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Sikkim, the hidden paradise 13D/12N

The Highlights

  • Pelling
  • Pemayangtse Monastery
  • Dhufuk
  • Yuksum
  • Gangtok
  • Chopta Valley
  • Tshom-Go Lake
  • Lachung
  • Yumthang Valley
  • Thangu

Description

Sikkim is still unknown by many people. This land-locked state shares its borders with Nepal in the west and Bhutan in the east, and the Tibetan plateau rises on its northern border. Sikkim used to be a Himalayan monarchy and part of the famous Silk Route towards China. In 1975, Sikkim became part of India and opened its borders to the outside world. Now you can discover the incredible beauty and treasures of this unknown land.

Although Sikkim is a small state, it has a lot to offer. It has the steepest rise in altitude over a short distance and covers within its 7,096 square km the entire climatic range; from the tropical to the alpine, bestowing on the land an extraordinary natural heritage. Sikkim has two main rivers, the Teesta and the Rangeet, and a lot of picturesque villages, hot springs, and waterfalls.

This 13-day tour takes you on a discovery of this hidden paradise. You visit the most interesting places in Sikkim, a mix of natural beauty and fascinating culture. Join us on this fabulous trip!

Itinerary

Sikkim

Sikkim

Day 1: Bagdogra – Pelling 

  • Upon arrival, you are welcomed by our representative and transferred to Pelling, passing the border town of Melli and Jorethang along the way.
  • In Pelling, you check in at your hotel. The rest of the day is free for leisure.

Day 2: Khechupalri 

  • After breakfast, you drive to the Pemayangtse Monastery, built in 1705 A.D and located on a hilltop overlooking mighty Mount Khangchendzonga and its adjacent peaks. This ancient monastery belongs to the Nyingma Order of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Afterward, you hike to the Rabdentse Palace Ruins. This is a 30-minute walk from the main road through a rich forest. This area is named after Sikkim’s Late King of Chogyal Sidkyeong Tulku.
  • Later on, you drive to Khechupalri, where you spend the night in a homestay.

Day 3: excursion Dhufuk 

  • Today, you hike through forest overlooking the beautiful and sacred Khechupalri Lake. After climbing for a couple of hours, you reach the Dhufuk meditation cave at an altitude of 2,195 m ASL. This cave, located on a hilltop, is believed to be the site where Guru Padmashambhav came for meditation and retreat during his visit in the 8th century. From the top of the hill, you have a beautiful view over Khechupalri Lake.
  • Overnight stay is at the homestay.

Day 4: Village excursion 

  • After breakfast, you walk downhill to Khechupalri Lake. The water of the lake is crystal clear, even in the middle of the jungle. Khechupalri Lake is believed to be a holy and sacred lake for both Hindu and the Buddhist people.
  • In the afternoon, you can visit a nearby nunnery before going on a walk to the traditional village of Tsho-zo to see and experience the local lifestyle, culture, and traditions.
  • You spend the night in the homestay.

Day 5: Khechupalri – Yuksum

  • A drive through beautiful valleys leads you to the famous Khangchendzonga waterfalls. You spend some time enjoying these scenic waterfalls before continuing your journey for another 40 minutes towards the beautiful village of Yuksum.
  • Yuksum used to be Sikkim’s first capital. Nowadays Yuksum has turned into the base camp for the world famous Dzongri-Goechala Trekking.
  • You check in at the hotel and have lunch, before going on an exploratory walk. You visit the NorbuGhang coronation throne.
  • You also visit the small but holy Karthok Lake, situated in the middle of the village.
  • Overnight stay is at a hotel in Yuksum.

Day 6: Yuksum – Gangtok

  • From Yuksum, it is about six hours of driving to the modern capital of Sikkim: Gangtok. Gangtok is much more urbanized than any other Sikkim town and is the location for many institutions and corporate offices.
  • En route, you visit the newly constructed Tathagatha Tsal, also named Buddha Park, at Ravangla.
  • You reach Gangtok after another three-hour drive from Buddha Park. You check in at the hotel, refresh and relax for tomorrow’s excursion.
  • Overnight stay is at a hotel in Gangtok.

Day 7: excursion Gangtok

  • After breakfast, you visit the Rumtek Monastery. This monastery belongs to the Kagyu sect of Buddism and is said to be a replica of the Tshurpu monastery in Tibet.
  • Afterward, you return to Gangtok to visit the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, housed in a traditional Tibetan-style mansion and home to an excellent collection of artifacts related to Vajrayana Buddhism and Tibetan culture. The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is established in 1958 to promote academic and cultural research. Its ground-floor hall displays Buddhist manuscripts, icons, Tibetan cloth paintings and Tantric ritual objects, such as a thöpa (a bowl made from a human skull) and Kangling (a human thigh bone trumpet). The library on the first floor houses precious Buddhist tombs, some dating back several hundreds of years.
  • Lunch is served at the hotel, and after lunch and a brief rest, you continue today’s journey with a visit to the Handloom & Handicraft center and the Enchey Monastery.
  • Overnight stay is at the hotel in Gangtok.

Day 8: excursion Tshom-Go Lake 

  • The sacred Tshom-Go Lake is located at an altitude of 3,780 m ASL in the alpine zone. The oval-shaped lake with changing colors is truly something special. Buddhist monks prognosticated after studying the changing colors of the lake.
  • On your way back, you can enjoy the beautiful hill and valley views.
  • Overnight stay is at the hotel in Gangtok.

Day 9: Gangtok – Lachen 

  • Today, your journey leads you towards the northern part of the state, to a place some define as the land of the “hidden paradise.” Although the roads are rough and rugged in some regions, the journey is worth every penny as it offers a lot of adventure.
  • After a while, you reach today’s destination, the Himalayan village of Lachen at 2,740 m ASL. Lachen is inhabited by the Lachen-pa’s, a Bhutia community which has its origins in the Paro region in Bhutan. They settled here a long time ago.
  • You spend the night in a hotel.

Day 10: Thangu – Chopta Valley – Lachung 

  • Rise and shine at 5 AM for a drive on the rough and dusty roads along the mighty Teesta River. You follow the river downstream towards the plains of India, with views on some of the unnamed peaks. The scenery on the route to Thangu is mesmerizing.
  • You stop for a hot cup of tea and watch the sunrise above the mountains. The Chopta Valley is a 15-minute drive from here; this is the real place hikers describe as the “hidden paradise.” The hiking trails are excellent, and you spend two to three hours hiking around the valley.
  • After your hike in the Chopta Valley, you return to Lachen for lunch.
  • In the afternoon, you drive for another 2,5 hours towards your next destination, Lachung.
  • Overnight stay is in Lachung.

Day 11: Shingba Rhododendron sanctuary – Yumthang Valley 

  • After breakfast, you go to the Yumthang Valley, also called the “Valley of flowers,” as the valley offers such a variety of seasonal flower plants. Many species of rhododendron and tall pine trees can be found here. The valley is an open meadow with a small river flowing through the landscape. You hike along a beautiful trail along the river and through rhododendron bushes and the tall pine trees. You cross the bridge over the river to go to the nearby hot spring.
  • On the drive back to Lachung, you stop at the new Lake, recently formed due to a massive rock slide. You have some time to enjoy this beautiful natural environment. A late lunch is served at the hotel.
  • In the afternoon, you can stroll around Lachung and learn more about local village life.
  • Overnight stay is in Lachung.

Day 12: Lachung – Gangtok

  • In the morning, you drive back along the same route, passing Chungthang and through the same valleys and rivers. The scenery is different every hour of the day and the view from Singhik over Mount Khanchendzonga, the world’s third highest peak, is mesmerizing.
  • Overnight stay is in Gangtok.

Day 13: Bagdogra 

  • Today you return to Bagdogra as this is the end of this 8-day trip.

Included

  • Accommodation based on a twin or triple share
  • Meal plan CP (bed and breakfast) or MAP (bed and breakfast and dinner)
  • No charges for children below the age of 5. Children between 5 and 10 years old get a 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) only transport a maximum of six passengers
  • Professional English speaking guide during your trip
  • All taxes

Excluded

  • Insurance: we firmly advise taking a travel insurance. Nature can be unpredictable in this mountainous area. 
  • Airport tax and Porter
  • Flight and train ticket
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, tips, and telephone calls
  • Mineral water, soft and alcoholic drinks
  • Additional adventurous activities like rafting, rock climbing, and paragliding
  • Additional sightseeing or extra usage of the vehicle, other than mentioned in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees and camera charges
  • Any cost arising due to natural calamities like landslides, road blockage, political disturbances (strikes), etcetera (extra costs will be charged to the client and have to be paid on the spot).
  • Charges for room heater
  • Anything not specified in the inclusive list

What to bring

Notes

Please contact us at info@mundooz.com if you have any questions about this tour.

Visa and entry formalities

Apart from a visa for India, foreigners must obtain an Inner Line Permit (ILP – free permit) to visit Sikkim. This 30-day permit is 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 your guides will do it for you.

Best time to visit

Sikkim has two main seasons:

  • From the end of February until the end of May
  • From the end of September until the end of December

The rainy season is in June, July, August and half of September. It is better to avoid these months.

The best period for trekking is from November until May. To see the beautiful flowers at the Yumthang valley, the valley of flowers, and the rhododendron sanctuary, you best plan your visit between March and May.

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Sikkim, the hidden paradise 13D/12N

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Wat een ontdekking!

Deze kleine noordelijke staat in India is hemel op aarde. Een fantastische ervaring voor elke reiziger een plek om ooit naartoe te gaan. Deze excursie/trip is vrij uitgebreid en laat je werkelijk het beste van Sikkim zien. Vergeet je camera en extra batterijen niet, want je zult ongetwijfeld véle foto's willen nemen!!