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Tea Tour?

Discussion in 'Itinerary' started by ChrisB, Sep 24, 2015.

  1. ChrisB

    ChrisB New Member

    I'm in the early stages of planning a trip to India and Nepal and I'm trying to figure a few things out. One area of the country that I'd really like to visit is Darjeeling. I'd really like to tour the tea plantations. I will only have 10 days or so and I'll be flying into New Delhi. What's the best time of year to see the plantations? Is there enough time to take a train or should I just fly? I'm not very familiar with India in general. Is the area between Delhi and Darjeeling particularly beautiful? I'd be more inclined to take the train if there was something to see along the way. Thanks for the help

  2. travelguide

    travelguide Active Member

    Darjeeling is said to be the Mecca of Tea. There are around 80 tea gardens. There is no doubt that it would be an ideal tourist spot for nature lovers. You will feel extremely rejuvenated by the cool breeze and misty weather high on the hills. This is the place where tea grows in the finest form in the world.

    Ideal time to visit Darjeeling would be in autumn (October and November) and spring (mid-March to mid-May). You can find a lot of foreign tourists during these times as the weather is very pleasant with clear sky and appropriate temperature. It would be too cold during December and February there.

  3. moondebi

    moondebi New Member

    If you have only ten days to spare, it is better to take a flight from New Delhi to Bagdogra airport, which is the nearest airport from Darjeeling (95 km from Darjeeling city). By train, it will take a longer time, as New Delhi is in the northern part of the country, and Darjeeling is in the east. The distance between the two places is more than 1500km.

    Darjeeling is an ideal destination for any tourist interested in tea tourism. It is one of the rare places, where a wide variety of tea is available. The awesome brew is attractive and addictive too!
  4. travelguide

    travelguide Active Member

    Absolutely, it is one of the finest destinations for those who loves nature. You can have a wide variety of tea available there also known as the "Champaign of teas".

    But it is a fact that tea tourism is not for the budget travelers. In some estates garden workers and villagers extend home stays for tourists at an affordable cost. You can also enjoy delicious home made food. In luxury bungalows don't expect any five star luxury as most of these properties are managed by estate workers who are not professionals in this. But it will be a nice experience being close to nature.
  5. Ashwin Mahesh

    Ashwin Mahesh Member

    Different flavors of tea are available here, my personal favorite being 'Masala Tea' (Masala Chai) in local slang.
  6. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    So on this forum already we've learned about chocolate, wine and now tea tourism in India! To be honest I never even knew that any of them industries existed.

    While I know that India is becoming more and more popular when it comes to tourism, I was unaware that those specific industries actually brought in people to a particular region.
  7. Rahul4640

    Rahul4640 New Member

    I suggest that you may stay at Glenburn tea estate. They offer decent rooms.
    Glenburn Tea Estate & Retreat Darjeeling
    To know more about Darjeeling tea in brief, you may also look at this:-
    Darjeeling Tea.
  8. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    For somebody wanting to stay in a place like that, what would the prices be like compared to just a regular hotel or b+b?

    I'd imagine that you might be paying a little more than you would usually with it being a particular type of place and not just a random hotel in a random city.
  9. Rahul4640

    Rahul4640 New Member

    I have not stayed overnight at any tea estate but usually they offer full meals against their rents.
    Yes. These tea garden accommodations are normally a little more expensive than the ordinary hotels. But then the normal hotels are located inside congested towns and should not be compared with the tea estates.
  10. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    Even though some of them might be a little more expensive I think when you factor in like you say the location and the extras they offer then from a value for money point of view it will be worth it.

    Another reason would be because these types of holiday would be aimed at a niche market so they would have to charge more simply because they won't be getting the same amount of visitors as other destinations might do.
    Rahul4640 likes this.
  11. HK Thaker

    HK Thaker New Member

    Darjeeling - Great choice for tea travel. I had been there in December 2014. Enjoyed the stay. Best time to visit is after winter, when you can watch the mountain ranges from Tiger Hill. Tea estates offering various types of tea are in plentiful. A suggestion if you like it - Go to Sikkim - Gangtok. A real place to visit. No words can describe it, you have to visit and see to believe it.
    Next destination for Tea Tour can be Kerala and than Assam. Kerala is a hot favorite place for tourism and tea estates. Must visit during monsoon to enjoy the nature.
    HIraeth likes this.
  12. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    When you say must visit during monsoon season, I've often been told to make sure avoid the monsoon season, so how bad actually is it? While a monsoon is never good, what I mean is how frequent are they, and what sort of risks are involved for a tourist who isn't used to that kind of weather?
  13. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    I've actually wondered about that too. I've never experienced an Indian monsoon but I have experienced a couple of Japanese typhoons. The typhoons were basically just a couple of days of high winds and rain and then it was back to clear blue skies and lovely weather! So perhaps it is bearable!
  14. sillyllucy

    sillyllucy Member

    I like tea and I would like to go on a tea tour! It sounds like fun and I bet that you would get to drink some really great chai. I wish that chai was more widely available in the states. I drink it all the time, but I wish my local coffee shops made it available.
  15. HK Thaker

    HK Thaker New Member

    To enjoy monsoon and tea tour, one MUST go to Kerala. Rains in Darjeeling & Sikkim are unpredictable and the climate becomes very chilled. We have enjoyed rains in Sikkim in the month of December. If you want to enjoy the natural views travel after March, when the climate becomes quite clear.
  16. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    And are there any dangers when it comes to visiting during the monsoon season? What would you say that a visitor who hasn't experienced anything like that before should be wary about?

    And Darjeeling is certainly proving to be the popular choice and its looking like the destination to visit if your wanting to go on a tea tour.
  17. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    This thread has me curious now about tea tours and stuff. Does India have the same sort of 'tea ceremony' culture like a place like Japan has? I witnessed a tea ceremony when I was on vacation there and it was wonderful to see the traditions involved. If there was something similar to this in India I would be really interested in attending it.
    pwarbi likes this.
  18. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    The more the thread as gone on, I feel the same and while at the beginning it's not something I would have been interested in, the more I hear about them, the more I'm starting to come round to the idea!
  19. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    That's what happens to me with a lot of travel planning and ideas! Sometimes I may not have a lot of interest in a particular activity, but often the more people talk about it, the more my interest picks up and I start thinking "hmm - that DOES sound like something I would enjoy!"
  20. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    I think a lot of people will have their set ways and opinions on things, and its only when we try something for the first time or hear other people recommend it we actually start to think more seriously about it.

    End of the day we're only human, and we get stuck in our ways, unwilling to try anything new, even though we know that when we do we'll probably end up enjoying it.
    amelia88 likes this.
  21. knitmehere

    knitmehere Member

    I've had dozens of reasons to visit India, but I never thought that tea would be one of them! I absolutely love all types of tea, and it's wonderful to hear that India has so many types and so many different places that I could visit to learn about and taste new types!

    Like everyone else, I feel that the more you read about other people's travel plans, the more inclined you are to open up and use some of their ideas as your own.
  22. HIraeth

    HIraeth Member

    Darjeeling isn't very far from my hometown, only an overnight train ride. I've visited the "Queen of Hill Stations" (as the place is called) many times, visited the tea gardens too but I have't really stayed overnight in any og them. I believe if a tea tour holiday is what you're primarily looking at, it's ideal that you spend the extra buck and stay at an estate as opposed to a hotel. This will give you an intimate experience of the real scene that unfolds in a tea garden. Given that the gardens are so very beautiful, I can only imagine how wonderful staying in an estate will be. I'm actually thinking of going for a tea tour some day in the near future myself now! But a lot of saving to do before that.

    As for your question regarding monsoon. It's best that you avoid Darjeeling or any hill station for that matter during the monsoons. There are always chances of landslides, and you wouldn't want your holiday to be jeopardized because of such unpredictable calamities, as had happened to me on one of my trips there. I believe you have been warned about monsoon because of how mucky certain places can get due to all the water and situations of waterlogging and flooding. Also, in congested cities, monsoons can a get a bit too uncomfortable especially if you're travelling.

    All this said, I still find monsoon one of the most beautiful seasons that we have here. And as @HK Thaker mentioned, Kerala looks lush and throbbing with life during this wet season. Being so full of lakes and rivers and the backwaters, waterlogging and flooding are never issues in this place. Monsoon brings out the life of this place like nothing else does. You would have to see it to believe it. All I can say is that it's truly heavenly. :)
  23. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    What's the best time of year to see the plantations?

    December, January and February. The only dormant months.

    March and April. Leaves produced during this time are “the first flush." They are described as light, crisp and springlike.

    May and June. These months yield “the second flush”, described as earthy like the smell of the first rain falling on parched soil with hints of chocolate and apricot.

    July to mid-October. These months provide the stronger “monsoon flush”, which is full and ripe. The ending weeks provide the flowery fourth or autumn flush.

    Is there enough time to take a train or should I just fly?

    Taking the train from Delhi to Darjeeling can take up to 26 hours, so there is enough time within your 10 days.

    Is the area between Delhi and Darjeeling particularly beautiful?

    I think that halfway through the journey, colourful mountain towns, lush scenery and dozens of waterfalls await you.
  24. knitmehere

    knitmehere Member

    A tea trip might make for a good birthday month vacation for me, it seems. Reading through your descriptions, the May/June variety would be the type that would draw me in, and my birthday happens to be in May. That's also a good time for my family to travel because my daughter gets out of school at the end of May.

    The scenery is definitely a plus as well. I need some new stock photography for my blogs, and I'm just in an overall better mood when I'm around beautiful sights.
  25. Drifter

    Drifter New Member

    A tea tour is an intriguing prospect - I will definitely be adding this to my itinerary! I was lucky enough to experience a tea ceremony in Kyoto and was absolutely charmed by the history and respect the Japanese have for this tradition, so to be able to visit the 'home of tea' in India would be similarly enlightening.
  26. Aja

    Aja Member

    Wow! Great idea! I love Darjeeling tea, but it never occured to me to check out how and where it was made. I think that could be an interesting tour, and I may consider planning one in the near future.
  27. artyarson

    artyarson New Member

    Like many of us here I like the whole idea. I've been drinking tea for a long long time. I enjoy good tea in so many different tastes and variations. And India is the country where it mostly comes from.
  28. JKewe

    JKewe New Member

    Thanks for this detailed explanation. I have bought teas labeled as first flush and second flush, but never had such an evocative description. This is wonderful!
  29. Rahul4640

    Rahul4640 New Member

    I think you will love it if you stay at Glenburn tea estate. Though slightly expensive, all food (including breakfast and snacks) are included in the rates. You will be staying within a 1600 acre estate which produces one of the best quality Darjeeling tea. Please insist on staying at Burra (big) Bungalow, which is the where the original planters used to stay. It has a large balcony, a large living room with fireplace, dining room and library. Even two of the four suites there have old time fireplaces. I guess you all will love your stay.
  30. summertime

    summertime New Member

    is it bad that I've never even heard of a tea tour? How many different types of tea could there possibly be to justify scheduling an entire tour around it?
  31. jnorth88

    jnorth88 Active Member

    This sounds amazing. I love tea, and really enjoyed the tea when I was in Asia. What you can buy in the stores here in the US, or South America does not compare to even the low quality tea in India. I have read the thread, and love what everyone has mentioned. I am going to incorporate this in my own itinerary. Thanks.