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Amidst the greens of Bagrakote tea garden, there is a small peaceful village that has been named as ‘Chuikhim Homestays‘. This quaint hilly village is comprised of only 250 families and the tiny households are neatly arranged in a queue from the end point of the dense forest. This unexploited rural hamlet is going to be developed holding the hands of SHARE (Support Himalayan Agro Rural Enterprise) whose unassuming young leader has initiated a unique pilot project on Community-based Rural Tourism. If you want to detach yourself from the daily chores of concrete jungles and sink in the world of calmness then Chuikhim would be the ideal destination for you. Being surrounded by the silent mountains, sloppy river valley, ever flowing Lees river, layered green beds and terraced cultivation; Chuikhim is undoubtedly deserved to be called – a piece of heaven.
To spend a relaxing holiday amidst the tea garden as well as in such a picturesque village, is itself enough to detox any struggling soul however during your stay at Chuikhim Homestays, you may indulge yourself in –
- trekking around the village trails,
- nature walk through the forest,
- observing and talking with different species of birds, and
- paying a short visit to the nearby tourist spots – Samtahar (at 25 km) and Lolegaon (at 23 km).
Local transports especially jeeps are available to enjoy sightseeing while your stay at Chuikhim Homestays.
Being an offbeat destination in the lap of tea gardens, Chuikhim is not well connected with major stops of North Bengal. No regular public transport is available to reach Chuikhim from NJP/Bagdogra so you have to pre-book or hire rental cars to cover the distance of around 50 km between NJP and Chuikhim. If you really want to escape from the buzzing chores fast-pacing city-life then Chuikhim would be the best hill station where ultimate peace would be awaited for you.
- Bagdogra Airport is closest to Chuikhim. It will take around 4 hours to reach Chuikhim from Bagdogra by road. As no local cars head towards Chuikhim directly from Siliguri so it is recommended to hire a rental jeep from Bagdogra airport to avoid break journeys. Private jeeps are available in airport area at an affordable cost. The road journey through the forest and tea gardens would itself be a memorable experience.
- New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) is the mostly used railway station to reach Chuikhim. Regular super fast express trains - Darjeeling Mail, Kanchankanya Express, Uttarbanga Express etc. ply between Sealdah or Howrah Railway station (Kolkata) and NJP. From NJP station's entrance, plenty of private cars and jeeps are available and on pre or spot booking they would take you to Chuikhim within 4.5 hours. Although the road from Bagrakote tea garden to Chuikhim (around 14 km) is not so smooth but the local drivers are efficient enough to reach you safely to your destination.
- AC/Non AC Volvo buses also depart daily from Esplanade bus terminus (Kolkata) and from other particular towns to arrive at Siliguri bus stand. Private rental fair-priced vehicles are easily available from Siliguri bus stand to reach Bagrakote or Chuikhim. Pickup services are also offered by the homestays of Chuikhim on prior request only.
- With the help of SHARE, local villagers of Chuikhim let the visitors stay in their homes during their visit at Chuikhim. Cordial hospitality is the main anthem of the people of Chuikhim. Some of the dwellers have made small guest houses adjacent to their own homes so that the tourists could enjoy a comfortable stay. These homestays are well decked with spacious rooms, latrine facilities, plenty of water resources, other basic necessities and a eye-catching view of the mountains as well as surrounding tea gardens. You would not be disappointed to spend blissful nights in such simply elegant environment.
- Traditional home made hilly style traditional Bengali, Nepali and other Indian dishes are served here in a healthy & hygienic way. The local hosts themselves cook the food and serve with utmost care & affection. In road side eateries and local stalls, you would also get sumptuous delicious local hilly delicacies. Don't miss the chance to taste authentic veg and non-veg Momos prepared by the local dwellers of Chuikhim.
A memorable journeyTo get rid of the buzzing chores and increasing pollution of ‘city of joy’, I was looking for a peaceful unexploited hill station of Bengal. Thanks to various latest blogs on offbeat destinations, I found the name ‘Chuikhim’ but as this hamlet is a newly added name to the list of offbeat hilly gems so there was no much information about this place. Fortunately I got connected with ‘Meaningful Travel India’ and enquired about a trip to Chuikhim. They gave me the necessary details about Chuikhim and also offered me a lucrative package for Chuikhim. I happily agreed with them and booked ‘a trip to Chuikhim-yellbong’. In a sunny morning, I got off the train at New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) from Darjeeling Mail that started of its journey from Sealdah (Kolkata) Railway Station on previous night at around 10:05 pm. As per my booking preferences, my local host (of Meaningful Travel India) already sent a private jeep to pick me up from NJP. So I got into the jeep and we headed towards Chuikhim. On the way we took a halt to grab a plate of Momos from a roadside eatery. Overcoming the congestion of Siliguri, my jeep driver cum guide took a speed to reach Chuikhim as early as possible. After crossing around 40 km road (following NH 31), our jeep entered into the green lushes of Bagrakote tea garden and from this point I started to be mesmerised by the true beauty of hills. We crossed the railway track (connecting Siliguri with Alipurduar) and the asphalt road that was naturally beautified by the layers of tea-plantations, wooden staff quarters and blissful silence. The driver said that the road directly meets the banks of Lees River but we didn’t drive till the banks whereas we took a right turn from Chunabhati to take an entry into the Chel forest. Next 12 km path towards Chuikhim was through this forest and the jeep driver was very cautious to cover such stone-paved bumpy hilly road. Finally, we reached at an altitude of around 3500 feet where the picturesque village Chuikhim was situated with its all peace and grace. The jeep dropped me at the entrance of Chuikhim homestay where the owner’s family was waiting to welcome me. The cordial welcome from such smiling faces and informal conversation along with cups of Darjeeling tea assured me that I was not far away from my home rather I have got a new family in a beautiful hilly hamlet. One of the family members took me to a spacious elegantly decorated room that was neatly arranged for me. Main attractions of my room were the small window and an attached balcony overlooking the river valley, the mountain and the widespread tea garden. After a hot shower, I went for a healthy yummy Bengali lunch prepared and served by the prettiest lady of the homestay. It was already late afternoon and I was so tired that I opted for a small nap amidst this calm environment of Chuikhim. In late evening, I woke up when the host called me up for evening tea. I joined them in the front yard of the homestay where all the family members and other guests assembled together for a tea party. We all had fun together as we were engaged in chitchatting, listening mythological stories of Chuikhim and playing some indoor games. The owner of Chuikhim homestay arranged bonfire and barbeque for us. I dozed off early enjoying a lump sum tasty dinner.
Feeling refreshed amidst the tea gardenNext morning, my sleep was broken by the sweet chirping of birds. My sleepy eyes were immediately mesmerized by the crystal clear view of the mountains from my room’s window. I came to the balcony to - inhale the freshest oxygen, feel the cool breeze and capture the unexplainable beauty of the tea garden, river valley and Lees River flowing just beneath the hamlet. I indulged myself in a deep meditation amidst such quiet environment and my silence got some words when the youngest member of Chuikhim homestay came to me with a cup of hot aromatic Darjeeling tea. I enjoyed the tea at the balcony and then joined others at the dining hall for breakfast. The owner already arranged a local guide for me who was already there so I got ready quickly and went out to explore Chuikhim. There were hardly 250 families in this tiny rural hamlet and most of these families are associated with Bagrakote tea garden. Most of the wooden households were well decorated and surrounded by blossoming flowers. A small kitchen garden was also present in backyard of almost each household. During the stroll around Chuikhim village, I got to know about the struggling stories of the dwellers’ development. My guide also told me how the villagers (along with the support of SHARE) have built their houses, started terraced cultivation, gained minimal healthcare & educational facilities, banned alcohol and still they are trying hard to develop themselves. Being guided by the local host, I enjoyed a short trek through the Chel forest and Bagrakote tea garden. I also spent quality time with the colourful birds which have made Chuikhim a paradise for bird lovers. Then I took a halt at the banks of Lees River where I got a chance to connect myself with the blissful nature. After spending some more time on the river valley, finally I returned back to Chuikhim homestay. The owner already prepared another mouth-watering lunch for me so I finished it peacefully and packed my bag. The time was come to bid goodbye to my new family as well as to the beautiful Chuikhim. With heavy heart I left the homestay and got into the pre-booked car which dropped me to NJP station within late evening. Scenic beauty of this small hamlet, ever flowing Lees River, smiling faces of struggling dwellers and warm hospitality of the homestay owners gifted me such a memorable holiday trip that could never be erased from my mind.
For more details, please contact the local host.
For more details, please contact the local host.
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