views.