Situated at an altitude of 7200 feet, Lava is famous for its proximity to the Neora Valley National Park and its beautiful view of the Jelep La and Reche La passes.
Lava is about 32 km east of Kalimpong. Oak and fir trees welcome the visitor at Lava. It is also known for its leeches which are found in abundance here especially during the rainy season. The area is a bird watchers paradise, you can see a variety of birds including Satyr Tragopan, Broad-billed Warbler, Blue-fronted Robin, Rusty-bellied Shortwing, Yellow-throated Fulvetta, Scarlet Finch and many other varieties around here. During the winter months, migratory birds can also be seen here. The neighboring Neora Valley national park is home to a large variety of birds and the area is ideal for Bird enthusiasts and Bird photographers.Lava offers some nice walks for nature lovers. You can walk towards the Neora Valley National Park, this area has good vegetation. If you want to go for a serious jungle trek, the Neora valley trek also originates in this area, but you would need to take permission from the forest department before entering the core area of the forest. You may also go for a hike towards Maneydara village which is about 5 km walk from the town. Another route takes you to Rishyap / Rishop which is about 12 km by car, but the trekking distance is about 5 km.
Common tourist places around Lava include Ratnarishi Gumpha or the Lava Monastery, this used to be a small quaint monastery but has been reconstructed in recent years and now is a large compound with an institute of Buddhist learning next to it. The official name of the monastery is Kagyu Thenkchen Ling Monastery and the institute is named as The Ringpe Dorje Institute.
Within walking distance from town is the Nature Interpretation Center of Lava forest department. Inside you can have a glimpse of the flora and fauna found in the area. The center is relatively well maintained and well stocked.
Chhangey falls visit is also a popular tourist activity here. The falls is about 10 km north of Lava near Kolakham area, at the time of writing this, the road to the area was in poor condition and only some SUV could go there. Please talk to naturebeyond travel consultants for an update about the condition of this road.
Treks to the Neora valley starts from Lava. Apart from long treks acr oss the valley, small treks are also possible in the region. Common treks include a trek to Tiffin Dara, Aluabari etc.
The small town can be reached either through Dooars or through Kalimpong. The Dooars road is known as Damdim road as the road takes a turn from National Highway 31 at Damdim. Through this route, NJP to Lava distance is about 97 km and travel time is less than 3 hours. The other road is through Kalimpong town and Algara. The distance through this route between NJP and Lava is about 100 km, however, travel time is close to four hours. This longer travel time is due to the fact that you have to travel almost the entire distance through winding hilly roads and on the way you have to pass through Kalimpong town with its slow traffic.