Many of the tea gardens located in the Eastern Himalayas and their foothills have been offering their bungalows for tourists for quite some time. In this tourism revival phase, these bungalows, destinations by themselves, are ideal for a holiday away from the crowds. The lofty mountains, the sprawling tea gardens, the crisp air, the springs and rivers, the birdlife, all add to the charm, not to forget the luxurious meals served at all of them. While most of them have provisions for hiking, bird watching, camping and tea factory tours, check with them for the facilities available at the moment.
Perched at 4,800 feet, surrounded by tea gardens, this mountain resort and spa is just the place to unwind before you step into the new normal world. This premium resort, run by Chiabari Retreat, part of the Chamong group, is located about 40 minutes from Mirik and half an hour from Ghoom. Enjoy stunning views of the Himalayas from the rooms. https://www.chamongchiabari.com/
Also a Chiabari Retreat property, this is about 30km from the heart of Darjeeling. A perfect destination for those looking for a secluded place with outdoor activities aplenty. You can go hiking in the undulating countryside. One of the biggest attractions is bird watching because you are likely to see many different species owing to the variation in altitude and diversity of habitat. http://www.darjeelingchiabari.com/
Tucked inside serene Dooars (the foothills of the eastern Himalayas), about 45km from Siliguri, this charming tea estate is one of the best-kept secrets of the region. Surrounded by hills and rivers, it is ideal for those who are looking for a revitalising holiday. The elegant rooms in this luxury heritage bungalow built in 1891, exude an old-world charm through well-preserved furniture and other artefacts. A part of the surrounding tea gardens border the Gorumara National Park. http://baradighibungalow.com/
Ging Tea House
About half an hour’s drive from Darjeeling and you are at this charming retreat, a restored heritage bungalow, in the middle of tea gardens. According to the owners, the Ging Tea House was originally a colonial-era tea planter’s bungalow dating back to 1864. Take a stroll through the garden around the bungalow or enjoy a cup of tea at the sun deck, you will not want to move out of here in a hurry. http://www.gingteahouse.com/
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The Temi Bungalow
Sikkim’s only tea garden, it is tucked beyond Namchi in South Sikkim. Overlooked by snow-capped Himalayan peaks, surrounded by cherry blossoms, rhododendrons and other trees, it is ideal for a nature-based holiday. Eco Adventure Resorts, an enterprise of Kolkata-based Priya Entertainments, has built a tourism hub based on the heritage Bada Bungalow and cottages opening onto scenic views of mountains or tea gardens. According to a representative, this resort will be operational after the Sikkim government opens the state to tourists. https://ecoadventureresorts.com/sikkim/
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Note: The tea retreats of West Bengal mentioned here are operational while Temi Bungalow is likely to open after October. However, since the lockdown and other travel restrictions are often subject to the containment or the spread of the pandemic, always check with the hotel for the latest information.