Head to Tiger Hill in the wee hours of the morning to see the sun rise over the peak of Kanchenjunga.
Darjeeling is a tea town, but I can’t go a day without coffee: the hip, sunny Himalayan Java has windows overlooking the mountains, and a mean pourover.
In the smaller town of Kurseong, stay at Cochrane Palace, a restored colonial governor’s home filled with explorable nooks and crannies.
Wander through the scenic Makaibari tea estate – it’s fully organic – to see some of the region’s remaining few century-old tea press machines. If you’re traveling to mountains that happen to be in West Bengal, prepare for multiple climates in a day. Carry with you:
Your everyday base layer: a breathable long-sleeve tee (Ukiyo Long Sleeve Tee)
A light scarf, for warmth and wind-blown hair
A light trench, for unpredictable bursts of rain
Binoculars, to peer at Everest and Kanchenjunga more closely from the peak of Tiger Hill
Fingerless gloves (so you can still take photos when it’s cold out)
A first-aid kit (don’t forget to throw in some ear plugs)
Comfortable, cool trainers
A roomy tote, to hold a warm layer, gloves, water, and binoculars