Darjeeling, a charming and well-known hill station in the state of West Bengal, is an ideal destination to visit all year round. It is popular for its tea plantations, splendid views of the Kanchenjunga mountain top, UNESCO world heritage marvel – the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, its mountain biking and trekking trails, its curious souvenirs, its dreamy ambience, exotic food, and more. Its culture is a vibrant mix of Bengali, Nepali, Lepcha and Tibetan origins.
Here’s a detailed guide on the climate of Darjeeling all through the year, the best time to visit and things to do in Darjeeling during each season. Please note that you can try a number of permutations and combinations of activities listed below all throughout the year as well.
Best Time to Visit Darjeeling: March to May (Summer)
This is the best time to visit Darjeeling, i.e. during spring and early summer. The temperature is cool and pleasant, ranging from 18 degrees to 25 degrees celsius. The climate is at its best during these months and offers a range of stunning natural sights to enjoy and many opportunities for outdoor activities. However, this is also a season with the maximum tourist footfall and buzz.
So it is important to book your hotel stay, travel tickets and other arrangements in advance. Although tourist influx is high in May, by the end of June it starts reducing as that’s when the monsoons begin to set in.
Best things to do in Darjeeling in summer
- Sunrise in Tiger Hill: Check out the spectacular sunrise on Tiger Hill and witness the beauty of Kanchenjunga, the highest mountain peak in India.
- Darjeeling ‘Toy Train’ ride: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a heritage relic still powered by a steam engine across breathtaking locales.
- Barbotey Rock Garden: Pay a visit to this carefully landscaped garden with a little waterfall.
- Tea picking at Happy Valley Tea Estate: May is the tea picking season and this estate will give you the rare experience of tea picking, tea making and lodging amidst nature’s marvels.
Other Times to Visit Darjeeling
Best Season for Darjeeling: Monsoon (June to September)
Monsoon begins in June and continues through August, sometimes even longer. Rains are constant and heavy throughout monsoon and outdoor activities or sightseeing may not be as ideal as it would be in summer.
However, the best part about Darjeeling monsoon is its mist and fog. The roads, streets, hills are all covered in a mystical, supernatural mist that render the most serene and stunning look to Darjeeling. Romantic, much? Then it is an ideal time to visit.
Best things to do in Darjeeling during monsoon
- Japanese Peace Pagoda: Visit this peaceful and enchanting Buddhist temple against the rhythmic background of rains.
- Ghoom Monastery: Visit this oldest monastery 7 kms from Darjeeling and enjoy the peaceful vibes.
- Homestay in Tinchuley Village: Book a homestay in this mesmerising and quaint village to enjoy its pretty nooks, corners and alleys in mist and fog.
- Passenger Ropeway: During off seasons, you can enjoy your quiet solitude while watching rain pouring down the wide and green landscape from a height of 7000 feet.
Best Season for Darjeeling: Autumn (October to November)
Autumn in Darjeeling arrives with a heavenly, visual delight. The clouds clear out and the area is covered in a fresh new glow. The temperature starts to cool down, sometimes dropping to 6 degrees celsius. Autumn is when tourists start visiting Darjeeling again in packs.
Best things to do in Darjeeling in Autumn
- River rafting in Teesta: Right before the onset of a strong winter, enjoy this tremendously fun and adventurous river rafting experience in Teesta river.
- Himalayan Mountaineering Institute: Enjoy some light rock climbing here with the help of guides.
- Mountain Biking: Go mountain biking to Chatakpur, a small mountain village and enjoy a homestay there. Or go mountain biking across Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary.
Best Season for Darjeeling: Winter (December to February)
Winter covers Darjeeling in the sheer cold. Although the season is pleasant enough for tourists to enjoy, the temperature can drop to 2 degrees Celsius to even 0 degrees Celsius. Winters can be a harsh time for even the locals.
But the sights and sounds become even more special during this time as the festival season approaches in mid-December. The whole area is covered in illuminated yet subdued atmospherics, dreamy and out of the world.
Best things to do in Darjeeling in winter
- Sandakhpu Trek: Trek to the highest point in West Bengal and watch the glory of snow-covered mountains and cavernous valleys.
- Feast on Churpi: Available at local stores, this is a specialty food item which keeps you warm during harsh winters of Darjeeling.
- Savour Hot Momos: Enjoy the delicious momos made by locals and restaurants alike and keep warm and fuzzy.
- Darjeeling Observatory and Mahakal Temple: Trek to the observatory to enjoy scenic vistas from the observatory while visiting this small and colourful temple that is set in a mystical ambience.
- Darjeeling Chowrasta: Go walking along the centre of the town to truly experience the magic of the holidays in this hill station. Do light shopping and dine at one of the many alluring restaurants.
- Bhutia Market: Get a great shopping experience buying affordable woollens and Darjeeling Tea in this market.
How to reach Darjeeling
The nearest airport is Bagdogra, around 100 kilometres from Darjeeling. You can fly from Delhi, Guwahati or Kolkata. From Bagdogra to Darjeeling, you can travel via a shared jeep or a taxi. Reserve cars are also available. Booking counters are at the airport.
Best time to visit by air: During summer, you will find a big number of tourists visiting Darjeeling, trains may not be available, so it is best to book flight tickets in advance. During monsoons, travelling by air would be a good option too, as the roads may be less easily navigable otherwise.
The nearest station is New Jalpaiguri which connects Darjeeling to major railway lines. From here take the famous toy train to Darjeeling which operates as a passenger steam railway. Book in advance since this train ride is always in demand.
Best time to visit Darjeeling by train: All throughout the year, really. But we would recommend winter and monsoon to enjoy the beautiful sights on the way. Train bookings for the summer season are hard to get as it is the peak tourist season. So book in advance.
You can do short and medium road trips from Kolkata, Guwahati or nearby major cities (either in your own car/bike or a self-driving rental car).
Best time to visit Darjeeling by road: Road trips would be ideal during monsoon and autumn/winter. The routes pass through many scenic spots and landmarks that are best enjoyed during such times.
Enjoy the ecstasies of Darjeeling, a place you must have on your travel bucket list. If you have any questions or information, please use the comment box below