Sikkim is the top most tours & travel destination in India. It is one of the most politically stable and peaceful place in India. This landlocked state is blessed with some of the most spectacular landscapes, flora and fauna making it a haven for adventure enthusiasts and naturalists. Lying at an elevation of 8,586 metres, the state’s highest point is the summit of Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak of the world.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DARJEELING SIKKIM AND BHUTAN TOUR
There are numerous Lakes and Monasteries which make the hill station vibrant and lively. To experience complete rejuvenation, Sikkim is a perfect place to travel for holiday.
- Visit a rural village to enjoy traditional Losar food, singing, dancing.
- Experience traditional Losar games dha (archery), khuru (darts) and degoer (flat stone throwing).
- Discover some of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples in the Himalaya./li>
- Explore cultural attractions including medieval fortresses (Dzongs), markets and museums.
- Explore Bhutan’s central valleys, rich with ancient historical and sacred Buddhist sites.
- Incorporate a Value-Added Option such as a cooking lesson or meditation session with a monk.
DAY 1 NJP/BAGDOGRA – DARJEELING
Meet on arrival at Bagdogra airport and transfer to Darjeeling via Kheursong/Sonada and numerous valleys of Tea Gardens. Free for walk in the Mall-Chowrasta Dinner and Overnight at Darjeeling.
DAY 2 DARJEELING SIGHTSEEING
Early morning trip to Tiger Hill for Viewing of Sunrise, Ghoom Monastery, Batasia Loop and back to Hotel breakfast and then Visit Peace Pagoda, Happy Valley tea Garden(Road Side),Tibetan Self Help centre and Toy Train Ride at Darjeeling Lunch.. Evening leisure time.
DAY 3 DARJEELING – GANGTOK
Today morning, after breakfast, we check out of the hotel and head for an enjoyable activity ahead. We drive for about two hours downhill and arrive Melli. We stop on the banks of river Teesta from where our representatives shall guide you to your raft and after short instructions from our raft expert, we shall board into the raft and experience the thrill of the river rafting in white waters. We raft for about one to one and half hour and finally board off at a put out point about 13 Kms down the river. After this enjoyable ride, we get back to the vehicle and head for lunch at Chittrey. After lunch, we take a leisure drive uphill again for another 2.5 hour and reach our hotel at Gangtok. This evening is free at leisure. (Overnight at the hotel)
DAY 4 GANGTOK- BABAMANDIR 13700ft – CHANGU LAKE at 12400ft.
After breakfast drive to Changu Lake at 12400ft , Babamandir. Play in the snow & Yak Ride, Return for late lunch at Gangtok. Continue to have a ride at The Cable for overview of the Gangtok Hills and Free for Shopping, Early Dinner & Rest for long trip to Lachung next morning.
DAY 5 GANGTOK-LACHUNG (North Sikkim)
Early breakfast and start our Trip to North Sikkim.The valley of flowers enroute drives thru numerous Sikkimese Villages, Flamboyant Water Falls, Great Valley views and Hills. Lunch on the wayside at Namok Village Restaurant .Reach Lachung after 5-6 hrs of drive. Those interested can avail the walk in the village. Early Dinner & Halt overnight.
DAY 6 LACHUNG-YUMTHANG VALLEY-LACHUNG-GANGTOK.
Early breakfast and continue to drive to Yumthang Flower Valley. Our Journey begins with passing of the world famous Singhba Rhododendron Sanctuary. Which starts at Lachung and ends at Yumthang of 24 Kms. Visit the Hot Spring at Yumthang valley. play in the valley filled with flowers. Walk down to the tiny looking Teesta River and great escape of Mountains standing from your foot (Hold your caps-or it will fall when you look to the top of the Himalayas)…Return to Lachung for Lunch and drive back to Gangtok stopping over at numerous waterfalls. Check in on arrival and Dinner & Halt.
DAY 7 GANGTOK – PELLING
After breakfast this morning, we shall head for Pelling in west Sikkim. We drive for about 4 an half hours and arrive Pelling by 2 pm. Check into the hotel, refresh and relax. This afternoon, we shall lead you on an easy walk (30 mins) to the Ruins of Rabdentse. Rabdentse-a second capital of Sikkim (17th Century) hold its ruins amidst enchanting landscape and forest cover. At the ruins, our escort will give you a brief insight to the history and the Chogyals of Sikkim. Enjoy the pristine environment and we walk back to the hotel. This evening is free for your own activities. (Overnight at the hotel).
DAY 8 PELLING SIGHT SEEING
Wake up early this morning not to miss the breadth taking view of Mt Khanchendzonga and its ranges at the sunrise. You can witness the mountain range sipping a hot coffee from your hotel room window. After breakfast, we shall proceed for a full day sightseeing of Pelling. We drive to start up with a drive to Khecheopalri Lake (33 Kms from Pelling).This unusually calm and placid lake, located in the midst of a dense forest is considered sacred to both Buddhist and the Hindus, who come here to make a wish. Seen from above the lake is shaped like the footprints of Guru Padmasambhava. We get back to Pelling for lunch. After lunch we continue our sightseeing covering, Changey Waterfalls, Sing shore Bridge and Pemayangtse Monastery. Back in the hotel refresh and relax. (Overnight at the Hotel).
DAY 9 PELLING – PHUENTSHOLING
This morning after breakfast, we shall check out of the hotel and head for Phuentsholing(Bhutan).
DAY 10: PHUENTSHOLING – THIMPHU
After breakfast, proceed to Thimphu, stopping enroute at Kharbandi Gompa. This beautiful monastery was built by Royal Grandmother, Ashi Phuntsho Choedon in 1967. There is a splendid view of Phuentsholing and the Indian plains from the splendid monastery gardens of tropical plants and flowers. From this point the road climbs steeply up and down mountainous ranges through light mountain jungle displaying lianas and orchids and small townships such as Chukha and Chimakothi. Lunch is served en route.
After passing through Chapcha, the road reaches its highest point of about 2,800m, then descends steeply and runs along the bank of the Wang Chu (river) to Chuzom (meaning confluence), where ir meets Paro Chu. From here it is only 2 hours’ drive up the valley to Thimphu. Shortly before reaching our destination, we will stop to visit Semtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress in the kingdom, build by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1627. On arrival in Thimphu, check into the hotel. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
DAY 11: THIMPHU
Once a rustic village sitting in a broad, fertile river valley, Thimphu is today the nation’s bustling capital. Enjoy a full day of sightseeing, including a visit to the National Memorial Chorten depicting the Buddhist faith in the form of paintings and statues. This temple was first initiated by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernisation, and as a monument to world peace. The Royal Queen Mother completed it as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972. Continue on to 12th century Changangkha Temple and Drubthob monastery housing the Zilukha Nunnery.
Other sites to visit include: the School for Arts and Crafts where students are taught the 13 types of Bhutanese art, The National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century, the Traditional Paper Factory displaying the Bhutanese paper making process, and a fascinating replica of a medieval farmhouse at the Folk Heritage Museum.
If there is time, you may visit the nursing pen for the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan, and Tashichhodzong, ‘the fortress of the glorious religion’. Initially erected in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was rebuilt in the 1960s during the reign of Bhutan’s third king in the traditional style, without plans or nails. Tashichhodzong houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body.
If your visit to Thimphu coincides with the weekend, you can walk through the Thimphu Market to see the variety of food of Bhutan, including basket upon basket of fiery chillies, fresh cheese and a variety of fresh greens. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. (This market is open only from Friday until mid Sunday). Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
DAY 12: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA
Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring colour.
Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’ as predicted by the great Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava). It is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here on 17th December 1907, Bhutan’s first king was crowned.
After lunch, enjoy a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it’s not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha/ Wangduephodrang.
DAY 13: PUNAKHA – THIMPHU – PARO
In the morning drive to Yabesa village and hike to through ricefields and up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyal Chorten, built by her majesty the queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions.
Take a picnic lunch on a picturesque riverside before exploring the bustling town of Wangduephodrang. Visit the market and Wangduephodrang Dzong. Built in 1639 the strategically located Dzong is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. In the 17th century Wangduephodrang played a critical role in unifying the western, central and southern regions of the country.
Drive back to Thimphu where you will have an opportunity to visit handicraft and souvenir stores. Afterwards proceed to Paro, visiting Semtokha Dzong en route. The Dzong, built in 1627, is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture studies. On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
DAY 14: PARO
After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometre above the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse for transfer up to cafeteria). The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The Monastery is also an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. He then mediated in a cave there for three months where the monastery was later built. The cave is said to be the origin of Buddhism in Bhutan. Nearby there is a teahouse where you can stop for refreshments before returning to Paro for lunch.
In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, an historic monument built by the Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Kyichu is built in a manner similar to the Jokhang in Lhasa. Inside there is a great golden image of Buddha Shakyamuni.
Alternatively, day 6 could be spent on a day trip to the Haa Valley, one of the most picturesque districts in Bhutan. Reached via the beautiful Chelila Pass, Haa Valley is characterised by its surrounding rugged and mountainous terrain. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
DAY 15: DEPART PARO
Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.
- Bhutan Tourist Tariff Royalty & Visa fees.
- All private excursions and transfers in superior air-conditioned vehicle.
- Local English speaking guide/tour leader.
- Experienced driver.
- Accommodation in carefully selected, highest standard goverment approved hotels & guesthouses.
- All meals in Bhutan.
- All entrance fees and permits.
- All personal expenses such as bars, beverages, laundry, telephone and tips.
- Medical / Travel Insurance.