Essence of Sikkim and Darjeeling 9 Days / 8 Nights
Trip Code: HAT120
Sikkim and Darjeeling Classic Circuits
Hotel and resorts
October to May
Best Time For Travel:
Trip Over View
Sikkim and Darjeeling are most people’s favorite hill station lying in the foothills of the East Himalayas. The trip can be planned conveniently as post- or pre-trip to your Bhutan or Nepal tour. Bagdogra airport connects this region with Kolkatta, Delhi and Guwahati. If you are traveling from or to Nepal, Bhadrapur airport, about one hour drive from Bagdogra serves as your gateway. Every year, tourism in Sikkim and Darjeeling gets better attracting a good number of travelers. Trekkers, adventure enthusiasts, honeymooners or simply someone who love to be in its tranquil atmosphere and serene and untouched natural beauty ought to visit the places. There cannot be any better combination of any other places than Sikkim and Darjeeling to fully enjoy the natural world.
Gangtok is the capital and also the largest town of Sikkim sitting in the lap of the majestic Himalaya. Gangtok is at the centre of Sikkim's tourism industry and the town provides the perfect base for travel through the state. The town is an interesting mix of cultures and communities and mostly dominated by Buddhist culture. With many Buddhist monasteries here in Gangtok, the city quite bear a resemblance to the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu. Over the years, Gangtok has developed into a sophisticated destination where old-world charm and hospitality exist along with the modern age of Information Technology. The people of Gangtok still maintain a strong connection with their age-old traditions and customs. The town and its vicinity have a number of worthwhile sights including the famous Rumtek Monastery, the principal seat of Karma Pa, and the head of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Gangtok is also the best place to view Mount Kanchenjunga – the third highest mountain in the world and it is the glory of the eastern Himalayas venerated by Sikkim people as their guardian deity.
Darjeeling, straddling a ridge at 592ft/2,134m is surrounded by tea plantations on all sides.
Under the British Raj, Darjeeling used to be previous summer capital of India. Darjeeling previously also known as Dorjeling has been a popular hill station ever since the British established it to escape the heat of Kolkata in the mid-1800s. Darjeeling: the queen of hills” is all famous for its world class tea plantation, toy train, tiger hill for sun rise view, Tibetan centres, monasteries, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute etc. Other popular attractions include botanical gardens, a zoo, and the Darjeeling-Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway - longest Asian cable car.
So deepen your travel experience with High Asia Tours where you will not only visit places but also learn more on culture and lifestyle of both Sikkim and Darjeeling reflecting strong influences from the neighbouring countries of Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet.
Day 01: Arrival in Darjeeling. (D).
Day 02: Darjeeling.
Day 03: Darjeeling to Pemayangtse (132km, 5hrs).
Day 04: Drive to Yuksom (22km, 3 hrs).
Day 05: Yuksom to Martam (5hrs).
Day 06: Martam Village walk and drive to Gangtok.
Day 07: Gangtok.
Day 08: Drive to Kalimpong.
Day 09: Kalimpong - Bagdogra (about 80 km).
Day 01: Arrive Darjeeling
Upon arrival at Bagdogra Airport, you are met by your guide and drive to Darjeeling (100km/65 miles. 3 and ½ hrs). It’s a scenic drive through the coniferous forests and terraced tea gardens. Darjeeling, situated at an altitude of 2,134m, has soothing temperatures and was developed by British as a Hill Resort in order to escape heat during summer. On a clear day, we can enjoy spectacular views of the Himalayas including the third highest mountain on earth -Kanchendzunga - which the people in Sikkim regard as their guardian deity. Upon arrival, check in hotel and after a rest; take a stroll in Chowrasta – one of the most happening places where you will still enjoy doing nothing.
Day 02: Darjeeling
We start early in the morning and drive to Tiger Hill (11km/7 miles) for the sunrise view and the mountain panorama view. Tiger hill (2,590m) is the highest point in this area and famous for its breathtaking sunrise view of Mount Kanchenjunga. Mount Everest (8,848m) - the highest mountain in the world - is also visible on a clear day. Return to the hotel and after breakfast; we embark on a sightseeing tour of the highlights of Darjeeling. We visit the Mountaineering Institute and Himalayan Zoo housing several interesting Himalayan species including snow leopards and red pandas. We will also experience the toy train ride, the 120 year old British steam railwayand on the return, visit the Ghoom Monastery. Overnight in a hotel in Darjeeling.
Day 03: Darjeeling to Pemayangtse (132km, 5hrs)
Today we drive to Pemayangtse, a fascinating journey that winds through steep descent down through tea plantations and across the river Teesta. We enter west Sikkim winding alongside the river Rangit with its panoramic views of Kanchenjunga and the entire row of peaks. Check in a hotel and after some rest, we pay a visit to Pemayangtse monastery - one of the finest monasteries of Sikkim and the second oldest built in 1716. It is an impressive and beautiful building which houses the unusual Sangdok Palri "Temple of Heaven" which contains a wooden figure that took 7 years to carve single handedly by late Dugzom. The monastery preserves the priceless Rinpoche. Overnight hotel in Pemayantse.
Day 04: Drive to Yuksom (22km, 3hrs)
Early in the morning we trek to Sangacholing monastery where the sunrise over Kanchenjunga and the adjoining peaks can be seen on a clear day (optional). Late morning, we leave for Yuksom, the first capital of Sikkim where the first Chogyal (king) of Sikkim was crowned on a stone throne beside the Norbugang Monastery. Close to the throne, we can see the footprint of the Lama Latsum Chenbo who consecrated the king. On the way to Yuksom, we visit Khecheopari Lake - the sacred Buddhist Mountain Lake with its crystal clear waters. Legend has it that when a leaf falls on the placid crystal clear water of the lake, a bird picks it up to maintain the clear water. The lake is also famous as a “wish fulfilling lake”. If you wish for something with a pure heart by this lake, your wish will be fulfilled. Overnight in Yuksom.
Day 05: Yuksom to Martam (5hrs)
After breakfast we leave Pemayantse and drive towards Gangtok. About 9km before Gangtok, the road forks and we take a left towards Rumtek and Martam. It is a lovely drive as the road snakes through typical Sikkim villages and a great many paddy fields. The entire area resembles a green carpet from July to September. Later, during Oct-Nov, which is the harvest season, the entire place is a sight to behold with golden paddies swaying in the breeze. From December onwards, the paddies are harvested and the hill takes on a brown hue. We arrive at Rumtek which is about 12 km from the main highway. We stop here to visit the famous Rumtek Monastery which was built by the 16th Karmapa Lama - the supreme head of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The 16th Karmapa, along with his followers, fled Tibet in 1959 after Chinese takeover of Tibet and built this monastery with the help of Sikkim’s Chogyal (king) Tashi Namgyal to preserve the wealth of his lineage and the spiritual treasures and relics they brought with them. We also visit Karma Nalanda Institute for higher Buddhist studies. After Rumtek monastery, we drive 5 km to the little village of Martam and check in to a beautiful cottage resort. If you still have energy, you can hike 10 minutes up to the hill just above the resort to visit a small monastery called Mani. The view from here is beautiful and you can see the looming Tinjure Hills and sprawling charming paddy fields that make up Martam. Return to the cottage.
Day 06: Martam Village Walk and drive to Gangtok
There is a small cluster of villages near the resort. We walk to the village and chat with the locals and learn more about their lifestyle. We also visit St. Joseph's Convent School, which is one of the most reputed schools and home-turned-hostels by a lot of local families for the students’ stay. We return to the resort, bid farewell to the staff of the resort and drive to Gangtok - the capital of Sikkim. We retrace our drive and join the main road at Rani khola. Gangtok - the capital of the lost Himalayan Kingdom lies on a ridge overlooking Ranipool River. Gangtok which means a High Hill lies at an altitude of 1,760m. Upon arrival, we check in to hotel and after some rest; visit Tsuk-la-Khang, the royal chapel which is standing on a high ridge. This is the major place of worship and has a large and impressive collection of scriptures. We also visit the institute of cottage industries which is an attraction where a wide range of local handicrafts in Lepcha style are produced. We also visit the Enchey monastery believed to be 200 years old. The monks of this monastery belong to the Mahayana Buddhism.
Day 07: Gangtok
Today we visit the unique Research Institute of Tibetology on a hilltop which was established in 1958 to promote research on Tibet and Mahayana Buddhism. Here we see the biggest collection of Tibetan scripts and an excellent collection of rare Thangka, bronze and cult objects. We also visit Orchid Sanctuary which lies to the south of the institute. This sanctuary contains over 450 indigenous species. Sikkim is considered paradise for orchid lovers. After the visit to the sanctuary we walk through the bazaar of Gangtok.
Day 08: Drive to Kalimpong
After breakfast, we leave for Kalimpong (2 hrs). The road winds its way along the hillside following Teesta River and passes through some of the most beautiful villages in the region. Kalimpong is a bustling and rapidly growing town, though relatively small. It is set amongst the rolling foothills and deep valleys of the Himalayas. The culture and lifestyle of locals reflect the influences of neighboring Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. Check in to the hotel and after some rest, embark on a tour of the highlights of Kalimpong including Dr. Graham's Home, started in 1900 by a Scottish missionary, Dr. John Anderson Graham, who along with his wife dedicated their lives in building up this beautiful complex for the education and care of orphans. We also visit Thapa Choling monastery which houses a library of Tibetan manuscripts and Thankas. It belongs to the yellow Hat sect. We will also visit the Thongsa monastery and Durpin Dara the highest point in Kalimpong with superb views of the rolling plains down to Siliguri. Overnight in a hotel.
Day 09: Kalimpong - Bagdogra (about 80 km)
In the morning we drive through the wild Teesta valley to Bagdogra airport near Siliguri to take a flight to New Delhi or Kolkatta. If you are going to Kathmandu, you will be transferred to Bhadrapur Airport which is one hour's drive from Siliguri.
- Accommodation in moderate standard hotel on twin sharing.
- 3 meals a day.
- Transfers and sightseeing by private vehicle.
- English speaking local guide.
- Sightseeing admission fees.
- Necessary inner line permits.
- Expenses of personal nature such as drink, optional tipping, laundry, phone etc.
- Airfares to and out of Bagdogra.
- Extra expenses caused due to nature and unforeseen events.
- Travel Insurance.