Last Updated: Dec 9, 2017
Find out what's new on this website
This page captures the latest & major updates related to tourism in Darjeeling & surrounding areas including Sikkim, Bhutan etc. You can also get to know about my latest additions of articles and new sections on this website. Stay tuned... More coming soon.
Updates: December 2017
Teesta Rangit Tourism Fest
Darjeeling is finally gearing up for a grand tourist festival ... Teesta Rangit Tourism Fest to be held in end-December this year. So hopefully all the unrest and agitation in the hills is now behind us. GTA (Gorkha Territorial Administration) in cooperation with State Tourism Department is setting up this festival to attract tourists in the hills during the winter. Apart from the winter chill and wonderful views, you can now experience all that are so unique to Darjeeling... The festival would showcase cultural & musical programs including folk dances, flower show, kite flying, rock climbing, tourists talent hunting, paragliding, Darjeeling tea, toy train rides and more.
The Tourism Fest will be held in different parts of Darjeeling on different days in December. The festival is scheduled to be held in Darjeeling town from December 27 to 29; in Kurseong from 28 to 29; in Kalimpong from 29 to 30; and in Mirik from 30 to 31.
Updates: November 2017
Political situation in Darjeeling
Finally the crisis in Darjeeling seems to be over and life is gradually getting back to normalcy. The strike called by the ruling party has been withdrawn. Residents have heaved a sigh of relief as they can now go to the market and stores to do their household shopping and start leading a normal life. But is everything hunky dory there? What about tourists? Are tourists visiting Darjeeling and Sikkim with the same level of confidence which they did prior to June before the strike was called?
Visit the page Darjeeling Forum topic on political situation
and scroll down to the bottom of the page to know the latest updates on the political situation in Darjeeling and understand whether it's safe to visit Darjeeling and Sikkim now, and whether all tourist attractions are back in normal state.
Updates: August 2017
I have created a full section on Cherrapunjee which is close to Shillong (about 54kms) and a land full of lush greenery, waterfalls, caves and even living root bridges. A place very close to Cherrapunjee observes the highest rainfall in the world. I have discussed all the best tourist places to visit, nice accommodations to stay for a night or two, dining options, vegetation etc. I have also touched upon the local people & culture, the main festivals etc. Visit the page Cherrapunjee Tourism
to get full info.
Updates: June 2017
Political situation in Darjeeling
A move by the State Government to introduce Bengali as a subject in all schools in the state has resulted in an unpleasant situation in Darjeeling, so much so that the ruling party has now called a general strike following a clash with police force. Hundreds of tourists have been asking me what should they do now... should they cancel all bookings? Or should they change the holiday location to Sikkim instead? When would it be safe to plan a visit to Darjeeling area?... many such questions. Visit this Darjeeling Forum topic on political situation
where I have offered my opinion at the end.
Updates: May 2017
Released my section on Ravangla and Borong, two sleepy hamlets in south Sikkim that are ideal for enjoying the nature, views and bird watching. Location of Ravangla also enables you to reach out to several other great places like Peling, Namchi etc easily. Read my section on Ravangla Tourism
Recently visited Gangjong handmade paper factory near Kalimpong. It's one of the least known yet amazing attractions where you can witness delicate papers being handmade out of pulp. I have described my experience of the paper factory at the bottom of Kalimpong Attractions page
Updates: April 2017
Just started a new section on Shillong which is known as Scotland of the east. This was long due. Shillong is my original hometown where I spent a lot of my childhood days in our ancestral home at Laban. I keep going back to meet my old time friends and walk down the memory lanes. Visit once and you too will fall in love. Here is my section on Shillong
Just visited Ravangla and Borong. Wrote a page on the lovely day trip to Borong. Borong is a quaint hamlet in south Sikkim offering magnificent views of Kanchenjunga and is ideal for bird watching. You can spend a day here and get back to Ravangla.... Read about my trip to Borong
Updates: March 2017
Videos on this website
I have now started embedding short videos on my website so that you get a real feel of the attractions and take a virtual tour through my eyes before you go. I shall continue to place more videos and hopefully each attraction on my website would have a video one day.
Updates: February 2017
Bhutan - The land of dragons
Bhutan section is a new addition to this website. Although Bhutan is a separate country, many tourists combine a visit to Darjeeling and Sikkim with Bhutan. This is because access to Bhutan is easy from here. The road route enters through the border at Pheunsholing which is only about 4hours by car from Siliguri (or New Jalpaiguri). And the nearest airport Bagdogra has regular flights to Paro, a town in Bhutan having the only airport of the country. You can plan a great Bhutan trip from this new section
by knowing how to go about permits for Bhutan, the various ways to reach, greatest attractions, local sightseeing tours, hotels, dining and lot more.
Updates: January 2017
Smoking Ban in Darjeeling
Although Ban on smoking was in force by law since 2003 in the entire state of West Bengal, however it's the first time it has been properly implemented and Darjeeling is the first district to get that feather on the cap. Smoking now in banned in all public places in Darjeeling and is subject to Rs. 200/- fine if one is caught in such act in a public place. Selling cigarettes and tobacco products to minors (i.e. to persons below 18 years) has also been banned in Darjeeling.
However there is a confusion on what may be construed as a public place and what is not. Is it any place with public access such as footpaths and other open space on the roadside or otherwise? While this needs clarity, it is certainly applicable for places where common public would usually gather in large numbers both in the open and closed door. And the Mall (i.e. the Chowrasta) which is the main public square of Darjeeling town is certainly part of such public places and smoking is banned here. Similarly one can not smoke in restaurants, railway waiting rooms, hospitals, auditoriums, libraries and similar places.
This ban is applicable for all Darjeeling residents and tourists. Although as per the ban cigarette shops must not exits within 100 meters of a school or educational institute, the implementation of the ban is yet to reach that scale and there is no drive whatsoever to reduce shops selling cigarettes. Having said that, many individuals have already been fined Rs. 200 for smoking in public places.
Cycling Park & Trails in Darjeeling
An exclusive Mountain Biking Park has been opened in Darjeeling which starts from Jorebungalow (Ghum) area, goes through Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary and ends at the mountain village Chatakpur located inside the park area. The trail offers several lovely view points. Apart from the cycling park, several operators offer mountain biking tours to various other destinations like Lamahatta, Pokhribong, Maneybhanjan, Kurseong and other places.
Road Route Maps you will love to see
You have been striving hard to get hold of some great road route maps showing how to reach Darjeeling as well as Gangtok and various places in Sikkim from NJP station, Siliguri or Bagdogra airport, but you haven't been able to find one.... right? Well your wait is over.
I have done the hard work of creating couple of detailed infographics - one to reach Darjeeling and the other for Sikkim including road connections between the two places. You can see all the road routes including distances between various points and time to travel. Here are the two road maps you will love to see (NOTE: you can click on each map picture to see the full size version):