If u reach Bagdogra (the nearest airport) by 2 pm you can go and hire a taxi and reach Darjeeling the same day.
It takes around 3 hours by taxi from Bagdogra. Try avoiding traveling on the hills in the evenings and the night especially in the month of December-February as there is always thick fog and the visibility is not very good. The drivers are real experts though. If u leave from Bagdogra in the morning u can leave by around 7 am. This way you will get enough time to visit some places in Darjeeling the same day.
In Darjeeling hotels are easy to find and u can find them in almost all gullies. Hovever for your trip to be more exotic I would suggest this.
Staying in Darjeeling.
Try finding a hotel from whose windows you can get a clear view of the mighty Himalayas.
The sunrise over the Kanchenjungha mountain is simply splendid and what can be a better way to start holiday morning with the picturesque view of the mighty mountains. Therefore the very first question you should ask a person when you reach the reception is whether the window gives a view of the mountains? Our dormitory used to have such a view and lemme tell you … right from 4 in the morning to 7 in the morning there is a very unique thing that one gets to witness. It's this .. in the moonlight you can see the mountains in the yellowish color and as the morning makes it way into our lives you will find the color change from yellow to purple to red to orange to golden to white…!!
It leaves you mesmerized and the beauty thrilled. Hotels near “The Mall” are nice and good. So u can try that. There were no five star hotels there till we were there so I don’t know if one has come up recently.
Places to go. There are quite a few places that you would want to go to depending on what excites you.
You will not find many discotheques or pubs .., but what you will get is your full of Nature…
And it’s the best thing to enjoy there…
You can go to the main points namely the
Botanical Garden ( it has a huge and awesome collection of Orchids and the flora of the Himalayas )
The Zoo (There are some nice species there.. The Himalayan Bear, Pandas, Snow Leopards, Siberian Tigers to name a few)
Make sure you visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. Here u can get the actual view of the paraphernalia that were used by Tenzing Norway in his Everest Expedition. This place also has an indoor rock climbing place where you can try your hands.
If you want to try rock climbing or rock rappling on the real rocks then you can try them at the Tenzing Rock and Gombu Rock.
You can also go to the Rock Garden and a Ganga Maiya park which is quite beautiful as it in the valley between pine trees...very picturesque environment. There are regular taxis that take you there. You go to the base of the hills so it’s a nice drive with tea gardens on the hill slopes.
On the way you might as well go and see inside the tea factory and get urself surrounded by tea leaves in the plantations… with ladies plucking the tea leaves.
Of course when you come back … do get some of the world famous Darjeeling tea… Nathmull’s is a good place to buy the right choice of tea. Very aromatic and sure to please your senses…
When you go towards Northpoint you will come to the Rope-way to a tea estate below... It’s a wonderful ride as it takes you over the tea gardens… and it’s a beautiful experience…
Of course... just beside the ropeway is my School St Joseph’s College, North Point. If you happen then do get some snaps of my alma mater and send them over to me.
Inside and around Darjeeling there are other attractions like the Batasia Loop, just before the Ghoom Railway Station . If you have hired a taxi from Bagdogra, one can stop over and have a look at the amazing omega shaped railway track that the toy train takes on its way to Darjeeling. You also get a very pleasant view of the mighty mountains from here.
If the toy train is running still you can take a ride on it and imagine yourself like Saif Ali Khan in Parineeta!!!
Thupten Sangag Choling (Dali) and Yiga - Choling(Ghoom) - the Buddhist monasteries of Bhutan Busty and the Japanese Peace Pagoda are also nice places to visit.
Inside Darjeeling the best way to travel is on foot. Checking out the local cuisines and the Local handicrafts. There is a huge Tibetan community there who sell some really nice handicrafts. The momos are a delicacy there and you will find them almost everywhere.
If you want to do shopping the best place is the Chowrasta and the Mahakal Market. You can even go to the Chowrasta for a evening walk or a horse ride. The Oxford book store and the Amigoz restaurant at the Chowrasta are impressive. There are a lot of foreign goods that are available there on the streets and in the shops…
While going towards the Chowrasta comes an old hotel by the name Glenary’s where you get one of the best Bakery stuff. A hot cup of coffee in the cafeteria there, on a cold overlooking the Himalayas pure bliss!!!!
If you want to try burgers and hot-dogs try some at the Keventer’s.
From the Chowrasta there is a way that goes to the North point (the place of the ropeway and my school ) that is around 2.5 kms and the Zoo, the Mountaineering Institute come in the way. Therefore I suggest to walk this small distance.
The taxi wallahs do charge exorbitant rates especially for tourists.
If you have a spare day after roaming the places in Darjeeling you can go for White Water Rafting in the Teesta river. The drive down to the river is around 2 hours through pine forests and Tea gardens. And the water of the mountain river is chilly but its fun…! I had gone there some 6 years ago and it was an awesome experience…!
The other option that most tourists do is to hire a guide and they take you to some 5 or 6 points and say that’s it all is there in Darjeeling; which I don’t quite agree.
If you have any doubt ever in your stay in Darjeeling, Contact the DGHC (Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council) offices that is situated at quite a few places there. They will be able to guide you.
Although it has been quite a while since I went to Darjeeling but the memories still is afresh and will be there all life long. If you need anything else .. Just feel free to bug me .. I will answer it if I can!