- Janet Samber
Calgary, Alberta, Canada Jan 1970Janet’s Sikkim Tour ( 3 – 22 Feb, 2018) ( Janet’s Sikkim Tour ( 3 – 22 Feb, 2018))5 " " I first discovered Wind Horse Travel when I booked a Bhutan trip. A companion and I planned a trip that took us from one end of the country to the other, over challenging but very beautiful topography, literally, in some places, to the very end of the road. We were
Janet’s Sikkim Tour ( 3 – 22 Feb, 2018) I first discovered Wind Horse Travel when I booked a Bhutan trip. A companion and I planned a trip that×
I first discovered Wind Horse Travel when I booked a Bhutan trip. A companion and I planned a trip that took us from one end of the country to the other, over challenging but very beautiful topography, literally, in some places, to the very end of the road. We were impressed by the way our interests were accommodated, and, despite the remote areas visited, how very easily the trip went. This being the case, when I was planning a trip to Sikkim and Assam in November 2017, and saw that Wind Horse organized treks in Sikkim; I immediately contacted them to see if they were interested in planning. a trip for a single little old lady traveller whose days of advanced trekking were long over, but who still retained a strong interest in adventure travel, in venturing to places less visited, and in exploring the arts and culture of the people who live there. Wind Horse was up to the challenge, creating an itinerary full of diverse experiences that exactly fit my interests. It was an amazing trip through the tribal areas of the Kashi Hills in Megalaya, the festival on Majuli Island, and the tribal areas of the Garo Hills and the Festival of One Hundred Drums in Meghalaya, then on to Sikkim. It was the experience of a lifetime, as, thanks to my guide, Anand I was able to talk to people from all walks of life, getting an understanding of the cultures and peoples that make up these fascinating areas of India.
It was such an exciting and stimulating trip that I returned 2 months later to explore the rest of Sikkim. I have just returned from 3 weeks spent in Sikkim this February 2018, and am still excited about the wonderful experiences that I had exploring the farthest regions of this fascinating state. These 3 trips that I have taken with wind Horse were exceptional, as they were exactly tailored to my interests. I find Wind Horse an excellent company, one which listens to their clients' needs, and then goes way beyond expectation to ensure that the client is satisfied. As a Canadian, I also appreciated the 1-800 number that serves all of North America. When planning a trip, it is so much better to be able to talk to a company representative, one who listens carefully and is able to answer your questions and offer suggestions.
Religious monuments, historical buildings, breathtaking mountain views, tranquil lakes and waterfalls, heritage train ride, lush green forests and tea gardens.
In Sikkim & Darjeeling, Mt Kanchenjunga loom ahead as a permanent fixture in the sky, it’s an intersection of divinity, history and living off the land. Under its watchful eyes, over the time, many cultures and legacies thrived – A progression that started with being settlers’ carving out lives as shepherds and farmers to the vibrant present day contemporary culture. This special edition trip examines closely history of this progression enveloping in its fold-varied aspects such as assorted living culture and tradition, natural landscapes, remnant of historical legacies in visible form such as monasteries, UNESCO Toy train, quaint and medieval Churches and some modern days attractions and sights too.
It commences from Gangtok – a youthful capital, it’s marked with some young as well as archaic sights and attractions that resonate with saga of old days charms and present. And also excursion to highly revered Tsomgo Lake. After that the trip pursue the road to the west – Pelling is epicenter of Sikkim’s historical events. After that the focus shifts readily to the hill town of Darjeeling – there is more to Darjeeling than synonymous Darjeeling Tea and UNESCO toy Train. It is laced with some beautiful monasteries, Colonial Architectures and also some interesting contemporary attractions.
Day 1: Bagdogra-Gangtok:-(1700m/ 125 kms/ 4-6hrs).
Upon arrival at Bagdogra airport or NJP station meet our representative and transfer to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. The traffic can be chaotic in airport and Siliguri town area. Once away, the drive gets scenic with thick vegetation and roadside villages. The road is carved out of hills with sinuous curve and follow river Teesta upstream till Rangpo town- it also houses immigration checkpoint, after immigration formalities, we gradually climb up to Gangtok. Gangtok can easily give in as bustling contemporary capital with its visual facade but upon closer look, traditional and cultural value still runs deep underneath. Upon arrival, its likely that there will be time only for some leisurely walk in the iconic MG Marg pedestrian boulevard and the nearby Lal Bazar. MG Marg Street is what to Bond Street in London to English. It’s lined up both sides with upscale and elegant stores. Benches under neon lit lamppost offer a leisurely watch as the finely dressed people passes by. Lal Bazar building is the landmark in Gangtok. Among its varied stores and establishments, vegetable market stands out with fresh supplies of edibles to meet daily needs. People from all walks of life throng the market making it very vibrant. Overnight in Gangtok.
Day 2: In Gangtok:
After breakfast, there is an option where we can use some walk to visit some nearby attraction like Flower Exhibition Centre – it displays wide array of Himalayan Orchids and other plants – a botanist’s delights. It’s around 20 minutes uphill walk from hotel or we can visit later via drive. Afterwards drive uphill on the crest to visit Enchey monastery – affiliated to Nyingmapa order of Himalayan Buddhism. If one gets opportunity to be part of prayer or rituals reverberating with sound of bell, cymbal, horn, it can be spiritually uplifting if one can meditate or sit silently for a while. On the way down to the town area, midway visit some Hindu Shrines such as Hanuman and Ganesh Tok. Also we will stop briefly at Tashi View Point for astounding views below. In the vicinity of main town, we will visit Directorate of Handicraft and Handloom – it houses workshops for carpet weaving, Backstrap loom, Bamboo craft, Painting school followed by a museum and handicraft sale emporium. Post lunch, visit Namgyal Institute of Tibetology – a treasure trove for finest Tibetan works, religious iconography and religious art. A few minutes walk takes you to Do Drul Chorten – a massive Stupa that sits amidst 108 prayer wheels. It belongs to Nyingmapa tradition. Free evening – one can rest or relax or opt for souvenir shopping . Overnight in Gangtok.
Day 3: Excursion to Tsomgo Lake: (40kms/2 hrs)
After breakfast we drive along the Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary with Rhododendron and other alpine trees to Tsomgo lake. Tsomgo lake is situated at the height of 3753mts. The lake surface reflects different colours with change of seasons and is greatly revered by the Sikkimese people. This lake is generally covered in snow for most of the year and is a habitat for the red pandas and numerous rare species of migratory birds. After the visit we retrace our drive back to Gangtok. Overnight in Gangtok.
Day 4: Gangtok -Pelling: (2150m/ 113 km/5-6hrs)
Given is the standard driving duration however it may take additional time considering the bad road conditions due to road expansion works currently. Today is relatively long drive. Along the way we will make a brief stops to stretch our legs and also to visit roadside village and interaction with locales but first, in the morning, we will visit the famed Rumtek Monastery, sitting loftily on the opposite ridge of Gangtok. It’s the main seat of Karma Kagyu linage in exile. The monastery is the largest in Sikkim, and a replica of Karmapa’s monastery in Tsurphu, Tibet. If you wish, you can take a short walk above the monastery through thick conifer trees and colorful prayer flags to a small ground where you can watch young monks playing football most likely. Upon arrival, check into hotel and if time permit, take a leisurely stroll around. Overnight in Pelling.
Day 5: In Pelling:
Pelling is a quiet village in West Sikkim immersed in rich historical heritage in term of Sikkim’s monarchy legacies. And also home to historically important and sacred Pemayantshe monastery, Khechoepalri lake and Rabdentsey. Also this region is wettest in Sikkim, which has contributed to formation of many waterfalls. Full day will be devoted to visit these sites and attractions. Begin with Rimbi Falls, Rock Garden, Khechoepalri Lake, and Kanchenjunga Falls, Sewaro Rock etc. Later in the afternoon, we will do 2 short hikes to visit Sangacholing and Pemayantshe monastery. From the hotel, its approx. 3 km to Sangacholing Monastery located at wooded hills and takes around 1 hour. Another one-hour hike from hotel enables to visit historical Pemayangtse Monastery (2085 m) it belongs to Nyingmapa order of Vajrayana Buddhism followed by a visit to Rabdetshe ruins. Overnight in Pelling.
Day 6: Pelling – Darjeeling. (2042m/72kms/5-6 hrs)
Today’s drive to Darjeeling encloses some rough section of road due to road expansion work. However, once we cross Sikkim and climb uphill towards Darjeeling, the drive gets scenic with lush green vegetation, tea gardens and interesting roadside villages. Upon arrival in Darjeeling, a leisurely walk in pedestrian Chowrastra mall and vibrant market nearby can be a perfect antidote for physical stiffness arising out of drive. Overnight in Darjeeling.
Day 7: In Darjeeling:
Darjeeling is a vibrant hill station in Indian state of West Bengal retaining to a larger degree conspicuous colonial flavor in terms of visual sights of quaint churches, UNESCO Heritage Toy Train, Tea drinking culture etc. Also there is blend of some contemporary thriving culture making it not to miss destination.
Though optional but worthy, provided clear weather but more often, weather plays spoilsport for predawn activities of beautiful sunrise view from Tiger hills. Also, if an avid hiker, one can choose for hike from Chowrastra to Ghoom via Alubari traversing small villages, magnificent views over paved roads for 3 hours.
In standard way, the activities unfold in following ways: After breakfast, we begin sightseeing mostly on foot. Visit Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, one of the premier mountaineering institutes in the world, whose first field director was Tenzin Norgay Sherpa. Among others, watch elusive and shy Red Panda in Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park. Snow Leopard Breeding Centre, houses highly elusive cat that prowl on the Himalayan highlands. Not so far, on a walking distance is Tibetan Self-help centre, it’s emporium boast of highest quality Tibetan handicrafts. World famous tea is synonymous with Darjeeling so we will visit a tea estate that produces one, on the way back. In the afternoon, 5 km drive from town take you to beautiful Dali monastery – affiliated to Kagyupa sect of Vajrayana Buddhism. After the visit we have free time to explore around. Option available to take a joy ride on a toy train . Overnight in Darjeeling.
Day 8: Departure:
After breakfast, transfer to the airport/railway station for your onward journey. We will keep enough time at our disposal to counter notoriously chaotic traffic in Darjeeling and Airport area.
Group Sizeprivate tour with your own group
Trip AccommodationBest available 3 and 4 star hotels.
Trip Typecultural and walking tour
Trip SeasonsAll the year round, best from March to May and from Sept. to November.
Best MonthsFebruary, March, April, October, November
Good MonthsMay, September
Lean MonthsJanuary, June, July, August, December
Prices & Dates
Cost will be provided on request.
• Accommodation in listed or similar hotels.
• Meals as per the meal plan.
• All land transfers and transportation by exclusive good quality vehicle.
• Bottled mineral water in drive.
• All sightseeing and entrance fee.
• Experienced English speaking tour guide.
• Indian Visa.
• International or domestic flight fare.
• Personal expenses such as bar/beverages in the hotels, optional tips/gratuities to staffs, laundry, gifts etc.
• Any additional cost of forced upon by changing itinerary due to your health/medical, political situation,
or inclement weather.
• Medical travel insurance.
• Anything not included in the included section.
Hotels in Darjeeling
Hotels in Gangtok
Hotels in Pelling
Anand Thapa who hail from Jaigoan – one horse town that border with south west commercial hub, Phuentsholing, Bhutan. He had his schooling in Bhutan. Later he went to Darjeeling to pursue further education. With the lush green tea garden, colonial churches and looming Mt Kanchenjunga captured his imagination, this is how travelling struck him deep.
After his studies, he went to Kathmandu and to different cities in India, making a living doing odds jobs. Finally, he joined Wind Horse tours overlooking the affairs of guests relations, marketing in 2013. Meeting and interaction with guests from different walk of life have fuelled his passion to a new height and claims to be a huge influence as a learning experience.
Nima Dhondup Bhutia is the senior most guide for Darjeeling, Sikkim and Doars Tour. From past political turmoil to changing tourism scenario in the region, he has seen it all from close quarter. His career as guide started from 1980, and going great gun still. His experience along with amicable nature and soft-spokenness brings forth a subtle difference in every tour that he conducts.
He was born and brought up in Tibetan Self-help camp in Darjeeling, when it was still quaint and serene towns unlike now. He still remember fondly the days of yore and growing changes that the time dictates. He graduated from one of prestigious school – Mt Hermon school in 1977. You will still find vestige of old school of English in his accent.
Reviews / Testimonials
- Janet Samber
Calgary, Alberta, Canada Jan 1970
Janet’s Sikkim Tour ( 3 – 22 Feb, 2018) I first discovered Wind Horse Travel when I booked a Bhutan trip. A companion and I planned a trip that