Kalimpong (Nepali: कालिम्पोङ Kālimpoṅ, Bengali: কালিম্পং Kālimpaṁ) is a hill station in the Darjeeling Hills of West Bengal. It has less to see than Darjeeling but is, in comparison, quiet and pleasant to walk around and explore. The town has a number of interesting colonial-era buildings scattered around the town. The climate is ideal for growing a range of plants, particularly flowers and the area has many nurseries. The town is between two hills: Deolo and Durpin Dara, both of which provide views of Mt Kangchenjunga on a clear morning. Deolo provides the most sweeping panoramic views and also has a guesthouse, while Durpin Dara has the Zang Dhok Palri Phodang Monastery.
Kalimpong (KAH-lihm-pawng) is accessible mainly by terrain vehicle, 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 terrain vehicle for ₹130. Booking is not required ahead of time but is advisable if it is urgent.
In addition to terrain vehicles, regular buses provide direct access to and from the Siliguri (Hill Cart Road Bus Station) for ₹130 for the 3-hour journey, or from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station for ₹140 for a 3 and half hour trip. The nearest airport from Kalimpong is Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri. Taxis ply the route between the airport and Kalimpong.
Kalimpong is a small and walkable city. The main form of transportation within Kalimpong is taxi and auto-rickshaw. The main bus stand is close to Damber Chowk.
- 1 Kalimpong Art Gallery.
- 2 Lepcha Museum.
- 3 Nature Interpretation Centre (Forest Museum).
- 4 Kalimpong Science Centre.
- Sericulture Research Institute.
- Tashi Takgye (Colour House), 10th Mile, Rishi Road (Near Power Station), ☏ .
- 5 Mangal Dham, Reply Road. A tribute to Guru Mangaldasji, whose samadhi lies in the ground floor of the dham.
- Kalimpong is beginning to form a small hiking industry – look around for flyers in hotels for local tour operators.
- 1 Army Golf Course (27 Div Golf Course).
- Buddha Pada (Japanese temple), 12th Mile, ☏ , email@example.com. An institute built in the Japanese minimalist style. Conducts workshops and classes in meditation, classical Indian dance, cinema, and other wisdom-based art forms. Accommodation available. Cafe and dining hall.
- 2 Children Park.
- 3 Triveni Camping (Triveni Siliguri), Teesta Bazar, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 9AM - 8PM. A confluence of two rivers, the river Rangeet with its deep green and crystal clear water, meets with the forceful mountain stream Teesta at a point called Teesta Triveni. ₹1500 per person per night.
Most of the Tibetan shops along 10th Mile Rishi Road, and R.C. Mintri Road.
The Haat Bazar (weekly bazzar), 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.
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
- 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.
- Sagar, Evergreen (on the Main Road)
- Unique, Shikhar, Mohan Daju
- Rigyal Restaurant in Malli Road, 30 m downhill from the traffic point, local food with a hygienic kitchen
- 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.
- Roxberry The Street Outlet, D.B.Giri Road. 9:30AM-8:30PM. Chic cafe, serving espresso-based coffees, pizza, pasta, burgers, and sandwiches. Professional and quick service.
- Tara Cafe, shop no. 8, Big Will Mart D.B.Giri Road. 9:30AM-8:30PM. Bright and airy cafe. Serves standard espresso-based coffees, pizza and pasta. Friendly service.
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, ☏ . 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), ☏ , 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 (3 km away from Downtown, taxi fare from the market to Morgan House is ₹40 one way or you can walk). This is one of the best places to sleep. It's the government tourist lodge, and you can get reservations from Kolkata and stay in this sprawling mansion from the 1930s, though there are reports that the quality is waning.
- The Orchid Retreat.
- 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), ☏ , , 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
- Deolo Hill — 6km, provides the most sweeping panoramic views and also has a guesthouse.
- 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 — three hours to Gangtok