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10 best offbeat places near Darjeeling

Discover the 10 best offbeat places near Darjeeling where untouched nature and local traditions harmonize. These hidden gems allow you to escape the tourist rush, offering a genuine taste of the Himalayan culture and serene landscapes. Go off the beaten path for a unique, tranquil experience far from the typical tourist spots.

Here are 10 offbeat places near Darjeeling that you should check out:

1. Bunkulung

River running between two valleys and a large paddy field.

Bunkulung is a hidden treasure in North Bengal near Mirik and Darjeeling, lies just 18 kilometres from Mirik town along the banks of the Balasun River. 

Nestled amidst hills and tea gardens, it’s a haven for nature enthusiasts. While relatively lesser-known among tourists, Bunkulung is rapidly gaining popularity for its consistently pleasant weather, unspoiled natural splendour, and captivating tea gardens.

The area offers various attractions, including visits to Gayabari Tea Estate, Mirik Lake, Maju Park/Garden, Bokar Monastery, Mirik Swiss Cottages, and the allure of orange orchards during the winter season. Additionally, visitors can relish refreshing swims and fishing adventures in the Balasun River.

2. Dawaipani

View of morning misty mountain with a clear blue sky.

Dawaipani, whose local translation means ‘Medicated Water,’ derives its name from the nearby river (Khola) that gracefully flows through the village. This charming settlement is embraced by renowned tea estates such as Glenburn Tea Estate, Lamahatta Tea Estate, and Takdah Tea Estate, as well as abundant pine forests.

Outdoor enthusiasts can partake in a range of activities in Dawaipani, including forest hikes, birdwatching, farm visits, and trekking. Positioned at a lofty altitude of 6,500 feet, Dawaipani enjoys a consistently cool climate throughout the year, except for the heavy monsoon rains in July and August. 

3. Dhotrey

Image filled with pine trees with a distant view of Kanchenjunga.

Dhotrey is around 45km away from Darjeeling. The Dhotrey Forest Rest House allows you to experience local hospitality amidst nature’s splendour. It offers an awe-inspiring vista of the majestic Kanchenjunga, including the entire range of the “Sleeping Buddha” formation.It’s a sought-after base camp for iconic treks like Tonglu, Sandakphu, and Phalut. 

While this charming village is accessible year-round, the optimal time to relish its breathtaking scenery and the grandeur of Kanchenjunga is from October to January. Additionally, another splendid season to explore Dhotrey is between March and early April when the air is infused with the fragrance and vibrant hues of magnolias and rhododendrons.

4. Lodhoma

Image of a quaint bridge connecting two valleys divided by a river.

Lodhoma, a charming destination on the outskirts of Darjeeling, West Bengal, is situated approximately 16 kilometers away from Bijanbari and about 50 kilometres from the heart of Darjeeling. Explore nature trails, trekking, birdwatching, and tea gardens in the serene ambience of charming Lodhoma.

Lodhoma stands as an inviting haven for a revitalizing and invigorating escape. The best time to visit Lodhoma is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) for pleasant weather and optimal outdoor experiences.

5. Jhepi

Lush green forest with misty ray peaking from top.

Jhepi is an emerging offbeat destination just 35 km from Darjeeling town. Surrounded by imposing hills and serene nature, it captivates travellers with its tranquillity. The highlight of Jhepi is the breathtaking view of Mount Kanchenjunga, complemented by opportunities for short tea garden hikes, riverside walks, and birdwatching.

The village offers a range of accommodation options, including homestays, resorts, and eco stays, making it an enticing getaway for those seeking a serene escape in the Himalayas. The best time to visit Jhepi is from March to May and September to November for ideal weather and breathtaking views of Mount Kanchenjunga.

6. Gurudum

Valleys filled with pine trees with a distant view of Kanchenjunga.

Gurdum, a tranquil village nestled at the foothills of the Himalayas, offers a dreamy escape for your upcoming short vacation.  Located near the Singalila range renowned for the Sandakphu-Phalut trek, Gurdum can be visited year-round.

You can visit this village at any time of the year to savour its natural beauty. The village also offers excellent camping opportunities, with most homestays equipped for camping. Exploring the small village on foot is a delightful experience, and you can witness organic farming as a way of life for the locals. Don’t miss the famous Damberkhola waterfall, just 3 km from Gurdum, adding to the region’s allure with its natural splendour.

7. Palmajua

Shot of green mountains with clouds hovering above them.

Palmajua is a hidden gem tucked away within the Singalila National Park of Darjeeling district. It remains undiscovered by the majority of tourists. Palmajua’s allure lies in its natural beauty and the warmth of its local community. Palmajua is an ideal destination for those seeking a rejuvenating escape.

It also has garnered a reputation as a haven for bird watchers, attracting enthusiasts from far and wide. The best time to visit Palmajua is from March to May and September to November, perfect for birdwatching and experiencing its serene ambience.

8. Sittong

An open field half covered by green pines in Sittong.

Sittong, a hidden treasure nestled amidst the mountains, offers a serene and less crowded alternative to well-known destinations like Kurseong and Darjeeling. Located just 33 km away from Darjeeling, this wintery wonderland provides the same beauty and tranquillity without the crowds. 

With its tea gardens, snow-capped peaks, heritage buildings, and iconic toy trains, Sittong promises an unforgettable experience for true travellers seeking unique getaways.The village is renowned for its orange orchards, being the primary producer of the world-famous Darjeeling Oranges. 

Sittong can be visited year long but the best time to visit Sittong is from October to April for pleasant weather and clear skies.

9. Srikhola
River flowing close to houses with red roof in the middle of the forest.

Srikhola, situated around 87 km from Darjeeling, is a picturesque village known for its tranquillity’s a stop along the famed Sandakphu and Phalut trek route, Srikhola offers respite for trekkers. A haven for relaxation post-trek, Srikhola lures with the icy waters of the Srikhola River and opportunities for fishing. The river is home to trout and other fish. Its beauty extends to wildlife, being situated near the Singalila National Park.

The best time to visit Srikhola is during the spring and autumn months, from March to May and September to November when the weather is pleasant and ideal for outdoor activities.

10. Tabakoshi
image of river flowing half covered by trees.

Tabakoshi, offers a serene escape amidst the beauty of tea gardens and the soothing flow of the Rangbhang River. Just 8km downhill from Mirik, this village is a respite for tired souls. Surrounded by Gopaldhara, Thurbo, and Sangma Tea Estates, Tabakoshi boasts breathtaking landscapes.

The place is a blend of tranquillity and natural beauty, perfect for a rejuvenating getaway. The best time to visit Tabakoshi is during the spring and autumn months, from March to May and September to November, for pleasant weather and optimal outdoor experiences.

These 10 best offbeat places showcase the diverse beauty and rich cultural tapestry of this Himalayan wonderland. Whether you seek solace in nature’s embrace, wish to delve into history and tradition, or simply yearn for an escape from the ordinary, Darjeeling’s offbeat gems promise to leave an indelible mark on your soul. 

So, pack your bags, venture beyond the beaten path, and discover the hidden marvels that await you in the vicinity of Darjeeling, where every corner is a new adventure and every moment an opportunity to create lasting memories.

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