Discover Darjeeling and its acclaimed tea estates, which produce some of the world’s finest chai! With a magnificent Himalayan backdrop, explore plantations and hill stations, monasteries, national parks and more!
Day 1: Bagdogra
Bagdogra - Darjeeling. Arrive at Bagdogra Airport before 3pm, where you will be met and transferred to Darjeeling, the erstwhile summer retreat of the Englishmen in the Himalayas. Darjeeling was immortalized by the first Everest Summiteers Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary and was the base of all earlier Everest expeditions. Lying under the shadow of mighty Mount Kanchenjunga and the rugged Himalayas and surrounded by lush tea plantations, Darjeeling is incredibly scenic and steeped in history and culture. Overnight - Darjeeling (D)
We enjoy an excursion to Ghoom Monastery today and then take a scenic joy ride on the famous Toy Train from Ghoom to Darjeeling. Darjeeling is world renowned for its tea and this afternoon we take a guided tour of the Happy Valley Tea Estate, one of the oldest Orthodox tea plantations in the Darjeeling hills.
In 2003 Happy Valley Tea Estate celebrated its centenary despite it being officially established in 1854 by an Englishman, David Wilson, who lent it his name sake - Wilson Tea Estate. It was in 1903 that it was taken over by Tarapada Banerjee an Indian aristocrat who merged the estate with his neighboring estate in 1929 and named it Happy Valley. Happy Valley is the closest tea garden to Darjeeling set in the picturesque hillside and starts at an altitude as high as 6,300 feet. Owing to its high perch the garden is able to utilize the mountain mist which has a unique effect on the pollen of the plants and lends to the unique flavor of Darjeeling tea, Happy Valley tea is considered of supreme quality and sits with pride of place on the shelves of Harrods.
After visiting the gardens, we visit the tea factory. Overnight - Darjeeling (B, D)
Darjeeling High Tea - 7 days Go Guide : :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
We spend the morning exploring the Tukvar Tea Estate and learning more about tea production. Tukvar Tea Estate is a conscientious supplier of tea and employer, over 3,000 people live and work on the massive estate and it is ensured that all workers are provided with housing, schooling, medical and dental facilities. The estate has also taken an environmental and ecological stance and for many years has adopted bio diversity techniques from growing leguminous crops, small shrubs and larger trees in fallow land, boundaries or vacant patches of land. The estate also has a large vermicomposting plant to utilize the wasted organic matter created. They also manufacture their own liquid fertilizers from local herbs that are non-damaging to the environment.
After lunch we visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute which Tenzing Norgay was instrumental in setting up and the Everest Museum which has some interesting exhibits. There is also time for a trip to the zoo! Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is famed for its successful conservation projects on Red Pandas, Snow Leopard and other endangered
Himalayan mammals. Overnight - Darjeeling (B, L)
It’s tea time again today as we head to Tumsong Tea Estate (or Selimbong/Singtam if Tumsong is closed. Established in 1867 the Tumsong Estate was planted keeping the sentiments of the indigenous people in mind. The estate is planted around a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Tamsa Devi on a steep slope rising from 2,700 feet to 5,500 feet and offering fantastic views of surrounding Kanchenjunga, considered to be the third highest mountain peak in the world. The local population is given easy access to their deity in order to worship and the goddess Tamsa presides over the serene and surreal landscape filling the atmosphere with harmony, it is due to this mood that the garden is also referred to as the Garden of Happy Hearts. Tumsong Estate is 100% bio-organic and is planted with one of the highest percentages of rare pure china bushes, the source of some of the world’s finest tea.
After lunch we’ll attend an afternoon talk and presentations by a tea expert followed by a tea tasting session at Nathmull's Sunset Lounge or at Golden Tips tea shop at Darjeeling. Overnight - Darjeeling (B, L)
Darjeeling - Chalsa. It’s a very early start today as we take a memorable excursion to the summit of Tiger Hill to experience the sublime sunrise over the snowy peaks of Kanchenjunga - the world’s third highest mountain. After breakfast back at the hotel we check out and transfer to Makaibari Tea Estate, where we enjoy a guided tour followed by a sumptuous lunch at Cochrane Place Tea Retreat.
One of the world’s oldest tea estates, Makaibari Estate was founded in 1859 and is still run by its fourth generation of those original founders. Embracing bio-dynamic practices the plantation is a wholly different experience to many of the other tea estates dotting the region of Darjeeling. Using a permaculture approach - the relationship found between natural ecologies, the practise is a sustainable land use design based on the patterns and unity found between native flora and fauna to help promote a healthy ecosystem. In the case of Makaibari Tea Estate the tea bush is part of a multi-tier system in which trees and plants of a typical sub-tropical rainforest are grown together, due to this technique 70% of the entire plantation is under forest cover. This encourages diversity in the wildlife living in the estate with endangered panthers, tigers, birds, butterflies, snakes, spiders and many more have been spotted.
After lunch we drive to Chalsa, a small village in Western Dooars, near Gorumara National Park. Overnight - Chalsa (B, L)
Day 6: Dam Dim Tea Estate & Gorumra National Park
We explore the Dam Dim Tea Estate today followed by a Planter style lunch at Dam Dim tea bungalow with recipes carefully preserved through generations.
Dam Dim Tea Estate is located in the Dooars or Duars region in the northern part of west Bengal, and situated at the foothills of Eastern Himalaya that connect India to Bhutan. The region name is thought to derive from the word “dwar” meaning “gateway” as the area was densely forested being part of the flood plains of the mountain rivers and allowed 18 different entry points into Bhutan.
Originally established as Barrons Tea Estate and later to become known as Dam Dim Tea Estate, deriving the name from the flies ‘Dema Dema’ from the Bhutanese and Tibetan languages. The oldest part of the gardens date back to 1927 and prior to 1963 were British owned and run. Situated in remarkable surroundings with the southern boundary of the estate being separated from the Baikanthapur Forest by the Chel River, to the north the landscape is dominated by the Neora Valley National Park, to the east Garumara National Park and to the west by the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary; the area is a haven for wildlife with large numbers of elephant traversing the area during the annual migration of the elephants of north Bengal.
It’s time to go wild this afternoon as we take a game drive in Gorumra National Park which is home to a wide array of wildlife such as Indian rhinos, elephants, gaurs and several species of birds and reptiles. Lunch and overnight - Chalsa Overnight - Chalsa (B, L)
Day 7: Bagdogra
Sunday - Chalsa - Bagdogra. After breakfast transfer to
Bagdogra Airport for your connecting flight. Please note:
flights departing from Bagdogra should be booked after 1pm. Flights between Bagdogra and Calcutta or Delhi can be arranged and additional hotel accommodation is available should you require. Please contact us for more information.
FROM USD $2,159
Prices & Departure Dates
Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price.
If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, (if another solo traveller of the same sex is already booked upon the tour), thus avoiding the single person supplement.
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Highlights & Inclusions
Below is a list of key highlights and what is included on this tour. Further, where appropriate, we have listed the items that are not included in the tour price.
Darjeeling - scenic hill station -
Ghoom Monastery and Tiger Hill
Darjeeling - Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
Views of the Himalayas and Kanchenjunga - the world’s 3rd highest mountain
Tea Estates and Gardens - Tumsong Tea Estate, Makalbari Tea Estate
and Dam Dim Tea Estate
Gorumara National Park - a variety of wildlife
Darjeeling - Himalayan Mountain Institute and Everest Museum
Narrow gauge Toy Train journey from Ghoom to Darjeeling
Tea Estates - Happy Valley Tea Estate and Tukvar Tea Estate
Chalsa Village in the Western Dooars
6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners
Airport arrival and departure transfer on day 1 and day 7
Toy Train journey (narrow gauge railway line) from Ghoom to Darjeeling
Escorted by an English speaking, Indian tour leader.
Entrance fees to all included sights
Maximum group size: 16 travellers
6 nights - 3 star hotels and boutique properties
Touring of Darjeeling and tea estates
Gorumara National Park game drive
Specialist local guides at some sights
All relevant transfers and transportation in private vehicles
What's Not Included
International flights and visas. Return flights to Bagdodra from Delhi or Kolkata. One way fares from Kolkata to Bagdodra start from USD$110 when booked in advance.
Tipping - an entirely personal gesture
Laundry, drinks, items of a personal nature
Entrance Fees: included
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
Cedar Inn - Darjeeling
The boutique hotel, is located high above the main town, nestling amidst groves of evergreen trees in serene environs. The view is without a doubt one of the most memorable in the world. Extensive hand crafted woodwork adorns the interiors, adding, warmth and a touch of Traditional elegance.
Our Rating : Standard —
Local Rating: Standard Boutique Hotel
Riverwood Forest Retreat - Chalsa
Spread over 20 acres with 12 premier rooms, the Riverwood Forest is a peaceful retreat, overlooking the Gorumara National Park and Murti River, with views of the Himalayan Range. This property is an ideal base for exploring the natural attractions of the Dooars. The well appointed guest rooms are spacious and equipped with balconies and modern amenities.
Our Rating : Standard —
Local Rating: Standard Lodge
Here's what some of our past travellers have written in to us and said about their experiences on this trip.
Darjeeling High Tea - 7 days
Visiting the Tea Plantations was so much more than finding out about tea production. It was also finding out about a whole lifestyle from the time the plantations began. In addition each tea plantation taught us something different. Our whole thinking about tea has changed in the course of the tour and we are more aware of the whole 'tea' taste.
The wide variety of other visits in the tour ensured there was a balance of fun, historical content and an increase in knowledge. the inspiration of the Everest Museum, the beauty of the sunrise from Tiger Hill, the incredibility of the engineering behind the toy train alongside the sheer wonder of the animals in the Garumara National Park fed our thirst for enjoyment and knowledge.
Everyone along the way was friendly and helpful. Our driver Kumar was excellent and between him and Gurmay ensured we had a holiday we could only have dreamed of.