If you are planning a vacation in Darjeeling area, it can be a great idea to spend a couple of days in Mirik and then make an onward journey to Darjeeling or other places. You can also do the reverse. In fact Mirik lies almost halfway between Siliguri/NJP and Darjeeling on the alternative route that goes to Darjeeling through scenic tea estates. Mirik is a small hill town and part of Kurseong subdivision and within Darjeeling district.
So why should you spend a couple of days in Mirik? Reasons are plenty. As I said, since it is about halfway to Darjeeling (52kms from Siliguri, Darjeeling is another 49 kms), it makes sense to break the journey and make it more relaxing as you ascend along the winding roads of the mountains.
In fact this alternative route to Darjeeling is less steep and much more scenic as well, although it takes 1 hour longer to reach Darjeeling.
Another great reason to visit Mirik is its mild temperature. Unlike Darjeeling, it never gets to extreme cold. Mirik's average altitude is about 5,000ft and the highest point is at 5,800ft (at Boker Monastery). The altitude is much lower than Darjeeling and therefore expectedly, the climate and the temperature is more gentle and comfortable.
Mirik & The Lake - A top view from the Monastery
The maximum temperature during summer reaches around 30°C and the minimum comes down to around 15°C. During winter the lowest temperature comes down to around 2°C. But the daytime temperature remains comfortably cool even in winter with a maximum of around 13°C.
But the greatest reason to visit Mirik is its scenic views with the central attraction as the 1.25kms long lovely lake surrounded by Dhupi trees on it western bank and a vast garden on the eastern bank. Mirik is a tranquil laid back hill station. There are vantage points from where you can get lovely sights of Kanchenjunga snow peaks. And of course the area is surrounded by many rolling tea estates on mountain slopes.
Mirik Lake and the Arched Footbridge
The first tourism development in Mirik began when the state tourism department acquired 335 acres of land area from the neighboring Thurbo tea estate and started developing it as a tourist place in 1974 when Sri Siddhartha Shankar Ray was the Chief Minister of West Bengal. Earlier during the colonial days the open field on the eastern bank of the lake was used as a polo field by the British.
It has been now developed into a garden with flower plantations. The natural lake is fed with rain and spring water. Gradually over time, many hotels and restaurants have also come up in Mirik but mostly in the Krishananagar area which is at the southern end of the lake.
Route to reach Mirik from NJP / Bagdogra
Many would vouch that the road from the plains to reach Mirik which is also know as the alternative route for Darjeeling is one of the most scenic in the country. And why not? Where else will you find so many lovely tea gardens on the mountain slopes, beautiful orange orchards along the way and of course the love scenery. Go through the link above for a complete description of route to Mirik. More info...
Tourist Sites & Sightseeing Tours
Mirik actually has several sightseeing and tourist places other than the lake. Lovely view points to watch sunrise, sunset and the landscape, several nearby tea gardens, monasteries & temples, orange orchards, flower gardens including orchids and more. Some popular activities at the lake area includes boating, horse riding, fish feeding etc. More info on tours & sightseeing...
Best Hotels in Mirik: Budget & Luxury
Several affordable and mid-priced hotels have come up in Mirik and near the lake. Some of them have nice view of the lake as well. Most hotels are in Krishnanagar locality of Mirik. You will also find accommodations in places like Mirik Bazaar area (will be congested though), Mirik Busti (a bit far away from the lake), Thana line etc. More info on all types of hotels in Mirik...
Best Restaurants & Bars in Mirik
There are several eateries in Mirik in Krishnanagar and Mirik Bazaar areas. You will usually get north Indian and Chinese dishes, and there are few restaurants offering homemade Bengali food. Some also offer South Indian food. More info...
While the Mirik Market is the main shopping area with numerous stores selling clothes, shoes, bags, curios, gifts & souvenirs, there are also few nice stores in Krishnanagar area selling mainly local pottery items, curios, woolens and packaged Darjeeling tea. More info...
Transport & Fares to Mirik
(Fares are indicative and Updated in January 2016)
Between NJP/Siliguri and Mirik: Distance between Siliguri and Mirik is 52 Kms and between NJP and Mirik is 57kms. Private taxis and shared jeeps are available between NJP/Siliguri and Mirik. It takes about 1.5 hours of travel. Shared jeeps are usually available from 7am until 3pm. Private taxis area available from NJP pre-paid taxi stand outside the station as well as several Siliguri taxi stands.
The private taxi fare between NJP and Mirik is about Rs. 1,600/- in a small car like WagonR, Alto etc (the fare during peak season can almost double). Shared jeep fare is Rs. 100/- per person (luggage is kept on the roof).
Between Bagdogra Airport and Mirik: Private taxis are available. Small taxi fare from the pre-paid booth at the airport or at the taxi booking kiosk at Mirik is about Rs. 1,500. Distance is about 55kms and takes about 1.5 hours to reach.
Between Darjeeling and Mirik: The distance is 49kms and takes about 2.5 hours by car. Regular shared jeeps and private taxis are available. Shared jeeps are usually available between 7am till 3pm. Shared jeep fare is Rs. 100/- per person. Private small taxi fare is about Rs. 2,000/-. Rate for large vehicle like Sumo will be higher by Rs. 300/-.
From Darjeeling the shared jeeps are available from Chowk Bazaar motor stand while private taxis are available from all stands. In Mirik, shared jeeps leave from both Krishnanagar stand (at the southern end of the lake) and also from Mirik Market. You will need to buy tickets for the shared jeeps from the kiosk.
Weather & Best Time to Visit Mirik
The climate generally remains pleasantly cool with temperature varying between a maximum of 30°C in summer to a minimum of 2°C during peak winter. A unique and an amazing phenomena in Mirik is cloud entering through the windows and you getting engulfed in it, and it happens quite often.
The best time to visit Mirik is between Mid March to End May, and Mid September to December. From April onwards the summer starts and the temperature warms up. You won't need any woolens during the day time in summer. However the evenings are pleasantly cool and a light sweater is goof enough.
June onwards the monsoon begins and usually lasts till September. From mid-September onwards the climate again starts becoming great for tourism. October is the real rush period. Woolens are usually not required during the day time till October end. From November onwards it starts getting cold and you will need to wear woolens even during the day time. By December the peak winter sets in. So during summer carry light woolens and during winter heavy woolens.
Prashanth (March 2016)
Hi Raj, This website is one of the best for any tourism, having so much information. I am planning with family, 3 year kid. Will take Darjeeling to Kurseong train. Can I get Kurseong to Mirik lake and then to Siliguri shared taxi services on May 17th 2016. If so how much is the cost? Please suggest. Thank you.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2016
Hi, Mirik is not on the same route as Kurseong and there is no direct transport between the two. The route is either via Ghum or Sukna (at the lower plains). Best is to take a private taxi. Otherwise take a shared jeep from Kurseong up to Ghum and then another one to Mirik.