Sunday, 10 February 2019

Sunrise at Tiger Hill + Tips on Stay & Restaurants! (Part 5)

We were in Darjeeling for 4 days, 2 of which went in reaching Darjeeling & leaving Darjeeling. That left us with 2 days for sight-seeing, of which we only went out on one day. As of the second day, we found our courage somehow to go to Tiger Hill to see the sunrise. And, that’s that. After that, we skipped many of the best places. I regret that, but given how sick, tired, sleepy & cold we were, I suppose I can allow that.

We got up early around 3:30 AM. Got ready by 4:00 AM. It was 6 degrees in the morning before dawn which is why I wore 4 t-shirts plus sweater plus jacket. And additionally, a beanie, scarf, gloves & 2 pairs of socks! Wow, so much & I was still cold!
We left as soon as we prepared ourselves, physically & mentally. It was a long ride till Tiger Hill. I was already unwell. We all were sleepy, cold & tired & yet excited & hopeful. Those are definitely some weird combinations to feel for one person, so no wonder I felt sick to my stomach.
So, anyway, after the long ride, in which I mostly slept, we reached there by 5 AM. We had to stop way earlier & walk an uphill climb. I was practically walking with my eyes half-open, struggling to walk. After a while I was tired & out of breath. When I opened my mouth to breathe, all the cold went in, giving a sore & itchy throat. All in all, it sucked! We finally survived & reached the top. It was crowded & all the best seats were already gone. People were just standing in a semi-circle.
So, at Tiger Hill, you see the sunrise at one end & on the other end, you see the rays of sun hit the snow-clad Kanchenjunga making it goldenish red & that effect is stunning! We must have waited at least 45 to 50 minutes when we could finally see the sunrise & Kanchenjunga! It was a sight to behold!

When you watch something like that live, it changes you.
Time stops & people stop & it’s just the beautiful & wondrous view.
It’s magic!

Most of the guides have a preset places to cover. So, after covering Tiger Hill, they usually go for Batasia Loop & Ghoom Monastery. But, it took a lot of time for us to get back to the City from Tiger Hill because of all the traffic of tourist cars who were there for the same. So, we ended up just going home.

I honestly wanted to cover most of these places, so if you are in Darjeeling, do go to these!
Batasia Loop:
Batasia Loop is a must-visit in Darjeeling. It has a war memorial in the center & also a garden. It’s quite close to Darjeeling city. You can go here after your visit at Tiger Hill.
Ghoom & Dali Monastery:
These two are the most famous monasteries in Darjeeling. You can make some time to visit them.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway:
I was excited to ride in a toy train, but we ended up skipping it. The ride is from an authentic original steam engine train. But, we couldn’t find that. And, secondly, they are quite expensive with Rs. 800 to Rs. 1000 rate for a 2-hour round trip.

We stayed at Pradhan Cottage near Convent High School. We had booked it on AirBnB. While we loved the interiors & the entire cottage experience, we weren’t so happy with the location. It was a bit out of the City & not even on the main road. You have to go 3-4 levels down to reach the place.
Apart from the location, everything else was perfect. So, I’ll surely recommend it. Check it out here.

Just like we dropped going to a few sights, we also dropped going to a few restaurants that were on my list. Most of the times, we ate at the cottage. Only twice did we go out.
Frank Ross Café:
This Cafe was a must-visit for my Darjeeling Restaurant Bucket List & so was keen to have the food here but was quite disappointed. This café is known for its English breakfast, South Indian food & hot beverages. Of these, we only liked the Darjeeling Tea. South Indian food & sandwiches were not good. Despite amazing reviews, it was a complete disappointment.

This is the place where you can go for breakfast, lunch & dinner on the same day & won’t be disappointed. Its décor & ambiance is amazing. Service is really good. Food is absolutely delicious. It has 2 floors. On the ground floor, is a lovely bakery which is just out of a Disney fairytale. On the first floor is the restaurant with little balconies that have a stunning view! If you’re planning to visit, go around 4 PM so you can enjoy it at its best!
We visited during Christmas-time, so it was wonderfully lit & beautifully decorated. Check it out!

Some other good restaurants are Sonam’s Kitchen, Keventers & Kunga restaurant.

We went on an 8-day long trip after years! I had way too many expectations from it & compared to that, it turned out to be quite okay. The cold was really unbearable, so I think it should’ve been better to visit such places in summer. I also came to the realization that I prefer beaches to mountains. With all the mountains’ twists & turns, the whole thing just made me sick, so I hated the internal travelling part.

I guess Sikkim went quite well, because I enjoyed the Ropeway, Banjhakri waterfalls & Ganesh Tok. I also loved M.G. Market quite a lot! I didn’t enjoy South Sikkim much because of the travelling, so well that was okay-ish. And lastly, Tsomngo Lake was quite beautiful matching my expectations. So, all in all, it was good. About 6.5/10, I’d say.

As for Darjeeling, well, that’s complicated. We all wanted to visit this place since a long time & what we got was just unbearable cold. We didn’t go to many places either. But, the best point was the gorgeous sunrise at Tiger Hill! So, just for that, I’d day 8/10 for Darjeeling!

I'll be back again in a couple of weeks as I'm travelling to Pondicherry this week! So, stay tuned!! In the mean time, you can check out all my Sikkim & Darjeeling posts.

Until next time,

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