Rightfully labelled as the ‘Queen of the Hills‘, Darjeeling justifies its legacy as one of the most charismatic hill stations in India. Nestled in the Lesser Himalayas in the northern parts of West Bengal, it offers several beautiful tourist places to explore.
Darjeeling is enriched with its cultural history, and you would love the pleasant climate here all around the year. We have visited Darjeeling many times and witnessed the nostalgic toy trains winding down the roads, with the whistle reminding us of its colonial legacy miles away. Along with this, there are small stalls selling momos, winding roads, valleys, tea plantations, and monasteries.
Darjeeling has got several tea estates, and tea cultivation forms a significant economy. With breathtaking views of the evergreen forests and centuries-old plantations, it offers a calm retreat for thousands of families for vacations.
As the colonial hangover looms heavy in its streets, alleys, and mansions, Darjeeling also serves as a gateway to some of the most popular treks in India. On a clear day with comfortable weather, you would cherish your time sitting over a cup of coffee and feasting your eyes on the magnificent views of mount Kanchenjunga.
Let’s explore the most attractive and best places to visit in Darjeeling. With this information, you can start planning your next trip!
1. Tiger Hill
Tiger hill is a must-visit place in Darjeeling, given that you would be standing at the highest point in the region. It stands at 2,590 meters, from where you can cherish your vision with the snow-capped ranges.
Interestingly, Tiger Hill is such a place from where one can get an entire panoramic view of the ranges between Mount Everest and Mount Kanchenjunga. Some of the other prominent peaks that we can see from Tiger Hill include Kokhtang, Rathong, and Kabru. India has got only two such points that give you such a comprehensive view of The Eastern Himalayas, the other being Mount Phalut (3,600 meters).
For nature lovers like us, Tiger Hill is a great destination to visit. You can witness the first tender rays bathing Mount Everest from here as we did. For photographers and hikes, Tiger Hill happens to be a paradise.
To capture the sunrise, you need to wake up early and travel for 45 minutes from Darjeeling town. On the way, you would come across some of the oldest tree plantations in India.
For these reasons, you wouldn’t like to miss out on visiting Tiger Hill. So, make sure to include Tiger Hill in your itinerary. The only drawback we have found is Tiger Hill gets very crowded during the peak seasons.
2. Batasia Loop
Located around 5 Km from Darjeeling town, Batasia Loop continues to be one of the best places to visit in Darjeeling. You would appreciate the pleasing views of the narrow-gauge track for the toy train spiralling around the place. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has come up with this strategic point, where the toy train completes a complete loop. No wonder why Batasia Loop finds its name on honeymooners’ lists.
What photographers would love about this place is the flowering plants dotting the garden. It was back in 1919 that Batasia Loop was built in colonial Bengal with the objective to reduce the slope gradient for toy trains. One of the most beautiful places to travel around Darjeeling, Batasia Loop covers an extensive area of around 50,000 square feet.
The special thing about this spot is that you can capture a 360-degree panoramic view of the entire city of Darjeeling, along with its green landscapes with several layers. Then there’s an eco-garden here, where you can find relevant information about organic farming in the district. Also, the Gorkha War Memorial forms a photogenic structure inside the garden.
3. Darjeeling Zoo
The Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park, popularly known as the Darjeeling Zoo, is one of the must-visit places around the hill station. Besides, in 2022, this zoological park earned a feather in its cap, emerging as the best zoo in India.
The Darjeeling Zoo is one of the few places in India where you can get a glimpse of the snow leopard and the red panda, both of which are endangered species. The extensive zoo is spread across 65.56 acres and houses other endangered species like the Himalayan Salamanders.
Besides, you can see the Himalayan Black Bear, clouded leopards, black leopards, Himalayan Mountain Goat, and the Tibetan wolf in this zoo. Apart from the animals, nature lovers admire the diversity of plants here. The zoological park has more than 200 plant species, including alder, birch, and oak.
When you look out for places to see in Darjeeling, make sure to include this zoo in your list. Interestingly, the Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park was built in memory of Tenzing Norgay. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, which lies in the same complex, is currently one of the most popular resorts for mountaineering students.
4. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) is a famous place in Darjeeling, where you can find specimens of expedition artefacts and the best mountaineering gear. If you are a mountain lover or a trekker, it would be a sin not to visit this institute when you are in Darjeeling.
The institute runs a boarding school for students interested in mountaineering. Besides, you can capture the memorial built in memory of Tenzing Norgay. The premise also has a souvenir shop and a restaurant.
Trekkers and ambitious mountaineers get themselves trained for the challenges in this institute. Besides, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute finds its name among one of the best mountaineering schools in the country. Well, even if you are not into mountaineering, you cannot help appreciating the picturesque backdrop where the institute perches itself.
5. Ghum and Dali Monasteries
The Ghum and Dali Monasteries are two of the most popular monasteries to visit in Darjeeling. While the Ghum Monastery is located 7 Km from Darjeeling town, the Dali Monastery sits calmly 5 Km away.
The Samten Choling Monastery, popularly known as the Ghum Monastery, belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Buddhists. It is characterized by the massive arched gate, along with a magnificent white body. The golden top of the monastery happens to be a pure specimen of the Tibetan architectural style.
This monastery has a model of Lord Buddha, 26 feet tall. The structure also houses a sizable collection of Buddhist manuscripts and books. There’s a small café inside the premise, where you can refreshen yourself with light snacks and coffee. Several monks of the yellow hat sect of Buddhism reside in this monastery.
On the other hand, the Dali Monastery will give you peaceful vibes as you step into its premises. It sits as a specimen of divine wisdom. Originally, this monastery was called Druk Sangag Choling Monastery, and it still continues to be a popular pilgrimage site for Buddhists. The Dali Monastery belongs to the Kagyupa sect and was built in 1971 in the Tibetan style.
The monastery has some huge golden drums, cylindrical in shape. The spiritual vibes are evident from the deep humming voices from the prayer room.
6. Tea plantations And Estates
Darjeeling has some of the most verdant tea estates in India, some of which are centuries old. Some of these have been recognized by UNESCO as world heritage sites. You have winding roads around the city that take you around these tea estates.
However, if you are interested in visiting one of these tea estates, you can visit some of the famous ones in exchange for a small fee. Tea estates constitute some of the most beautiful places to visit in Darjeeling. Some of the most famous tea plantations in Darjeeling include the Puttabong Tea Estate, Glenburn Tea Estate, Makaibari Tea Estate, Gopaldhara Tea Estate, Okayti Tea Estate, and Happy Valley Tea Estate.
Both hikers and photographers can enjoy happening moments in these tea gardens and plantations. Besides, you get a first-hand view of the workers at the tea gardens and understand the operation of tea processing. Along with this, you have splendid views of the greenery around these estates.
7. Japanese Temple And Peace Pagoda
Among the tourist places near Darjeeling we have come across, you have the Japanese temple and Peace pagoda. This temple also finds its name among the top pilgrimage sites for Buddhists in Darjeeling, a perfect specimen of Japanese architectural splendour. This is a two-storeyed building that was inaugurated in 1972.
Inside the temple, there’s a large prayer room. The chief priest beats a Ho-ko, or a large drum while offering the prayers. Inside the temple, there’s a statue of Lord Buddha and a picture of Fujii Guruji.
The Peace Pagoda lies on the same premise, a little higher. The breathtaking white structure resembles purity. It is believed that this structure was designed to help people of different creeds and races and unite them in their quest for worldly peace. This structure was inaugurated much later, in 1992. You will find four avatars of Lord Buddha in this pagoda.
Apart from spirituality, the panoramic view of Darjeeling’s landscape attracts tourists to the pagoda. You can also catch a glimpse of the Kanchenjunga range on clear days.
8. Rock Garden
Rock garden in Darjeeling is another beautiful sightseeing spot. This is an artificial garden with bridges, waterfalls, and different types of plants. Besides, tourists in Darjeeling love to engage themselves in various activities in the Rock Garden. There’s a large seating area where you can enjoy blissful photo sessions wearing local attire. Pony riding happens to be yet another activity in this area.
The Rock Garden is located around 10 Km from Darjeeling town. For tourists, it would be a pleasure to spend their time in the colourful terraced gardens with flowering plants growing in them. Make sure to have a photo session in front of the Chunnu Summer Falls. The lush green places and soothing waterfalls around the Rock Garden would make your day happen.
What you would love are the innovative sitting arrangements that have been made by cutting rocks at different levels. Sitting at the top, you can catch a spectacular view of the green landscape with hairpin bends on the roads below.
9. Darjeeling Ropeway
How about getting a birds-eye view of the lush green tea estates and woods of Darjeeling?
The Rangeet Valley Passenger Cable Car, or the commonly known Darjeeling Ropeway, brings you a refreshing adventure for tourists. Interestingly, this was India’s first cable car system, inaugurated in 1968.
When we traversed over the valleys in the cable car, we were enthralled by the mesmerizing green view of the underlying valley. Along with this, our vision was soaked with the pure scenes of waterfalls, tea gardens, various peaks of the Kanchenjunga, gushing streams, and dense forests. So, if you don’t have acrophobia, the Darjeeling Ropeway is one of the must-visit places around the town.
Currently, around 16 cable cars are operating on this line. Each of these cable cars can comfortably accommodate six people in a single ride. Approximately, you would be travelling around 7,000 feet over the verdant valleys!
10. Darjeeling Toy Train
Just imagine cruising along the meandering roads with the colonial hangover looming around the distant valleys and cottages in Darjeeling. Toy Train rides are immensely popular, and the narrow gauge line runs adjacent to the road between Darjeeling and New Jalpaiguri.
The rail tracks are just 2 feet in width and run for 88 Km. It was back in 1879 that the construction of these toy train tracks was initiated. Much later, in 1999, this line, operated by the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), bagged the stature of the UNESCO world heritage site.
Interestingly, the Darjeeling Toy Train is only the second railway, following the Semmering Railway of Australia, to cherish this feat from UNESCO. Several documentaries and films have been shot around the toy train tracks in Darjeeling.
Although the train line closely follows the main road connecting Darjeeling and New Jalpaiguri, the tracks slightly deviate from the main course at places. This exposes travellers to the blissful green views that are not visible from the roads.
Read the train travel guide in India if you like to explore different types of trains and booking procedure.
11. Botanical Garden
Among the most picturesque places to travel to in Darjeeling, you have the Lloyd’s Botanical Garden. A wide variety of flora and orchids await you in this popular tourist destination in the city. This garden covers more than 40 acres, and you can spot some of the rarest plant species here. Some of these include magnolia, rhododendron, Arisaema, and oak.
For photographers, the Botanical Garden in Darjeeling happens to be a paradise. To catch the flowers in full bloom, make sure to visit Darjeeling between March and September. Inside the garden, you will come across different floral sections, each with its unique species of flowers.
The Botanical Garden in Darjeeling also has more than 150 species of cactus. Moreover, you cannot possibly miss out on the Orchidarium, which has more than 2,500 orchids. The vibrance and spectacle that you would experience would continue to mesmerize your eyes even after you are back home!
12. Darjeeling Mall
When you look out for the best places to visit in Darjeeling, you cannot possibly overlook its streets, squares, and markets, right?
Darjeeling Mall forms the heart of the town. There’s a Chowrasta, or an intersection between four roads, where you should take a customary photo. A typical cosmopolitan population floats around the Mall region, busy with tasting Indian and Tibetan cuisines, shopping, or hopping into antique stores. You also have some of the most popular bakeries and bars in Darjeeling like Glenary’s and Keventers around this place.
The Mall hosts hundreds of boutique shops and eateries, besides coupling up as a popular place from where you can purchase clothes and souvenirs for your friends and acquaintances.
There’s a picturesque pine forest on one side of Darjeeling Mall, enjoying the shadows of the adjoining mountain peaks. You can literally spend hours exploring the wide array of handicrafts, traditional garments, rugs, carpets, shrugs, shawls, paintings, metalware, and semi-precious jewellery. If you are fascinated with collecting antiques, be prepared to bargain your deal!
13. Senchal Lake & Wildlife Sanctuary
The Senchal Lake & Wildlife Sanctuary continue to be one of the offbeat places to see in Darjeeling, besides being one of India’s oldest wildlife sanctuaries. Set up in 1915, the sanctuary happens to be a paradise for nature lovers. Nested around 11 Km. from the main town of Darjeeling, it is a must-visit destination for nature lovers.
Inside the sanctuary, you have the Senchal Lake. Engaging photo sessions and a blissful time await you in this tourist attraction. Interestingly, Senchal Lake serves as the town’s drinking water source. Around the lake, you have several fun activities like cycling, boating, and hiking. With all these activities, it has coupled up as a great picnic spot in Darjeeling.
Also, you can catch a glimpse of different animal species at the Senchal Lake & Wildlife Sanctuary. Some of these include the jungle cat, barking deer, Himalayan black bear, Assam macaque, the Himalayan flying squirrel, and the common rhesus monkey.
There are more than 350 flower-bearing plants and orchids among the plant species. The most beautiful plantations include the mating bamboo, Kawla, Hemlock, Dhupi, and Kapasi. Along with these, you have large trees like birch, pine, and oak, bringing you many photogenic moments as you explore the wilderness.
14. Mahakal Temple And Observatory Hill
The Mahakal Temple, located close to Darjeeling Mall, is a famous place to visit in the town. Beside the temple, there’s an observatory hill. On a clear day, this spot would mesmerize you with breathtaking views of the Kanchenjunga and its sisters.
You simply need to take a winding uphill path meandering its way up from the Mall. The Mahakal Temple is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva. Besides, there are three icons of Lords Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwar, all of which are gold-plated.
The Mahakal temple is a pilgrimage site for the Hindus. It was built in the 19th century after the Gorkhas invaded the area. Around this area, you will come across an amalgamation of Buddhist shrines and Hindu temples. Some of these include the Tibetan Memorial Shrine and the Kanchenjunga Temple, besides the Mahakal Temple.
If you are comfortable with hiking, make sure to visit the small cave located just 15 minutes away from Observatory Hill. The tranquillity of nature would cast a spell on you.
15. Tinchuley, Lamahatta, And Takdah
Tinchuley, Lamahatta, and Takdah are some of the most alluring offbeat places that you can travel from Darjeeling.
An isolated hamlet, Tinchuley, is located 32 Km from Darjeeling, close to the border between Sikkim and West Bengal. Sitting at 5,500 ft, it has some picturesque fruit orchards, tea plantations, and meandering rivers around. The Ranjeet and Teesta rivers add to the splendour of Tinchuley.
You would appreciate the natural vibes of the hamlet, along with the beauty of the quaint village. People looking for an off-centre place near Darjeeling to spend a night or two can go to Tinchuley, Lamahatta, or Takdah. In most of these places, homestay accommodations are available along with food.
Lamahatta, on the other hand, is located 23 Km away from Darjeeling but only 6 away from Tinchuley. You would enjoy your stay amid the Pine and Dhupi forests. Also, if you are keen to explore the local lifestyle in Darjeeling, you can find the Tamangs, Bhutias, Sherpas, Yalmos, and Dukpas in Lamahatta.
Takdah is another romantic hamlet with picturesque orchards and tea gardens, located close to Tinchuley and Lamahatta. Like we did immensely, you will also enjoy your moments as you hike through the coniferous trails in Takdah forest, with the mighty Himalayas forming the backdrop.
Located 28 Km away from Darjeeling town, Takdah has an elevation of 5,100 ft. Although it has a lower altitude compared to Darjeeling, you would enjoy chillier nights due to its geographical location.
16. Chota Mangwa And Bara Mangwa
In the Darjeeling Hills, the Lepcha people call the finger millet ‘Maong-waa’. It refers to the crops like ragi and bajra, which are cultivated in the adjacent villages around the western side of the Teesta River. If you are willing to explore a few more offbeat places around Darjeeling, you can include Bara and Chota Mangwa on your list.
In recent years, tourism has bloomed significantly around these villages. The distance between Bara and Chota Mangwa is only 9 Km, and you can even walk through the small villages.
Takling Village is one of the sightseeing places around this area, where you can visit an old monastery. Also, you can explore the orange orchards and pamper your taste buds with the sweetest oranges. For photographers and nature lovers, the meeting zone of the Teesta and Rangeet rivers would be a key attraction. The Tinchuley Sunrise Point, which lies 9 Km. from Bara Mangwa, brings you some of the most photogenic scenes.
Along with the pleasant views of nature, tourists can also visit the tea estates at Lopchu and Peshok and Rungli Ranglot. At Lopchu, you can peep into the juice-making factory for a change.
17. Singalila National Park And Sandakphu
In case you are a trekker and are looking for places to travel from Darjeeling, make sure to visit Sandakphu (11,929 feet). This peak is the highest in West Bengal and is rightly called the ‘rooftop of Bengal’. On a clear day, you can capture the panoramic view of the Eastern Himalayas. From the top of Sandakphu, you can see mighty Himalayan peaks like Mt. Everest, Mt. Kangchenjunga, Makalu, and Lhotse.
The Sandakphu trek takes you to some of the most picturesque alpine trek routes in India. The trek starts from Manebhanjan and continues through the forests of Dhotrey, Tonglu, Tumling, and Kalipokhri, till you reach the top. On the down trek, you will cross some of the most beautiful forest trails at Gorkhey and Srikhola after scaling the Phault Peak.
The Sandakphu Peak lies around the Singalila National Park, which houses some of the most endangered animal species, including the red panda and the clouded leopard. Trekkers need to take a guide from Manebhanjan and can leave the trek route at any point if the need arises. So, if you are exploring beautiful places around Darjeeling, you can plan a trek to Sandakphu.
Chatakpur is another offbeat place located close to Darjeeling. In case you are planning to visit Darjeeling, why not arrange a trip to Chatakpur that lies just 20 Km away? You can stay away from the crowd and bustle of the city amidst the quaint peace of the pine trees in a homestay in Chatakpur.
Nested amidst nature just beside a river gorge, Chatakpur happens to be a place where people worship nature. Along with the lush-green forests, you can spruce up your vision with the snow-clad views of the Eastern Himalayas. Chatakpur is relatively new to the tourism circuit around Darjeeling. Of late, many cottages and homestays have come up around this place.
Tourists in Darjeeling often look out for uncongested places to travel around, and Chatakpur aptly obliges them with its charismatic beauty. Tall pines, clouds hovering around their tops, and the natural haze dominating the landscape make it a beautiful tourist attraction.
Chatakpur is situated within the Senchal Reserve Forest. There are several trek routes around Chatakpur that hikers and trekkers love to explore.
Triveni is one of the popular places around Darjeeling. It is situated close to the confluence of the Rangeet and Teesta rivers. The current of the water is forceful, and you would love to spend your hours sitting amidst the quaint village. Triveni continues to awe visitors like us with its sanctum of peace and visual pleasure.
The green views of the forests of the Himalayas dominate the landscape. This is where the Rangeet river originates from the Mount Kabru glacier in the lower Kanchenjunga region. If you are looking for new tourist places near Darjeeling, you can plan a tour to Triveni.
There’s a stream meandering down from the Singalila region, and the picturesque landscape would pamper your vision. A huge torrent forms at the meeting point between rivers Teesta and Rangeet rivers. Besides, you would cherish the sight of a long valley lying at the base of the Eastern Himalayan mountains.
Yet another beautiful place, located just 45 minutes from Darjeeling, Lepchajagat would captivate your views with its enthralling greenery. It sits just opposite to Darjeeling town. Just after dusk, you can see the entire town lighting up, ejecting shimmering jets like jewels.
Lepchajagat remains cloudy most of the time and residing in one of the homestays, you would love to sit on the balcony to watch clouds breaking into raindrops in front of you. The hovering clouds float nonchalantly over the valley between Darjeeling and Lepchajagat.
Sometimes, you might find your attire and belongings drenched! The clouds condense amidst the pine trees and even inside your hotel rooms without any warning.
Being a nature lover, you would repent if you miss out on Lepchajagat, one of the picturesque places to see near Darjeeling. The dense forests of Lepchajagat have tall pines, oaks, and rhododendrons. The tranquillity amidst the serene nature and beautiful birdlife makes Lepchajagat an ideal offbeat destination in North Bengal.
The next time you start planning a tour to Darjeeling, make sure to cover as many destinations as possible. Typically, you can cover Darjeeling and its key attractions in a 3-night trip. However, exploring the places located more than 30 Km from Darjeeling would typically require another few nights.
For instance, you can spend a night or two at Lepchajagat, Chatakpur, and Tinchuley each. Apart from them, you may also like to visit places like Sittong, Latpanchar, Jhandi, Ramdhura, Rishi Khola, Kurseong, Kalimpong. These tourist destinations near Darjeeling are gaining immense popularity among nature lovers. So, if you visit Darjeeling, try to include some of these places in your extended itinerary.
Watch the following video for some excellent drone views of these tourist attractions in Darjeeling:
We have listed most of the best places around Darjeeling that we have visited multiple times and are also popular with tourists. Hopefully, you can plan your tour by including all these destinations and cherish the mesmerizing beauty of the hills. Now that you are aware of most of the tourist places in Darjeeling, you can start planning your next trip.