When I was in my growing years, Darjeeling used to be the go-to destination for everyone around me. Want to sneak out with your spouse for a romantic getaway? Go to Darjeeling. Planning for a budget family trip during Durga Puja vacation? Darjeeling beckons. Cut to 2016 and things have not changed much for the average, middle-class Bengalis.
But once you are done with the ‘queen of hill stations’ in India, move your eyeballs a little on the map of the state and you can locate Samsing in Dooars.
We have spent 2.5 days in this rocky hamlet amidst utter solitude, piping hot momos, mountain peaks and innumerable cups of coffee, in February 2015. Best part? Even if you go to Samsing during peak-season, there are plenty of homestays that don’t require prior booking. At least that was the case with us, when we visited the place more than 1 and half years back.
Then, why should you visit Samsing before it get ruined by the throngs of travelers?
Plenty of Momo and Thukpa at dirt cheap prices
I don’t have any pictures with those lip-smacking dumplings and light, steaming chicken broth with noodles in them we had at our lovely, little home-stay at Samsing. But- a) they were oven fresh and b) supremely economical. We stated at Priyanka homestay and the pretty supervisor there fed us momos every time we fancied.
These beautiful creations of nature around
Do you love ducks?
Or get transfixed while watching a chicken crossing the road?
Or a harmless stalker like this who will guide you in the hilly terrains during your morning stroll and later ignores you when you are done feeding him Marie biscuits?
This cute calf started mooing loudly and gave a striking look when we zoom-ed our lens onto it.
These two dogs were super jealous when we started feeding Marie biscuits to a stray canine.
And if you love petting goats, then Samsing has this opportunities plenty.
The houses are photogenic
What I loved most about Samsing was that the houses of the natives were modest yet colorfully painted and adorned with flowery plants. Some of them had pet rabbits too whom you may feed carrots and grass if you want.
The sumptuous lunch of Sinclairs Retreat@ Chalsa
Sinclairs Retreat at Chalsa is the resort to be, if you are in the mood for pampering yourself after a spate of modest sojourn at a home-stay in Samsing. We had a stop there on our way back from the hilly hamlet.
Dig into the tasty lunch buffet spread that Sinclairs Retreat lays out every noon, consisting of Mughlai, Punjabi and Chinese cuisines.
Again I don’t have any food pictures with me to lure you but the pool, the garden and thick lawn are squeaky clean and enticing.
Tea gardens line up both sides of the road towards Samsing
While on the highway, you may hop off from your car anytime to fill up your lungs with purest oxygen while standing amidst thick bushes of tea leaves.
The eerie silence of Rocky Island & Suntalekhola
Rocky Island is only 10-15 minutes of jeep- distance from Samsing. Suntalekhola comes attached to it. If you are lucky then you may find room to book in the spectacular Suntalekhola resort constructed by WB Tourism Board. We tried that and failed.
In the off chance you are more adventurous, then go for the river camp of Rocky Island as you can live inside a tent, under the open sky. And it’s fun to cross the hanging bridge of Suntalekhola multiple times and take selfies there.
Go to Samsing before it turns into another cookie-cutter hill station in India.
Nearest Station to Samsing: New Jalpaiguri (NJP).
Best mode to reach there from NJP: Hire a jeep from NJP station to drop you at Samsing. It will take around 3K (forgot the absolute figure our ride incurred). Better book your jeep over your stay and so that you can bargain for a cheaper rate.
Homestay Cost: Priyanka homestay charged Rs.200 per room. It came with tiny-yet-clean loo, comfy beds and minimal-yet-neat amenities. Don’t expect anything fancy and you will be happy.