Bhutan, Sikkim & Darjeeling

This corner of the Eastern Himalaya has a great deal to offer. Bhutan is unique in its appeal, almost completely unaffected by Western influences, and one of the true homes of Tibetan Buddhism.

The country used to be one of the most isolated nations in the world, but developments including direct international flights, internet, mobile phone networks, and cable tv have increasingly opened the doors.
Sikkim is renowned for its flora and large number of Buddhist monasteries. Darjeeling, 2000 m above the plains of Bengal, is surrounded by tea plantations and is the archetypal hillstation; slightly faded, but still a lively centre for the different hill peoples. The view from Tiger Hill at sunrise is one of the most impressive in the Himalaya, with the great bulk of Kanchenjunga dominating the northern horizon.

Tour highlights:
Gangtok - capital and largest city in the Indian state of Sikkim
Punakha Dzong - considered as Bhutan's old capital
Paro Dzong - a massive fortress / monastery which is also the administrative center of dzonkhag.
♦ Taktsang Monastery - situated on a steep cliff in the Paro Valley.
 


Itinerary:

Day 1. Departure to Delhi and then flight to Bagdogra.

Day 2. Arrival Bagdogra - Darjeeling
Arrival in Bagdogra, where the local guide will meet us. We will ride a bus through tea plantations and dense jungle. The road ends in Darjeeling, a town that sits on a ridge facing the Himalayan peaks, at some 2300 m. above sea level.

Day 3. Darjeeling 
Early morning excursion to Tiger Hill to view the sunrise over the Himalayan Mountains. Later on we will visit the Yigacholing Ghoom Monastery, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, the Zoological Park, the Panda Breeding Center and the nearest tea garden. In the afternoon there will be a Toy Train joy ride on the Batasia Loop. This miniature train, an engineering feat of the 19th century, is part of the narrow gauge Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) system, and has been operating daily since 1881. The afternoon and early evening will be at leisure.

Day 4.
Top of the Teesta - Rangit rivers
Today we will travel up to 7 hours on top of the Teesta and Rangit rivers, passing through tea gardens, terraced farms and lush sub tropical vegetation to Pelling in West Sikkim. In the interesting area around Pelling we will visit the famous Pemayangtse Monastery, located on a hill top at an altitude of 2131 m. we will make also a short trek to the Sangacholing Monastery, and to the ruins of Rabdentse palace.

Day 5.
Gangtok
Early in the morning we will start today’s 7-hour tour through the famous golden rice and cardamom fields of Sikkim to Gangtok (1,870 m), is the fairytale capital of the province. Late afternoon and evening will be at leisure, for walking around the town, visit the Lal Bazaar, and may be do some souvenir shopping.

Day 6.
Sightseeing in Gangtok
The sightseeing tour of Gangtok, planned for today, includes the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Directorate of Handicraft, Enchey Monastery, Du Drul Chorten, Tashi View point which offers the beautiful views of the Himalayas, flower show. The evening is at leisure.

Day 7.
Kalimpong - Phuentsholing
We will drive from Kalimpong to Phuentsholing, just across the India-Bhutan border. The distance of 180 km requires a 7-hour drive.

Day 8. Thimphu
Today there will be only driving to the capital Thimphu where we will witness a lot of changes in vegetation and climate from tropical to sub-tropical to Alpine forests. We will come across one of the biggest hydroelectric plants in Bhutan, the Tala Hydro Project. We will have to pass through a lot of check-points for vehicles and people.

Day 9.
Sightseeing in Thimphu
Our sightseeing in Thimphu today will include the Arts and Crafts school, Traditional Medicine Institute and the Memorial Chorten built in 1974. We will observe traditional paper making and visit the mini zoo sanctuary where one can see the Takin, the National Animal of Bhutan.

Day 10.
Punakha - Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten
Drive to Punakha via Dochula-Pass 3150 m above the sea level. Lunch at Punakha and sightseeing including a visit to the exquisite Punakha Dzong, considered the old capital of Bhutan. After that we will make a mini hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten to witness the winding view of Mo-Chu River below with the villages and the snow capped mountains to the north.

Day 11.
Paro
Drive to Paro will follow same route back till the confluence Wangchuk River from Thimphu and Pa-Chu River from Paro. Paro is located in a flat valley awash with rice fields that lie above a narrow gorge. In the afternoon we will visit the National museum of Bhutan, Paro Dzong (fortress). All Dzongs are built in harmony with the land that they protect and often raise directly out of the ridges they were built upon. After that we will walk over the cantilever bridge that it will take us down to Paro town to have leisure at shops.

Day 12.
Taktsang Monastery
After an early breakfast we will make a day hike to Taktsang Monastery, which clings to vertical granite cliff 800 m above the valley floor. Other possible excursions include visiting the Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1649 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to defend Bhutan from aggression from the Tibetans. Another option includes a visit to Kichu Lhakhang monastery, built in 7th century, located just outside of Paro and one of the country’s oldest and most sacred places.

Day 13.
Departure
Departure to Delhi/Kolkata. 
 
Luggage transportation: ►included 

Included in the price: ► 
11 nights on full board basis in good standard hotels ► arrival and departure transfers from/to the airports ► local English speaking guides ► all transports according to program ► entry fees according to program

Not included:
► Meals in Delhi ► tips ► travel insurance ► visas  ► flight tickets Delhi - Bagdogra and Paro - Delhi

Other expences:   Single Supplement: 340 EUR

We recommend trip in the period:   Febr-Apr  ► Oct-Nov.

 


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Bhutan, Sikkim & Darjeeling (Rated 4.89 / 5 Based on 265 Reviews.)

Most of you, who are used to walking/cycling during a long weekend, will be in condition to cope with a tour of this level. You should be in a good health condition. We have successive days of longer and more difficult walking and days of lighter walking/cycling. Some parts of the day routes are done at a higher altitude. The paths are in good condition. We walk/cycle for 5/7h a day.

Group Size
minimum 4 pers.
Reservation System Code
BHUINDRUND
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