S/11: 15 days Town & Country Experience in Sikkim, Kalimpong & Samthar

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TOUR DETAILS

Featuring : Kalimpong-Samthar- Rinchenpong- Pelling-Turuk- Temi- Gangtok and Tsangmo Lake-Sikkim, and the adjoining mountains of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, together forms a homogenous mountain mass.

This region has the most magnificent range of snow clad mountains in the world, which rise to a maximum elevation of 8859 Meters. In this small area of less than 10000 sq. kms, there is an unbelievable richness of culture, customs heritage, flora and fauna.

On this tour you will see everything that the region offers- Magnificent snow clad mountains, forests teeming with bio diverse flora, river valleys, alpine lakes, , terraced cultivation, tea gardens, rural hamlets, Buddhist monasteries, exotic bazaars and a fascinating blend of beautiful ethnic people. You have a opportunity to explore the varied cuisine, peep into Himalayan lifestyles, walk and explore the countryside, meet people in their homes and fields, and make friends.

We offer memorable experiences, with plenty of photo opportunities.

ITENERIES

Day 01: Arrive Bagdogra and drive to Kalimpong

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Fly in to Bagdogra airport from Delhi, Kolkata, Paro, or Guwahati
Met by car with driver.
Drive to Kalimpong. Check in at Gurudongma house.

Day 02: Kalimpong local tour

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Explore Kalimpong with guide. Driving cum walking tour. Colonial buildings, budhist Monasteries, Orchid and cactus nurseries, hindu temples, hand made paper factory, view points and atmospheric bazaar.

Additional activities offered: para gliding, and river rafting
Car with drtiver + guide provided
Overnight Gurudongma House.

Day 03: Kalimpong – Lava – Lolegaon – Samthar

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Drive cum trek to the remote village of Samthar through virgin forests. Enroute visit Lava Buddhist Monastery. Two short guided treks.( 2-3 hrs each). Biodiverse flora, isolated hamlets, terraced cultivation, mountain streams, and more.Not interested in trekking? You can drive all the way in 3.30 hrs. Overnight at Samthar Farm House. Scenic and remote,The Samthar valley at an elevation of 1500 Meters, is an “off beat” location.It is inhabited by a blend of various ethnic groups-Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepali. It is an ideal place to peep into lifestyles of this fascinating hill community. It also has diverse flora, well-developed mountain agriculture, forests, and river valleys, and offers breathtaking views of the Panorama of snows.

The Samthar Farmhouse is an old Lepcha house built of stone and timber, converted for comfortable living, whilst maintaining its ambience. It has a lovely nature garden with scenic views.

Day 04: Samthar : Nature & Culture Walk

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Get up early for breathtaking sunrise views. After breakfast, take a easy guided Village exploration walk, (02 hrs) visiting Nepali and Lepcha homes peopled by Buddhist, Hindu and Christian folks. Visit the Awake & Shine School – a Charitable model rural school, which is bringing quality education to this valley.

Day 05: Samthar: Full day Nature & Culture trek

Option 1

Trek down to Khola Gari hamlet. Explore the lower Samthar Valley and have lunch in as local house. Trek back to Samthar Farm House for overnight.

Option 2

Trek to Hungay Dara hamlet through forests and return to Samthar Farm House via Samthar Ridge.

Option 3

Trek to Yang Lecha Gompa through forests, terraced cultivation, visiting ethnic homesteads.

Option 4

Mountain biking to Ponbu and back along easy road with spectacular views of snows and plains.

Option 5

A day of leisure. Village market day is Wednesday. Option of cooking lessons, chang beer making, straw mat making, basket making
Overnight at Samthar Farm House.

Day 06: Teesta valley trek and drive to Rinchenpong (West Sikkim)

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Trek for 04 hrs down to Teesta Valley Dam with guide and one porter per head. Transfer by car with driver to Rinchenpong, in West Sikkim. Enroute complete border documentation at Malli Check Post. ( For Foreign nationals)

FOREIGN PASSPORT HOLDERS: Sikkim is restricted entry area, requiring a permit. Foreign Tourist can get the permit at the entry check post at Malli. Passports with valid India visa and 3 copies of passport sized photos are required

Upon arrival check in at the atmospheric Yangsum Farm for overnight.

Day 07: Rinchenpong ( West Sikkim)

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Walking exploration of Sikkimese village with guide. visiting Rinchenpong Monastery established in 1730. It is the 3rd oldest monastery in Sikkim, The monastery houses a rare Ati Buddha statue is said to be the true Buddha, symbolically represented as a naked Buddha in blue. In the Yab-Yum position, the Buddha is shown meditating while embracing a woman. In Buddhism it signifies the power of union of the male and female. Latter visit Lepcha village.

Overnight at Yangsum Farm.

Day 08: Rinchenpong: Day trip to Rhododendron Sanctuary

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Day Drive cum trek to Vershay Rhododendron Sanctuary with guide (Bloom from 15 March to 07 Apr approx).

Alternative: Walking exploration of countryside with guide,
Overnight at Yangsum Farm.

Day 09: Rinchenpong- Pamayangtse- Pelling

  

Transfer by car with driver to Pamayangtse.
Visit Pamayangtse Monastery and Rabantse ruins.

Overnight at hotel/home stay at Pamayangtse/Pelling/ Gayshaling/ or Dara Gaon.

Day 10: Pamayangtse– Turuk, 1400 m via Rabang la and Samduptse

    

Wake up early see the sunrise on the great peaks of the Khangchendzonga group. Later drive 50 Kms in 02 hrs to Kewzing, located amidst pristine forests at elevation of 1700 m. Take a easy nature trek to Doling Monastery, along a lovely forest trail Thereafter drive to Samduptse; famous for the largest statue of Guru Padmasambhava in the world, and the Namchi Rock Garden. Continue for one hour to reach Turuk , a small village at an altitude of 1400 m. Check in at the atmospheric Heritage house. for overnight.

Day 11: Turuk Exploration

    

A day to relax and take quite walks to visit local homesteads, wonder at the diverse flora, learn some sikkimese recipes from your hostess and take a walk along the razor sharp edge of humongous cliff called Taray Bhir – with panoramic views Overnight at Turuk heritage house.

Day 12: Turuk- Temi- Gangtok

Drive to Gangtok via temi Tea Estate Visit the Tea Garden and factory. This is the only tea garden in Sikkim growing and manufacturing Darjeeling Tea.Upon arrival at Gangtok , check in at your hotel.

In the evening take a stroll through the exotic bazar. Overnight at hotel.

Day 13: Gangtok Sightseeing tour: Monasteries , gardens and handicrafts

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Early morning visit the Tashi view point; which offers clear views of Mt Khangchendzonga, Return to hotel for breakfast
After breakfast visit :-

The Govt. Institute of Cottage Industry which is keeping the local handicrafts alive. Here you see skilled teachers and trainees working at various handicrafts. There is also a sales outlet, where you can buy handicrafts at reasonable prices.

The Enchay Monastery, – located on a hilltop above Gangtok, this monastery rebuilt in 1910 belongs to the Nyingmapa order and was once the hermitage site of Lama Drupthob Karpo renowned for his ability to fly.The Research Institute of Tibetology -, with its large collection of Buddhist, icons, religious paintings and literature ,
The Do-Drul Chorten. :was built to commemorate the victory of good over evil.
The Rumtek Monastery. (For foreigb passport holders: Passports are checked at the monastery entrance.)

Afternoon and Evening is free to explore Gangtok on your own. Some of the options are :-

Flowers and flora You may like to visit the International Flower show, The show features exotic varieties of local flowers, orchids and other plants of Sikkim. Sikkim has about 600 species of orchids, 240 species of trees and ferns, 150 varieties of gladioli, and 46 types of Rhododendrons, along with a variety of magnolias and many other foliage plants. The flora displayed mainly comprises of climbers, alpine plants, cacti, herbs orchids, creepers, gladioli, ferns, roses, etc.
Botanical gardens, and Samsara Gardens Also known as Ipecac Garden is located 14 Kms from Gangtok enroute to Rumtek Monastery. It preserves several Orchids as well as tropical and temperate plants and other blooms.

Shopping: Gangtok is the only hill town in India, which converts its main street into a walking promenade, with fountains, lights and flowers. MG (Mahatma Gandhi) road is the best place to spend your evening at Gangtok. Tuesday is a closed day Enjoy shopping and strolling along the main street, with its enchanting bazar.

Cable car rides: The Gangtok ropeway is about 1 km long. It has three entry points or stops. The lowest point is at Deorali market and the highest point is at Tashiling ( below the state secretariat ). There is a mid point stop at Nam-Nang. One can enter from any point and return to the same point after touching other two points. Cable car journey provides spectacular view of Gangtok town and surroundings on its 15 to 20 minutes journey.

Day 14: Day trips from Gangtok

sikkim-&-Darjeeling-103Option 1: Kyangnosla Alpine Sanctuary and Tsongmo Lake, 3900m

Depart after early breakfast.at 0700 hrs. Drive to Tsongmo Lake, through the KyangnosLa Alpine Sanctuary. It is a 70 Kms round trip taking 04 hrs of driving. The road, which is the old trade route to Tibet, winds, up the cliff like mountain. It is cut through sheer rock faces, with awe inspiring sheer drops to narrow valleys below. Look at the vegetation changing from subtropical to Alpine, as passing through the Kyangnosla Pass, we finally arrive at this sacred lake. We will spend about one hour here. Yak rides are available at extra cost.

Indian National;s can go also up to the Tibet border and visit Natula Pass and Baba Mandir Prior intimation for permits is required.

Return to Gangtok, for overnight at your hotel

Special permits are required.

For Indian Nationals permit requires proof of identity and photographs
For foreign nationals, we will need photocopies of passport and visa Plus 3 coloured passport photos.

Warning: Because of high altitude and sudden ascent, you will need suitable parkas, heavy socks, and balaclava caps. Avoid exerting, such as fast walking and shouting. Those suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and other respiratory problems, are advised to avoid this trip. In case of severe headache, Nausea or vomiting, return immediately to lower altitude.

Option 2: White water rafting in the Teesta River 

The River Teesta , offers the exhilaration of white water rafting. The river offers some fine Grade III rapids and one Grade IV rapid. Sandy beaches line the river at intervals allowing river rafters to pull up alongside. The slopes on either side are covered with evergreen forest, occasional villages with their terraced cultivation are part of the landscape. It is one hrs drive to the Rafting site. About 6 hrs are required to do a half day trip with 02 hrs of rafting.

Option 3: Day trip to Phodong and Labrang monasteries.

Drive to Phodong and Labrang to visit monasteries. Return to Gangtok in the evenings for overnight at your hotel.

Option 4: Explore Gangtok and surroundings on your own.

Car with driver and guide will be provided. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 15: Gangtok- Bagdogra

Transfer Gangtok to Bagdogra in car with driver. TOUR ENDS.

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