This 3-Day Darjeeling Itinerary Is All You Need

Visit the Observatory Hill viewpoint for breathtaking vistas, explore the tea plantations at Happy Valley Tea Estate and take a cable car ride on the Darjeeling Ropeway
A red panda rests on a mossy oak nut branch at Singalila National Park
A red panda rests on a mossy oak nut branch at Singalila National ParkSom Moulick/Shutterstock

Home to the ever-popular Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which is also UNESCO World Heritage Site, Darjeeling in West Bengal is often referred to as the “Queen of the Hills.” Situated among tea estates, the city is 2,050m above sea level and has a cool climate year-round. It is one of the entryways to the Eastern Himalayas and a popular spot to view India’s tallest peak, Mount Kangchenjunga.

The best time to visit Darjeeling is from April to June but the months of October to December are equally popular with visitors. The city receives plenty of rainfall during the monsoon season from July to August so it’s probably best not to visit it during this time.

A fresh harvest of Darjeeling tea leaves
A fresh harvest of Darjeeling tea leavesT photography/Shutterstock

Here’s our three-day Darjeeling itinerary if you’re raring to go.

Day One


The Kali statue at the Mahakal Temple
The Kali statue at the Mahakal TempleKittu's/Shutterstock

Embark On A Spiritual Start

Start your first day in Darjeeling with a visit to the Observatory Hill viewpoint to witness the sweeping vistas of valleys and Kangchenjunga.

Afterwards, visit the nearby Mahakal Temple. This sacred temple is auspicious for both Buddhists and Hindus. Built in 1782 by Lama Dorjey Rinzing the temple is dedicated to Shiva. It stands on the remnants of an 18th-century monastery called Dorje-Ling, which was destroyed in the Gorkha invasion of 1815. It has been rumoured that the name ‘Darjeeling’ originates with the demolished monastery.

Visit The Tea Plantations

Next, take a tour of the tea plantations at the Happy Valley Tea Estate. Established in 1854 it is Darjeeling’s second oldest tea estate and is spread over 177 hectares. The guided tour includes a walk through the tea gardens, the tea processing units and tea tasting sessions.


The Darjeeling Ropeway is a round trip of 5km
The Darjeeling Ropeway is a round trip of 5kmsaiko3p/Shutterstock

Enjoy A Delicious Meal

Take a break at the wholesome Hot Stimulating Café to relax after a busy morning. Run by a couple, the café offers simple Tibetan, Chinese and Indian fare like chowmein, thukpa, cheeseburgers, aloo paratha and of course a selection of teas, hot chocolate and coffee.

See Darjeeling From A New Vantage Point

Once you’ve had your fill head to the Darjeeling Ropeway. This is a cable car route that offers visitors a chance to take in the panoramic sights of Darjeeling from above. It takes visitors from the northern area of the city to Singla on the Ramman river, and is 2.5km one way.

Adult blue sheep and lamb at the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
Adult blue sheep and lamb at the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological ParkArtit Wongpradu/Shutterstock

In case the queues are long, skip the ropeway and head to the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, a zoo dedicated to wildlife conservation and the captive breeding of rare species like red pandas and snow leopards.

If zoos are not your style either then head to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute for a session of indoor climbing. It was set up to impart practical mountaineering skills to budding explorers and its museum houses memorabilia from the 1922 and 1924 Mount Everest expeditions.


The Darjeeling Mall
The Darjeeling MallRashbihari Dutta/Shutterstock

Shop Til' You Drop

Head to the Darjeeling Mall, also known as Chowrasta, for a relaxing evening stroll before dinner. It’s a promenade where heritage stores are surrounded by stunning vistas of the Himalayas. It is a delightful place to people-watch and buy local goods and handicrafts.

Wrap up your evening with a meal at the Noryang Tibetan Kitchen or the Kathmandu Kitchen for warm, wholesome dinners.

Day Two


The Peace Pagoda
The Peace Pagodasaiko3p/Shutterstock

Museums and Monasteries

Your second day will be a mix of culture and nature. Start your morning with a tour of the Himalayan Tibet Museum. Housed in a traditional Tibetan building it has a collection of over 10,000 artefacts, including thangkas (religious paintings), sculptures, masks, costumes and everyday objects. The museum also has a library with a collection of books and manuscripts on Tibetan culture and history.

Next, head to the Peace Pagoda 10 minutes away. It was built under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujii, a Buddhist monk from Japan and founder of the Nipponzan-Myōhōji Buddhist order. Its exquisite white exterior is the focal point for people of all backgrounds to come together for a better world. It is located on the grounds of the Japanese Buddhist Temple where you can drop in to its prayer room and participate in a drumming session.


The Batasia Loop
The Batasia Loopsaiko3p/Shutterstock

Relax Amidst Nature

Head to the Rock Garden at the Chunnu Summer Falls, an enchanting retreated where sculpted landscapes and cascading waterfalls create a peaceful atmosphere.

The Gangamaya Park is 1.5km from the Rock Garden and is a splendid place to live the rest of the afternoon. Its lush greenery attracts birdwatchers and photographers but it also holds cultural significance after being named for a martyr in the Gorkhaland movement.

Next, take a 30-minute car ride to Batasia Eco Garden. This is a major tourist attraction because of its spectacular views of Kangchenjunga and is a part of the Batasia Loop, a railway track plied by the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway which takes visitors around the hill station.


Inside Glenary's Bakery
Inside Glenary's BakeryChaitali Mitra/Shutterstock

Relish The Classics

This evening should be about stimulating your taste buds. Nawangs Restaurant serves Asian, Tibetan and Nepali cuisine while Glenary’s is a well-known cake shop.

Day Three


View of Kangchenjunga from Tiger Hill
View of Kangchenjunga from Tiger HillDavid Evison/Shutterstock

Witness A Stunning Sunrise In Darjeeling

Your last day in Darjeeling will start in the pre-dawn hours as you head to the Tiger Hill viewpoint to see the sunrise. The peaks of Kangchenjunga are illuminated before the sun and even Mount Everest is visible. On a clear day, Kurseong is visible to the south.

Next, take a two-and-a-half hour drive to Singalila National Park. This wildlife sanctuary is 2,300m above sea level and is well-known for a trekking route that passes through its premises. Its wildflowers bloom during the spring and post-monsoon periods and its extensive rhododendron forests are a magnificent sight.


The Yiga Choeling Monastery
The Yiga Choeling Monasterysaiko3p/Shutterstock

Where To Eat In Darjeeling

Before proceeding with the rest of the itinerary, take a break to eat. Kunga Restaurant, Sonam’s Kitchen and Keventer’s are well-regarded restaurants cooking hearty meals.

Visit These Attractions In Darjeeling

Once you’re feeling more energised, head to the Yiga Choeling Monastery which was founded in 1850 by the famous Mongolian astrologer and monk Sokpo Sherab Gyatso. A Maitreya Buddha statue resides here.

If it’s still open check out Lloyd Botanical Garden. Their collection of flora includes alpine plants, arum lilies, geraniums, ash, birch and lilac from China and Japan, and cryptomerias, plums, cherries, magnolias, maples, weeping willows and deodars from Africa. There are as many as 150 species of cacti and succulents on display at the greenhouse.


Inside Nathmulls of Darjeeling
Inside Nathmulls of Darjeelingnathmullsteas/Facebook

Take a tea break at Nathmulls of Darjeeling, a cosy tea café. Savour the aroma of the teas and the memories you have made over three packed days in this beautiful hill station. If you have forgotten to buy souvenirs then make a quick dash to Darjeeling Mall and share your travel stories with people you know to entice them to visit the region.

Where To Stay

Visitors looking for a luxurious stay in Darjeeling should consider the Mayfair Darjeeling and Ramada by Wyndham. The Omega Residency and Hotel North Star are suitable for those travelling on a budget. If you’re hoping to stay with local residents then the Rambler's Nesting Homestay and Pinewood Homestay are good choices.

Getting There

Bagdogra Airport is the closest airport and a taxi ride takes three hours to Darjeeling. The New Jalpaiguri (NJP) Railway Station is the nearest railhead and takes three hours to reach the city. If you prefer road travel, drive or hire a car from Siliguri or Bagdogra to reach Darjeeling in approximately two to three hours.

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