Every year we plan to visit a new place apart from visiting our home town. It has to be family vacation where we and our next generation get some carefree days to enjoy together and rejuvenate ourselves from the mundane life. We eagerly wait for these vacations through out the year as getting to see our loved ones and spending time together in a beautiful places is really a blessing for us.
We love travelling and have visited so many places. This year we were discussing where to go. So many suggestion were there to visit north , south and many more. But then we thought being native of West Bengal we have never been to the world famous tourist destination: Queen of Hills- Darjeeling. So finally we made our mind with no confusion that this year we will witness the beauty of kanchenjunga.
And the next moment I started dreaming of sipping warm Darjeeling tea while viewing kanchenjunga. I love to travel and doing travel plans. I was so much excited that I took a virtual tour of Darjeeling within few minutes and was thrilled to experience the sceninc beauty of this hill station. We were around 11 members travelling together. Travel plan and booking was my job as I love to do so. So I didn’t waste time and started googling .
My first concern was to choose the place of stay as its a very important factor for any vacation. We all need a beautiful safe stay from where we can connect to other tourist spots easily without much hassle. Now we love nature but I can’t deny the fact that shopping is an important part of our vacation. I love to buy souvenir from different parts as a trip ends but these souvenirs keep the memories preserved. And we remain connected with those places , people and memories. So keeping these things in my mind I chose Mall road – the place to stay. Mall is like heart of Darjeeling town. Now the next part was to select a hotel among thousands of hotels listed on the travel sites. Ultimately after lot of scrolling I selected my hotel at Mall road which was very easy to reach and most important we were lucky enough to have a magnificent view of kanchenjunga from our room.
We planned our trip during 1st week of October which is said to be the ideal time to view the mountain peaks.
Day 1 We reached New Jalpaiguri railway station early morning , there our pre booked 12 seator travellor with our tour guide + driver was waiting for us. He welcomed us very joyfully. And bingo !! we started our voyage. The weather was a bit moist but believe me we were just feeling heavenly with by looking through the window of our transport. We stopped at midway to have breakfast and enjoy the scenic view around there.
We reached hotel post lunch. The hotel staff greeted us very nicely. We were a bit tired and hungry too. So after freshen up we ate some lip smacking snacks available in hotel restaurant. And by that time it was evening , we planned to visit the famous market on Mall road which was a walkable distance from our hotel. It hardly took 5 minutes to reach there. There is no option for parking anyhow you have to walk . There are plenty of options for shopping like woollen clothes, handicrafts, Darjeeling Tea and many more things. But be sure to bargain, because they ask very high prices from the tourists. There is very nice fountain to see and spend a lazy evening . There are so many options to taste the local cuisine there.
Day 2 Our day started with buffet breakfast with North Indian and few options of English breakfast at our hotel restaurant, Our transport came near our hotel to pick up for sight seeing. Our kids were very much excited to see Red Panda so we started our day from Darjeeling zoo named as Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park which covers a very large ares. It is the largest high altitude zoo in India. It is the only zoo in India where one can see Red panda, Snow Leopard, Tibetan wolf and many more rare seen animal species of eastern India. We spent our half of the day here. After that we had our lunch. Then we visited to few tea gardens and then came back to hotel to take some rest as we were very tired of walking uphill half of the day in the zoo. We spent our evening in the mall market.
Day 3 Today we woke up early morning and after having breakfast at hotel we started for kalimpong. Its was 3 hours drive from Darjeeling. We started early so that we can come back early as late night driving is not preferable in hilly areas. kalimpong is a very beautiful hill town just above the Teesta river. The road trip from Darjeeling to kalimpong was picturesque. The must visit place of Kalimpong is Delo hill. At the summit of this hill there is beautiful landscape garden named Delo park. We spent our half day in this park , it was so beautiful we that we relaxed there for some time and also we had some photoshoot in their their traditional dress. The landscape and mountain view from this park is just mindblowing . We visited a cactus garden named Pine View Nursery . There is a wide range of beautiful and rare kinds of cactus plants which are very well maintained. There was a small tea stall inside the park which had a great view too. We all had tea enjoying with the spectacular view. And after that we started our trip back to our hotel in Darjeeling. Though you can get many options to stay in kalimpong and can see many other nice places to visit. But we prefer to come back to Darjeeling.
Day 4 Today we started our day with a joy ride i.e the toy train ride. Darjeeling trip will be incomplete if we don’t do a toy train ride. It is also known as Darjeeling Himalayan Railway(DHR) . In 1999 UNESCO declared DHR as a World Heritage Site. We prebooked our tickets for toy train ride through IRCTC. We had booked a 2 hrs to and fro ride from Darjeeling Himalayan Railway station to Ghum station and again back to DHR. We boarded our train at DHR. Seats were alloted to us. We have seen these toy trains in so many movie scenes. During this ride we got a 10 minute stoppage at Batasia Loop view point. We took some photographs there. And again our train left for Ghum station. At Ghum station there is a railway museum, you can give a quick visit to there. We came back to DHR station. We had a lovely ride. But I would suggest don’t go for the long 7 hrs trip, it will be a bit boring , as the train runs very slowly. 2 hrs ride is enough to feel the joy of toy train ride. Now after the joy ride, we visited some tea gardens , had some photoshoots wearing the traditional tea pickers dress. We had our lunch and the post afternoon we came back to hotel. It was our last day in Darjeeling so we planned it in a extra special way. We did our last minute souvenir shopping and then our most excited part was to enjoy the dinner in Darjeeling’s most famous and old restaurant – Glenary’s restaurant with Live music. We had a sumptuous dinner there . The ambience and food both were great. It was indeed a pleasurable experience there.
Day 5 Its time to bid adieu to Darjeeling. Today we planed to see the sunrise at Tiger Hill. Though I didn’t wale early as I was a bit unwell, so I remained at the hotel with kids and other enthusiastic members of our group went to see the magical golden view of kanchenjunga at Tiger Hills. After coming back from there we packed our bags and check out from our hotel. We really have seen nature at its best in Darjeeling. We had our train from New Jalpaiguri (NJP) railway station at night. We had the whole day, so we deceided to visit Mirik on the way to NJP railway station. Mirik is another small hill town. It takes around 2 and 1/2 hrs by car from Darjeeling. The major attraction of Mririk is mirik lake which is surrounded by large pine trees. Its looks wonderful. There are boating options but we can’t do as it was raining. We had our lunch in nearby restaurant which has authentic bengali cuisine. So finally after enjoying the panoramic lake view we started our jouney to NJP railway station. We boarded our train at 11’o clock in night.