A mere mention of Darjeeling is enough to remind you of the picturesque tea gardens and mesmerising surroundings nestled in the heart of the mountains of East India. One of the cheapest places to visit in India, Darjeeling lets you take home precious memories of a trip to the lap of nature. Nothing beats waking up to the fresh mountain air and having a hot cup of Darjeeling tea as you watch the sunrise over Tiger Hills. While there, do not forget to hop on the famous toy train that runs between New Jalpaiguri railway station in West Bengal to Darjeeling via Siliguri, Kurseong and Ghum. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has been operational since 1881. If you cover the entire 80-km route, the memorable toy train ride would include crossing over 500 bridges, steering through rolling plains and lush green valleys.
- Best time to visit – April to June and October to January
- Ideal duration – 2-3 days
- How to reach –
- By Air: Bagdogra, 12 km from Siliguri, is the nearest airport to Darjeeling (70 km). Not a major airport, you may have to take a flight to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata before taking another flight to Bagdogra. You can take a taxi from Bagdogra to Darjeeling.
- By Train: The nearest railway station New Jalpaiguri connects the city with all the major cities of India. There are many trains to New Jalpaiguri from Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru and other cities.
- By Road: There are regular bus services from Siliguri to Darjeeling. The Tenzing Norgay Central Bus Terminus at Siliguri runs regular bus services on the route. You can also opt for a shared jeep. Though faster, the cost is often double compared to a bus.
- Average cost (stay and food) – Rs 1000-Rs 1500/day approx