Darjeeling is ex British hill station, originally donated to the British by the king of Sikkim. It is a small town situated on the top of the hill which has one of the best in the world views - of the whole Kangchenjunga mountain range, south part of Sikkim and even Buthan.
Unlike Siliguri, which is a major railroad and trade hub of the whole region, which played a great part in historic British expedition into Tibet in the beginning of 20th century, Darjeeling is a quiet place, full of mountain resorts.
It is a tranquil place, for quiet, meditative, invardly focused life. I used to spent offseasons here with books, milk tea and thick Tibetan blankets. There is excellent Oxford bookshop with thousand titles, situated right on Chowrasta, next to the Nathmulls tea room which serves famous Darjeeling teas.
This place is ideal as a base camp for small trekking adventures on the neighboring hills, and could be viewed as a gate to Sikkim. The required permits for visiting Sikkim could be easily obtained from the Office Of Foreign Affairs in Darjeeling, and there is two major roads - via Rangpo to Gangtok and still severely restricted North Sikkim, or via Jorethang to West Sikkim - Tashiding, Pelling, Yuksam.
The Abhi Satya guest house on nice and quiet dr. Zakir Hussain Road is my favourite place.
It is runnig by a Hundu family and provide a budget but cozy accomodation.
My pictures from