Grandeur of Sikkim and Darjeeling 14 Days / 13 Nights
Trip Code: HAT121
Sikkim and Darjeeling Classic Circuits
Hotels, resorts and lodges
October to May
Best Time For Travel:
Trip Over View
This is a magnificent trip of Grandeur of Sikkim and Darjeeling. In Sikkim, you will visit the remote North Sikkim district - a restricted area requiring a special permit which will be arranged by us.
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 Kolkatta 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 centers, monasteries, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute etc. Other popular attractions include botanical gardens, a zoo, and the Darjeeling-Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway - longest Asian cable car.
North Sikkim it is the largest and remotest place and borders on Tibet. This is a beautiful place with extravagant picturesque views letting you enjoy its splendid natural beauty. North Sikkim is also rich in culture so will give you deep insights into the culture and traditions of aboriginal Lepcha and Bhutia people. This place has remained untouched by the outside world and it is truly comparable to Switzerland. The breath-taking waterfalls, flora and fauna and breath-taking views in this place makes this place a perfect paradise for all nature enthusiasts. Untouched rhododendron jungles, blooming from May to June in riot of red, pink, yellow, purple and white and dispersing a concert of beautiful fragrances.
The opportunities to take interesting walks; explore the countryside of Northern Sikkim’s Bhutias, as well as the opportunity to enjoy authentic Sikkimese cuisine are not to be missed. You will also visit monasteries and a nunnery where ceremonies and religious event come about all round the year.
This tour is also an opportunity to visit the main sites of Darjeeling and Sikkim that include many of important highlights. It is going to be a sheer joy of discovering places and learning about them. This tour also help to get familiarize with nature, people and their culture as mentioned.
Day 01: Arrival in Darjeeling. (D).
Day 02: Darjeeling.
Day 03: Darjeeling to Pemayangtse (132km, 5 hrs).
Day 04: Drive to Yuksom (22km, 3 hrs).
Day 05: Yuksom to Martam (5 hrs).
Day 06: Martam Village Walk and drive to Gangtok.
Day 07: Gangtok Sightseeing.
Day 08: Gangtok to Lachung (115km, 6 hrs).
Day 09: Yumthang Excursion.
Day 10: To Lachen (51km).
Day 11: Thangu, Chopta Valley and Gurudongmar Lake excursion (Subject to permission).
Day 12: Return drive to Gangtok (120km, 6 hrs).
Day 13: Drive to Kalimpong.
Day 14: Kalimpong - Bagdogra (about 80 km) - New Delhi (by air).
Day 01: Arrive Darjeeling
Upon arrival at Bagdogra Airport, you are met by your guide and driven to Darjeeling (100km/65 miles, 3and ½ hrs). It’s a scenic drive through the coniferous forests and terraced tea plantations. Darjeeling, situated at an altitude of 2,134m has moderate temperatures and was developed by the British as a hill resort in order to avoid the heat of 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. Check in to the hotel and after a rest; take a stroll in Chowrasta or town square.
Day 02: Darjeeling
We wake up early in the morning and drive to Tiger Hill (11km/7 miles) for the sunrise view and a magnificent mountain panorama view. Tiger Hill (2,590m) is the highest point in this area and famous for breathtaking sunrise view on 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 sightseeing the highlights of Darjeeling. We visit Mountaineering Institute which houses a considerable collection of items used by the early Mt. Everest explorers, and Darjeeling Zoo housing several interesting Himalayan species including snow leopards and red pandas. We take a short train ride on the 120 year old steam train, Darjeeling Hill Railway and stop to visit Ghoom monastery. Overnight in a hotel in Darjeeling.
Day 03: Darjeeling to Pemayangtse (132km, 5hrs)
In the morning, we drive to Pemayangtse, a fascinating journey that winds through steep descent down through tea estates and across the river Teesta. We enter into west Sikkim winding along the river Rangit with its panoramic view of the Kanchenjunga and the entire row of peaks. Check in to the hotel and after some rest, we pay a visit to Pemayangtse monastery - one of the finest Monastery 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 the late Dugzom. The monastery preserves the priceless Rinpoche. Overnight in hotel Pemayangtse.
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 next to the Norbugang Monastery. Close to the throne, we can see the footprint of Lama Latsum Chenbo who consecrated the king. On the way to Yuksom, we visit Khecheopari Lake - the sacred Buddhist Mountain Lake - which has crystal clear waters. Local myth says that when a leaf falls on the placid crystal water of the lake, it’s picked up by a bird to keep the waters clean. 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
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 Sikkimese villages and many great paddy fields. The entire area resembles a green carpet from July to September. Later, during October-November, which is the harvest season, the entire place is a sight to behold with golden paddy swaying in the breeze. From December onwards, the paddy is 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 house the spiritual treasures and relics. We also visit Karma Nalanda Institute for higher Buddhist studies. After an hour in this monastery, we drive to the little village of Martam and check in a beautiful cottage resort. If you still have energy left, 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 Tinjure Hills looming over the 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 the 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 Enchey monastery believed to be 200 years old. The monks of this monastery belong to the Mahayana Buddhism.
Day 07: Gangtok Sightseeing
Today we visit a unique Research Institute of Tibetology on a hilltop, established in 1958 to promote research on Tibet and Mahayana Buddhism. Here we will see the largest collection of Tibetan scripts and an excellent collection of rare Thangka, bronze and cultural objects. We also visit Orchid Sanctuary which is to the south of the institute. This sanctuary contains over 450 indigenous orchid species. Sikkim is considered paradise for orchid lovers. After the visit to the sanctuary we walk through the bazaar of Gangtok.
Day 08: Gangtok to Lachung (115km, 6hrs)
Today, we begin our drive to North Sikkim, the main focus of this trip. As we leave Gangtok, the road curves onto Tashi View Point which offer fine views of 8,848m Mount Khangchendzonga off to the northwest as well as a host of other high and largely unclimbed 6,000m peaks. The route continues to meander through villages and is flanked by fields until we reach the forest grove of Kabi Longstok. This is the place where the historic swearing of blood brotherhood between the Lepchas and Bhutias took place - an event which underlines the ethos of even present day Sikkim. Stone markers were erected to keep the promise alive and stand to this day. After the magnificence of Kabi, we arrive at Karma Kagyu Monastery of Phodong built in 1740. The monastery is famous for the intricate murals that adorn its walls. Singhik comes next with its promise of one of the most glorious views of Khangchendzonga. For those with time, a half an hour's walk uphill takes one to an ancient monastery suspended in time. Straddling the confluence of the Lachen and Lachung rivers lie Chungthang, a small town full of legends. One such legend claims this to be the place from where the world Demazong (the Hidden Valley of Rice) first originated for Sikkim. In the evening we arrive at Lachung, one of the most exquisite valley towns, resplendent in its crown of snow-capped mountains, breathtaking waterfalls and sparkling streams. Situated at a height of 8,610ft., Lachung has been described as the "most picturesque village of Sikkim" by none other than Joseph Dalton Hooker in his definitive, The Himalayan Journal (1855).
Day 09: Yumthang Excursion
After breakfast, we leave for Yumthang which lies very close to the Tibetan border, Yumthang is a unique place where the tree line ends but rhododendrons and alpine and Primula flowers still bloom covering the whole area in a surreal shade during Spring. Yumthang is renowned for its Hot Spring, which is rich in sulfur. In fall and winter, you can enjoy the scenic and panoramic views of the valleys and surrounding mountain ranges with snow-capped peaks. Another hour's drive beyond Yumthang takes us to Yumesamdong (15,300ft), an area where the sweet fragrance of Azalea (a plant used as incense by the locals) permeates the air. Heady, invigorating and exhilarating, but words still fail to explain the experience of being at Yumesamdong. We retrace our drive to Lachung in the late afternoon and visit its monastery and waterfalls.
Day 10: To Lachen (51km)
We retrace our drive to the confluence of Lachen Chu & Lachung Chu Rivers at Chungthang and follow the road heading to Lachen. Lunch is served at Namok (A Wayside Inn). Lachen stands on a grassy flat surrounded by the pine-clad mountains with their snowy peaks and black cliffs. The village comprises of barely 150 houses. Earlier, inhabitants used the homes only in winters and spent the summer on the alpine pastures along the Tibet border tending to their flock of yaks. Upon arrival, check in to Gurudongmar Lodge.
Day 11: Thangu, Chopta Valley and Gurudongmar Lake excursion (Subject to permission)
After breakfast, we leave for Thanguand Chopta Valley. Thangu valley occupies a very broad valley at the junction of the Thangu Chu, Chopta Chu and Lassur Chu rivers. It is situated at an altitude of 14,000ft. Both the valleys erupt in riots of colors in the months of June and July. In the months of December and January you can play in the snow or even walk across the meandering frozen Chopta River. If weather permits and permission is granted, we leave for Gurudongmar Lake (17,200ft). After spending half an hour to one hour there, we drive back to Lachen. Overnight in a lodge.
Day 12: Return drive to Gangtok (120km, 6hrs)
On the way, if the weather is clear we may get to see mighty Khangchendzonga from Singhik. Upon arrival at Gangtok, check in to hotel and take rest.
Day 13: 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, 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 Thangkas. It belongs to the yellow Hat sect. We will also visit 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 14: Kalimpong - Bagdogra (about 80 km) - New Delhi (by air)
In the morning, we drive through the wild Teesta valley to Bagdogra. In the afternoon, we drive to the airport for the flight either to New Delhi or Kolkatta or to Kathmandu.
- Accommodation in moderate standard hotel on twin sharing.
- 3 meals a day.
- All 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.