As interesting and picturesque as Darjeeling is, there are some equally fascinating destinations around the town. A few hours of travel would take you to most of them. So while you are in Darjeeling, you must plan a few days to visit nearby getaways. Here are some suggestions!
Located almost halfway between Siliguri/NJP and Darjeeling, Mirik is a small hill station lying at an altitude of about 1500 meter or 4,905 feet. The small town is sprawled across 1.25 km long Lake Samendu which is surrounded by high forested hills, Dhupi trees and tea gardens. Boating in the lake, horse riding, and fish feeding are some of the fascinating activities for the tourists to enjoy. Mirik is also famous for its tea estates, cardamom plantations, orange orchards, monasteries and temples, flower gardens including orchids and more. Mirik’s most interesting landmark is the Bokar Monastery, located at 5,801 ft.
Situated on the lower ranges of the Himalayas, this hill station is approximately 53 km from Darjeeling. Enriched with ancient Buddhist monasteries, quaint old churches and popular temples, Kalimpong offers panoramic views of the Teesta Rangit Valley in Sikkim. Presently the headquarter of Kalimpong district, there are lovely housing architectures in traditional British style that will remind you of a typical British countryside and several charity institutions along with many flower gardens. Although the British have long gone, Kalimpong still retains the British way of life.
Located at an altitude of about 5,700 feet and at about 23 km from Darjeeling, Lamahatta is a quiet and peaceful place with pine trees standing magnificently tall with the looming Mount Kanchenjunga in the fore front. One of the main attractions of Lamahatta is the road side garden spread over a vast expanse displaying a variety of seasonal flowers including orchids. You can indulge in a few short jungle treks by co-coordinating with the local guides or go for river rafting at the famous Teesta, which is about 15 km from Lamahatta. Also, walk through the nearby tea gardens and visit the cave temple and Lamahatta Village monastery.
A serene little village in Kurseong, Mongpu was a much-loved summer retreat of Rabindranath Tagore. Located at a height of 3,500-4000 ft, this Himalayan colony is also well-known for its lush tea estates, orchid nurseries, clear gurgling streams and cinchona plantations. You will barely be able to keep your eyes off the window enroute Mongpu from Darjeeling – huge tea estates, beautiful orchids, cinchona plantations and clear streams will make your trip worthwhile.
Singalila National Park
This protected forest area is a high-altitude park at 7,900 to 12,000 ft., covering an area of 78.6 square km at the Singalila ridge in Darjeeling district. Singalila National Park is popular for its amazing flora and fauna and the presence of the rarest and exotic animals like the Red Pandas, barking deer, yellow throated martens, long tailed Pangolins, Himalayan black bear, clouded leopards, wild boars and many more. You can also spot a few rare lizards like the Himalayan Newt. The park is home to 120 species of birds including long tail minivet, blood pheasant, black throated and brown parrotbill, and slender billed babbler among others.
Trekkers are obsessive about Sandakphu! It is from here that you can see four of the five highest peaks of the world including Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and Lhotse along with Three Sisters and many other peaks of Sikkim, Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. Walk through the forests of Rhododendrons, giant Magnolias, Spruce, and 600 varieties of orchids! Sandakphu stands at a height of 11,929 ft. The trek route to Sandakphu starts from a place called Manebhanjan and you have to ensure that you have a registered guide or else you can get them from the Highlander Guides & Porters Welfare Association at Manebhanjan.
So, make use of those remaining privilege leaves and plan a trip to Darjeeling. Also, make cheap Darjeeling hotel booking on Yatra.com for the best deals.