Top 3 Offbeat Destinations in North Bengal [Expert Picks]
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Did you know that North Bengal is home to nearly 400 elephants?
Along with the allure of abundant wildlife, it is also interspersed with tea gardens, beautiful landscapes, mountains, rail, and roadways.
Beautiful places like Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Sikkim, Coochbehar, Alipurduar, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, and Malda together make up North Bengal.
Park, sanctuaries, temples, and tea gardens are found here, giving you great opportunities to experience the varied and quaint attractions of cities and towns.
The offbeat destinations in North Bengal promise pretty memorable locations if you’re adventurous enough to undertake this journey.
Holidaying in the North Bengal will make you fall in love with hills (if you aren’t yet).
Read below to fall in love with these off the beat places of North Bengal.
Darjeeling – The Popular Off the Beat Destination
One of the most popular hill stations in India, Darjeeling is surrounded by emerald-green tea plantations and towering mountains, one of them being the majestic Kanchenjunga.
Top Attractions in Darjeeling
The beautiful tea gardens on the slopes of rolling hills, lush vegetation, winding tracks, valleys, and monasteries, with the additional temptation of momos (the noteworthy local cuisine) and charming rides on the toy train, guarantee a vacation to cherish forever.
Best time to visit Darjeeling
The best time to visit Darjeeling is between the months of April and June.
The weather during these months is very pleasant.
If you love winter and snow, then November to January is the best month for you to visit.
How to reach?
The nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal. You can hire a private taxi which takes around 3 hours to reach Darjeeling from the airport.
Offbeat Places to Visit in Darjeeling
Let’s check out what fun things can be done while holidaying in Darjeeling. Here is a list of all offbeat places in the Darjeeling district you must explore!
- Namthing Pokhari– Located at Shelpu Hills of Darjeeling district, the lake is the natural habitat of beautiful birds, butterflies, and some wild animals.
It is an excellent opportunity to experience nature intimately in the hills.
- Latpanchar– It is a hotspot for bird watchers and photographers. The Rufous-necked Hornbill and many species of thrush, babbler, wabbler, flycatchers, and sunbirds nests in this area.
- Ahaldara – A hilltop that offers breathtaking views of sunrise and snow-capped Kanchenjunga peaks.
On a clear sunny day, Gangtok, Kalimpong, Algara, Bagora, and Tinchuley Hills are visible. It gives tourists a chance to fully take in the splendour of the mountain range.
- Latkothi– The British residence set up in 1920 is now a forest department bungalow surrounded by the vast stretch of Cinchona plantation. You must visit Latkothi, especially if you are a history fanatic.
- Mongpong- The town earned its name for cinchona plantation and the first government quinine factory was set up here in 1864.
The place became famous when Rabindranath Tagore visited this place four times between 1938 to 1940.
- Baghgora– An ideal place for a trek to Senchal Lake and bird watchers- work your muscles and your eyes!
- Chatakpur– A pristine village bounded by the Kanchenjunga in the North and the river gorge Relly Khola in the South.
It is a paradise for nature lovers. Some argue that it provides a better view of Kanchenjunga than even Tiger Hill, the prime viewing point.
- Dorjee– A popular and unique shop in Darjeeling that deals in the most fascinating and exotic collection of local oriental and Buddhist artifacts.
- Ramada by Wyndham- prices start from INR 4,500 per night.
- Chamong Chiabari- prices start from INR 14,000 per night.
- Central Gleneagles Heritage Resort– prices start from INR 4,000 per night.
- The Elgin- prices start from INR 8,000 per night.
- Mayfair Darjeeling- prices start from INR 7,000 per night.
Offbeat Destinations Near Darjeeling
Darjeeling is a tourist-friendly town that is used to travellers, as lots of people look for weekend getaways near Darjeeling. Places near Darjeeling are a perfect combination of hill stations, trekking spots, and wildlife sanctuaries.
Tourist places provide a perfect weekend escapade for laid back vacationers and adventurers alike. The places near Darjeeling showcase the beauty of the place and will offer an unforgettable travel experience.
Here are the offbeat places to visit near Darjeeling that guarantee plenty of refreshing sights and serene views:
For a wildlife lover, Lataguri is a dream come true. Located near Gorumara National Park, it is a place of flora and fauna. It is thrilling, captivating and something to cherish forever.
How to reach?
You can hire a taxi which takes around three and a half hours to reach Lataguri from Darjeeling.
Main Attractions in Lataguri
- Gorumara National Park- Explore the beautiful scenery of this park on a jeep. Main sightings include the Indian rhino, spotted deer and elephants. If you’re extremely lucky, you may spot a tiger.
- Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary- Witness animals like elephants, gaur and leopards in their natural habitat.
- Murti River- The place is best known for its tranquil atmosphere in the midst of the woods.
- Buxa Tiger Reserve- This reserve shelters some of the most celebrated animals like tigers, elephants, bison, sambar, wild boars etc. It is also rich in avifauna.
- Resort Sun & Services- prices start from INR 1,500 per night.
A little place that is about 19 km away from Darjeeling offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Replete with greenery, this place has a certain charm to it that is quite unexplainable.
How to reach?
You can hire a taxi which takes around one hour to reach Jorpokhri from Darjeeling.
Main Attractions in Jorpokhri
- Senchal Forest Area- Sanchel forest area is a natural reserve of dhupi and pine trees. Enjoy a nature walk to this area and visit the nearby tea gardens.
- Garden- The garden near the Jorpokhri Lake will mesmerize you with its varied flowers.
- Jorpokhri lake- The landscaped gardens and the water fountain near the lake will make you want to spend all of your day here.
- Mount Kanchenjunga- Visit Jorpokhri between October to April to capture a stunning profile of the beautiful mount Kanchenjunga.
- Jorpokhri Bungalow- prices start from INR 1,800 per night.
A quaint town in the Darjeeling District which is perfect to get away from the touristy crowd of Darjeeling town. Located 28 km away from the Darjeeling town, its tea gardens, nature trails and meandering streams can make any traveller fall in love with its spirit. There are a number of old British bungalows from the colonial era which make Takdah unparalleled in its beauty and charm.
How to reach?
You can hire a taxi which takes around one and a half hours to reach Takdah from Darjeeling.
Main Attractions in Takdah-
- Tea Gardens- Watch tea processing in the famous tea estates like The Rungli Rungliot tea estate, Gielle Tea Estate and the Teesta Valley Tea Estate.
- Takdah Orchid Centre- It is a place for rare orchids and other medicinal plants. You can spend some quiet time at the well-manicured gardens, green houses and mountains.
- Barbetey Bridge- This is a bridge connecting two villages. Walking down this long 100-year-old hanging bridge can be a great quite the adventure, but completely worth it.
- Takdah Monastery- The monastery was built in 1985 and follows the Buddhist Nyingma sect. From the monastery you can enjoy the panoramic view of the valley, and also give yourself the space to channelize your spirituality.
- British Bungalows- There are 12 heritage bungalows that are refurbished for hosting tourists. These bungalows are renovated keeping the old charm intact and modern facilities in mind.
- Takdah Palace- This beautiful bungalow was built by the King of Sonpur in 1911 in the British architectural style. This bungalow is a place of serenity.
- Dokan Dara- A local market in Takdah where you can see villagers buying and selling local goods. It is a great place to get an insight into the culture of the people.
- Saino Heritage Guesthouse- prices start from INR 1,500 per night.
- Sai Hridayam Guesthouse- prices start from INR 2,000 per night.
- Takdah Homestay- prices start from INR 1,000 per night.
- Forest Renthouse- prices start from INR 2,000 per night.
- Glenmarie Cottage- prices start from INR 1,500 per night.
Developed as an eco-tourism destination, Lamahatta is one of a kind. It has now grown as a major honeymoon destination. Located at a distance of 23 km from Darjeeling, Lamahatta is nature’s heaven at its purest.
How to reach?
You can hire a taxi which takes around one hour to reach Lamahatta from Darjeeling.
Main Attractions in Lamahatta-
- Lamahatta Eco Park- It is a great place to enjoy the bounteous views and meditate.
- Jungle trekking- You can trek from Lamahatta to Takdah through a maze of pine and dhupi trees.
- Cave Temple- Seek blessings at the oldest temple of Lamahatta, while being served a slice of local culture.
- Monastery- Visit Gumpa, which is the local monastery of the Lamahatta village.
- Everest Hut Resort- prices start from INR 1,500 per night.
- Kanchanjunga View Fooding & Lodging- prices start from INR 1,500 per night.
- Mountain View Food & lodging- prices start from INR 1,500 per night.
- Private lodge- prices start from INR 1,500 per night.
Chalsa is situated at the base of the Himalayas, in the Dooars region in the Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal. Surrounded by hills, tea gardens, free flowing streams and dense forests, the town was called Queen of Dooars during the British regime.
How to reach?
You can hire a taxi which takes around three hours to reach Chalsa from Darjeeling.
Main Attractions in Chalsa-
- Mangalbari Hat- This is the most famous weekly market in Chalsa, and a chance to purchase local products.
- National Parks- Witness wild animals and various birds in Gorumara National Park, Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaldapara National Park. These spots are homes to India’s pride- tigers, leopards, elephants and rhinos.
- Buxa Tiger Reserve- A paradise for nature lovers and trekkers. Spot animals like leopards, elephants, sambar and barking deer in Buxa Fort.
Hotel recommendationsSinclairs Retreat Dooars- prices start from INR 4,000 per night.
Kurseong – The Place of White Orchid
Kurseong is called the ‘Land of white orchids’. This place is home to temples, churches, museums, and Buddhist universities.
Offbeat Places Near Kurseong
The hill station is filled with enchanting waterfalls, lush green landscapes, and snow-laden mountains. This small hill town makes for a great stopover for tourists looking for a peaceful alternative to Darjeeling.
Best time to visit-
March to June and September to December is the best time to visit Kurseong.
How to reach?
You can hire a taxi which takes around one and a half hours to reach Kurseong from Bagdogra Airport.
There are some offbeat places that must definitely be visited near Kurseong and are perfect for day trips. The main attractions are:
- Cryptomeria Japonica Forest– You can enjoy hiking in this lush green forest, in the lap of nature.
- Dow Hill- This is the road connecting Darjeeling with Kurseong. You can spot several deer out there.
- Giddapahar Durga Mata Mandir- Seek blessings in this 100-year-old wishing temple.
- Salamander Lake- You can enjoy boating in this beautiful green-tinged lake.
- Chimney – A long dilapidated chimney standing alone is all that is present to serve as the remnants of a bungalow. The views of the mountains from here are breathtaking.
- Kettle Valley Picnic Spot – This scenic place is enjoyed on a picnic or a day outing with family and friends. The landscape of the place is beautiful and the surrounding area is lush green with clear waters of the river flowing alongside.
- Dilaram – A little village tucked in the Kurseong hills where you can take long nature walks, enjoy bird watching, take a tea garden tour, or visit a tea factory.
- Makaibari Tea Estate – You can experience a tea tasting tour in the tea estate and also amble about the sprawling gardens.
- Cochrane Place- prices start from INR 4,000 per night.
- Allita Hotels & Resorts- prices start from INR 7,000 per night.
Sikkim – The Garden of Lord Indra
Sikkim is one of the beauties in the North-eastern part of India. Although Sikkim is the neighbouring state and not in Bengal, it can be easily reached from North Bengal by road.
Offbeat Places in Sikkim
It’s not difficult to not fall in love with this gorgeous travel destination adorned with serene views, the captivating beauty of the majestic Himalayas, and spiritual sites.
Best time to visit Sikkim
The best time to visit Sikkim is through the months of May and September as the weather is pleasant and the temperature ranges from 28-30 degrees Celsius.
The weather during the winter is very harsh with temperatures dropping below zero in some parts of Sikkim.
How to reach?
You can hire a private taxi which takes around 5 hours to reach Gangtok from Bagdogra Airport.
To make it a wonderful exploration, here are a few offbeat places to visit in Sikkim that must make it to your plan:
This historic town of Sikkim is a perfect place for all the trekkers. Bestowed with natural beauty and a rustic appeal, it is a popular tourist destination in Sikkim.
Spend some time under the shadow of the endless canopy of trees, away from the chaos of life.
How to reach?
You can hire a private taxi which takes around 5 and a half hours to reach Yuksom from Gangtok.
Main Attractions in Yuksom
- Norbugang Park- Visit the historic stupa in this park and educate yourself about its historical origins.
- Tashi Tenka- A historical royal palace that promises wonderful views.
- Dubdi Gompa- The oldest Monastery, and a site of spirituality and ethereal beauty.
- Kathok Wodsalin Gompa- A newly constructed monastery, famous for the statue of Guru Padmasambhava.
- Goechala Trek- Enjoy trekking to the third highest mountain range in the world, Mount Kanchenjunga.
- Kanchenjunga National Park- The Park includes a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and mountains.
- Hotel Red Palace Hotel & Resort- prices start from INR 1,500 per night.
Lachung is at a high altitude.This village is composed of Tibetan and Bhutia people in North Sikkim. It is popular for its tall dark mountains, glacial rivers, gushing waterfalls and striking fruit orchards. It is one of the most famous among the list of places to visit in Sikkim to experience snowfall.
How to reach?
You can hire a bus or private taxi which takes around 4 hours to reach Lachung from Gangtok.
Main Attractions in Lachung-
- Yumthang Valley- Trek your way to the valley, click amazing pictures and indulge in the hot spring baths that are permanent despite the heavy snowfall.
- Rhododendron Sanctuary- Nature buffs can spend a day amidst the beautiful natural specimens, and learn more about the biodiversity of Sikkim.
- Zero Point- Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, you can indulge in a day trek at Zero Point, which has been named so as it marks the end of motorable roads and is the farthest point of the Indo-China border in Sikkim.
- Gurudongmar Lake- Enjoy an outing to this freshwater lake. This point is of an altitude close to Mt. Everest, so an oxygen tank is compulsory. There is a temple right by the lake that one should not miss.
- Waterfalls- Visit Bhim Nala and Naga Falls to spend beautiful time and enjoying nature’s wonders.
- Mount Katao- Trek to Mount Katao to enjoy views of mountains, valleys, and thick pine vegetation.
- Lachung Monastery- A must visit place famous for its architecture and innately tranquil atmosphere.
- Summit Alpine Resort- prices start from INR 2,500 per night.
- Summit Khangri Karpo Retreat & Spa- prices start from INR 4,500 per night.
- Rufina Lachung Deezong- prices start from INR 3,500 per night.
Ravangla is surrounded by dense forests and is one of the best places to visit in Sikkim. It is a paradise for bird watching and home to some of the rarest birds in the world. It is famous for its temples, monasteries, tea gardens, exotic flora and fauna, sightseeing spots and more.
How to reach?
You can hire a private taxi which takes around 2 and half hours to reach Ravangla from Gangtok.
Main Attractions in Ravangla-
- Tathagata Tsal- It’s a Buddha Park and must-visit place in Ravangla.This park has a magnificent 130-foot Buddha at the center that watches over the whole place.
- Monastery- Visit Bon Monastery to offer prayers and experience a monastery of antiquity.
- Temi Tea Gardens- Sip some freshly brewed hot tea in this tea garden as you stroll through the rambling greenery.
- Hot Springs- Enjoy a rejuvenating hot bath at Ralong and Borong hot springs.
- Sunrise- Don’t miss the spectacular views of sunrise at Rayong sunrise viewpoint.
- Trekking- Peace searchers can trek to Maenam hill to visit famous monasteries like Ralong Monastery and Bon Monastery.
- The Barfung Retreat- prices start from INR 2,000 per night.
- Lookboong Hotel- prices start from INR 1,000 per night.
One of the most gorgeous cities in Sikkim, Namchi is the pilgrimage center for the Buddhists. The beautiful sight of snow-capped mountains and the woodland mountain valleys add to the scenery and make it an important spot amongst the places to visit in Sikkim.
How to reach?
You can hire a private taxi which takes around 2 and a half hours to reach Namchi from Gangtok.
Main Attractions in Namchi-
- Samdruptse Hill- This ‘wish fulfilling hill’ is a must-visit in Namchi, not just for your wishes to come true, but also to absorb the breathtaking beauty around.
- Tendong Hill- Absolute must-visit place for the ones who want to enjoy time close to nature. You can enjoy adventure activities like boating and trekking.
- Ngadak Monastery- One of the most seasoned monasteries in Namchi, a spiritual haven in the town of pilgrimage.
- Solophok Chardham- Witness a towering statue of Lord Shivaoverlooking the entire area.
- Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary- Visit this place if you like to see therapeutic plants and herbs and animals and exotic birds.
- Summit Sobralia Resort & Spa- prices start from INR 2,500 per night.
- Crossroads Café & Lodge- prices start from INR 1,500 per night.
Dzongu, a hub of history and culture is a restricted place for the Lepchas community. The region is bordered by Teesta River on one side and Kanchenjunga ranges on the other. The village lies at a drive of around 2 hours from Gangtok and the trip to this place is intriguing in itself. You can go for short treks, enjoy village walks and even a few longer treks can be done from here.
As Dzongu is a restricted area, you need to take permission to enter into it. All you need to do is submit the scanned or photographed copy of any identity proof and a passport size picture to your hotel or homestay owner who can get the permit approved for you.
How to reach?
You can hire a private taxi which takes around 2 hours to reach Dzongu from Gangtok.
Main Attractions in Dzongu-
- Hee Gyathang Monastery- It’s a 100-year-old Monastery that can be reached only through a hike. The place is very peaceful and you can see distant peaks even more clearly as you move up towards this monastery.
- Village Walks-Walk through the lush bamboo grooves from one village to another and discover plantations.
- Walk on the Bridges- The villages in Dzongu are connected through wooden bridges and a walk on the Mangan bridge is a must as it connects lower Dzongu to upper Dzongu.
- Local Liquor Tasting- Try out their local liquor, which is Millet Beer and they are served in bamboo mugs. This is the true taste of Sikkim’s local culture.
- Hot springs- Try the hot sulfur spring which is considered to have medicinal qualities and healing power.
- Munlom Nature Resort- prices start from INR 4,500 per night.
vi) Hee Bermiok
A perfect Himalayan destination, this place is bounded by Hee River in the West, Kalez River in the North, Rangeet River in the East, and Samdong Reserve Forest in the South. It is a delight for those into bird-watching, for the region has more than 60 varieties of bird species.
How to reach?
You can hire a private taxi which takes around 4 hours to reach Hee Bermiok from Gangtok.
Main Attractions in Hee Bermiok-
- Sirijunga Falls- One of the prime attractions of this place located about hour’s walk from Bermiok Bazaar. You can visit this place to witness Sirijunga cave.
- Chaaya Taal- A beautiful lake where tourists can enjoy boating.
- Hee Gaon- Witness world’s largest prayer wheel, coupled with a water park with swimming pools and gazebos.
- Varsey- If you love adventure, you can enjoy a trek to Varseyand be intoxicated by the natural bounty.
- Silent Valley Hotel- prices start from INR 1,500 per night.
Uttarey is a small but beautiful, and a virgin paradise on earth set amidst a pristine valley. It is surrounded by hilltops, waterfalls, rivers, forests, medicinal herbs, and mountains. The village is known for hospitality and the stay is really a unique and memorable experience.
How to reach?
You can hire a private taxi which takes around 5 hours to reach Uttarey from Gangtok.
Main Attractions in Uttarey-
- Kagyup Monastery- It is the local monastery of the place and a hub of spiritual culture.
- Waterfalls- Visit this place to witness the beautiful waterfalls like Mainebass waterfall and Chhangay Twin waterfalls.
- Bridge- Enjoy walks on the bridges like Saino Bridge and Singshore Bridge.
Hotel RecommendationsNagbeli Hotel & Resorts – prices start from INR 2,000 per night.
Weekend Destinations in North Bengal
North Bengal is a treasure hunt for nature lovers as it offers unique combinations of varied landscapes- from the high mountainous region in the extreme North, to the vast Gangetic plains in the extreme South.
North Bengal has immense potential to cater to the needs of all kinds of travellers. These weekend destinations are located away from the hustle and bustle of city life and attract visitors through their serenity and peaceful atmosphere.
Visit these less trodden and adventurous places from Dooars, Darjeeling, and Sikkim in North Bengal perfect for a weekend getaway.
- Bhutanghat- Located 45 km from Alipurduar, it is a picturesque village which offers great avenues for nature and adventure.
- Bindu- Located 107 km from Siliguri, it is a serene hill hamlet of Dooars region famous for its scenic beauty and cardamom plantations.
- Fagu Tea Estate- Located in the Dooars region, it is a paradise beautifully encased within dense forest and flower gardens.
- Jhalong- Situated 99 km from Siliguri, it is a fun-filled place for nature lovers and famous for different varieties of birds.
- Rocky Island- Located 82 km from Siliguri, it is a perfect place for the people who want to spend time with each other hard, admiring nature and greenery.
- Barsey- A weekend destination from Sikkim, Barsey is a small village famous for its Rhododendron Sanctuary, lush green vegetation, flora, and fauna.
- Chota Mangwa- A picturesque hamlet 35 km away from Darjeeling, famous for its natural beauty and serene ambiance.
- Borong- Located at an altitude of 5800 ft, it is a paradise for nature lovers with several trekking routes.
- Kaleej Valley- Kaleej Valley in West Sikkim is enclosed by shimmering rivers like Kaleej Khola and Hee Khola.
- Kitam Bird Sanctuary- A paradise for bird watchers in Sikkim, famous for rare birds, vibrant butterflies and pine forest.
- Bagora- A splendid destination near Darjeeling dotted with alpine forest and offers a scenic vista of mighty Himalayan peaks.
- Bees Gaon- A beautiful village located at 500 feet with a vast stretch of tea gardens and lush green vegetation.
- Phalut- Just 80 kms from Darjeeling, it is the second-highest point in the Singalila Ridge and a paradise for trekkers.
- Sitong– Known as the land of oranges, it is famous for pine forests, scenic expanses, and calm weather.
- Munsong- Just 20 km away from Kalimpong hill, it is a scenic hamlet surrounded by cinchona plantation.
- Sillery Gaon- It is a pictorial hamlet located 23 km away from Kalimpong adorned with dense forests of pine trees.
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