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Eastern Himalayas: Sikkim and Darjeeling

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Duration: 18 days, 17 nights
Minimum Age: Min Age : 15+
Grade: 4 - Strenuous
Max Elevation: 16,400 ft
Accomodation: Tents

This trip allows you to experience the culture and wonders of the Eastern Himalayas: You will trek in Sikkim for up-close views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, and experience the culture of Bhutan.

Sikkim is sandwiched between Nepal on the west and Bhutan on the east. Formerly an independent nation, Sikkim became the twenty-second state of India on 16 May 1975. Gangtok is Sikkim’s largest city. It served as the royal administrative seat of the Kingdom of Sikkim from 1894 to 1975. Now, as the state capital, it retains a royal character. The Chogyal’s durbar (king’s palace) crowns the ridge, naturally facing Kangchenjunga, and the yellow roof of the Tsuklakhang (Royal Chapel) gleams from far across the valley. On this journey, you will trek in Sikkim to the Goechala pass (16,600 ft.) for up-close views of Mt. Kanchenjunga.

Initially, the British desired to use Darjeeling as a sanatorium, but the efforts of the then Superintendent of Darjeeling, Dr. Campbell, led to its steady growth and economic progress. Today, Darjeeling is a large bustling town with relics from the British Raj intermingled with the local Nepalese and Lepcha culture.

Highlights

  • Magnificent up-close views of Mt. Kanchenjunga in Sikkim
  • Hike through the tea gardens of Darjeeling
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Trip at a glance

Brief Itinerary

Day Description Overnight Altitude
Day 1 Arrival in Delhi Delhi  
Day 2 Fly to Bagdogra. Drive to Gangtok Gangtok  
Day 3 Explore Gangtok Gangtok  
Day 4 Drive to Yuksom Yuksom  
Day 5 Trek to Sachen Sachen 7,200 ft
Day 6 Trek to Tshokha Tsokha 9,800 ft
Day 7 Trek to Dzongri Dzongri 13,200 ft
Day 8 Dzongri acclimatization day Dzongri 13,200 ft
Day 9 Trek to Thansing Thansing 12,800 ft
Day 10 Trek to Lamini Lamini 14,200 ft
Day 11 Trek to Goecha La (16,200 ft). Descend to Lamini Lamini 14,200 ft
Day 12 Trek to Kokchurung Kokchurung  
Day 13 Descend to Tsokha Tsokha 9,800 ft
Day 14 Trek end at Yuksom Yuksom  
Day 15 Drive to Darjeeling Darjeeling  
Day 16 Explore Darjeeling Darjeeling  
Day 17 Drive to Bagdogra for flight to Delhi Delhi  
Day 18 Final departure    
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1Arrival in Delhi

Arrive in Delhi. Transfer to Hotel. (No meals)

Day 2Fly to Bagdogra. Transfer to Gangtok (Sikkim)

Transfer to airport for flight to Bagdogra. Met on arrival at Bagdogra. Transfer by private jeep to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Overnight Hidden Forest Retreat. (All meals)

Day 3Explore Gangtok

A full day of sightseeing in Gangtok. First, visit Enchey Monastery. A story related to this monastery says that a Saint flew from Maynam Hill to the present site of the monastery and built a small shrine with 10 monks. Later, during the reign of Chogyal Sidkeong Namgyal (150 years ago), the present monastery was built. This monastery belongs to the Nyingmapa sect.

Next, visit the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom, the center for promoting and training rural Sikkimese in traditional handicraft production: a veritable storehouse of exquisite carpets, blankets and shawls in Lepcha weaves.

Then visit Do-Drul Chorten, one of the most important stupas of Sikkim, built by Trulsi Rinpoche, head of the Nyingmapa order. It contains rare mandalas of Dorje Phurpa, sacred manuscripts, and other sacred objects. Surrounding the chorten are 108 prayer wheels.

Proceed to the Research Institute of Tibetology, renowned worldwide for the study of Buddhist philosophy and religion. A treasure house of rare Lepcha, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscript, thangkas, numerous priceless statues, and prized object of arts.

A stop at the Orchid Sanctuary is also planned, although there will be very few orchids in bloom at the moment. Overnight Hidden Forest Retreat. (All meals)

Day 4Drive to Yuksom

Travel seven hours by jeep to Yuksom. Yuksom is just a small, sleepy town now but as the former capital of Sikkim it is the place where the first King was crowned. Overnight Tashigang Hotel, Yuksom. (All meals)

Day 5Trek begin. Trek to Sachen.

Sikkim trek begins.
The trek begins with a long and gentle climb along the Ratang Chu (Chu = river in Tibetan/Bhutanese/Sikkimese). Today’s ascent is approximately 3,000 ft. Overnight Camp. (All meals)

Day 6Trek to Tsokha

Today’s three-hour trek climbs steeply through forests of pine, magnolia and rhododendron into the alpine country. Enjoy view of Mt. Pandim. Tshokha is a small Tibetan settlement with a monastery and a holy lake. Overnight Camp. (All meals)

Day 7Trek to Dzongri

Today is a five-hour, 3,200 ft. climb beginning in dense forests and ending in high alpine yak country. At Dzongri, there are two rough, primitive stone sheds for yak herders. Overnight Camp. (All meals)

Day 8Acclimatization day in Dzongri

An extra day to rest and acclimatize. Overnight Camp. (All meals)

Day 9Dzongri to Thansing

From Dzongri descend a few hundred feet to Thangshing. Overnight Camp. (All meals)

DAY 10 Thansing to Lamini

Ascend to Lamini. Overnight Camp. (All meals)

DAY 11 Goechala excursion

Hike to Goechala for views of Kanchenjunga and other mountains. Return to Lamini. Today’s hike can take up to 6 hours. Overnight Camp. (All meals)

Day 12Trek to Kokchurung

Descend to Kokchurung. Overnight Camp. (All meals)

DAY 13 Descend to Tsokha

Descend to Tsokha. Overnight Camp. (All meals)

DAY 14Descend to Yuksom

Descend to Tsokha. Overnight Camp. (All meals)

Day 15Drive to Darjeeling

Full day of driving to Darjeeling. Stay at the elegant New Elgin or similar. Dinner is at the hotel. (All meals)

DAY 16Darjeeling excursion

Morning visit of Happy Valley Tea Gardens to see the cultivation and preparation of famous Darjeeling tea. Onwards to the Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre established in 1959 to rehabilitate Tibetan refugees. Here, excellent carpets, wood carvings, wood works, leather works, and more are produced. Then visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) to hear the heroic tales of great Himalayan mountaineering. The Padmaja Naidu Zoological Institute, located in the same hillside as HMI, hosts captive-bred snow leopards and red pandas.

After lunch, walk to the Lloyd Botanic Gardens, which has a large collection of Himalayan plants, flowers, orchids, etc.

Stay at elegant New Elgin or similar. (All meals)

DAY 17Drive to Bagdogra. Fly to Delhi.

Drive to Bagdogra. Fly to Delhi. Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Day 18Final departure

Transfer to airport for final departure. (B)

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Detailed Cost Information

Per person price (valid till Dec 31, 2018)
2 to 3 persons: $ 3,995 USD per person
4 or more persons: $ 3,595 USD per person
Single Supplement: $ 650 USD

 

 

Price Includes

  • Expert pre-trip advice and detailed information
  • Meeting and assistance at airport and transfers to hotels
  • All in-country transportation and sightseeing (entrance fees included)
  • Hotel accommodations on twin sharing basis
  • Meals as indicated on itinerary
  • Tours and excursions outlined on itinerary
  • Airfare: Delhi to Bagdogra to Delhi

Price Excludes

  • Your international airfare
  • India visa
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Travel insurance (REQUIRED)
  • Other expenses of a personal nature (soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, mineral water, laundry, phone calls, internet, battery charging, comfort food etc.)
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