Day 1: Arrival transfer to Darjeeling. O/N Hotel New Elgin
Day 2: Whole day sightseeing in Darjeeling (2134m) on Jeeps – Drive to Tiger Hill at 4.30am to view the sunrise over the mountains (12km, 45min) and visit Ghoom Monastery on the way back to the hotel. After breakfast – Himalayan Mountaineering Institute & Zoological Park, Tibetan refugee Self Center, Toy train ride to Ghoom, DHR Museum at Ghoom Railway Station and local market. O/N Elgin
After breakfast at hotel whole day Tiger Hill/Rambhi/3rd Mile Village trek – drive to Tiger Hill, begin trek to Rambi Village through forest trail, have pack lunch at Rambi, walk along forest road up to 3rd Mile Village and drive back to hotel. (The trek will be for 5 to 6 hours without any strenuous climb or descent). O/N Elgin (More write up on Tiger Hill Rambi Village)
Day 4: Drive to Tukvar Tea Estate from hotel (1hr). Visit the factory at Tukvar to see manufacture of Darjeeling tea and begin walk down to the Rangit River Valley. The walk is downhill and passes through Tukvar Tea Estate, Barns Beg Tea Estate and Singla Tea Estate. The walk will take around 3-4 hrs. Halt after Singla T.E. for lunch and then drive on to Pemayangtse in Sikkim (55km/3hrs) O/N Norbu Gang Resort.
Day 5: Whole day at Pemayangtse (2050m) – Walk to Sanga Choeling monastery before breakfast (1 hour walk each way from the Hotel). After breakfast – walk to the Pemayangtse Monastery and Rabdanste Palace Ruins (Rabdanste was the second capital of Sikkim). Walk back to the hotel for lunch. After lunch excursion down to the village below Pemayangtse town. O/N Norbu Gang Resort.
Day 6: Drive to Yuksom (1300m/42km/2hrs) – Visit Kecheoplari Lake on the way. The Lake is situated 11km off the road from Pemayangtse to Yuksom. Walk down to the road to Yuksom from the lake (2 to 3 hrs), then drive on to Yuksom for late lunch at hotel. Evening – walk around Yuksom Village and also visit Norbu Gang, where the first Chogyal (Religious King of Sikkim) was consecrated in 1642. Yuksom was the first capital of Sikkim. O/N Hotel Tashi Gang
Kecheopalri or the Wishing Lake, is considered the holiest lake in Sikkim and is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus. There is a small Buddhist monastery and a Hindu temple within the lake. Set among densely forested hills, not a single leaf can be seen on the Lake. It is believed that birds pick up the leaves that fall into the lake. The moderate descent from the Lake to the road to Yuksom will take about 2 to 3 hours.
Yuksom was the first capital of Sikkim. The first Chogyal or the King (Buddhist) who rules with Righteousness, Phuntsok Namgyal, was consecrated here in 1642. In fact, the site of the coronation, Norbu Gang, can still be seen here. Like the Rabdanste Palace ruins, it is under the care of the Archeological Survey of India and both are protected monuments. Dubdi Monastery, reputedly the oldest in Sikkim is also situated atop a hill in Yuksom.
Day 7: Whole day trek from Yuksom towards Bakhim along the regular trek route from Yuksom to Bakhim-Dzongri, with pack lunch and return to Yuksom. This is a level trek along sub-tropical and temperate forests involving no strenuous ascent or descent and should take about 5-6 hours. O/N Hotel Tashi Gang.
Yuksom is the trail head of the most popular trek in Sikkim to Dzongri and Goecha La. The easy to moderate day trek is along the trail to Bakhim and back. The walk is through sub-tropical and tropical forests and is more or less level, with one or two climbs of less than fifteen to twenty minutes. The trail is high on the forested right bank of the Prek Chu River. We will cross several mountain streams, plunging down to the Prek Chu, over wooden bridges.
Day 8: Drive to Gangtok (120km/6-7hrs) with hot-lunch at Rabang la. Visit Tashiding Monastery on the way. Tashiding is 21km from Yuksom. The monastery is situated on a hill above the road. And it takes about an hour to climb up to the monastery. After visiting the monastery, walk down to the road via an alternate path through the forests and continue the drive to Rabang La/Gangtok. O/N Netuk House.
Tashiding monastery is the holiest monastery in Sikkim. It is believed that just seeing the Stupa of the monastery will wash away the sins of a lifetime. The monastery is situated atop a hill, straddling the Rangit and the Rathong rivers on two sides. The walk up to the monastery takes about an hour and can be graded a moderate climb. The descent takes about forty-five minutes.
Day 9: After breakfast whole day sightseeing in Gangtok (1600m) on jeep/bus – Tashi View Point, Ganesh Tok View Point, Enchey Monastery, Flower Show, Handicrafts Center, Institute of Tibetology and local market. O/N Netuk House.
Day 10: After breakfast drive to Rumtek Monastery (24km/1 ½ hrs drive). Visit the Rumtek Monastery and then walk to Martam Village (7km/1- 2 hrs) with a visit to the Old Rumtek Monastery on the way. After lunch – at leisure. O/N Martam Village Resort
The easy level walk from Rumtek monastery to Martam Village will take about two to three hours. We will visit the Old Rumtek monastery on the way. Although the walk is along a paved road, there is little or no traffic on the way.
Day 11: Whole day walks in Martam – After breakfast walk down to the village and rice fields with visits to typical village houses. After lunch – walk to the forests above Martam with visit to the Hermit’s cave. O/N Martam Village Resort.
Martam is a beautiful village situated in a large valley. The terraced rice field of the village is a sight to see during October/November when the crop is ripe. This is a pedominantly Bhutia village with some Nepalese families also. The morning walk will be to the rice-fields and the village. We will be visiting some typical Bhutia and Nepalese houses where one can interact with them. This leisurely walk will take between two to three hours.
After lunch, we will be climbing up to the fringes of the forests above Martam. These forests are part of the Fambrong Wild Life Sanctuary. The moderate climb will be up to the meditation cave above the village. This cave was once used by a holy lama for meditation. A small monastery has now been established in and around the cave.
Day 12: Drive to Kalimpong (80 km, 4-5hrs). After lunch visit Durpin Danra Monastery and viewpoint and local flower nursery by bus/jeep. O/N The Orchid Retreat.
Walk starts from The Orchid Retreat. The entire walk will be on village paths through agricultural land on hill terraces.
A gentle 3km walk on a downhill gradient brings us to an old Shiva temple (Ichhanath Shivalaya Mandir) in the village of Echhey. From the temple the path runs level for 3 km through agricultural land to a point called Harra Botay and walking on a further 2 km one reaches an old wooden bridge straddling the Relli River.
After crossing the Relli River on the old wooden bridge, one has to climb a short (approximately half an hour) of steep mountain trail and then the path levels off on the hillside to reach the village of Lolay. This is a 4km stretch and one reaches the Roman Catholic Church, from here one takes a 4km path/trail downhill to reach the small hamlet of Relli Bazaar on the banks of the Relli River
Day 13: Departure transfer from Kalimpong.