Darjeeling and Gangtok tour -a trip to northeast India
India is a country famous for its unity in diversity. The multicultural land with so many varieties of foods, clothing, language, culture one can’t see anywhere else. India with different shades of culture ranging from north to south and east to west is a fabulous place to visit. There are many places which you can choose visit in India. Two of these places are Darjeeling and Gangtok.
Darjeeling and Gangtok are famous tourist attractions in northeast India. These are the places where you can see the culture of hill peoples and the natural beauty of mountains that is not in metro cities. So keep your camera ready to capture the fabulous moments and landscapes. The nearest airport is Bagdogra and railway station is New Jalpaiguri. After reaching the airport or railway station the onward journey to Darjeeling/Gangtok can be done by taxi which will take approx 3 to 4 hrs.
Darjeeling is a place with great viewpoints of beautiful scenes of Kanchenjunga snow peaks, Buddhist monasteries, churches, temples, tea gardens on mountain slopes, museums, art galleries, parks & gardens. Breathtaking views of the mountains and tea gardens sloping are the nice view to watch and there is much more to see.
Best time to visit
Best time to visit Darjeeling and Gangtok is from October to march as you can enjoy the natural beauty of this place and a pleasant weather. But in the rainy season, there may be landslides (June to September), so it is better to avoid visit at that time.
First things to keep in mind is to get a good hotel which provides a comfortable stay and good food, check ratings on hotel booking sites for that.
The major tourist attractions for Darjeeling are
- Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI)
- Darjeeling Zoo
- Tiger hills
- Batasia Loop
- Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (Toy Train)
- Tea gardens
- Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center
Now planning the sightseeing is very important. Suppose you have two days tour to Darjeeling (excluding the day you came), Tiger hills should be kept for day two as it is an early morning sightseeing (4 AM) and you might be tired on the day you came (by road trip to hills in an SUV if you are not used to it) and guide asks you to get at 4 AM (and also you are no used to get up that early in morning) then it won’t be that fun.
So you should plan for other site seeing like tea gardens, zoo, Tibetan Self Help Refugee Center, Tenzing Rock etc, for the first day and tiger hills and other attractions like
Ghoom Monastery and famous Batasia Loop, shopping in local markets for the next day.
Tiger hill is a place to watch beautiful sunrise from mountains a breathtaking view and fabulous experience, Tea gardens are wonderful lush green, also you must take a sip of tea offered here which you might not get anywhere else. You can also buy Darjeeling tea from here. Batasia loop can be visited by Toy Train or you can take a cab to enjoy this place offering a great view of Darjeeling. Tibetan refugee self-help centre provides handicrafts and textiles and other Tibetan artefacts.
Best places to eat
Sonam’s Kitchen, Gatty’s Cafe, Kunga Restaurant, Glenary’s are some best restaurants in Darjeeling.
Photos in traditional dress near zoo and Tea gardens can be a memorable experience
Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim which is the cleanest state in India. There are three main communities in Sikkim – Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalese. Gangtok is a good example of a traditional culture with modernity. A well-planned modern city with a diverse cultural heritage.
For Gangtok, a good hotel should be taken preferably at MG road which is the heart of Gangtok as it is the town centre and best for shopping in local markets which are nearby to it. So staying at MG road gives you the advantage of sightseeing in the day while you can shop, walk in the market in evening. Also, enjoy eating at restaurants here.
Mojar tourist places to visit in Gangtok are
- Tsomgo Lake,
- Baba Mandir
- Nathula pass
- Ranka Monastery
- Banjhakri waterfall
- Rumtek Monastery
- Chorten Stupa
- Institute of Tibetology & Museum
The trips to Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir and Nathula pass should be planned for a single day. Here warm clothes are necessary as you are going to higher altitudes.
Tsomgo lake is frozen in winter, it is also sacred to local peoples. You can ride Yak near the lake which is a great experience.
This lake is on the way to Baba Mandir which is at 14500ft. Baba Mandir is an army area. Because of the high altitude, there may be lack of oxygen in the air. You should take adequate precautions and consult a doctor before visiting if you have any breathing problems. Army monitors here everything. You need to have all the necessary documents before reaching here. One can also see here Army museum and documentary about northeast India and peoples living here and some historical perspective of these places. Also, you can enjoy tea, noodles and momos along the way.
For next day attractions are Ranka Monastery, Banjhakri waterfall, Rumtek Monastery, Ropeway, Chorten Stupa, Institute of Tibetology & Museum.
Ranka Monastery is located somewhat far (30 km from Gangtok) but a beautiful monastery. Banjhakri waterfall is a natural waterfall and a nice place to enjoy with family and friends. Ropeway, as you have also seen in some movies, is good to get a beautiful view of the city. The Rumtek monastery has a historical significance and study of religion and culture is preached here in nearby religious schools. Chorten Stupa is located near Tibetology Institute a steep but short climb, visit this place for serene and tranquil experience.
Best Places to eat
Roll House, The Coffee Shop Restaurant, Taste of Tibet, Sher-E-Punjab Restaurant and Bar are some best restaurants in Gangtok
It is a great experience to visit these places and see a different culture and tradition. A great trip with beautiful memories.