Glenburn Tea Estate is like a home away from home...
Visiting Glenburn Tea Estate after four years, proved it to be every bit and more than I had remembered. The scenery, the situation, the peacefulness, the staff and even the other guests make your stay here very special.
Bhutan to India
We arrived into Bagdogra from Bhutan, just a 20 minute flight up over the mountains and then down into Bagdogra. We were quickly scooped up from the airport by our Glenburn driver, completely fearless on the road and not afraid to use his horn, we named him the Kamakazi driver! Although I have been to India many times it was an enormous culture shock to go from the peacefulness of Bhutan straight into hectic hustle and bustle that is India, the frustrations, the dirt, the smells, the noise and the sheer number of people, for the first hour of the journey, I wished I was back in Bhutan!
Roads well travelled
The roads have suffered badly not only from the monsoon, but there is also a lot of heavy traffic from the construction of a couple of dams up the river, hopefully this won't go on too long as it does make the journey seem a lot longer than it is. Once past the Sikkim turning the traffic seemed to lessen and we were taken to the viewpoint up above the River Rungeet to have our first cup of Glenburn Tea.
Amazingly the last stretch of the road towards Glenburn has been repaired and it is no longer the rollercoaster ride it was 4 years ago.
Stepping back in time
Arriving at Glenburn I soon forgot about wanting to be back in Bhutan as Glenburn really is heaven, colonial heaven, it is like stepping back in time. We spent three fantastically relaxing nights at Glenburn. One morning it was clear enough to see Kanchenjunga. Unfortunately we just missed the harvest of tea for the first flush of the season, but even so we still have a very informative and amusing tour of the tea factory and tea tasting with the manager Sanjay.
Food grown on site
Up at the lodge we were wonderfully looked after by Neilu, Sanjay's wife and the new manager Najma, who's passion in the garden was amazing. It is well worth wandering around the vegetable patch, they have everything, and it is great to see that so much of the food for the guests is being grown onsite. The head gardener has been at Glenburn for over 50 years, starting when he was only 12, his son, Prakesh also a Glenburn employee was our guide when walking around the estate. We had a fascinating walk down to the river for a delicious lunch at the camp, with Prakash who is not only incredibly knowledgeable, but absolutely charming and his face lit up every time he was explaining something to us.
An incredible escape
All in all if someone is looking for somewhere to escape with fantastic walks and scenery - a home away from home, with Darjeeling town, Kalimpong and Sikkim all close by, Glenburn is the place to go for something a little more original.