5 Tea Garden Stays In To Book For Your Darjeeling Tour

Darjeeling is situated in the Himalayan foothills and has a range of estates with charming colonial-era bungalows that offer breathtaking views. Here are a few that you can check out for your Darjeeling tour
Darjeeling tea has a floral aroma
Darjeeling tea has a floral aromaWikimedia Commons: Vyacheslav Argenberg

The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Darjeeling is its famous tea gardens. Darjeeling tea, or camellia sinensis, made history in 2004 when it became the first Indian product to be awarded the geographical indication (GI) tag. Its black tea is frequently referred to as the 'Champagne of teas' and has a floral or fruity aroma. According to the Tea Board of India, about 10 million kilograms of tea are grown every year, spread over 17,500 hectares of land. But that's not all that the city offers.

Located at 2,100m above sea level, Darjeeling affords views of Kanchenjunga and Mount Everest on clear days. The place is home to a mix of ethnic groups such as Tibetans, Sherpas and Kiratis, and this diversity is reflected in its culinary landscape as well. First timers often don't know that this hill station is also home to a national park and a beloved temple, among other offbeat attractions, when they make their way to one of West Bengal's most popular tourist destinations.

One of the best ways to experience Darjeeling is by getting first hand experience of its tea gardens. Check out our list of hotels and resorts that offer tea garden tours, picnic excursions, camping opportunities and more.

Singtom Tea Estate And Resort

Sitting amid tea plantations and the peaks of Kanchenjunga
Sitting amid tea plantations and the peaks of KanchenjungaCopyright: Singtom Tea Estate and Resort

The Singtom Tea Estate and Resort is situated on the outskirts of Darjeeling and began life as a tea garden in 1854. In need of a secondary source of income to fund his growing tea business, German priest Joachim Stoelke opened the on-site bungalow to visitors.

The building has retained its Victorian charm with modern facilities added in an unobtrusive manner, making it a perfect retreat to book during your Darjeeling tour. The resort serves only vegetarian food which is grown within 2km of its premises. They offer a lot of tea-related activities, including separate tea plucking, tea factory and tea tasting tours. Visitors can also picnic at Tiger Hill and 360 Point.

Rooms come in four suites: Queen, King, Prince and Superior. The differences in the four suites are primarily down to the landscape views. With the exception of the Prince suite which is priced at INR 7000 per night, the rest cost INR 11,000 for a single evening.

Glenburn Tea Estate

A suite view at the hotel
A suite view at the hotelCopyright: Glenburn Tea Estate

The Glenburn Tea Estate is close to Darjeeling and will transport you to the charming days of when life moved in the slow lane. Its boutique hotel includes the Burra Bungalow, which offers sweeping views of Kanchenjunga and tea gardens from the front verandah, and the Water Lily Bungalow which is located on the edge of the Glenburn spur. There are activities galore including tea tours, hiking, camping, fishing and cookery classes to keep you busy.

The suites at the hotel start from INR 32,000 per night. Check with the establishment for bungalow rates.

Makaibari Tea Estate

A worker in the Makaibari tea factory
A worker in the Makaibari tea factoryCopyright: Makaibari Tea Estate 1859

The Makaibari Tea Estate is located 33km from Darjeeling and has the oldest tea factory in the world, making it a must-visit on your Darjeeling tour. It's made entirely of wood, bamboo and cast iron, and in addition to the 550 acre tea plantation, the company prides itself on being caretakers of a forest that is twice that area. The company also runs a homestay program with local residents and according to the Makaibari website, the profits are shared among the women of the community who participate in it. Tea tours of the plantations and factory are a given.

A night's stay will cost INR 1,500 and is inclusive of breakfast, lunch, evening tea and dinner.

Ging Tea House

The Ging Tea House bungalow
The Ging Tea House bungalowCopyright: Ging Tea House

This is another tea estate and bungalow combination that nestles in the Lebong valley. The Ging Tea House is about a 20 minute drive from Darjeeling and said to be one of the first colonial tea planter's bungalows in the region. It sits in the middle of a picturesque garden with a view of the surrounding snow peaks.

The company's tea experience begins with plucking the tea leaves, touring the factory and tasting the resulting brew. There are scenic trails to hike and day trips to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway for visitors to take advantage of. Ging Tea House offers a variety of suites so it's best to check with the establishment directly about room rates.

Tumsong Tea Retreat

The bungalow in the background is 150 years old
The bungalow in the background is 150 years oldCopyright: Chamong Group of Resorts

The Tumsong Tea Retreat offers accommodation in a 150-year-old bungalow reminiscent of colonial architecture. By virtue of its location the retreat offers a range of outdoor activities such as birdwatching, picnics and tea tasting tours.

Rooms in the suites start from INR 19,375.

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