Kalimpong Travel Guide

Plan your trip to Kalimpong with this comprehensive guide featuring top places to visit, hiking/biking routes, food and drink scene, local culture, and much more!

Introduction to Kalimpong

Kalimpong, a town located in Darjeeling Hills, in West Bengal, Eastern India, is often overlooked by tourists but it’s a hidden gem of South Asia. With its serene atmosphere, breathtaking natural beauty, breathtaking views of the Himalayas, and a unique blend of different cultures, Kalimpong attracts visitors from all over the world. The town is small and can easily be explored in a few days, but there is so much to see and do that you’ll never get bored.

List of Places to Visit in Kalimpong

Kalimpong offers a plethora of places to visit and explore. Here are some of the top attractions to add to your itinerary:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Zang Dhok Palri Monastery: This beautiful gompa is a must-visit for travelers who want to experience Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Dr. Graham’s Homes: This historical mission institution founded in 1900 is not only one of the oldest but also one of the best schools in Kalimpong.
  • Morgan House: This historic bungalow-turned-hotel was built in the British colonial era and is an excellent example of architecture from that time period.
  • Kalimpong Arts and Crafts Centre: This centre is an excellent place to learn about traditional crafts and see local artists at work.

Natural Attractions of Kalimpong: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Deolo Hill: This is the highest viewpoint in Kalimpong and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.
  • Cactus Garden: This garden has an impressive collection of cactus and succulent plants from around the world.
  • Pine View Nursery: The nursery specializes in growing and maintaining rare and exotic Himalayan plants.
  • Ramdhura: A picturesque village located about 15 kilometers from Kalimpong, Ramdhura is perfect for a peaceful getaway.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Kalimpong

Kalimpong is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts. There are plenty of hiking and biking trails to explore. Here are some of the best:

  • Khangchendzonga View Point: This trail leads to a stunning viewpoint that offers a panoramic view of the Himalayas.
  • Durpin Dara Hill: This trail leads to the highest point in Kalimpong and offers excellent views of the town and surrounding areas.
  • Relli River: This is a great spot for a leisurely walk or bike ride along the river.

Best Things to Do in Kalimpong: Activities and Tours

  • White Water Rafting: Take a thrilling ride down the Teesta River for an unforgettable adventure.
  • Tea Garden Tour: Visit the nearby tea gardens and learn about tea cultivation and processing.
  • Photography Tour: This tour takes you to the best spots in Kalimpong for photography opportunities, including scenic viewpoints and local markets.

Week-Long Itinerary for Kalimpong

Day 1: Arrive in Kalimpong and spend the day exploring the town’s cultural attractions.

Day 2: Take a hiking or biking tour of the area, visiting places like the Khangchendzonga View Point and Relli River.

Day 3: Visit the tea gardens and learn about tea cultivation and processing.

Day 4: Take a day trip to nearby Ramdhura for a peaceful getaway from the town.

Day 5: Go rafting down the Teesta River for an exciting adventure.

Day 6: Explore Kalimpong’s natural attractions, such as Deolo Hill and Cactus Garden.

Day 7: Spend your last day in Kalimpong learning about traditional crafts and exploring the local markets.

Food and Drink Scene of Kalimpong

Kalimpong has a unique cuisine that blends Indian, Nepali, Tibetan, and Chinese flavors. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Momos: Steamed dumplings filled with meat or vegetables, served with spicy tomato chutney.
  • Thukpa: A hearty noodle soup with meat, vegetables, and herbs.
  • Shaphalay: A Tibetan snack similar to a samosa but filled with meat and vegetables.
  • Pork Pickle: A spicy pickled pork dish that is unique to Kalimpong and its neighboring villages.

Local Beverages

  • Chhang: A traditional alcoholic beverage made from rice or millet, fermented with yeast and stored in bamboo containers.
  • Tongba: A hot Nepali beverage made from fermented millet, served in a wooden mug and drank through a bamboo straw.

Where to Stay in Kalimpong: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Kalimpong has a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets. Here are some top picks:

  • Silver Oaks: A luxury hotel located on a hilltop with stunning views of the Himalayas.
  • Kalimpong Park Hotel: A heritage hotel housed in a colonial-era bungalow, surrounded by lush gardens.
  • Windamere Hotel: A historic luxury hotel with stunning views and colonial-era charm.
  • Holumba Haven: A budget-friendly guesthouse with clean rooms and friendly staff.

What to Buy in Kalimpong: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Kalimpong is known for its handicrafts and traditional crafts. Here are some things to buy as souvenirs:

  • Thanka Paintings: Hand-painted Buddhist religious art made on cotton or silk.
  • Lepcha Weaving: Hand-made bags, shawls, and carpets made by the Lepcha tribe.
  • Wooden Crafts: Small statues, masks, and bowls made from wood.

Local Culture and Customs of Kalimpong

Kalimpong is a multicultural town with a blend of different cultures, including Indian, Nepalese, Tibetan, and British. Here are some local customs to keep in mind:

  • Dress Modestly: While Kalimpong is not a conservative town, it is recommended to dress modestly and avoid revealing clothing.
  • Respect Local Customs: When visiting religious sites or cultural attractions, it is important to be respectful of local customs and traditions.
  • Tipping: Tipping is not customary in Kalimpong, but it is appreciated for exceptional service.

Best Time to Visit Kalimpong

The best time to visit Kalimpong is during the autumn and winter months (September to February), when the weather is pleasant and perfect for outdoor activities. Avoid visiting during the monsoon season (June to August) when heavy rains can make exploring the area difficult.

Do’s and Don’ts of Kalimpong


  • Respect Local Customs: Kalimpong has a unique blend of cultures, be respectful of local customs and traditions.
  • Try Local Street Food: Street food is a great way to try local flavors and delicacies.
  • Carry Cash: Many small shops and establishments in Kalimpong do not accept credit cards, so it’s important to carry cash with you.


  • Litter: Keep the town beautiful by disposing of trash properly.
  • Use Drugs: Using drugs is illegal in India and can lead to serious legal consequences.
  • Wander Alone at Night: It is important to take precautions at night and avoid wandering alone in poorly lit areas.

Safety and Health

Safety in Kalimpong

Kalimpong is a relatively safe town, with low crime rates. However, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your safety:

  • Beware of Scams: As with any tourist destination, be wary of scams and tourist traps.
  • Carry a Copy of Your Passport: Always carry a photocopy of your passport and keep the original in a safe place.
  • Stay Alert at Night: Take precautions at night and avoid wandering alone in poorly lit areas.

Health in Kalimpong

Before visiting Kalimpong, it’s recommended that you get vaccinations for tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis A, and typhoid. It’s also important to take precautions such as drinking bottled water, avoiding raw fruits and vegetables, and using insect repellent to avoid mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and malaria.

Getting to Kalimpong: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Kalimpong

  • Bagdogra Airport: Located about 80 kilometers from Kalimpong, Bagdogra is the nearest airport.

Bus Stations Near Kalimpong

  • Sevoke Bus Stand: This is the nearest bus station to Kalimpong, located about 20 kilometers away.

Other Options

  • Private Car: Private cars can be hired from Bagdogra Airport or Siliguri to travel to Kalimpong.
  • Shared Taxis: Shared taxis are a popular and inexpensive option for traveling to Kalimpong.

How to Get Around in Kalimpong

Kalimpong is a small town and can easily be explored on foot. However, if you prefer to use public transportation, there are plenty of options available:

  • Auto Rickshaws: Auto rickshaws are the best way to get around town and are readily available.
  • Taxis: Taxis are also available, but they are slightly more expensive than auto rickshaws.
  • Buses: Buses are the cheapest option, but they can be crowded and uncomfortable.

Where to Go Next from Kalimpong: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Kalimpong is surrounded by several towns and cities that are worth visiting. Here are some nearby destinations to add to your itinerary:

  • Darjeeling: Another hill station town known for its tea gardens, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, and stunning views of the Himalayas.
  • Gangtok: The capital city of Sikkim known for its stunning scenery, monasteries, and outdoor adventures.
  • Pelling: A picturesque town known for its serene atmosphere, waterfalls, and stunning views of Mount Khangchendzonga.


Kalimpong is a hidden gem in India’s Eastern Himalayas, with a unique blend of different cultures and breathtaking natural beauty. With this comprehensive travel guide, you can plan your trip to Kalimpong with ease, and explore everything this charming town has to offer. Don’t miss out on the delicious food, friendly locals, and unforgettable experiences!