Darjeeling Hotels for Backpackers

Category: Low Budget 
 
Well there is no hotel in Darjeeling that's dedicated or just meant for only backpackers. But over the years there are some that have made a cut into the community of backpackers who come here from all over the world. The main reason for that is the low price, clean rooms combined with good friendly service. The goodwill spreads mainly by word of mouth and good online reviews and they become somewhat known or stamped as backpackers accommodations. 
 
Strangely almost all such hotels are quite off limit from the main town center of Darjeeling (i.e. the mall). So it also seems that the backpackers tend to like secluded locations away from the noisy crowd or do not mind hiking quite a bit if it is for good value at a cheap rate. 
 
 
 
You will actually find several other accommodations or hotels in Darjeeling which may be even cheaper, but they are somehow not popular with the backpackers community, or perhaps not that well known to them. Some such accommodations include Cheap Holiday Homes which are mostly run by the staff welfare organizations of banks and are also open to general public. They have limited rooms though. 
 
Below are the most popular backpackers accommodations in Darjeeling. Click a link to go directly to the one of your choice, or else go through each reviews and choose one. 
 
 
International Youth Hostel Darjeeling 
This accommodation belongs to YHAI (Youth Hostel Association of India). The 3-storied building is located only 200 meters before Darjeeling Railway Station on Hill Cart Road (which is the main road going into Darjeeling). Dormitory beds (in 6 bedded rooms) as well as double rooms are available. The dormitory beds here are among the cheapest accommodations in Darjeeling (around Rs. 350 per bed) and therefore popular with low budget travelers. The dormitory rooms have a common bathroom. 
 
Youth Hostel Darjeeling 
 
Although rooms are basic, the double rooms have TV with cable channels, attached bath with towels etc. Some rooms have balconies. From a balcony or the upstairs terrace the view is good. There is in-house dining available. The front-desk can organize car hires. There is also an ATM nearby. 
 
Note that although this is a youth hostel, families can also stay here. 
 
Rates provided by booking.com 
 
Location &áContacts 
Opposite New Taxi Stand &áMulti level parking, 
300m before Darjeeling Railway Station on Hill Cart Road 
Chota Kakjhora, Darjeeling- 734101 
Phone : 09830589025 
 
Aliment Hotel 
This small hotel is located on Zakir Hussain Road at the upper part of Darjeeling and about 20 minutes uphill walk from the Chowrasta Mall. While cars and taxis can come up to the entrance, usually they won't unless you pay them extra. This is because the place is off limit from the main traffic area and the taxis need to take a detour to reach. Secondly the driver won't get any passengers on his way back. 
 
So you will need to walk quite a bit to reach up to the hotel. At the first look of it you will wonder why it is so touted as a great backpackers hotel. But once you get in, start talking to the staff at the reception and also the family who runs this hotel, you start feeling the warmth and friendliness. The hotel is owned by a Tibetan who was an ex-soldier of the Gorkha Regiment. The family and the staff are very friendly and will help you out in anyway they can. 
 
Room - Aliment Hotel Darjeeling 
Aliment Hotel, Room 
 
There are single &ádouble rooms. Some double rooms have great view from the windows. You can see the valley with rows of houses on the slopes. On a clear day, you can get a magnificent view of Kanchenjunga snow peaks as well. 
 
Room - Aliment Hotel Darjeeling 
Aliment Hotel, Room 
 
Rooms are clean and well maintained. They clean the rooms frequently and make the beds. The bed sheets and towels are also very clean. All rooms have standard amenities including a small TV. Most rooms are airy and have lots of natural lights. The bedding is also quite comfortable. They give extra blankets and quilts in the winter. So over all the room quality is good. There are total of 21 rooms in the hotel. 
 
Indian Style Toilet, Aliment Hotel 
 
 
Hot water is available in the bathrooms between 6pm to 8pm in the evenings. However most bathrooms have some musty smell. One of the negatives here is, the toilets of some rooms are of Indian style (squat type) although they also have rooms with western style toilets (recent changes). 
 
Western Style Toilet, Aliment Hotel 
 
 
Another great point about Aliment Hotel is its rooftop restaurant which also has a section with library. You can take a book and relax while having some nice Tibetan food. Thukpa and Tibetan bread offered here are really nice. 
 
And if your room doesn't have great views, then this is the place which can compensate for all that. It's a nice place to meet up your fellow backpackers and other guests and have a chaat. 
 
Rooftop Restaurant &áLibrary, Aliment Hotel 
 
 
The restaurant really offers a fantastic view of the valley. It's an ideal place to spend some quiet time reading books or meet up with the fellow backpackers and have a friendly chat with them. The Kitchen closes by 8:45pm and so plan to take early dinner. There is no other great restaurants or shops nearby.  
 
So if you miss your dinner, you will need to walk for 20 minutes to town center and then walk back up after dinner. However, during winter all restaurants in Darjeeling would have closed by then anyway. The people here go off to bed early and start the day early. 
 
Robin (Manager) on Roof Top Terrace 
 
 
Other amenities include wi-fi at the reception area for a small charge. They also run a cyber cafe here. So if you don't have your laptops, you can use their PCs to check mails. An old Telephone Booth inside the reception area is no longer in operation. 
 
The staff at the reception will also organize any local tours or treks at very reasonable prices. But if you are planning for Tiger Hill sunrise views, then tell them in advance because at that early hour, you may find the main door locked. You can also ask them to wake you up early in the morning. 
 
Rates provided by booking.com 
 
Location &áContacts 
40, Dr. Zakir Hussain Road, Darjeeling 734101 
It's located next to Hotel Broadway Annex and close to the Tenzing Norgay Youth Hostel. Mobile: 9547270094; Phone: (0354) 2255068; Email: [email protected] 
 
 
 
Tenzing Norgay Youth Hostel 
Strangely most backpackers' accommodations in Darjeeling are located at the upper part and along Zakir Hussain Road. The Youth Hostel is also no exception. It's located very close to Aliment Hotel and Broadway Annex. This one too requires about 20 minutes of walk from the main town center. 
 
Tenzing Norgay Youth Hostel, Darjeeling 
 
 
Although it is a Youth Hostel (originally meant for students), but its' actually open to all including even families. But being basically a hostel, its amenities are more geared towards basic stay. There is no food or room service. However it has a large kitchen where you can cook your own food. You need to bring your own utensils and gas oven etc. The hostel just provides the kitchen space. 
 
The hostel has dormitories with 44 beds, couple of double rooms and one four bedded room. The Double room rate is Rs. 500/ and offers excellent basic accommodation. Both are large spacious rooms with lots of daylight and have balconies. These rooms offer great views of the valley and Kanchenjunga on clear days. The rooms have attached bathrooms which are also quite large and fitted with geysers. However the hot water supply is only for limited hours in the morning. The rooms are cleaned thrice a week and bed sheets changed. 
 
Tenzing Norgay Youth Hostel, Darjeeling 
 
 
Upstairs the 4 bedded room which is more like a suit is wood paneled. It has TV, balcony and other standard amenities along with a large attached toilet. Wi-Fi is planned shortly. While most youth hostels in India tend to be quite noisy, this one is relatively quiet and peaceful. 
 
Booking Information 
Directorate of Youth Services,  
32/1, B.B.D. Bag (South), Standard Building, 2nd floor, Kolkata- 700001. 
Phone: (+91) 33-2248 0626, 2210 9206, 2210 6767 
 
UPDATE JANUARY 2015: Since formation of GTA, Tenzing Norgay Youth Hostel in Darjeeling has remained closed and is not taking any bookings. It is not known when it will open again. During my last visit, I saw a few stray dogs occupying the lobby. The caretaker lady and a guard said they have no information. The kitchen was however open and probably used by the caretakers themselves. Hotel Broadway Annex located adjacent to the youth hostel is affiliated to Youth Hostel Association of India (YHAI) and offers some rooms at rates similar to that of Youth Hostels. 
 
 
 
Tower View Hotel 
This is another low budget hotel popular with the backpackers. This hotel is also located at Zakir Hussain Road, but closer to the town center (about 12-15 minutes walk). You will often find this hotel packed with foreigners. 
 
But this a much smaller hotel with lesser number of rooms. It has a few dormitory beds also. Some rooms offer great view of the valley and Kanchenjunga. There is a common lounge cum dining area as you enter. This is where you will meet up several other fellow backpackers. There are books and comfortable sofa seating here and also an adjacent balcony where guests spend most of their time while staying in the hotel. Check out Tower View Hotel for my detailed review and contact information. 
 
Rates provided by booking.com 
 
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Visitors' Reviews/Comments 
 
Soumya Das (March 2015) 
Hi Raj sir, we 10 friends are going to Darjeeling from 24April to 26April. We are looking for a dormitory to stay together. It will be very helpful if you can suggest one dormitory. Thanks, 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2015 
Hi, Dormitory accommodations are quite limited in Darjeeling. Presently Tenzing Norgay Youth Hostel which has dormitory is lying closed. One option is to book rooms at Hotel Broadway Annex which is located right next to the youth hostel and is a member of Youth Hostel Association of India (YHAI). You can get standard rooms for two persons @Rs. 660/- if you book online through YHAI site. Another option is Tower View hotel on Zakir Hussain road which has a few dorm beds. It's a low budget hotel. 
 
Abhijay (June 2013) 
Hi Raj, I am planning a trip to Darjeeling-Kalimpong and other nearby places in mid-July for a week. I was hoping to get some suggestions (about hotels and places to see) from you for our trip. We will be just 2 guys (kind of backpacking) so we are not looking for anything fancy. We just want to visit some really good places in the time we have. Thanks. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) June 2013 
Hi, One of the most well known hotels for backpackers is Hotel Aliment. It's located at a higher elevation and a bit away from the Mall area. It requires 20 minutes uphill walk from the Chowrasta Mall. Although cars and jeeps can go there, since its a bit out of the way, they won't unless you pay them extra. But most prefer to walk. It's located on Zakir Hussain Road that originates from the Mall and goes all the way past St Paul's school. This is where you can meet up and chat with many other backpackers at the restaurant upstairs, many of them foreigners. Some rooms and the restaurant upstairs offer great views of the valley and even Kanchenjunga on a clear day. 
 
Another Backpacker hotel is Tower View, also on Zakeer Hussain Road but closer to the Mall. This hotel is not as friendly and clean as Aliment. 
 
Another option ... Hotel Villa Everest is one of my favorite hotels in Darjeeling (Located on Gandhi Road). It's not a budget hotel but during July through September, they offer rooms for backpackers at attractive prices. Which means you get great accommodation and service at very affordable prices. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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