How safe is Darjeeling?

 
 
 
I am staying 3nights in Sterling and 2 nights in Darjeeling Tourist lodge in the room that you recommended in your site. Now in the evening since I will travel with my 5 year old child so would like to know how long is it safe to venture out and what are the safe places to have dinner? 
 
Sraboni Dutta Sarkar (May 2014) 
 
Most stores in high season would be open until 9pm and restaurants till about 10pm. So you will find lots of tourists on Nehru Road (the main shopping road leading from the mall) till about 9-9:30pm. So it's generally quite safe. However the stretch of the road between the Mall and Tourist lodge (I.e. the Mall road) is usually quite lonely. 
 
 
 
You being a lady with an infant, I would suggest you take early dinner and get back by 8pm. If it's too early to have dinner, you can have it in Tourist Lodge as well. Food is bland but manageable for couple of days. Although the dining room closes by 8pm, they will serve food in hot cases in the rooms, so you can have it later in your room. 
 
Depending on budget, you can try these restaurants .... Glenary's on Nehru Road (upscale, multi-cuisine with a bar), Shangri-la (Upscale, few steps from Mall on Nehru Road, nice multi-cuisine with a bar) The Park on Ladenla Road ( Mid range, great Thai &áChinese, has a bar), Kunga below Nehru Road and by Clubside á(budget, great Tibetan &áChinese food). 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, May 2014) 
 
Actually we are three girls planning for the Darjeeling tour in August (precisely b/w 17.08.14 to 23rd. I wanted to know if that season is suitable for us(i mean in way of safety) as many tourists do not come at that time and its all quite. Also if you could give us a guideline so as how we can stay there and enjoy it fully? 
 
Shivangi Singh (May 2014) 
 
 
Hi, 
 
Darjeeling is quite safe in all seasons. But don't push the limits like doing late nights or wandering around in secluded areas. No place on earth would then be safe. Otherwise you should be fine. Go through my article Darjeeling in Monsoon
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, May 2014) 
 
 
Dear Raj, 
 
I dream of travelling and i am from Maharashtra. I am on a budget trip and I would like you to tell me if I can stay in tents and how safe is it ? I don't want to do what tourism sites promote , I would like to travel locally and understand the different pattern and culture. This will be a one of a kind trip for me . We are two girls and i would sincerely like you to tell me how safe is it to travel alone. 
 
Anuradha Ghatge (May 2014) 
 
 
Hi, 
 
You should not plan to camp and stay in tents unless you go through a proper tour operator. You can't camp freely in Darjeeling wherever you like. There are some designated areas (mostly along trekking trails) which only the operator can guide you. There is no safety issue as such as long as you stay within sensible limits and don't try out wild or weird things thinking that it's an ideal world. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, May 2014) 
 
 
Hi Raj, first of all thank you for all the detailed and comprehensive information. It is indeed very helpful to all new travellers like us. I want to ask weather these places are safe to travel for women alone. I am going for HMI course and before and after the course planning to explore kurseong, makaibari tea estate, kalimpong and gangtok alone...since most of the travelling happens by road between these places and often by shared jeep and taxis ( private one too expensive for all the places together) is it alright safe for women to travel alone in these taxis and jeep..your reply will be highly appreciated. Thank you. 
 
Jyoti Singh (October 2014) 
 
 
Yes, it's generally quite safe to travel by shared jeeps. But wherever you go, do not stray around and avoid secluded places. Travel only during the day time. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, October 2014) 
 
 
NOTE (November 2014) 
 
I have come to learn that there have been a few cases where women, particularly foreigners returning at night from the restaurants or bars alone or with other female company have been intercepted by some goons on motorbikes. They pretend as local police and start questioning, then harassing and finally demanding large sum of money. They are often drunk. This is quite unfortunate but can be a shocking experience. 
 
I know of a case where couple of lady foreigners had to pay Rs. 5,000/- to get released and getting back to the hotel in complete shock. And this has happened around 8:30pm (not at all late by city standards). But in Darjeeling almost all stores and establishments close by 8pm and the roads get quite deserted. 
 
I strongly suggest that ladies should not wander around alone after 8pm on lonely streets of Darjeeling. They should be in a group and have male company. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
 
 
 
Hi Raj, compliments to you for creating an excellent website. I spend most of my time in the west and a couple of months in India - usually Nov and Dec. Spending a week or so in a tea estate sounds just like my kind of thing - specially the homestay of local workers to soak in their way of life.. 
 
My question is - is it safe to do this as a single woman in a homestay? Is it also safe to walk around the tea estates and jungles alone? This is something I love to do but not sure how sensible it is in Darjeeling for a single woman to be wandering about on her own. Given you really seem to understand Darjeeling, I would really value your inputs. If you can revert within a day or two, given I am in the country for not long, I would really appreciate it! Thanks n warm regards 
 
Archana Malliwal (November 2014) 
 
 
Hi, homestay in a tea estate like Makaibari is not a problem. You can stay there alone with the garden worker's family. But avoid wandering around alone in tea gardens or jungles. Exploring the villages during day time is usually not a problem though. If you choose Makaibari as the tea estate, then contact Nayan Lama. He is the head of Volunteers in Makaibari (ViM). They are a small body of volunteers and can provide you with a guide to explore the places at reasonable cost. You should also book the homestay through them. There is no additional cost involved. You will get all logistics support that you may need. Contact details are given in my site under Makaibari tea estate. Drop my name, it can possibly help. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, November 2014) 
 
 
Update 28th April, 2015: Earthquake situation in Darjeeling &áSurrounding areas 
 
Earthquake tremors have been felt in Darjeeling area several times over the past few days. So is it wise to go ahead with a trip to Darjeeling now? Or should you cancel your plan? Well the first thing I would like to advise is not to panic. The impact of this earthquake in Darjeeling seems to be far less compared to September 2011. 
 
As of today (April 28th, 2015), nothing serious has happened in Darjeeling. Cracks are visible on the building of Mahakal Shopping Complex on Laden-La road, as well as minor cracks on few buildings including in one of district administration offices. Apart from that all is so far okay in Darjeeling town. However there had been damages at few buildings in Mirik following the earthquake on Monday (27th April) with its epicenter 5km south west of Mirik and measuring 5.1 on Richter scale. But no injury has been reported. The roads from NJP, Bagdogra and Siliguri are open. Kalimpong and Gangtok situations are also okay and there is no report of any damage as such. 
 
If you had planned to trek to Sandakphu and Singalila, you may go ahead. There is no problem so far along that route. However I would advise you to stay at trekkers huts instead of hotel buildings like Sherpa Chalet in Sandakphu. This is to avoid any possible safety issues arising out of future tremors, if at all. Trekkers are still trekking along that route as of today without any problems. 
 
Unfortunately the main culprit so far has been the panic. Many tourists and locals are spending their time and sleeping in open area such as the Chowrasta (mall). This is in anticipation of more tremors that might hit the hills. Nobody has after all experienced three tremors in a row. Several tourists who were already in Darjeeling and Gangtok decided to head back home canceling their remaining tours. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 28th, April 2015 
 
 
Update 14th May, 2015: Earthquake situation 
 
Another earthquake couple of days back caused another panic, but no damages or casualties in Darjeeling. I was talking to a hotel owner, and he mentioned that there is no booking cancellation because of this new earthquake. Kalimpong and Gangtok are also okay, and all roads are accessible in this part of the country. So if you have planned tours to Darjeeling in May or June, I don't see any reasons yet to step back. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 14th, May 2015 
 
 
Dear Sir, Today on 02nd Jul'15 in Bangladesh Newspaper I have seen that a number of people have died due to heavy rainfall and landslide in Darjeeling. Can you please help us to know if Darjeeling is safe for journey on 17-07-15? I have seen in youtube that several years back Darjeeling govt. administration announced to leave all the tourists from upper hill area to be safe from landslide. I don't know where is Shangri la Regency Hotel? Is it in the safe place and safe from land slide, pls? Please give us your kind suggestion. 
 
Zubair (July 2015) 
 
 
As you are aware, several landslides have taken place in several areas of Darjeeling district. While there is no damage as such in main Darjeeling town where your hotel is located, there are possibilities of routes getting closed. And this may lead to long delays in reaching or coming out of the town. As of now, one landslide which blocked the main highway between Darjeeling and Ghum has been cleared and traffic is moving. It caused a huge traffic jam and many tourists got stuck on the road for several hours. Sikkim traffic is also diverted through Darjeeling due to landslides on their main highway, which is also causing a lot of pressure on traffic flow. So if you visit Darjeeling, plan to get down to the plains on the previous day to avoid missing flights or trains, and do not visit Mirik area which is worst affected. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 2nd July 2015 
 
 
Hi Raj, 
 
I read a lot of your site and it's been very helpful in my planning my trip to Darjeeling. I was just wondering, I'm planning on heading to Darjelling/Gangtok in September, as I am a solo Western woman traveler will I be safe? I have lived in India for the past 2 years and have traveled to many places but never that far North by myself. Also how much of a hassle will it be for me to organise a driver? I was planning on going with an organised tour but that doesn't seem to be much of an option. Thanks in advance! 
 
Beth (July 2015) 
 
 
Hi, follow certain thumb rules and you should be okay as a solo lady traveler ... do not wander around alone in secluded places or drive to places with stray drivers, do not go for a walk after 7pm, the hill towns sleep early in this part of the country and there has been cases of mugging in the past. However it's okay to go out for dinner if you are staying at the town center where there are enough tourists and locals on the street. If you need a private car for tours and transfers, get it through your hotel and ensure its hotel's own car and driver. Avoid taking taxis from the stand or through small travel agencies who offer cheaper rates. Otherwise use public transports like buses and shared jeeps... they won't be quite comfortable though. Last, avoid chatting or making friends with strangers... you may be curious to understand their cultures. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) July 2015 
 
 
Hi 
 
I am a lady traveling alone from Bagdogra to Darjeeling and want to confirm if taking a taxi form pre-paid booth and then traveling to Darjeeling by road is safe? Also, if I land at around 3 pm - what time am I expected to reach and will it still be daylight? Appreciate a response - thanks 
 
Pallavi (September 2015) 
 
 
There is no safety issue as such (through pre-paid). Better to arrange a pick up through the hotel although that might be a little costlier. It will get dark by the time you reach. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2015 
 
 
Hello Raj, 
 
First of all, thank you for maintaining such a website which holds all the updated information about Darjeeling at such an elaborate scale. Kudos to your effort and dedication :) 
 
My query is regarding a short travel between NJP station to Siliguri bus stand. I am traveling alone from Mumbai and will reach NJP at night around 21.30 in Dec 2015. I want to go to Darjeeling the next day by bus which I understand leaves from Siliguri bus stand at 7am in the morning. My question is - is it safe to travel at night from NJP to Siliguri and stay at Siliguri for the night? OR would you suggest staying back near NJP station and then travel to Siliguri stand in the morning? Also what is the fare to travel from NJP to SIliguri bus stand? And is there some bargaining that needs to be done? Regards, 
 
Sumana (September 2015) 
 
 
On a December night, I would suggest you stay back at NJP station. Book a retiring room at NJP station (now online booking is possible through irctc.co.in). Next morning you can take an auto (Rs. 100/- approx) or taxi (Rs. 200) to get to the bus stand at Siliguri. You can try to bargain. Takes about 10-15 minutes from NJP. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2015 
 
 
Hi Raj, 
 
first, thank you for your website. It is very informative and helpful. I'm planning a visit to Darjeeling this April and and am wondering if using a pre-paid taxi from Bagdogra is generally safe for lone female travelers. Thank you. 
 
Tina (March 2016) 
 
 
Hi, it's usually safe if you travel during the day time. Better ask your hotel (if credible) for a pickup. That would of course cost a bit more. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2016 
 
 
Hi Raj!!! 
 
First of all thank u so much for ur wonderful efforts to guide the people in such a nice way. I will be reaching Bagdogra Airport at around 3:45 PM on 15th November 2016. It will take more 20 mins to collect baggage from airport. In Nov, sunset timing is 4:45 PM. We are planning to reach darjeeling on same day. We will take pre paid taxi and around 4:10 we will depart from bagdogra. Is it safe to travel after sunset? As the route after 25 km, sharp bend and risky. But is it a wise decision? Please guide me. Thank u so much in advance. 
 
Ankita (October 2016) 
 
 
There is no real safety issue as such for your timings, but it's always advisable to avoid driving in the mountains after dark. Plus enjoying the views during the drive is one of the major attractions in Darjeeling hills which you will mostly miss. So if possible, stay back at Bagdogra (Hotel Marina is nice), and take a taxi next morning. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2016 
 
 
Sir, 
 
Myself and my 12 year old daughter are travelling to Gangtok next week. We land in Bagdogra airport around 3pm. I have the following clarifications: 
 
1) is it advisable to take a taxi from airport at 3.30pm to Gangtok as we would reach Gangtok ok only by 8.30/9pm? Is this safe? Or should we stay in Siliguri or any other place that night and leave early in the morning ? 
 
2) overall wanted to take your opinion on safety of cabs when we take them to North Sikkim or Pelling.  
 
Thanks a lot  
 
Meera (May 2017) 
 
 
If you take a pre-paid taxi from Bagdogra airport, it should be okay (it takes about 4 hours). If you decide to stay back, then instead of a Siliguri hotel, you can consider Marinas Motel in Bagdogra. You can read my review under Bagdogra Hotels
 
As such there is no safety issue with cabs in Sikkim, but try to take a cab from well known tour operator or your hotel instead of stray taxis, and always travel during day time. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2017 
 
 
Raj, 
I am reaching bagdogra airport on 22nd dec 3 pm. I am a solo female traveller. What according to you will be the safest (and cheap) route to reach Darjeeling ? 
- Will taking a prepaid taxi for a solo female and paying 1850 rs be a better option 
- Or Should áI go to Siliguri bus stand from Bagdogra and take share taxi from there. 
 
Thanks for your help. 
 
Nitika (December 2017) 
 
 
You wont get a shared taxi from Siliguri after 3pm. Pre-paid taxi should be okay. It would be dark by 5pm. Better try to see if you can join a family on a pre-paid taxi. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) December 2017 
 
 

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