Five Alternative Locations to Stay near Darjeeling

Five Alternative Locations to Stay near Darjeeling

Jul 1st, 2024

The heat wave across India in the summer of 2024 has had many folks packing up and scampering for  the hills in search of cooler climes. Among the many places that come to mind, Darjeeling - the Queen of the Hills tops that list. There are hundreds of tourists already thronging the popular hill station with nasty traffic snarls even before reaching town. 
The summer season in Darjeeling is generally packed with tourists milling around every nook and crevice of the historic town. This makes visiting any place in and abouts,  a nightmare with long queues at sightseeing spots, restaurants, shops and inadequate parking spaces. 

In order to avoid such inconveniences, here are five places near Darjeeling which are “far from the madding crowd”,  where you can relax in the cool mountain breeze.

1. Tabakoshi -

Tabakoshi is a quaint little village hamlet located in the Pokhriabong Rangbang Valley. It is located 5.2 kms from Mirik in the middle of sprawling tea gardens and a river running right through it. 
The word Tabakoshi derives from two Nepali words - Taba and Koshi. Nepali (तांबा) Taba meaning Copper which is a brown red metal and Nepali (कोसी ) Koshi meaning River. Hence, Tabakoshi got its name from the Rangbang River that flows through it with  its copper brown color. The village consists of eight tea gardens namely Gopaldhara , Siyok, Turzum, Sungma, Chamong, Magarjung, Thurbu and Nagri tea estates. 
Tabakoshi lies about 58 kms from both NJP railway station and Bagdogra airport and 35 km from Darjeeling town. 
These factors have made Tabakoshi  a new favorite offbeat destination for both locals and tourists.

How to reach Tabakoshi:
From Bagdogra or NJP to Siliguri then to Mirik Bazar go ahead to Thurub tea factory and follow the route leading to Rangvang River valley. Approx distance is 55km and travel duration is two hours.
From Darjeeling town take the road to Ghoom Railway Station then take a right turn towards Sukhia pokhari, from Sukhi Pokhari to Pokhrai to Pokhriabong to Rangvang River valley

Where to stay : Sunakhari Homestay or Khushi’s Farm

2. Bunkulung

The village of Bunkulung is located relatively closer  at about a distance of 48 kms from Siliguri  and it takes around 1.5 hours to reach Bunkulung via the  Siliguri-Mirik road. 
Bunkulung is one of the finest examples of ecotourism in North Bengal. The local farming produces varieties of fruits and vegetables that are of very high quality. The village is dominantly populated by the Limbus of the Gorkha community. The name, Bunkulung, is a combination of Lepcha and Limbu language.
It is an ideal Himalayan village surrounded by hills and rivers. 
The Murmah Khola and Balason River crosses the village and the slopes of the mountain are covered with green millet and paddy fields.
One can take long walks in the nearby tea gardens or enjoy a dip in the river, go camping and arrange for day picnics on the river bank. Village walks, local cultural programs can also be organized in the open air with barbeque and bonfire.

How to reach Bunkulung: 
Hire a vehicle from New Jalpaiguri to reach Bungkulung. Approx distance is 48km and it takes around 2 hours to reach Bungkulung via Siliguri-Mirik road. You can also hire a cab straight to Mirik and then change a cab to Bunkulung.

Where to stay: Bunkulung Eco Retreat

3. Takdah  - 

Takdah is a small hill station located in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is situated at a height of about 4,000 feet and the quaint village is home to some of Darjeeling's finest tea plantations including Rangli Rungliot. 

Known for its lush green tea gardens and spectacular views of the Himalayan ranges, Takdah is a popular destination for tourists seeking a peaceful getaway in the midst of nature.
"Takdah" is a Lepcha term meaning mist or fog and if you visit Takdah, you will realize the aptness of the name. The famous Takdah Cantonment is located a short distance from Takdah bazaar and used to be the hub of the British military residences during their colonial days.It was the destination for many British officers of high rank from all over India.
There are about 15 colonial bungalows at Takdah.These bungalows have been built between the years 1905 and 1915. The bungalows are also popularly known by the local name of ‘Kothis’.

How to reach Takdah

From Darjeeling the most convenient way to reach Takdah is by tax or bus. You can also take shared cabs from Ghoom to Takdah. 
Takdah is around 70kms from Siliguri via Sevoke road head towards Teesta bazar. Teesta bazar to Tinchuley and then to Takdah

Where to stay: Rose Villa Heritage Homestay or Takdah Heritage Colonial Bungalow No 12

4. Kolakham - 

Kolakham is a small hamlet located within the Neora Valley national park area. It is an ideal destination for tourists with an adventurous mind and want to stay off the beaten track. 
It is located 108 km from Siliguri and offers majestic views of Mt. Kanchenjunga as well as  Mt. Pandim and  Mt. Kabru. 
Kolakham is perched on a hill 6100 feet high overlooking the mighty Eastern Himalayas. 
People can enjoy nature trails along the dense green forest where they can sight a variety of rare species of  birds and flora that are native to the region. Tourists can also go for a day trip to Lava, Rishyap, Changay Falls and to Charkhole.

How to reach Kolakham: 
From Siliguri or New Jalpaiguri, take the National Highway 10 (NH10) towards Kalimpong. From Kalimpong, head towards Algarah and continue on the road to reach Kolakham. The total distance from Siliguri to Kolakham is approximately 90 kilometers (56 miles), and the journey takes around 4-5 hours, depending on the traffic and road conditions.Approx distance is 90km and travel duration is four hours.

Where to stay:  Silent Valley Homestay or Cassero Homestay

5. Yelbong - 

Yelbong is a small village located in the Kalimpong district between Samthar and Bagrakote. It lies around 50 kms from Siliguri and takes about 2.5 hours to reach the village. It is an ideal place for adventure with waterfalls, deep jungles, cave systems, camping, trekking, butterflying etc. 

The Yelbong river canyon is gaining quick popularity among travellers because  of its exciting narrow pathways.  The place is also now fast becoming one of the area’s favoured spots for adventure activities.
Yelbong has the best canyon trek in North Bengal and one can find many spectacular waterfalls  inside the jungle, perfect for resting and enjoying a peaceful time. 
During this trek  you will come across ‘Rainbow waterfall’ – A waterfall that spreads rainbow colour and the ‘Three-step waterfall’. 
The cave system  is about 2 kms long and it is the only river canyon cave which is of this length in North Bengal.

How to reach Yelbong:
You can reach this place in generally 3 hours from either Siliguri or New Mal Junction station. Take the road towards Bagrakot which is 18 km from both these places and from here, Yelbong is merely 7 Km away.

Where to stay:  Yelbong Homestay

Written by: Prerna.S
Prerna is a senior member of the OurGuest team and has many years of experience in the hospitality sector having worked with companies such as Taj, Hyatt, ITC, Club Mahindra and Ambuja Hospitality. She is also a Master’s Degree holder in English Literature from Calcutta University and is a voracious reader. She is fluent in multiple languages including Bengali, Hindi, English and Nepali. Having grown up in a myriad of places during her childhood due to her father’s transferable job as a police officer, she is influenced by all the cultures and people that she came into contact with, and this is evident in her personality and writing. She loves to travel and write during her free time and is addicted to trivia. She is married to a Sikkimese person and lives with her pet cat Jeeru in Gangtok.

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