Kalimpong is accessible mainly by Jeep, due to the winding mountain roads. There is frequent transportation to and from nearby cities such as Darjeeling and Gangtok (Deorali Bus Stand), where one can book a 3½-hour ride by shared Jeep for ₹130. Booking is not required ahead of time, but is advisable if it is urgent.
In addition to Jeeps, regular buses provide direct access to and from the transportation hub Siliguri for ₹130 and a 3-hour trip, or even slightly further to New Jalpaiguri Railway Station for ₹140 and an extra 10-20 minutes from Siliguri. The nearest airport from Kalimpong, Bagdogra Airport, is also close to Siliguri and can be accessed from there by taxi.
Kalimpong is a small and walkable city. The main form of transportation within Kalimpong is taxi and auto-rickshaw. The main bus stand is located close to Damber Chowk.
Kalimpong has less to see than Darjeeling but is, in comparison, quiet and pleasant to walk around and explore. You can visit Gauripur House (home of the great Bengali poet Ravindra Nath Tagore) and Graham's House, a complex with a large school, Christian church and several homes in the English style.
Kalimpong is situated between two hills which, on a clear morning, provide views of Kanchenjunga. Deolo Hill provides the most sweeping panoramic views and also has a guesthouse. Durpin Dara is the other hill, which has the Zang Dhok Palri Phodang Monastery.
The climate of Kalimpong is ideal for the cultivations of horticultural plants. There are various nurseries here which house varieties of exquisite orchids, gladioli, marigolds, amaryllis and many other flowers. Some nurseries here are:
- 1 B.N. Pradhan Nursery.
- International Nursery.
- Pine View Nursery.
- 2 Shanti Kunj Nursery.
- Sri Ganesh Mani Pradhan Nursery.
- Sri L.B. Pradhan Nursery.
- Standard Nursery.
- Udai Mani Pradhan Nursery.
- 3 Universal Nursery.
Kalimpong has many temples, churches, monasteries and one mosque too. Some major ones are:
- Buddha Cave.
- Dharmodaya Vihar.
- 4 El Shaddai Church.
- Free Church.
- Hanuman Tok.
- 5 Kali Mandir.
- 6 MacFarlane Memorial Church.
- 7 Mangal Dham, Reply Road. A tribute to Guru Mangaldasji, whose samadhi lies in the ground floor of the dham.
- Roman Catholic Church.
- Sai Mandir.
- Sakya Center.
- 8 St. Teresa's Church.
- Shakti Than.
- Tamang Gumpa.
- Thakurbari Mandir.
- Thakurbari Masjid.
- Tharpa Choling Monastery.
- Thongsa Gumpa.
- 9 Zang Dhok Palri Monastery.
With lush greenery and a refreshing climate, time well spent in Kalimpong is in wonderful parks, gardens and amidst serene hills.
- 10 Army Golf Course (27 Div Golf Course).
- 11 Children Park.
- Cruss Dara.
- Deolo Hill.
- Durpin Dara.
- Janmukti Park.
- Jelep La View Point.
- Rishi Bankim Chandra Park.
- 7th Mile View Point.
- 12 Shaahed Park.
- Sherpa Gaon View Point.
There are also some historical British colonial houses and other sites of historical importance in the town some of which have been transformed into lodges:
- Gauripur House.
- Morgan House.
One can also pay a visit to some school campuses and appreciate the architecture and look of these institutions left by the founder Europeans such as:
- Dr. Graham's Homes.
- St. Augustine's School.
- St. Joseph's Convent.
Other notable places to visit are:
- Cactus Nursery. A good place to go. Do not miss to check out the Tequila plant out there.
- Deolo Hill. One of the numerous hill destinations that warrant a visit. A picnic spot with a tourist lodge, run by the Department of Tourism. Offers an early morning view of the Kanchenjunga massif.
- Golf Course. A must must watch. A golf course so beautiful is rarely seen.
- Kalimpong Art Gallery.
- Lepcha Museum and Monastery.
- Nature Interpretation Centre.
- Kalimpong Science Centre.
- Sericulture Research Institute.
- Tashi Takgye (Colour House), 10th Mile, Rishi Road (Near Power Station), ☎ .
- Kalimpong is beginning to form a small hiking industry – look around for flyers in hotels for local tour operators.
The shops in Kalimpong serve the local economy. Most of the Tibetan shops along 10th Mile Rishi Road, and R.C. Mintri Road.
The Haat Bazar, just off Relly Road, down the hill from the bus stand, occurs every Wednesday and Saturday and is a vibrant market with mainly clothing and vegetable stands. Food stands serve plates of momo for ₹10, as well as a delectable local pasta.
Don't hesitate to bargain -- you can haggle quite a bit. Or if you are adventurous, just walk a bit more to the wholesale market (just around the corner from the main street). Its fixed price, but you won't get a better deal anywhere else in town. To buy clothes all you have to do is to visit R.C. Mintri road full of marwadis. Don't leave Kalimpong without tasting locally made lollipops.
- Tashi Takgye (Colour House) 03552-256897/9434007076, at 10th Mile, Rishi Road, about 1km from Damber Chowk. This is a fixed price shop with extremely reasonable prices. You can get paintings, statues, wall hanging, knives, porcelain, crystal, thankhas, dragons, items made from bone, masks, souvenirs, etc. It's the wholesale supplier/importer/exporter for the northern region. Prices here are usually 2-3 times cheaper than anywhere else in the region.
- Thangka House on 10th Mile, Rishi Road. This shop sells small souvenirs, and beautiful art such as thangkas and authentic hand paintings. They also have postcards and an assortment of prints for sale, which are cheaper than the hand paintings.
- Gompu's For the best momo. You can also get a very decent lunch or dinner at this place. Open until 9PM.
- A.B.C. Restaurant You can try other Tibetan/Chinese dishes like Thukpa (noodles), R.C. Mintri Road.
For veg momos you should visit Sagar, Evergreen (on the Main Road), Unique, Shikhar, Mohan Daju and all the hawkers (thela walas).
- Rigyal Restaurant in Malli Road, 30 m downhill from the traffic point, is the place if you are concerned about food hygene but want a taste of local food in local price in a clean environment.
- China Garden is the place for Chinese food, tucked in near the bus stop. They make great Mei Foon and their Chicken Drumsticks are worth the inevitable queue during tourist season. Hit the place before 8PM as this town shuts down early.
- The Soods Garden Retreat For Indian food and drinks, open till 10PM.
- Himamlayan Hotel You'd miss something if you didn't spare time for a quiet, very British afternoon cup there.
- Cafe Refuel A good place for an English style breakfast and snacks in the outskirts of the town.
- King Thai A good place for affordable drinks and food.
Kalimpong produces the only aged cheese made in India. It's delicious: the texture of a hard European cheese and a mild, almost parmesan-like flavour
There are a few bars in town, or just buy something from the liquor shop around the main stand near the bazaar.
- Melting Point, Opp. Kanchan Hall, ☎ . Coming up new hangout place in town, branch of the Melting Point Pelling, West Sikkim
- Homestay Trinity, Off Seva Sadan Road (5 Minutes drive from main motor stand towards Seva Sadan Hospital), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Spacious, clean and well lit rooms. THe amenities feature an audiophile room with meticulously chosen equipments and fine Jazz collections. The Reading room houses a great (not pop) collection of fiction and non-fiction book. The food is made with organic vegetables from their own kitchen garden. US$50.
- Holumba Guest House. One of the better deals in town. It is a botanical garden boasting exotic orchids with guest cottages. Full board is available as well as many services including arranging tours of the local area. ₹500-2000.
- Morgan House (3km away from Downtown. Taxi fare from the market to Morgan House is ₹40 one way or you can just walk). This is one of the best places to sleep. It's the government tourist lodge, and you can get reservations from Calcutta and stay in this sprawling mansion from the 1930s, though there are reports that the quality is waning.
- Soods Garden Retreat, Reshi Road, ☎ . 8½ miles (14 km) out of town
- G P Lodge, 10 mile, ☎ . Check-in: noon, check-out: 11:30AM. 900 to 2500.
- Kalimpong Village Retreat (KVR), Kafley Goan, Lower Eechay (Just 7 km from town, near Shivalaya), ☎ , , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: noon, check-out: 11AM. Situated on a 6-acre (2½ ha) farm in the scenic village of lower Eechay. Surrounded by a variety of trees, lush terraced paddy fields and traditional village houses. The farm overlooks the Relli river and the hills of Lava, a popular birding destination. US$50.
- Darjeeling — 50km
- Dello — 6km
- Lava — 35km
- Pedong — This town is an hour by taxi (₹300), is a real off-the-track destination. The town's main monastery is over 150 years old, and can act as a base for hikes through the hills and surrounding villages.
- Rishop — 27 km
- Sikkim —