From Darjeeling hills where tea plantations stretch as far as the eye can see, to Sikkim, an ancient Himalayan kingdom of Tibetan culture, this trek offers breath-taking views of the Himalayan range from Cho Oyo to Kanchenjunga. The Singalila range is one of the rare spots on earth where the view embraces five summits rising above 8000m, amongst them Everest, Makalu and Lhotse. On these 19th century English Lords trails, you will trek on easy narrow paths along the Indo-Nepali border, sometimes at the edge of the jungle, sometimes through rhododendron forests. The visit of the main Sikkim monasteries (Pemayangtse, Tashiding, Rumtek) provide a touch of culture and make of this journey a rare venture.
Location : Darjeeling & Sikkim
Duration : 17 days
Difficulty Level : Medium
Maximum altitude: 3640 m
Arrive Delhi, where you will be met and transfered to your hotel. (Hotel B&B)
Delhi - Bagdogra (by plane) - Darjeeling (2130m) by car.
Arrive Bagdogra airport and transfer to Darjeeling. A charming 4-hour journey, through Assam tea plantations and tiny villages takes us to Darjeeling. Built on top of a ridge, Darjeeling faces the Himalaya and is a popular destination for Westerners and Bengalis alike. Overnight in Darjeeling.
We could take an early trip to Tiger Hill to see the sunrise. Afterwards we visit the famous Ghoom monastery that enshrines an image of the Maitreya Buddha (the coming Buddha). Later on we can visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and tea plantations. Overnight in Darjeeling.
Darjeeling - Manay Bhanjang ( 2134m. 1h 30) by car - Tonglu (3070m) in 4h.Early morning drive from Darjeeling to trek point. The trail overlooks the Bengali plain south, and we have tantalising glimpses of Kanchenjunga ahead, as we zigzag through rhododendrons.
Tonglu - Garibas (2620m) in 4h.
We take a mossy paved path, that snakesthrough a succession of forests and hamlets, giving way, from time to time, to spectacular mountain sceneries.
Garibas - Sandakphu (3640m) in 4h30.
We steadily climb to join the ridge trail towards Kalpokhari. Afterwards we start a long and steep climb onto the Singalila ridge that leads us to Sandakphu. A remarkable 360 ° view from the top.
Sandakphu - Phalut (3600m) in 6h.
We walk to a prominent viewpoint for the magnificent sunrise over the Kanchenjunga, Jannu, Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyo. Throughout the day, there are ever-changing views: yak herds, silvery pine forests, tiny lakes ringed with grass, and the snow-capped Himalayan range in the background.
Phalut - Raman (2560m) in 5h.
A pleasant descent through the woods takes us to Gorkhey (2500m) then we climb up towards Raman.
Raman - Rimbik (2280m) in 4h.
We pass through numerous villages and cross the Sri Khola over a remarkable suspension bridge.
Rimbik - Pelling by car (9h).
Pelling - Pemayangtse - Yuksam by car (2h).
2.5 km from Pelling, we will visit the Pemayangtse monastery. Perched at 2800m, it is one of the oldest and most impressive gompas in Sikkim.
Yuksam - Tashiding - Martam by car (6h)
En route, we visit the Tashiding monastery, one of the most isolated in Sikkim, perched on the top of a hill set between two rivers.
Martam - Gangtok by car.
We visit the Rumtek monastery, reputed for its religious Tibetan art. Visitors are welcome to attend prayers.
Day 14 : Visit Gangtok.
We will enjoy a visit of the amazing Orchid Sanctuary, where we can see a few of the 454 orchid species listed in Sikkim. To complete the day we will visit the Enchey and Do Drul monasteries, and the Tibetology Institute, which houses one of the richest collections of thankas and religious works in the world.