General Facts about Darjeeling

Discover key insights about Darjeeling, its stunning location, diverse population, and varied climate & seasons, that ensures a memorable and well-prepared travel experience.

Situated in the northern part of West Bengal, Darjeeling shares its borders with Nepal, Bhutan and the Indian state Sikkim. Perched at an elevation of 2045m (6709ft) above sea level, this picturesque hill station grants you the privilege of waking up to the sight of the mighty world-famous Kanchenjunga, the third – highest peak on Earth.
Darjeeling has a temperate subtropical highland climate with distinct seasons. Summer offers relief from the plains’ heat but comes with occasional rainfall. Spring brings blooming rhododendrons and comfortable temperatures. Autumn boasts clear skies and ideal conditions for trekking, while winter can be chilly with occasional snowfall, making it perfect for those seeking a winter wonderland experience.
According to the 2011 census conducted by the government of India, Darjeeling has a population of 1,846,823. Most of this population consists of Indian Gorkhas, with smaller communities of Tibetans, Marwaris, Biharis, Bengalis, and Adivasis. Nepali is the predominant language spoken by the Gorkha community, while Bengali and English are also commonly used in the region.
Drinking water in Darjeeling is generally safe as most of the domestic and commercial establishement rely on fresh water sourced from natural springs nearby. But taking precautions is generally recommended by using filtered or bottled water can help ensure a comfortable and trouble-free stay in this beautiful hill station.
Darjeeling offers a diverse and flavorful culinary experience. While traditional Nepali and Tibetan dishes like momo and thukpa are popular, you’ll also find a variety of Indian, Bengali, and international cuisines. Don’t miss trying Darjeeling tea and indulging in fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Reliable Internet contevity & Wi-Fi is available in most of the urban regions in Darjeeling, mainly in hotels, cafes, and some public spots, though the quality varies. In remote areas, expect slower or limited connectivity. It’s wise to inquire about Wi-Fi availability and reliability with your accommodation or local cafes and consider having a local SIM card for backup internet access during your visit.

In Darjeeling, alcohol consumption is legal, with a legal drinking age of 21, but the town is not known for a vibrant nightlife. Smoking is restricted in enclosed public spaces, including restaurants and hotels, with designated smoking areas provided. It’s crucial to adhere to these regulations and consume alcohol responsibly while respecting local laws for a pleasant visit.

Travelers with a passion for aerial photography can capture the mesmerizing beauty of Darjeeling from above. However, obtaining necessary permits and adhering to local regulations, including respecting no-fly zones and privacy, is crucial for a seamless and responsible drone-flying experience in this enchanting hill station.
A group of people standing around a monument of a soldier.

Best Time to Visit

Learn about the picturesque spring to the peak tourist season in March-June, or avoid heavy monsoon rains in July and August for a smoother travel experience.

Spring (March – April): The temperature ranges between 6°C and 17°C during spring. The weather remains mostly clear with occasional strong winds and hailstorms.

Summer (April – June): Summer brings pleasant and moderately warm weather, with temperatures reaching up to 25°C at most. Many consider this period the best time to visit Darjeeling.

Monsoon (July – August): Heavy showers characterize these months, leading to frequent roadblocks in the hill station.

Autumn (September – October): September stands out as an excellent time to visit Darjeeling, with reduced rainfall and lush greenery at its peak.

Winter (November – February): Winter reaches its peak from mid-November to January, featuring temperatures between 7°C and 5°C. Despite the cold, some people prefer visiting during these months.

The peak tourist season in Darjeeling is from March to June, characterized by pleasant weather and lush landscapes. During this time, visitors flock to the region for outdoor activities and to experience the beauty of the tea gardens.
The off-season in Darjeeling typically occurs during the monsoon months of July and August when heavy rainfall is common, leading to roadblocks and potential travel disruptions. During this time, visiting the hill station is less advisable due to the wet and unstable conditions.
A row of wooden houses with thatched roofs on top of a hill at night.

Accommodation Options

Find about the diverse accommodation choices in Darjeeling, catering to all budgets and tastes, and learn the importance of booking in advance for a memorable trip.
Darjeeling offers a variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. The most popular types of accommodation are hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, guesthouses, homestays, and campgrounds. When choosing accommodation, it is important to consider your budget, preferences, and the time of year you are visiting.
Secure your dream lodging by booking in advance. With Darjeeling’s popularity, it’s wise to plan ahead to ensure availability during your visit.
Image of a Toy Train on Batasia Loop Darjeeling.

Getting in and around

Find about the best routes and transportation options for a convenient and memorable journey to Darjeeling.
Bagdogra Airport is the nearest airport to Darjeeling, located in Siliguri. It is about 90 kilometers (56 miles) away and takes about 2.5 hours to reach by road.
The nearest railway station to Darjeeling is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP), also located in Siliguri. It is about 60 kilometers (37 miles) away and takes about 2 hours to reach by road.
There are several companies that offer shared and private transfers from Bagdogra Airport or NJP Railway Station to Darjeeling. The shared transfers are cheaper than the private transfers, but they are not as flexible. The private transfers are more expensive, but you will have a dedicated vehicle and driver.
There are several road options to reach Darjeeling from Bagdogra Airport or NJP Railway Station. You can take a taxi, bus, or shared jeep. The taxi is the fastest option, but it is also the most expensive. The bus is the cheapest option, but it is also the slowest. The shared jeep is a good option if you are on a budget and are traveling with other people.
Silhouettes of a jeep with a sunset sky as a backdrop.

Local Transportation

Explore Darjeeling’s local transportation options, from the enchanting Toy Train ride through picturesque landscapes to intimate strolls through charming streets.
Step back in time and savor the iconic Toy Train ride, a UNESCO World Heritage marvel. This charming journey takes you through picturesque landscapes and offers a unique perspective of Darjeeling’s beauty.
Enjoy the convenience of taxis and shared jeeps for efficient and comfortable transportation within Darjeeling. These options make exploring the town and nearby attractions hassle-free.
For a more intimate connection with Darjeeling’s natural beauty, wander the charming streets on foot. However, be sure to wear comfortable shoes as the streets can be uneven.
Shot of the two trekkers from below.

Packing Essentials

Prepare for your Darjeeling adventure with these packing tips on clothing, travel accessories, and necessary medicines to ensure a comfortable journey.
Clothing and footwear: Pack layers of clothing as the weather can change quickly. Be sure to pack warm clothes for the winter months and light clothes for the summer months. Comfortable walking shoes are also essential.
Travel accessories: Pack a backpack or suitcase, a reusable water bottle, a rain jacket, a hat, sunglasses, a camera, and a portable charger.
Pack any prescription medications you need, as well as over-the-counter medications for things like headaches, stomach upset, and allergies. Be sure to pack a first-aid kit with bandages, antibiotic ointment, pain relievers, and other essentials.
Image of a girl using atm machine.

Currency and Banking

Ensure a smooth financial experience in Darjeeling with currency exchange options, ATMs for cash, and credit card tips to make your travel hassle-free.
In Darjeeling, currency exchange services are easily accessible in commercial areas and tourist hotspots through banks and authorized money changers. Travelers should review exchange rates and fees for optimal currency conversion. Carrying some local currency is recommended for small purchases, as not all vendors may accept foreign currency.

There are many ATMs available in Urban regions of Darjeeling, but they may not always be reliable. It is a good idea to withdraw cash in small amounts as needed.

Credit cards are widely accepted in larger establishments in Darjeeling, but not always in smaller businesses or remote areas. It’s advisable to carry cash as a backup, particularly in street markets. Inform your bank of your travel plans to prevent card transaction issues and be mindful of potential foreign transaction fees when using credit cards in India.

Image of a girl sitting close by the train window.

Safety and Health Tips

Stay safe and healthy in Darjeeling with essential travel tips, including weather preparedness, altitude sickness awareness, and safety precautions.

Travelers to Darjeeling should prepare for unpredictable weather by packing warm clothing and rain gear. Staying hydrated is crucial due to the higher altitude. Exercise caution on hilly, narrow roads and carry a basic first-aid kit, necessary medications, and updated vaccinations for a safe journey.

Travelers to Darjeeling should be aware of altitude sickness symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and shortness of breath. To minimize the risk, acclimatize gradually, stay hydrated, and avoid alcohol. Seek immediate medical help if symptoms persist, as oxygen therapy may be required in severe cases.

Pack any prescription medications you need, as well as over-the-counter medications for things like headaches, stomach upset, and allergies. Be sure to pack a first-aid kit with bandages, antibiotic ointment, pain relievers, and other essentials.
Male hiker helping the other female hiker.

Emergency Helpline

When traveling in Darjeeling, it’s advisable to have access to local helpline numbers for emergencies and assistance. Here are some useful contacts to keep handy:
Japanese shrine on the entrance of Japanese Temple.

Local Culture and Etiquette

Learn about respecting local customs and dress code sensitivity to ensure a culturally sensitive and respectful visit to Darjeeling, while also understanding photography etiquette to capture memories responsibly.

Respect local customs by understanding and honoring cultural traditions. Show consideration for religious sites by removing shoes when required, and always seek permission before participating in or photographing cultural events.

Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious places and rural areas. Research and follow any specific dress code requirements at specific locations.
When taking photos in Darjeeling, obtain permission, particularly in rural or culturally sensitive areas. Adhere to “no photography” signs in museums, temples, and private properties. Exercise discretion, avoid flash in sensitive environments, and respect the privacy and artifacts of the places you visit.
3 women plucking tea leaves.

Environmental Responsibility 

Support sustainable tourism in Darjeeling through eco-friendly choices, responsible waste disposal, and support for local conservation efforts to preserve its natural beauty and cultural heritage.
When planning to visit Darjeeling, prioritize sustainable tourism by choosing eco-conscious accommodations, using eco-friendly transportation, and respecting local customs and environments.
Ensure responsible waste disposal by using designated bins and avoiding littering to keep Darjeeling’s natural beauty intact.
Educate yourself about the region’s ecosystems and wildlife and spread awareness about the importance of conservation. Engage in sustainable practices, such as reducing plastic usage and supporting initiatives that protect the environment and wildlife in Darjeeling.