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Vincent and I went to visit a tea factory in Darjeeling. We could not understand the explanations of the guy regarding the different kind of teas. You might look dumb if you go to Darjeeling and you are not able to answer any question regarding tea… So I decided to make some research!

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6 day trip in Darjeeling – Sikkim – DARJEELING

To reach Darjeeling :

-          By air: Bagdogra airport (and 3h by jeep till Darjeeling)

-          By train: New Jailpaguri or Siliguri (and 2h30 by jeep till Darjeeling)

-          By toy train :

Departure from Siliguri: option Diesel only

Departure from Kurseong (mid-way between Siliguri and Darjeetling): otpion Diesel or steam (train 9D) but be aware that there are landslides every year and sometimes (like since June this year), the train tracks are damaged – thankfully the train was working between Kurseong and Darjeeling (3 hours):


To see in Darjeeling :


-          Of course, the tea plantations – but you have to chose the time properly. For instance, the tea pickers were only picking dead branches when we went !


-          I really liked the zoo which had only local animals (and healthy ones !)


-          I was bemused by the museum of High Mountain trekking. You had to be mad to climb the Everest with an electroshock machine to revive your iced feet!


-          And splendid: the sunrise in Tiger Hill on the Himalayan chain of the majestuous Kanchenjunga (8.598 m), considered for a long time as the highest peak of the world, before the British measured the Everest and K2. This sunrise was so gorgeous I almost forgot it was the wee hour of the morning, it was freezing cold and there were about 200 noisy Indians. The funny part is they all looked at the sunrise itself and not once at the mountains (in the opposite direction) which was the thing to watch!!


A 6 day trip in Darjeeling – Sikkim – INTRODUCTION

After a grandiose trip along the Ganges in April, Vincent came back to India in November. This time: Darjeeling and Sikkim. 

Itinéraire Darjeeling - Sikkim2 .JPG

Practical points

Be aware of the cold!! The temparatures this year in November in Darjeeling (2134m) were between 8 and 15°C. Same thing in Gangtok (1500m) but more humid.

It can be useful to take a torch: when you reach at 6 PM in a pitch dark night (because of electricity cut in the whole city), it is not so nice.

Other problem linked to the power cuts (we had 2 cuts in 2 nights): you are in a fine tea shop and your bill is quite huge. Hence you have to give your card because who carries so much cash? Well, they don’t take the card. So you go to the nearest ATM (also the only one in town) and… yes, it is off because it works with electricity!!

As for the history of the place (quite interesting): in the 1800’s, the British decided to map their Indian territory. They went up to Darjeeling which belonged then to Sikkim and where hardly a few families were living. They found the place would be adapted to a sanatorium for British soldiers.

They had a talk with the king of Sikkim and rented the place for a few rupees since it was an empty land. In the meantime, they build the city (I mean, Nepalese (Gorkha ethnie), Tibetans and Bhutanese did) and found it suitable for tea plantations.
The city grew bigger and started attracting people from Sikkim which displeased the king. He kidnapped 2 Britishers who were touring in Sikkim. The Company sent a troop and the king released the 2 guys.
To punish him, the English annexed Darjeeling.

And now (I mean since 1907) some of the people who actually originally populated the place are asking for independence from West Bengal and the creation of Gorkhaland.

As a consequence, the area is not so quiet at the moment because some people want the independence from West Bengal but that should not prevent from going there!!

To have an idea of Darjeeling at the British time: