After being shut for a period of nearly six months due to COVID-19, popular hill stations in West Bengal, Darjeeling and Kalimpong are welcoming guests again. On September 5, the government of West Bengal permitted hotels outside the containment zones in these destinations to resume services. All the hotels, resorts, homestays and vacation homes need to strictly adhere to the protocols of social distancing. Neighbouring mountain state Sikkim is set to reopen from October, as per reports. Meanwhile, Did you know that Darjeeling zoo is India’s largest high-altitude zoo?
Darjeeling And Kalimpong Hotels Reopen With Social Distancing Guidelines
Darjeeling and Kalimpong have reopened now by adhering to the strict guidelines of social distancing. Hotels and resorts have formulated plans to ensure heightened safety and hygiene of their visitors. According to reports, a managing director of a famous hotel chain has informed that they will sanitize and keep rooms vacant for three days after guests leave. Also, they are not allowing buffet systems for the time being.
Apart from these, all tourists need to adhere to the following rules:
- They need to wear face masks and undergo mandatory thermal checks at the hotels.
- At Siliguri’s Bagdogra Airport ( nearest airport to the hill stations), health authorities will take quarantine decisions for passengers with symptoms on a case-by-case basis.
- Authorities have advised asymptomatic passengers to monitor themselves.
- All travellers need to download the Aarogya Setu App.
- All passengers need to fill up the declaration form using the Sandhane App developed by the Health and Family Welfare Department of West Bengal.
The guidelines haven’t mentioned anything regarding COVID tests. At present, COVID-19 tests are not mandatory for people coming to West Bengal. However, symptomatic passengers will be treated on case-by-case basis.
Noteworthy Attractions In Darjeeling And Kalimpong
Reportedly, Tshering Bhutia, President of Darjeeling Hotel Owners’ Association said that the authorities are now optimistic about travellers coming back to the mountainous region. He added that tourism in the region will return back to normal in a graded manner. People especially visit Darjeeling to catch the glimpse of snow-capped Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world. Other noteworthy attractions in the Himalayan region includes Happy Valley Tea Estate, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Yiga Choeling Monastery, Tiger Hill, Mahakal Temple, Senchal Lake, Dali Monastery, etc. When in Kalimpong, one should definitely explore Tinchuley Monastery, Lovers Meet View Point, Pine View Nursery and Delo Park.
Sikkim is planning to reopen borders in October. The tourism department created a draft proposal for it, stating that the state will initially allow domestic tourists with pre-booked or packaged tours. It will be compulsory for tourists to show COVID-negative test reports at the borders. On that note, here’s a virtual tour of Kolkata from the comfort of your home: