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21 Best Offbeat Places in North Bengal – Gateway to the Eastern Himalayas

Last Updated on May 9, 2024

Having spent the largest part of my life in Kolkata, it's quite surprising to many that I had not ventured into the northern part of my state, West Bengal till the last couple of years. It's only in the last couple of years that I frequented this region and discovered the hidden gem that is North Bengal.

In this article I'm going to talk about the best offbeat places in North Bengal which has reasonably good tourist infrastructure for a pleasant holiday.

The post contains affiliate links for tours, hotels etc. This means if you make any purchase through the links in the post, I may get a commission without any additional cost to you.

Dooars Region

Let's begin with the Dooars – that literally means “gateway”. It loosely refers to the districts of Jalpaiguri and Alipur Duaar, located at the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas. The distinct feature of this landscape is the tea estates. Unlike the ones in the hills, these are mostly in flat lands, and you see them wherever you go. Often ignored for the bigger attractions like Darjeeling, or Sikkim, this is one of the most pleasant, offbeat places to travel in India.

Sculpture of the four iconic animals of North Bengal's forests - elephant, one-horned rhino, bison and Leopard at a vantage point in a beautiful landscaped park of Batabari Tourism Property, where we stayed

Dooars Travel Tips

Best time to Visit Dooars: November to January, winter is the best time to spot wildlife in Dooars. The cool weather under the bright sun makes it perfect for sightseeing during the day. Nights get colder and calls for some bonfire under the starry sky.

Weather in Dooars: Dooars has temperate weather. It is much cooler than Kolkata and the rest of Bengal, but not as chilly as Kalimpong or Darjeeling. That's why winter and Spring is the best time to visit Dooars.

Commute: You can book car from any Siliguri-based tour operator which charge as per seasonal rates.

Accommodation: In Dooars, only a handful of hotels offer reliable power and water supply, ensuring a comfortable stay. Notably, these establishments are situated in the Chalsa and Batabari areas.

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1. Siliguri

Me in a neon green top holding my little toddler in blue while enjoying the winter sun in the resplendant tea garden of North Bengal

Siliguri, often seen as just a transit point, is a destination brimming with surprises. This city is a perfect blend of urban vibrancy and serene natural beauty, offering a unique mix of cultural, spiritual, and natural attractions that cater to every traveler's taste.

From the thrill of Savin Kingdom, a castle-themed amusement park, to the tranquility of the Salugara Monastery and its impressive 100-foot stupa, Siliguri invites you to experience the diverse facets of life in North Bengal.

You can visit the Bengal Safari Park, home to a rich variety of fauna. While it is not as big and wild as the other places in Dooars region I am going to cover in the article, it is defintiely a feather on the tourism cap of Siliguri.

The North Bengal Science Centre offers a fascinating journey through the wonders of science with its interactive exhibits and digital planetarium.

The bustling markets like Hong Kong Market and Bidhan Market are a paradise for shoppers and foodies, offering a glimpse into the local lifestyle and delicacies.

Every time I travel to North Bengal with my kid, I make sure to reach Siliguri the day before my train or flight back. Not only is it comfortable, buy it also gives me a chance to explore the beautiful city a bit.

2. Murti

Murti river as seen from the Murti viewpoint, with the river bed visible as the water dries up partially during the winter

Murti, an enchanting destination in North Bengal, is named after the Murti River that flows through the region. This idyllic spot is located in the Dooars area, known for its lush green landscapes and rich biodiversity. Murti offers a perfect blend of tranquility and natural beauty, making it an ideal getaway for nature lovers and peace seekers.

The Murti River itself is a major attraction, with its clear waters and serene surroundings. Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks along the riverbank, indulge in picnics, or simply relax by the water, taking in the peaceful ambiance. The river is also a popular spot for angling, adding to the area's charm.

Surrounding Murti are the Gorumara and Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuaries, which are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. These sanctuaries offer excellent opportunities for wildlife spotting, including elephants, Indian bison, and various species of deer. Birdwatchers will also find the area to be a paradise, with numerous bird species inhabiting the forests.

The culture of Murti is closely linked to the natural environment and the local tribal communities. The traditions and lifestyles of these communities, particularly their relationship with nature, are fascinating to explore.

You can also book a jeep safari in the early morning or early evening slot for the best chance to see exotic species.

Murti is also known for its tea gardens, which contribute to the picturesque landscape. The tea produced in this region is highly regarded for its quality and flavor. A visit to a nearby tea garden, where one can witness the tea-making process and enjoy a fresh cup of tea, is a delightful experience.

How to Reach: Murti is accessible from Siliguri, which is about 80 km away. The journey via NH10 is scenic, passing through the lush landscapes of the Dooars region.

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3. Samsing

A bridge connectig the two sides of the road split by the mountain river Murti. The big rocks on the river bed give this location its name Rock Garden

Samsing is a picturesque village perched at an elevation of 3000ft, offering serene landscapes and an escape into nature. This tranquil hamlet is renowned for its lush tea gardens, dense forests, and the enchanting Murti River, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful retreat.

Explore the Samsing Rock Garden, a natural retreat where a serene waterfall and a gentle river create a peaceful sanctuary. Here, you can enjoy strolls, listen to the soothing sounds of water, and have picnics surrounded by lush greenery. This spot is perfect for photographers and nature lovers, offering a picturesque blend of flora and water.

You'll find the vibrant hues of Samsing's cardamom plantations and orange orchards particularly striking from October to February when the trees are laden with fruit. The journey to Samsing itself is an experience, with routes winding through scenic tea gardens and offering stunning views of mountains and valleys.

Samsing also acts as a gateway to the Neora Valley National Park. Trekking routes starting from Suntale Khola lead through the national park's pristine forests, offering panoramic views of the Himalayas and the Dooars plains. This experience combines the thrill of adventure with the beauty of untouched nature, making Samsing a must-visit destination for offbeat travel enthusiasts.

How to Reach: Situated about 82 km from Siliguri, Samsing is reachable via NH10. The drive through tea gardens and dense forests is as enjoyable as the destination itself. However the road to rock garden is rough and narrow.

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4. Jaldapara-Chilapata Range

Spotting a rhino in the grasslands of Jaldapara Forest, Chilapata Range

If you want to choose just one out of the numerous safaris in Dooars, then Jaldapara is the top pick. Because of the grasslands and slightly less dense forests, it offers the best wildlife viewings.

Jaldapara National Park, along with the Chilapata Forest, forms an essential part of the region's wildlife circuit. Jaldapara is known for its significant population of one-horned rhinoceros, while Chilapata adds historical depth with its ancient ruins.

Elephant safaris and jeep tours in Jaldapara are popular, offering close encounters with wildlife. Chilapata Forest is ideal for a jungle walk and exploring the Nal Rajar Garh ruins.

This is one of the best places to visit in winter as it offers the perfect setting for wildlife watching.

How to Reach: The area is about 124 km from Siliguri. Regular buses and rental cars are available for the journey, which takes you through the heart of the Dooars region.

5. Moner Manush

Me with my little one enjoying the winter sun at the bank of river Moner Manush

Located close to the Chilapata forest checkpost, Moner Manush is a tranquil retreat nestled in the heart of nature. This location is less frequented by tourists, making it a perfect spot for those seeking solitude and a connection with the natural world. The area's rustic charm and picturesque landscapes offer a peaceful escape.

How to Reach: Easily accessible from Siliguri, Moner Manush is about 90 km away. The drive is scenic, passing through the lush greenery of the Dooars region.

Activities: The area is ideal for nature walks, bird watching, and enjoying the serene ambiance. The simplicity of the surroundings provides a perfect backdrop for relaxation and reflection.

6. Jhalong – An offbeat wonder near Bindu

Mountain river during the sunset against distant forest

If you visit dooars, every tourist brochure will have Bindu in the itinerary. Bindu is the starting point of the Jaldhaka river and a famous picnic spot that tends to get crowded in the peak seasons. However, if you walk for not more than 10 minutes you can find a tranquil spot away from the vendors and crowd to enjoy the abundance of nature. Gauribas is also a major tourist spot which offers spectacular views of the Jaldhaka river from top.

Jhalong on the other hand is an offbeat wonder that's only frequented by the locals. Located on the banks of the Jaldhaka River, it is a haven for birdwatchers. The river's proximity to the Indo-Bhutan border adds an element of intrigue to this destination. The area is known for its peaceful environment and picturesque river views.

How to Reach: Jhalong is about 100 km from Siliguri, and the journey takes you through diverse landscapes, including tea gardens and dense forests.

Activities: Bird watching is a popular activity, with the area being home to a variety of species. Visitors can also explore the nearby Bindu Dam and enjoy the tranquil river views.

7. Gorumara National Park

Driving through the dense jungles in offbeat north Bengal

Gorumara National Park is a wildlife enthusiast's paradise, known for its elephant safaris and diverse fauna. The park's watchtowers offer captivating views and opportunities to spot wildlife.

Wildlife safaris, bird watching, and visiting the watchtowers for panoramic views of the park are popular activities. The park's rich biodiversity makes it a must-visit for nature.

How to Reach: Located about 80 km from Siliguri, Gorumara is easily accessible by road. The journey takes you through the heart of the Dooars region, with its lush landscapes and tea gardens.

Buxa Jayanti Region

Buxa Jayanti, is a captivating blend of natural beauty and historical significance. This area, comprising the Buxa Tiger Reserve and the quaint village of Jayanti, offers an idyllic escape from city life, immersing you in a world of dense forests, diverse wildlife, and serene river landscapes.

It is located more than 100 km from Murti. While a day trip is possible, I highly recommend staying in Buxa Jayanti region to explore it properly. That's precisely why I have put it in a separate section instead of clubbing it with Dooars, like most tour operators try to do.

8. Buxa Tiger Reserve

Rugged terrain of the Buxa forest leading to ruins of an old fort.
Buxa Fort – Photo by Moon Ray

Buxa Tiger Reserve, a biodiverse haven, is home to a rich variety of wildlife, including elephants, barking deers, and peacocks, commonly sighted on the way to Jayanti. The reserve's dense sub-tropical forests provide a thrilling experience for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.

Trekking through the dense jungles not only promises encounters with the reserve's inhabitants but also leads to the majestic Buxa Fort. Perched at a vantage point, the British-era fort offers breathtaking views and a peek into history, recounting tales of freedom fighters and ancient settlers.

9. Jayanti Village

Jayanti village, situated along the Jayanti River, is known for its picturesque setting and the “Queen of Dooars” moniker. The river, forming a natural border with the Bhutan hills, is a sight to behold, especially during the monsoon when it's brimming with water. In other seasons, the dry riverbed with its white pebbles creates a stunning contrast against the backdrop of lush greenery and distant hills.

For the adventurous, the trek to Mahakal Cave is a must-do. This sacred cave, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is located along the shores of the Jayanti River and requires a trek through the dense forests of Buxa. The journey is as enchanting as the destination, with rich flora and fauna accompanying you along the way.

Pokhari Hill, near Jayanti, is another attraction worth visiting. A sacred lake atop the hill is revered by the Buddhist and local communities. The trek to Pokhari Hill, passing through serene forests, offers stunning views of the river and the surrounding landscapes.

How to Reach: The area is approximately 180 km from Siliguri, with road connections through Alipurduar.

10. Cooch Behar

Palatial building in red and white standing tall against the sunny blue sky with a hugfe green lawn in front of it.
Cooch Behar Palace -Photo by Moon Ray (Nomadic Moon)

When in Buxa-Jayanti, don't miss a day trip to Cooch Behar. This princely town in North Bengal is a treasure trove of historical grandeur and cultural richness.

The prime center of attraction is the Coochbehar Palace, which resembles the Buckingham Palace. Marvel at this classical Western-style edifice, which showcases elegant metal domes and arcaded verandahs, symbolizing the fusion of European and Indian influences.

If you have 2-3 days in Cooch Behar, you can explore not only the heritage sites but also the culturally immersive experiences.

Explore the Madan Mohan Temple, a serene sanctuary constructed between 1885 and 1887. This white temple, with its large dome and multiple arch-shaped entrances, is a peaceful retreat in the bustling town. The temple, dedicated to deities like Madan Mohan and Kali Ma, comes alive during the month-long Rash Mela and Rash Yatra celebrations, typically held between November and December.

Wander around Sagardighi, a large pond in the city center, offering a tranquil setting perfect for introspection. A favorite among bird enthusiasts, it attracts numerous migratory birds in winter, adding to its charm. The pond, built during the reign of Maharaja Hitendra Narayan, reflects Cooch Behar's royal past.

Discover the Baneswar Shiva Temple, a mere 10 km from Cooch Behar's center. This temple, housing a unique Shivalinga and a statue of Ardhanarishvara, is surrounded by a large pond teeming with tortoises. Visit during Shiv Chaturdashi to witness the temple's vibrant fair.

For nature lovers, Rasik Bill is a must-visit. This serene lake, encircled by dense sal forests, is a birdwatcher's paradise, especially in winter when migratory waterfowl grace its waters.

How to Reach: Located about 160 km from Siliguri, Coochbehar is well-connected by road and rail, making it easily accessible.

Kalimpong District

Tall Pine trees on both sides of the beautiful road in the Kalimpong District of West Bengal. The clear winter sky provides an alluring backdrop.

Kalimpong District, the newest district in West Bengal, carved out from Darjeeling district in 2017, stands as a pivotal region in North Bengal. Located approximately 65 kilometers from Siliguri, it marks the transition into the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, nestled within the Eastern Himalayas.

The region is distinguished by its strategic position as the last stretch of North Bengal before one venture into the geopolitically significant area of Gorkhaland. Kalimpong town, the district headquarters, is perched at an altitude of about 4,101 feet, offering a mild and temperate climate that attracts visitors year-round.

Check out the breathtakingly beautiful, offbeat places near Kalimpong.

Kalimpong Travel Tips

Best time to Visit Kalimpong: November to December if you enjoy the cold weather, April to May if you are not a fan of winter. However, I love the time in November to December, when chances of rainfall are low, and the clear sky provides amazing views of distant peaks.

Weather in Kalimpong: Kalimpong has cool weather throughout the year. So, it makes a great summer getaway destination.

Commute in Kalimpong: You can book car from any Siliguri-based tour operator; however, it is better to reach Kalimpong and hire a cab from local travel agency. There are restrictions to parking in areas like Kalimpong market and some offbeat destinations in the district for vehicles hired from outside Kalimpong.

Accommodation: I love staying in Deolo Hills as it provides great views of Kanchenjunga. But it tends to get really cold here in the winter. If you don't like the chills, you can choose staying in lower altitude like Kalimpong town.

I highly recommend homestays in Charkhole and Lolegaon for an offbeat experience. My Top picks are Yuru Retreat in Deolo Hills, Mayfair Resort and Spa – a premium luxury resort in Kalimpong town.

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11. Lava

Misty views of the road as seen from the Lava Monastery

Lava is a small but picturesque hill station, serving as a gateway to Neora Valley National Park. This quaint hamlet, located roughly 99 kilometers from Siliguri and about 34 kilometers from Kalimpong, sits at an altitude of approximately 7,016 feet, offering visitors a cool and misty climate throughout the year.

Among Lava's many attractions, the Lava Monastery is most significant, offer the largest monastery in West Bengal and Sikkim. The heart-warming place is perched at a high altitude providing scenic panoramic views in the serene ambience of the Buddhist monastery.

Drive through the Neora Valley national park and spend some time watching birds and exploring the floral diversity of the region. If extremely lucky you might even spot a red Panda.

If you are up for some adventure, the trekking routes leading to the Rachela Pass present an opportunity to witness the untouched beauty of the Eastern Himalayas.

How to Reach: Located approximately 100 km from Siliguri, Lava is reachable by road. The journey is scenic, with the route winding through mountainous terrain and dense forests.

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12. Lolegaon and Charkhole

Me with my toddler and my family posing with a lovely dog at Charkhole - clear blue sky, greenery and flowers all aroung.

Lolegaon and Charkhole are two of the most beautiful offbeat places to visit near Kalimpong.

The Canopy Walk in Lolegaon, a hanging footbridge through the treetops, is a unique attraction, providing a different perspective of the forest. Unfortunately, it is closed now, but there's so much more to enjoy in this offbeat place in North Bengal.

The Lolegaon eco park is a perfect place for a family retreat, which, on a clear day treats you with the lovely views of Kanchenjunga. A day trip to Charkhole will take you to a hidden hamlet located 26km from Lolegaon and 15 km from Lava.

Charkhole has multiple vantage points offering majestic panoramic views of the Eastern Himalayas, including the Kanchenjunga range. The road from Kalimpong to Lolegaon is in fabulous shape and is surrounding pine forests add to the scenic beauty of this trip.

How to Reach: Situated around 124 km from Siliguri, Lolegaon is accessible by road. The journey offers stunning views of the mountainous landscape.

13. Deolo Hill

The governor's bunglow which has now been turned into a hotel inside the Delo park at Dareeling . The horses are waiting for tourists.

Perched at an altitude of approximately 5,500 feet, Deolo Hills offers one of the most picturesque landscapes in North Bengal. Located about 6 kilometers from the Kalimpong town, Deolo Hills is relatively serene, tucked away from the crowd of the town and market area.

You might have noticed me mentioning Kanchenjunga a lot in this article. It is the third highest peak in the world, and Deolo Hills is one of the best viewpoints of Kanchenjunga from the Indian side.

At the center of Deolo hills is the Deolo Park, a colonial-era landscaped park that used to the home of the governor. You can spend hours of quality family-time in the park, enjoying sunset walks, flower gardens, horse riding and children's park.

Another top attraction here is the paragliding camp. There are many certified paragliding centers where you can safely book the adventure.

Very close to Deolo Hills, there's the Kalimpong Science City, Buddha Park and Hanuman Park – all of which offer spectacular views of the region. Science City is my favorite spot in Kalimpong besides Delo Park.

How to Reach: Deolo Hill is about 70 km from Siliguri and is easily accessible by road. The drive offers picturesque views of the Himalayan range and the Teesta River.

14. Icchegaon

Large trees in the mountains against the backdrop of clear winter sky make Icchegaon charming

Icchegaon, a quaint village in the Kalimpong district of West Bengal, is a hidden jewel waiting to be discovered. Perched at an altitude of around 5800 feet, this serene hamlet offers stunning views of the Kanchenjunga and the surrounding Himalayan range. Known for its tranquility and natural beauty, Icchegaon is an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat in the lap of nature.

The village's strategic location provides breathtaking panoramic views, especially at sunrise and sunset, when the sky and the mountain peaks are bathed in golden hues. Short hikes and nature-walks around the village are perfect for exploring the area's flora and fauna. Birdwatching is another popular activity, with the region being home to a variety of bird species.

Icchegaon's culture is deeply rooted in its rural and traditional lifestyle. Visitors have the opportunity to experience the local customs and way of life, which is a blend of Nepali and Lepcha influences. The warmth and hospitality of the villagers add to the charm of this destination.

A specialty of Icchegaon is its organic farming practices. The village is known for its cultivation of cardamom, oranges, and other local produce. Sampling these fresh and organic products is a delightful experience for visitors. The village also offers traditional handicrafts and handloom products, showcasing the skill and artistry of the local artisans.

Accommodation in Icche gaon is primarily in the form of homestays, which provide a cozy and homely atmosphere. These homestays, such as the Pine View Homestay, offer basic yet comfortable amenities, ensuring a pleasant stay amidst the serene environment.

15. Ambiok

Buddha Statue at a hairpin belt with rolling tea gardens of Ambiok all around. Me in blue top standing with my little one in blue-yellow hoodie.

As we drove towards Lava from Dooars, a scenic viewpoint with a Buddha Statue at a hairpin belt caught our attention. What is this place, I wondered, but not for too long. Because there stood a photo-op “I Love Ambiok” right beside the gate of the tiny Buddha Park.

Ambiok is not just a viewpoint, but a perfect offbeat retreat in Kalimpong. The area around Ambiok is a tapestry of natural beauty, offering more than just a visual treat. It's a gateway to exploring the lesser-known facets of the Kalimpong District, with scenic tourist spots that beckon travelers seeking solace and adventure alike.

The rolling hills of Ambiok are covered in lush green tea plantations where you can stroll as you please. A little further is the Chel Khola river that flows through the tea plantations. The best views of the river is seen from the Hanuman temple at Gorubathan.

How to Reach: Situated around 90 km from Siliguri, Ambiok is accessible by road. The journey takes you through picturesque landscapes, including forests and tea gardens.

16. Rishyap

Tall pine trees of Rishop at 8500 feet altitude

Rishyap, a quaint village nestled in the heart of the Eastern Himalayas, offers a pristine getaway for those seeking solace amidst nature's untouched beauty.

Perched at an altitude of about 8,500 feet, Rishyap offers a serene environment where the only sounds are the chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves. The village is accessible via a winding road through dense forests, adding to the charm and adventure of reaching this secluded spot.

One of the highlights of Rishyap is the opportunity for trekking and exploring the rich biodiversity of the Neora Valley National Park. The park, a sanctuary for countless species of flora and fauna, including the elusive red panda, offers trails that range from easy walks to challenging hikes. For the more adventurous, the trek to Tiffin Dara is a must. This viewpoint offers a 360-degree view of the Himalayan ranges, with stunning sunrises and sunsets that are truly mesmerizing.

Apart from its natural beauty, Rishyap also serves as a base for exploring nearby attractions such as the Changey Waterfalls, and the mystic Kolakham village. Each of these destinations adds a unique flavor to the Rishyap experience, making it a comprehensive retreat into nature, culture, and adventure.

Darjeeling Region

Darjeeling District, renowned for its sprawling tea gardens and breathtaking views of the Himalayas, is a significant region in North Bengal, India. It is located approximately 65 kilometers from Siliguri, serving as a major tourist destination known for its cultural diversity, historical significance, and natural beauty. The district's elevation, which ranges from the plains to the towering heights of the Himalayas, contributes to its unique climate and rich biodiversity, making it ideal for tea cultivation and a haven for nature enthusiasts.

As soon as you enter the district you are greeted with the message on the signboard “You are in the Gorkhaland Territory”. This region, though a part of the state of West Bengal, is partially self-governed owing to its distinct cultural identity. The most commonly spoken language in this region is Nepalese.

17. Tinchuley

Me with my little one in winter clothing at the tea gardens of Tinchuley. The snow-covered Kanchenjunga visible at the horizon

Tinchuley stands as a hidden jewel nestled within the ethereal landscapes of North Bengal, offering a serene escape to nature enthusiasts and peace seekers. This quaint hamlet, whose name translates to ‘three chullas' (or ovens), is aptly named for the three prominent hilltops that resemble the shape of traditional ovens.

Located just about 32 kilometers from Darjeeling and in close proximity to both Kalimpong and Siliguri, Tinchuley offers a tranquil retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life, making it an ideal destination for those in search of peace and natural beauty.

I visited it on my first trip to Darjeeling when I skipped all the major tourist spots of Darjeeling town due to the excessive crowd and traffic conjestion.I headed straight to the countryside of the Darjiling district and didn't regret.

The Tinchuley tea gardens are open to tourists unlike the famous Happy Valley tea estate of Darjeeling town. From here you can see the majestic Kanchenjunga on a clear day. On an overcast day, there is a dreamlike mystic charm in the surroundings. Among its most notable attractions is the Tinchuley Monastery, offering a glimpse into the spiritual life of the region and a chance to experience the tranquility of Buddhist practices.

Moreover, Tinchuley’s vicinity to other tourist spots like the Gumbadara viewpoint, with its striking views of the Teesta River, and the picturesque orange orchards, add to the charm of visiting this serene hamlet

How to Reach: Located roughly 80 km from Siliguri, Tinchuley is accessible by road. The journey takes you through scenic landscapes, including tea gardens and mountainous terrain.

18. Kurseong

Sunset at Kurseong Tea Estates

Kurseong, often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor Darjeeling, is a hidden gem in North Bengal. Known as the ‘Land of White Orchids', Kurseong offers a serene and less crowded alternative to the bustling hill stations. Its mild climate throughout the year makes it an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat in the hills.

This charming town is dotted with beautiful tea gardens like Makaibari and Castleton, offering breathtaking views and insights into the tea production process. Visitors can take guided tours of the tea estates and indulge in tea tasting sessions. The Eagle's Craig viewpoint provides panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and mountains, including the majestic Kanchenjunga on a clear day.

Kurseong is also home to several historical and cultural sites. The Dow Hill area, with its haunted forest and century-old Victoria Boys School, adds a touch of mystery to the town. The Giddapahar Seti Mata Temple and Ambotia Shiva Mandir offer spiritual solace amidst scenic settings.

For those looking to savor local flavors, Kurseong has a range of cafes and restaurants that offer a mix of local, Indian, and international cuisine. Cochrane Place is popular for its colonial ambiance and delicious food, while Margaret's Deck offers a unique tea lounge experience with stunning views. The town also has a variety of eateries serving traditional Nepali and Tibetan dishes, allowing visitors to explore the local culinary landscape.

19. Lamahatta

Huge trees of Lamahatta Eco Park and me sitting there with my little one.

Lamahatta is an eco-tourism village known for its serene pine forests, walking trails, and a tranquil pond. The area's natural beauty and peaceful ambiance make it an ideal spot for relaxation and nature exploration.

The Lamahatta eco park is the center of attraction – the perfect retreat for families. But besides enjoying this beautiful garden, you can also trek through the pine forests to the lake at the top of the hill. There are some good places to eat and shop for handicrafts in Lamahatta.

How to Reach: Around 80 km from Siliguri, Lamahatta is reachable by road. The journey offers scenic views of the lush forests and tea gardens.

20. Takdah

Stunning views of Takdah Orchid center with yellow flowers blooming against the green house in the backdrop

This hidden gem, cloaked in mists and surrounded by lush tea gardens, is approximately 28 kilometers from Darjeeling town and about 45 kilometers from Kalimpong, making it an accessible yet secluded getaway for those traversing North Bengal's picturesque landscapes

Significant for its colonial-era bungalows and sprawling tea estates, Takdah presents a step back in time with its old-world charm. The region was once a favored destination for British officials seeking respite from the Indian summer, and today, these bungalows have been repurposed into cozy homestays, offering visitors a taste of historical luxury amidst nature's bounty.

The prime center of attraction in Takdah is the Orchid Center which is home to some of the most exotic variety of Himalayan flowers. You can also enjoy walking in the mystic Pine forests in Takdah.

How to Reach: Takdah is approximately 28 km from Darjeeling town and can be reached by road. The drive through the winding mountain roads is an experience in itself.

21. In and Around Mirik

My excited toddler in neon green t-shirt enjoying in the huge part of Mirik Lake.

Nestled amidst the verdant hills of North Bengal, Mirik is renowned for its serene lake, lush tea gardens, and the tranquil beauty that encapsulates the region. With Mirik Lake and the verdant park built around it, Mirik can no longer be called “offbeat”. It is in fact the most famous day trip destination from Darjeeling. It is the second most popular tourist spot in the Darjiling district.

However, the areas surrounding Mirik are dotted with offbeat gems that beckon the intrepid traveler seeking paths less trodden. Exploring these places offers a unique glimpse into the serene beauty and cultural richness of the region, making for an unforgettable journey beyond the well-known attractions of Mirik.

Just a short drive from Mirik, the enchanting village of Soureni stands as a testament to the region's natural beauty and agricultural bounty. Known for its vibrant tea gardens that stretch as far as the eye can see, Soureni provides a peaceful retreat and an insider’s look into the tea-producing culture of the Darjeeling district.

Further off the beaten path, Bunkulung, or Bungkulung, offers an immersive experience into rural life amidst the mountains. This agricultural village, nestled along the banks of the Balason River, is gaining popularity for its community-based tourism initiatives. Visitors can engage in agricultural activities, enjoy organic meals, and take part in river camping, making it a perfect spot for those looking to connect with nature and local traditions.

Another hidden treasure near Mirik is the orange orchards of Rangbhang. This area comes alive with hues of orange during the harvest season, offering a picturesque setting for leisurely walks and picnics. The orchards also provide a unique opportunity to learn about the local agricultural practices and the significance of orange farming to the region's economy.

For the more adventurous souls, the trek to Phuguri Tea Estate presents an exhilarating challenge. This offbeat trek through dense forests and along undulating tea gardens offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, culminating in a visit to one of the highest tea estates in the region, where one can savor a fresh brew straight from the source.

Well, that's a wrap to my list of top offbeat destinations in North Bengal. The entire region is fairly unexplored, with Darjeeling stealing all the limelight. You can truly experience the local culture, the warmth of the hosts and the beauty of nature in this part of India. And all that in a less commercial and affordable way.

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So get ready to visit North Bengal in the Spring and Summer.

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  1. What a beautiful region, and one that I knew almost nothing about before reading this. I am almost embarrassed to admit that I didn’t even know Darjeeling was a place (just a tea).

    1. Sinjana Ghosh says:

      Thanks Rhonda. I feel the same way when i read posts about offbeat places in USA and other parts of the world. Darjeeling is a very famous hill station in India.

  2. So many unique locations! I would love to have a picnic near Bindu and the Jaldhaka river! As a tea lover, would not want to miss the Tinchuley tea gardens either! thanks for the inspiration

    1. Sinjana Ghosh says:

      Thanks Anna. Tinchuley is beautiful

  3. Great, detailed guide! I love how tall the trees in Lamahatta look! Need to add this destination to my list!

    1. Sinjana Ghosh says:

      Thanks for your comment. Lamahatta and the entire region from Kalimpong to Darjeeling is filled with these trees.

  4. Siliguri my favorite.

    1. Sinjana Ghosh says:

      I love Siliguri too.

  5. Such a collection of beautiful destinations! I am going to check our itinerary and see if we can add some of these for our visit next year! Thanks for the info!

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