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Sikkim-The Lost Himalayan Kingdom


7 days 6 nights

Code

Category Sikkim Classic Tours

  • Group Size 2-10 Person
  • Difficulty Level 1
  • Rating Popular
  • Highest Altitude 2,550 m ( 8,364 ft.)
  • Trip Starts From Bagdogra
  • Trip Ends At Bagdogra
  • Type Trekking
  • Destination Darjeeling Pelling Yuksom Excursion Rumtek Gangtok Bagdogra
Dates & Prices

Overview

This trip takes to see the key attractions of Sikkim such as Pemayantse, Yuksom, Gangtok, Rumtek, and Martham. As well as Darjeeling; the British Developed Hill Resort.

The journey begins from Darjeeling, the Queen of Hills and the land of the world-famous Darjeeling Tea. You will have finest views of the Eastern Himalayas, including Mount Kanchenjunga, which is the third highest mountain on earth. You will get to enjoy the greenery of the tea plantations and experience the toy train ride. Visit some famous Buddhist Monasteries in Sikkim such as Pemayantse Monastery, Enchey Monastery, Rumtek Monastery and several minor shrines. The road journey goes through the finest vegetation, tea estates and cardamom plantations, passing through little towns and villages inhabited by friendly Nepalese, Bhutias (people of Tibetan origin) and Lepchas (original people from Sikkim). Besides the typical sightseeing, you will get to take some hikes to the viewpoints, visit some private homes, schools and interact with the locals.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Darjeeling

Major Indian cities are connected by air to Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal. Upon arrival, you are met and greeted by our Sikkimese guide and driver and then you are transported by car to Darjeeling (100km/65 miles, a 3 ½ hrs. drive time). If you are traveling via Nepal, then you may fly from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur Airport in Eastern Nepal. You will cross the border and take a scenic drive (5 hrs.) along the winding roads through pines, firs, juniper forests, beautiful tea estates to Darjeeling (known as the queen of the hills). Situated at an altitude of 2,134m, Darjeeling has a soothing climate. It was developed as the Hill Station by the British rulers to escape the heat of Kolkata.

On a clear weather day, there are spectacular views of snow clad mountains that include Mount Kanchendzunga, the third highest mountain on earth and revered as the guardian deity by the Sikkimese people. Upon arrival, you will check into a beautiful Mayfair or New Elgin Hotel. After wash and change, take a leisurely stroll through the Chowrasta.

Overnight at Mayfair or New Elgin Hotel.

Meals : Dinner
Day 02~Darjeeling

Today, you will wake up early in the morning and drive to Tiger Hill (11km/7 miles) to watch the sunrise and get a Himalayan 'panorama view'. Tiger hill is situated at 2590 m/8,495 ft. and is the most famous view point in the area and offers a spectacular sunrise with the snow-clad mountain. It also includes Mount Kanchenjunga. On a clear weather day, we are also able to view Mount Everest (8,848m), which is the highest mountain in the world.

After sunrise, you will return to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, you will set out to explore the attractions of Darjeeling, including: the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Himalayan Zoological Park, Tea Gardens, The Ghoom Monastery, etc. You will also experience the British made steam engine Toy Train ride that offers interesting sightseeing in the area.

If you are interested in learning about Tibetan culture and its arts and crafts, it would be worth visiting the Tibetan Self Help Center. Another attraction is Darjeeling's 4,620-foot long Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway. It connects Darjeeling with the picturesque Rangeet Valley and is also worth trying (depending on the available time you have).

Overnight at Mayfair or New Elgin Hotel.

Meals : Dinner
Day 03~Drive from Darjeeling to Pelling (132km/83 miles, 5 hrs.)

Following an early morning breakfast, you will leave for Pelling and start a fascinating journey through tea estates across Teesta River. You will follow the winding road along the River Rangeet and enter West Sikkim. Here you are greeted by the panoramic views of Mount Kanchenjunga and the entire row of snow-clad peaks of the eastern Himalayas. Upon arrival, check into the hotel, and after wash and change, proceed to visit the Pemayangtse Monastery. The Monastery is among the oldest and most famous of all the Monasteries of Sikkim. The Monastery is home to antique idols, Buddhist scriptures, and murals. The main attraction is a seven-tiered painted wooden figure that portrays Guru Rinpoche's Heavenly Palace known as Zangto-Pelri.

On the walk down, you will take a short trip through forests to the ruins of Rabdantse; the second capital of Sikkim. From the top, you can enjoy the views of the subterranean valley and the incredibly beautiful Mount of Khanchenjunga.

Overnight at Norbughang Resort.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 04~Yuksom Excursion

Before dawn, take a hike to Sangacholing Monastery. It is situated on a ridge top opposite to the Pemayangtse Monastery. It can take about 45 minutes to reach the monastery. Sangacholing Monastery is the second oldest monastery in Sikkim (the admission to the main sanctum is reserved for local Buddhist practitioners only). You may enjoy the sunrise and the panoramic view of Mount Kanchenjunga and other Himalayan Peaks and then retrace the journey down to the hotel.

Following breakfast, you will drive to visit Yuksom; the first capital of Sikkim which lies about 20 miles north from Pelling. En route, you will stop to visit the sacred mountain lake known as Khecheopari Lake. The lake has crystal clear water and you will not see any leaves on the surface even though the lake is surrounded by trees. The story goes that as soon as a leaf falls in the water, a bird will remove it! People here also believe that if you make a wish with a good heart or pure intentions during your visit to the lake, it will come true!

At Yuksom, you will witness the stone throne where the first Chogyal (King) of Sikkim was crowned. The stone footprints near the throne is believed be that of Lama Latsum Chenbo who consecrated the king. Time permitting, on the way back, you might stop in Darap Village and Rimbi Waterfall.

Overnight at Norbughang Resort.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 05~Drive from Pelling to Rumtek/Martham (125km/78 miles, 5-6 hrs.)

After breakfast, you will leave for Gangtok. Stop to visit the 18th century old Ralong Monastery which is dedicated to the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The next stop will be in Ravangla, it will provide you with undisturbed views of the snow-capped mountains of Greater Himalayas that includes Mount Kanchenjunga, Mount Pandim, Mount Sinialchu, Mount Kabru, etc.

Continuing further, you will arrive at the Temi Tea Garden. It is the only tea estate still existing in Sikkim and produces world-class tea. The tea garden spreads out on a gentle hill slope originating from Tendong Hill and provides a magnificent view of the surrounding villages and Sandruptse Monastery on the "Wish Fulfilling Hill". A 135ft. unique statue of Guru Padmasambhava, probably the tallest of this kind has been installed on the hill.

A few miles before Gangtok, you will leave the main road and head to Rumtek Monastery. It is the principal seat of Karmapa Lama, the head of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery is the largest in Sikkim and is the place for worship and sacred rituals of the Karma Kagyu School. You will visit the Golden Stupa, which is the most magnificent in the Rumtek complex. It houses the relics of the 16th Karmapa Lama and the Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies, simply called Shedra. You will have an opportunity to meet the monks and learn about their monastic lifestyle. From Rumtek you will continue further to Martham Village for an overnight stay.

Overnight at Martham Village Resort.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 06~Martham to Gangtok (29km/18 miles)

Following breakfast, you will retrace the drive to the main road leading to Gangtok, capital of Sikkim. Check into the hotel and then set out to explore the highlights of the area. Begin from the Tsug-La-Khang, the royal chapel that stands on a high ridge. The chapel preserves a fine collection of Buddhist scriptures as well as being a major place of worship. Next, you will visit the Directorate of Handicrafts that produces a wide range of local Lepcha arts and crafts. About 5 km out Gangtok town lies the 200-year-old Enchey Monastery that belongs to Nyingmapa order of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery preserves religious objects and antique images of various Buddhist deities.

In the afternoon, you will visit the Research Institute of Tibetology situated on a ridge top. Established in 1958, the institute promotes research activities on Tibet and Mahayana Buddhist. There is the largest collection of Tibetan scripts and rare murals, bronze and cult objects here. Late afternoon, you will have time to stroll in the market. Lal Bazaar is vibrant during the weekend as the farmers congregate to sell their fresh produce.

Overnight at Denzong Regency or Norkhil Hotel.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 07~Departure

After breakfast, drive to Bagdogra or Bhadrapur airport for a flight to your next destination.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Cost Includes

  • 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 Nepalese 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 it's 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, Kolkata 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.

Accommodation

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 is 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.

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 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. 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 Kolkata 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 initiated 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%.

Cancellation fee

  • 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.

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(Formerly Highland Asia Travel)

United States

8030 Old Cedar Ave S, Suite 123
Minneapolis, MN 55425
Tel: 1 612 605 4428
Fax: 612 807 1137

Nepal

Kapoordhara, Samakhusi, Kathmandu
Tel (977 1) 4351780, 4381823
Fax +977-1-4381369

Bhutan

KMT Building, Nordzin Lam, Thimphu
Tel (975-2) -329098 / +975-77204087
Fax (+975) 2 337004

Tibet

B5-1-2, B3 dong, Renchen garden,
No 13 Jiangsu road Lhasa Tibet China.
Tel: +86-(891)-6836609,
Fax: +86-(891)-6836619


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