If you are located anywhere in Eastern India, then Darjeeling is one name you must have heard while growing up. A favourite vacation spot for Bongs across the country, there is no best time to visit Darjeeling. I mean, you can definitely go during Summer like most bongs to escape the heat.
But be prepared to encounter lots of other tourists, long queues outside restaurants, and even probable ticket cancellations. Instead, you can choose to be a little more adventurous and maybe consider travelling to Darjeeling during the latter half of the year and witness something magical like some snow (but only if you are very lucky).
Keep reading to find out how I witnessed the most beautiful snow of all time.
Exploring The Unexplored: Screw The Itinerary
Are you still wondering what is the best time to visit Darjeeling? There are two ways to go about it – either you could visit like most of the country during Summer or drop in during the winter months for a crowd-free experience. The first thing that I did once I set foot at Darjeeling was screwing the itinerary.
Because you might think that the place’s done and dusted, but it’s so not, considering all the offbeat places to visit in Darjeeling! Scroll down and find out the places I visited on my solo trip to Darjeeling last Summer!.
Spend A Weekend At Dhotrey:
|Location||104k.m from Siliguri|
|Costing (Stay And Meals)||1500/- night|
|Transportation||Reserved Car or Shared Taxi from Siliguri|
|Nearby Treks||Sandakphu, and Phalut via Tonglu|
|Number Of Days||2 Days (excluding time for the trek)|
If you have never heard about Dhotrey, it’s because this beautiful hamlet is one of the smallest villages in Darjeeling – and it’s not just small, not many people even know about this place. There is no best time to visit Dhotrey, considering it’s always free of crowds!
The locals are friendly, and I even ended up making lifelong friends with Manoj and his wife. Manoj was my guide who let me stay at his house since there were no rooms in either of the two homestays in this village. His wife cooked yummy meals for me and even made a comfortable, warm place for me to sleep in – she almost tucked me in that night…
The best part? The village was breathtakingly beautiful, with lush, green landscapes on different sides, and it also happens to be the starting point for the even more popular Sandakphu trek. You can spend a whole weekend at Dhotrey and embark on the Sandakphu trek for a more adventurous approach to your trek.
Hike To Tonglu:
|Location||2.5 hours from Darjeeling at 10,130 feet|
|Costing (Stay And Meals)||1000/- night|
|Transportation||Walk from Dhotrey village via Singalila Forest|
|Nearby Treks||Sandakphu, and Phalut|
|Number Of Days||1 or 2 Days (excluding time for the trek)|
If you are already spending a weekend at Dhotrey, then you can easily hike to Tonglu – it’ll take you somewhere between an hour and a half to double the time, depending on your speed stamina, and the weather. Walking to Tonglu was perhaps my first hiking experience, and it was so cold!
If Manoj had not offered to help me out with my heavy backpack, I would have probably given up on the hike! Yes, my boyfriend did carry my bag too, but then again, he adapts to mountain weather far better than I will ever be able to do.
The most astonishing thing about visiting Tonglu during winter was the bone-chilling cold, the hot food, and the WIND! At night, it felt like a woman was running around screaming in a high-pitched, shrilly voice – but it was the wind making all that noise, a kind of sound I had never heard before.
Instead of finding out the best time to visit Darjeeling for honeymoon, you can always spend your honeymoon at Tonglu – you can always walk to the equally beautiful nearby village of Tumling – also, I witnessed my first snowfall at Tonglu since it was January and boy was it cold!
Gorge On The Best Darjeeling Has To Offer:
If you are spending a few days in Darjeeling, the best thing that you need to do is gorge to your heart’s extent on the delicacies that Darjeeling has to offer! Experiment with traditional cuisines from the different local communities such as the Gorkhas, Sherpas, Lepchas, and Khampas.
Instead of typing ‘Darjeeling best time to visit’ on Google, have you considered finding out the dishes you must try here? Here you go!
|Thukpa||Kunga Restaurant (51, Gandhi Road, Chauk Bazaar, Darjeeling) and Devekas Restaurant (Chauk Bazaar)||Depends from stall to stall|
|Traditional Nepali Thali||Revolver Restaurant (110 Gandhi Road, Behind Union Chapel, Darjeeling)||300 to 400/-|
|Naga Cuisine||Revolver Restaurant (110 Gandhi Road, Behind Union Chapel, Darjeeling)||300 to 400/-|
|Churpee||Keventer’s (Keventer’s, 1 Nehru Road, Darjeeling)||400/-|
|Momos||Kunga Restaurant (51, Gandhi Road, Chauk Bazaar, Darjeeling) and many places in and around Darjeeling||100 to 200/-|
|Aloo Thukpa||Local vendors, and Hasty Tasty (Chauk Bazaar, Darjeeling)||200/-|
|Sael Rotis||Local vendors||Depends from stall to stall|
|Shafaley||Nawangs Restaurant (No 7 Robertson Road | Clubside, Darjeeling)||100 to 200/-|
|Chaang||Hot stimulating cafe (Lebong Cart Rd, Richmond Hill, Darjeeling)||100 to 200/-|
|Lots of Darjeeling Tea||The House of Tea Address (11, Nehru Road, Chauk Bazaar, Darjeeling) and Nathmulls Tea & Sunset Lounge (The Rink Mall (Opp. GPO), 19, Ladenla Road, Darjeeling)||Depends from stall to stall|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
The winter months are usually off-season in Darjeeling. The months of December and January happen to be the least humid, with temperatures dropping to 2 to 7 degrees, and in some cases, even below zero degrees in January. In addition, there are no chances of floods or landslides, making it the perfect time to visit for a crowd-free experience.
You can easily spend four to five days in Darjeeling if you have no plans of checking out the nearby trekking routes or even villages. But make sure you have at least 4 days in your hands for touring Darjeeling, otherwise, it’ll be a complete waste of time and money.
Snowfall is rarely a possibility in Darjeeling, but if you are fortunate, you might just get snowfall in case temperatures to fall down to negative 2 degrees celsius. But if you visit the nearby areas in winter, there are a hundred possibilities that you might just witness some snow.
Bitten By The Wanderlust Bug: Can’t Stop Travelling!
If you are planning to visit Darjeeling, extend your trip to include surrounding locations such as Gangtok, Kalimpong, and even Kurseong for a long vacation.
The best time to visit Darjeeling and Gangtok depends on the kind of travelling you want to do – if you love spending time away from crowds then winter is your season, and if it’s too hot to stay during Summer, it’s better to escape the heat!
In the meantime, don’t forget to share your thoughts and experiences (if you have already been to Darjeeling) on the same in the comments below.