- Accommodation in moderate standard hotel on twin sharing
- Meals as indicated
- All transfers and sightseeing by private vehicle
- English speaking local guide
- Sightseeing admission fees
- Necessary inner line permits
Cost Does Not Include
- Expenses of personal nature such as drink, optional tipping, laundry, phone etc.
- Airfares to and out of Bagdogra/International Airfare
- Extra expenses caused due to nature and unforeseen events
- 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 6 months beyond your last day of the trip. As India does not grant visa on arrival, you need to obtain visa before your travel begins. Beside Indian visa, you will need an inner line permit (ILP) to enter Sikkim which in principle you can request in advance along with visa application but this delays the visa process. So, we suggest that please do not mention about Sikkim in the visa application as its readily available at the border of entry to Sikkim. Bring two passport size photos and photo copies of your passport for Sikkim inner line permit application. The initial permit is good for 15 days and it can be further extended up to 30 days. Your local guide will take care of all application process for you.
Getting into Sikkim and Darjeeling
The nearest airport from both Sikkim and Darjeeling is Bagdogra Airport (4 hrs drive). You can fly into Bagdogra Airport from Delhi, Kolkatta and Guwahati. If you are traveling from Nepal, you can fly from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur airport in eastern Nepal where you will meet your Sikkimese guide and driver.
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 and then you will be met by our local staff.
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.
There are limited choices for accommodation in Darjeeling and Sikkim area. The top end properties in Darjeeling and Sikkim are resort style properties which can be compared with 3 star hotels in the cities. All rooms have en suite bathroom with running hot and cold water. In Darjeeling, our choice of hotels are May Fair or New Elgin and Denzong Regency or Norkhill in Gangtok. These 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.
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.
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.
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.
There is no mandatory vaccination required for travel to India. 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. A timely initiaed reservation helps to secure preferred hotels and flights. A deposit of US$300 is requested along with completed trip application form and passport copies. If any hotels or supplier needs an advance payment, we will request you a second part payment accordingly.
A trip dossier with a detailed itinerary, list of confirmed hotels and services, travel notes, packing list and local contact details will be emailed to you within 3-4 weeks we receive your booking.
Balance payment is due 90 days prior to the trip date. Balance payment made by a credit card attracts an additional fee of 3.5%.
- 90 days prior departure: Administrative fee US$ 150 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%
Travel Protection Plan
While we plan and 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. Far & High'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.