Sustainable Tourism: Makaibari Tea Estate

Tea fields at Makaibari Tea Estate, West Bengal, India

Makaibari Sustainable Tourism: West Bengal, India

The Makaibari Tea Estate is among one of the most well-known tea estates across the world. Their internationally prize-winning teas are highly appraised, and many stakeholders are none other than legends within the tea world. Although Makaibari is the site of a luxury resort, they also maintain a humble program that is rooted in “sustainable, responsible tourism.” Among their programs, the Makaibari Homestay Programme allows guests to live in one of the villages with a local family for long-term, short-term, or day-long visits.

Hands-on experience

  • Participants will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities, such as tea plucking and tea manufacturing within the gardens. Depending on the season in which one visits, one may experience full moon harvesting.
  • Tea tasting is available.
  • Additional activities include outdoor camping, bird watching, and participating in animal husbandry.

Cultural engagement

  • Community festivals and religious ceremonies, such as puja, welcome guests in participation. For those on longer stays, day trips to neighboring regions and to enjoy a sunrise or sunset is possible.
  • While living with a host family, three meals a day are provided for guests to taste traditional recipes made from organic produce. The program allows participants to have a unique opportunity to engage with the host community in all regards to village life during their stay.
  • There are no language learning opportunities explicitly written about, but participants may take the initiative to learn local languages.

Local involvement

  • The Homestay Programme is operated independently of Makaibari Estates by an independent organization run by Nayan Lama through a youth wing entitled “Volunteer in Makaibari.”
  • Six villages are involved in this project and incorporate people from various backgrounds.
  • Proceeds from the homestay go directly to the families who host; Makaibari Estates do not claim any of this funding. “Volunteer in Makaibari” was founded in 2008 “by a group of Western visitors who were frustrated at how vast amounts of money were paid to tour organizations in the Western world and how little reached the targeted villages. The intent from the start was to hand the responsibility for change back to the local people, as this is the only real way to manifest real change.”

Environmental sustainability

  • Makaibari Tea Garden has been organic since 1988. The estate offers organic, biodynamic, permaculture, and fairtrade tea.
  • Makaibari owns 550 acres of tea dispersed across 1,100 acres of primary rainforest. It is one of the largest tea estates in Darjeeling.
  • The region is rich in biodiversity, as it has over four hundred species of indigenous birds, animals, and insects.
Hands-on Experience | Cultural Engagement | Local Involvement | Environmental Sustainability

Traveling to origin is an unforgettable experience for tea enthusiasts who respect the host community. Responsible tourism generates economic benefits for local people and an appreciation of village life in the tea lands. Tea Journey evaluates tourist destinations including landmarks, museums, and promotes host gardens that demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability, and cultural engagement while providing hands-on experience in tea cultivation, production, and tea culture. – Dan Bolton

Higashi Sonogi, Japan | Kurseong, India | Pinglin, Taiwan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Subscription Options


Get unlimIted access for less than $3/mo

Become the most informed tea enthusiast you know for the cost of a gourmet cookie.
  • Access all premium articles
  • Access all Special Issues
  • Enjoy Tea Journey on our iOS & Android apps

$34 every 1 year (recurring)

This subscription includes a 30 day free trial.


Get unlimIted access for $5/mo
Become the most informed tea enthusiast you know for the cost of a couple of really nice cookies each month.  
  • Access all premium articles
  • Access all Special Issues
  • Enjoy Tea Journey on our iOS & Android apps
  • Cancel anytime

$5 every 1 month (recurring)

One article per month for free

Access 1 Posts*


Purchase 10 subscriptions for friends

Sign up below and receive 10 subscription 'seats' that you can give away to friends. Simply add your colleague's email address to your My Account page and they will be invited to join for free.

$250 every 1 year

Donate to Tea Journey

As a small niche publication we rely on reader contributions for the majority of our income. Please consider donating to help pay our writers and staff that help bring our unique tea content from around the globe. We really appreciate it!

Donate to Tea Journey (one time)

Tea Price Report

Get full access to the Tea Price Reports and all premium Tea Journey articles.

$25 every 3 months (recurring)

Tea Price Report Gift

Unlimited Tea Price Report

$50 every 3 months

*Every month

Donate to Tea Journey (one time)

Amount: $230