Gorkhey is a gorgeous valley village in the district of Darjeeling. It is situated strategically between Darjeeling and Sikkim, and is one of those rare places that’s still untouched by tourism. Surrounded by thick pine forests and a small river flowing through it known as Gorkhey Khola (which marks the boundary between Sikkim and West Bengal), Gorkhey is a natural wonder at its best.
Travellers here are mostly trekkers descending from Phalut, who want to get some rest overnight so that they can continue further towards Ribdi and Srikhola. But it’s an ideal place to camp for a day or two because apart from enjoying nature’s bounty there’s much else to do here as well.
First up is Barsey, a valley known for its rhododendrons. It’s a riot of colours especially between March and April when there’s rhododendrons blossoming across the entire valley. The dense woods of Barsey is also covered with silver firs, hemlocks, magnolia, and the golden yellow rhododendron. If you’re especially interested, they have an entire park dedicated to the gorgeous flowers called the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary.
Then for a rather immaculate jungle trek with delightful panoramic view of the Nepal and Sikkim range, Phoktey Dara is a trail you must undertake. It’s a perfect trek for beginners; the trail starts from Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary and goes through the last undisturbed patches of pure forest in Sikkim. The forest has some great vegetation: from sub-alpine, birch-fir, mixed coniferous to dry alpine scrub you’ll find all kinds here. It is typically wet and damp inside the forest, with ferns, rising mosses and lichen clinging onto old trunks. All in all, it’s beautiful for anybody who enjoys a good nature walk.
Gorkhey can be visited throughout the year. But if you’re particularly interested in enjoying the wonderful views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, you must go between October to January. The closest airport is in Bagdogra, approximately 170km away, whereas the closest railway station is New Jalpaiguri, about 150km away.