This is a culture and sightseeing tour of Darjeeling, Gangtok, combined with two days of short and easy trek in Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary (also spelled as Varsey ), which lies in the southwest corner of the West Sikkim. We also visit and stop in Pelling in West Sikkim for great views of mighty Kanchendzonga and in the small hill town village of Ravangla. For Rhododendron flowers, it is best in March & April but great varieties of flowers also bloom in the autumn and fall colors are spectacular. This is also a good trip for anyone with a slight interest in birds.
Day 1: Arrive in Bagdogra/Siliguri -NJP – Darjeeling
Upon arrival in Bagdogra/NJP meet our Guide and drive to Darjeeling. Stop along with the ways for photos or views. Upon arrival check into your hotel. In the evening stroll around Chowrasta Mall. Overnight in Darjeeling.
Day 2: Darjeeling local visit
After breakfast, visit Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, and the Tibetan Self-help center, its emporium boast of the highest quality Tibetan handicrafts. World-famous tea is synonymous with Darjeeling so we will visit a tea estate on the way back. In the afternoon visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda and the beautiful Dali monastery – affiliated to the Kagyupa sect. After the visit, we have free time to explore some local art galleries, visit some old churches, or to take a joy ride on a toy train till Ghoom.
Early morning (before dawn) drive to Tiger hill to observe the spectacular sunrise view over the Eastern Himalayas. On the way back stop at Ghoom and visit the Yiga Choeling monastery, the oldest monastery built in the year 1850 by Lama Sherap Gyatso. Overnight in Darjeeling.
Day 3: Darjeeling – Hilley – Varsey
We leave this morning for Varsey, driving through lush tea gardens of Darjeeling (stopping to see one of them at least), and then enter Sikkim. Upon arrival at the road-end in Hilley, we begin a leisurely 4km walk to Varsey through the aroma of blooming rhododendron flowers. Varsey lies on a massive ridge with a forest cover of silver fir, hemlock and magnolia, and rhododendrons. This protected forest is also excellent for birding.
Overnight in a simple Guesthouse.
Day 4: Varsey – Dentam – Pelling
After breakfast walk for about 10km(2-3hrs) along a well-trodden path to the village of Dentam(1500m) traversing through mixed forest with more rhododendrons. Bird sightings may likely include the Tragopan and Kalij pheasants, the Golden Robin, and Laughing Thrushes. The constant view of the snowy Khangchendzonga range in the backdrop adds further appeal to this hike. Meet your vehicle at Dentam and drive through picturesque rural scenes and villages to Pelling, which takes 2-3hrs. This evening you may visit Pemayangtse monastery or it may be done the next day
Overnight in Pelling.
Day 5: Pelling – Yuksom – Ravangla
After breakfast drive to Yuksom, en-route visiting Khecheopalri Lake also known as the wishing lake. This tranquil lake is surrounded by blooming forest and is considered as one of the sacred lakes of Sikkim both by the Buddhist and the Hindus. In Yuksom visit the Dubdi monastery and the Norbughang Chorten and the coronation site where the first Chogyal of Sikkim was consecrated. After lunch, continue our journey towards Ravangla, en route visit Tashiding monastery one of the oldest and holiest monasteries in Sikkim. This is where the annual ceremony of Bumchu is held on the 14th & 15th day of the first lunar month, during which the sacred holy water preserved in a pot is distributed among the pilgrims. If time permits visit Buddha Park or we can visit the next day before proceeding to Gangtok. Overnight in Ravangla.
Day 6: Ravangla -Gangtok
After breakfast drive to Gangtok, en-route visiting picturesque Temi Tea Estate which produced one of the finest Tea in India, later visit Rumtek monastery-Dharma chakra center and the seat of His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa head of Kagyupa order of Tibetan Buddhism. Before arriving at Rumtek, take a brief stop at the picturesque Martam village and enjoy the terraced paddy fields. After the visit to Rumtek monastery proceed to Gangtok. Overnight in Gangtok.
Day 7: In Gangtok
We begin the day’s excursion by driving to one of the highest points above the town for a bird’s eye view of the town and the snow-capped peaks. Then visit Enchey Monastery, flower exhibition and walk along the ridge towards the former Palace area for a general idea of the place. The other place, you may wish to visit is the Directorate of Handicrafts & Handloom, where you can see traditional handicrafts in the making. Later visit Institute of Tibetology, a treasure house of rare Lepcha, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts, statues and old thangkas, the Dodrul Chorten monastery and the Orchid Sanctuary. In the evening, you can take a self-guided walk along the MG Marg road and visit the Lal Bazaar. Overnight in Gangtok.
Day 8: Gangtok-Bagdogra-Departure (B)
Departure transfer to the airport in Bagdogra, NJP train station, or Siliguri (Approx 4hrs drive)
Tour Darjeeling, walk in Varsey or Barsey Sanctuary, visit Pelling and Ravangla followed by tour of Gangtok on this best of Sikkim Darjeeling Walking Tour in 8 days.
Starting from USD$ 640, request cost with your contact information. Cost is based on number of participants, date and hotels chosen etc.
- All meals (or you can also choose to include just breakfast and dinner)
- All transfer and ground transportation by good quality private vehicle depending on group size.
- All sightseeing with entrance fees of listed attractions.
- Local Wind Horse Tour Guide throughout the trip.
- Sikkim permit can be arranged at the entry point.
- Indian Visa.
- Personal expenses such as bar/beverages, laundry, gifts, tips, etc.