Dzongri Trek 14 Days / 13 Nights
Trip Code: HAT59
Hotels, resorts, trekkers hut or camps.
October to May
Best Time For Travel:
Trip Over View
A trek up to the meadows of Dzongri is an ideal trek for those short on time and less inclined for the rigors of hard mountain climbing, yet still craving a high alpine experience.
The Dzongri trail goes through moss-laid forests of oak, chestnut, pine, maple, magnolia and rhododendron culminating in the meadows of Dzongri at 4,000m with exceptional mountain views. It is a naturalist’s paradise. These forests harbor hundreds of varieties of wild plants; exotic orchids vie for attention with equally spectacular varieties of birds and butterflies. Some of the animals found along this trail are the Himalayan Black Bear, Barking Deer, Musk Deer, Marbled Cat, Langur and Red Panda.
This trip also includes the highlights of Darjeeling, Pemayantse and Gangtok which are the key destinations in the eastern Himalayas. You will behold the finest views of the Eastern Himalayas including Mount Kanchanjunga - the third highest mountain on earth, enjoy the greenery of the tea plantations and experience the British steam train ride. You will visit the famous Buddhist Monasteries of Sikkim such as Pemayantse Monastery, Enchey Monastery, Rumtek Monastery, and other shrines. The road journey goes through the finest landscapes, tea estates and cardamom plantations passing through little towns and villages inhabited by friendly Nepalese, Bhutias and Lepchas. You will also hike to spectacular view points, visit the private homes and schools and interact with the locals.
Day 01: Arrive Darjeeling.
Day 02: Darjeeling.
Day 03: Darjeeling to Pemayangtse (132km, 05hrs).
Day 04: Drive to Yuksom (22km, 03hrs).
Day 05: Begin the trek.
Day 06: Trek to Phedang (3,650m/11,972ft).
Day 07: Trek to Dzongri (4,030m).
Day 08: Excursion to Laxmi Pokhari.
Day 09: Retrace down to Bakhim.
Day 10: Back to Yuksum.
Day 11: Yuksom to Gangtok.
Day 12: Gangtok.
Day 13: Gangtok.
Day 14: Departure.
Day 01: Arrive Darjeeling
Upon arrival at Bagdogra Airport, we are met by our guide and driven to Darjeeling (100km/65 miles. 3 and ½ hrs). It’s a scenic drive through coniferous forests and terraced tea gardens. Darjeeling, situated at an altitude of 2,134m has a moderate temperature 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 Himalayas including the third highest mountain on earth -Kanchendzunga - which the Sikkim people regard as their guardian deity. Upon arrival, check in the hotel and after some rest, take a stroll in Chowrastha.
Day 02: Darjeeling
We are awakened early in the morning and driven to Tiger Hill (11km/7 miles) for its sunrise and mountain panorama view. Tiger hill (2590m) is the highest point in this area and famous for its breathtaking sunrise view on Mount Kanchenjunga. Mount Everest (8,848) - 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 Himalayan Mountaineering Institute which houses a considerable collection of items used by early 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 British steam train, Darjeeling Hill Railway and then stop to visit New Ghoom monastery. Overnight at hotel in Darjeeling.
Day 03: Darjeeling to Pemayangtse (132km, 05hrs)
Today we drive to Pemayangtse, a fascinating journey that winds through a steep descent down through tea estates and across the river Teesta. We enter into west Sikkim winding along the river Rangit with its panoramic views of the Kanchenjunga and the entire row of peaks. Check in to the hotel and after some rest, we pay a visit to the 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 an 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, 03hrs)
Early in the morning we trek to Sangacholing monastery to view the sunrise over Kanchenjunga and the adjoining peaks (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, near the Norbugang Monastery. Close to the throne, we can see the footprint of the Lama LatsumChenbo who consecrated the king. On the way to Yuksom, we visit Khecheopari Lake-the sacred Buddhist Mountain Lake-which has crystal clear waters. A local myth says that when a leaf falls on the placid crystal water of the lake, it’s picked up by a bird leaving the waters clean. The lake is also famous as a “wish fulfilling lake”. If you wish something with a good heart by this lake, you will get it. Early in the morning we trek to Sangacholing monastery to view the sunrise over Kanchenjunga and the adjoining peaks (optional).
Today, we meet our trekking crew. Spend rest of the day in assembling gear and preparing for the trek.
Day 05: Begin the trek
After breakfast, we begin the trek. This is the first day of the trek and a very tough day by any standards, involving a steep walk through thickly forested ridges to Bakhim at 2,743m (9,000ft). The trail goes gently uphill following Rathong River Gorge through dense forest of magnolia, rhododendron, ferns and several varieties of orchids and abundant with colorful birds. Occasionally we see monkeys as well. Teesta River is crossed five times over rope bridges. The bridges cannot support more than 3 people at a time. Be prepared to battle with leeches and insects. Bakhim has a tourist hostel but is often crowded. So, our crews will set up a camp for you. From Bakhim, Yuksom is seen far below on the horizon and Tiger Hill of Darjeeling is still visible before bowing out to the higher altitude. Today, we trek about 6 hours, (cover a distance of 16 km 910 miles) and camp at an altitude of 2743m (9000ft).
Day 06: Trek to Phedang (3,650m/11,972ft)
Experienced trekkers make Bakhim to Dzongri in a single day but for average trekker it is recommended to trek only upto Phedang. On the way, we visit the picturesque village of Tshoka inhabited by Tibetan refugees, we visit a small monastery by the lakeside. A fairly steep climb above Tshoka takes us into beautiful rhododendron forestsand we continue along a well-defined uphill trail to Phedang (approx. 2-3 hours from Tshoka). Today, we cover a distance of 5km in 4 hours but gain a significant amount of altitude.
Day 07: Trek to Dzongri (4,030m)This is a steep stage reaching the ridgeline separating Prek valley on one side and Rahtong valley on the other. To the south are the ridges of Yuksom and to the north rises majestic Kangchenjunga. To its right and towards the northeast, looms the beautiful peak of Pandim and to the West beyond Rahtong valley is the imposing Singalila Ridge. Passing through dwarf rhododendrons, the expansive yak pastures of Dzongri are reached. Ranging from 4,000 to 4,700 m, Dzongri is a large slice of the Tibetan highlands geography. Comfortable trekkers' huts are available here as well. We set up camp by lunchtime and suggest that you spend a relaxed afternoon acclimatizing. A brief climb beyond pastures brings us to a meadow where we pitch our tents with views of Koktang, Rathong, Kabru, Khangchendzonga, Simvo and Pandim. Today, we hike about 3 hours, covering a distance of 4 km and camp at 4,320m.
Day 08: Excursion to Laxmi Pokhari
Early risers can get up before dawn to climb to a vantage point on a ridge to watch the sunrise on Khangchendzonga, Kabru, Pandim, Rathong, and many other peaks of the Khangchen dzonga range. Today, we take a full day excursion to Laxmi Pokhari. The trail goes through rhododendrons and pasture land for about an hour to Chamaray. From there it is a gradual ascent to Laxmi Pokhari, a large lake cupped in a deep crater. Here we get a good view of the Khangchendzonga range, Pandim, Narsing, Kabur, Kabur dome, and Koktang. If we reach Laxmi Pokhari early and we are feeling physically fit, an excursion towards Kabur rock will be a rewarding experience.
Day 09: Retrace down to Bakhim
We make the return journey from Dzongri to Bakhimin in a single day.
Day 10: Back to Yuksum
After lunch we trek to Dubdi monastery, ‘the Hermits Cell’, which is situated on top of a lofty hill, one thousand feet above Yuksam. The fir-clad mountains behind provide a dramatic background. Founded by Lhatsun Chempo in 1701, it is the oldest monastery in Sikkim.
Day 11: Yuksom to Gangtok
After breakfast we leave Yuksom 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 a great many 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) TashiNamgyal to preserve the wealth of his lineage and the spiritual treasures and relics. We also visit Karma Nalanda Institute for higher Buddhist studies. After an hour in this monastery, we retrace our drive and join the main road at Ranikhola. We continue our drive to Gangtok - the capital of the lost Himalayan Kingdom lying on a ridge overlooking the Ranipool River. Upon arrival, check into the hotel and take rest for the day off.
Day 12: Gangtok
Today we visit Tsuk-la-Khang, the royal chapel standing on a high ridge. This is a major place of worship and has a large and impressive collection of scriptures. We also visit the institute of cottage industries which is a popular attraction as a wide range of local handicrafts in Lepcha style are produced here. Today we also drive to the Enchey monastery. This monastery is believed to be 200 years old. The monks of this monastery belong to the Mahayana Buddhism.
Day 13: Gangtok
Today we visit the unique Research Institute of Tibetology which was 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 Thangkas, bronze and cultural objects. We also visit the Orchid Sanctuary which lies 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 14: Departure
After breakfast, drive to Bagdogra Airport for flight to Delhi or Kolkatta.
- 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.
- Camping gears.
- Pack animals or porters to transport gears and supplies.
- 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.