A visit to Icchey Gaon – an offbeat destination of Bengal

A visit to Icchey Gaon – an offbeat destination of Bengal

A night at Icchey Gaon

Icchey Gaon (Echey Gaon) is a beautiful pictorial tiny Himalayan hamlet of north Bengal, situated only 18 KM away from Kalimpong and now is becoming a popular offbeat tourist destination among the tourists and travelers to avoid the hustle-bustle of daily life.
Icche Gaon is the ideal place to relax in your wooden cottage (actually homestay) and enjoy the scenic beauty of nature and glorious view of mount Kanchenjunga.   

Previously Icche Gaon was only considered as a base for exploring the popular Silk route but now a day it is becoming a place of interest for nature lovers. 

Though you will find many controversies available in many travel blogs that Icche Gaon has become overcrowded and Ramdhura is the better option to stay.

But believe me if you would like to spend a day or two with your loved ones in the lap of mother nature, Icchey Gaon will be the right place for you.

One can easily cover the tourist places like Ramdhura, Sillery Gaon, Pedong, Reshikhola, Aritar, Mankhim, Zuluk which are nearby Icchey Gaon. Even while you are planning your trip to Darjeeling you may include Icchey Gaon for a night stay on the way of returning.

In this blog, I will try my best to cover the below-mentioned points, so that one can plan his/her budget-friendly tour plan for Ichhe Gaon / Ichhey Gaon / Echey Gaon:

  • Distance Chart
  • How to reach Icchey Gaon
  • Best time to visit Icchey Gaon
  • Icchey Gaon Hotel / Homestay
  • Things to do at Icchey Gaon
  • Places to visit at Icchey Gaon
  • Popular foods of Icchey Gaon
  • Budget overview

Distance Chart :

  • NJP (New Jalpaiguri) railway station to Icchey Gaon distance: 88 KM 
  • Bagdogra airport to Icchey Gaon distance: 91 KM
  • Siliguri to Icchey Gaon distance:83 KM
  • Kalimpong to Icchey Gaon distance:18 KM
  • Darjeeling to Icchey Gaon distance:66 KM

How to Reach Icchey Gaon 

How to reach from NJP to ICCHEY GAON
We reached at NJP station.
The nearest railway station to Icchey Gaon is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) railway station, which is connected to all major railway stations of India. 

The nearest airport to Icchey Gaon is Bagdogra airport.

To reach Icchey Gaon you have to hire a cab to Icchey Gaon from NJP or Bagdogra. 

The fare for a four-seater vehicle from NJP / Bagdogra to Icchey Gaon is around Rs. 3500 for a four-seater and for an eight-seater vehicle, it will be charged around Rs.4500/-.

If you have already booked your stay at Icchey Gaon, the best plan will be to ask the homestay owner to send the car for you, so you will get the best price and reach your destination without any trouble.   

Tip for budget travelers :

How to reach from NJP to Kalimpomg
Pani Tanki Taxi Stand for shared car to Kalimpong
As I am a budget traveler, I always prefer to travel by the local or shared transport.
But there is no direct shared transport available from NJP or Bagdogra or Siliguri to Icchey Gaon.

One has to reach Kalimpong first and then hire a cab to Icchey Gaon. For Kalimpong, you will easily find shared cabs from Pani Tanki More.
We opted to Kamrup express to reach NJP station. The train reached NJP station around 6:30 AM.
After getting refreshed, Sudip and I board to a local auto-rickshaw for Pani Tanki Stand.
It charged Rs. 20 per person and we reached Pani Tanki stand which is located at Siliguri within twenty minutes.

You will find shared TATA SUMO to Kalimpong are standing here. They charged Rs.200 per person to Kalimpong.
We have booked the front two seats of the car by paying Rs. 50 extra per seat.
on the way to Kalimpong
The car took three hours to reach Kalimpong. The car dropped us at Kalimpong Taxi Stand.
From here you will easily get a four-seater / eighter-seater car to Icchey Gaon which will charge you Rs.800 to Rs.1200.
Kalimpong to Icchey Gaon
Our Car for Kalimpong Sight Seeing and Icchey Gaon

We have requested our homestay owner to send a car at Kalimpong to pick up us. The name of our driver is Bijoy who is very charming and always helpful in nature. I will drop his number at the end of the blog.

Kalimpong Popular food
Thupka & Momo is highly recommended
Popular foods of Icchey Gaon
Popular food – Thupka & Momo

After reaching Kalimpong, we have tested famous thupka and momo from a local shop which is located just beside the Kalimpong Taxi association ticket booking office. 

Both the Thupka and the momo tests very good. It was recommended by our driver who dropped us at Kalimpong.

Best tourist places to visit at Kalimpong
Some random clicks at Kalimpong

Our driver Bijoy bhai picked up and before moving towards Icchey Gaon we have explored some of the popular tourist spots of Kalimpong, which I will cover on the Kalimpong Blog.

Ramdhura View Point
Viewpoint of Kalimpong

It took one hour to reach Icchey Gaon from Kalimpong. On our way to Icchey Gaon, we have crossed the Ramdhura Viewpoint.

Here I would like to mention the road condition to Icchey Gaon or Sillery Gaon is very pathetic and one must hire an eight-seater vehicle by paying a couple of bucks extra. I think due to the pathetic road conditions the mainstream tourists are still avoiding these places. 

Best time to visit Ichhey Gaon : 

Except for the monsoon, you could visit Icchey gaon in Summer for pleasant weather. But for best Kanchenjunga view one must visit Icchey Gaon in the winter season.

Temperature varies from two-degree Celsius to twenty degrees Celsius.

We have visited Icchey Gaon in November 2019 and the weather was very pleasant but unfortunately, clouds were covering the Kanchenjunga most of the time.

Icchey Gaon hotels / where to stay at Icchey Gaon:

You will not find any luxury hotel with all the modern amenities here. Homestays are formed by local villagers.

These homestays are mainly wooden cottages with minimum amenities but you will be overwhelmed by the homely atmosphere and pictorial views of mother nature.

We have booked the most famous homestay –Khawas Homestay at Icchey Gaon run by Mr. D K Khaws with his family members. 

They charged us Rs.1000 per person per day for lodging including breakfast, lunch, evening snacks, and dinner.

The contact no of Mr. D K Khwas is listed in our North Bengal Homestay database.
Steps toward Khawas Home Stay

You will find the details of other homestays at the Icchey gaon in OurNorth Bengal Homestay database.

Khawas Home Stay
After arrival at Icchey Gaon, we have discovered that the Khaw Homestay is a few steps above from the point where the car actually dropped us. 

You must call your homestay owner to send potters to carry your luggage. In our case, our driver Bijay bhai helped us to carry the luggage.

Khawas Home Stay
We have also noticed that there is only one shop where you will find tea, snacks, cigarettes, etc in the entire area which is adjacent to the Mukhiya Home Stay.
Lowers at Icchey Gaon
They have allotted us one room on the ground floor which is big enough for four persons, having two beds, two setting sofa, table, etc.

The room and attached washroom were properly maintained and clean enough. The geyser was missing but they provided us two buckets of hot water without any charges.
The beauty of this property is the view from the homestay is mesmerizing. 
only negative point of Khawas Homestay is as it is located on the upper side, so if you have any elder person having trouble in climbing steps you must give it a second thought before booking the Khawas Home Stay.

Except that Khawas Homestay is highly recommended due to the helping nature and homely atmosphere provided by the Khawas family.

balcony of Khawas Home Stay
From Kalimpong, we have reminded them to prepare our lunch. After getting refreshed our lunch has been served at the dining hall and we feel a homely touch in every dish served to us.  

Things to do at Ichhey Gaon :

After finishing our lunch, we have started to explore the village. Soon after the sunset, we moved inside our room as the entire valley covered with darkness.

In the evening they have served us tea with pakora though we have expected MOMO that was unavailable. 

Popular foods of Icchey Gaon served by Khawas Home stay
Although we have to move inside the room very early as nothing much to do outside still we were enjoying the feel of calmness.
Staying away from the daily hustle-bustle and far from the mobile network connectivity we, two childhood friends spent quality time together after a decade.
We have spent that evening – listening to songs and planning for the next day as we were not sure about it. At 8:30 PM they called us for dinner.

They have served us chapati, veg curry, and chicken curry followed by a salad.

After finishing our dinner we had a small chat with our caretaker about our next day plan. After chatting with each other we went for bed.

Day 2:

We have planned to explore the Icchey forest which was supposed to be a short hike/trekking through the village. As per our plan, we have asked our caretaker for a guide who will help us to explore the forest and other viewpoints. 

We woke up a bit early that day around 6:30 AM and get ready for the trip. Tea was served and after having the tea we started with our guide who is an elderly person but his energy was marvelous.  

Trekking at Icchey Gaon
Our Trekking to Icchey Forest

Our first destination was Ramitey Viewpoint. We walked through the forest of many known and unknown trees and heard the voice of many unknown birds which was really an amazing experience.

Icchey forest

The view from Ramitey Dhara Viewpoint was really exceptional. As per our guide on a clear day, this viewpoint is famous for the Kanchenjunga view. But we did not have that luck due to clouds.

Path that leads to Ramitey View Point

Spending some time and after multiple photo sessions, 
we moved towards Sillery Gaon. 

At Ramitey Dhara View Point Icchey Gaon
At Ramitey View Point
At Ramitey Dhara View Point Icchey Gaon
At Ramitey View Point

Sillery Gaon is also a very beautiful mountain village but we spent a short time there and clicks a few snaps.

Damsang Fort
Paths to Damsang fort

Our next destination was Damsang Fort which is also a short trekking route from Sillery Gaon. 

After seeing the path that leads to Damsang Fort which is a long hike; we failed to gather courage for climbing such hike as we were already tired, so we started getting back.

Sillery Gaon
Our guide

Places to visit at Ichhey Gaon :

You can use Icchey Gaon to visit nearby places like Sillery Gaon, Pedong, Reshikhola, Bidyang. It is also used as a base for the famous Silk Route.
We have panned to visit Reshi Khola. So after reaching from our trek, we checked out from Khawas HomeStay and left for Reshi Khola.

To drop Pedong Taxi Stand which is 15 KM away they have charged us Rs. 800 for an Alto.
Icchey Forest
Icchey Forest
Icchey Gaon
Time to goodbye Icchey Gaon

Mr. D K Khawas arranged our cab. Previously we have decided to go to Pedong taxi stand to avail of a shared car to Reshi Khola but when we arrived at Pedong Stand there was no shared car available at that moment as we were late
so we booked the car to Rishikhola which charged us Rs. 1100.

Later we discovered that the driver has charged us extra as at the time of returning from Rishi Khola we paid RS.600 for the same distance.

I will cover the Reshi Khola journey experience in another blog. But one mandatory tip is that before booking any cab direct to Reshi Khola make sure that the cab has a permit to enter Sikkim else you will have to face trouble.

For those who are willing to return to NJP, could hire a direct cab to NJP or return to NJP via Kalimpong.

Popular foods of Ichhey Gaon

Momo and Thupka are the two common foods at Icchey Gaon which were served in breakfast or evening snacks. 

Budget :

I believe the budget completely depends on you, how you would like to travel.
I am sharing a budget idea for two-person for two nights and 3 days.

It is a just overview of the budget which excludes other expenses like foods except homestays are offering, cost of liquor and cigarettes, and others. 
  • NJP to Pani Tanki Taxi Stand: Rs.20×2 =Rs.40
  • NJP to Kalimpong via shared TATA SUMO: 150×2 +100 =400
  • Kalimpong to Icchey Gaon for a four-seater car: Rs.800
  • Icchey Gaon Khawas Home Stay Tariff: Rs.1000x2x2 =4000
  • Guide for the trekking: 300
  • Return to Kalimpong from Icchey Gaon:800
  • Return to NJP from Kalimpong: Rs.150×2=300

Contact numbers:

  • Name of the driver: Bijoy BhaiMobile / Whatsapp number: 7872843373
  • You will find the booking details on our Data Base.
At Ramitey Dhara View Point
The newbie blogger with our guide

Important points to be noted : 

  • You will find only the basic facilities at Icchey Gaon and places around this. Even we have not found any medical shop here. So, carry all the necessary medicines and your other requirements. I would suggest you should collect your requirements from Kalimpong.
  • I admit that the road condition is not in its best shape in these regions, but this applies to only a few kilometers. So, bad road conditions could not be an excuse to stop you from exploring such a beautiful place. We did not find any issue till Ramdhura but after that, the road condition is a bit pathetic. So, even you are a budget traveler, hire an SUV(like a bolero or Tata Sumo) from Kalimpong to have a better journey experience.
  • This is a major network connectivity issue in this region. Both Jio and airtel failed to provide connectivity during our stay at Icchey Gaon.  
Sillery Gaon Home Stay Contact
Home Stays of Sillery Gaon
Sillery Gaon Home Stay Contact
Home Stays of Sillery Gaon 

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