Dhotrey Travel Guide : Attractions, Activities, Homestays & Tips

Nested among the crowds of tall pines at an elevation of 8550 feet, Dhotrey is a beautiful hamlet in the Darjeeling district. It is a part of the Singalila National Park buffer zone, and the first destination for trekking to Sandakphu.

Rural tourism is rapidly growing in Dhotrey, and you have lots of places to visit around this blissful tourist attraction. As a typical forest village, this place has got narrow roads tunnelling through the woods.

Well, my sweet encounter with Dhotrey happened on the first day of our Sandakphu trek. However, my fellow travellers, along with me, also found offbeat travel lovers exploring the beautiful hamlet as a part of their Darjeeling or North Bengal trip. A number of affordable homestays are available at Dhotrey, and we loved the hospitality and accommodation here.

The mountain view and sunrise at Dhotrey look spectacular, not to mention the mystic walks through the forest trails. Besides, you have the refreshing chirping of birds throughout the day. On a clear day, you can easily spot Mount Kanchenjunga from Dhotrey.

Dhotrey Travel Guide
PC: Ritban Bose

Dhotrey At A Glance

  • Altitude: 8550 feet (2606 meters)
  • Latitude And Longitude: 27.0495° N, 88.1105° E
  • Distance From Darjeeling: 43 Km
  • Best Time To Visit: September to January
  • Nearest ATM: Sukhiapokhri
  • Mobile Network: Jio, BSNL, Airtel
  • Cost Of Accommodation: ₹800-₹1500 per room per day depending on the season
  • Cost Of Food: ₹300-₹600 per head per day (including breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Nearby Places To Visit: Tonglu, Tumling, Sandakphu, Simana View Point, Rangit Majua

Map of Dhotrey

Attractions and Activities In Dhotrey

Bird Watching

As I mentioned, Dhotrey lies close to the core areas of the Singalila National Park. Naturally, it happens to be the birder’s paradise. Well, I spend the first morning at our homestay in Dhotrey using my binocular and camera with a long lens to spot and take photos of colorful Himalayan birds! And as I kept counting, I spotted 17 varieties of birds.

Bird watching continues to be a key attraction of Dhotrey. Whether you are a birder, wildlife enthusiast or a nature lover, you will enjoy your time in birding along the forest trails.

Tasting Local Cuisine

If you are a foodie, take some time exploring local cuisine. The mountain folk prepares toothsome momos, noodles, and other Tibetan dishes. It would be a mesmerizing experience to sit at a motel by the gorge and sip hot beverages while you pamper your eyes with the clear views of the mountains.

Trekking & Local Sightseeing

Well, trekking is a popular activity at Dhotrey. A beautiful undulating stretch from Dhotrey to Tonglu over 6 Km can make your day. The height isn’t much, and you can do this trek through the forest trail with some basic trekking gear. However, you do need guides if you want to do trekking in the Singalila National Forest. Besides, as a part of sightseeing, you have a small monastery at Dhotrey.

How To Reach Dhotrey?

If you are looking for an offbeat and quaint village located at a close distance to Darjeeling, it is recommended to reserve a day for Dhotrey. It lies at a distance of 44 Km from Darjeeling and 105 Km from New Jalpaiguri (NJP). Depending on your itinerary, you can reach Dhotrey from both of these places.

Apart from railways, the nearest airport to Dhotrey is Bagdogra Airport. You can find shared jeeps and private cars plying between NJP, Darjeeling, and Dhotrey. If you decide to cover Dhotrey as a part of your Sandakphu trek, you can also hire a trekker.

Generally, most trekkers going for Sandakphu prefer staying at Dhotrey for a day after leaving NJP station. It helps in adjusting the body in high altitudes. In case of us, we reached Dhotrey from NJP via Mirik and Manebhanjan and then proceeded to Sandakphu via Tonglu and Tumling during our trip.

The forest trail of Dhotrey
PC: Ritban Bose

Places To Visit Near Dhotrey

1. Singalila National Park

Dhotrey is a part of the famous Singalila National Park, but you have a lot to explore. For this reason, I highly recommend to take on the Sandakphu Trek, where the trail passes through the core of the forest. Some of the endangered species like the red panda and the clouded leopard still find their home in this forest.

2. Simana View Point

If you travel to Dhotrey via Manebhanjan, you will cross the Simana View Point. While one side of this viewpoint lies in India, the other side is in Nepal. The beautiful valley thriving with greenery in the middle looks picturesque to the eye. Stop at one of the local tea stalls and sip along the valley.

3. Tumling

Tumling is another tourist attraction located 4 Km from Dhotrey. If you aren’t a trekker, you can take the motorable route from Dhotrey to Tumling. The beautiful village on the way to Sandakphu has a narrow road with valleys on both sides. Some part of this area lies in Nepal, although tourists frequently cross the border without facing any trouble. During trekking to Tumling through the forest trail, I feasted my eyes on the blissful flora and fauna.

4. Tonglu

Tonglu is a small hamlet that lies a further 2 Km away from Tumling, and there are a few homestays that you need to book in advance to find accommodation. There’s a strategically located viewpoint between Tumling and Tonglu. If the weather remains clear, you can get a clear view of the Himalayan mountain ranges surrounding the Singalila National Forest.

In Tonglu, there’s a lake that dries up in the winter. However, in September and October, you would love the crystal-clear reflection of the red cottage just in front of it in the lake.

5. Rangit Majua

A small hamlet located 5 Km from Dhotrey, Rangit Majua brings you pure bliss. Away from the crowded tourist places of Darjeeling, you have this offbeat place with the mighty Himalayas shrouding the valley. Two rivers, the Rangit and Siri-Khola pass close to this place. Try the homegrown tea and organic food in the village when you are here!

6. Sandakphu

Sandakphu, the highest peak of West Bengal, is accessible via Dhotrey. Whether you decide to take a Bolero or a trekker or explore the beautiful forests of North Bengal on foot, a trek to Sandakphu is worth your experience.

At 12,000 feet, you can get a clear view of the Greater Himalayas from Sandakphu, with a full view of the Sleeping Buddha and its peaks. For me, it was a mesmerizing view with the golden sunrays washing the mount Everest, Lhotse, Kanchenjunga, and other peaks.

I am taking a break during sightseeing at Dhotrey

Ideal Time To Visit Dhotrey

Compared to the weather and temperature of Darjeeling, Dhotrey is colder. It brings you a chilly to pleasant weather, depending on the time of the year. The best time to visit Dhotrey is between September and January (autumn and winter). However, spring (February to April) is also a good time to visit there due to the flowering season.

We visited Dhotrey in the middle of January, where the temperature ranged between 5 to 10 degrees during the daytime. The nights can give you shivers as the temperature dips close to the freezing point.

However, if you decide to visit Dhotrey during the summer months, particularly between May to July, the temperature would be between 8 degrees and 20 degrees. Particularly, you would love the flora of this mystic village in March and April, with spruce, rhododendrons, and magnolias bursting into blossoms. You can spot the orchids even in May, particularly if you decide to trek through the forest trail from Dhotrey to Tumling.

Chances are rainfall is high between May to August, while you can experience pleasant and sunny weather during the rest of the year. You can even enjoy snowfall in the winter.

Best Homestays At Dhotrey

1. Sherpa Homestay

Sherpa Homestay or Sherpa Lodge (Nivas) in Dhotrey is yet another place to find good accommodation. We stayed here for one night as a part of our Sandakphu trek. Several rooms are available for booking in single, double, or triple sharing. Like most tourists, we had our dinner at Sherpa Homestay, and the local chefs prepared appetizing dishes.

The speciality of Sherpa Homestay is its tactical location just beside a pine forest. There’s an opening in the front, with stairs providing access to the first and second floors of the structure. We spent our evening on the terrace gazing at countless stars as the sky remained clear.

Most importantly, you get an open view of the sunrise right from the homestay. During your stay at Sherpa Homestay, you can wander along the path deep under the pine forest.

Personally, I took off an hour in the morning to capture beautiful nature pictures. Also, I trekked downhill into the adjoining villages and gazed at the pines. The experience was mesmerizing indeed, and you can have short walks from Sherpa Homestay to explore the adjoining areas too.

Check Tariff & Book A Room At Sherpa Homestay

2. Padma Homestay

It is one of the best places to find food and accommodation in Dhotrey. All six rooms in this homestay at Dhotrey have attached bathrooms. Well-maintained and clean, you would love these furnished rooms. This homestay lies close to nature, where you can enjoy short trips from Darjeeling. Here, tourists love the homely ambience and pleasant delicacies.

The staff are Padma Homestay are polite and professional. You can get breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in both veg and non-veg options. Interestingly, the homestay staff also organize jungle walks and short treks for visitors.

Check Tariff & Book A Room At Padma Homestay

3. Gopal Homestay

A popular abode for visitors willing to spend a day or two amidst nature, Gopal Homestay in Dhotrey brings you comfort and bliss in a single package. The homestay has got three rooms, including a dormitory, while the other two are four and five-bedded. All these rooms have attached bathrooms. Well-furnished and clean, Gopal Homestay looks inviting to the guests.

Considering the needs of the visitors, the homestay authorities have come up with the provision of room heaters and hot water. An affordable place to put yourself up during your North Bengal tour, Gopal Homestay would elevate your experience to a new level altogether. You have a bonfire, driver accommodation, and local sightseeing on cards.

Check Tariff & Book A Room At Gopal Homestay

Apart from the homestays I recommended above, you may also find nice accommodation and food at Orchid Dell Homestay in Dhotrey.

Tips for visiting Dhotrey

  • If you are planning to visit Dhotrey as a part of your Sandakphu trek, make sure to contact Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) office in advance for accommodation in Dhotrey, Tonglu, and all other places. (If you are unable to book homestays from the above contact numbers and websites)
  • You need to hire your guides and porters at Manebhanjan by contacting GTA.
  • If you take a shared jeep from Manebhanjan, reaching Dhotrey would cost you around ₹100. Hiring a small private car from Manebhanjan would cost you around ₹2,500. If you travel to Dhotrey from NJP or Darjeeling in a reserved vehicle, be prepared to shell out ₹3000 to ₹4500.
  • The entry fee for Indians at Singalila National Park is ₹120 per day. Charges for vehicle entry into the park are ₹400.
  • Electricity is not easily available in Dhotrey. Thus, most homestays use generators and some of them use solar power. So, carry your power bank and recharge your electronic gadgets like mobile phone, camera and laptop whenever possible.
  • Before sunset, take a walk down the pine trails to hear the forest whisper tales of the mountains into your ears!
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Rishi

Author, NatureDiary
Rishi is a travel writer from India, known for his poetic perceptions evident in his travelogues. His writings are rich in insights into tourism, and he pens down his first-hand experiences based on his interaction with the folk he meets and the gears he uses during his hikes, treks and travels.

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