Sikkim is without doubt, a gorgeous destination. We approach Sikkim from Darjeeling, just like the early Everest explorers did! In Darjeeling we visit Tiger Hill where the view of the sunrise over Kanchenjunga, will take your breath away.
Departure: New Delhi
Duration: 17 Days
Best Season: April-May, October-November
Trek Grade: Moderate
On clear days, you can even see Everest! We trek through Western Sikkim – where the hills are more rugged, the lakes more expansive and the monasteries more fascinating!. The people are probably among the most friendly and peaceful in the world – the state once made the Guiness book of World Records for going 10 years without a single criminal case! This proud state is home to some of the most inspiring scenery in the world. If you are looking for an exotic adventure deep into the highest Himalayas – look no further.
Day 01: Delhi
You are met at the airport in Delhi and transferred to your hotel. The day includes a sightseeing tour of Sir Edward Lutyens' New Delhi, the garden city built in 1911 by the British. We also visit the Birla Mandir (Lakshminarayan Temple), the President's House, Humayun's Tomb (the forerunner of the Taj Mahal), and India Gate.
Day 02: Darjeeling
We being our journey by flying to Bagdogra where we continue by road. We journey through tea estates and lush green fields to Darjeeling. Although famous for its tea, Darjeeling is also known for its cool climate and majestic mountain views. Originally part of the kingdom of Sikkim, Darjeeling became so popular with the British that the King was forced to cede the area to colonial India. While in Darjeeling we take a trip out to Tiger Hill, the best spot for views of Kanchenjunga, at 8586 m, the world's third highest mountain and India's tallest. We take in the fantastic sunrise and on our return visit Ghoom Monastery and take a ride in the famous toy train. We also visit a working tea estate. Darjeeling was the home of the late Tenzing Norgay and has housed the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, where he trained a generation of mountaineers, since 1954. We visit the institute where we can see some of the relics from the first conquest of Mt. Everest by Hillary and Norgay.
Day 03: Yuksom
After breakfast we depart by jeep for Yuksom (1780 m)-- the old capital of Sikkim. It was here that the first king was consecrated in 1642 A.D. It also has the oldest existing monastery, Dhubi, built during 1700 A.D. We set up camp here for the night.
Day 04–13: Rathong Valley Trek
We are woken up with bed tea or coffee and after breakfast begin the first leg of our trek to Bakhmi (3025m) traversing the dense oak and pine forest high above the Rathong River. Bakhim is a small village occupied by a family of Lepcha farmers. Here we set up camp and enjoy the wonderful views down the Rathong river gorge to our starting point at Yuksom. After breakfast we continue up through meadows, rhododendron and magnolia trees to the village of Tsoka where we camp for the night. From Tsoka we continue to Pethong (3650m). The area is often abloom with the hundreds of flower species native to this region. From here it is a short ascent to Dzongri (4030 m), a grazing area for herdsman to bring their yaks. We take the afternoon to relax and explore the area where we camp overnight. The next morning we climb up the nearby Dzongri peak about 300 metres above the camp. From here we have fantastic views of Kanchenjunga, Mt. Pandim and Mt. Kabri. We climb back down and continue on the day's trek to Thangsing (3800m) also affording us great views as far north as the Guicha La, before we begin our descent through forests of Rhododendrum to the Prek River where we camp. The next morning we trek to Samiti Lake (4200 m) – a high altitude fresh water lake surrounded by Himalayan peaks. The lake is considered sacred and we camp along its banks. Keeping our base camp at the lake we make a day excursion to Gochala (5000m). From this high pass we can see the lofty and majestic Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Kabru and Kabru Dome. The next morning we begin our return journey trekking back to Thangsing where we camp one night followed by Tsoka and Yuksom. Our last day in Yuksom gives us plenty of time to visit the Dhubi monastery and the surrounding area.
Day 14-15: Gangtok
In the morning we are picked up by jeep for our onward journey to Gangtok. On the way we stop at Pemayangtse (2085m) home of one of the most important monasteries in Sikkim. We visit the monastery and then proceed to Gangtok where we will be staying in a hotel. In Gangtok, we visit the Institute of Tibetan Studies, the Orchid Sanctuary, Do Drul Monastery and the Handicraft Center.
Day 16-17: Delhi
We make our way back down to Bagdogra by road where we fly back to Delhi. This time we visit Old Delhi, the ancient city built by Emperor Shah Jahan the builder of the famous Taj Mahal. We visit the Red Fort, and then take a rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of old Delhi to the Jama Masjid – the largest mosque in India. Finally we visit the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi (Raj Ghat). Last but not least on our itinerary is a day trip to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra. We travel to Agra by Shatabdi express train. In Agra we see the Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world, as well as the magnificent Red Fort. The Taj Mahal was built in 1652 by Emperor Shah Jahan. It took 22 years and 20,000 skilled artisans to complete. The Agra Fort lies across the river Jamuna. It was here that Aurangzeb, the third son of Shah Jahan, kept his father under house arrest. One can get a fantastic view of the Taj from the little octagonal tower in the Fort.
Day 18: Delhi
The tour ends today with breakfast and transfer to the airport for your international departure.