The earliest Everest expeditions started their journey from Darjeeling. A profusion of alpine blossoms and orchids can be found on the leisurely trips to the neighboring lakes at Senchal and Mirik and the Lebong race course, which is the highest in the world.
Trekkers to Darjeeling cannot resist a stopover in Sikkim. As in other parts of the Himalayas, the scale of its altitude and the distinct character of its seasons make Sikkim an all-year destination.
For foreigners, travel formalities have now been further simplified. For sightseeing and trekking, and for visits to Gangtok, Rumtek, Phodong and Pemayangtse monasteries, permits can be obtained for periods up to 15 days from a number of designated offices including Indian missions overseas, immigration officers at the main metro airports, Bagdogra, Gangtok and other convenient points including the Sikkim tourism office in Delhi. Likewise, for trekking in the currently permitted Dzongri area of west Sikkim groups of 4-20 persons may obtain 15 day permits. Indian nationals also need permit to visit the areas inside the inner line. The permit can be obtained in advance.
In Darjeeling, Tiger hills is the highest point, from where one can have a pleasant view of the Kanchenjunga peaks. Also the other peaks of the eastern Himalayas can be seen like the Sight of Mount Everest, which gives to the eye an interesting view. The first rays of the sun rise on the tigers hills looks like as the hills have been covered by the molten gold, this scene touches the heart and none could wish to turn off his or her eyes from that fabulous view even for a second. To have a look of sunrise daily a large number of people reach over there. Tiger hills can be reached by trekking and Jeep facility is also available there.
The nearest airstrip to Darjeeling and Sikkim is Bagdogra in North Bengal. Flights from Calcutta, Delhi and the north east connect this sector. The nearest railhead is Siliguri (114 km) and New Jalpaiguri (125 km) connecting Calcutta, Delhi, Guwahati and other important cities in India, to Darjeeling and Sikkim.
Treks in the Darjeeling area join up with the feeder Sikkim valleys of the Rangit river adjoining the Singalia ridge. Kanchenjunga is the prominent feature, its subsidiary peaks spread alongside with distant Everest also in view. Medium or strenuous grade trekking trips can be undertaken using Darjeeling as a convenient departure point.
Darjeeling-Batasi-Tonglu-Sandakphu: This is a 6-7 days moderate trek from Maneshanjang which is 26 km by road from Darjeeling. Ideal for views along a standard trail. The route is famed for its view of Kanchenjunga, Mt. Everest and rhododendrons from Phalut and Sandakphu.
Darjeeling-Pemayangtse-Yoksam-Dzongri: 6 days exhilarating trek with exclusive views of the brilliant Dzongri sunset over Kanchenjunga.
The most rewarding season for travelling through Darjeeling and Sikkim is between May to October. The winters are very cold and the region is swamped by fog. The rainy season makes trekking unsafe. Plan your trip well in advance and enquire about the weather conditions before setting out.
The monsoon in the Teesta valley is heavy, lasting from early June till mid September for Sikkim and Darjeeling. For this reason, winter treks are recommended, beginning with October. Though the period from April to end May is also preferred.
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