Sikkim Village Walk
Trip Code: AITSVW
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Not found in guidebooks, and off the well-trodden tourist trails, this walking tour offers an unforgettable experience of the remote kingdom of Sikkim – home to spectacular scenery, remarkable religious monuments and vibrant cultures.
It is said that India resides in its villages. This walk allows you to amble through unspoilt remote villages and interact freely with locals, giving you a unique taste of Sikkim’s traditional life and culture. Easy daily walks of between 4 and 6 hours can be adjusted to suit your needs. Accommodation is provided in clean and comfortable village houses that have been refurbished for travellers without imposing on hosts or sacrificing their authenticity.
The best time to undertake this trip is between late September and mid November, when clear sunny days are ideal for mountain views; or March to May, when the region’s rich array of colourful plants are in bloom.
Please make an inquiry to receive a detailed itinerary and to discuss fitness requirements of the walk.
Day 1 Kolkata
You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. Multicultural, cosmopolitan Kolkata is the capital of West Bengal and India’s second largest city. Spend the afternoon relaxing or exploring some of its sights; you may enjoy a stroll in the Maidan or wander the old area of the city with its bustling, narrow lanes and century-old buildings. [Image: Mckaysavage].
Day 2 Kolkata
A day of sightseeing in Kolkata. Places of interest include the splendid Victoria Memorial; the atmospheric Park Street Cemetery with its grand mausoleums; the vast Marble Palace; Paresnath, a Jain temple with exquisite marble inlay work and mirrored hallways; and Kalighat, the temple dedicated to Kali (patron goddess of Kolkata) on the banks of the Hooghly River. [Image: Vishaka Jayakumar].
Day 3 Sombaria
Take a morning flight to Bagdogra. On arrival you will be driven 4-5 hours to Sombaria, a small remote town near the Indo-Nepal border, with a population made of up people belonging to the Marwari, Bhutia, Limbu and Sherpa communities. Situated at an altitude of 1,130 metres, it commands panoramic views and is known as an ideal place for bird watching with both migrant and resident birds of different species found here in abundance.
Day 4 Hilley
After breakfast begin an uphill walk of approximately 5-6 hours along the village trail to Hilley, passing by village houses and agricultural fields. Situated at an altitude of 2,780 metres, this charming hamlet is untouched by tourism despite being one of the most popular entry points to the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary during the flowering season. The people residing here belong mostly to the Sherpa community and their main source of income is from agriculture.
Day 5 Rodhu Khandu
Today’s 5-6 hour walk takes you firstly to the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary – ablaze with colour during March and April. Spread over an area of 104 sq km across the steep Singalila Range this bio-diverse sanctuary forms the natural international border with Nepal. If you are lucky, you may see Red Pandas here. Continue on to the hill-top village of Rodhu Khandu, where you spend the night in a traditional village house.
Day 6 Uttarey
Pass through a number of small villages on today’s 4–5 hour walk. Spend the night at Uttarey, a scenic village on the gentle northern slope of the Singalila range, surrounded by mountains that soar to over 8,300 metres. Enjoy the hospitality of the locals as you try the local beer “tongba”, which is made of fermented millet and is usually drunk out of a bamboo container from a bamboo straw.
Day 7 Bhulong
As you leave Uttarey Village this morning, pay a visit to the trout cultivation centre run by the fisheries department of the state government; inside the large covered compound, several types of trout are bred in tanks of various sizes. Continuing on, the 5-6 hour walk is a steady climb up to Bhulong Village, situated in one of the most remote parts of Western Sikkim.
Day 8 Pelling
Compared to previous days walks, today’s 4-5 hour walk is an easy one. The trail to Pelling passes two of Sikkim’s most revered monasteries. The oldest, Sangachoeling Monastery, was founded around 1697. The second oldest, the awe-inspiring Pemayangtse (‘Perfect Sublime Lotus’) Monastery, founded in 1705, houses a good collection of wall paintings and sculptures. The little town of Pelling is famous for its magnificent views of the Khanchendzonga ranges.
Day 9 Gangtok
This morning drive 5 hours to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Scenically located on a ridge at a height of 1,680 metres, it affords excellent views of the entire Khanchendzonga range. Arrive at around noon and check into your hotel with free time in the afternoon to explore the fascinating bazaar on MG Road. In the evening attend a lecture on Tibetan Buddhism presented by an expert on the subject.
Day 10 Gangtok
Spend today exploring around Gangtok. At Rumtek Monastery, with its beautiful murals and religious artefacts, crimson-robed Lamas chant mantras to the rhythm of drums and trumpets in the flickering light of decorative lamps. Visit the Institute of Tibetology, which promotes research into Tibetan culture and Mahayana Buddhism; it is situated in an Orchid Sanctuary, which contains as many as 454 species of orchids. Nearby is a shrine surrounded by prayer-wheels.
Day 11 Kolkata
After breakfast, drive to Bagdogra airport to board your flight to Kolkata. On arrival transfer to a domestic or international flight or you’ll be met and assisted with a transfer to the city.
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