Sikkim, a former Himalayan kingdom, now a state in India, is richly endowed with a prominently Buddhist culture dating back to the 7th century AD. It’s unique location in the Himalayas and elevation ranging from 1970 ft / 600 mtrs. to over 26250 ft/ 8000 mtrs spread over an area of 7000 sq. km. offers diverse flora and fauna ranging from sub-tropical to the alpine.
Mt Khangchendzonga (8345 mtrs.), the third highest mountain in the world and the guardian deity of Sikkim looms majestically throughout the trip. Darjeeling-“The Queen of the Himalayas” is a bustling tourist town renowned for its tea gardens, the Himalayan mountaineering Institute, the sunrise over the Himalayas from the Tiger Hill and imprints of the British Raj.
Day 01 Phuntsoling, Bhutan – Darjeeling (6915 ft / 2134 m). 52 miles/ 85 KM
Upon arrival in Phuntsoling, the border between Bhutan and Sikkim, you will me met and transferred to Darjeeling. the Queen of the hills.
Day 02 Tour Darjeeling
After breakfast, a unique train ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway – “Toy Train” to Ghoom and back. The DHR established by the British in 1881, an outstanding engineering feat of the era, is now a UNESCO world heritage site.
Visit The Himalayan Zoo which houses the Himalayan fauna like the Red Panda, black bear, yaks, tigers, snow leopard etc. in their natural habitat, and the adjacent Himalayan Mountaineering Institute - a premier training centre for mountaineers and a museum detailing the ascent of the Mt. Everest by Tenzing Sherpa & Sir Edmund Hillary and numerous other expeditions.
Also visit Tibetan Self Help Centre, a centre of training young people in the intricate art of Tibetan handicrafts and handlooms. The sales emporium is open to visitors to pick up souvenirs.
Day 03 Darjeeling – Rumtek - Gangtok (5248 ft/ 1600 mtrs.)
Early morning drive to Tiger Hill to for a singular experience of the first rays of the sun bathing the Himalayas. On the return visit the Ghoom Monastery. Built in 1875 the monastery which follows the Gelugpa sect, houses one of the largest statue of the Maitreya Buddha-“the future Buddha”.
After breakfast drive to Rumtek, Sikkim, to visit the Rumtek Monastery, a magnificent Buddhist monastery established by the late Gyalwa Karmapa, the head of the Kagyupa sect. Built as an exact replica of the original Kagyu monastery in Tibet it is also the international headquarters of the Karma Kagyu centres.
Continue to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.
Day 04 Day excursion to Tsomgo Lake. (44 miles / 70 km | Time: 5 hrs hours)
Located east of Gangtok at an altitude of 11970 ft/ 3650 m, the Tsomgo Lake is a typically beautiful mountain lake. The journey to the lake offers a magnificent view of Mt. Khangchendzongna and other peaks of Sikkim Himalayas.
Afternoon free to explore the markets.
Day 05 Gangtok – Ravangla (6396 ft/ 1950 m.) 72 miles/ 116 km | Time: 5 hrs
Drive to Ravangla. Visit to the Temi tea garden to observe the plucking and processing of one of the finest tea in the world and Samdruptse the site of the 113 ft tall statue of Guru Padmasambhava or Guru Rimpoche, the patron saint of Sikkim and the Buddhist scholar who restored Buddhism in Tibet in the 7th century AD. The location also offers a breathtaking view of the Sikkim Himalayas and the Darjeeling hills.
Continue Ravangla and check in at Lodge. This is an ideal place to experience the peace and tranquility of the Sikkimese countryside coupled with the warmth of the typical Sikkimese hospitality.
Overnight at Ravangla.
Day 06 Rabang-Pelling (6400 ft/ 1950 m.) 37 miles / 60 km | Time: 2 hrs approx
After breakfast, drive to Pelling. On arrival check in the hotel and thereafter visit the Pemayangtse Monastery. Built in the 18th century AD, this monastery follows the Nyingmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Pemayangtse - "the Sublime Lotus", also houses the famed "Zangdopalri", a fascinating model of the celestial abode of Guru Padma Sambhava, crafted single-handedly out of wood by the late Dungzim Rimpoche.
Also visit the Rabdentse Palace ruins. The site of the second capital of Sikkim, is strategically located on a ridge with a commanding view of the Rangeet valley and the villages scattered in West and South Sikkim. The recent restoration of the site lends a pleasant place to experience the history of Sikkim with great views.
After lunch visit the Khecheodpalri Lake, also known as the wishing lake. This unusually calm lake, located in the midst of a dense forest is considered very sacred and no water sport or other activities besides prayers and worship are allowed around it.
Day 07 Pelling-Bagdogra/Bhadrapur - U.S. on extension
After breakfast, transfer to airport at Bagdogra and Bhadrapur, and fly back home or extend your trip to Nepal, Bhutan or India.