What are the not to be missed attractions on your trip?
Now, this is a much easier question to answer
1. Sunrise at Tiger Hill (near Darjeeling)
OK, so we had to wake up at 4am on an EXTREMELY cold mid-winter morning to get there, but it was worth it. It was a very, very special moment witnessing the sun slowly illuminate each mountain in the Himalayan range. I wld even say it was a very spiritual moment. I hv this pic as my desktop wallpaper..reminds me of how I felt that morning and it helps me be a better person....on most days...I'm working on it!
2. The nature reserves
The northeast of India, within a days' drive of Darjeeling, has amazing diversity and because it is so remote and large parts of it inaccessible, the region's nature reserves are rewarding places to visit - in the sense that they more "unspoilt" although certainly facing pressures of habitat degradation due to population pressures/economic conditions as villagers clear forest land to grow cash crop eg Cardamon.
This is my all time favourite: Neora Valley - home to the red panda, many bird species and wild orchids. I saw only a tiny part of it but it is enough for me to want to go back.
We stayed at this stunningly located Neora Valley Jungle Camp. I was nervous when the itinerary said I'll be spending the night at a jungle place without electricity or running water. But it was a really, really good experience - clean, great food n people were fantastic. It helps that this place has clear, unobstructed views of Kanchenjunga, the world's 3rd highest mountain (8598m)
Well, if you're gonna be in Darj, Sikkim is not too far away. There is one tea plantation there - Temi Tea. Said to have even better tea than the best Darj can produce. That's a bold statement. Drove past, but was too late to stop for a cuppa.
Not sure what the political situation is now, but there were protests taking place now and then in the region. The Darjeeling Toy Train could not operate for a few days cos of it, and we were delayed (5 hrs) on our road trip back to Siliguri as most major roads in the area were closed.
But it was a great trip...working trip, I might add.