Sikkim, Darjeeling and the Tiger's Nest Monastery

Sikkim, Darjeeling and the Tiger's Nest Monastery 2540 , 11 Days

Let's discover the area of Sikkim and its capital Gangtok. Notable for its biodiversity and a land shaft combining alpine and subtropical climates, hosting Kanchenjunga - the highest peak in India and third highest on Earth. Combine this with Darjeeling. History fulfilled with kingdoms and temples, geography with forests, wildlife and stunning views and culture with its own spirit of colors and cuisine. We will visit the Tashichhoe Dzong a fortress of the glorious religion and the magnificent Kuensel Phodrang the tallest Buddha statue. And as we talk about sightseeing that should be missed - this is the story of Taktsang Ghoempa a combination between history, culture and spectacular views. A place that deserved the attention of the royal family of William and Kate. In the end, we will have a chance to explore the beauties of Kathmandu.

Highlights:
Gangtok - capital and largest city in the Indian state of Sikkim
♦ Kuensel Phodrang - the tallest Buddha statue
♦ 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

View Route Map

Itinerary:

Day 1. Bagdogra - Sikkim Gangtok

Arrival at Bagdogra International Airport and drive to Gangtok. Stopover at the border town of Rangpo to apply for ILP ( Inner Line Permit) Transfer to hotel and free time to visit MG Marg. Overnight at hotel.( 125 kms/ 4 hrs drive approx)

Day 2. Sikkim Gangtok 

After breakfast visit Rumtek Monastery, the seat of His Holiness the 17th Karma which is located 24 km from Gangtok. Later we will visit the Institute of Tibetology - the Museum holds an important collection of Mahayana Buddhist art in the form of thangkas (painted scrolls), statues, and ritual objects, in addition to rare Buddhist texts written in various languages and other antiques. The next visit is the Dodrul Chorten, Handicraft Centre and the Tsuklakhang ( Royal Chapel). Free time in the evening. Overnight at hotel.

Day 3. Sikkim Gangtok - Darjeeling

After an early breakfast drive to Darjeeling via Rangpo. Stopover at Lopchu Tea Garden for refreshments. We continue our drive to Darjeeling. Check-in at the hotel. After lunch, we will visit Yiga Choling Monastery also known as Ghoom Monastery, which is the oldest monastery in Darjeeling built by Mongolian lamas in the year 1850. Later visit the Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI). Evening free to walk around the Chowrasta Mall. Overnight at Hotel. (100 km/ 4 hrs approx)

Day 4. Darjeeling - Phuntsholing

Early breakfast. Then we will drive to Phuntsholing, Bhutan. After filing-in the necessary documents at the Indian immigration office for Indian visa exit, our Bhutanese representatives will meet you at the border and help you enter Bhutan. Transfer to hotel. Over night stay at Hotel.( 189 kms/ 6 hrs approx)

Day 5. Phuntsholing to Thimphu

After breakfast, we will drive to Thimphu, Bhutan. On arrival, we will check into the hotel and later visit the Craft Bazaar - a place to witness Bhutanese culture and buy hand-made art and craft products. The Bazaar in its 80 stalls covers all aspects of the traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. At this Bazaar craftsmen and artisans from across the country display and sell their handicrafts. We will visit also Tashichhoe Dzong - a fortress of the glorious religion. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and was reconstructed into the present structure by the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the years 1962-1969. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room, the office of the king, and the central monk body.Overnight at Thimphu. ( 160 km / 6 hrs drive )

Day 6. Thimphu sightseeing & Drive to Paro .

Today after breakfast we will drive to Paro. On the way, we will visit Kuensel Phodrang, the tallest Buddha statue and enjoy the full view of Thimphu Valley below. After that we will visit the Institute for Zorig Chusum - Commonly known as Arts & Crafts School or Painting School, the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. During the visit, one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school. The next stop is the Weekend Market - Many valley dwellers congregate on the banks of the river where the weekend market is held. It is an interesting place to visit and provides an opportunity to mingle with the local people. After lunch, we will continue our drive to Paro. Located on the other side of the river of the Thimphu - Paro highway, one needs to cross an iron chain suspension bridge to get to the Lhakhang. About 30 30-minute drive from Paro towards Thimphu City, Tamchog Lhakhang sits across the Paro River. The Lhakhang is approached by an iron chain suspension bridge. The Lhakhang and the bridge were constructed by a 13th-century Tibetan saint Thangthong Gyalpo. The Buddhist saint was also a blacksmith and an architect. Of the many iron chain bridges built, there are only a few left which are still used. Crossing this old bridge can be a thrilling experience for tourists. Some of the original iron chain links used to build this bridge can be found on display in the National Museum in Paro. The next stop is the Paro Airport Bird Eye View - Paro International Airport is the only international airport in Bhutan where you can teach Bhutan via air. It’s a small airport with a single runaway and no or very little international traffic. However, it’s considered one of the most dangerous airports for landing and also the most beautiful airport in terms of landscape and architecture. Hotel Check-in and later we will visit the national museum. In the evening stroll through the Paro town and visit local handicraft stores. Overnight at Paro

Day 7. A Day Hike to Taktsang Ghoempa (Tiger’s Nest Monastery)

After breakfast, hike up to Taktsang Monastery, also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The walk up to the viewpoint will take about 1 – 1 ½ hrs depending on your pace and from the viewpoint you will enjoy a spectacular view of the monastery clinging to the side of the cliff. You can stop for refreshments at the View Point Cafeteria. Then we will walk further up to the monastery which will take about 1 hour. It is said that in the 8th century Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress from eastern Bhutan to this place and meditated in a cave there for 3 months.The principal Lhakhang (monastery) of the present monastic complex dates from 1692. Taktsang was damaged severely by fire in 1998 but has now been fully restored to its former glory. After visiting the monastery, we will walk downhill to the viewpoint cafeteria for lunch. After that will walk further downhill to the road point and drive to the Drukgyel Dzong fortress. It is situated on a ridge in the upper Paro valley which is a 30-minute drive north of the Paro town. Drugyel Dzong also means “Fortress Of Victorious Drukpas” which was built in 1649 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. The Dzong had served as an important base for defense in the region until 1951 when it was destroyed by fire. The ruins of the Dzong continued to be protected as an important monument linking the people of Bhutan with the great events that contributed to maintaining the sovereignty of the country. Drukgyel Dzong was served solely for defensive purposes without administrative and religious functions, especially against external threats from the border. The existing ruins of the Dzong are comparatively well preserved. One can without much difficulty understand or distinguish features of the complex. Although most of the timber components of the Dzong such as roof truss, door and window frames, and floors and ceilings are almost absent, the major portion of stone and rammed earth wall structures are still standing. They provide visitors with an understanding of the ideas and practices for defence in the olden times. The reconstruction of the fortress began in April, 2016 after the command of His Majesty the King, to celebrate the birth of His Royal Highness The Gyalsey. The restoration work is estimated to be completed soon.Overnight at Paro

Day 8. Fly to Kathmandu and Kathmandu City Tour.

Upon arrival at Kathmandu airport, your guide will transfer you to the hotel for a quick refreshment. Then we will continue with a city tour. First, we will visit the Kathmandu Durbar Square and the local old market. Kathmandu Durbar Square is a historic public space and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the heart of Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. It is also known as Hanuman Dhoka Square and was the royal palace of the Malla and Shah kings of Nepal until the 19th century. The Durbar Square is surrounded by numerous temples and palaces, most of which were built between the 12th and 18th centuries. The architecture of the buildings reflects the Newari style, which is characterized by intricate wood carvings and exquisite stone and metalwork. Some of the notable attractions in Durbar Square include the Taleju Temple, the Kumari Ghar (House of the Living Goddess), and the Hanuman Dhoka Palace. The Kumari Ghar is particularly famous as it is the residence of the Kumari, a young girl who is worshipped as the living incarnation of the Hindu goddess Taleju. Apart from its historical and cultural significance, Kathmandu Durbar Square also serves as a popular gathering place for locals and tourists alike. It is a bustling hub of activity with street vendors, food stalls, and musicians creating a lively atmosphere. However, the square has also been damaged by earthquakes and is currently undergoing restoration work.

Day 09. Kathmandu City Tour: Swayambhunath Stupa, Boudhnath Stupa and Pashupatinath Temple.

Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple, is a Buddhist temple located in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is one of the oldest and most sacred Buddhist sites in Nepal and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stupa is believed to have been built in the 5th century AD and has undergone several renovations and additions over the centuries. It is situated on a hilltop in the Kathmandu Valley and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. The stupa is a dome-shaped structure that is adorned with prayer flags and features a pair of eyes on each of the four sides, which are said to represent the all-seeing eyes of Buddha. The site is home to a large population of monkeys, which are considered sacred and are an important part of the temple's ecosystem. Visitors to the temple can climb a long staircase to reach the stupa, and can also explore the surrounding area, which includes a variety of smaller temples and shrines. Boudhanath Stupa is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is one of the largest stupas (Buddhist shrines) in the world and a significant pilgrimage site for Buddhists. The stupa is also known as Khāsti Chaitya, Jyarung Khasyor, and Buddha-Jyarung. Boudhanath Stupa was built in the 14th century and is believed to have been built by the Licchavi dynasty, although some say it was built by Tibetan Buddhists. It is said that the stupa was built as a tribute to the Buddha, who is believed to have visited the site and predicted that a great religious centre would be built there.
Pashupatinath Temple is a famous Hindu temple located on the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is one of the most important and sacred temples in Nepal, dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is worshipped by the Hindu community as the Pashupati, the Lord of all animals. The temple complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is spread over a large area, comprising numerous temples, ashrams, and other religious structures. The main temple is a pagoda-style structure with a gilded roof and is adorned with intricate carvings and decorations.


Day 10. Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Today we will visit Patan Durbar Square - it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the city of Lalitpur, which is also known as Patan, in Nepal. It is one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley, along with Kathmandu Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The square is home to many ancient temples, palaces, courtyards, and statues that are fine examples of traditional Newari architecture. It was the royal palace of the Malla kings who ruled the Kathmandu Valley from the 12th to the 18th century. Some of the main attractions of Patan Durbar Square include the Krishna Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Krishna and is considered one of the most important temples in Patan. Another important temple is the Mahaboudha Temple, which is made entirely of terracotta bricks and has hundreds of Buddha images on its walls.
After that, we will visit the Bhaktapur Durbar Square - a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the city of Bhaktapur, which is part of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. The Durbar Square is a complex of temples, shrines, and palaces that were built during the Malla dynasty, which ruled Nepal from the 12th to the 18th century. The Durbar Square is known for its exquisite architecture, intricate wood carvings, and stunning sculptures. The most prominent structures in the square include the 55-Window Palace, the Golden Gate, the Taleju Temple, and the Nyatapola Temple.

Day 11. Departure.

After breakfast, transfer to the airport.

 


Price Includes:
10 nights on full board basis in good standard 3* hotels and restaurants
All transportation including airport transfers
Daily USD 100 per person / night Gov. Sustainable Development Fee for Bhutan
Entry fees according to program
English Speaking Local guide
Visa fee USD 40 for Bhutan
Flight Paro - Kathmandu

Not Included:
international fight
Nepal Visa: apply online- immigration.gov.np
India Visa: Apply online - indianvisaonline.gov.in
Insurance
Personal expenses
Cost for any services not mentioned in the program
Tips or any other services


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Sikkim, Darjeeling and the Tiger's Nest Monastery (Rated 4.66 / 5 Based on 44 Reviews.)
Price
2540 EUR
Duration
11 Days
Single Supplement
275 EUR
Status
Open for booking

Currency fluctuations might cause correction of price at any time.

No special experience is needed; everyone who is in condition to cope with long Saturday walks in the forest can also cope with these tours. As a rule, the trips are short and at a low altitude. Often, it is your choice to join or skip a day-tour. The routes follow a hilly terrain without steep ascents and descents. Normally we walk 3/5h a day.

No special experience is needed; everyone who is in condition to cope with long Saturday walks in the forest can also cope with these tours. As a rule, the trips are short and at a low altitude. Often, it is your choice to join or skip a day-tour. The routes follow a hilly terrain without steep ascents and descents. Normally we walk 3/5h a day.

Group Size
Min. 2 people
Reservation System Code
Sikkim
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