Glimpses of Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas

Duration: 5 Days 4 Nights

Price: USD 845*

Trip Code: SCT95

A monk at a monastery in Sikkim

Trip Snapshot

  • Duration: 1-7 Days
  • Difficulty Level: 1
  • Rating: Popular
  • Highest Altitude: 2,550 m( 8,364 ft)
  • Trip Starts From: Bagdogra
  • Trip Ends At: Bagdogra
  • Type: Trekking

Overview

This is a short trip of Sikkim and Darjeeling which may be taken as the extension of your India, Bhutan, or Nepal Trip. You may fly from Delhi, or Kolkatta to the Bagdogra Airport of West Bengal to go on this trip. Travelers coming from Nepal will fly from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur Airport of Eastern Nepal and connect with this trip. If you are coming from Bhutan, you will take an overland drive from Phuntsoling.

You will visit the two major hill stations of the Eastern Himalayans: Darjeeling and Gangtok. Darjeeling, straddling at a ridge is 592ft/2,134m and surrounded by tea plantations on all sides, it's a popular hill station since the British established it to escape the heat of Kolkata in the mid-1800s. Your visit here will include a joy ride on the famous mountain railway, which is over 120 years old having made its maiden trip in 1881. One early morning trip to Tiger hill for sunrise views over the Eastern Himalayas. Visit various interesting monasteries, a Tibetan center, the Himalayan Zoo (with its black bears Siberian tigers, and snow leopards), and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. Visit Tea estate and walk through the bazaar with the views of Mt. Kangchenjunga, standing 28,168ft/8,586m, the third highest mountain in the world.

Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim has emerged into mainstream travel destination of the tourism industry, with more and more tourist coming to this little Himalayan state every year. Sitting on the lap of the majestic Himalaya, Gangtok in Sikkim has developed into a cosmopolitan delicacy where old-world charm and hospitality exist along with the modern age of information technology. One can find a harmonious blend of diverse culture and religion in Sikkim Gangtok. The people have strong bonds with their age-old traditions and customs. The town itself certainly main not be of your interest but Gangtok and in its vicinity has a number of sights that includes the famous Rumtek Monastery, which is the principal seat of Karma Pa; the head of Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

Outline Itinerary

Day 01 Arrival in Darjeeling

Day 02 Darjeeling Sightseeing

Day 03 Drive to Gangtok

Day 04 Gangtok & Rumtek Sightseeing

Day 06 Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Darjeeling

Upon arrival at the Bagdogra airport, you shall be greeting by a Highland Asia Travel representative and then drive to Darjeeling which is about a 3 ½ hrs drive along a mountainous road passing through tea gardens, villages, and occasionally alongside the toy train's track. Upon arrival in Darjeeling, check into the hotel and take some rest. In the evening, after a cup of Darjeeling Tea, stroll though the Chowrastha mall and town square. You may also rent horses for a ride around town.

Overnight Elgin Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 02: Darjeeling Sightseeing

Wake up early morning(before dawn), and after a morning cup of tea, you will be transported 15 km to Tiger Hill to see the amazing colors of the sunrise on Mt. Kanchenjunga. At 2550m, Tiger Hill commands quite superb views of the mountains and valleys of the eastern Himalayas with Everest, Lhotse and Makalu all visible in the far distance on a clear day. There is definitely many exceptional photo opportunities here. Afterwards, return to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, visit other attractions such as the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. The Institute houses a considerable collection of items used by the early Everest explorers. Also, visit the zoo in the city where there are several interesting Himalayan species including snow leopards and red pandas. Visit the Tibetan self help center, and nearby are many tea plantations you can visit. After lunch, take a short toy train ride experience on the 120 year old steam Darjeeling Hill Railway and stop to visit the New Ghoom Monastery on the way back. The rest of the day you are free to browse the Chowrastha again or walk down to the Lower Bazaar where the local residents shop for produce, fabrics and spices.

Overnight Elgin Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 03: Drive to Gangtok

An early departure for our steep tour through a series of tea plantations to the tropical Teesta Valley. Passing through forests and cinchona (quinine bark) plantations and stopping briefly at the Teesta Bridge checkpoint to show our Sikkim entry documents before continuing onwards to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.

Upon arrival in Gangtok, check into the hotel and after some rest you will embark on a tour of the capital of this lost Himalayan Kingdom. Visit the institute of Tibetology, Deorali Gompa, and take a walk to the Lal Bazaar where locals and people from other parts of Sikkim come to buy or sell produce.

Overnight Denzong Regency or Norkhil
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 04: Gangtok & Rumtek Sightseeing

Today’s tour includes the two hundred year old Enchey Monastery. There are some view points here to see Mt. Kanchenjunga. Visit an orchid nursery and a handicrafts workshop and showroom. After lunch, you will be driven to Rumtek Monastery on the opposite side of the valley from Gangtok. Rumtek Monastery is the seat of the Tibetan Kagyugpa sect of monks and a major centre for Tibetan religious studies. The 16th Gwalpa Karmapa, which is the head of the Kagyugpa sect, took refuge in Rumtek after the Chinese invasion of Tibet in the 1950's; he and his followers escaped with whatever statues, 'Thangka' paintings, and scriptures they could and built Rumtek Monastery as a replica of the Tsurpu Monastery that they had left behind in Tibet.

From Rumtek, you will continue to the pleasant Martham Village for an overnight stay. Martham Villaage lies at a ridge of 1450m /4.428 ft. You will stay in comfortable cottages built in local style with impressive views over a quiet valley of terraced rice paddies. The nearby village and the school offer a glimpse of an idyllic lifestyle in a rural setting.

Overnight Martham Village Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 06: Departure

After breakfast, you will leave Martham in time for Bagdogra. It takes about 4 hours to drive and connect to your flight back to Delhi or Kolkata.

Meals: Breakfast

Trip Info

Cost Includes

  • Accommodation on twin or double sharing basis in 3* hotels.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner as indicated in the itinerary
  • All transfers and tour by a private vehicle
  • English speaking local guide
  • Sightseeing admission fees
  • Sikkim permits

Cost Does Not Include

  • Drinks, tipping, and other expenses of personal nature such as laundry, phone etc.
  • Airfares or transportation to and out of Bagdogra airport
  • Lunch and dinner on standard hotel packages
  • Extra expenses or loss due to nature and unforeseen events such as flight cancellation, delay, illness, civil unrest, inclement weather etc.
  • Travel Insurance

Indian Visa and Sikkim Permits

Except Nepali and Bhutanese nationals, travelers from foreign countries require passport and visa to travel to India. Please, make sure that the remaining validity of your passport is at least 6 months at the time of travel. As India does not grant visa upon arrival, you need to obtain visa in advance. Beside Indian visa, you will require inner line permit (ILP) to enter Sikkim which you can request in advance along with visa application or we can locally obtain it from Sikkim Tourist offices in India.
Foreigners are issued a permit for initial period of 15 days duration on the spot without any delay provided photocopies of Passport and Visa details along with two passport photos of applicants are made available then and there. It can be extended for further 30 days of 15 days each. The extension of permits can be obtained from Foreigners Registration Office (FRO), Gangtok and Superintendent of Police of North, South and West Districts.
If we are trekking and traveling to remote restricted areas of Sikkim, we will require additional permits that we will take care of for you.

Getting into Sikkim and Darjeeling

From New Delhi, Kolkatta and Guwahati, you can fly into Bagdodra Airport in West Bengal from where both Gangtok and Darjeeling are 4-5 hrs drive by jeep. If you are traveling from Nepal, you can fly from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur airport in eastern Nepal where we can arrange you pick up and transfer to Gangtok.

If you are traveling from Bhutan, we will arrange you pick up (on additional payment) at Phuentsoling-the Bhutanese border town from where Darjeeling or Gangtok is 6-8 hrs drive.
You can also take train from major cities of India to New Jalpaigurhi train station where you will be received and transferred to Gangtok.

Best time for this trip.

Eastern Himalayan areas experiences cold winters between November to February and monsoon affects Darjeeling from the end of May/June to the middle of September. The best season to take this trip is between mid March through to mid June and this is also the time, the rhododendron and orchids come in bloom. October and November are also good months for this trip. March to early May is when sunshine is quite abundant.

Accommodation

There are limited choices for accommodation in Darjeeling and Sikkim area. The top end properties in Darjeeling and Sikkim are 3 star equivalent hotels with private bathroom with running hot and cold water. In Darjeeling, our choice of hotels is May Fair or New Elgin and Netuk House or Norkhill in Gangtok. They are locally managed properties, built in local style architecture and staffed with friendly locals. We will pick the best available properties in the rest of the places. In the remote areas, the accommodations are simple, wooden bungalows and run by the families and we do not expect full-fledged services and facilities.In the remote areas, there may be power outage at times and hot water supply may be disrupted.

Food

This trip features 3 meals a day. We will eat our breakfast and dinner at our hotels where as for the day meal, we are provided with cold lunch box. Hotels in the cities offer varieties that include Indian, Nepali and western style dishes but as we travel in the Western and North Sikkim, we may have limited choices. You may want to bring with you some energy bars, dry fruits and vitamin systems to maintain calorie level and keep the body system ticking.

Transportation

We provide you with SUVs or Jeeps for entire transfers and tours which are in good conditioned and well maintained. Being the mountainous road, the road condition may not be in the best form due to monsoon rain and landslides and mechanical breakdowns and flat tires are unpredictable but our drivers are experienced; prepared for all kinds of challenges. Rerouting of the itinerary due to landslides or road blockade is not an uncommon if you are traveling during summer and early autumn.

Guide

You will be accompanied by an experienced and knowledgeable English speaking local Guide throughout the tour. Our guides are college graduate, trained and certified by the local government authorities and most importantly, they are flexible and friendly. They will share their knowledge; guide you on the path and show the wonders of the areas that you would never discover on your own. Your guide will carry all the necessary vouchers and permits and deal with the local bureaucracies for you and coordinate with the local office and crews and make sure that your tour goes smoothly without a hitch.

Health Issues

There is no mandatory vaccination required for travel to India and Sikkim. Yet, you may consider vaccination against rabies and Hep A. Please, consult with your physician before you decide to take any vaccinations. We don’t attain any significant altitude in this trip and so we don’t need to worry about any altitude related illness. This trip requires some soft hikes and so some level of physical fitness is desired.

Our hotels do maintain highest level of hygiene standard yet; we need to be cautious when we order food. Refrain from eating raw foods like with green salads which might be washed with untreated water. Avoid buying foods with the street vendors and drink only the bottled water and where bottled water is not available, please make sure that the water supplied is properly boiled and medicated.

International and internal travel, pre trip and post trips
Our land service starts from Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal, India or Bhadrapur Airport in Nepal. So, basically you can buy your international airfare to Delhi or Kolkatta in India or Kathmandu, Nepal.You need to allow a couple of nights in the gateway city before you fly to Bagdogra or Bhadrapur. We can make the arrangement for accommodations and transfers and in the gateway cities and also take care of the internal airfares.

After the trekking, you may add a day trip to Taj Mahal for a day or two or visit the pink city of Jaipur for another two days. If you are starting or finishing your trip in Nepal, you should allow 2-3 days in Kathmandu touring the temples and palaces around and consider 2-3 days jungle safari rides in Chitwan National Park and two days in the beautiful Pokhara Valley
Note on Itinerary
Although we will do our very best to adhere to the itinerary schedule as listed; it is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Booking and Cancellation

When you are sure you are traveling, please don't delay in booking.Timely made booking helps to secure reservation in preferred hotels and flights. A deposit of US$200 is requested along with complete trip application form and passport copies.
Balance payment is due 60 days prior to your departure. Depending on the number of applicants, we may set an early payment date. Credit card payment attracts additional fee.

Cancellation fee

  • 90 days prior departure: Administrative fee US$ 50 per person.
  • 60-89 day's prior departure: US$ 250 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 45 days to 59 days prior departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher
  • 30 days to 44 days prior departure: US$ 600 or 75% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Less than 30 days: 100%

Highland Asia Travel

We are an active adventure travel company, based in Minneapolis, USA with destination management offices in Delhi,Kathmandu, Thimphu and Lhasa. We are BBB accredited business and an active member of American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and Nepal Association of Travel and Tours Agents (NATTA). Our local partners are also affiliated with the tourism associations of the respective countries and maintain all government requisites and licenses. We have set the standard for adventure travel and have a strong reputation for excellence that we do everything we can to maintain. Our managers and guides have more than 15 years of experience in organizing and leading adventure trips in the highlands of Asia.

Travel Protection Plan

While we plan do our best to make your trip smooth and seamless, there may be chances of unforeseen events and conditions such as illness, accident, inclement weather, and flight cancellation or missed connection or loss of baggage etc. that may cause interruption or delay or total cancellation of your trip putting your hard earned travel investment in jeopardy. It’s also possible that you may need medical assistance, emergency evacuation or medical transportation when you get ill or involve in an accident when you are traveling in remote areas. Highland Asia’s Tour cost does not cover any of these expenses or losses and so we strongly recommend you that you should protect yourself and your travel investment against those unfavorable conditions.

Dates & Prices

Trip Price

  • US$ 930 (2 pax)
  • US$ 899 (3-4 pax)
  • US$ 845 (5-10 pax)
  • US$ 295 (Single Room Supplement)
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