This bustling bazaar town sprawls along a ridge overlooking the roaring Teesta River and within sight of Khangchendzonga. It’s not a must-see but it does boast Himalayan views, Buddhist monasteries, colonial architecture and a fascinating nursery industry, all linked by some fine hikes.
Kalimpong’s early development as a major Himalayan trading centre focused on the wool trade with Tibet, across the Jelep La Pass. Like Darjeeling, Kalimpong once belonged to the chogyals of Sikkim, but it fell into the hands of the Bhutanese in the 18th century and later passed to the British, before becoming part of India at Independence. Scottish missionaries, particularly the Jesuits, made great efforts to win over the local Buddhists in the late 19th century and the town remains an important educational centre for the entire eastern Himalaya.
Kalimpong is centred on its chaotic Motor Stand. Most sights and quality accommodation are a kilometre or two from town, along DB Giri and Rinkingpong Rds.
Kalimpong destination guides
Sikkim Bhutan Trek
A spectacular trek in Sikkim combined with a cultural odyssey in Bhutan