Famed as the ‘Queen of the Himalayas’, Darjeeling is one of the most mesmerizing hill stations in India. The alluring landscapes, awe-inspiring sunrises, and pristine hills make this place the perfect getaway for those who seek an undisturbed connection with nature. Darjeeling is situated at an altitude of 2,050 meters amidst lush green tea plantations. This city enjoys a cool climate throughout the year and is one of the most sought-after hill stations in India. With this list of amazing things to do in Darjeeling, you are in for a fabulous holiday!
Best time to visit: Between February and March; September and November
If you are wondering what to do in Darjeeling, here is a list of top things to do.
List of 15 amazing things to do in Darjeeling
- Discover wildlife at the Singalila National Park
- Take the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
- Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
- Tea at Nathmulls Tea Room
- Himalayan Tibet Museum
- Observatory Hill
- Yiga Choeling Gompa
- Drive to Tiger Hill
- Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
- Thrilling ride in Darjeeling Ropeway
- Visit the Peace Pagoda
- Shopping at Mall Road
- Batasia Loop
- River rafting in Teesta River
- Experience the lives of exiled Tibetans at Teibetan Refugee Help Centre
1. Discover wildlife at the Singalila National Park
Lying along the India-Nepal border is the exotic Singalila National Park of Darjeeling. It covers the Indian side of Darjeeling’s best trekking area, the Singalila Ridge. This national park houses expansive rhododendron forests which are an absolute treat to the eye towards the end of April and May. It is also very famous for its rare species of animals and orchids. The Red Panda and the Himalayan Black Bear can be spotted here. Providing fantastic views of the eastern Himalayas, the Singalila National Park can be explored with a local guide (Indians: INR 1000; Non-Indians: INR 1300).
- Address: Singalila Ridge, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734201
- Ideal time: Between mid-September and mid-June
- Timings: 6:00 AM – 7:00 PM
- Entry fee: Indians: INR 100; Non-Indians: INR 200; Camera: INR 100; Video: INR 400; Vehicle or Horse: INR 100
2. Take the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Dearly known as the ‘toy train’, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway made its first journey in 1881. As one of the only few hill railways still operating in India, it has been on the UNESCO World Heritage listing since 1999. With 18 rides from morning until evening, the toy train is truly an engineering marvel that was achieved during colonial rule. As the train travels along the slopes of hills, the mystic beauty of the Himalayas is sure to leave you breathless. Definitely unmissable, taking this railway is one of the best things to do in Darjeeling.
- Timings: 7:40 AM – 4:20 PM
- Price: Joy ride: INR 805 – INR 1405 | Darjeeling – Kurseong: INR 60 – INR 685 | Darjeeling – Siliguri: INR 1105
Also See: 20 Best Places For 2 Days Trip in India
3. Challenge your inner adventurer through the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
One of the best mountaineering institutes in the world, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute of Darjeeling was established on November 4th, 1954. An ideal place for those who love mountaineering, this institute aims to channel your exuberant energy into this self-awarding sport. One of the best things to see in Darjeeling is the captivating view of the Kanchenjunga mountain peak from the institute. With a fantastic record of training 45,000 students including 2,500 aspirants from across the globe, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute must be on every adventurer’s list.
- Address: Jawahar Parvat, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734101
- Timings: Between Friday and Wednesday: 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM
- Entry fee: Indians: INR 60; Non-Indians: INR 100
4. Taste the most-loved Nathmulls Tea at Nathmulls Tea Room
The delectable Nathmulls Tea Room has been run by the Sarda family since 1931. The members of this family are the oldest and largest merchants specializing in exotic Darjeeling tea. There are over 50 varieties of tea which are sourced from more than 30% of the tea gardens in Darjeeling. You are given the option of smelling the different varieties before you choose your favourite. This tea makes for a great souvenir of Darjeeling as it is the true representation of this beguiling hill station. They also have great teapots, strainers, and cosies that you can take back home.
- Address: 40, Banerjee Lodge, Laden-la Road, Opposite State Bank of India, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734101
- Timings: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
- Price: Normal tea (100 grams): INR 200 – INR 400; Finest flushes (100 grams): up to INR 2500
5. Explore Tibetan culture at the Himalayan Tibet Museum
A fabulous, vibrant introduction to Tibetan culture, the Himalayan Tibet Museum is one of the top things to see in Darjeeling. The displays form a fascinating view for the visitors. You will gain an understanding of the Dalai Lama, stupas, and the Tibetan religion, medicine, script, history, and geography. Beautiful Tibetan cloth paintings called ‘thangka’, a sand mandala that is a visual meditation aid symbolizing the universe, and a 3D map of Tibet are the most popular exhibits in the Himalayan Tibet Museum.
- Address: 12, Gandhi Road, Limbugaon, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734101
- Timings: Between Thursday and Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Entry fee: INR 50
6. Treat your senses at the Observatory Hill
For a splendid view of the mountains, the Observatory Hill is the place to be at. This hill also has a temple at the summit called the Mahakal Temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and the three lingams are said to have self-manifested here in 1782. A 15-minute uphill walk will take you to this aesthetically pleasing hill and is guaranteed to leave you mesmerized.
These are benches along the way for those who wish to pause for some rest before they resume their climb. The fog dancing on the borders of valleys and the divinity of the temple is one of the most memorable things to do in Darjeeling.
- Address: Naya Basti, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734101
7. Visit Yiga Choeling Gompa
Darjeeling’s most famous monastery, Yiga Choeling Gompa is popularly known as ‘Old Ghoom Monastery’. Founded in 1850, it is home to about 40 monks and has several beautiful old murals. The most fabulous attraction of this monastery is the 5-metre high statue of Jampa, who is considered to be the ‘Future Buddha’. It is one of the biggest and oldest statues of Buddha in Darjeeling. The monastery also houses 300 exquisitely bound Tibetan texts. Along with sanctity, superb views of the snow-capped peaks including Kanchenjunga are found here.
- Address: Ghoom, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734102
- Timings: Dawn to dusk
- Price: Camera: INR 100
8. Drive to Tiger Hill
Nothing can get better than an early morning drive to Tiger Hill of Darjeeling. A very popular attraction here, this hill is situated at an altitude of 8,482 feet. Offering a breathtaking view of Mount Everest, a sight of sunrays resting on the snow-capped peaks makes this drive one of the best things to do in Darjeeling. An ideal place to embrace the beauty of the Himalayas, Tiger Hill is a must-visit.
- Address: West Bengal 734123
9. Spot rare species at Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
Dedicated to the conservation of endangered Himalayan species, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is built on the mountainside. Red Pandas, Tibetan Wolves, Clouded Leopards, and Himalayan Black Bears can be seen here. Spread over an area of about 68 acres, this park is also home to Himalayan Tahr, Himalayan Sheep, Grey Cock Pheasant, Blue Sheep, and Himalayan Monal. People from all over the world come here to witness the exquisiteness of the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park.
- Darjeeling: Jorethang Road, Near Birch Hill Resort, Jawahar Parbat, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734101
- Timings: 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM
10. Taking a thrilling ride on the Darjeeling Ropeway
The Rangeet Valley Passenger Cable Car is a great way to experience the spectacular views of Darjeeling. The panoramic views of this hill station make for a great ride on this ropeway. The river Rangeet is also seen with all its magnificence through the cable car. The ride will begin from Singamari and end at the Singla Bazar. The car carries six passengers on one ride. As you will be travelling from an altitude of 7,00 feet down to 800 feet in 45 minutes, you will have a unique experience on this enthralling ride.
- Address: Singamari, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734104
- Timings: Between Wednesday and Saturday: 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM | Sunday and Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
- Price: Adults: INR 200 | Children (3-8 years): INR 100
11. Visit the Peace Pagoda
As one of the only 30 shrines of its kind in the whole world, a visit to the Peace Pagoda is among the most enriching things to do in Darjeeling. This divine site speaks volumes on spirituality and adds a gentle charm to the beauty of the hill station. The Peace Pagoda was built under the guidance of a Japanese Buddhist monk, Nichidatsu Fujii, to promote peace. If you are looking for an escape from chaos and routine, the Peace Pagoda is the perfect place to connect with yourself.
- Address: West Point, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734102
12. Go shopping at Mall road
One of those places which never runs out of things to do is Darjeeling. Shopping here can be exhilarating. You can go from the local-favourite, Chowk Bazaar to the tourist’s haven at Mall Road, colourful shops can be found everywhere in this city. For any shopper, Darjeeling has it all. From handicrafts, artificial jewellery and kitchenware to woollen clothing and other knick-knacks, the shops offer a wide variety for you to choose from. Small eateries line the side of the streets, ready to satisfy your cravings. The most frequently bought souvenirs are the prayer flags and pure Darjeeling tea.
13. Marvel at the engineering of the Batasia Loop
The Batasia Loop was originally built to navigate the steep descent of the mountain railway. The engineering of the Loop is a genuinely fantastic feat. It also has a mountain garden from where you can watch the toy train making a 360-degree loop. Adding to the pristine nature of the Batasia Loop is the War Memorial situated in the middle of the garden, dedicated to the Gorkha soldiers.
- Address: West Point, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734102
- Timings: 6:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Entry fee: INR 15
14. Go river rafting in the Teesta river
A thrilling adventure that Darjeeling offers is river rafting in the river Teesta. The stretches of foaming white water with differing rapids make this river excellent for beginners as well as seasoned rafters. Rafting can also be combined with camping along the banks of the river for a great experience. For all adventure buffs, river rafting in Teesta is the promise of an experience like no other.
- Ideal time: Between December and June
15. Explore the lives of exiled Tibetans at the Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre
If you are interested in the lives of the Tibetans in exile, the Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre is the ideal place for you. From the making of metals and thangkas to handicrafts and jewellery designing, this centre houses many skills. The most famed skill here is carpet weaving. You can gain insight into some of the treasures made by skilled artisans here. This is the best stop for buying the most exotic Tibetan carpets to warm your home. As one of the most intriguing things to do in Darjeeling, a visit to this centre is a must.
- Address: Hillside 27, West Lebong Cart Road, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734101
- Timings: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Plan the most exciting days of your trip through this list of things to do in the alluring Darjeeling.
A beautiful hill station with a plethora of things to do, Darjeeling is sure to last in your memory for a very long time.