SIKKIM, the Eastern Himalayas

  
Code SIK14D
visit asia - tours to asia
Price : £2,295 per person

Colonial hill station - stunning Himalayas tea growing country- Buddhist Monasteries. To the north of Calcutta, in the remote north-eastern highlands of India lie some of India’s least visited areas. The ‘Garden State’ of Sikkim, small but utterly beautiful; the fabled town of Darjeeling in the heart of tea-growing country and Buddhist monasteries are just some of the sights that will delight any traveller.

Best months to travel : FEB-MAR-APR-MAY-JUN-SEP-NOV

CALCUTTA - GANGTOK - PELLING - YUKSOM - KALIMPOMG - DARJEELING

Price includes : Internal flights, private a/c car, English speaking local guides, Top grade hotels on halfboard basis ( breakfast & dinner ), Joy train, cable car ride, admission fees, local school and orphanage visits, Sikkim entry permit.

Price excludes : International flights ( please ring us for best fares ), visa for India ( e-visa obtainable online), lunches, tipping, video & camera fees and any service not specified.
Single supplement : £1,095

Day 1 Fly to Calcutta

Day 2 Calcutta (B/-/D)
Arrive in Calcutta in the morning. Be greeted at airport and transferred to your hotel and assisted with check-in. Calcutta was once said to be the intellectual capital of India, with a rich contemporary cultural life established by the British in 1690. Afternoon guided tour of the major sites of Calcutta including the Botanical Gardens, Victoria Memorial and India Museum. Welcome dinner at local restaurant. Overnight at centrally located The Park 5* hotel.

Day 3 Calcutta- Gangtok via Bagdogra (B/-/D) visit asia - tours to asia
After breakfast transfer to airport for flight to Bagdogra. On arrival car transfer ( 130 km/4hrs) to Sikkim capital city, Gangtok for a two-night stay. Gangtok – Capital of the 22nd State of India, Sikkim enjoys a mild, temperate climate all year round and offers spectacular views of the Himalayan ranges. It is the perfect destination for tourists in search of enchantment, tranquility, trekking or any other adventure. It is a mystic land of Stupas, Monastery, Temples and endless intriguing rituals / festivals. Situated at an elevation of 1,780 m it is the most often visited spot of India for its floristic composition, rare orchids and butterflies. Dinner & overnight at Mayfair Resort & Spa.

Day 4 Gangtok (B/-/D)
After breakfast Gangtok guided tour including Rumtek Monastery (Rumtek was at the centre of the Karmapa controversy with a lengthy battle being played out in the Indian courts. Two rival organisations, each supporting a different candidate for the 17th Karmapa, claimed stewardship of the monastery and its contents.), the Enchey Monastery an important seat of the Nyingmapa order. The monastery was first built in the 1840s by the eighth Chogyal and as a result, Gangtok then a small hamlet became a pilgrimage place. The monastery was built at the exact location where Lama Druptub Karbo had his hermitage. Today we reserve time for the visit to the Children Village of the HDFS ( Human Development Foundation of Sikkim ), run by Mrs Keepu Lepcha and funded by donors & sponsors in Europe. Please see details on http://www.sikkimchildren.net/about.html Dinner & overnight stay at the same hotel.

Day 5 Gangtok - Pelling (B/-/D)
Morning visit Namgyal Institute of Tibetology (closed sundays) then transfer to Pelling. Enroute, visit the 18th Tashiding Monastery (116 Km/5 hrs). Pelling, an idyllic spot on top of a ridge, is surrounded by mist-shrouded mountains, with an elevation of 2073 m. It offers the most spectacular views of Mount Kanchendzonga, Mount Makalu, Mount Pandim and its ranges. Its botanical and zoological richness is awe – inspiring. The scenic view from the top of the ruin scanning across deep valley to the mystic heights of Kanchendzonga ranges is something to be cherished and etched in memory. Overnight at Chumbi Mountain Retreat.

Day 6 Pelling - Yuksom - Pelling (B/-/D) visit asia - tours to asia
After breakfast depart by road to Yuksom (35 km/02 hrs). On the way visit Khecheopalri Lake, a sacred Buddhist mountain lake. It is believed that whatever is wished in front of the lake will come true. A further drive takes you to Yuksom (the meeting place of three monks) - the first capital of Sikkim. This was where the first Chogyal (a ruling dynasty in Sikkim) was crowned. Evening Back to Pelling for dinner and overnight at Hotel.

Day 7 Pelling - Kalimpong (B/-/D)
Today morning visit Pemayangtse Monastery & Rabdantse Palace. Next drive to Kalimpong (5hrs), a quieter destination, fabled for orchids, rarest cacti and nurseries. Situated on the foothills of the Himalayas at an elevation of 1243 m, this hill station is buzzing with fun, frolic and offers spectacular views of the Mount Kanchendzonga and its range. Milder climate dense forest offset by the rich undergrowth of moss and lichen provide an ideal setting for calm walks on cushions of auburn leaves makes this a paradise for nature lovers. Afternoon is free to relax at Silver Oaks hotel. Dinner & overnight at Hotel.

Day 8 Kalimpong (B/-/D)
Begin your tour with a visit to Zang-dog-phalri-Fo-brang Monastery located atop Durpin Hill, one of the two hills of the town. It was consecrated in 1976 by the visiting Dalai Lama. The monastery houses many rare scriptures including 108 volumes of the Kangyur. Visits to Dr Grahams Homes School, Tirpai Monastery, the flower nursery, and the local market. Dinner and overnight at Silver Oaks Hotel.

Day 9 Kalimpong - Darjeeling (B/-/D)
Transfer to Darjeeling (75km/03hrs). On the way visit the Gandhi Ashram school founded in 1994 by Father Ed McGuire, a Jesuit priest from Canada. The school aim is to give underprivileged children an education and amazingly each pupil there is being taught to play a musical instrument, commonly the violin. Darjeeling known as the Queen of the Hills is the jewel in the crown of the Eastern Himalayas and offers spectacular views of the Himalayan ranges including Mount Everest and Mount Kanchendzonga. It is famous for tea gardens, breathtaking valleys and scenery. Situated on the foothills of the Himalayas at an elevation of 2134 meters / 7001 feet, it has a rich legacy of invaluable worth. Dinner & overnight at Mayfair Hill Resort.

Day 10 Darjeeling (B/-/D) visit asia - tours to asia
Early morning trip to Tiger Hill to admire the sunrise over Kanchenjunga and if the weather is clear you may see the Peak of Mount Everest, Lotshe and Makalu. Later enjoy a 2 hour joy train ride up to Ghoom Monastery. Ghoom Monastery is the popular name of the Sampten Choling Monastery or Yiga Choeling Monastery located at Ghoom at an elevation of 8,000 feet, 8 km from Darjeeling in the state of West Bengal, India. The monastery follows the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. There is a 15-feet high statue of "Maitreya Buddha" (Coming Buddha) in the monastery. It contains images of Buddha’s disciples, Chenrezi and Chongapa. It was built in 1875 by Lama Sherab Gyatso and is the largest of the three monasteries in Ghoom. Amongst the Buddhist texts available are the Kangyur, the Tibetan Buddhist canon, running into 108 volumes. The monks fly prayer flags in the Tibetan tradition. After breakfast, enjoy an orientation tour of Darjeeling. Visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. It has a small museum which houses a collection of all mountain equipment including that was used by Tenzing Norgay during his first conquest on Mt. Everest. Now it is one of the premiere institutions in the country which provides training for mountaineering activities. Also visit the Himalayan Zoological Park, Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre and local market. Dinner & overnight at Mayfair Hill Resort.

Day 11 Darjeeling (B/-/D)
Today your guided tour will include a visit to Tukvar Tea Estate, the very first tea estate of Darjeeling established in 1852 followed by a walking tour of Observatory Hill and Bhutia Basti Monastery. Dinner & overnight at the same hotel.

Day 12 Darjeeling-Calcutta via Bagdogra (B/-/-)
Late morning drive to Bagdogra airport (3hrs) to board your flight for Calcutta. On arrival in Calcutta you will be transferred to Park hotel for overnight stay.

Day 13 Calcutta (B/-/-)
Full day at leisure in Calcutta staying at The Park Hotel on bed & breakfast basis.

Day 14 Departure (B/-/-)
Transfer to Calcutta airport for your return flight to the UK.