Return to Darjeeling and Sikkim
18 days from £3540 per person
A relaxed and scenic journey, this itinerary represents an excellent introduction to the eastern Himalayan region. Starting in Kolkata, the cultural heart of India, continue on to the old Raj hill station of Darjeeling before travelling further north to explore some of the many monasteries of Sikkim. End your journey above the banks of the Rungeet River for a relaxing stay at the Glenburn Tea Estate - a delightful plantation retreat dating from 1860. With its stunning views, comfortable rooms and a tranquil location 32kms from Darjeeling, Glenburn is a true gem.
Synonymous with quality tea, Darjeeling is perched at 2000 metres and has spectacular views of Kanchenjunga. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway connects the town with the plains.
Pemayangtse Monastery, founded in 1705, is decorative construction on a hill top near Pelling. The commanding views of Mount Kanchenjunga from here are impressive.
Glenburn Tea Estate, located above the Rungeet River, is a 150 year old colonial house with plenty of charm and, weather-permitting, wonderful views of the high Himalayas.
Day 1 London to Kolkata
Today depart the UK on the Emirates flight to Dubai. (N)
Day 2 Kolkata
Arrive into Dubai and connect onto the Emirates flight to Kolkata. Once in Kolkata you will be met and transferred to the Oberoi Grand Hotel where you will stay for two nights. Kolkata is the heart of Eastern India. One of the forward-thinking intellectual capitals of India, the city has long been noted for its wonderful architectural landmarks—many of which date from the period of the British Raj. Kolkata is also known as the 'soul of India', one of the most populous urban areas on earth and an intensely human city. (N)
Day 3 Kolkata
Today explore Kolkata with your guide. Places of interest include St John's Church which has a memorial to the city's founder Job Charnock, the Writers Building which is now the seat of government, South Park Cemetery and the silver-domed General Post Office. Also visit the imposing white marble Victoria Memorial, built in 1921 and today a treasure trove of Raj relics. End the day at the excellent Indian Museum, the largest museum in the country which was established in 1814. (B)
Day 4 Kolkata to Bagdogra – by air
Bagdogra to Darjeeling – 90kms
After breakfast transfer to Kolkata Airport in good time to catch your onward flight to Bagdogra. On your arrival you will be met and transferred to the old Raj hill station of Darjeeling. Occupying an idyllic setting, surrounded by hills thickly covered by coniferous forest and terraced tea gardens, Darjeeling has stunning views of the enchanting Kangchendzonga range. Stay three nights in Darjeeling at the Mayfair Hotel. (B/D)
Day 5 Darjeeling
Today you are at leisure to relax and explore Darjeeling under your own arrangements. You may also wish to include a walk to Observatory Hill or a visit to the Bhutia Basti Monastery. (B/D)
Day 6 Darjeeling
At dawn visit Tiger Hill which at 2,590m is the highest viewing point in the area and is famous for its magnificent dawn views. Later continue to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute which displays equipment used on the famous Tenzing-Hillary Everest climb, the Himalayan Zoo, Tibetan Self-help Centre and the Happy Valley Tea Estate. In the afternoon take a ride on the Darjeeling Mountain Railway to visit the Yiga-Choling Monastery near Ghoom which was built in 1875 and houses famous Buddhist scriptures. (B/D)
Day 7 Darjeeling to Pelling – 110kms
Today leave Darjeeling for the drive to Pelling. The road journey today is beautiful and follows the twisting route of the rivers Rungeet and Teesta. En-route a stop will be made in Gyalsing, the capital of West Sikkim, to visit the Pemayangtse Monastery which is home to numerous exceptional murals and sacred works of art. Afterwards continue on to nearby Pelling and stay for three nights at the Chumbi Mountain Retreat Resort & Spa. (B/D)
Day 8 Pelling
This morning visit Sanga Choling Monastery which is believed to be one of the oldest in Sikkim and was built in 1697. Located on a ridge surrounded by rolling valleys, on a clear day the views from the monastery are majestic. Later, return to Pelling on foot and in the afternoon visit the Sangchay Falls. (B/L/D)
Day 9 Pelling – Visit Kheopalry Lake & Yuksum
After breakfast leave Pelling and wind your way through the many small Sikkimese villages to the crystal-clear Kheopalry Lake—the holiest lake in Sikkim and one of the region's many Buddhist pilgrimage sites. Upon leaving the lake continue by car north to Yuksum the first capital of Sikkim and where the first Chogyal, or King, was crowned in 1641. On your arrival visit the coronation site and later return by car to Pelling. (B/L/D)
Day 10 Pelling to Gangtok – 170kms
Leave Pelling and drive on to Tashiding from where it is a steep walk up the hill to enjoy views of this famous monastery. From Tashiding the road climbs initially to Ravangla, offering panoramic views of Mt Kabru and Mt Marsing. Descend to the Teesta River passing through paddy fields and small villages before arriving in Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, where you will stay for two nights at Netuk House. The town has a spectacular setting with fine views of the Kangchendzonga Range. (B/L/D)
Day 11 Gangtok
This morning drive southwest of Gangtok to the Rumtek Monastery, the headquarters of the Kagyu order of Tibetan Lamaistic Buddhism. The monastery is known for its beautiful monastic paintings and intricate woodwork and was constructed in the 1960s as a copy of the monastery they had fled in Tibet after the Chinese invasion. Later leave Rumtek and take a scenic walk across terraced fields to the Lingdum Monastery before returning by car back to Gangtok. (B/L/D)
Day 12 Gangtok to Kalimpong – 75kms
After breakfast leave Gangtok and drive to sleepy Kalimpong, a remote hill station set in beautiful mountain scenery which was for centuries one of the main meeting points on the trade route between the ancient 'closed lands' of Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal. The town has fine views of Kangchendzonga and on your arrival continue to the Himalayan Hotel where you will stay for the next two nights. (B/L/D)
Day 13 Kalimpong
Today you are at leisure. There are several pleasant walks in and around the town and other places of interest include one of the many garden nurseries which produce orchids, amaryllis, roses, cacti, dahlias and gladioli, several interesting places of worship including the Ringkinpong Monastery, the colourful local market and Dr Graham's Home, started by the missionary Dr Graham in 1900. Outside of Kalimpong the small village of Lava is noted for its monastery and interesting market. (B/L/D)
Day 14 Kalimpong to Glenburn – 30kms
This morning leave Kalimpong and drive to the charming Glenburn Tea Estate where you will stay for the next three nights. A beautiful plantation retreat situated on a hillside high above the banks of the River Rungeet, Glenburn has beautiful accommodation and distant views of the mighty Kangchendzonga. (B/L/D)
Day 15 Glenburn
Day 16 Glenburn
Over the next two days simply relax on the veranda of the Burra Bungalow, visit the Glenburn tea factory or wander down to the riverbank where your hosts can arrange a guided walk to a nearby village. (B/L/D)
Day 17 Glenburn to Bagdogra – 70kms
Bagdogra to Kolkata – by air
After breakfast you will be met and transferred back to Bagdogra Airport in good time to catch your onward flight to Kolkata. On your arrival you will be met and transferred to the Swissôtel Kolkata which is ideally located close to the international airport and where you will stay overnight. (B)
Day 18 Kolkata to London
Today transfer back to Kolkata Airport to catch the Emirates flight to Dubai. On your arrival connect onto the onwards Emirates flight to the UK. (B)
KEY: N = No meals B = Breakfast L = Lunch D = Dinner
- International flights from the UK
- Domestic flights
- Private car with English speaking driver
- Sightseeing with local English speaking guides
- Hotel accommodation and taxes
What's not included
- Cost of visas
- Travel Insurance
- Expenses of a personal nature
Guide to Price
The price above is a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and season. If you wish to travel alone we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements and will provide a proposal on request
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