As perfect as the beautiful hill station Darjeeling is, the fact is it is a mere ten-odd square kilometres in size; however, you can always boost your adventure and experience by visiting equally enchanting districts around the area.
Each one with its own peculiarities, the entire region is filled with some of the best nature has to offer and as amazing history and culture, too.
Follow our guide to the 15 best places to visit around Darjeeling and discover a part of India not many can imagine existing.
Places Near Darjeeling: up to 100 kilometres away
The capital city of Sikkim, Gangtok is a pristine hill station nestled in the mountains that serve as a base for scores of trekkers and mountaineers coming to tackle the Himalayan range. The beautiful winding roads and spectacular view from this place that literally means ‘hilltop’ are famous not only for its adventure but also for its culture and cuisine.
Less than a four-hour drive from the city centre, Gangtok is a must visit destination if you happen to be Darjeeling.
Distance from Darjeeling: 98 kilometres
Places to visit: Tsomgo Lake, Ban Jhakri Falls, Enchey Monastery, Tashi View Point and Teesta River for rafting
The virgin hill station of Kalimpong in West Bengal, merely 2 hours away from Darjeeling by road, is renowned for its Buddhist monasteries, temples and churches, also its handicrafts and cuisine not to mention, of course, amazing natural beauty.
Situated near the foothills of the Shivalik range, at an altitude of over 1200 meters, the city overlooks the wondrous Teesta Valley. Be sure to come spend a day in Kalimpong if you happen to be in Darjeeling as the two are so close and there is so much to see here too.
Distance from Darjeeling: 51 kilometres
Places to visit: Jang Dong Palriffo Brang Monastery, thongsa Gompa Monastery, the flower market, Deolo Hill for paragliding
About four hours north by road, West Sikkim is another famous one-day destination for travellers visiting Darjeeling. At the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga, the city offers probably the best view of the famous ranges South face. Dotted with numerous monasteries and surrounded by nature at her best, West Sikkim is steeped in religion, history and culture as well as the abundant beauty of the hills and valleys. Local street food is as amazing as the sights here so be sure to indulge in some momos, thukpa, chowmein and much more.
Distance from Darjeeling: 73 kilometres
Places to visit: Khechuperi Lake, Sangachoeling and Pemayangtse monasteries
Just over an hour, South of Darjeeling, this hill station right on the Siliguri-Darjeeling Highway is blessed with great weather year round and an abundant monsoon making it an ideal getaway.
Kurseong, also known as The Land Of White Orchids, is not only famous for its amazing flora and fauna but also for its heritage structures as well as panoramic view of the snow-capped mountain ranges. A trip here would not be complete without a visit to the local tea gardens where you can go on a tour, taste and buy some of the world’s finest teas.
Distance from Darjeeling: 31 kilometres
Places to visit: Eagles Craig, Ambotia Shiva Mandir and The Forest Museum
Situated on the banks of the Mirik Lake, the little hill town of the same name is a must visit location especially if you happen to be in Darjeeling. A three-hour drive southward will get you to this beautiful place filled with wildflowers, lush greenery and wonderful views of the mountains.
With some great deals in the local bazaars, be sure to do a bit of souvenir and gift shopping while you’re here.
Distance from Darjeeling: 60 kilometres
Places to visit: Pashupati Nagar for shopping, Orange Orchards, Bokar Monastery, Mirik Church, Mirik Tea Gardens and of course Mirik Lake
Perhaps one of the lesser known towns in the region, Aritar is an equally important area in the East. Surrounded by lush greenery, dense forests and wondrous wildlife, the place is a delight for anyone that is looking for a little seclusion.
Head down to one of the beautiful streams for a picnic or go trekking in the wilderness; Aritar is an untainted part of this amazing region and merely three and a half hours from Darjeeling.
Distance from Darjeeling: 87 kilometres
Places to visit: Lampokhari, Dak Bungalow, Parbati Swar Mandir, Aritar Gumpa, Mankhim
Dooars, the local name that has been used for this area, said to have been derived from the word door, is the floodplains of the North East Indo Bhutan gateway. With its dense rich forests and a picture-perfect backdrop of the Eastern Himalayas, the place is a paradise on earth.
Rolling hills covered in tea gardens is evidence of the primary local occupation, however, there are also quite a few places catering especially to tourists.
Distance from Darjeeling: 93 kilometres
Places to visit: Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Latpanchar, Chapramari Wildlife Reserve
Places Near Darjeeling: over 100 kilometres away
Namchi, the headquarters for South Sikkim is located about three and a half hours drive from Darjeeling and at an altitude of 5500 feet, it is blessed with great weather year round.
An area of major religious significance, South Sikkim is abundant with Buddhist monasteries and stupas. Surrounded by dense forests and majestic hills, the region is perfect for a day trip in nearby.
Distance from Darjeeling: 100 kilometres
Places to visit: Temi Tea Gardens, Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary, Ralang Monastery, Tendong Hill, Siddheshwar Dham
Sharing its boundary with China and Nepal, the extreme weather in North Sikkim makes the place one of the most uninhabited in the entire region. Mangan, the main district in the area, is beautiful in itself and serves as a base for many that go trekking in the nearby forests and mountains
Even more mesmerizing, the surrounding areas are relatively unexplored and untouched by modernization and amenities. An area of religious importance, you will find quite a number of monasteries and temples despite the harsh living conditions.
Distance from Darjeeling: 120 kilometres
Places to visit: Gurudongmar Lake, Chungthang, Mt. Katao, Crows Lake, Thangu Valley
With close proximity to the Gorumara National Park, Lataguri itself is a natural paradise in the region. The abundant flora and fauna make this a nature enthusiasts dream vacation spot.
About three and a half hours from Darjeeling, the road to Lataguri is not great but worth the trip if you are already in Darjeeling. With many religious sites to visit too, the place makes for a great day of exploration and adventure.
Distance from Darjeeling: 110 kilometres
Places to visit: Gorumara National Park, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Murti River
Bordering Bangladesh to the South and Bhutan to the North, the city of Jalpaiguri, translated meaning olive-town, is named so because of the olive plantations that are abundant here.
A virtually untouched part of the region, over 80 percent of the population is in rural areas and involved in tea and rice farming. The magnificent and tranquil estates are considered heritage sites and the monsoon here sees a heavy downpour of rain, making it a romantic destination too.
Distance from Darjeeling: 115 kilometres
Places to visit: Murat River, Buxa Duar Trek, Mendabari Fort, Gorumara National Park
Located near the Himalayas Eastern foothills, Jaldapara is famous for its wildlife sanctuary. With an abundance of wildlife from the ground to sky, the area is well known to be a destination for nature lovers.
A four and half hour drive from Darjeeling will get you to Jaldapara where you can catch glimpses of eagles, tigers, rhinos, peafowl, deer, wild boar, bison and much more. The sanctuary also offers safaris and tours not to mention elephant rides.
Distance from Darjeeling: 163 kilometres
Places to visit: Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, Chilapata Forest, Gorumara National Park
Once the province of the Koch dynasty, this small but well-planned town, close to the Indo-Bangladesh, is a great visiting option if you want to get out of Darjeeling and explore the surrounding districts. The people from this town are friendly and welcoming not to mention the place is rich in local culture, heritage and cuisine.
With plenty of small hotels offering accommodation, a trip here from Darjeeling should not take you more than 5 hours on the road so perhaps an overnight stay would be ideal.
Distance from Darjeeling: 200 kilometres
Places to visit: Rajbari Palace, Sagardighi, Madan Mohan Temple, Baneswar Siva Temple
Hidden deep in the hills surrounding Darjeeling, this is one area that will transport you back to a time when nature was pure and untouched. Jaldhaka valley is a dream destination for nature lovers and adventurers.
About a four-hour drive from Darjeeling, the place is most popular with tourists wanting to go trekking to unmarked parts of the forest and surrounding hills. With a number of tours being operated from Darjeeling, it should be relatively easy to get here for an overnight camping trip.
Distance from Darjeeling: 122 kilometres
Places to visit: Jaldhaka River Valley, Coronation Bridge, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary
Right near the Buxa Tiger Reserve, the area is often given a miss as the call of the Bengal Tiger seems much more enticing than what you might imagine Rajabhatkhawa has in store. A must visit destination about five hours from Darjeeling by road, the place is blessed with nature’s bounty as well as a number of ancient temples and monuments all over.
Organized treks and camping excursions in the magnificent forest makes a visit here the ultimate outdoor experience.
Distance from Darjeeling: 191 kilometres
Places to visit: Jayanti River, Mahakali Caves, Nature Interpretation Centre, Park Safari
So if you happen to be in Darjeeling, be sure to explore the many beautiful and enchanting districts around; from the numerous monasteries to the amazing reserves, tranquil lakes and spiritual temples, adventure sport, local food and much more, the region is a treasure for the traveller.