Tea Tourism is a relatively new concept in the world and Darjeeling is a taking a lead in this area. And why not? Darjeeling is after all the Mecca of tea and sprawling estates producing what we know as the "Champagne of Teas" to the delight of the world. There are 80 odd operational tea gardens in Darjeeling that span across thousands of acres of land area on open hill slopes. High on the hills with cool breeze and misty weather, planters and workers come together to form a wonderland where tea grows in the finest form like no where else in the world. So what does tea tourism mean? Imagine you are spending a few days in a sprawling tea garden. You will stay in a Bungalow that was typically the residence of a British tea planter built during the old colonial time. The bungalow retains the antique furnishing & aura of the colonial days, and setup amidst lush garden setting within the estate. Food served is made of fresh organic produce from the backyard garden. You wake up and sip a cup of finest aromatic tea that was plucked fresh from the gardens, a brand that has made a great name for itself in the world. You take a stroll through the garden, talk to the garden workers and see how they deftly pluck the two leaves with a bud, and learn about their lives. You are also invited to take a look and learn about the tea processing in the factory where some of the best teas in the world are withered, rolled, dried, sorted and packaged. A jeep takes you to the nearby attractions and places of interest for you to soak in the nature. Later you take a walk through the villages and nature trails, and get deeper insight into the lives of the people living in the mountains. In the evening, you are entertained with local cultural dance and music specially performed for you as you drink a glass of wine. Ultimate, isn't it? That's tea tourism. And where else will you get best of all the elements of a garden tour other than in Darjeeling? Several tea estates in Darjeeling area offer vacation packages to tourists to experience life in the gardens along with stays in heritage bungalows, plus activities and entertainment that are rarely found anywhere else in the world.
Upon arrival at the nearest Bagdogra Airport, transfer to Goomtee T.E. Goomtee Tea Estate is almost midway between Siliguri and Darjeeling hill town and near Kurseong. It's 40kms from Siliguri, 48kms from Darjeeling and only 8kms below Kurseong.
Visit the gardens, chat with the garden workers followed by a visit to the Goomtee tea factory where you will witness live tea processing through all the stages including the final packaging. Go through a tea tasting session where a staff will explain you how they grade the teas, the concept of flush, how the valuation of tea is done and many other interesting things. You can also buy tea of your choice from the factory outlet and get 15% discount on the market price. During summer (May to June) you can enjoy relishing bath under a nearby waterfalls and then follow it up with a picnic lunch Feast your eyes with Gorkha dance & music in the evening performed by the local villagers. Table Tennis and board games are also available. Overnight at Goomtee resort
The Makaibari Tea Estate is probably the most talked about and fabled tea garden in Darjeeling area. And there are reasons for that. This is one of the oldest tea gardens in Darjeeling and was the first to establish a factory in the year 1859. Guided tour of the tea gardens that includes walking through the estate and tea bushes, watching the garden workers plucking teas (depending on the season) and talking to them, how tea is processed in the factory from drying to packaging, tea tasting session etc. Take a nature walk through the lovely mountain areas and valleys. Take a walking tour of the villages and know about the village life in the mountains. Overnight at hotel in Kurseong
Take the UNESCO Heritage Toy Train Ride to Darjeeling after lunch. Darjeeling, one of the most beautiful hill station is generally called the “ Queens of the hills”. It has all attributes of a queen like glamour and beauty of evergreen hills around, green tea gardens at her feet and Mt. Kanchenjunga as her crown. In Sanskrit, Durjaya linga means “Shiva of invincible power who rules the Himalayas”. Darjeeling is northern district of West Bengal, which shares its border with Sikkim in the north, Nepal in the west, Bhutan in the east and Bangladesh and plains of Bengal in the south. Overnight at hotel
Early morning drive to the Tiger hill. Situated at an altitude of 2590 meters Tiger hill has earned international fame for the magnificent view of the sunrise. The majestic peak Kanchenjunga (8596 mtrs) rears up flanked by Mt.Kabru and Mt Pandim to the far left are Everest, Makalu and Lhotse. Other peaks visible from here are Mt. Jano, Mt. Nar sing, Mt. Frey peak, Mt. Sinolchu etc. After Tiger Hill visit Yiga Choling Monastery of Ghoom. After breakfast visit Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, a high altitude wildlife Zoo with the most successful captive breeding center for Snow leopard and Red Panda. After this visit, you may proceed to Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center and then Tea Garden. Evening free for market Overnight at Hotel
Walking through a tea garden on the gentle hill slopes of Darjeeling and seeing the tea processing is always a special experience. And a great way to experience this is by visiting the Happy Valley Tea Estate which is located about 3km (1.8 miles) away from Chowk Bazaar area. The approach is through a narrow winding downhill road which is quite steep. So if you are walking, the walk on your way back is likely to be quite cumbersome. But the rewards on the way are enormous.
Drive to the nearest airport of Bagdogra.
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