Mirik is a hill station near Darjeeling in West Bengal. If you are visiting Darjeeling, you can hardly let pass Mirik. The place is only 49 km from Darjeeling and 52km from Bagdogra / NJP and can be reached from either place quite easily. Mirik is 1767 meters above the sea level and has a charming weather throughout the year.
You may either stay at Mirik and explore the area around, or visit Mirik as part of a day trip from Darjeeling. Some tourists also visit Mirik only while driving down from Darjeeling on their way to Bagdogra airport or New Jalpaiguri rail station. However the day visitors or the tourists who visit Mirik only on their way to other places miss the essence of Mirik. You will end up spending a couple of hours besides the Mirik lake Samendu or having lunch at the local restaurant. To enjoy Mirik, you need to stay here overnight, and the longer is the better.
Drive from Darjeeling to Mirik
The 40 km drive from Mirik to Darjeeling is one of the best you can have in the region. About half the route is through the Nepal boarder and almost the entire route is through forests of Pine, fir and chestnut oak forest. The beautiful road passes through small hamlets of Sukiapokhari, Pashupati, and Simana. You will also pass by Lepchajagat which has become a tourist destination on its own right. You can stop over at Pashupati and enter Nepal here. The Pashupati market in Nepal is at attraction for tourists which markets Nepalese as well as cheap Chinese products. There are also some picturesque tea gardens on this route such as Gopaldhara tea garden and Thurbo tea garden. If you love nature in its pristine beauty, the Darjeeling – Mirik drive is one you must enjoy during your trip.
Things to See and Do
The lake Samendu popularly known as Mirik lake is about 1.25 km long and a 3.5 km road surrounds the lake. The lake is the major attraction of Mirik. Swimming in the lake is not advisable since the wastewater from the town falls into this lake. At the backdrop of the lake, you will get an idyllic view of Mt. Kanchenjunga and the green lustre of Oak, Chestnut and Maple. Boating in this lake placid is a must to soothe the soul of a weary traveller. A stroll around the lake is highly recommended. You can also go for a horse ride around the lake.
The Mirik Lake is an artificial lake created during the 1970’s by the West Bengal government to make Mirik an attractive tourist destination. And it has worked wonders for the small town and its tourism. There is an arched bridge over the lake and a large ground where all sorts of tourism activity from horse ride to feeding the fish takes place. Most hotels are situated around the lake so is the taxi stand and typical tourism infrastructure.
Tingling View Point / Kawlay Dara View point - About 8 kms south of Mirik towards Siliguri is the Tingling view point. From here you can view the tea gardens carpeted tea plantation. Many of the best tea garden pictures you will see online is taken here. The view point is surrounded by three tea gardens. One can get a sweeping view of the plains as well as the snow capped mountains from this viewpoint. The sunrise and sunset from here is a visual delight. The viewpoint is about 30 minutes walk from the tourist hub.
Rang Bhang river - Another interesting point to visit near Mirik is Tama koshi besides Rang Bhang river. It is about 7 kms from Mirik town. Drive about 2 kms from Mirik towards Darjeeling and you will reach Thurbo tea estate factory. From here take a downhill drive on your right and 5 kms ahead is the Rang Bhang riverbed. You can visit the two temples here and spend some good time picnicking around Rang Bhang river. If you are a little adventurous, you may try a trek from Mirik down here. The trek is an ideal for bird enthusiasts.
Mirik Monastery - The Bokar Ngedon Chokhor Ling Monastery of Mirik, in short referred as Bokar monastery or simply Mirik monastery, is another tourist attraction here. The monastery was founded in 1986. From the monastery you can have a nice view of the Mirik town and Mirik lake.
Helipad & Swiss Cottage - The hilltop helipad offers a panoramic view of the town and the Samendu Lake. You can see Kanchunjunga and Mirik lake and the entire Mirik town from here. Locals also flock here for the great view. There are Swiss cottages nearby which previously used to be known as Orange country retreat. This used to be the best place to stay in Mirik, but unfortunately the accommodation is not operational for several years now.
Mirik Bazaar - The Mirik Bazar is just north of the lake, since most of the tourist activities centre around the south side of the lake, many tourists miss the Mirik Bazar. If you are interested in the local people experience their culture, a visit to the non-touristic bazaar is a must. The market is a hub of activity as locals from the tea gardens and villages all around Mirik flock here from dawn to dusk.
Mirik Orange village – From Mirik Bazar a small village road goes east towards the Pahilo gaon area. This area is famous for producing oranges, cardamom etc. You may take a walk in the village among the gardens for an authentic experience of non-touristic Mirik. Most experiential travellers also prefer to stay in this area where a number of homestays have developed with good infrastructure.
The climate of Mirik is very pleasant and the temperature rarely crosses 30 degrees during the summers. Winters are cold but the temperature never goes below freezing point. During summer light woollen is required and winters require heavy woollens. Evenings are always cold even though during summer day time you may go out comfortably in cotton shirts. The rainy season is quite heavy here but the area is less prone to landslide compared some other destinations in the area. Carrying Umbrella or raincoat is highly recommended as rains are not unusual even during the non-rainy season.
At Mirik you may either stay in the hotels or in Homestay. Most Hotels are located towards the south of the Mirik lake. The area is a little crowded with almost every building here housing a hotel unit. The major advantage of staying here is the proximity to the Mirik lake as well as getting and meeting other tourists. Vehicles for going to other places are also easily available in this area. If you want to book a hotel in this area, fill up the form in this page and our helpdesk executives of naturebeyond will suggest you a hotel according to your preference. Note that luxury hotels are not available in Mirik town.
For tourists looking for little seclusion or better travel experience, the homestays in Pahilo gaon area is a much better option. We highly recommend Humro Home Mirik which is about 2 kms from Mirik Bazar and one of the first accommodations in the area. You may read more about Humro Home Mirik in the link here.
The Homestays of the area offers excellent hospitality with personal touch. The comfort level is also quite comparable to a good hotel. It is easier to organise special interest activities such as Biriding, Trekking, Angling etc from these homestays.