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India experience - Smiling children

Snow-Capped Mountains and Monasteries

Route: Darjeeling - Gangtok - Kalimpong

Sikkim lies in the North Eastern foothills of the Himalayas. It is home to a large community of exiled Tibetan monks who chant day and night in richly decorated monasteries, leading lives of contemplation in the hills. Compared to Ladakh, in the foothills of the North West Himalayas, Sikkim lies at a lower altitude, making it greener and more easily accessible. It is also an abundant paradise for orchid lovers. During this trip, you can enjoy a real India experience as you visit two authentic monasteries in the neighbourhood of Gangtok and explore the lovely market town of Kalimpong from your cosy hotel. Sikkim is a very tranquil town with far fewer tourists than other areas of the Himalayan foothills.

If you'd like to start building your very own India trip, take a look at our range of bite-sized India tours. Or, if you'd rather leave the planning to us, you can choose from one of our suggested holidays to India. Need some more advice or inspiration? Have a chat with one of our India travel specialists on 01273 322044.
 

Duration 4 days / 3 nights
Departs daily from Darjeeling.

Accommodation

Comfortable hotels. Comfort level 2/3 (see accommodation).

Price

£265 per person - based on 2 people sharing

Includes

Accommodation with breakfast, excursion with guide, transport by private car.

Transport

Private car

Excludes

International flights

Day 1: Arriving in Gangtok

The first day of this India experience begins in Darjeeling. The day begins early with a 7 hour drive to Gangtok. From the tea hills around Darjeeling, you’ll travel north over twisting roads. Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, towers over all of the scenery, making it's surroundings look. The contrast between the snow-capped background and the green lanscape in the foreground is stunning. The driver will be happy to stop on the way whenever you need a few moments take a some photos or stretch your legs and admire the view.

At the end of the first day of your India tour, you’ll arrive in Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. This beguiling city, perched high on a mountain ridge, is home to a large population of Buddhist Indians. Your comfortable family hotel is a place of rest and harmony, where only the chirping of the birds in the lush garden can be heard. The centre of Gangtok is about 2km away and easy to reach on foot.
India experience - Stunning mountain scenery
India experience - Intricate Tibetan monasteries

Day 2: Gangtok - Monastery tour

The monasteries close to Gangtok are not often visited by tourists and still retain their original character. A truly authentic India experience, day two of your India trip in Sikkim will take you along a bumpy road to Phodang and Labrang (approx 40kms from Gangtok). These are brightly decorated monasteries full of rainbow colours and dragons motifs - far more flamboyant than anything you’ll find in Ladakh or Tibet. Each monastery will give you sweeping views over snow-capped Mount Kanchenjunga, looming large above you.

At the end of the afternoon, you can head back to your hotel in Gangtok where you are free to spend your evening as you wish.

Day 3: Gangtok - Kalimpong

On day three of your trip, you’ll head to Rumtek monastery (approx 24 kms from Gangtok), perhaps the most wonderful of all the monasteries in the area. Every last inch of its interior is covered with brightly coloured murals and fine wood carvings. You are welcome to sit in on a session with the monks and listen to their mystical choral chanting whilst enjoying (or trying to keep down) a cup of Po Cha- salt yak butter tea- a real India experience. 

This afternoon, your driver will take you to the market town of Kalimpong where you can continue your India experience. Wander through the local market in search of souvenirs, or take a walk through the woods that surround the town. Kalimpong was conquered and colonised by Bhutan for over 100 years, and there is still a typical Bhutanese monastery in the town. Monks can be seen seated opposite each other at long tables alternating between chanting and making music. You’ll stay in small, cosy huts in the middle of a green oak wood.
India experience - Traditional Thangka paintings
India experience - Tibetan monks

Day 4: Departure from Kalimpong

Sadly, your India experience in Sikkim ends this morning, and you can either stay in the area and relax for a few more days or we can arrange a transfer either to the airport at Bagdogra or the railway station in New Jalpaiguri. Both of these transfers would take around three hours. Then, from the airport or train station, you can travel on to Varanasi, Dehli, or Kolkata.

The best time to experience India on this tour in Sikkim is during the spring (halfway through March to the end of May) and the autumn months (October to the end of December). If you are hoping to travel in July, August and September, these are the best months for visiting Ladakh.

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