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Savoring the Essence of Darjeeling: A Tea Tourism Odyssey

Darjeeling, a quaint town in the state of West Bengal, India, is a paradise for tea lovers and adventure seekers alike. Nestled in the lap of the Eastern Himalayas, this charming destination is renowned for its picturesque tea gardens, captivating landscapes, and the finest tea in the world. If you’re looking for an immersive tea tourism experience, Darjeeling should be at the top of your travel list. This guide will help you embark on a journey to savour the essence of Darjeeling’s tea culture .

Darjeeling, often referred to as the “Queen of the Hills,” is a charming hill station perched at an altitude of 6,710 feet (2,050 metres). It’s famous for its tea gardens that produce some of the finest teas in the world, especially the renowned Darjeeling tea. Besides its tea heritage, Darjeeling is a melting pot of diverse cultures, including Indian, Tibetan, and British influences, offering a unique blend of traditions and flavours.

When to Visit:

The best time to explore Darjeeling’s tea gardens and enjoy pleasant weather is during the spring and summer months from March to May. The annual Teesta Tea and Tourism Festival usually takes place in November-December and is a great time to experience the region’s vibrant culture.

Getting to Darjeeling:

By Air : The nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport, which is well-connected to major Indian cities. From there, you can hire a taxi or take a shared jeep to Darjeeling.

By Rail : New Jalpaiguri (NJP) is the nearest major railway station. From NJP, you can hire a taxi or take a scenic ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

By Road : You can also reach Darjeeling by road from nearby towns and cities, but the journey can be quite long and winding.

Tea Garden Stays: Immersing in Tranquil Luxury

These accommodations, often nestled within the heart of tea estates, provide an immersive experience into the world of tea cultivation. Guests wake up to the aroma of freshly plucked leaves, take guided tours through the tea gardens, and participate in tea-tasting sessions. The tranquillity and scenic beauty are unparalleled, making the tea garden a haven for those seeking a peaceful retreat. It’s an opportunity to savour the “champagne of teas” while indulging in the serene ambiance of nature.

Exploring the Tea Gardens:

Glenview Tea Estate : This estate offers guided tours through its lush tea gardens, where you can witness the tea-making process and even try your hand at plucking tea leaves.

Makaibari Tea Estate : Visit Makaibari for an organic tea experience. Stroll through the estate, learn about sustainable tea production, and enjoy the serene surroundings.

Happy Valley Tea Estate : Take a guided tour of Happy Valley, one of the oldest tea estates in Darjeeling. You’ll get insights into the tea-making process and stunning views of the Himalayas.

Tea Tasting Sessions:

In Darjeeling, tea takes center stage with the opportunity to participate in tea-tasting sessions at the very estates where this famed “champagne of teas” is cultivated. Each flush, from the delicate first to the robust second, presents a unique flavor profile. Moreover, these sessions offer a chance to delve into the art of brewing the perfect cup of tea. Knowledgeable tea experts share their passion and expertise, guiding you through the nuances of water temperature, steeping times, and techniques to unlock the essence of each flush. Whether you’re a tea connoisseur or a casual drinker, these experiences deepen your appreciation for the world’s finest teas and immerse you in Darjeeling’s tea culture.

Tea and Culinary Delights:

Explore local tea shops and cafes in Darjeeling town. Sip on freshly brewed Darjeeling tea while indulging in delicious snacks and pastries.

Try local dishes influenced by Indian, Tibetan, and British cuisines. Don’t miss momos, thukpa, and tea-infused desserts.

Local Culture and Festivals :

To embrace the vibrant culture of Darjeeling, don’t miss the Teesta Tea and Tourism Festival, a colorful celebration held in November and December. This lively event showcases the town’s rich cultural tapestry, featuring performances, parades, culinary delights, and exhibitions. It’s a joyful immersion into the heart of Darjeeling’s culture, offering a chance to savor local cuisine and engage with its warm-hearted people.

For a more spiritual experience, visit the monasteries and temples that dot the landscape. Ghoom Monastery and the Peace Pagoda offer insight into Tibetan Buddhism and moments of reflection, while the Mahakal Temple provides a glimpse into the town’s diverse religious traditions. These cultural and spiritual journeys add depth to your Darjeeling adventure.

Adventure Activities:

Darjeeling, with its captivating landscapes, beckons adventure seekers with a trifecta of exhilarating activities. White-water rafting on the Teesta River in nearby Melli delivers an adrenaline rush amid stunning natural beauty. Trekking options abound, including the iconic Sandakphu trek, promising panoramic views of towering peaks like Mount Everest, and the Phalut trek, a serene journey through the Singalila National Park. And for a unique adventure that blends excitement and serenity, the Darjeeling Ropeway offers panoramic vistas of the town, the Himalayas, and lush tea gardens. These thrilling experiences, set against Darjeeling’s stunning backdrop, are a paradise for those in search of adventure and natural beauty.

Shopping for Souvenirs:

Don’t forget to shop for Darjeeling tea to take back home. You can find various grades and flavours at local markets and tea boutiques.

Pick up handicrafts, local textiles, and traditional Tibetan artefacts as souvenirs to remember your journey.

Darjeeling’s tea tourism is not just a visit; it’s an immersive journey into the world of fine tea, picturesque landscapes, and rich culture. Whether you’re a tea connoisseur or an adventure seeker, Darjeeling offers a unique experience that will leave you with cherished memories and a deep appreciation for the “champagne of teas.”

Savour every moment of your tea-tasting sessions, explore the serene tea gardens, and immerse yourself in the cultural tapestry of this beautiful hill station. Darjeeling, with its unique blend of flavours and traditions, is a destination that will awaken your senses and leave you with a longing to return. Darjeeling had left an indelible mark on my soul, and I knew that this would not be the end of our love affair. With the promise to return, I embarked on my journey back, knowing that the “champagne of teas” would always await my next sip amidst the misty hills of Darjeeling .


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The Legacy of Darjeeling Tea

Intrigued by the “Champagne of Teas”? Unravel the mysteries of Darjeeling tea, from its origin in the misty Himalayan to how it became the world’s most popular tea. 

The Origin of Darjeeling Tea

The journey of Darjeeling tea, often revered as the “champagne of teas,” is as captivating as its flavor. It’s a tale of chance encounters, colonial ambition, and meticulous craftsmanship, all unfolding amongst the breathtaking backdrop of the Himalayan foothills.

Roots in Distant Lands

The story begins not in Darjeeling, but in China, where tea cultivation stretches back millennia. In the mid-19th century, the British East India Company, hungry for an alternative to expensive Chinese imports, embarked on a quest to cultivate tea within their own territories.

Enter  Dr.  Archibald Campbell , a Scottish surgeon and superintendent of Darjeeling. In 1839, while exploring the region, he stumbled upon wild tea plants, hinting at the area’s suitability.

Experimentation at High Altitude

In 1841, Dr. Campbell planted seeds obtained from Chinese tea varieties in his own compound. These initial experiments proved successful, sparking further exploration. By 1856, the first commercial tea gardens were established, marking the dawn of Darjeeling tea’s illustrious journey.

Finding its Footing

Initially, Darjeeling tea resembled its Chinese ancestors, but soon, the unique factors of the region began to work their magic. The cool, mist-shrouded hills, high altitude, and distinct soil composition imparted a character unmatched by any other tea. The leaves developed lighter color, floral notes, and a subtle muscatel aroma, unlike anything the tea world had experienced before.

Refinement through Tradition

The development of Darjeeling tea wasn’t just a quest for flavor, but also a meticulous process of refining processing techniques. Skilled artisans perfected the art of black tea processing, from withering and oxidation to rolling and drying, to preserve the delicate character of the leaves. Each step became an integral part of the Darjeeling tea legacy.

A Global Toast

As word of this exquisite brew spread, Darjeeling tea found its way onto royal tables and international markets. By the early 20th century, it had earned its place amongst the world’s most coveted teas, fetching premium prices and gaining loyal admirers across continents.

Protecting the Legacy

The uniqueness of Darjeeling tea is fiercely guarded. In 2009, it was granted Geographical Indication (GI) status, ensuring that only tea grown in specific districts within the Darjeeling hills can be labelled as such. This protects the integrity and reputation of this precious beverage.

Today, Darjeeling tea continues to evolve, with small, family-run estates experimenting with new techniques and varietals. From classic black teas to modern green and white varieties, the Darjeeling story is ever-expanding, offering a cup of enchantment for every tea lover.

Why Darjeeling Tea is so Popular ?

Darjeeling tea, often crowned the “Champagne of Teas,” isn’t just a beverage; it’s an experience. Its popularity transcends borders and palates, captivating tea connoisseurs with its unique character and captivating story. 

A Taste Like No Other

Aromatic Symphony: Imagine swirling mists clinging to emerald slopes, infusing the air with crisp mountain freshness. Darjeeling tea captures this essence, boasting a delicate aroma with subtle floral notes and a hint of muscatel grapes, reminiscent of its Himalayan terroir.

Light and Delicate: Unlike its bolder black tea counterparts, Darjeeling is a gentle dance on the tongue. Its light golden color hints at its subtle flavor profile, characterized by a touch of astringency followed by a sweet, lingering finish.

A Spectrum of Flavors: The magic of Darjeeling lies in its versatility. Each “flush” – the harvest period – unveils a distinct personality. First flush boasts a bright, astringent character, while the second flush offers a fuller body and fruity notes. Autumnal flush, on the other hand, exudes a deeper, mellow sweetness.

A Legacy Steeped in Tradition

Crafted with Care: Darjeeling tea production is a meticulous art form passed down through generations. From hand-plucking tender leaves to the precise oxidation and drying processes, every step is carefully controlled to preserve the tea’s inherent quality.

Geographical Treasure: The unique confluence of factors in Darjeeling – high altitude, cool temperatures, misty climate, and distinctive soil – creates an irreplaceable terroir that cannot be replicated elsewhere. This exclusivity adds to the mystique and value of Darjeeling tea.

Protected by Passion: In 2009, Darjeeling tea received the coveted Geographical Indication (GI) status, ensuring its authenticity and protecting it from imitations. This dedication to preserving its heritage further fuels its allure.

A Journey for the Senses

Beyond the Cup: Darjeeling tea is more than just a drink; it’s an invitation to slow down and savor the moment. The delicate ritual of brewing, the enticing aroma, and the nuanced flavors transport you to the lush Himalayan slopes, offering a sensory escape with every sip.

A Cultural Icon: Darjeeling tea is woven into the cultural fabric of the region. Visiting a tea estate, witnessing the plucking and processing firsthand, and learning about its rich history add another layer of appreciation for this extraordinary beverage.

Darjeeling has over 87 operational Tea Garden  recognized by the Tea Board of India that produces 3 – 4 Million Kg of Teas every year.

Image of Wide Green Valley of Tea Gardens in Darjeeling showing ripe Darjeeling Tea

Types of Darjeeling Tea

Darjeeling tea transcends the ordinary, offering a nuanced world of flavors that change with the seasons savoring the subtle variations that nature paints on this exquisite beverage.

Seasonal Darjeeling Teas

Each distinct flush – the harvest period – unveils a unique personality, capturing the essence of the Himalayan terroir in every sip.

First Flush Teas (February-April)

Imagine the first rays of spring sun kissing the Himalayan slopes, awakening the tea bushes from their winter slumber. That’s the magic captured in first flush Darjeeling teas. These tender, young leaves brew into a light golden liquor with a vibrant, astringent character.

  • Flavor Profile:  Delicate and nuanced, with subtle floral notes, hints of muscatel grapes, and a refreshing astringency.
  • Brew Color:  Light golden.
  • Perfect for:  A morning pick-me-up, savoring the light, bright taste of spring.

Second Flush Teas (May-June

As the sun climbs higher, the tea leaves on the Darjeeling slopes mature, developing a fuller body and richer flavor. Second flush teas are like warm summer afternoons, offering a robust elegance in every cup.

  • Flavor Profile:  Richer and fuller than first flush, with pronounced muscatel notes, hints of fruit, and a smooth, lingering finish.
  • Brew Color:  Deeper golden.
  • Perfect for:  Enjoying with a touch of milk and honey, appreciating the complex flavor and robust character.

Monsoon Flush Teas (July-September)

The monsoon transforms the Darjeeling landscape, enveloping the tea bushes in a veil of mist and rain. This unique climate infuses monsoon flush teas with an earthy, vegetal character, a whisper of the wild within the cup.

  • Flavor Profile:  Earthy, vegetal notes, with hints of spice and a pronounced astringency.
  • Brew Color:  Slightly coppery.
  • Perfect for:  Adventurous palates seeking a unique, robust experience, ideal with milk and sugar.

Autumn Flush Teas (October-November)

As autumn paints the Darjeeling hills in warm hues, the tea leaves take on a deeper wisdom. Autumn flush teas offer a mellow sweetness and a complex character, like a story whispered around a crackling fireplace.

  • Flavor Profile:  Deep, mellow sweetness, with hints of honey and spice, and a smooth, balanced finish.
  • Brew Color:  Deep coppery-gold.
  • Perfect for:  Evening relaxation, savoring the warmth and depth of the tea, ideal with or without milk.

This journey through the seasons of Darjeeling tea is just a glimpse into the vast range of flavors and experiences this precious beverage offers. Each cup is a portal to the unique terroir, the meticulous craftsmanship, and the captivating story of Darjeeling.

Darjeeling Teas by Tea Type

While the seasonal flushes paint the broad strokes of Darjeeling tea’s story, its magic truly unfolds when we explore its diverse varieties.

Darjeeling black teas are the undisputed crown jewels, famed for their light golden liquor, subtle muscatel notes, and delicate astringency. They come in various grades, each reflecting the leaf size and quality:

  • FTGFOP (Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe):  The topmost grade, featuring whole leaves with golden tips, offering a complex, nuanced flavor.
  • TGFOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe):  Delicate whole leaves with abundant golden tips, delivering a lighter, floral character.
  • BOP (Broken Orange Pekoe):  Smaller broken leaves, perfect for everyday enjoyment, retaining the characteristic Darjeeling flavor.

These black teas are ideal for savoring pure or with a touch of honey and milk, revealing their multifaceted personalities throughout the day.

Unfurling like tiny, silvery treasures, Darjeeling white teas are minimally processed gems, preserving their delicate nature and fresh, sweet taste. The two main types are:

  • Silver Tips:  Made from the finest unopened buds, offering a light, floral aroma and a subtle sweetness.
  • White Needle:  Featuring young buds and unopened leaves, boasting a slightly fuller body and a touch of honeyed flavor.

Enjoy these precious teas pure to fully appreciate their ethereal character, ideal for a calming midday ritual.

Steeped in natural freshness, Darjeeling green teas retain their emerald hues and grassy notes through minimal oxidation. They offer a vibrant, healthy alternative:

  • Dragon Well:  Pan-fried leaves deliver a sweet, nutty flavor and a smooth, refreshing finish.
  • Chun Mee:  Hand-rolled leaves provide a grassy aroma and a subtle astringency, perfect for everyday enjoyment.

Brew these green teas at lower temperatures to preserve their delicate character and awaken your senses with a touch of nature’s essence.

Darjeeling oolong teas sit at the crossroads of black and green teas, partially oxidized to reveal a unique tapestry of flavors. You can find:

  • Light Oolong:  Offers a grassy aroma with floral notes and a slightly astringent finish.
  • Dark Oolong:  Features a roasted aroma, hints of fruit, and a smooth, lingering sweetness.

Explore the diverse spectrum of Darjeeling oolong teas, perfect for an adventurous palate seeking a complex and satisfying experience.

While not technically a “pure” Darjeeling tea, chai infuses its delicate black tea base with warming spices like ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon. This robust beverage is a cherished part of Indian culture and can be enjoyed with or without milk and sugar.

Specialty Teas

The innovation of Darjeeling tea producers doesn’t stop at these classic types. They venture into exciting territory with specialty teas like flavored varieties incorporating natural ingredients like fruits and herbs, smoky teas imbued with the essence of burning wood chips, and even sparkling Darjeeling teas for a bubbly twist.

Image of Tea Village in Darjeeling promoting Darjeeling Tea

Brewing Livelihood and Legacy

Beyond its delicate aroma and exquisite taste, Darjeeling tea is the lifeblood of the region, intertwining its economic, social, and cultural fabric. It’s a story not just of a luxurious beverage, but of the livelihoods it sustains, the industries it nourishes, and the traditions it keeps alive.

Employment Generation

The heart of the Darjeeling tea story beats in the tea gardens. Over 80,000 individuals, primarily from local communities, find employment in various stages of tea production, from plucking the delicate leaves to processing and packaging. These jobs provide crucial income, supporting families and fueling the local economy.

Supporting Ancillary Industries

Darjeeling tea doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It sparks a ripple effect, supporting a constellation of ancillary industries. From packaging materials and transportation to tourism and hospitality, numerous businesses thrive on the success of the tea trade. This interconnectedness creates a robust economic ecosystem, benefiting various layers of the community.

Cultural Preservation

Darjeeling tea isn’t just a drink; it’s a cultural tapestry woven into the fabric of the region. The generations-old traditions of tea cultivation, from hand-plucking to artisanal processing, are passed down like precious heirlooms. This cultural heritage, unique to Darjeeling, is carefully preserved, ensuring its continuity for future generations.

Promotion of Tea Tourism

The allure of Darjeeling tea extends beyond the cup, drawing tourists from around the world. The picturesque tea gardens, steeped in history and tradition, offer a mesmerizing glimpse into the world of this fine beverage. This influx of tourism provides additional income opportunities for locals, from tour guides and shopkeepers to homestay owners and restaurant staff.

Boom of Tea Tourism in Darjeeling

The Tea Gardens of Darjeeling have witnessed a surge in a different kind of harvest: a boom in tea tourism. Travelers, both tea enthusiasts and adventure seekers, are flocking to this Himalayan haven, seeking an experience that goes beyond the cup. 

Allure of the Authentic

Tourists crave the opportunity to immerse themselves in this narrative, walking among the historic tea estates, witnessing the meticulous hand-plucking process, and learning about the generations-old traditions that shape its unique character. This authenticity, unlike any replicated experience, is a powerful draw.

Beyond the Brewing

Tea tourism expands beyond the factory walls. Picturesque treks amidst tea gardens offer breathtaking views of the Himalayas, while quaint homestay experiences provide glimpses into local culture. Workshops on tea blending, culinary journeys featuring tea-infused delicacies, and even heritage tours of colonial-era bungalows complete the sensory experience.

Economic Boon

This influx of tourists creates a ripple effect through the local economy. Rural Homestays,  Resorts and souvenir shops see increased business, creating job opportunities and boosting incomes. Local artisans selling handicraft teas and tea-related products find a wider market, further diversifying the economic landscape.

Community and Cultural Revival

Tea tourism isn’t just about profits; it’s about rekindling a sense of pride in Darjeeling’s tea heritage. As visitors witness the dedication and skill of local workers, appreciation for their craft grows. This renewed recognition strengthens community bonds and encourages young generations to carry forward the legacy.

Sustainable Future

Responsible tea tourism, when paired with eco-friendly practices, can promote conservation efforts. By supporting organic tea gardens and responsible waste management initiatives, tourists can actively contribute to a sustainable future for Darjeeling’s tea industry and its environment.

Darjeeling tea is not just a beverage; it’s a testament to a rich legacy of craftsmanship and natural beauty. Discover Darjeeling invites you to explore Darjeeling’s tea heritage, immerse yourself in the world of hand-plucked ed leaves, and savour the exquisite flavours that have captivated connoisseurs for generations. Let’s celebrate the enchanting journey of Darjeeling tea together, where every sip tells a story of tradition, terroir, and timeless elegance.

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darjeeling tea tourism

Tea Tourism – Darjeeling Tea

Tea tourism to the tea gardens of Darjeeling hills is a growing industry with custom and group tours turning in good numbers with each passing year, providing ample opportunity to learn about its nature, its people and tea culture of the region apart from its premium teas.

There are a number of tea enthusiasts who conduct group tours to tea regions of Darjeeling, some of which will be listed and described in brief for all those interested in visiting Darjeeling.

1. For a Seven Day Boutique tours of the Darjeeling hills and tea estate, you need visiting the First Flush Tea Society. First Flush Tea Society is an Australian based tea company which, apart from specializing in first flush Darjeeling teas , conducts tea tours to Darjeeling regions. As the name suggests, they conduct tea tours during the Spring season, mostly in the month of March. The group size is typically about a dozen people or so. Since they organize tours in small batches, it is well advisable to have them booked well in advance, as they reason: “ The small group size ensures you will be able to absorb the region’s many nuances and experience the magnificent geography and fascinating culture of the Darjeeling region at a pace that suits your needs “.

The seven day tour is fondly marked with tours to two tea estates of the region and an opportunity to get a first hand experience about tea manufacturing and the opportunity to taste the freshly made teas. Apart from that the group would be boarded in two luxury resorts and ample time to rewind themselves in the picturesque ambiance of the hills.

For more details First Flush Tea Society may be contacted at

T: (+31) 06 41 81 33 55 E: deirdre(at)origintrips(dot)nl

If you happen to miss the bookings then there are alternatives wherein you may make a personal visit on your own. The list of places that you may enjoy Darjeeling tea estate in its prime are listed below.

Glenburn Tea Estate

The Glenburn Tea Estate bungalow is  perfect for visitors looking to spend a 3 to 4 days in Darjeeling.

Phone (mobile): +91 98 300 70213 Fax: +91 33 2288 3581 Email: info(at)glenburnteaestate(dot)com

Makaibari Tea Estate

Makaibari Tea Estate promotes tourism via their home-stay culture. The visitors are accommodated in one of the homes of the tea family chosen by the tea management thus enabling the first hand know-how of the village life in Darjeeling hills. The fooding and lodging facilities are provided by the families chosen for conducting such home-stay in the tea estate.

For bookings of such homestay, you may contact

Tathagata Farm

This farm is a community home-stay located 45 minutes from Darjeeling town offering picturesque scenery and virgin beauty of the Himalayan world.

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Clearance sale, christmas sale is live, black friday sale on darjeeling teas.

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Tea Tourism: much more than the beautiful tea gardens of Darjeeling

Today’s traveller is in conversation with bala sarda, founder, vahdam teas, darjeeling, who speaks about the scope of tea tourism in india and about the various initiatives that ensure tea tourism gets a boost and provide better returns for the tea planters..

Darjeeling has always been known to travellers for its beautiful old-world charm, the historic toy train and its British heritage. However, what remains under-explored are the town’s vast stretches of tea gardens, meandering through Darjeeling like colours splattered on a canvas.

It’s something of a unique experience, and an enlivening one, to wake up in the beautiful plantation bungalows amidst the constant fold of Nature in its full glory.

Q. What are your earliest memories of travelling and exploring the world?

Bala Sarda: My earliest memories of holidays are travelling to tea estates in Darjeeling and staying at the Manager’s bungalow, waking up to the fresh aroma of tea leaves around and mist in the air.

Q. How do you see Tea Tourism evolve over the years in Darjeeling and what steps do you suggest so that more visitors come to the area for this purpose?

Bala Sarda: In the British era, Darjeeling was one of the favourite summer retreats for the officers. With a quaint colonial charm and endless green stretches of lush tea plantations, Darjeeling has a great reputation of being a fantastic tourist destination. In the last few decades, an increasing number of tea estates have opened their palatial manager bungalows as homestays. It is undoubtedly a prized experience waking up in a picturesque, sprawling tea plantation.

You can start your day with the finest and freshest cup of tea, take a walk through the garden and learn more about the art of plucking tea leaves and how it is processed further. Nowadays, estates have also started to add varied experiences like nature trails, horse riding, a local visit, a cultural evening, amongst other things. India is blessed with some fascinating tea gardens and the only suggestion I can offer is that the Tea Board and our Tourism Department at the Centre can put in more efforts to promote and speak of Tea Tourism in a new light.

Let’s promote and advertise Tea Tourism the way we promote our monuments, our history, our food! The state governments can also invest in more subsidised accommodation for tourists as not everyone can afford a luxury stay in the tea estates. In addition to this, we need more options for connectivity with dedicated buses, advanced open deck cable cars for fascinating aerial views, dedicated rail tours to plantations etc.

Today’s Traveller: Which are the top 5 tea estates in Darjeeling that are known for Tea Tourism?

Bala Sarda :

Glenburn Tea Estate: This is a personal favourite with the elevation ranging from 800 ft. to 32,000 ft. The plantation is blessed with two lively rivers and a forest as well. The views are breathtaking and the bungalow offers a luxury stay! Will and Faye, the hosts, are well-known for their warm hospitality.

Makaibari Tea Estate & Homestay: Run and managed by the genius of a man, Rajah Banerjee, Makaibari Tea Estate has a prized reputation in heritage teas and also offers a very comfortable, mid-range accommodation in stone cottages with a friendly staff at your service.

These are two absolute favourites, but you can also enjoy a great stay at Goomtee Tea Estate & Retreat, Selim Hill Tea Estate & Retreat, and Ging Tea House in Darjeeling.

Today’s Traveller: What prompted you to start this venture? Tell us a bit about the legacy you have inherited.

Bala Sarda : I am the 4th generation Tea entrepreneur in my family and have a legacy of more than 80 years in the Indian Tea Industry. With my forefathers being pioneers in the Indian Tea Industry, my family has been in the business of bulk tea export. Whilst being in college, I had established two successful ventures.

But after graduation, I wanted to give some serious thought to what I wanted to do in my life. This led me to spend a few months in solitude at my family’s residence in Darjeeling. Having been surrounded by the fascinating ‘World of Tea’ since a young age, I spent some time in my family’s bulk export business.

This gave me the prized opportunity to learn more about our Tea Industry, the art of cultivating tea, and the nitty-gritty of the supply chain. While doing so, I found some major loopholes in our traditional supply chain of tea.

One of the major loopholes that I came across was – the absence of a home-grown brand, resulting in no real value addition back here in India. Since the Indian Tea Industry is forced to depend on major exports to foreign brands, they do not hesitate to shift to inferior quality teas from elsewhere as and when farmers back here demand a deserving price.

This is done to earn price points and hefty profits, leaving meagre wages and an uncertain future for the tea planters here in India. This is where Vahdam Teas brings the difference to the lives of the tea planters. In Vahdam’s supply chain, there is no involvement of unnecessary middlemen and it makes garden fresh tea available to the customers in the least possible time.

Not only does this help in retaining profits in the region where these divine teas are grown and nurtured by the planters, but also strengthens the industry itself.

Today’s Traveller: Tell us about the TEAch Me initiative and the idea behind this endeavour.

Bala Sarda : At a micro-level, we wanted to work on two core areas – ‘Education’ and ‘Health’. Under our first social initiative, TEAch Me, 1 per cent of our revenue is directed towards funding the education of our tea planters’ children.

Under the first chapter of this initiative, we have covered 64 children at a small tea estate in Darjeeling. TEAch Me is designed with a proper structure of monitoring the impact of the programme and to empower the children with allied vocational courses on reproductive health, hygiene, family planning, banking etc. We are in the midst of replicating the initiative across a few other tea estates in India too.

Today’s Traveller: To promote tea tourism, how do you create a difference with your tea facilities?

Bala Sarda : Vahdam Teas are shipped to over 90+ countries across the globe and have shipped over 100 million+ cups. The key markets for us are India, the USA and Europe. All our teas are procured directly from plantations and tea planters within hours of harvest, they are packaged garden fresh at our state-of-the-art tea facility in Delhi, and then shipped directly to our own fulfilment centres in various parts of the world.

Also, along with a ‘Date of Packaging’, most of our teas come with a ‘Date of Picking/Harvest’ which is a true indicator of a tea’s origin and freshness.

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Guide to Darjeeling Tea And Why It's So Special

Published: May 10, 2021 · Modified: May 10, 2022 by Mary Ann Rollano · 1 Comment All recommendations are independently reviewed. I recommend useful products and some links are affiliates, earning a commission that supports this free publication.

Darjeeling tea has a delicate fruity essence, quite like champagne. Darjeeling tea is a light black tea grown in the Himalayan foothills.

Darjeeling tea dried on a silver plate

Why is Darjeeling tea so prized?

Darjeeling's light and fruity essence is often referred to as the Champagne of Tea. This Himalayan tea develops the aromatic characteristic of muscatel grapes due to its terroir and small leaf variety.

Although classified as a black tea, Darjeeling black teas are less oxidized than most black teas. Darjeeling tea is lighter and less astringent than an Assam grown tea from the Camellia sinensis var. assamica.

How Does Darjeeling Tea Taste?

The aroma from a cup of Darjeeling tea greets you with a soft flowery scent. The taste is delicate with a fruity apricot peach flavor. You have just experienced a tea like no other. Darjeeling's first flush spring tea is widely regarded as some of the world's finest black tea.

If you have recently entered the world of fine loose tea, Darjeeling is a must-try. Darjeeling may seem a bit confusing at first, but once you know about Darjeeling’s three cropping periods, First Flush, Second Flush, and Autumnal Flush, you will have a better understanding of this beautiful tea.

darjeeling tea tourism

Tea Growing Regions of India

India has three major tea-producing regions - Assam, Darjeeling, and Nilgiri. Like the wines of France, tea in India is named after the region in which it is grown.

Where the tea is grown and produced has much to do with how the tea will taste. This sense of place is called terroir; it is the idea that the soil, rain, sun, moon, and climate all impact the finished tea.

Assam is the world's single largest tea-growing region. Assam teas are prized for their rich, malty, robust character. They make good breakfast teas and go well with milk. Assam teas with golden tips in them are of the finest quality.

The Darjeeling district, with its high altitude and heavy mists, is nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. Darjeeling produces much smaller yields with three distinct cropping periods. Darjeeling teas are the prize of India.

Nilgiri is often referred to as the Southern Darling. Nilgiri, literally translated, means 'Blue Mountain.' It is the most spectacular mountain range in south India. Nilgiri teas produce bright and brisk liquors that are flavorful and fragrant.

Growing Darjeeling Tea

In the cold high foothills of the Himalaya mountains lies the Darjeeling district of India. Once a transcendent place for Tibetan Buddhist Monks, Darjeeling is the northernmost district of West Bengali in eastern India.

Tea growing here is said to produce some of the highest quality teas on the planet, often called the Champagne of Tea. Many plants are over 150 years old and still flourishing. The highly acclaimed aromattea is made from the smaller-leaved variety of the Chinese  Camellia sinensis  plant.

The Darjeeling tea-growing region has nearly ninety tea estates within seventy square miles. In addition to its small size, production is low due to its colder climate. Plant growth is slow, and harvesting is difficult, with tea plants growing on sixty or seventy degrees slopes. Less than one percent of all India’s tea is produced in Darjeeling, so there is never enough tea for demand.

Darjeeling tea - View from Darjeeling city, Queen of Hills, Tea plantation garden, fog rolling down from hill

What is Darjeeling Tea?

The higher elevations of eighteen hundred to sixty-three hundred feet account for the tea's thinner body and more concentrated flavor. The warm sunny days and cool evenings of the growing season, soil chemistry, rainfall, and cloud mist, are all factors synergizing to create the intense Darjeeling tea flavor.

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Darjeeling tea is hand-plucked mainly by women, while the men process the tea in the adjoining factories. Workers harvest the tea by hand, plucking the top two leaves and buds of the tender young shoots over three harvesting seasons. Each bush is harvested every four to eight days during the growing season.

All of these factors create tea unlike any other. Traditionally processed into fully oxidized black tea , the brewed tea yields a golden amber color with delicate flowery flavors and hints of peaches and apricots.

First Flush Spring Darjeeling Tea

First Flush refers to the first harvest of spring, which begins in March through April. The first new growth or “flush” pushes nutrients into the young plant tips as the plant comes to life after a long cold dormant winter.

The new growth contains the most catechins, which have antioxidant properties. They also contain the highest amount of L-theanine, an amino acid found only in tea, known for its calming effects, and caffeine, a stimulant.

Spring tea is typically a light yellow to coppery red cup color, with a delicate flowery aroma. It is a brisk tea and very delicate with a short shelf life.

Every year the spring season is much anticipated by tea connoisseurs. And every year produces a slightly different tea, all depending on climate conditions. The quality and character of Darjeeling tea vary drastically throughout the growing season.

Brewing Spring Darjeeling Tea

Brewing Spring Darjeeling tea is more like brewing green tea than black tea, even though they are produced as black tea. The tea leaf is slightly green in color and taste as well. The first flush Darjeeling is quite delicate and should be drunk before autumn arrives. Steep in hot water below the boil for under three minutes as you would a green tea for the best results.

As the growing season progresses, the first flush teas are quite different from the second flush teas produced in the summer months.

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Second Flush Summer

May through June, the second flush teas are harvested and have a more robust body and muscatel character with powerful aromas.

Second flush Darjeeling teas are more complex and unlike any other tea.

Second flush teas are excellent, well-rounded, mature, and fruity flavored tea. It is slightly less astringent tea, and some think even better than the first flush. These are my personal favorites.

Third Autumnal Flush

Autumnal teas are produced from October through November following the late summer monsoons. They are similar in character to second flush teas.

The tea plants resume their growth after the monsoon season ends. The leaves are darker and produce a full-bodied, fruity flavored tea. It is stronger than the second flush and brews a more coppery-colored tea.

Darjeeling Tea Estates

Darjeeling tea is traditionally produced as black tea, but many tea estates have begun making white, green, and oolong teas.

Of the nearly ninety estates, some of the most popular are Castleton, Glenburn, Puttabong, Rohini, Singbulli, Sungma, and Margaret's Hope. If you haven't heard of these, that's alright. Know that all teas from the Darjeeling region are among some of the best in the world.

In addition to its outstanding tea, the beautiful Glenburn Estate is famous for its visitor’s hotel and tourist attraction. I've never been but certainly wouldn't mind going. At 3,200 feet, the views look breathtaking. I can see why the Tibetan Buddhist Monks called it their transcendent place.

Where to Buy The Best Darjeeling Tea

If you're going to try Darjeeling First Flush spring teas, now is the time to buy.

Tea Box:  Now offering first flush Darjeeling tea. They source teas from the Goomtee, Jungpana, Samabeong, Margaret's Hope, and Castleton Tea Estates.

Vahdam Tea : Now offering first flush Darjeeling tea from Gopaldhara, Castleton, Glenburn, Giddapahar, Okayti, Goomtee, and Arya Tea Estates.

Adagio Tea:  Now offering a spring Darjeeling tea from the Glenburn Estate.

Golden Tips Tea: Specializes in Indian teas from Darjeeling and all the principal tea-growing regions since 1933. They are now offering spring Darjeeling tea from several tea estates.

Darjeeling teas have a distinctly delicate and sweet-smelling fragrance and flavor, but they are not overwhelming. There is a good reason they are well known as the world's best teas.

Don't miss the opportunity to enjoy this classic tea.


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Tea Tourism in Darjeeling: Symphony of the “Champagne of Teas”, Mountains and Culture

SetMyTrip » Posts » Tea Tourism in Darjeeling: Symphony of the “Champagne of Teas”, Mountains and Culture

Darjeeling Tea Tourism

Imagine, if you will, an envelope that floated into my world like a clandestine secret carried by the wind. It was no ordinary invitation, not ink and parchment, but a promise painted with the colors of Darjeeling’s undulating hills and the fragrant whispers of tea leaves. This letter was more than just an invitation; it was a soulful murmur from the heart of a dear friend, summoning me to the mystical realm of the Teesta Tea and Tourism Festival in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal, India.

It all began with that singular envelope—its edges gently crinkled, as if to keep the secret it held even more secure. I carefully unsealed it, unveiling the call to adventure. It was an invitation to explore the world of Teesta Tea and Tourism, an experience that beckoned with the promise of uncharted landscapes, the aroma of freshly plucked tea leaves, and the warm embrace of local culture.

Darjeeling’s Enchanting Overture

As I arrived in the land of Darjeeling, a symphony of natural beauty greeted me. The air was cool and crisp, and the town was nestled amidst the majestic Himalayas. Its meandering, winding streets whispered tales of the vibrant blend of Indian, Tibetan, and British influences that painted the canvas of this enchanting region.

Darjeeling was my gateway to the experience that awaited me, a place where the lines between cultures blurred and merged seamlessly, creating a tapestry of diversity.

My base for this journey was a tea estate known as “Glenview,” perched at an altitude that offered breathtaking panoramic views of the hills. Glenview was celebrated not only for its tea production but also for the warm hospitality that awaited travelers like me. As I checked into the estate’s guesthouse, a warm cup of tea was handed to me, and I felt the first stirrings of anticipation for the days ahead.

Staying in a Darjeeling tea estate offers a unique and enchanting escape. Nestled amidst the rolling hills, these estates open their doors to travelers seeking a tranquil retreat. You become part of the tea-making process, from witnessing the plucking of tea leaves to guided tours of the tea factory. The highlight is the tea-tasting sessions, where you savor the distinct flushes of Darjeeling tea. Beyond tea, immerse yourself in the serene Himalayan ambiance, explore local culture, and indulge in adventure activities like white-water rafting. These stays aren’t just accommodations; they are invitations to a world where tea, nature, and culture blend harmoniously.

The Art of Crafting Tea

The heart of my Teesta Tea and Tourism adventure lay in the tea gardens themselves. These gardens, like rolling canvases, unfolded a visual delight that stretched as far as the eye could see. Meticulously maintained rows of tea bushes swayed gently in the sunlight, their leaves creating intricate patterns of light and shadow.

My journey into the art of tea cultivation began with a guided tour of Glenview’s tea factory. Here, I was introduced to the intricate process of tea production. The guide spoke in hushed tones as he unraveled the secrets of tea making. From the plucking of the leaves to the withering, rolling, oxidation, and drying—each step was an essential stroke in the masterpiece of tea craftsmanship.

The scent of tea leaves being processed filled the air, a captivating fragrance that would linger in my memory long after my departure.

Sipping the Symphony

Tea was not just a beverage; it was a symphony of flavors, a poetry of the senses. It was time for my inaugural tea-tasting session. I was led to a room with large windows that framed the picturesque landscape outside. On a wooden table lay an array of tea cups, each holding different flushes of Teesta Tea.

Darjeeling tea, often hailed as the ‘champagne of teas,’ is a black tea made from Camellia sinensis, grown and processed in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal. Since 2004, this description has been further refined to be a registered geographical indication. To be labeled as Darjeeling tea, the tea leaves must be produced on specific estates within the Darjeeling and Kalimpong area.

The first sip was a revelation. The first flush, often called the “Spring Flush,” boasted a delicate, floral note. Its light color and briskness made it perfect for a sunny afternoon. The second flush, known as the “Summer Flush,” was bold and robust, with a distinct muscatel flavor that left a sweet aftertaste. Darjeeling tea, known for its sweet taste and floral aroma, has a light color, thin texture, and musky notes. It sometimes carries fruity and citrus flavors, and has even been likened to muscat wine.

The tea expert, more a tea poet than an instructor, explained that the unique flavor profiles of Darjeeling tea were influenced by factors such as elevation, soil quality, and the precise timing of leaf plucking. As I sipped and savored the teas, I couldn’t help but marvel at the rich tapestry of flavors that this humble leaf could yield.

Darjeeling Toy Train Ride and Tea Tourism

My adventure in Darjeeling reached new heights when I combined the iconic Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, affectionately known as the “Toy Train,” with the region’s renowned tea tourism. This unique journey promised not just a ride on a UNESCO World Heritage narrow-gauge railway but also a deeper immersion into the heart of Darjeeling’s tea culture.

The Toy Train, a charming vintage railway, chugs through the picturesque landscapes of Darjeeling. As I boarded the train, the distinct whistles and the rhythmic clickety-clack of the tracks set the stage for a nostalgic journey. The train’s small, colorful coaches, reminiscent of a bygone era, provided a window to the world outside.

As the Toy Train made its way through the rolling hills and forests, I was treated to breathtaking views of the town, the Himalayan peaks, and the lush tea gardens that carpeted the landscape. The slow pace of the journey allowed me to savor every moment and capture the essence of Darjeeling’s natural beauty.

Strolling Through Paradise

The tea gardens weren’t just workplaces; they were portals to paradise. I embarked on leisurely walks through the tea bushes, guided by the soft caress of the Himalayan breeze. The backdrop of distant Himalayan peaks added an otherworldly dimension to the scenery.

As I strolled, I observed the tea pluckers, their baskets gracefully slung over their shoulders. They moved with an almost poetic rhythm, plucking the tender leaves with a precision that came from generations of expertise. It was a living tradition, an art form passed down through time.

A Culinary and Cultural Extravaganza

My exploration of Darjeeling was incomplete without delving into the local culture and cuisine. The town’s streets were adorned with charming tea shops, where one could savor a steaming cup of Teesta Tea while soaking in the ebb and flow of life outside. These tea shops were not just places to enjoy a beverage; they were gathering spots where conversations flowed like the tea itself.

I also had the opportunity to savor local dishes, each a delightful blend of Indian, Tibetan, and British influences. Momos, those Tibetan dumplings, were an instant favorite, and a bowl of Thukpa, a Tibetan noodle soup, warmed my heart and soul. The desserts, infused with the essence of tea, were an unexpected delight.

The Festival of Colors and Culture

One of the highlights of my tea tourism adventure was the Teesta Tea and Tourism Festival. The town of Darjeeling erupted with vibrant colors and resonated with music, dance, and the fragrant notes of freshly brewed tea. This festival celebrated the rich tea heritage of the region, offering traditional performances and cultural showcases.

I had the privilege of interacting with tea experts and artisans, each an eloquent storyteller in their own right. The festival featured numerous tea stalls, each offering a different facet of Teesta Tea. It was a celebration of the beverage that had drawn me to this enchanting land, a tribute to the art of tea.

Darjeeling Ropeway and Tea Tourism: My Enriching Experience

Combining the Darjeeling Ropeway with a deep dive into tea tourism was a decision that enriched my journey through this enchanting region. The Darjeeling Ropeway, also known as the “Rangeet Valley Passenger Cable Car,” offered a breathtaking aerial perspective of the town and its surrounding tea gardens. As the cable car gracefully ascended, I found myself suspended in the sky, enveloped by misty mountains and lush tea plantations below. It was a serene moment, to say the least.

Reaching the Singmari station, I entered the realm of Darjeeling’s tea culture. The guided tours of Happy Valley Tea Estate and Tenzing Rock Tea Estate unveiled the intricate process behind every cup of Darjeeling tea. From leaf plucking to sorting and processing, I marveled at the craftsmanship involved. The tea-tasting sessions, featuring a diverse range of Darjeeling tea flushes, painted a symphony of flavors on my palate. My interaction with tea pluckers, the unsung heroes of the tea industry, added depth to my understanding. This adventure wasn’t just about panoramic views; it was a gateway to the heart of Darjeeling’s culture, tradition, and tea-scented landscapes. It left me with a profound appreciation for the “champagne of teas” and a longing to return to this Himalayan gem.

White River Rafting in Melli, Darjeeling

As I reluctantly bid farewell to Glenview and the mesmerizing hills of Teesta, a new adventure beckoned. It was time for an exhilarating experience that would add a thrilling crescendo to my journey—an expedition into the wild waters of the Teesta River.

Melli, a charming hamlet in Darjeeling, is renowned for its white-water rafting experiences. The Teesta River, with its turbulent rapids and breathtaking landscapes, is a paradise for adventure seekers. Equipped with a sturdy raft, a helmet, and a life jacket, I embarked on this adrenaline-pumping adventure.

The river’s rapids tested our mettle, each rapid bringing a rush of excitement and a splash of cold, refreshing water. As I navigated the twists and turns of the Teesta, I couldn’t help but marvel at the contrast between the tranquility of the tea gardens and the exhilaration of the river.

A Keepsake of Teesta Tea

Before bidding farewell, I couldn’t resist the urge to carry a piece of Teesta with me. I ventured into a local market, where I purchased freshly packed Teesta Tea. These carefully packaged boxes held not just tea leaves but the essence of my journey—a memento that would allow me to savor the memories long after my return home.

As I reluctantly bid farewell to Glenview and the mesmerizing hills of Teesta, I made a solemn promise to myself. My adventure in tea tourism was more than a mere visit; it was an immersion into a world where the love for tea intertwined seamlessly with the beauty of nature and the warmth of local culture.

Teesta had etched itself into my heart, and I knew that one day, in the not-so-distant future, I would return to these enchanted hills. For in Teesta, I had discovered more than just a destination; I had unearthed a symphony in a cup. It was a place where time seemed to linger, where every sip was a verse, and where every experience was etched in the very soul of the Himalayas.

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Written by  SetMyTrip

Me, Debojyoti Dey Mazumder, one of the directors of Promise India Tourism Pvt Ltd, has been in the tours and travel business since 2010. Having experience of operating tours to different destinations of India I wish to share my knowledge to promote them through discussions, blogs, articles, photo stories etc on different platforms.

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DARJEELING TRIP PLAN – A Complete Travel Guide with FAQs Answered

Darjeeling , Featured , West Bengal

Darjeeling Tourism

Last Updated on: Feb 10, 2023  

About this blog: We have been exploring Darjeeling ever since we started travelling. We have also blogged about this place for long. This Darjeeling Travel Guide was written sometime back. We have now updated this Darjeeling travel guide with all the latest information and required to plan a Darjeeling trip. This guide might help you when you visit the “Queen of Hills” and make you plan a perfect Darjeeling tour.

Darjeeling, the quaint hill station located in the northern part of West Bengal is undoubtedly one of our favourite destinations of all times. To be honest, we can never get enough of Darjeeling . A land of breathtaking beauty surrounded by rolling green tea plantations along with the majestic Kanchenjunga ranges towering above the skyline has earned it the moniker of Queen of Hills .

The eternal beauty and the quaint Victorian charm of the place are enough to lure travellers and tourists alike. And the cherry on the top is the adorable Darjeeling toy train that whistles its way through the mountains. Which other hill stations have so many beauties rolled in one!

Darjeeling Mall Road - Darjeeling Travel Guide

Darjeeling Trip Plan | About Darjeeling

Darjeeling is located at an altitude of about 6710 feet and is one of the most beautiful destinations in India. The name Darjeeling came from two Tibetan words ‘ dorje ’ meaning and ‘ ling ‘ meaning land. So Darjeeling literally means ‘the land of thunderbolt’.

Previous to its acquisition by the British East India Company in 1835, Darjeeling was a part of Sikkim (Sikkim was an independent kingdom then) and also of Nepal for a brief period of time.

Agni and Amrita in Darjeeling

During February 1829, a British Officer Caption Llyod spent a few days in Darjeeling. The place was then known as the “Old Gorkha Station of Darjeeling”. The place was nothing like what it is today. It was a deserted region with dense forests and mountains. Caption Llyod realized that Darjeeling can become a great sanatorium or health resort for the British officers.

Darjeeling Travel Guide

What is the Best Time to Visit Darjeeling?

Usually, Darjeeling has two main peak seasons for tourists – March to May and October to November. This is the time when Darjeeling gets the maximum footfall of tourists. When you want to plan your Darjeeling trip, entirely depends on what you want to experience at Darjeeling. Here I would mention briefly about the seasons in Darjeeling.

March to May (Spring and Summer)

This is one of the best times to visit Darjeeling. The weather remains pleasantly cool. After all, one of the main reasons for planning a Darjeeling trip is to beat the summer heat in the plains. The sky also remains clear giving a clear view of the Kanchenjunga ranges. But this is also a peak tourist season and Darjeeling will be full of local tourists.

March and April is the spring season and also the blooming season of rhododendrons.

June to September (Monsoon)

Monsoon usually starts by mid-June and lasts until September. During the monsoon, there are chances of landslides and some of the roads might be closed due to rains. Darjeeling, however, looks immensely beautiful and romantic during the rains, though you won’t get any mountain views as the weather remains cloudy most of the time. Also, tourism is low at this time and you get to see an uncrowded and relatively serene Darjeeling.

Honestly, monsoon is one of our favourite times to visit Darjeeling . We get rooms at cheaper rates, the roads are empty and the mist and clouds that envelope the roads make Darjeeling completely mesmerizing.

Darjeeling in monsoon

October to November (Autumn)

Autumn is also a good time to visit Darjeeling. The weather remains pleasant, the nature is vibrant and the skies are clear. You would get great views of the snow-covered peaks during this time. Bur again, this is a peak season and Darjeeling will be full of tourists, both local and international.

December to February (Winter)

Winter in Darjeeling is extremely cold and the higher altitudes of experience snowfall in December. Tiger Hill, located only 11 km from Darjeeling also experiences snowfall during the winter. Darjeeling gets fewer tourists during this time. If you plan to visit Darjeeling during the winter, do carry woolens with you.

Winter is our favourite time for Darjeeling tour. We love to enjoy the winters of hill stations and Darjeeling never disappoints us in this matter. Also, Darjeeling oranges are quite famous and we get that during the wintertime.

Having said these, you cannot really predict the weather on the hills. At one time, it is sunny and bright and in the next moment, it can become cloudy and foggy.

Students at Darjeeling Mall

How to Reach Darjeeling?

The nearest airport is the Bagdogra Airport and the nearest broad gauge railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP). I have mentioned broad-gauge railways because you can reach Darjeeling from NJP by the famous toy train.

From NJP, you will get both shared jeeps as well as rented vehicles to reach Darjeeling. From Bagdogra Airport, you will get rented cabs to reach Darjeeling. Shared jeeps are also available from Siliguri Main Bus Stand towards Darjeeling. Buses are also available from Siliguri towards Darjeeling, but I would recommend you to travel by the shared sumos instead of buses.

Pro Tip: If you are coming from abroad, you will need some sort of a visa that can be applied for online, or at the embassy. For example, The India evisa for Canada citizens is available online.

Darjeeling Tourism Map

Best Places to visit in Darjeeling

  • Batasia Loop and War Memorial
  • Darjeeling Mall or Chowrasta
  • The Darjeeling Zoo and HMI
  • Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park
  • Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda
  • Happy Valley Tea Estate
  • Observatory Hill and the Mahakal Temple
  • Ghum Monastery
  • Tenzing and Gombu Rocks
  • Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre

Darjeeling is a small hilly town, but there are a number of places to visit in Darjeeling that can be accessed by travelling a short distance. Darjeeling town is small, but Darjeeling district spans across 3,000 sq km. While there are a number of places to visit in Darjeeling and several attractions around the town, you can also visit Kurseong and Kalimpong, two other hill stations that are also quite beautiful and charming. Here I have discussed some of the must-visit tourist attractions in Darjeeling.

1. Tiger Hill

Sunrise from Tiger Hill Darjeeling

I personally feel that a Darjeeling trip can never be completed without watching the sunrise at Tiger Hill . Located at the highest point in Darjeeling at an altitude of 2,590 m, Tiger Hill is located about 11 km from Darjeeling town. If you visit Tiger Hill in the day, it is just another viewpoint and you will hardly see any tourist there. But early in the morning, the place is full of a long queue of cars and people waiting for the sun to rise. Tiger Hill is now internationally famous for its magnificent sunrise view above the Kanchenjunga and other eastern Himalayan ranges.

There is a watchtower at Tiger Hill from where you will get a sweeping view of the mountain ranges.  It is an amazing experience to see the first rays of sun falling on the snow-clad ranges of the Kanchenjunga and Everest. The sky gradually changes colour from golden yellow to orange as the sun rises up the horizon.

The best time to get clear views of sunrise is during autumn and winter. But the weather in Darjeeling can be quite unpredictable and a sudden cloud can totally obstruct the sunrise view. Even otherwise, Tiger Hill is a great place to visit in Darjeeling to soak in the Himalayan beauty.

2. Batasia Loop and War Memorial

Gorkha War Memorial at Batasia Loop

Batasia Loop is located on the Hill Cart Road and is about 5 km from Darjeeling town and is one of the major attractions of your Darjeeling trip . The Batasia Loop is a gigantic railway loop where the Darjeeling toy train takes a 360-degree turn just after Ghum . You can get a panoramic view of the Kanchenjunga ranges and the entire landscape from here. There is a well-maintained eco-garden at Batasia Loop along with proper seating arrangements from where you can sit down and see the wonderful views.

The War Memorial is located at the centre of the Batasia Loop. The War Memorial was opened in 1995 to pay homage to the Gorkha soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the nation. Just in the middle, there is a 3-metre bronze statue of a Gorkha soldier paying homage. Outside the Batasia Loop, there is a small market area selling curios, bags, hats, and other decorative items. You can visit Batasia Loop after a trip to the Tiger Hill to watch the sunrise.

Timings: Everyday 5:00 AM to 8:00 PM

3. Darjeeling Mall or Chowrasta

Darjeeling Mall or Chowrasta

Darjeeling Mall or Chowrasta is the centre of Darjeeling town and is the most happening place in the entire town. It is a flat piece of land converted into a pedestrian-only zone and no traffic is allowed at the Mall. There are seating arrangements around the Mall where you can relax and have a steaming hot cup of Darjeeling tea. A number of shops are located in the Mall area including tea bars, curio shop, book shops and more. You can stroll around the Mall leisurely or else simply sit on the bench and see Darjeeling come alive in front of you. Horse ride is also available around the Mall at a prefixed rate.

There are a few important places to visit around Darjeeling Mall. You can take a walk around the Mall Road and visit a few of the important and heritage places in Darjeeling. There is also an open-air auditorium and stage where many functions and cultural programmes take place. The Mall or Chowrasta is actually the social fabric of Darjeeling town.

4. Darjeeling Zoo and HMI

Darjeeling Zoo

Darjeeling Zoo or Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is one of the attractive places to visit in Darjeeling. Covering a vast area of 27 hectares, the zoo is the only specialized zoo for the conservation breeding programs of rare Himalayan species like the red panda, snow leopards, Tibetan wolf, Himalayan Black bear and other endangered species.

The Darjeeling Zoo is the largest high altitude zoo in India and covers an area of 67.5 acres at an average altitude of 7,000ft.

The Himalayan Mountain Institute or the HMI is said to be a pilgrimage for mountaineers and climbing enthusiast. It is also a must-visit place for all mountain lovers. It has a museum with mountaineering displays and many expedition artefacts. HMI is located in the same complex as the zoo and both of these can be visited together. Whenever we go for a Darjeeling trip, we make it a point to visit HMI. Just staring at the complex and reading its slogan “May you climb from peak to peak” gives us a feeling of happiness.

HMI Darjeeling

Timings: Everyday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM in the summer and 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM in the winters.

5. Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park

Rock Garden Darjeeling

The Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park are two beautiful parks located close to each other. The Rock Garden, located about 10 km from Darjeeling town is a terraced garden that has been cut through the rock and seating arrangements are made in between. The major attraction here is the cascading waterfall flowing down the rocks. The Rock Garden is also known as the Barbotey Rock Garden and was created by Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council to boost tourism in Darjeeling.

Ganga Maya Park is about 3 km from Rock Garden and is more spread having a beautiful flower garden and fountains. There is a small lake in the park where tourists can enjoy boating.

6. Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda

Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda Darjeeling

The Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda is the symbol of peace and a place of tranquillity. It is located in the Jalapahar Hills about 10 minutes driving distance from Darjeeling town. The temple is also known as the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple and was built in 1972 under Nichidatsu Fujii, a Buddhist Monk from Japan. Built in the traditional Japanese style, the temple has two storeys. The view from here is simply wonderful. You can see the Kanchenjunga peak from here.

The Peace Pagoda is located just beside the temple. The Japanese Peace Pagoda was built to bring people together from all castes and creeds for the purpose of world peace. You can occasionally hear Buddhist chants and prayer at the temple. The place is indeed full of serenity and you can feel it once you are there.

Timings: Everyday from 4:30 AM to 7 PM

Prayer timings are from 4.30 AM to 6.00 AM, and 4.30 PM to 6.30 PM

7. Happy Valley Tea Estate

Happy Valley Tea Estate - Tea tourism

How can your Darjeeling trip be complete without visiting a tea garden? Happy Valley Tea Estate is the best place where you can get a first-hand experience of tea gardens as well as how the tea leaves actually make way to your cup. The tea estate was established in 1854 and was known as the Wilson Tea Estate . Later the estate was renamed as Happy Valley Tea Estate. The estate covers an area of about 110 hectares and is one of the highest tea estates in West Bengal. Most of the tea bushes here are more than a century old!

Located below the Hill Cart Road, one of the best times to visit Happy Valley Tea Estate is during the plucking and processing season between March and October. During this time, an employee with take you around the tea factory and explain the process of withering, rolling, fermenting and drying and also explain how black, green and white tea is extracted from the same tea leaves. At the end of the tour, tea tasting is also offered. There is also a tea boutique from where you can but best quality Darjeeling Tea is grown at the estate.

Timings: The Tea estate and factory are open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM from Tuesday to Saturday. The factory remains closed between November to February as tea plucking does not take place in winter.

8. Observatory Hill and the Mahakal Temple

Mahakal Temple on Observatory Hill

The Observatory Hill and Mahakal Temple is located just behind the Mall. The Mahakal Temple is located at the summit of the Observatory Hill. As you walk around the Mall Road, you will see a flight of stairs leading up to the hill and the temple. It is believed that a Buddhist monastery named Dorjeling Monastery once stood at the place where the Mahakal Temple stands.

The original monastery was built in the year 1765 by the Lama Dorje Rinzing and it was destroyed in 1815 during the Gorkha invasion. Later the Mahakal Temple was built at the place and the monastery was rebuilt at about 1.5 km downhill from the Chowrasta.

At Mahakal Temple, you will not only hear the chants of Hindu prayers but will also hear the Buddhist monks reading scriptures. It is a beautiful communion of Hinduism and Buddhism, just as we saw at Bhaktapur Durbar Square in Nepal .

Timings: From sunrise to sunset.

9. Ghum Monastery

Ghum Monastery Darjeeling - Places to visit in Darjeeling

One of the most magnificent monasteries near Darjeeling is the Ghum Monastery , also known as the Yiga Choeling Monastery . Located at Ghum at an altitude of 7400 ft and 8 km from Darjeeling town, it is one of the oldest Tibetan monasteries to be built in Darjeeling area. The major attraction of the monastery is the 15 ft high statue of Maitreya Buddha or future Buddha.

It is believed that the clay to make the statue of the Buddha was brought all the way from Tibet. In front of the statue, there are two huge oil lamps that are kept burning all the time throughout the year. The monastery also houses a number of rare Buddhist manuscripts including a 108-volume Kangyur – The Tibetan Buddhist Gospel.

10. Tenzing and Gombu Rocks

Tenzing and Gombu Rock

The Tenzing Rock is a naturally formed huge rock in Darjeeling and is named after the famous Tenzing Norgay . The Gombu Rock stands just opposite to Tenzing Rock and is named after Nawang Gombu, the nephew of Tenzing Norgay who had scaled Mt Everest twice in 1963 and 1965. These rocks are used by the HMI for rock climbing training. The right face of Tenzing Rock is used for amateur climbers, so you can also give a try at rock climbing.

11. Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre

Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre - Darjeeling

The Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre was established in 1959 for the rehabilitation of the Tibetans who had migrated to India after the Chinese invaded Tibet. In order to sustain, they adopted the principle of self-help.

The Tibetans make exquisite handicrafts, shawls, carpets, carved wooden and other items. If you visit there, you can see the Tibetan men and women working patiently on these handicrafts. There is an outlet from where you can buy these handicrafts. The Tibetan Refugee Centre is located on a hilltop that can be approached from Lebong Cart Road. There is also a small monastery at the complex. This is one of our favourite places to visit in Darjeeling trip.

Apart from these 11 fabulous places, you can visit the Shrubbery near the zoo and the Botanical garden near the Chowk Bazar.

Darjeeling Travel Guide | Darjeeling Sightseeing

Ghum Railway Station

You can go for Darjeeling sightseeing tours by getting a reserved car from Club side taxi Stand or Chowk Bazar. Usually, the cars offer 3 types of sightseeing tours – 3-point, 5-point and 7-point sightseeing tours.

  • 3-point Tour: This is the early morning tour covering sunrise at Tiger Hill, Batasia Loop and Ghum Monastery.

Tentative Rate for reserved Taxi: Rs 1200.00 – 1500.00

  • 5-point Tour: This includes Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda, Lal Kuthi, Dhirdham Temple, Ava Art Gallery and Darjeeling Zoo. This takes about 3 hours

Tentative Rate of reserved car: Rs 1200.00 – 1500.00

  • 7-point tour: This covers most of the famous attractions of Darjeeling like the Darjeeling Zoo and HMI, Darjeeling Ropeway, Tenzing and Gombu Rock, Happy Valley Tea Estate, Tibetan Refugee Centre, Lebong Race Course.

Tentative Rate of reserved car: Rs 1500.00 – 1700.00

You can also reserve a car and explore Darjeeling as per your choice. For more details of Darjeeling sightseeing and costs , please read our detailed post.

Darjeeling Toy Train

Darjeeling Toy Train - Things to do in Darjeeling

The Toy Train ride or Darjeeling Himalayan Railways is undoubtedly one of the major attractions of Darjeeling and should be a part of your Darjeeling tour. DHR is the first mountain railway in India opened in 1881 to connect Darjeeling with the plains in Siliguri. This mountain railways is said to be one of the best examples of mountain railways and definitely an outstanding engineering feat achieved during those times. The DHR has been accorded the UNESCO World Heritage site status.

If you have the time, the best way to experience the Darjeeling Toy Train is to take a ride from NJP to Darjeeling. It is a long ride almost taking a day, but the ride will be one of life kind of experience. If you do not wish to venture in this journey, you can take a toy train ride from Darjeeling to Ghum or Kurseong.

Darjeeling Toy Train Joy Ride

The best way is, however, to take the Darjeeling Toy Train Joy Ride . This is a 2-hour ride starting from Darjeeling Station to Ghum and back covering a distance of 14 km. The train stops at Batasia Loop. The fare for Darjeeling Joy Ride is between Rs 1000.00 to 1600.00 per head.

Darjeeling Tea

Things to do in Darjeeling - visit a Darjeeling Tea Garden

How can I probably not talk about Darjeeling Tea while writing about Darjeeling? There is almost no doubt that Darjeeling is one of the finest producers of tea in the world. There are a number of tea gardens and estates in Darjeeling district producing some of the finest qualities of tea. A packet of Darjeeling tea is one of the prized souvenirs of India that you can take home.

The cup is actually waiting for you. Take a sip and enjoy the aroma and taste of fresh and pure Darjeeling Tea. Well, that is enough of tea advertisements! Let me now tell you where you can have tea in Darjeeling. There are several outlets, tea lounges and tea bars from where you can taste Darjeeling Tea. Personally, our favourite is the Darjeeling tea at Nathmulls on Darjeeling Mall and Glenarys on Nehru Road. We also love the tea served by the roadside vendors.

Golden Tips Tea Lounge

Some of the best places to have tea during your Darjeeling trip are

  • Nathmull’s Tea and Sunset Lounge
  • House of Tea
  • Golden Tips Tea Lounge
  • Afternoon Tea at Windermere
  • Happy Golden Cafe

You can buy your packet of tea from any of these places. But I would suggest you buy Darjeeling tea from places that would provide you with an invoice and not from any roadside stalls. Happy Valley Tea Estate is another good place to buy Darjeeling Tea.

Where to Stay in Darjeeling?

With time, Darjeeling town has faced a lot of constructions, many of which are unplanned. Quite obviously, these constructions include mainly hotel. Darjeeling has a number of hotels catering to all types of budgets and travellers. These include century-old heritage stays, homestays, hostels and hotels as well. Here I will name a few hotels in Darjeeling of various categories.

Windamere Hotels Darjeeling

Luxury Hotels in Darjeeling

  • Windermere (Best views of Kanchenjunga)
  • Cedar Inn (Best views of Kanchenjunga)
  • Mayfair Darjeeling
  • Sinclairs Darjeeling

Mid Budget Hotels

  • Little Tibet
  • Central Nirvana (Best views of Kanchenjunga)
  • Central Gleneagles Heritage Resort
  • Hotel Shangrila
  • Darjeeling Tourist Lodge (Best views of Kanchenjunga)

Budget Hotels in Darjeeling

  • Classic Guest House (Best views of Kanchenjunga)
  • Broadway Annexe
  • Dekeling Hotel
  • Hotel Capital
  • Old Bellevue Hotel
  • Pahari Soul Homestay (Best views of Kanchenjunga)
  • Happy Valley Homestay
  • Himalayan Inn

What are the Best Places to eat in Darjeeling Trip?

Breakfast platter at Keventers

Darjeeling has a unique mixture of Bengali, Nepali and Tibetan population. This is reflected well in the food and cuisine of Darjeeling. Added to this is the English influence. So overall, food in Darjeeling is simply something that we can die for.

Delicious and crisp English breakfast is quite common in Darjeeling. Keventers and Glenarys are just the places to have a proper English breakfast. Bacon, sausages, omelettes, eggs with sunny side up, sandwiches along with fresh Darjeeling Tea – who can say no to such food? For the health-conscious, the oil can be a turn-off though.


Darjeeling is also famous for momos, thukpas and Tibetan and Nepali dishes. There are restaurants serving Indian and Continental cuisines. In short, you will not be disappointed in Darjeeling regarding food!

For detailed information, you can read our article on the best places to eat in Darjeeling .

How much does it cost to travel in Darjeeling?

Monastery near Darjeeling

Darjeeling can be quite easy on the pocket if you wish so. A typical cost of travelling in Darjeeling is given:

Sightseeing costs in Darjeeling by car are fixed. To reduce costs, you can share with other like-minded travellers. You can also walk around and explore Darjeeling on foot. We usually do that on our visits to Darjeeling. You can also hop on to the taxis that the locals use for commuting and visit from one point to the other, and then walk the remaining way.

Trekking permit at Sandakphu-Phalut will come at a fixed cost and so does guide and potter. Permit fee for Singalila National Park is only INR 100. You will get the details of the trek in our blog on Sandakphu Trek .

Shopping in Darjeeling Trip | Darjeeling Travel Guide

Habeeb Mullick and Sons at Chowrasta

Darjeeling, like most of the hill stations, is a shopper’s paradise. And one of my favourite thing to do in Darjeeling trip is window shopping! These days, you will get almost everything in Darjeeling town. However, you would probably want to buy Darjeeling Tea, antiques and jewellery, handicrafts and curio, woolen from Darjeeling.

Some of the popular handicraft items that you can buy from Darjeeling includes Tibetan masks, Thangkas, Khukris (curved Gorkha knives having decorative handles), curios and traditional jewelleries and showpieces. Stoles, woollen sweaters, jackets, caps and pashmina shawls are also widely sold.

There are many old shops and boutique shops at either side of the Nehru Road leading up to the Mall.  Nepal Curio House is one of our favourite places to hunt curio items, masks and thangkas. A Biswa Bangla outlet has also opened at Nehru Road that sells Bengal handicraft items. Another place that I would like to mention is Das Studio . You will get photography items and some old and rare photographs of Darjeeling and the mountains here. Check out the old Darjeeling postcards here.

Das Studio Darjeeling - Travel Guide

Darjeeling Mall is also dotted with a number of shops. I would like to mention about Oxford Book Stores, Habeeb Mullick & Sons (one of the best places for curios), Golden Tips and Nathmull’s at Chowrasta.

Mall Road has temporary shops with hawkers selling woollen and dress items. Bargain well when buying from these markets.

Darjeeling Toy Train Souvenir

Chowk Bazar at lower Darjeeling is a bustling market where you can get any types of household items, clothing items, bags, footwear, grocery and spices. It is infact the local market of Darjeeling town. Prices are relatively cheaper at Chowk Bazar, but I cannot guarantee the quality for items like dresses, shoes and bags.

If you want to buy authentic Tibetan handicrafts, then you should head towards the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre off the Lebong Cart Road. You will get handmade Tibetan carpets, scarves, clothes, handicrafts, thangkas and many more made by the local artisans.

Day trips from Darjeeling | Darjeeling Travel Guide

You can make day trips from Darjeeling to Mirik (known for Mirik Lake) and Kurseong. We recommend to hire a car from Chowk Bazar or Club side taxi Stand to visit these places.

You can also take a day trip to Takdah , Tinchuley and Lamahatta from Darjeeling.

Darjeeling is also the nearest town to Maneybhanjan, the base camp of Sandakphu trek.

View of Kanchenjunga and Bhanu Bhawan

Darjeeling Trip – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs answered)

Bagdogra is the nearest airport to Darjeeling. It is around 68km and takes about 3 to 3.5 hours to reach Darjeeling.

Yes, Darjeeling is quite safe for tourists and travellers. In the last few years, there had been a few agitations when Darjeeling had come to a stop. But now, Darjeeling is quite safe to travel. Do take an informed decision before your Darjeeling trip or travelling to any place.

Darjeeling is quite famous for mountains and the views of Kanchenjunga, third highest mountain of the world and tea gardens. Darjeeling tea is known all over the world. Also, Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (toy train) is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sunrise at Tiger Hill is also a major attraction.

The name ‘Darjeeling’ came from the Tibetan words, ‘dorje’ meaning thunderbolt (originally the scepter of Indra) and ‘ling’ a place or land. Thus Darjeeling is popularly known as ‘The land of the thunderbolt’.

Nepali, Bengali, Hindi and English are widely spoken in Darjeeling. Nepali is spoken by more than 70% of the population in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Mirik and is the main language in the hills, followed by Bengali.

Darjeeling has two main peak seasons for tourists – March to May and October to November. Usually these months are the best time to visit Darjeeling as the climate is at its best during this time and is perfect for outdoor activities.

Since the last couple of years, Darjeeling has witnessed snowfall in the months of December. But that is also for a few days. You will see snowfall at Sandakphu for sure.

Yes, it is advised to carry woolen clothes even during the summer. At least a windproof jacket should be taken. The weather is highly unpredictable in Darjeeling. If it rains, the weather suddenly becomes very chilly.

2-3 days are good enough for a leisurely Darjeeling trip covering the main attractions. Usually, a trip to Darjeeling and Gangtok is done together. In that case, 7-8 days are good enough for both the destinations.

Darjeeling is a sleepy little hill town. While there are bars and pubs in Darjeeling, but the town usually sleeps by 11 pm.

Yes, there are sufficient ATMs in Darjeeling. There is an SBI ATM at Darjeeling Mall. Also, most of the shops accept debit and credit cards these days.

Darjeeling is famous for its tea and you can buy Darjeeling Tea as souvenirs. You can also buy local handicraft items like Tibetan masks, paintings, thangkas, local jewellery items, woolens like shawls, pashminas and stoles, Khukris and other curio items. Authentic handmade carpets, wooden items and woollen items are available at Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre.

Golden Tips and Nathmulls are some of the best places to buy authentic Darjeeling tea. Both shops are located at the Mall. You can also buy Darjeeling Tea from Happy Valley Tea Estate. It is recommended not to buy tea from road-side shops unless you are absolutely sure about the quality.

Other Resources on Darjeeling

  • 12 Best Places to Eat in Darjeeling
  • Darjeeling Mall and a Heritage Walk around the Mall Road
  • Darjeeling Zoo – A Photostory
  • Movies shot in Darjeeling
  • Darjeeling Himalayan Railways
  • Darjeeling in Monsoons
  • Rangaroon – Experience Tea Tourism near Darjeeling
  • Singtom Tea Estate and Resort – Tea Tourism in Darjeeling
  • A Brief History of Darjeeling

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An Insider Guide to Darjeeling

Agni Amrita

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Superb Information On Darjeeling Travel Guide Thanks For Sharing Keep It Up.

Thank you very much for sharing the interesting information, I read it completely. Good you explained everything in detail it has been a great help.

I want to visit darjeeling and want to know about darjeeling before visit with my family.

Please let us kniow if you have any specific queries. We will be happy to answer.

Hi.You blog is very useful.I’m planning to visit Darjeeling in first week of July from Southern India. So we are preferring to take flight to bagdogra…i want to know does weather condition affect our flight timings?.is it better to take train?

Thanks for reading our blog. Flight to Bagdogra is fine.

This is so beautiful! You make me wanna go Darjeeling all the more. Just checking, is Darjeeling safe for solo travelers? Also where’s the best place to stay for female solo travelers? And from NJP to Darjeeling what’s the best mode of transportation for one person?

Hello Ashini! Thank you for stopping by! Darjeeling is quite safe for solo travellers. The best mode of transportation from NJP to Darjeeling for one is to take a shared jeep. otherwise you can reach Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand at Siliguri and take a bus to Darjeeling. You will also get shared cabs from there. If you want a bit more comfort, you can check wizzride as well. Revolver is a good place to stay in Darjeeling for solo travellers. Pahari Soul Homestay is also good. There are a few backpackers hostel in Darjeeling as well. You can check them as well!

i was planning to stay at Darjeeling for December for at least a month. i was thinking of renting a house since i have work from home option. Wanted to check is it possible to do so ? how much is the rent ? and do we have steady internet ? Would you be kind to respond to the above if you know about it ?

Hello Haneefa! Well, I do not have much information about renting a house in Darjeeling. But I am sure you will get one. You can check out Classic Guest House or airbnb for the same. At Darjeeeling, you will get a steady internet. No issues with that. Hope this helps. 🙂

Dear Sir/Mam,

I want to catch the 10am flight from Bagdogra. What is the earliest transport in the morning from Darjeeling?

Thanking you Kaushik Mandal

It is better to book a car for your journey from Darjeeling to Bagdogra.

That’s an amazing article


You have made Darjeeling more beautiful from your precise perceptive.

Thank you so much for your kind words. Darjeeling is always beautiful to us.

Many Thank you..TO show the beauty of Darjeeling..This was Amazing..Keep it up

Thank you so much!

Please advise the name of budgeted and good hotel for senior citizens family of 68 years where the car drops at hotel gate and its room are within 1st floor and has good restaurant and which 3-5 minutes walking distance from Mall. Thanks for your effective and blog

Thank you for stopping by our blog. There are a few good hotels near the Mall area which you can consider – Seven Seas near Keventers, The Bellevue on the Mall Road, Hotel Sunflower on the Mall, Dekeling Hotel. You can also consider staying at Darjeeling Tourist Lodge. Its about 7-8 mins walk from Mall, but is quite good.

Since childhood I’ve witnessed the gradual change in climate, education, culture, society, economy, politics and religions, and recently a bit of business. And when I take the flight retrospectively in introspective mood,I feel sad to land back momentarily. But when I see the flood of tourists with a lot of excitement and sunny faces and the depiction of Darjeeling, my aesthetic sense gets rejuvenated. Salute to the blog writer for the concern shown for sanitation and request to the upcoming tourists not to litter. Welcome for further minute details.

Thank you so much for the comment. Would love to discuss with you about Darjeeling more if given a chance. Do keep in touch!

Nice blog author. your information is so useful. thank you.

Thank you, thank you. You made my travel to Darjeeling and easy thing to plan. May I suggest you also add Summit Hermon hotel in your lists of budget friendly hotels for amazing Kanchenjunga views? They have family rooms with terrace. I can share pictures if you like. 🙂

Thank you Tanvi for your lovely comment. We will definitely include Summit Hermon Hotel in the list of hotels in the next update.

Wonderful post! This article is really helpful for travelers. I heard about Darjeeling that is a beautiful place in India. I am planning to go to Darjeeling this December. can I see snowfall in December, and what can I do with my family in Darjeeling.

Hi Akansha! Thank you for your comment. Yes, Darjeeling is quite beautiful, but you will probably not get snowfall in Darjeeling itself. You might have to go to Sandakphu. And yes, you can travel with your parents to Darjeeling.

This was amazing.. trust me Thankyou

You forgot to mention Aloobari monostry and Jalapahar, St Paul

Will include it in the next update for sure. Thank you for mentioning it.

it is a helpful and informative blog, I really appreciate the work you have done, you explained everything in such an amazing and simple way, Darjeeling is one of the most beautiful hill stations. thank you for sharing this amazing information with us.

Wow! Such a wonderful and beautiful pictures, very detail & informative article. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience with fellow travelers. Your valuable information’s will help us to plan our tour more properly. I must say you have done a great job in highlighting the beauty of Darjeeling & have justified the tag “The Queen of Hills” for Darjeeling. The pictures you have shared will definitely inspire every travelers heart to plan a Darjeeling Tour and to witness the mesmerizing beauty in the lap of Himalayas. Hope soon I could cover this mesmerizing destination with the help of your detailed knowledge.

I must say you have done a great job in highlighting the beauty of Darjeeling. Well Done and Keep it up

Thank you so much.

Thanks for a marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, this post is very interesting and informative. Thanks for sharing…

I must say your photographs are too good, I have been to many places in north India, but east is still untouched. I would love to be there soon..

We guess we made a huge mistake by not going to Rock Garden! The waterfalls looks so beautiful!

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Darjeeling Tea Tourism Tour

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Darjeeling Cable Car Ride

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Sikkim Darjeeling Tour Booking

Jayati Das Gupta

I went on a Sikkim Darjeeling Package Tour, along with my aged mother, and booked my package through NatureWings, with whom this was our third-time travel. Mr. Sandip Raha arranged our trip, and like every time, our trip went very well, the hotel rooms were booked on the ground floor, the driver was well mannered and even helped my mother get up and down the car. All the credit goes to the team for their efforts to gift us a good time.

Sikkim Darjeeling Tour Package

My Darjeeling Tour was with my baby girl and my husband in 2019. The destination was stunning, and as I am a tea lover, my favorite was the tea factory visit at Darjeeling, where I tasted the freshly brewed and purchased a lot. NatureWings kept my request and passed on the information to all the hotels regarding milk and hot water for my baby and provided me with a good driver who was very helpful and kind. The arrangements were excellent, all thanks to Mrs. Mousumi Raha.

Sikkim Darjeeling Package Tour

We went on a Darjeeling Trip at the beginning of 2020 and got a chance to stay within the sprawling tea estates while tasting the fresh brew from the tea factory. From the busy city of Darjeeling, Mr. Sandip Raha suggested the stay within the heritage bungalows of the Britishers, and surprisingly this was by far the best stay we had to date as we woke up every day with a great view of Mt. Kanchenjunga from our room. The check-in & check-out was smooth, and the arrangements were great.

Darjeeling Package Tour

Richa - Darjeeling Gangtok Tour Review

Locating from the busy city of Mumbai, visiting mountains brings an inner peace within me, so for my honeymoon on Jan 2020, I planned to visit Darjeeling, well known for its vast stretches of tea plantation and world-class tea. After booking the air tickets, we started our search for a trusted travel agency where we came across NatureWings Holidays from Kolkata. After placing my travel requirement, Mr. Soumalya Ghosh explained everything in detail with a proper itinerary and perfect selection of hotels. The booking process was smooth as everything was online, so from the money receipt to Hotel vouchers and driver details, we received on time. After landing in Bagdogra airport, we met our driver Mr. Bikas a friendly Nepali man, who accompanied us throughout the trip, and transferred us to Gangtok Mayfair, a luxury resort surrounded by nature with a casino and after two nights stay we advanced towards Hotel Windamere in Darjeeling town near to the Mall, a colonial gem with the best view from the rooms. We covered sightseeing at both the places and had some pleasant time visiting M.G Marg, Darjeeling Mall, and the iconic Glenary’s. From town, we moved to the Glenburn Tea Estate , the best part of our stay, which was suggested to us by Mr. Sandip Raha, a close to nature stay in beautifully decorated rooms from the colonial era, away from the crowds with breathtaking views of Mt. Kanchenjunga. We walked across the tea estates and took a guided tour to the tea factory where we purchased and tasted the freshly brewed. The host arranged a bonfire with a barbeque where we spend our evening warming up while listening to some local music. All thanks to the NatureWings team for making our trip remarkable while Mr. Indrajeet marked his presence with follow up from day 1. We suggest NatureWings to everyone cheers to the team for their effort.

Darjeeling Tour Packages

Kalyan Singvi - Darjeeling Tour

Being a Tea lover, I can drink tea at any time of the day, so when I came to know about tea tourism in the sprawling tea estates of Darjeeling, I knew I found my heaven. So without wasting time, I made a quick plan with my friends to visit and taste the world-class Darjeeling tea to warm up the winter of 2019, where one of them suggested NatureWings Holidays being an old customer. But good things come with good price and spending nights in tea estates were expensive, all thanks to Mr Sandip Raha from NatureWings, a pioneer in this territory as he suggested an itinerary along with tea garden stay within our limit. From booking to pick up at Bagdogra airport, everything was perfect, as we checked-in at Gomtee Tea Estate for 02 nights, an old tea bungalow in the lap of nature surrounded by greens with a homely feeling and well maintained clean view rooms. We enjoyed our walks across the gentle slopes of the garden covered with endless tea plants and visited the small factory within the estate where we tasted the freshly prepared tea. From the vast estates, we moved to the Darjeeling town at Hotel Elgin, a property with modern amenities and a lovely view of the mountains. The driver appointed was a nice punctual person while Mr. Indrajeet accompanied us over WhatsApp and phone. Thanks to the team for their arrangements, wishing to visit the “Mecca of Tea” soon while recommending NatureWings to others.

Darjeeling Package

Asha Nandekar

Darjeeling is a most preferred destination to visit if one wants to experience the beauty of the nature. If you are a person driven by tea then you thrilled with the beautiful gardens and sensational landscapes. Darjeeling has many tea estates including Glenburn, Goomtee and Sourini, one can see the process of tea growing and plucking and some of the region’s finest brews. On a side note I found Glenburn far warmer with a little more of an eclectic atmosphere than some other expensive hotels in Darjeeling. We had a pleasant experience at our stay in a Bungalow that was typically the residence of a British tea planter built during the old colonial time. The property is well maintained and retain with a colonial charm, acres of space, panoramic mountain views as well as a beautiful lawn. Food served is usually made of fresh organic produce from the backyard garden. At Glenburn Tea Estate, your comfort and satisfaction come first, and they look forward to welcoming you to Darjeeling.

Darjeeling Tour

Tamalika Mahajan - Sikkim Darjeeling Tour Review

Just completed my Sikkim Darjeeling Package Tour , we were two members. I planned well my trip in advance with the help and guidance of Naturewings Holidays Pvt Ltd. They were supportive and communications done were very easy. We got a very comfortable stay and food in an excellent hotel at Gangtok. In Gangtok, the most amazing thing that we noticed was there was no AC/fan, etc used anywhere in hotels, houses, shops, etc as the climate is almost cool throughout the year. The weather was amazing for sightseeing at all locations Gangtok. Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir was like a doorway to heaven, so beautiful and we have wonderful memories to cherish from this tour. We went to see the famous MG Marg, an exquisite road. After Gangtok, it comes to Darjeeling’s review. Among the hill stations of India, Darjeeling is the most beautiful among all. Throughout the year the temperature remains low, so anyone planning to visit should take warm clothes with them. It is in West Bengal. Darjeeling is famous for 3 T’s Tourism, Timber, and Tea. The best part of Darjeeling was the morning view of sunrise from Tiger Hills. The breakfast in Keventer’s was bliss and the shopping at Darjeeling Mall was like a therapy. We stayed at Glenburn Tea Estate at Darjeeling to feel the tea beauty; I feel lucky to stay at the Glenburn Tea Estate. What a gem. It sits on a hilltop surrounded by hundreds of tea fields. We tasted the tea also and bought different flavored tea for friends and family. I will recommend this place and would rate 5 out of 5. I want to go there once again as I want to enjoy a peaceful life again and it is only possible in Darjeeling. Thank you NatureWings for this beautiful experience.

Darjeeling Package Tour Booking

Jenelia - Goomtee Tea Estate Review

We have just returned from our trip from Switzerland to India, which is Gangtok and Darjeeling. We were two families and booked the package from Naturewings Holidays Pvt Ltd. As it was Durga Puja season, both Gangtok and Darjeeling was crowded so we could not get splendid hotels and cars. Naturewings helped us with booking. We stayed at Denzong Regency at Gangtok & Mayfair, Darjeeling & Goomtee Tea Estate. Gangtok stay was bliss; starting from the hotel to food everything was great. The driver which Naturewings provided was also friendly. After exploring Gangtok, it was an exceptional experience to stay in Mayfair Darjeeling. Outstanding ambiance with prompt services. We stayed in an executive room with a personal balcony with a magnificent view, the room and premises maintained properly. We highly recommend Mayfair, Darjeeling. And for a unique experience for a lifetime, please stay at Goomtee. It is an old tea bungalow maintained properly and spotless. They make food by local vegetables. We stayed in this tea garden. The stay was delightful. It is a serene place with breathtaking surroundings away from the chaotic Darjeeling city. An absolutely recommended place to visit if you are going to Darjeeling. As we are from Kolkata, so these kinds of places is heaven for us. And we are grateful to Naturewings for this stay. As a tea lover, we enjoyed every sight there, watched the tea plantations also, Tea tasting was a fantastic experience. We did a hike to the waterfall; it’s just an hour’s hike from the bungalow which was also an amazing experience. I would like to recommend it to everyone who wants to enjoy their holiday surrounded by nature’s beauty. Looking forward to visiting again. Thank you to the entire team for this amazing trip.

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NatureWings Holidays Limited is a Super Specialty Himalayan Destination Management Company (DMC) formed in 2011 in Kolkata with a clear vision to provide the best solution to the valued guests with their superb knowledge in the territory, hotels, and other allied services. Within a short span of time this Travel Agency in Kolkata , West Bengal has become the most respected and trusted DMC for Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Darjeeling, Silk Route, Sandakphu, Kashmir, Ladakh, North East, Andaman, Sri Lanka, Dubai, Maldives etc.

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"Queen of The Himalayas"

Darjeeling tourism.

Darjeeling, the former summer capital of India under the British Raj, has evolved into one of India's most sought-after hill stations. This picturesque hill destination in West Bengal is ideal for a romantic honeymoon. Darjeeling, nestled among acres of tea estates, is 2,050 metres above sea level and thus has a cool climate all year long. Darjeeling is often clubbed with destinations in Sikkim its neighbouring state, making it a perfect starting point for exploring the wonders of the Eastern Himalayas.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway established back in 1881 is conferred the title of World Heritage Status by UNESCO. The train begins its journey from the plains and rises to over 2000 metres above sea level, offering breathtaking views of the mountains as it chugs along. Darjeeling is also famous for it's tea plantations with over 86 tea estates responsible for producing the worldwide famous 'Darjeeling Tea'.  The third highest peak in the world and the highest in India, the Kanchenjunga peak, is visible from here, and you can enjoy a panoramic view of the peak. Some of Darjeeling's most popular attractions include monasteries, botanical gardens, a zoo, and the Darjeeling-Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway  cable car, which is the longest Asian cable car. Tiger Hill is a fantastic spot to see the sunrise over the mountains in all its fiery glory. The best time to visit Darjeeling is between April to June when the weather is pleasant. However, a lot of people also prefer visiting the place during the winter months from October to December. The months of July to August received heavy rainfall, a lot of roadblocks are observed in the hill station and hence visiting Darjeeling during these months is not very advisable.

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  • Indians can carry any Indian ID (passport, voters ID, pan card, drivers license) for a potential Sikkim trekking trip.
  • A special permit is required for Singalila National Park from Manebhanjan, costing around 120 INR.
  • Carry valid ID (passport/voter ID) for checkpoints and specific areas while visiting Sikkim or Nepal from Darjeeling.
  • Foreigners visiting Darjeeling must possess a valid Indian tourist visa and copies of photographs.
  • Nepal and Bhutan citizens don't need a Visa. Carry a valid government ID. 
  • Report to the Foreigners Registration Office at Bagdogra airport on arrival or at Darjeeling Magistrate Office during the stay.
  • Those traveling by rail or road must get their passport and visa stamped and approved for their stay in Darjeeling.
  • To visit Kalimpong, the permit must be endorsed at the Foreigners Registration Office in Darjeeling or the office that issued it.
  • Darjeeling is prone to landslides during the monsoon season (June to September).
  • Have sufficient cash, as not all areas have ATM access.
  • Respect local privacy and etiquettes, especially around religious sites.
  • Selling alcohol to those below 25 is prohibited, with specific dry days when liquor is not served.

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Darjeeling Tea

Unraveling the essence of the himalayan delight.

Darjeeling tea , often hailed as the “Champagne of Teas,” is a coveted beverage renowned for its exceptional flavor and aroma.

This article takes you on a journey to explore the captivating world of Darjeeling tea, from its rich history and cultivation practices to its health benefits and sustainable production.

So, grab a cup of your favorite brew and immerse yourself in the enchanting realm of Darjeeling tea.

A cup of Darjeeling tea with A serene landscape of Darjeeling

Darjeeling tea, originating from the mist-shrouded hills of the Himalayas in West Bengal, India, holds a special place in the hearts of tea connoisseurs worldwide.

Its unique combination of cool climate, fertile soil, and skilled craftsmanship results in a tea that is unparalleled in its character and quality.

History of Darjeeling Tea

Darjeeling tea’s story dates back to the mid-19th century when the British established tea gardens in the region. The favorable climatic conditions and high elevation proved to be a perfect match for cultivating tea bushes.

Since then, Darjeeling tea has gained global recognition and has become a symbol of excellence in the world of tea.

Tea Garden

Cultivation and Processing

The cultivation of Darjeeling tea involves a meticulous process. The tea plants, primarily Camellia sinensis var. sinensis and Camellia sinensis var. assamica, are carefully nurtured on the slopes of the Darjeeling hills.

The plucking of the tender leaves, also known as flushes, at the right time is crucial to capturing the tea’s distinctive flavors.

Flavor Profile of Darjeeling Tea

Darjeeling tea is revered for its delicate and complex flavors. It offers a remarkable balance of muscatel notes, floral undertones, and a subtle astringency that dances on the palate.

The unique terroir of the region imparts a distinct character to each cup, making it a truly captivating and unforgettable experience.

Happy Valley Tea Estate, Darjeeling

Health Benefits

Beyond its exquisite taste, Darjeeling tea brings a host of health benefits. Rich in antioxidants, it helps boost the immune system, supports cardiovascular health, and aids digestion. The tea also contains catechins, which have been linked to potential cancer-fighting properties.

Brewing Darjeeling Tea

To savor the true essence of Darjeeling tea, it is essential to master the art of brewing. Using freshly boiled water and steeping the leaves for the right duration brings out the tea’s nuanced flavors.

Whether you prefer black, green, or oolong Darjeeling tea, experimenting with brewing methods can lead to a personalized and enjoyable tea-drinking experience.

Darjeeling Tea Grades

Darjeeling tea is categorized into different grades based on the quality and characteristics of the leaves. From the highly sought-after first flush teas to the mellow and mature second flush teas, each grade has its own distinct attributes. Exploring the diverse range of Darjeeling tea grades allows tea enthusiasts to discover their preferences and indulge in a world of flavors.

Happy Valley Tea Estate, Darjeeling

Popular Darjeeling Tea Estates

Several renowned tea estates in Darjeeling produce exceptional teas that captivate tea enthusiasts worldwide.

Estates like Makaibari , Happy Valley , Glenburn, and Jungpana have carved a niche for themselves by consistently producing high-quality teas that embody the essence of the region.

Exploring teas from these estates offers a glimpse into the artistry and passion behind Darjeeling tea production.

Darjeeling Tea vs. Other Teas

While Darjeeling tea is a distinct entity, it is often compared to other types of tea. The article explores the differences between Darjeeling tea and other popular teas like Assam tea, Chinese tea, and Japanese tea. Understanding these distinctions allows tea lovers to appreciate the unique qualities that make Darjeeling tea stand apart.

the world of tea is as diverse as it is enchanting, with each variety offering its own distinct flavors and cultural influences. Darjeeling tea stands out with its delicate aroma, muscatel taste, and floral notes.

Assam tea captivates with its robust and malty character. Chinese tea presents a vast array of flavors and types, showcasing the country’s rich tea heritage. Japanese tea embraces tradition and elegance, providing a unique sensory journey.

By exploring these variations, tea enthusiasts can embark on a delightful exploration of the world’s tea traditions, savoring the distinct nuances that make each cup a truly special experience.

Sustainability Practices

Sustainability plays a pivotal role in the production of Darjeeling tea. Many tea gardens in the region embrace eco-friendly practices, such as organic farming and fair trade initiatives, to protect the environment and support the well-being of workers.

By choosing sustainably produced Darjeeling teas, consumers contribute to the preservation of both the tea gardens and the communities involved in their cultivation

Happy Valley Tea Estate, Darjeeling

Darjeeling Tea Tourism

The allure of Darjeeling tea extends beyond the teacup. The scenic landscapes and tea estates of Darjeeling attract tea enthusiasts and travelers alike.

Exploring the tea gardens, participating in tea tasting sessions, and witnessing the tea processing firsthand provide an immersive experience that deepens one’s appreciation for Darjeeling tea.

Buying and Storing Darjeeling Tea

To enjoy the freshness and nuanced flavors of Darjeeling tea, it is important to know how to select and store it properly. The article provides insights into buying authentic Darjeeling tea and offers tips on storing it to maintain its integrity. By following these guidelines, tea lovers can ensure that every cup of Darjeeling tea is a delightful experience.

Factors to Consider When Buying Darjeeling Tea

When buying Darjeeling tea, it is important to consider the following factors:

a. Grade: Darjeeling tea is graded based on its quality and appearance. Grades range from whole leaf teas (FTGFOP – Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) to broken leaf teas (BOP – Broken Orange Pekoe) and fannings. Choose a grade that suits your taste preferences.

b. Organic Certification: Look for organic certification, such as USDA Organic or India Organic, to ensure that the tea has been cultivated without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

c. Harvest Season: Each flush has its own flavor profile. Decide whether you prefer the light and delicate First Flush teas or the more robust and muscatel-flavored Second Flush teas.

d. Tea Estate: Consider the reputation and credibility of the tea estate. Some well-known Darjeeling tea estates include Makaibari, Castleton, and Glenburn.

Identifying Authentic Darjeeling Tea: Certifications and Packaging

To ensure the authenticity of Darjeeling tea, look for the following:

a. Geographical Indication (GI) Logo: The GI logo certifies that the tea has been grown and produced in the Darjeeling region, meeting specific quality standards.

b. Certification Marks: Look for certification marks such as the Tea Board of India logo, which guarantees that the tea has undergone strict quality control measures.

c. Sealed Packaging: Authentic Darjeeling tea is often packed in sealed packages, protecting it from moisture and preserving its freshness.

Selecting the Right Darjeeling Tea Estate and Flush

Choosing the right Darjeeling tea estate and flush can enhance your tea-drinking experience. Consider the following:

a. Estate: Different tea estates in Darjeeling have their unique flavor profiles. Research and explore teas from various estates to find the ones that resonate with your taste preferences.

b. Flush: Each flush offers distinct flavors. First Flush teas are light and floral, Second Flush teas are muscatel and more robust, Monsoon Flush teas are earthy, and Autumn Flush teas are mellow. Experiment with different flushes to discover your favorites.

Tips for Storing Darjeeling Tea to Maintain its Freshness

To preserve the freshness and flavor of Darjeeling tea, follow these tips for proper storage:

a. Airtight Containers: Store Darjeeling tea in airtight containers made of glass, ceramic, or metal. This prevents exposure to air, moisture, light, and strong odors that can degrade the quality of the tea.

b. Cool and Dry Environment: Keep the tea away from heat, sunlight, and humidity. Store it in a cool and dry place, such as a pantry or cupboard.

c. Avoid Strong Odors: Darjeeling tea can absorb odors from its surroundings. Keep it away from spices, coffee, and other strong-smelling substances.

d. Limited Exposure: Minimize the frequency of opening the container to avoid unnecessary exposure to air and moisture. This helps maintain the tea’s freshness.

Brewing Darjeeling Tea: Unlocking its Flavorful Delights

To fully enjoy the flavors of Darjeeling tea, follow these brewing guidelines:

a. Water Temperature: Boil fresh, filtered water and allow it to cool slightly. For delicate First Flush teas, use water at around 176°F (80°C). For Second Flush and Autumn Flush teas, use water at around 194°F (90°C).

b. Steeping Time: Steep the tea for 2-3 minutes for First Flush teas and 3-4 minutes for Second Flush and Autumn Flush teas. Adjust the steeping time based on your taste preferences.

c. Tea-to-Water Ratio: Use approximately 1 teaspoon of Darjeeling tea leaves per 8 ounces (240 ml) of water. Adjust the ratio to suit your desired strength.

d. Enjoyment: Pour the brewed tea into a cup or teapot, and savor the delightful aroma and flavors of Darjeeling tea. You can enjoy it as is or with a touch of honey or a slice of lemon, according to your preference.

views from lepchajagat

Tea Culture in Darjeeling

Tea is not just a beverage in Darjeeling; it is an integral part of the local culture and heritage. The article explores the tea-centric traditions, festivals, and rituals that have evolved over the years.

Understanding the tea culture in Darjeeling adds a layer of richness to the tea-drinking experience and fosters a deeper connection with the region.

In conclusion, Darjeeling tea stands as a testament to the harmonious interplay between nature, tradition, and craftsmanship. From its humble origins to its global acclaim, Darjeeling tea continues to enchant tea lovers worldwide.

By indulging in the elegance of Darjeeling tea, one embarks on a sensory journey that transcends borders and celebrates the art of tea.

  • Is Darjeeling tea only grown in India? No, Darjeeling tea is exclusively grown in the Darjeeling region of West Bengal, India.
  • Are all Darjeeling teas expensive? While some premium grades of Darjeeling tea can be pricey, there are also affordable options available for tea enthusiasts.
  • Can Darjeeling tea be enjoyed with milk and sugar? Darjeeling tea is traditionally enjoyed without milk and sugar to appreciate its delicate flavors fully. However, personal preferences may vary.
  • Can Darjeeling tea be re-steeped multiple times? Yes, Darjeeling tea leaves can often be steeped multiple times, with each infusion offering a unique flavor profile.
  • Does Darjeeling tea contain caffeine? Yes, Darjeeling tea contains caffeine, but the levels are generally lower compared to other black teas.

Nearby Attractions

view of himalayan peaks from sandakphu

‘A trekkers paradise’ is really above the usual cloud level. views of beautiful snow-capped summits, including the world’s highest four peaks.

Kalimpong Landscape

A small hill station surrounded by gorgeous mountains, blooming orchids, delicious food, amazing temples and monasteries.

Mirik Lake, Mirik

A Himalayan Valley hill town, has stunning mountains, a large lake, and wonderful tea plants.

light road dawn landscape

‘The Land of White Orchids’ snow-capped mountains, tea gardens, and lush green woods.

silk route zig zag road, zuluk

Offbeat Places

Chatakpur Eco Hut

A small forest village with a spectacular view of Mt. Kanchenjunga, and immerse yourself in the beautiful green forest.

Dali Monastery

A tiny township near Darjeeling is located in a stunning valley surrounded by tea gardens, waterfalls, and mountain peaks.

Sittong village darjeeling

An eco-friendly location with tea gardens, and a view of Mt. Kanchenjunga makes it an important Village tourist attractions around Darjeeling.

Rock Garden

Dawaipani, located on the opposite slope of Darjeeling Town, is a developing alternative attraction from where the Himalayan Range is seen.

Rock Garden

Tukdah offers beautiful mountains and picturesque landscapes, tea gardens, the blooming orchids on the mountain slope.

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Darjeeling: Tea gardens and magic of the Himalayas

If you are a tea lover, perhaps your morning cup of tea comes from Darjeeling. And there is no better place to enjoy that cup of tea than in the lap of Himalayas. So, pay attention, perhaps Darjeeling is calling you. Responding to that call, I have been there twice, first in a winter and then in the monsoon. Each time I have enjoyed a different charm of the most popular hill station in north-east India. Though there are quite a few things to see, and do, essentially Darjeeling is all about tea gardens and magic of the Himalayas. 

Nestled in the high Himalayan mountains of West Bengal (India) overseeing the  Kanchenjunga range  bordering Sikkim (India), Nepal and Bhutan, Darjeeling’s location couldn’t be any better.

Its name and history:

Darjeeling in Tibetan translates as the “place of thunderbolt” (“dorji” means thunderbolt, and “ling” means place). It rains (with thunders) quite a lot here, and during the monsoon, it actually looks like a hill floating in the clouds! If you ask me which is my favorite hill station for monsoon, the answer is a resounding ‘Darjeeling’.

Darjeeling’s history doesn’t stretch beyond the 19th century, and owes a lot to the British. At different times, it was part of the kingdoms of Gurkhas (Nepal), Bhutan and Sikkim. But once it came under the British in early 19th century, it started taking shape of a hill station in course of time. 

The British invested heavily in its infrastructure and economy which included tea plantation and the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Darjeeling always had the magic of the Himalayas, but the tea gardens added another layer of charm to it.

{Read about more Himalayan hill stations:  Nainital  |||  Dalhousie } 


My Experiences of Darjeeling and its Tea Gardens

I. a winter whirlwind trip.

In December 2010, when I was on my way to Tripura to be part of a dear colleague’s wedding, I thought of a pit stop in Siliguri to meet up one of my best friends- Silu. He was working with Sony those days, and was living in Siliguri with his family. Meeting him after a long time was pleasurable; and to make the occasion even better, we took a drive up the hills to Darjeeling. 

We stayed the night there, and drove around the place the next day. But the trip was not really planned, and nor did we explore too many things except a few touristy places including Darjeeling’s most iconic tea gardens. 


II. A monsoon sojourn

June 2019 trip in the monsoon is more memorable though. It was a family trip- me, Parina, Babloo (cousin) and Lipu (brother). I and Parina flew to Bagdogra airport near Siliguri from Delhi, Babloo took a train from  Kolkata  and we met up at the hotel (Old Main Bellevue hotel) in Darjeeling in the evening. Lipu took a train from Cuttack ( Odisha ) and reached there next morning. 

The old hotel was not really luxurious or modern, but just the feeling of living in a hotel built in 1872 was enriching!   We had a great time in Darjeeling walking around to explore the whole place. 

I am a big fan of hill stations in monsoon, and no hill station is better than Darjeeling in monsoon. It’s in the monsoon, the tea gardens come to their lively best, and the magic of Himalayas is at its zenith. 

Then we proceeded to Sikkim. As north Sikkim had landslides, we had to abandon our plan, and visited Kalimpong instead, another beautiful hill station near Darjeeling.


Sweet memories of Darjeeling and its tea gardens

Like a typical hill station developed by the British, Darjeeling offers majestic mountain views, great flora and fauna, relaxing activities, medieval colonial architecture, and a bustling market place. However, what makes Darjeeling stand out are its tea gardens, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and numerous Buddhist monuments. Let me share with you some of those beautiful experiences in the land of the thunderbolt.

1. Enchanting tea gardens and magic of the Himalayas

The most lovable views of Darjeeling are the enchanting tea gardens perched in the lower Himalayas. The rolling landscapes look like someone has artfully cut them out of the mountains! Look at the picture of a tea garden below- doesn’t it look like a painting?

You know, which is the world’s most venerable tea? It’s the DARJEELING TEA. Its weather, soil, strategic location, and atypical processing gives Darjeeling tea its aromatic flavor, and makes it a favorite world over. With 87 tea estates, Darjeeling is among the top tea producers in the country, and gives employment to more than 50,000 workers. If you want to read more about Darjeeling tea, here is an authentic source:  Tea Board India . {Love tea gardens? Check out tea gardens of  Munnar: Kerala  ||||  Ooty and Coonoor }


If you are in Darjeeling, don’t forget to pick some packs of tea for your home; I got it from the Goodricke’s. And of course, how can you forget to relish your favorite tea in Darjeeling itself? For suggestions on best places to enjoy a cup of Darjeeling tea, check the section on ‘Travel Tips’ below.

2. Beyond the tea gardens of Darjeeling: A cultural potpourri

It’s a pleasure walking around Darjeeling observing the cultural potpourri that it is. For centuries, it has been home to people from a number of cultures like the Gorkhas, Newaris and Sherpas of Nepal, Lepchas and Bhutias of Skikkim, Khampas and Kiratis from Tibet, apart from Bengalis from the mainland West Bengal. 

Interestingly, though Darjeeling is part of the state of West Bengal, due to its location, it’s mostly inhabited by people from other states or neighboring countries. Besides, as it’s a major tourist place, thousands of tourists from all over India would be found walking around. All these people mean all their cultures as well- different kinds of dresses, foods, languages, religions and shrines. 


I was particularly amused by the small roadside Buddhist and Hindu shrines all over the place, like the ones in the pictures above. We also visited the St. Andrews Church at the Mall. Built in 1843, it’s a beautiful Anglican church named after the patron saint of Scotland. If you are interested in knowing more about Darjeeling’s culture, here is an authentic  website of Darjeeling .


3. A leisurely stroll along the ridge

Apart from Darjeeling’s tea gardens and magical Himalayas, Darjeeling has a number of interesting places to explore.  Though the main market below is crowded, the Mall and the upper ridges of the town are peaceful, and great for walking around. 

I clearly remember that monsoon trip when we kept walking around Darjeeling the whole day! We started the day with a great breakfast at Keventers (good old school cafe popular for non-veg sandwiches, sausages, bacons, etc). It was drizzling a bit, but was enjoyable. 

We took a leisurely stroll from the Mall to the Shrubbery Nightingale Park, then  up to the Padmaja Naidu zoological park and Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. From there we walked back on a circular route to the Mall via the Mall Road and Observatory Hill- Mahakal temple while enjoying views of the majestic Kanchenjunga range. Here’s a brief account of that walk.


The Darjeeling Mall:

Also known as Chowrasta, the Mall is the central point of Darjeeling tourist area. I love the morning and late night vibes there. But most tourists love its evening time hustle and bustle with shopping and eating options.

The Mall Road used to be a mountain-view walking route in the times of the British. Today it’s a buzzing marketplace, though not as impressive as the other Mall Roads in  Mussoourie  or Shimla. However, it offers wonderful views of the Himalayas, valleys and the forests. 

Shrubbery Nightingale Park:


Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park:

A zoo is not the best place to see wild animals. But if you cannot climb all the way up to snowy mountains to see a snow leopard, then your second best option is a zoo only. Darjeeling zoo or the  Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park  is a breeding ground for alpine animals like red panda, snow leopard, Tibetan wolf, and other endangered species. If you are an animal lover, it’s a great place to spend a few hours. We walked around the park a bit, but didn’t explore too much as we had other priorities for the day.


Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI):

Kanchenjunga view:.

Kanchenjunga  is the third highest mountain peak in the world, and has an elevation of 8,586 mts (28,169 ft). The entire view of the five peaks in the Kanchenjunga range is called the “Sleeping Buddha” with the Mt. Kumbhakarna as the head, Mt. Pandhim as the feet and Kanchenjunga as the body. 

Its snow-peaks are visible from Darjeeling clearly, but not in all seasons. The best months to have a clear view of the Kanchenjunga are October to January, and then spring months of March-April. February remains a little foggy, and it would be cloudy in other months. 


The best view point for Kanchenjunga is the Tiger Hill, especially at sunrise. It appears clear, and changes colour from red to orange, yellow and white in a matter of minutes! A mesmerizing sight! Some other vantage points are Batasia Loop, and several points on the Mall Road.

Side note:  If you are interested in a better view of the Kanchenjunga, Sandakphu (84 kms) is the place for you. It actually offers the views of four of the five highest peaks in the world (Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu), except the second highest peak- K2 (Godwin Austin), situated in Pakistan.

Observatory Hill & Mahakal temple:

It takes a little hike from the Mall Road to reach the Observatory Hill from where one can enjoy the panoramic views of the mountains. A little up from there is the Mahakal temple. It’s a small temple, but the peaceful ambiance is worth visiting the place.

4. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

One of the major agenda of my Darjeeling visit was ‘Darjeeling Himalayan Railways’ (DHR), also called Toy train. It’s a 2-ft gauge train that runs from New Jalpaigudi to Darjeeling since 1881. 


One of the three Mountain Railways of India to form a  UNESCO World Heritage , DHR is the prized possession of Darjeeling. Its long history and the terrain over which it runs  with spectacular views  make it one of the most fascinating things to explore in Darjeeling. (Read about another (in-)famous railway:  Death Railway )

When we reached the Batasia Loop, the newer diesel version of the train was at the station. We had to wait for an hour to have a sight of the old vintage version of the steam locomotive. I was absolutely ecstatic to see that black beauty enter the Batasia loop, stop for a while and move away slowly making that typical noise of the steam engine (chhuk-chhuk-chhuk). 


We would have taken a ride in the train if tickets were available; however, there is always a next time! Before leaving the Batasia Loop, we spent a few minutes at the War Memorial. Besides, the panoramic view of Darjeeling from there is absolutely spectacular.

Just to put things in perspective:

  • First public steam railway in the world was designed by George Stephenson- 1825, England
  • First steam railway introduced by the British in India: 1837, Madras (Chennai)
  • Darjeeling Himalayan Railway started operation- 1881, New Jalpaigudi- Darjeeling.

Check out some more UNESCO World Heritage Sites:  Hampi  ||  Khajuraho-Orchha

5. Beautiful Buddhist monuments

I am really fond of the colourful Buddhist monasteries, and Darjeeling has plenty of them. The old Ghoom monastery (Yiga Choeling), Samten Choeling (Ghoom), Dali monastery and Peace Pagoda (Japanese temple) are the prominent ones. 


Yiga Choeling was established in 1850 by a Mongolian astrologer. The 15-ft high Maitreya Buddha statue is the main attraction here. Built in 1971, Dali monastery represents the Kargyupa sect of Buddhism from Tibet. I love the colourful vibrancy of its building. 

The Peace Pagoda or the Japanese temple is a spectacular white stupa (established: 1992) representing the Nipponzan- Myohoji school of Buddhism born in Japan. Besides, there are a number of small colourful Buddhist shrines all over the place.


Darjeeling and its Tea Gardens : Travel tips

Best months to visit:.

  • For Kanchenjunga view: Oct- Apr
  • For enjoying the clouds (My favorite): June- Sept
  • To get relief from the heat: Apr- June

A suggested itinerary:

How to reach: .

Flight:  The nearest airport is at Bagdogra, some 95 kms away from Darjeeling. From there, a taxi will take 3 hrs to reach Darjeeling. 

Train:  Nearest railway station is New Jalpaigudi, a few kms from the main city- Siliguri.

Where to stay:

Some Budget Hotel suggestions: 

  • Hotel Broadway (Hill Cart Road)
  • Dekeling Resort (Gandhi Road)
  • Classic Guest House (Near Chowrasta, the Mall)
  • Magnolia Residency (Dr Zakir Husai Road)
  • Hotel Revolver (Gandhi Road)
  • Hotel Tibet Home  (Gandhi Road)
  • Hotel Capital (Gandhi Road)
  • Happy Valley Homestay (Jorethang Road, Chauk Bazar)
  • Hotel Golden Orchid (Dr Zakir Husai Road)
  • Pine Touch Retreat (Kutchery Road, Mall Road)


Moving around: 

Within Darjeeling, walking is the best option, and most enjoyable. For nearby places, it’s good to hire a local taxi as local public transport is not reliable.

Where to eat:

  • Keventers (Nehru Road): estd. 1911 by Edward Keventers; popular for breakfast
  • Himalayan Coffee (Nehru Road)
  • Glenary’s (Nehru Road): for bakery
  • Tom & Jerry’s cafe (Nr. Chowrasta)
  • Revolver cafe (Gandhi Road), a theme cafe- for pancakes
  • Kunga restaurant (Gandhi Road)- for Tibetan food
  • Sonam’s Kitchen (Dr Zakir Husain Road, Chowrasta)- for breakfast
  • Frank Ross cafe (Nehru Road)- multi-cuisine

Best places for tea lovers:

As Darjeeling has the most beautiful tea gardens, and produces the best tea in the world, no trip would be complete without tasting its iconic tea. Some suggestions: 

  • Nathmulls tea store and sunset lounge (near the Mall; offers a gorgeous view of the mountains)
  • Happy Golden Cafe (tea from Happy valley tea gardens in Darjeeling)
  • House of Tea (an outlet of Goodricke who also are famous for their tea gardens in Darjeeling)
  • Glenary’s cafe (best in the evening with live music)
  • Golden Tips (near the Mall; sip your tea with a splendid view of the mountains)

Day trip options:

Though Darjeeling is indeed popular for its tea gardens and the magic of the Himalayas, there are quite a few other amazing places to explore around it. 

  • Kalimpong: 50 kms (Hill station)
  • Sandakphu: 84 kms (Hill station; view of four Himalayan peaks)
  • Pelling: 72 kms (Sikkim; for nature and culture)
  • Mirik: 60 kms (a beautiful lake)
  • Namchi: 57 kms (Namchi Mahotsav in October)
  • Kurseong: 30 kms (a lovely little town)

Concluding Note : Darjeeling Tea Gardens and Himalayas

Darjeeling’s tea gardens perched over the Himalayas look beautifully fascinating, don’t they? I can’t really stop talking about them while talking of Darjeeling. However, the cultural landscape of Darjeeling is equally fascinating with so many cultures coming together to live harmoniously.

I don’t think I have enough of Darjeeling; I will definitely go back to the enchanting hill station many more times. Sometimes, I and Parina agree that Darjeeling might be the place where we would love to retire. Let’s see! 

Hope you liked this article “Darjeeling: Tea gardens and magic of the Himalayas”. If you did, please write to us. And if you have been there already, do share your experience.

24 Responses

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Lovely, even I’m planning and hope I’ll go there soon. What is the name of the 18th century hotel you have mentioned?

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Thank you so much for your feedback! I’m sure an avid traveller like you will be there pretty soon. The name of the hotel is written there only- Old Bellevue Hotel.

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Gilda Baxter

Wow this place looks amazing. So much to do here and the mountain scenery is something that really appeals to me. What are the temperatures like during the monsoon? Does it rain every day? Definitely a place for my travel wish list.

Hi Gilda! Thanks for reading, and sharing your thoughts. Monsoon temperatures in Darjeeling vary between 13- 20 degree celcius; perfect for leisure. It rains a lot there, but not all the time; expect typical tropical monsoon. First part of the day maybe sunny, and later it may rain. But not everyday; you will have enough time to walk around and enjoy the place and the weather.

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Very precisely written. I have saved the itinerary and travel tips which is very helpful and indeed will be helpful when I visit. I am already planning a visit while reading it again and again

I’m so glad that it’s useful for someone like you. Your reading, and taking time out to share your feedback is appreciated. Thanks a lot; keep connected.

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Amit kumar paul

These places I have seen before make me want to go again and again.The places are so beautiful that I think there is no other place like West Bengal.

I’m sure you must have been there multiple times. I agree, West Bengal is a beautiful state, with a lot of places and interesting culture. Thanks for the feedback. Please keep connected.

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Jitendra Mallick

Very informative piece of information for tourist. unfortunately, I didn’t have this during my last visit a month back to Darjeeling but would certainly love to visit again and will try not to miss a ride on “Darjeeling Himalayan Railways”

Thanks Jitendra. Yes, definitely the DHR is a major heritage not to miss. Always a next time!

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It’s an excellent read, even coming from the state of West Bengal, i didn’t explored that much. Though I have visited once in 2015 with my family and visited few places mentioned in your blog. After reading this i would like to visit once again. Truely a wonderful place to visit ,though some places are really croudy and even had some bad experience but overall it’s really fantastic place.

When we visit as tourists, we miss a lot of important places. A little bit of research before visiting a place helps a lot. Thanks for the feedback though.

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The systematic and detailed write up is very impressive. It makes easy for anyone to get an outline as how and when they must plan their visits and where to stay. This post has definitely put Darjeeling in my must visit hill stations list

It’s an effort on our part to give some value to our readers. We are glad that it’s useful to you. Thanks Suma, as always for your encouraging words!

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Loved reading it..felt like ‘should already be planning for a trip to Darjeeling’ given that monsoons are here.. thank you for nicely weaving the place with your personal experience gives such a warm feeling while reading.

Glad that you liked it. Yes, monsoons are indeed an amazing time to be in Darjeeling. Thanks a lot for reading, and sharing your feedback. Keep connected.

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दार्जिलिंग के वारे में काफी वृस्तित् बताया। धन्यवाद

Thank you so much Ravi ji. Keep connected.

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Santosh debats

Good information.It will help those who are want to visit the Darjeeling.

Glad that you liked, Santosh. Thanks a lot. Keep engaging with our blog.

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Rajalaxmi Swain

While reading I was enjoying Darjeeling with you people. One day I must visit this beautiful place.

Glad to know that. One day, let’s travel together. All of us, with your little champs!

' src=

Beautiful writing dear….

Thanks a lot for your appreciation.

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Tea Garden In Darjeeling

The real beauty of darjeeling lies in its tea garden.

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About Tea Garden in Darjeeling

The Tea garden in Darjeeling has gained much fame over the years for its serenity and beauty. And so of all the things to do, visits to the tea gardens are considered to be a must-do! It not only lets you experience the breathtaking beauty of the gardens but also offers the much-needed refreshing experience that you may need on your holiday.

History of Tea Garden

The history took its first roll in 1841 when the tea planting first started. The initiative of tea planting in Darjeeling goes to Arthur Campbell, a civil surgeon, who was transferred to Darjeeling from Kathmandu in 1839. He initially brought the seeds and sown them; thus, enabling the saga of Tea Gardens in Darjeeling .

Attractions of Tea Tourism

This nature of tourism is a new concept that has come up in Darjeeling . The reason for such an uprise is the presence of many tea gardens that are located near Darjeeling . They not only offer you the best tea but also offer you the chance of having the experience of staying amongst the beautiful and scenic nature and enjoy your holiday the most.

Know about Tea Tourism

Imagine yourself to be staying in the bungalow of a British Tea planter with all the vintage amenities that were then used. The food that you will have been produced from organic products that are grown in the backyard. This is what Tea Tourism is. The Tea Garden in Darjeeling provides the best of the possibilities for tea tourism in India.

Experience of Tea Tourism

You will start your day with a sip from the cup of world-famous Darjeeling tea sitting in the verandah and experiencing majestic nature all around. If you wish, you can also visit the tea factory where the world-famous teas are produced. You can intermingle with all to know the process and work side by side with them at the Tea Garden in Darjeeling .

You can soak yourself in nature while traveling in a jeep which will take you to the nearby places of tourist interest. You will experience the lifestyle of the locals and in the evening have the chance of watching the cultural events in the backdrop of the Himalayas.

Why be in Darjeeling to have such experience?

Darjeeling is the best place to have such a wonderful experience, as there are about 80 Tea Gardens to visit and learn about tea varieties. You can take advantage of the vacation packages that these estates offer to make your holiday memorable.

List of Tea Gardens in Darjeeling

Darjeeling is a hilly region in the great Indian state of West Bengal. This cozy hill station is known for its sprawling tea plantations. Huge fields full of aromatic tea leaves swaying along with the tunes of the wind. The experience of watching these leaves in all its glory, marveling at the process of tea plucking and processing, and checking out the whole production line of different kinds of teas here is an out-of-the-world thing to cherish on a vacation. The Darjeeling tea plantation has given rise to tea tourism that has attracted hordes of tourists from all over the country and the world. There are more than 80 such plantations here. Check the list of tea gardens in Darjeeling as we tell you about a few of the lot.

Called by many as the best tea garden in Darjeeling , the Puttabong Tea Estate is the largest of the estates in this region. The view of the tea estate is that of Kanchenjunga mountain. There are many kinds of tea available here like the Organic Green Tea, Silver Tippi Teas, Organic Black Blends, and plenty of Handmade Blends.

Happy Valley

Even though Puttabong tops the chart and is considered by many as the best tea garden in Darjeeling , the Happy Valley Tea Estate is also quite popular amongst tourists. The place is quite beautiful making the whole tea manufacturing process accessible for the general public.

This Darjeeling tea plantation is quite famous for growing the quality range of organic teas. The estate is said to have all the favorable environmental and supporting conditions to grow fine-quality organic tea. The Darjeeling tea price at this estate can vary depending upon the quality. It is always advisable to check out the entire range and sample the teas before buying anything.

Thus, if you wish to enjoy your holiday most while in Darjeeling it is necessary that you have such a stay. You will come back cherished and refreshed after being amidst nature while being in the tea garden.

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FAQ's of Darjeeling

Read on to find out why our customers love us!

Which tea garden can I visit in Darjeeling?

Not all tea gardens can be visited, since most of them are private areas. However, some tea estates are open for public visits such as the Happy Valley Tea Estate. Tickets might be required to visit one of them.

Which is the oldest tea garden in Darjeeling?

Bannockburn Tea Estate and Badamtam Tea Estate are the two oldest tea estates of Darjeeling .

Can I buy tea from the tea gardens of Darjeeling?

Yes, there are factory shops at most of these tea estates from where you can buy a variety of tea.

How many tea gardens are there in Darjeeling?

There are around 87 tea gardens in Darjeeling. 

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Darjeeling: Mountains, colonial history and fine tea

darjeeling tea tourism

While Darjeeling may seem to have it all – the mountains, great weather, a bit of history… it’s the tea that has put the town on the map. Renowned as the ‘Champagne’ of teas, commanding a loyal following worldwide, and established now as a nearly two century old industry, the Darjeeling tea comes with quite the story.  

The beginnings of the Darjeeling tea industry

Darjeeling was discovered in the 19th century by the British East India Company (BEIC) who thought it perfect for a summer escape from the tropical plains. In 1815, the Raja of Nepal ceded Darjeeling to the BEIC under the Treaty of Segoulee. Two years later, the Company returned it under the Treaty of Titalia before it became, once more, under the BEIC in 1835. Darjeeling’s soil and climate conditions were found to be eminently suitable for tea cultivation. A few experimental plantations started their operations in the 1840s. Seeds of Camellia sinensis imported (some would say ‘stolen’) from China were used for this pilot project .

Now, the tea from China took surprisingly well to the climate and soil of Darjeeling. The resulting tea was nothing like its Chinese parents, nor did it resemble the strong Assam tea variant that grew in India. It seemed to have embraced the topography and developed a personality entirely it’s own, unique and distinctive, and above all, refined.  

Full-fledged commercial development of the plantations started by the 1850s and within a decade, an official Darjeeling tea industry took form.

Creating a new industry, and a new community

Tea seeds brought from China was were raised in nurseries set up by the Company. It was Dr Campbell, the first Superintendent of Darjeeling, who decided to plant some of these seeds in his garden. The year was 1841, and Dr Campbell was able to prove that Darjeeling could be more than just a summer resort for the British.

At this time, there were about 25 families living here. The land began to be cleared for tea. For each lot given, the stipulation was that 40% would be cleared for planting tea, while the rest remained untouched as forest. The first tea planter in these parts was Captain Samler of Alubari gardens, planted in 1856, under the management of the Kurseong and Darjeeling Tea Company. Next came Dr Brougham who planted the Harsing and Dooteriah gardens in 1859.

The arrival of the Gorkhas and Nepalese

For the industry to take off, the gardens needed people to work in them. And Dr Campbell addressed this problem by enlisting the help of a Nepali nobleman, Dakman Rai, who brought thousands of Gorkhas and other Nepalese from Nepal.

Dakman Rai was given some land for his services. When he brought more people to work here, for Christison, one of the Directors of the Darjeeling Tea Company, Dakman Rai recieved, as payment, seeds to plant his own garden. He set up Soureni in 1878, Phuguri in 1880 and Sampripani in 1883.

Between 1860 and 1864, Darjeeling really flourished with gardens like Ambootia, Takdah, Phoobsering coming up, owned by the Darjeeling Tea Company. Tukvar and Badamtam were planted by the Lebong Tea Company. Other gardens that came up were Pandam, Stenthal, Makaibari, Singell. By 1866, Darjeeling had about 39 gardens producing 21,000 kgs of tea and in the next four years, this number grew to 56 gardens producing 71,000 kgs.

Making this possible were some pioneering men, Stolke (Steinthal, 1847), Captain Masson (Tukvar, 1856), Martin (Hopetown Tea Estate), the Barnes brothers (Mineral Springs, Bannockburn, Soom), David Wilson (Happy Valley), Dr Grant (Windsor Tea Estates), James White, George Christison, Bhagatbir Rai.

The rise of Darjeeling’s tea industry

The 1870s were a profitable period for Darjeeling’s tea industry, with 113 gardens across 6,000 hectares, and employing 19,000 people. More development took place when W. O’Brien Ansell introduced machinery! Power driven tea rollers and tea sorting machines came to Darjeeling. It was also Ansell who is credited with laying electric cables here. Tea production increased bringing more employment, and consequently people and entire communities.

Roads connecting the hills to the plains were made – the Pankhabari road laid by Lieutenant Napier can still be seen. It’s steep and narrow and was soon replaced by the new cart road in 1861. This not just connected with the plains, but with the arterial road that cut across the state of Bengal, leading to Calcutta, it’s capital.

The 20th century

By the turn of the century, there were 148 gardens, covering some 18,475 hectares. In 1947, following Indian independence from colonial rule, the British owners of these gardens sold them to Indian entrepreneurs, before returning home. Some, though, like CW Emmett and TJ Hardingham, stayed back for the love of tea or India, or both. Darjeeling was producing 14 million kgs of tea every year. In the post independence years, some of the gardens suffered from mismanagement and were closed down.

Today, there are 87 tea gardens in Darjeeling, protected by the GI tag, and producing close to 10 million kgs of tea per year.

Still bearing colonial vestiges, Darjeeling plays host to avid travellers and nature enthusiasts. One of the major attractions here is the a ride in the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, more popularly known as the ‘Darjeeling Toy Train’. Built between 1879 and 1881, this 600mm narrow gauge railway was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.

How many kinds of Darjeeling teas are there?

Broadly, Darjeeling teas come as black , white , green and oolong . These refer to the extent of processing, ranging from the minimally processed green to the heavily processed black. The elevation has a definite impact on the tea and different estates lie at varying elevations, with individual estates themselves having a range.

A further distinction comes in the season of production. In Indian tea parlance, ‘flush’ refers to the harvest period. There are six flushes in a year , four major and two intermediate. And the harvest from each season alters the flavor profile. And they change depending on several climatic and production factors.

Yet another distinction is in the types of tea bushes – Chinary or of the original Chinese species and Clonal, referring to tea bushes resulting from hybrids of Chinary plants (Camellia sinensis var. sinensis) with the Assamese plants (Camellia sinensis var. assamica).

There are also sub types, as in the summer harvest which includes a small but significant yield of the ‘muscatel’ tea with a very characteristic taste.

What to expect from the Darjeeling tea?

Darjeeling produces premium quality black , green , white and oolong tea. The processing techniques have remained orthodox for the large part as a lot of emphasis is put on maintaining the delicate character that is typically associated with Darjeeling tea. Characterized as having bright color, thin body and an evident astringency, the aromatic profile of Darjeeling tea is highly revered for its ethereal quality, a reason why these teas fetch record prices in tea auctions.

For stories on Darjeeling, its tea estates, some history and more, click here .

A walk through Darjeeling’s tea gardens The legend of Jungpana tea estate Meet the man who created the Darjeeling oolong The revival of Avongrove tea estate

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20+ Destinations for Tea Tourism: Amazing Tea Fields, Teahouses & Tea Rituals Around the World

Your guide to the best tea plantations, charming teahouses, and history steeped tea traditions around the world.

From Europe’s only tea estate to Asia’s highest tea plantation, from rituals in the Middle East to customs in Latin America, tea is a tradition shared between many different cultures .

More than a beverage, tea is prepared and drunk for social cohesion, for ceremonial use, and for health benefits. Exploring the world through the lens of a teacup grants priceless insights into history, colonialism, and reveals how some countries have forged their identity or made a name for themselves through chai.

In no particular order, here are 21 of the very best destinations around the world for tea lovers, chosen for their immersive tea experiences and splendid tea fields.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you). Learn more.

World’s best tea tourism destinations

Moc chau, vietnam.

Three women dressed in conical hats pick tea in a field in Moc Chau, Vietnam.

Sparkling, silent tea fields shrouded in mist, conical non hats bobbing amongst rows of emerald-coloured bushes disguising the busy hands plucking leaves beneath: Moc Chau District is a lesser-visited part of Northern Vietnam , but it’s everything a tea lover could hope for.

While the country is better-known for its coffee plantations in the Central Highlands and around Dalat , the north is the centre of the tea industry. Initially tea seeds were planted here in the 1880s by French colonists, giving Vietnam its first taste of locally grown tea – which up until then had been widely drunk, but always made with imported leaves.

Five hours west of Hanoi near Pu Luong National Park , Moc Chau isn’t the country’s largest tea-growing region but it is the most beautiful. Majority of the plantations here and in Thai Nguyen north of Hanoi are run by smallholder farmers. As a result, the fields are not as commercialised as in other countries – visitors can simply drop in and observe the pickers, tour the factory, or do a tea tasting.

Green tea is by far the most popular variety of tea sipped at cafes in Hanoi and beyond. There are a few notable specialty teas to try too, including lotus tea, made from green leaves that absorb the aroma of lotus flower after being left to steep in the blossoms overnight.

Tea tourism in Darjeeling, India

A canister of Pure Darjeeling tea alongside rolled betel leaf at a market in India.

There’s a good reason why Darjeeling tea is often called the ‘champagne of tea’. The mountainous region of West Bengal, India, where Darjeeling is located offers ideal conditions for growing top-quality tea. Darjeeling tea is light, fragrant, and rich. Tea lovers from all over the globe flock to the hilltop town, surrounded by tea gardens, to sample some of the finest tea in the world.

It was the British who discovered that Darjeeling was well-suited to tea cultivation, and they began importing tea plants from China in the mid-1800s. Tea also grew indigenously in the region, and the tea planters experimented with blends. Slowly, a thriving tea industry evolved, and Darjeeling was developed as a hill station for the British Raj.

Today, the tea plantations, colonial remnants, and stunning location in the Himalaya – dominated by mighty Kanchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain – are a big draw for both international and domestic tourists. There’s a lot to see and do in Darjeeling, from riding the ‘toy train’ to touring the tea gardens, and sampling tea at tea shops and hotels in town.

The Raj-era Windamere Hotel is the ideal place to watch the mist swirling around the top of Observatory Hill while sipping tea on the terrace or inside by a cosy fire. You can also stay in a tea garden.

The exceptional Glenburn Tea Estate and Boutique Hotel offers rooms in a renovated colonial mansion and a tour of the estate and tea production facilities. In Darjeeling, it really is all about the tea!

By Mariellen from Breathe Dream Go

Ooty in Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu

Tea fields leading to a lake in Nilgiri, India.

Nilgiri, which means ‘Blue Mountains’, is located in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu and spills over into neighbouring Karnataka and Kerala . The most important city is Udhagamandalam, shortened by the British to ‘Ootacamund’ and then to ‘Ooty’, a hill station which also served as a retirement place for British officers.

It was the British who brought tea to South India after its success in Darjeeling and other parts of the north-east. One point of difference is that plantations here were often managed by retired military and civil officers.

Bounded by three national parks and with its own toy train, casual tourists and tea connoisseurs alike will find Ooty, Coonoor, Lovedale and other estates in the area both peaceful and fascinating. Owners are usually more than happy to take you around and let you taste their aromatic and refreshing brews. Some have formal tea tasting sessions which are relaxing as well as informative. The tea centres of Ooty and Coonoor are dotted with tea rooms where one can rejuvenate after a tiring day with a cup of hot tea.

A visit to Ooty is never complete without touring the Dodabetta Tea Museum & Factory, a wonderful world of tea where one can also see the complete transformation of fresh tea leaves to packaged products. This is the best place to pick up a souvenir box of chai.

By Nisha & Vasu from Le Monde, the Poetic Travels

Chengdu, China

People sit on bamboo chairs at an old tea house in Chengdu, China.

Chengdu , the capital of China’s Sichuan province, is notably relaxed and laid-back for a city of almost 10 million people. You can thank the city’s unique tea- and teahouse culture for this.

Chengdu is home to the most teahouses of any city in China, and locals and visitors alike spend hours at them sipping tea, chatting, gossiping, playing cards, eating snacks, relaxing or simply sitting and staring vacantly. Green tea, especially the Maofeng variety grown on Mount Emei, is the most popular in the city.

The teahouses of Chengdu are as much for drinking tea as they are for hanging out. They have always been the social glue of Chengdu, bringing people together. In the past, teahouses were the social clubs and venues for storytelling or performances. Most still have some entertainment on offer such as a short version of a Sichuan opera, a mini acrobatic show or a magic show.

You could (yes, you really should give it a try) also get a rigorous neck and shoulder massage, or get your ears cleaned while relaxing at a teahouse. The best teahouse in Chengdu to experience all of this is the Heming Teahouse, located in People’s Park.

By DeWet & Jin from Museum of Wander

A woman holds up a plastic cup of bubble tea.

Taiwan is the spiritual home of bubble tea or pearl milk tea, a drink that was invented on the island in the 1980s and has grown to become so much more than just a beverage. Bubble tea is a symbol of the nation and an immovable part of Taiwanese culture and identity . As with many tea traditions, it has a long history that reflects broader happenings in the region.

There are at least two indigenous species of tea that grow in Taiwan, Mountain Tea and Red Sprout Tea, however neither are suitable for commercial use. Instead, the first tea industry on the island came from plants introduced from China’s Fujian Province.

Another variety, Assam tea, took off in 1926 when Taiwan was invaded by Japan. It’s still cultivated as a specialty tea by plantations around Sun Moon Lake. Finally, when the Dutch colonists arrived on the island in the 1620s, they brought with them milk and sugar, adding another layer to Taiwan’s already forming tea tradition.

All these events led up to that pivotal moment in the 1980s when bubble tea was first concocted. Who devised the recipe is still a subject of debate: Was it invented at the Hanlin Tea Room in Tainan in 1986, or at the Chun Shui Tang tea room in Taichung in 1988?

Whichever version of the origin story you stick by, there’s no debating bubble tea’s popularity today. The drink consists of brewed black or green tea served with milk over ice. Chewy balls or pearls made from tapioca starch are the star of the show, while other toppings such as jelly cubes may also be added on top.

Bubble tea is guzzled by the litre at Taiwan’s famous night markets, and it’s not uncommon to see people young and old walking the streets of Taipei with a giant plastic cup in hand.

Dambatenne, tea tourism in Sri Lanka

A woman holds a handful of freshly picked tea leaves in Sri Lanka.

In the central-southern highlands – 7km outside the small rural town of Dambatenne – you’ll find one of the most prominent tea growing regions in Sri Lanka . Not only that, it was once home to possibly the most important tea revolutionary in the world: Sir Thomas Lipton.

Whether you’re a tea lover or not, Lipton’s is an iconic brand – its yellow label gracing many household pantries around the world. But drinking it in the very same spot the famous man himself did, against a backdrop of expansive plantation views, is the ultimate experience for tea fanatics.

A short bus ride from Dambatenne takes visitors to the Dambatenne Tea Factory where the viewpoint hike begins. From there, it’s 8km uphill (or a 1000 rupee tuk-tuk) to the most breath-taking view in Sri Lanka, Lipton’s Seat.

The hike to Lipton’s Seat navigates through endless hills of leafy evergreen plantations dotted with miniature figures with large sacks slung over their backs. For a small tip, entrepreneurial workers will even let you try your hand at picking.

When you finally reach the top, thirsty travellers are rewarded with a cup of fragrant Lipton’s tea (no milk of course), a roti with chilli dipping sauce, and best of all a feeling that you’re on top of the world.

This is the location where Mr Lipton once sat and admired his empire. The views make the tough uphill hike worth it. Make sure you get there early before the late morning cloud and mist descends, completely obscuring the view.

By Tam from Travelling Tam

The Azores, Portugal

A retro sign advertises a tea factory in Sao Miguel, Azores.

Home to the only tea plantation in Europe, Portugal’s beautiful Azores Archipelago is one of the best places to embrace European tea culture. Called chá , the 100% organic beverage has been a staple in the islands for the last two centuries. In recent years, the tea and the location where it’s grown have become well-known among tourists.

The first tea plantation was created on Sao Miguel (the main island in the Azores) with seeds from Brazil. Tea production gave a boost to the economic woes the islands were facing, and production eventually reached its peak in the 1950s.

A decade and a half later, tea factories started to shut and today, there are only two remaining: The Gorreana Tea Factory and the Porto Formoso Tea Factory. Today, you will find three different types of black tea produced – Black Leaf, Pekoe, and Orange Pekoe – plus a few varieties of green tea.

Tea is not really ritualised or celebrated on Sao Miguel, but you can easily visit the factories and take your own tour of the facilities and the plantations. If you’re keen to travel to the Azores during the tea harvest, be sure to book your trip between April and October when picking peaks.

If you’re looking for a unique experience and a way to experience Azorean tea, head to Chalet da Tia Mercês in Furnas where the volcanic valley’s waters turn Azorean green tea a vibrant shade of purple due to unoxidized iron and acids.

By Megan from Megan Starr

A traditional Moroccan teapot, with couches and cushions in the background.

Poured from great heights with utmost precision, Moroccan mint tea or Maghrebi mint tea looks and feels like it’s been around forever. In fact, tea was only introduced to Morocco fairly recently in the 18th century. The first tea to hit North Africa, Gunpowder tea (tea leaves rolled into small round pellets), was imported by the British. Morocco – and then Algeria, Tunisia and the entire Maghrebi region – embraced the beverage and made it their own.

Made with green tea leaves, native spearmint called nana and copious amounts of sugar, Moroccan mint tea is crystal clear and ambrosial. As delicious as it is to drink, it’s the ceremony that goes along with it that makes Morocco a must-visit for tea aficionados.

Once brewed, the tea cascades into special glasses from a teapot held high overhead – a process that allows the leaves to swirl and the tea to breathe. Since the leaves remain in the pot, each glass has a different flavour. Traditionally, one must partake in no fewer than three serves. As the Maghrebi proverb goes: “The first glass is as gentle as life, the second is as strong as love, the third is as bitter as death.”

Tea is ubiquitous in Morocco and throughout the region, served with every meal from breakfast until supper, and as a refreshing pick-me-up throughout the day. Travellers can experience the ritual when wandering the souq, brunching at the riad, or visiting any cafe in Marrakesh’s medina.

Granada, Spain

The cosy interior of a cafe in Granada, Spain.

Not only is it one of the most beautiful cities in Spain , but Granada is also one of the most significant in the nation’s history. From the 11th to the 15th century, the city was conquered by Muslims who invaded by way of North Africa. They made a huge impact on Granada, opening the trade routes from Morocco and bringing in an array of goods, especially tea.

Arabs were pushed out in the 15th century, but the significance of tea remained. Since then, tea culture in Granada has thrived, especially in the old Moorish district of Granada, Albayzin, where a huge number of tea houses or teterias were located.

Now travellers can find these teahouses in almost every corner of the city. The popular cobblestone paved lane, Calle Caldereria Nueva, is crowded with beautifully designed teterias. It’s the closest thing to a Moroccan souk you can find this side of the Strait of Gibraltar. 

Teteria Ali Baba is the only Moroccan tea shop without any Spanish influence and is a favourite among tourists and locals alike. Other popular shops include Al Sirat, Nazari and Alfaguera. If you’re looking for tea to take home, head to Rincon Del Sabor for loose-leaf bundles.

Paired with exploring Granada’s historic Moorish monuments such as the Alhambra, treasured moments inside an atmospheric teteria in the historic quarter of El Albaicin are the perfect addition to any traveller’s Granada itinerary . 

By Paulina from Visit Southern Spain

A person holds a traditional Argentinean tea cup.

It might seem strange that tea is such a big part of everyday life in Argentina , but this is the one drink the locals cannot live without. While also consumed in other South American countries, yerba mate is a cultural staple in Argentina and the national beverage.

Its origins trace back to a group called the Guaraní (of which a small population still exists today) who consumed tea even before the European colonization of the Americas. It is made by soaking dried yerba mate leaves, which contain caffeine, and served in a pear-shaped cup with a silver/stainless steel straw called a bombilla . The end of the straw acts as a filter, with small holes that separate the mate infusion from the thick mixture of leaves.

Today, mate has a significant social role in Argentina, with its brewing process being like a ritual . Friends and family drink it together as people in other cultures might share a coffee or beer. In fact, it doesn’t matter whether it’s winter or summer, one will always come across Argentinians enjoying their mate together, even on the beach. Other than that, this tea also has health benefits, containing antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Mate is found on the menu of most cafes and restaurants in Argentina, but the crowning glory would be to follow the ‘Ruta de la Yerba Mate’ , a tourist path through the provinces of Corrientes and Misiones where one can see the production process, try different varieties and flavours, visit museums and plantations, and much more.

By Or from My Path in the World

Southern USA

Four mason jars filled with ice tea and topped with slices of lemon.

While the United States doesn’t have a reputation for hot tea like many other countries around the world, it definitely has a unique tea culture in the southeast that revolves around refreshingly cold sweet tea. It’s not uncommon to be served a glass of sweet tea while dining at a restaurant in Asheville , North Carolina or when hanging out in a square in Savannah, Georgia.

The only place that ever produced tea commercially in the United States was the state of South Carolina, where the tea plant’s arrival was way back in the late 1700s. At the time, sweet tea was a beverage of social status as it involved ingredients that were relatively expensive, such as tea and sugar. The oldest sweet tea recipe was published in a cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree (1879). The tradition has been kept alive and a glass of the iced beverage is the perfect refresher on the hot and humid summer days the south is known for.

Travellers will most definitely find sweet tea – or as it’s known locally, ‘the table wine of the south’ – on tables everywhere in the region. If you’re looking to visit particular locations in the south to learn more about tea history, try the Charleston Tea Garden right outside of the city of Charleston. The garden is now owned by Bigelow but the Wadmalaw Island landmark is still open to visitors.

Note that while there is no definitive information published, the Charleston Tea Garden (rebranded to exclude the word ‘Plantation’) likely thrived and operated because of the labour of Enslaved People. Do bear this in mind if you choose to visit.

By Megan from Virginia Travel Tips

A blue teacup on a table, with red tulips and various cakes.

No matter where you are in the world, most people recognise England as a country of tea-lovers. In fact, tea drinking is so iconic that whenever you watch a film or program with English people in it, often they will be depicted drinking tea. Statistically, this is not too far off: the UK Tea & Infusions Association says 84% of the UK population drinks tea every day.

However, what people may not always realise is that there are different types of tea enjoyed in England. Black teas and breakfast teas that come in a tea bag such as Yorkshire tea or PG Tips are often drunk with milk in the morning and throughout the day. They might even be enjoyed with a few biscuits. These teas can be bought in most cafes or restaurants.

Despite tea-drinking in England having been around since the 16th century, a more recent tradition is the British afternoon tea ceremony. Afternoon tea originated in the 18th century as an elite social event that helped keep hunger at bay between lunch and dinner.

Nowadays, this occasion usually includes a choice of teas (although Earl Grey is a favourite), finger sandwiches, scones and clotted cream, and small cakes. Many restaurants, hotels and historic cafes throughout England offer afternoon tea – it’s so popular, you normally need to book in advance.

– By Kerry from VeggTravel

A Russian samovar and a cup sit on a wooden bench with a basket and yellow flowers.

Russia is known for many things, but did you know that tea is one of them? It gets pretty chilly in Russia so of course one of the best things to do is to warm up with a traditional samovar tea.

A samovar is a type of metal brewer that was traditionally used to heat or boil water but was adapted to hold a tea pot over the chimney. While the newer versions are powered by electricity, this is not your average water boiler. Samovars are known for their intricate decorations, engraved patterns and bright colours. 

Historically, teahouses were an everyday meeting place throughout Russia where important conversations took place. Whether it’s businessmen meeting in a high-class establishment or a family gathered in the kitchen, tea time can often last hours – and the samovar is the centre of the action. So, be prepared to take your time to really experience the sanctity of a good cup of tea in Russia.

Don’t worry, you won’t go hungry as tea in Russia is typically served with sushki , slightly sweet and crunchy bread rings which are draped over the samovar. If you want to try it out for yourself, partaking in a traditional Russian Tea Ceremony should be at the top of your list of things to do in St Petersburg !

By Yulia from Miss Tourist

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Endless tea fields in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia.

One of the most iconic tea destinations in all of Southeast Asia, Cameron Highlands is the hub of Malaysia’s tea industry. Just as the hill station served as a retreat for British officers during the colonial era, it endures as a wildly popular destination in Malaysia to escape from the heat.

A day trip from the nearby city of Ipoh (which is known for another beverage, white coffee) or from the capital, Kuala Lumpur , the Cameron Highlands district is home to several large-scale tea plantations as well as strawberry and flower farms. 

True tea fans should head straight for Boh Tea Plantation, the oldest and original tea estate in Cameron Highlands. Established in 1929 by John Archibald Russell, this is a working plantation with a museum, cafe, and spectacular views of endless rows of tea bushes that stretch over the mountains to the horizon.

Accommodation in colonial-era bungalows can be found in the town of Tanah Rata, the hopping-off point for the tea fields, while hiking trails in the nearby Mossy Forest offer some tranquil reprieve from the crowded plantations and cafes. For the best experience, avoid visiting on weekends or holidays when large crowds descend on the mountains from KL.

A Japanese match tea set.

Uji might be the Japanese town you’ve never heard of, but it’s certainly one of the best destinations in the country for tea lovers.

A mere 30-minute train ride from Kyoto, Uji is a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle. Originally formed in the 7th century as a river-crossing town, Uji’s quiet roads are lined with petite houses that showcase unique Japanese architecture. 

Many visitors don’t realise how important Uji is to cultural history – not the sword-swishing samurai history, but the lesser-known history of tea. This is the home of green tea in Japan. Thanks to the area’s unique topography and fabulous soil, tea grown in the Uji region became a favourite of the Royal Family during the Edo period. Tea chests were transported to the royal palace by foot – a two-week walk – with an army escort.

Today Uji matcha and hochija are still considered the best in the country. The latter is a roasted green tea that can be served hot or cold and is often given to children as it contains less caffeine than usual. When you’re out exploring Uji and you see golden-brown beverages and ice creams on display, they’re not flavoured with coffee but actually with roasty hochija.

By Jean from Travelling Honeybird

Insadong district in Seoul, Korea

A cute wooden house with a traditional cafe inside in Seoul's Insadong district.

Korean food is on many people’s radars, but the tea is also worth visiting South Korea for. The country’s history of tea dates back to around 50BC when Buddhist monks promoted it as a drink for meditation.

During the Koryo Dynasty (10-14th centuries), tea was an integral part of cultural events including dance, poetry and drama. Ceremonies known as darye (‘etiquette for tea’) were held to help guests find relaxation and harmony in busy Korean life.

With 2,000 years of history, Seoul is a place where you can still experience tea traditions despite the ways the city has become modernised. The best district to earmark is Insadong.

A 20-minute walk from the shopping and beauty district of Myeongdong, this quaint neighbourhood is known for its tea houses that date back centuries. Here you can sample a range of traditional teas and rice-based snack pairings. Many of the cafes are set inside teak hanoks , a type of Korean house traditionally built in accordance with the elements, with a mountain behind and a river in front.

One of the best cafes to visit is Shin Old Teahouse . Here you’ll experience all the atmosphere of a tea ceremony simply by ordering off the menu. Leave your shoes in the courtyard and sit on a cushion beside a low table. Try the cinnamon tea with crispy rice cakes.

By Rose from Where Goes Rose

Kolukkumalai Estate in Munnar, India

Clouds above rows of tea bushes at the highest plantation in India.

The Munnar region is home to some of the best tea plantations in India, including the Kolukkumalai Tea Estate, the world’s highest tea field. Needless to say, the panoramic views are breathtaking. While many visitors are drawn to the area’s natural beauty, the special organic orthodox tea grown in Munnar is delicious, flavoursome, and steeped in history.

Kolukkumalai is a dream destination for tea lovers, as it’s possible to experience both tea rituals and fabulous fields. Due to its elevation at 7,900 feet and the humidity, the tea fields are often shrouded in magical mist, and the air is extremely fresh. However, the extremely steep terrain and gusting winds make this a challenging work environment for the pickers.

Tea has been grown on this estate since the early 1900s. Kolukkumalai Tea Estate is one of the very few factories in the world that still utilises vintage orthodox manufacturing processes – with no pesticides and no chemical fertilisers used on fields, tea production is low-yield but high-quality.

It takes around 90 minutes to reach remote Kolukkumalai from Munnar. It’s best to join an organised day trip such as the Kolukkumalai Jeep Safari Tour, which allows you to observe workers on the tea fields, taste tea in the nearly 100-year-old factory, and enjoy the mountain views.

The Day Experience Package includes trekking and hiking (there are several routes among tea fields to choose from, with varying degrees of difficulty), and factory visits with a tea degustation. It’s also possible to stay the night at one of the mountain huts or campgrounds in the area.

By Agnes from The Van Escape

Chiang Rai, Thailand

Mist rises over a tea field in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Chiang Rai in the north of Thailand is one of the best destinations for tea tourism in Southeast Asia. The city is plentiful with trendy cafes where you can drink orange-coloured cha yen Thai tea over ice – but the real highlight is taking a trip to the nearby tea plantations.

Tea has been grown in Thailand for more than 1,000 years, starting with the original varieties of Ton Miang or Assamese Cha. Tea traditions also run deep, with the first written evidence of tea drinking dated to 1687 during the reign of King Narai in the Ayutthaya period.

Choui Fong Tea Plantation was founded relatively recently in 2003, but is already one of the best-known and largest in the province, if not in all of Thailand. During a visit, you can expect particularly photogenic views of deep-green tea bushes against a breathtaking backdrop of curved hills.

Tea must be tasted, and at Choui Fong you can choose from countless locally grown varieties: Oolong, fresh Matcha, and even Ti Kuan Yin, the ‘Iron Goddess of Mercy’. Other delicious and rare teas include Dragon Pearl and Rose, but plain Chinese black tea is also available.

Not far from the tea plantations you can also visit the mountain village of Mae Salong, which is also very famous for tea cultivation in Thailand.

By Martina from PlacesOfJuma

Rize, Turkey

A person pours tea from a bronze pot into a tulip-shaped glass.

Though more commonly associated with another hot beverage, coffee, Turkey has a long history of tea drinking that might even predate the introduction of cezve coffee culture in 1540. According to some sources, Ottomans traded tea as early as 400 BC – but the drink only became popular much later at the start of the 20th century. Today, tea is the second-most popular beverage after water, usurping even Turkish coffee.

Turkish tea or cay is traditionally served without milk. Rize çayı, the most famous variety, is known for its deep chestnut hue. Although it lacks some of the pomp and pageantry of coffee drinking, tea has its own accoutrements, including delightful palm-sized, tulip-shaped tea glasses that are a vestige of the days of the Ottoman Empire. Sugar lumps ( kesme şeker ) are usually served in a small dish on the side.

Turkey ranks fifth in terms of world-wide tea production, but the country’s industry got off to a comparatively slow start. After several failed attempts to cultivate tea in the north-west, plantations were eventually established along the Black Sea coast using seeds from neighbouring Georgia. One of the most beautiful parts of the country , Rize Province has the perfect climate and terrain for growing tea.

When exploring the Black Sea region, tea fans should tour the Çaykur Tea Company estate, the largest single plantation in the country. For a picture-perfect tea experience, head into the hills around Uzungöl Lake where cafes such as Galo Omad serve tea on wooden balconies overlooking the mountains and coloured rooftops of the villages below.

Two glasses of coca tea, filled with green leaves and set on a vibrant tablecloth.

If you love tea for its history and cultural significance, visiting Peru and trying coca tea should be on your tea travel wish list. This Peruvian drink is sometimes referred to as ‘Peruvian coffee’ as it delivers a small dose of caffeine for a similar pick-me-up. The herbal tea is also known as a natural remedy with the power to elevate one’s mood, help with digestion, and curb appetite.

As one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world, the leaves of the coca plant and the tea they make are truly the foundation of Peru. It is believed that the Inca Empire was found on coca leaves. Workers used to chew them to suppress their need to eat and keep their energy going, so they could work longer and harder. No wonder coca leaves were sacred to the Incas.

Nowadays, drinking coca tea and chewing on coca leaves are both very common in Peru, especially in the Peruvian Andean region. Travellers are often invited to participate in this Peruvian ritual for which there is a practical use as well: Coca leaves help alleviate the symptoms of altitude sickness.

Just don’t take them home as a souvenir – the leaves are banned in many parts of the world.

By Sean from LivinOutLau

Bali, Indonesia

A wooden board with five glasses of tea and coffee sitting on it.

Indonesia’s tea industry was founded in 1684 when Dutch colonials established vast plantations in Java and Sumatra, where the highland climate and volcanic soils made conditions ideal.

The island of Bali, however, is known for an altogether different tea tradition and varieties of tea that can’t be found anywhere else in the country. Herbal teas made with lemongrass and ginseng, coconut tea, and fruit teas such as mangosteen reflect Bali’s tropical climate and cultural traditions .

The best way to taste tea in Bali is at a coffee Luwak plantation. There are many to choose from and although most are designed for tourists, they are usually free to visit. Look out for signs in the Ubud area or ask a local.

A tasting usually includes around 12 teas and coffees served in small glasses on a wooden board. Balinese people like their tea and coffee very sweet, so it’s a good idea to ask for a non-sugar version that you can sweeten to your own liking. Some of the teas taste more like juice than anything else.

Note that Kopi Luwak plantations are often criticised for their questionable animal ethics. If you prefer not to support such an establishment, there are cafes in Bali that serve herbal and floral teas by the pot, such as Artteas UBUD .

By Victoria from Guide Your Travel

Are you a tea-lover? Where is your favourite destination for tea travel?

You might also be interested in:

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While Uji is the most popular place in Japan, there are also many other wonderful spots that are more off the beaten track.

Kagoshima prefecture produces the most tea in all of Japan. While not very accessible, you can get some really cool experiences. Osumi Teanery in Shibushi even has workshops and a restaurant where they make dishes where each course includes the tea they grew in the meal!

Thank you Kyle for the fantastic recommendations! Much appreciated! I love the sound of the Osumi Teanery restaurant!

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Tea Tourism - A trip to Darjeeling

Tea Tourism - A trip to Darjeeling

What is tea tourism.

Tea tourism is the practice of travelling around the world and visiting organic green tea plantations, which provides a great deal of enjoyment. The most exotic and imaginative way to appreciate nature is to escape to tea gardens set in a serene landscape. It's a brand-new idea that's rapidly gaining traction.

Tea tourism began in the Darjeeling hills at the turn of the century and has now become commonplace in the North-East region of the country. Over the first few years of the last decade, the government put a strong focus on tea tourism. Over the years, a host of tea tourism destinations have emerged, offering some of the most scenic accommodations in some of the world's best tea gardens.

Tea tourism is primarily focused on the undulating beauty of the tea gardens. A well-kept tea garden, complete with tea bushes and shade trees, can be a visual feast. Guests will stay in Tea Bungalows within the Tea Garden in most Tea Tourism ventures. These gardens' scenic beauty is also mesmerizing.

Darjeeling tea garden with the backdrop of the Himalayan mountains

Darjeeling is a town in the Indian state of West Bengal and is located in the foothills of Himalaya. This beautiful and picturesque location produces one of the most famous teas in the world, Darjeeling tea. Darjeeling has more than 75 tea estates which produce premium quality tea. Anyone who has visited Darjeeling will vouch for its unparalleled scenic beauty. With lush greenery as far as the eye can reach, bordered by the mighty Kanchenjunga which gives way to clear skies with a cool and crisp air, this hill station will surely take your breath away. The tea gardens are a picture of beauty and serenity. The West Bengal government has made space for ‘tea tourism’ which allows tourists to come and experience living in tea estates, plucking tea leaves, brewing fresh Darjeeling tea and immersing themselves in the local tea culture which is an extremely wonderful and rewarding experience. The backdrop of the snow capped mountains in contrast with the lush green tea leaves is a sight to behold and you will be reminded of it each time you sip a warm cup of Darjeeling tea.

Travel guides, comfortable and luxurious heritage accommodation, and more are all available through Darjeeling Tea Tourism. When it comes to tea holidays, tea lovers will enjoy high-quality brews of fresh tea. Tea tourism allows visitors to learn about the process of making tea while also trying new flavours.

Tea Tourism Activities

The best season to visit Darjeeling is during spring and early summer. There are a lot of fun filled activities one can enjoy in Darjeeling, especially if they enjoy nature. Staying in a tea bungalow or retreat will transport you to the British countryside, where you will be surrounded by tea gardens and hills with a cool breeze. And all of the food served is 100% organic and grown on the farm. You'll wake up with a cup of freshly brewed tea, freshly plucked from the garden.  Some of the main activities are mentioned below!

Tea garden walk in Darjeeling

Tea Garden Walk - This activity involves a naturistic walk amidst the tea plantations, usually led by a guide who is there to tell you all about the tea leaves and the types of tea produced by that particular tea estate.

Tea processing in Darjeeling

Tea Processing observation - Observing the processing of tea leaves is extremely interesting and fun since this activity includes looking at the various machinery involved in the drying and other processes that finally result in the tea leaves that we all know and love.

Tea tasting in various cups

Tea Tasting - This event stands to be the highlight of the trip for many tea lovers who avail the tea tour. It involves tasting tea made from the tea leaves freshly made in the estate. Multiple different types of tea are on the table and this includes a step by step process of how one should brew and taste tea in the way to be able to open up all the latent flavors.

Picnic day out with Birding or fishing - Taking into account the element of nature in Darjeeling, a picnic or birdwatching is something one should not miss out on. The beautiful weather coupled with the scenic view and lush greenery makes it the perfect picnic spot.

Interaction with the Garden workers - For tea enthusiasts, this activity is of importance as the tea garden workers are the backbone of the entire tea industry. Their insight into the processes of tea making is incredible!

Ethnic cultural program with bonfire - Darjeeling also has a beautiful and rich culture to offer to all guests and thus a warm bonfire with cultural programs is a relaxing and fun activity for guests to feel at one with the region.

Nature tours, forest safaris and excursions - Exploring the natural heritage that Darjeeling has to offer is a must for all visitors. Nature tours are a wonderful way to delve deep into nature with a warm flask of tea!

Hill toy train ride (Darjeeling Himalayan Railways) - One of the most famous attractions in Darjeeling happens to be the Toy Train which runs through the picturesque hill station and goes through the refreshing greenery. 

Miscellaneous entertainment with golf, tennis and indoor games are also available.

Some Tea Estates that offer Tea Tourism

Tea estate bungalow in Darjeeling

1. Ghoomtea Tea Gardens - Ghoomtee, one of the best orthodox tea blend producing estates in the world, is conveniently located near Kurseong on the Hillcart Road on the way to Darjeeling. Between Jungpana Tea Garden to the east and Castleton Tea Garden to the west, the garden is set in picturesque surroundings within the prime quality tea belt of Kurseong Hills. Goomtee is also an organic garden, with no artificial pesticides or fertilizers used. The tea tourism package offered by this picturesque estate includes the following activities

  • Guided Garden Tour (Tea Testing, Tea Processing, Plucking), ● Nature Walk, ● Birding, ● Bathing under Waterfalls (Seasonal), ● Village Hikes, ● Toy train Ride (DHR), ● Picnic Lunch, ● Excursion or City Tour, ● Gurkha Cultural dance
  • Guided Garden Tour (Tea Testing, Tea Processing, Plucking), ● Birding & Wildlifing & fishing, ● Excursion to the Glenburn Campsite, ● Hike along the River Rungeet to Manjitar Village in Sikkim, ● Toy train Ride (DHR), ● Picnic Lunch with barbeque by river side, ● River rafting, ● Excursion or City Tour in Darjeeling/Kurseong, ● Gurkha Cultural dance, ● Special Christmas celebration, ● Herbal Massage
  • Guided Garden Tour (Tea Testing, Tea Processing, Plucking), ● Nature Walk, ● Birding, ● Wildlifing, ● Village Hikes, ● Toy train Ride (DHR), ● Picnic Lunch, ● Excursion or City Tour, ● Ethnic Cultural Show

Living and travel costs

Tea tour packages are usually all inclusive and everything from transportation to meals and sightseeing is all covered under the cost. The tea estates offer a range of prices for these tours according to one's budget and the range is often from between 7000Rs per person to 14,000Rs per person (non inclusive of the cost of travel to reach the nearest airport or train station to Darjeeling) Thus, from a mid range to a higher range, all forms of budgets are covered! We highly recommend that you undertake this journey to this beautiful land of tea, nestled in the Himalayan mountains.



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  • Tea Tourism

Tea Tourism 

Tea Tourism trend started during the British rule. At present tourists from all over the world visit India every year to witness quality tea cultivation. In India Tea is the most popular beverage. The combined efforts of Government and Indian tea-estate owners have made Indian tea tourism a global name. Tea Tourism or Home Stay in Tea estate or Tea Gardens in Dooars, Darjeeling, Nepal, Sikkim, Assam, etc is fast-growing segments. It varies from the most luxurious ones to the basic ones. The cost may help in guessing the range. It is nearly INR 13000 to INR 1000 per tourists i.e. one room with all food ranges from Indian Rupees Twenty Six Thousand to Two Thousand for Two guests in double sharing stay.  A tourist staying in the tea estate gets the opportunity to stay historic bungalow which invariably being built before 1950. They are renovated and is being promoted by various organization or individuals. It offers best of service and luxurious stay. It is not only a stay but a lifetime experience. The friendly people attached to the Tea estate generally offer the best of ideas and options. At present Homestay in North East India is improving by leaps and bound due to its awareness and with the number of tourist growing with time. Pristine nature, cool breeze, lush green grasses, lofty hills, blue mountains covered with mist & snow,  forests teeming with wildlife and the colourful people make the stay memorable.  Tea tour is truly a lifetime experience. One can participate from Plucking to Packaging including the manufacturing of Tea.

Two leaves and a bud .… Yeah, that’s what teas are made up off. Enjoy the sheer pleasure of Tea Tourism. Tea & tourism festival is held annually in Dooars and other parts of the district in the state of West Bengal. Visit Tea Factory and enjoy the pleasure of watching tea being made …… With acres of rolling tea bush and forest ……… Rivers and valley ………. Himalayan sunrise …………….. Wildlife with diversified flora and Fauna ………… Homestay with tea planters ………… Tea Tourism ……………. experience and learn the fascinating process of tea making ………………… Dreamway to Destinations offers tea tourism …………… Tour of lifetime ……………

Darjeeling tea plantations dated back to the mid-1800s as part of a British development of the area. The tea growers from this area developed distinctive hybrids of tea and fermenting techniques, with many blends considered among the world’s finest. Now there are nearly 100 gardens in the Darjeeling district, each producing its own distinct tea and flavour - Given below are the brief descriptions about some of those gardens which have Tea Tourism facilities - There are few Tea estate in Dooars they are Zurran Tea in Dooars, Phaskowa Tea Estate in Dooars, Cochrane Palace in Kurseong, Phaskowa Tea Estate in Dooars. Ambootia Tea Estate in Kurseong, Temi Tea Estate in Namchi (Sikkim), Kanyam Tea Estate in East Nepal, Glenburn Tea Estate in Darjeeling, Ghoomtee in Ghoom, Makaibari Tea Garden, Kurseong, Sourinee Tea Estate, Sylee Tea Estate & Fagu Tea Estate in Dooars, Tukvar (Puttabong) Tea Estate in Darjeeling, Zurrantee in Dooars (Chalsa), Selim Hills near Kurseong, Runglee Rungliot in Kurseong Subdivision.

Dooars is best for Tea Tourism. The Flora and the fauna of the region is diversified. The region is covered with forest and Tea Estate only and in between these virgin forests are the settlements of small tribes like Katamb, Mech, Rava, Oraon, Munda, Kora along with the smallest surviving tribe, the Toto. Besides the experience of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, you can experience a visit to Gorumara National Park, Jaldapara National Park, Raja Bhatkhawa Museum of Nature Integration, Sub-Himalayan treks, or simply lie back and relax at the bungalow and let your soul soak in nature's splendour. Manas National park is also the extended part of Dooars which stretches up to the Brahmaputra

Nepal, Darjeeling, Assam, Arunachal, Sikkim, Tripura also have Tea Tourism but Assam & Darjeeling flourishes in this trade.

Tea Manufacturing in brief – Tea Plants are known as Camellia sinensis. Process stepwise are Plucking: The green leaf is harvested on a regular basis and the plucking of the soft two leaves and the bud is generally undertaken by well-trained staff. This is a process worth watching. Guests can join the workers to watch. Withering: Leafs is spread on troughs and kept for 08 to 12 hours. Controlled air is circulated between the leaves, initially to remove any surface moisture and thereafter to concentrate and bring the leaf to the soft and rubbery condition. Rolling: Mechanical process with chemical changes takes place. The leaf is passed through few sets of rollers to get it twisted and the leaf cell walls ruptured in Rotor vane machines. This leaf breakdown and fermentation start as soon as rolling is completed. Fermentation: Fermentation is basically oxidization of the enzymes that bring out the flavour, strength and the colour of the liquors and infusions. The process is run with Air and moisture. The leaf colour changes from greenish to a coppery brown.  Drying:  Removing of moisture and the arresting of fermentation. The leaf passes through driers, which have perforated sheets. Air is passed at a mild temperature and moisture removed through the perforated Conveyor. Grading: Initially series of grading and cleaning machines to remove the stalk and fibre cools it down. On Cooling its graded / sifted according to size and shape, as the trade demands. It is stored in airtight bins of boxes. The tea particles are kept as per the required grades of tea. Packing & Dispatching: Teas are hygroscopic and absorb moisture. Teas are packed in plywood tea chests of multi-walled aluminium craft paper lined pager sacks and dispatched to the auctions or packed into tea packs of various forms for distribution. Most popular brands of Tea are Black Tea, Green Tea, Oolong Tea and Orthodox Tea.

Tea Tourism Activities available are

  • Walk through the Tea plantation
  • Enjoy the way you see tea beings plucked by the staff
  • One can visit the home of Tea planters and pluckers
  • Observe the tea processing in the factory
  • Take a guided tour to nearby places
  • Take a guided trek through the Estate
  • Visit the nearest sunrise and sunset points 
  • Enjoy reading in the library if it has one
  • Enjoy tennis/badminton/ Golf if there are options
  • Library & Piano in Bungalows
  • Interact with the staff and officials of Tea Estate
  • Tea Training Groups are organized (07 - 20 Days Program)
  • Low and high altitude treks with local guides
  • Indoor Games with some gardens
  • Conventional Local area Sightseeing

Sylee (Octavious)

Selim - hills, upper sylee, runglee (rungliot), dreamway destinations.

Address: NBMC&H Campus, Post:Sushrutanagar, Town / City : Siliguri, District: Darjeeling, State : West Bengal, Country : India. PIN : 734012

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