Sikkim,Darjeeling& Bhutan (16 Days)
BHUTAN – The ancient land with magical customs and people with deeply held beliefs. It may be difficult for a visitor to imagine that as recently as 1960 telecommunication was nonexistent and travel within the kingdom could only be made by horseback or on foot. There were no roads. Explore the land of Dzongs (fortress), monasteries, majestic mountains and rich heritage. This land of architectural landmarks has warm-hearted and friendly people committed to preserving each element of Bhutanese life.
SIKKIM – The smallest state in India is the land of orchids, monasteries, mountains, glacier, and passes. Here Kanchenjunga occupies a special status for the Sikkimese as a sacred protecting deity. People here are hospitable, warm and friendly.
DARJEELING – View the early sunrise at the Tiger Hill, the Ghoom monastery, mountains, glaciers, and passes. Kanchenjunga is considered a sacred protecting deity, and the residents worship it. People here are hospitable, warm and friendly.
Day 1: Arrival at Delhi
Assistance upon arrival and transfer to the hotel. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 2: DELHI - BAGDOGRA – DARJEELING
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Bagdogra. Assistance upon arrival, drive towards Darjeeling and transfer to your hotel upon arrival.
Day 3: DARJEELING
Darjeeling is situated on a steep ridge and surrounded by tea plantations. Early morning you will visit the Tiger Hill from where you have the best view of Kanchenjunga, Khembalung, and Everest. Also, visit the Ghoom monastery. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 4: DARJEELING - PEMAYANGTSE
After breakfast leave for Pemayangtse (150 km). Evening you are free to explore the area on your own. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 5: PEMAYANGTSE
The sunrise and sunset can be viewed at best from Pemayangtse. Visit the olden Nyingmapa monastery and the wish-fulfilling lake, Kanchenjunga. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 6: PEMAYANGTSE – GANGTOK
Today drive to Gangtok, the capital town of Sikkim. In the evening, you are free to explore the city. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 7: GANGTOK
After breakfast, go for an excursion tour to Rumtek monastery. Also, visit the Orchid Sanctuary and the Tashi viewpoint. Evening drive back to the hotel. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 8: GANGTOK – PHUNTSHOLING via SILIGURI
After breakfast drive towards the border town of Nhuntsholing. Transfer to the hotel upon arrival.
Day 9: SILIGURI –THIMPU (BHUTAN)
After breakfast, leave to Thimphu, a 7 to 8 hours scenic drive. En-route visit the Khatbandi Gompa and Takti Chu falls. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. Evening at leisure to explore the capital town of Bhutan, Thimphu.
Day 10: THIMPHU
Thimphu – It is a short hour and a half drive from one central valley to the next across paddy fields, apple orchards, farmhouses, cattle and cowboys, pine trees, and hamlets that smell of burning wood. Check-in at your hotel. When in Thimphu be prepared for several things. Afternoon sightseeing includes a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, the seat of the Royal Government and central monastic body. The monastic body was rebuilt in the early 1960s after a fire destroyed most of the building. See the late King’s Memorial Chorten which is well visited by the residents of Thimphu during festive and religious occasions. In the late afternoon stroll through town. Not far from the market place is the Changlimithang ground where you will always find the game of archery (the national sport of Bhutan) played.
Day 11 & 12: THIMPHU TO PUNAKHA / WANGDIPHODRANG DZONG / PARO
Drive east climbing steadily towards the Dochu La pass at 10,000 feet. A large chorten and a forest prayer flag greet you as you face the range of majestic peaks towards the north. Gangkhar Puensum, among others, is the highest unclimbed peak (over 24,000 feet) in the world. See the magnolias, and travel down to the semitropical zone of orange, banana, and cactuses. Situated near the river on a small plateau is the famous Chime Lhakhang built by the well-known “divine mad monk” Drukpa Kunley. It is a renowned pilgrim site for infertile women wishing to bear children.
The Punakha Dzong built in the 16th century was the winter capital for 300 years. Today, it is winter home to the Je Khenpo district. Downstream from the Punakha valley is the Wangdlphodrang Dzong strategically located on a ridge (at 4,430 feet) overlooking the old trade routes that ran east-west and north-south. The Punakha and Wangdi valleys are also the winter home for many of the high altitude farmers who migrated cattle to the warm climate in the valley. The numerous paddy fields indicate the ideal conditions for agriculture. Farmers here often grow 2 to 3 crops a year, rice and chilly being important cash crops for the farmers. Drive back to Paro via Thimpu.
Day 13 & 14: PARO
The people of Paro are known for their hard work which they like to show in their big and traditional country houses. If you marry a girl from Paro, be prepared to put a metal roofing over the traditional shingle roof in your wife’s house, to show that you are capable and well-to-do husband. Morning sightseeing includes the Ta Dzong national museum, considered to contain the best natural and historical artefacts. Then, a short drive to the Drukgyel Dzong fortress, a strategic sentry where the Bhutanese forces repelled the numerous Tibetan invasions from the north. The majestic Jumolhari or the mountain of the goddess is seen in the background. For many, the 2-3 hour hike to Taktsang or the famous Tiger’s nest’ is a memorable spiritual journey. It was here that the great tantric master, Guru Padmasambhava flew in from Tibet on a tiger to bring Buddhist teachings to Bhutan. Since then, many Buddhist masters have made this an important retreat in their spiritual quest. You can spend the remainder of the day shopping or stroll through town.
Day 15: PARO – DELHI
Transfer to the airport for the flight to Delhi. The flight from Bhutan is one of the most spectacular experiences you may ever have. The chain of the world’s highest peaks Mt Everest, Lhotse, Mt Mackinley, and Kanchenjunga is breathtaking. Also take in the primaeval alpine forests, small mountains, temples, farmhouses along the Paro valley, all in splendid isolation. Assistance upon arrival at Delhi and transfer to the hotel. Rest of the time spent in leisure.
Day 16: DELHI – ONWARDS DESTINATION
Transfer to the airport for the flight to the onwards destination as per the international flight schedule.