Bunkulung homestay

Bunkulung: A Real Gem Yet to Be Unearthed

In search of a place in North Bengal that is still unique and not so widely visited, consider Bunkulung or Bunkulung. A small hamlet adjacent to Mirik and Darjeeling can be an ideal holiday destination for those seeking solace in the lap of Mother Nature.

Situated at a distance of about 50 km from New Jalpaiguri, this destination can undoubtedly be called a heavenly abode with its lush greenery and breath taking view of the mountain peaks. This hilly region is covered with tea gardens and paddy fields. Even the village houses have wonderfully manicured gardens in front. Just a few kilometres uphill there is Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary.

How to reach Bunkulung?

There are two routes to this small village. You can either travel to Mirik and take a car to Bunkulung from there which is only 10 km away or there is another way that goes from Siliguri via Dudhia. The distance of the road from Siliguri is shorter. However, the roads that lead to this small village are uneven and bad. But all your tiredness will surely vanish as you travel through the mesmerizing landscape. Peacocks and pheasants may block your road and you may need to stop.

What to see?

This offbeat destination offers a kind of peace to the mind and eyes as nature seems to have bestowed all its beauty in this small hill town. The place has a hill, river, forest, and also tea gardens. Those tired of seeing the concrete jungles can soothe their souls by looking at the miles of paddy and millet fields, tea gardens, and the subalpine forest. The combination of the tea garden and the paddy fields is fascinating. You may visit the Murmah Tea Garden or Gayabari Tea Garden factories.

You may walk around and explore this small town situated on the lap of the mountain. Pisciculture is also popular in this region. This quaint and tiny village of Bunkulung is a laid-back destination where you can simply relax and explore its natural beauty at your own pace. Since the Wildlife Sanctuary is nearby you may sight deer, wild boars, and leopards. So, always roam around in groups. 

Visit Tururk to Connect with Nature

Splendid natural beauty is what attracts visitors to Turuk or Tooruk. This picturesque village of Kurseong subdivision is almost at an altitude of 48000ft. Away from the crowded city life, this tourist destination enables visitors to connect with nature.

What to see in Turuk?

The main attraction of Tururk is the culture of organic step cultivation. You will get to see cauliflower, cabbage, potato, radish, and other seasonal vegetables in abundance. In winter the trees are laden with oranges. The sweet fragrance of orange blossoms filled the air of the entire village.

Along with the fruits and vegetables, many colourful flowers on the roadside too will steal your heart. The small village appears like a painting on the canvas. If you go a little down from Turuk, you will reach Sittong. You may go there and experience the pristine beauty of Lepcha Falls and Riyang River.

As you trek through the village paths surrounded by greenery relishing the chirping of the birds, you may feel surreal. If you wish you can visit Bagora or Chimney trekking or by car. The jungle with different kinds of trees is something you can enjoy on this trek route.

What are the things to do in this region?

People usually visit Tururk to experience its natural brilliance and relax. The humming of bees, the chirping of birds, the emerald green landscape, the turquoise blue sky, and the aroma of wildflowers create a mystical environment. Many bird watchers flock to this place as some exotic varieties of birds can be seen. Along with savouring the natural beauty you can walk and explore the simple lifestyle of the villagers.

Where to stay?

If you are travelling from Siliguri, Turuk is around 68 km from there. You may take a car and travel to the location through Mangpu and Sittong. However, there is no internet, television, or telephone in the Home. So, you must come over here just to enjoy the serene and tranquil beauty of nature. 

Chuikhim near kalimpong

Explore the Splendid Natural Beauty of Chuikhim

Kalimpong is a popular hill station in North Bengal well known for its panoramic views, orchid gardens, and Buddhist monasteries. Though it is a delight to visit Kalimpong, the destination often remains overcrowded. If you are searching for an offbeat location with the spectacular beauty of Kalimpong, you can visit Chuikhim, a small village in the Kalimpong district.

Chuikhim entry near kalimpong

Courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nitya800/26261660121

This small village was hardly visited by tourists, mainly because it was almost inaccessible. One traveling from the New Jalpaiguri station took 5 hours to reach this place via Kalimpong. In recent years, the road condition has improved, and another alternative way through Bagrakote has become operational, which has renewed the interest of visitors to explore the unbelievable natural beauty of this small village.

What are the top attractions of this village?

This valley is situated on the slopes of the mountain and mist and clouds make it appear like a wonderland. The valley gently rolls down to the Leesh river bed. Another river Ghish flows through this region. Bagratoke, a small tea garden lies between these two rivers.

The place is all about enjoying the mesmerizing beauty of nature rather than hopping around in search of an attractive spot. Each corner of the village offers a magnificent view. Just spend the day lazily walking through the Chel forest, enjoying the stunning sunrise or sunset from atop the hill inside the village, or sitting ideally on the bed of the Leesh River. If you are looking for some adventure, trekking to the Ghish riverbed can be a good option. There are waterfalls, caves, and canyon formations in the river valley, which may give you a rush of adrenaline.

Chuikhim near kalimpong

Courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/saikatroy30/9692378698/

How is the weather in Chuikhim?

The weather is pleasant around the year. So, this place can be visited anytime. Winters are a bit chilly. The pollution-free serene atmosphere is what is most enjoyable.

Orange garden at Shelphu near sittong

Witness the Orange Orchard in Shelphu?

Sittong and Shelphu are one of the most untouched tourist destinations yet to be discovered. These villages are situated on the foothills of the Darjeeling Himalayas. They are also famous as Orange Orchards of Bengal.

These scenic Lepcha villages of North Bengal are valleys in between the green hills. As the winter approaches, the air is filled with the exotic aroma of orange blossoms. In winter, it appears someone has poured orange colours on these villages. Along with the orange cultivation, organic farming and orchids are something you cannot miss while visiting these places.

If you are searching for a holiday destination that will let you spend some cozy quality time with your family, Sittong and Shelphu can be the perfect choice.

Getting there

These beautiful hamlets are a couple of hours drive from the Bagdogra Airport or New Jalpaiguri Station. The places have excellent road connectivity. Buses and taxis are easily available from the New Jalpaiguri Station, Siliguri, or Bagdogra Airport plying to these places. Shelphu is almost 48kms from New Jalpaiguri station.

Orange garden at Sittong

Major attractions

One of the primary reasons to visit these picturesque villages is to look at the orange orchards from close. It is during the winter months you will get to see the entire village covered with oranges. It is indeed an incredible experience, especially for those who have never seen the orange orchards before.

Another popular reason why many tourists now visit these places is for bird watching. More than 200 varieties of birds have been sighted in these and surrounding villages which include many rare as well as commonly sighted birds.

You may visit the Sittong Church or the old Monastery. From the Monastery ground you may get a view of the full Kanchenjunga ranges. The snow-clad Kanchenjunga is a beauty to behold.


Tourism has become popular in the last few years and therefore several places to stay have also emerged. Homestays and lodges are the common accommodations available in these areas.

If you are want to stay at Sittong, there are few good homestays available.

Dhotrey: An Unexplored Natural Paradise

If you are searching for an offbeat location for a weekend gateway near Darjeeling that has the beauty and glory of a hill station but is untouched by the tourists at large, Dhotrey or Dhotre can be the one. Situated within the radius of Singalila National Park, it is just 43 km from Darjeeling town. This place can be accessed easily from Bagdogra Airport or New Jalpaiguri Railway Station.

A part of the Eastern Himalayas, Dhotrey is situated at an altitude of 8500 feet above sea level. This hidden Himalayan village is a paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers. It is the place from where the full range of Kanchenjunga is visible. One can experience the majestic beauty of the sleeping Buddha, as these ranges are often referred to. The village is also the base camp for different trekking expeditions to Tonglu, Phalut, and Sandakphu.

What is the best time to visit Dhotrey?

The weather remains best from October to January, and you can expect to gain a clear view of the beautiful Kanchenjunga ranges during this time. Just before the summer from March to early April, is a good time to visit this village. During this time, the air is filled with the smell of rhododendrons and magnolias. These blossoms add to the natural beauty of the place and create a surreal atmosphere.

What to do?

This place is popular among the hikers as they begin their journey to Sandakphu or Phalut from here. The region falls under Singalila National Park and is home to many different species of birds. So, bird watchers get to see wide varieties in this area. It is an ideal place if you are trying to get away from the hustles and bustles of city life. The village with splendid natural beauty and a quiet and calm atmosphere with highly hospitable inhabitants will give you exceptional peace of mind.

Where to stay?

Homestays are the only option available in this place. Most of these accommodations provide all the basic amenities and offer comfortable stays. 

Chitre – a Hidden Gem Enroute to Sandakphu

Chitre, a small picturesque village in North Bengal, is where the hikers meet to begin their journey to Sandakphu. The trail from Mane Bhanjang to Chitre, which covers a distance of almost 3 km, is one of the steepest in the entire stretch of the Sandakphu trek.

How to reach Chitre?

If you prefer walking, it will take about an hour and a half to reach the place from Mane Bhanjang. However, you can also hire a four-wheeler to cover this distance.  It is situated at an altitude of 8340 ft. The road to Chitre is scenic replete with lush greenery of evergreen trees. After reaching the location, it is best to rest in this beautiful Buddhist village before you travel ahead.

The vast stretch of emerald green land and clear blue sky will make you spellbound. Even though most trekkers do not stop here for the night, they start the journey after halting for a few hours. But, there are some who like to spend the night before embarking on a strenuous journey the following morning.

What to see at Chitre?

The main attraction of this place is the old Buddhist monastery and the mesmerizing view of Kanchenjunga peaks that one can have from this place. Even if you have plans to stay in this village for a few hours, make sure to explore the monastery. Along with the main monastery, there are eight small stupas. In the main building, there is the famous 15 ft high statue of Maitreya Buddha.

On a clear day, in the early morning, the travelers are gifted with a fascinating view of Kanchenjunga. At night, they can witness the sky studded with millions of stars. The town of Darjeeling looks like a crown with glittering jewels from here.

Which is the best time to visit the place and where to stay at Chitre?

The best time to visit the place is during the summer months – June to April. However, winters also promise clear skies and remarkably beautiful landscapes.

There are a few homestays and adventure camps where you can stay for the night. A local restaurant near the monastery serves fresh foods, and the travellers have breakfast there before proceeding further.

Peshok is famous for scenic beauty and tea gardens

Visiting tea gardens and staying at a tea garden are entirely different experiences as you will realize on visiting Peshok, under the Runglee Rungliot CD Block of the Darjeeling district. Peshok is closer to Kalimpong and you have to drive down 27 kilometers from the turn at Jorebungalow when you come from Darjeeling which might take about two and a half hours. Peshok is a typical village at the foothills of the Himalayas with vast stretches of tea gardens all around and tiny village neighborhoods spread across the slope of the hills. You must be at Peshok to experience quietness and serenity as the lush green surrounding and the cold weather seem highly inviting. The cold weather, chirping birds, all-encompassing quietness, and the spectacle of the Kanchenjunga range will leave you in awe.  Peshok will relieve you of all urban stress and make you feel happy.

Peshok – How to reach

Peshok is almost equidistant from the Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri (NJP) Railway station and Bagdogra airport. It takes almost 3 hours to cover the distance of 65 kilometers. Booking a cab is the best way to travel along the picturesque hillside as you crisscross the hills to reach the destination which is gradually making its mark as a tourist. 

Best time to visit

Peshok welcomes tourists around the year because of its beautiful climate that remains cool throughout the year. However, summer is the best time to visit Peshok as you get ample opportunity to engage in various outdoor activities.  However, the autumn from September to November is the best time when nature spins its magical wand across the hilly landscape that looks marvelous. July and August are the months to avoid because the gloomy monsoon can dampen your spirits as traveling outdoors can be dangerous. The winter weaves magic in the tea gardens as veils of fog and the mist creates an environment of mysterious beauty. With enough woolens, you can venture outside confidently to explore the natural beauty of the place that overlooks the magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas in the distance.

Nearby attractions

Get a taste of the famous Darjeeling oranges at the Orange Orchards serve freshly prepared orange juice. Pickles and marmalades are also available.  Being in the tea garden is never complete unless you have a round of the gardens at the Peshok and Runglee Rungliot tea estates. A visit to the Tinchuley Monastery is a soulful experience as you walk down the prayer wheels lined against the long stretch of the exterior wall.  Do not miss the glorious view of the Kanchenjunga from the Tinchuley View Point as you witness the magnanimity of mountains. To view the river Rangeet, you have to travel down to Gumbadara, bordering Sikkim.  The crowd of waving prayer flags atop tall posts is an irresistible attraction of the Lamahatta village with its huge expanse of greenery that seems so soothing to the eyes.

To spend the night at Peshok choose a homestay that promises extreme relaxation and comfort with heart-warming hospitality and all modern amenities.

Dawaipani means ‘Medicated water’ & best view Kangchenjunga

Several locations close to Darjeeling are rapidly drawing the attraction of tourists who want to spend some time amid the tranquil villages of the hill that are in stark contrast to the hum-drum of city life. Tucked in the laps of the hilly terrains of North Bengal, Dawaipani is like a hidden gem that delights tourists with its astonishing natural beauty and serene and meditative environment. 

The nearby river ‘Kola’ flowing past the village is like a beautiful ribbon that adds a splash of liveliness to the otherwise sleepy village. The discrete village, which does not yet figure any tourist map is a wonderful hamlet and a perfect destination for those who love to soak in tranquillity while getting a touch and feel of nature. The river is a great source of sustenance, as evident from the naming of the place, which means Medicated Water.  

Dawaipani – a splendid location

Situated at an altitude of 6,500 feet, Dawaipani is like a big window that allows you to view the entire stretch of the enchanting Kanchenjunga mountain range. The magnificent view of the Himalayas will leave you speechless as you feel the amazing attraction of the mountain holding you in a tight embrace. The snow-capped mountain peaks far away, and the thick foliage of the surrounding land will give a feeling like rocking in nature’s cradle. The experience of the time spent at the nondescript village will leave a lasting impression and becomes one of the most memorable memories you would treasure throughout your lifetime. The crisp cool air you breathe, the sparkling water from the flowing river, and the naturally formed pathways all seem to inspire you to spend much longer time in the place. 

How to reach Dawaipani

 A day trip from Darjeeling by road is perhaps the best option to reach Dawaipani as it takes about an hour to reach. From The railway stations of Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri, it’s approximately a 3-hour drive to cover the distance of 72 km and 76 km respectively. Air travelers can take a cab from the Bagdogra airport to cover 75 km in approximately 3 hours to reach Dawaipani. 

The best time to visit

As winters can be cold in higher altitudes, which also receive a good amount of rain during July and August, the best time to visit Dawaipani is almost around the year, except for the monsoon months. The climate is pleasant during the summer months – March to June, when the air is comfortably cool. To enjoy the chilly winter in the hills, you can plan your travel between December and February. 

Where to stay and what to do

 There are only a few resorts in Dawaipani, and some wooden buildings might remind you of tree houses. Unless you are an avid nature lover and want to spend some time in solitude, staying overnight in Dawaipani might not be worthwhile. During the stay, you can go trekking, do some bird watching and even visit some local farms while exploring the local culture.  

Kurseong Eco village, Bara Mangwa Nature Cottage, and Maldiram, the tea garden Retreat are some other places you can visit. 

There are several homestays in and around Dawaipani that provide comfortable and affordable accommodation for visitors.

Nearby places

There are several nearby places that you can visit during your stay in Dawaipani. Here are a few options:

  1. Darjeeling is a located just 10 kilometers.
  2. Tiger Hill is a famous viewpoint located about 20 kilometers.
  3. Ghum Monastery is a Buddhist monastery located about 15 kilometers.
  4. Batasia Loop is a railway loop located about 12 kilometers.
  5. Kalimpong is a charming hill town located about 50 kilometers.
  6. Kurseong is a charming town located about 35 kilometers.
  7. Takdah is a small village located about 25 kilometers.
  8. Lepchajagat is a peaceful village located about 25 kilometers.

Takdah is surrounded by tea gardens, forest & old bungalows

Takdah, a little-known mountainous terrain near Darjeeling was once a British cantonment. The place remains covered most of the time by mist and fog that creates an envelope that the Lepchas, the local inhabitants, lovingly called Tukdah, meaning fog and mist. 

The idyllic destination where the sun plays hide and seek and loads of mist descend upon the mountains covered with vast tracts of greenery creates sheer magic with its serene beauty. The amazing beauty of the meandering roads, nature trails passing through the deep forests, the chirping birds among the tall trees, and the vast tea gardens along the hill slopes make Takdah an irresistible tourist attraction.  

The British legacy is still very much visible across this area, which has many houses and bungalows in the colonial area. Many of these houses have local ownership or converted into schools and other establishments.

Takdah – The location

Takdah is located at an altitude of 4,000 feet and is reachable from Darjeeling, about 28 kilometers away. Despite its proximity to Darjeeling, Takdah is a sparsely crowded village where you can enjoy nature at its best. The quiet and peaceful environment among the laps of nature allows busy souls to refresh and rejuvenate for a few days filling the heart with happiness. 

The temperature is lower than in the surrounding areas, mainly Darjeeling. The destination is ideal for those who want to escape from the tiring city life and take a deep breath of fresh air while soaking in the beauty of the rich flora and fauna that gives a sense of endless joy. 

Reaching Takdah

Takdah is about 60 kilometers drive from the Bagdogra airport and New Jalpaiguri railway station (NJP). The average travel time varies between 2.5 and 3 hours. The distance from Siliguri town is 52 kilometers, and to reach Takdah from Darjeeling, you have to drive 28 kilometers which take about an hour and a half. From Kalimpong, it takes about 2 hours to cover 40 kilometers to reach Takdah. Regardless of where you approach Takdah, you have to reserve a cab for an exclusive ride or go for a ride-share if you want to save some money. 

Where to stay

Options for staying in here are limited because there aren’t many hotels. A few guest houses and homestays that were once British bungalows are excellent for spending a day or two in the heritage buildings while enjoying all the modern amenities. 

It can be a wonderful experience to spend time in the bungalows with sprawling lawns while getting a flavor of the grand Victorian architecture. Unless you are an avid nature lover keen to explore the locales, a day trip is considered most suitable for tourists. 

There are several homestay options available in Takdah that offer a more authentic and immersive experience of the local culture and lifestyle.

Places to see

 Since this is a small village, a day is enough to go around and visit some of the landmarks dotted by the picturesque tea garden. Takdah is home to the world-famous tea brand RungleeRungliot, and you can see the tea gardens of the company. 

The Orchid Center is one of the main attractions besides the Takdah monastery and the adjoining Tinchuley and Lamahatta villages. 

Chatakpur is famous for eco-tourism near Darjeeling

A sparsely populated village atop a hill located at a height of 7,887 feet, Chatakpur is 7 kilometers from Sonada inside the Senchal Reserve forest. This nondescript village is gradually gaining popularity as a tourist attraction mainly because of the earthly appeal of simple living. The government’s initiative to popularize newly discovered tourist spots helped Chatakpur gain prominence on the tourism map of West Bengal. 

To attract tourists, the forest department has built cottages in Chatakpur and the local forest protection committee members are responsible for managing and maintaining the cottages. The quaint village now sees a regular stream of visitors who want to relax and rewind amid nature. Natural beauty is sure to refresh their body and mind. Interacting with nature is a great experience in humility, as Mother Nature teaches us how inconsequential humans can be.

Chatakpur – the location

The Kanchenjunga mountain range is to the North of Chatakpur and the river gorge RellyKhola is to the South. Located at a distance of 64 kilometers from Bagdogra and New Jalpaiguri (NJP), it takes close to three hours to reach Chatakpur by car. The village is close to Jorebungalow, Ghoom (14 kilometers), and Darjeeling, which is 25 kilometers.

The imposing Kanchenjunga seems to be holding Chatakpur in its lap as the lush green surroundings and hilly landscape with its quiet ambiance seems to wield a magical spell on the visitors who seem to get lost in time. Nature lovers would find Chatakpur the perfect destination for rendezvous With Nature.

How to reach Chatakpur?

From Bagdogra airport, it’s a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Chatakpur by car. From Siliguri or New Jalpaiguri railway station, you must head for Sonada and then travel for another 6 kilometers along the forest road to reach the eco-village. Travelers from Darjeeling must follow a similar route from Sonada.

Where to stay

Cottages built by the West Bengal Forest Department are the only places to spend the night at Chatakpur. The cottages ensure comfortable living for the guests and have all the modern amenities to encourage guests to spend more time in the village, which is a showpiece of the government. The cottages have carpet-laid rooms with balconies in the front and back to enjoy the splendor of Kanchenjunga and the widespread greenery all around. To encourage tourism and provide the villagers with an alternative source of income, the government allows villagers to open homestays. These are more genial places that assure heartwarming hospitality despite lacking in amenities. The local delicacies prepared from farm-fresh ingredients make your stay even more pleasurable.

Best option to night stay here is Homestays to feel the local culture.

 Best time to visit Chatakpur

Chatakpur maintains an equitable climate throughout the year, and its opulence of natural beauty remains the same throughout. You can visit here at any time of the year. Mist and haze prevail during the rainy season (late June to September), and in winter to have a clear view of the Kanchenjunga, it is advisable to plan your visit between October and December when the sky remains more or less clear.

Viewing the Rhododendron and pine forests from the viewpoint and spotting a wised variety of birds is a delightful experience.