Sikkim, an old lost kingdom, landlocked between Bhutan and Nepal is a North-East state of India. Sikkim has a spectacular diversity of natural habitats and wildlife within a small geographic area. From icy cold desserts, flowering alpine meadows to lush green forests and emerald mountain lakes. Sikkim has all a traveler can dream off.
The Lost Kingdom tour takes you the highlights of Sikkim and all the way to Darjeeling. Darjeeling, famous for its tea plantations, but also the place from where you have a fantastic view on the mighty Kangchenjunga. Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world, and lies partly in Nepal and partly in Sikkim.
Day 1: BAGDOGRA – DARJEELING
Upon arrival, meet our representative and drive to Darjeeling. It is located in the Mahabharata Range or Lesser Himalaya. Set up as a Summer Resort, Darjeeling is famous for its tea industry and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Darjeeling is the headquarters of Darjeeling district which has a partially autonomous status within the state of West Bengal. The development of the town dates back to the mid-19th century when the British colonial administration set up a sanatorium and a military depot. Subsequently, extensive tea plantations were established in the region, and tea growers developed hybrids of black tea and created new fermentation techniques. The resultant distinctive Darjeeling tea is internationally recognized and ranks among the most popular of the black teas. Overnight stay at Hotel.
Day 2: SIGHTSEEING
The Tiger Hill at about 2600 meters, is a place from where we can have a magnificent sunrise view over the Everest, the Khanchendzonga, the Makalu & the Lhotse. The four giants of the Himalaya can be seen from a hill-top, which explains why Darjeeling is named “the Queen of the Hills .“ We spend most of the morning here mesmerizing this fantastic view before slowly heading back to the town. In the town we will visit the Dali Gompa (Gelug sect monastery), We can also add Batasia loop in our itinerary, but after the view from the top of Tiger Hill, this view doesn’t give much-added value but still has got its beautiful ambiance to offer to the world. The breakfast is served at the hotel and an hour rest is welcome after getting up so early. The day follows with a visit to the Padma-Jha Naidu Zoological Garden and the famous HMI(Himalayan Mountaineering Institute) founded by Lt.Tenzing Norgay (First man to summit Mt.Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary) and some of his close friends. The museum at HMI is a place where one can learn many things about the Himalaya, the mountaineering skills, and techniques. From late afternoon, free time to stroll around the famous Chow-rasta(Mall) to collect a souvenirs’ from the hills to carry back home.
*Padma-Jha Naidu Zoological Park & HMI are closed on Thursday
Day 3: DARJEELING – GANGTOK
After breakfast, we check out and drive to Gangtok, the capital town of Sikkim which we will reach in the early evening. Check into the Hotel, refresh rest of the evening free for leisure. The precise meaning of the name Gangtok is unclear, though the most popular meaning is “hill top.” Today, Gangtok is a center of Tibetan Buddhist culture and education, with the presence of several monasteries, educational institutions, and the center for Tibetology.
Day 4: EXCURSION AROUND GANGTOK
After breakfast, we head for the Rumtek Monastery/Dharma chakra center (24 kms/1 hr)belonging to the Kagyu sect of Buddism.The monastery is said to be the replica of Tshurpu monastery in Tibet and was founded as the official seat in exile to His Holiness The Karmapa, head of the Kagyu lineage by the Late 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. Later we return to Gangtok to visit the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology (only museum of its kind in the whole of India). The museum houses in a traditional Tibetan-style mansion boasts a jaw-dropping collection of artifacts related to Vajrayana Buddhism and Tibetan culture. Established in 1958 to promote academic and cultural research, its ground-floor hall displays Buddhist manuscripts, icons, thangkas (Tibetan cloth paintings) and Tantric ritual objects, such as a thöpa (bowl made from a human skull) and Kangling (human thighbone trumpet). The library on the 1st-floor houses precious Buddhist tomes, some dating back several hundred years. Lunch will be served at Hotel, and after lunch and after a brief rest, we go to the Handloom & Handicraft Center & Enchey Monastery (one of the oldest in Sikkim), and later we stroll at the MG Marg for a while before calling it a day. Overnight at the Hotel.
Day 5: EXCURSION TO TSHOM-GO LAKE
Today we visit Tshom-Go lake at an altitude of 12400 feet’s, a sacred lake in the alpine zone. The oval shaped lake Enroute the NH 10 to the Indo-Chinese border is a beautiful lake. The lake surface reflects different colors with the change of seasons and is held in great reverence by the local Sikkim’s people. Buddhist monks prognosticated after studying the changing colors of the lake. On our return to Gangtok, you have the chance to view charming views of the hills and valleys. Overnight at the Hotel.
Day 6: GANGTOK – KALIMPONG
After breakfast, we’re heading to our next destination-Kalimpong. Kalimpong is derived from ‘Kalon’ means King’s minister and ‘Pong’ means the stockade. Thus, a stockade of the King’s minister. Local people also pronounce it as ‘Kalayboong’ or the ‘Black Spur’. According to some Kalimpong derive its name from a tree Kahlyem-Kung (in Lepcha language). Kalimpong is famous for its indigenous arts and crafts. Kalimpong has developed good silk trading business with Tibet till 1950. Until the 18th century, Kalimpong was a part of Sikkim. It was then taken over by the Bhutanese. In the 19th century, Kalimpong became a part of Darjeeling district. In the evening it’s nice to go for a walk around the town. Overnight at the Hotel.
Day 7: SIGHTSEEING
The schedule for the day is not very tight as the distance to cover is short. The places we visit are in and around the town itself. Starting with Tharpa Choling Monastery, which was established in the year 1922. This Gompa belongs to the Yellow Hat Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. At a short distance lower down the hill is the Thongsa Gompa of Bhutanese Monastery. It is one of the oldest monasteries in the area and was founded in the year 1692. The original monastery was destroyed by the Gurkhas and was rebuilt later. In prehistoric ages, Tibetan traders use to pay homage to the gods for safely having crossed the treacherous trails. Five kilometers south of the town center is another famous monastery known as Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang Gompa situated on the end of the ridge. This monastery was built in the mid – 1970s at Durpin Dara Hill and was consecrated by the HH XIVth Dalai Lama. As usual like other Gumpa it has impressive wall paintings in the prayer room and a rare three-dimensional mandala. The scenic beauty of this place is beautiful with the Himalayan view and is better still from Durpin Dara Hill. Other areas of interest are the Dr.Graham’s Homes (Scottish missionary school), Nursery with Plants like Anthodium, Ornamental & Flowering Plants, Orchids, Bonsai, Bulbs, Cacti, Succulents, Gerberas, Gladiolus, House & Foliage Plants, etc. During the evening you can walk around town and visit Mangal Dham, which is considered to be one of the famous and beautiful Hindu temples in the region. Overnight stay at Hotel.
Day 8: BAGDOGRA
Breakfast and check out to drive to Bagdogra Airport, which is around 75 km from Kalimpong. It takes about 4 hours to reach the airport.
Accommodation on a twin/triple Sharing Basis.
No charges fo children below the age of 5. Children between 5 and 10 years old get 50% discount.
Transport: Vehicles are only used for transport as described in the itinerary (point to point basis).
All sightseeing and excursions, as mentioned in the itinerary
Parking fees at the attractions.
Our Luxury Vehicles (Innova/Xylo/Scorpio or similar) will only transport a maximum of 6 passengers.
One professional English speaking guide. Provided from the pickup at the airport till the end of the tour at Bagdogra airport.
All taxes and services taxes.
Insurance. We firmly advise taking a travel insurance. Nature can be unpredictive in this mountainous area.
Airport tax & Porter
Flight ticket / Train ticket.
Personal Expenses such as laundry, telephone calls tips & gratuity.
Mineral water, soft & alcoholic drinks, etc
Additional adventurous activities like rafting, rock climbing, paragliding, etc
Additional sightseeing or extra usage of the vehicle, other than mentioned in the itinerary.
Entrance Fees & Camera charges.
Any cost arising due to natural calamities like landslides, road blockage, political disturbances (strikes), etc. (extra costs will be charged to the client and has to be paid on the spot).
If you have any question about this tour, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Things not to do
Avoid taking pictures of people without permission. Always ask for permission.
Visa and entry formalities
Besides a visa for India, foreigners must obtain an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit Sikkim (free permit). The 30 days permit issued on the spot when you provide photocopies of your passport and visa along with two passport photos. The permission can be extended for another 30 days. The ILP permit is issued at the border, and our guides will do it for you.
Best time to visit
Sikkim has two main seasons:
From the end of February till the end of May
From the end of September till the end of December
Rainy season is June, July, August and half of September. It is better to avoid these months.
For trekking, the best period is November till May. To see the beautiful flowers at the Yumthang valley (which is called the valley of flowers) and the rhododendron sanctuary, March till May is the best time for a visit.
Looking forward to meeting you on our Sikkim and Darjeeling tour.