Day 01: Arrival at Sikkim Capital Gangtok (1437m)
Upon our arrival at the nearest airports either Bagdora of Bengal and Bhadrapur of Nepal, we drive to Sikkim. The distance from Bagdora to Sikkim is 124 km and from Bagdora to Siligrui is only about 16 km. The nearest railway stations are in Siliguri at 114 km and New Jalpaiguri at 125 km. The distance from Bagdora to Gangtok is 94 kms.
Since, depending on from where we are travelling into Sikkim - Bagdogra Airport, New Jalpaiguri Rail Station, Phuntsholing Bhutan Border or Bhadrapur Airport - we drive about 5 hrs to Gangtok. Upon arrival at Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim, we will be escorted into our hotel. In the evening, we stroll nearby our hotel or just take rest.
Day 02: Gangtok sightseeing
Today early in the morning, we make our excursion at Tashi View point, near about 8km from Gangtok. Astounding view of Khangchendzonga and the Siniolchu greet us at this point. Some distant north, Sikkim monasteries along the North Sikkim highway are also visible from this point. After having short excursion, we return back to the hotel for breakfast. At this juncture, we are ready to start our today's program.
First we will visit Directorate of Handicrafts and Handlooms (also known as Government Institute of Cottage Industries), established by government to promote the manufacturing and selling of authentic and traditional arts and handicraft: blankets and shawls in "Lepcha" weaves, thankas, wooden decoration etc. Next point to be visited is Enchey Monastery. This small hermitage was built by lama Druptob Karpo (renowned for his power of flying) after he flew at this place from Maenam Hill in South Sikkim more than 200 years ago. Further, we also do not miss the opportunity to be at Research Institute of Tibetology, a world-renowned research center for Tibetan Buddhism. The research institute showcases the rare collection of antique like statues, antic manuscripts, thangkas etc. This Institute was founded by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1957. Along in the evening, we will visit Rumtek Monastery which lays near about 24 km From Gangtok in a lovely landscape. The first monastery was built in 1717 by Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal, but then was destroyed by the earthquake and aging. His holiness 16th Gyalwa Karmapa constructed the second monastery in 1960. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 03: Drive Gangtok to Yuksom (1780m); 135 km, 5 hrs
Yuksom, the old capital of Sikkim, is about 135 km from Gangtok and a 5 hours drive. At our arrival at Yuksom, we will be escorted into our Hotel. Yuksom preserves few mosastries among them the Dubdi monastery is situated on top of a hill. In the evening, our guide will provide some tips on trekking in Mt Kanchendzonga National Park as well.
Day 04: Trekking from Yoksom to Bakhim (2790m): 6 hrs
Upon our breakfast at hotel, we will begin our hiking journey into Sikkim's pristine wilderness. Even when we get up in the morning, we can view the tips of Kabru and Kanchenjunga beckoning above the end of the valley beyond Yoksum. The hike today will last about six hours and pass through wooded hills of oaks, spruce, and giant magnolias and rhododendrons. While hiking at this juncture, we break for lunch along the route, and then continue up the Ratong Valley. We further resume our meandering way, until short steep drop brought us down to the Prek Chu. Finally, till to arrive at Bakhim, we almost climb about 1000m today. Overnight in a forest bungalow or Camp.
Day 05: Trekking from Bakhim to Phedang (3760m): 5 hrs
A challenging day of the trek begins as we gain steep altitude. After breakfast, we begin a moderate climb through yak and sheep grazing meadows around Tshoka and pass till the last tiny village of Bhutias. We get our first close up view of Mount Pandim (6,693m). After Tshoka, the trail continues up through rhododendron forests of Phedang (3,689m). Overnight at Phedang.
Day 06: Trekking from Phedang to Dzongri (4031m): 3 hrs
We start trek with a more or less flat walk for about an hour followed by half an hour of relatively steep climb. We further walk an hour's climb down through an undulating and winding trail. A day of uphill walks through lush rhododendron and fir forests enhence us to encouonter at a panoramic view of the snow capped mountain peaks. While having brief climb with the views of Koktang, Rathong, Kabru, Kanchendzonga, Simvo and Pandim, the trail continuously paves our upcoming path through rhododendron forests. The last half an hour whill be through the sparse vegetation. At this juncture the spectacular views of Kanchendzonga, Kabru, Pandim, Koktang and Narsingh enthrall us. Further, Dzongri offers a fascinatingly close up view of the Kanchendzonga massif and other Himalayan peaks. Dinner and overnight stay at the camp.
Day 07: Hiking to Gingay Dara (4329m) for acclimatization
At dawn, we get up early morning and walk a little away from Dzongri to see an unforgettable sunrise. We view the changing colors of mesmerizing first sunbeams both on Mt. Kangchenjunga and the mountains above Onglakhang Valley. After breakfast, we hike to Gingay Dara which offers not only stunning views of the Rathong Valley and Glacier Rathong but also on the snowy peaks of the Kokthang , Kabru , and many other Himalayan peaks to the south of Kangchenjunga. The hike to Gingay Dara will be moderate around four hour's roundtrip. Night camp at Dzongri.
Day 08: Trekking from Dzongri to Tshoka
Today, we trek back from Dzongri to Tshoka. After breakfast trek down to Tshoka. We pass the Village which we encountered on the way to Dzongri. At this juncture we take a lunch break again at Phedang and descend to Tshoka. Overnight at Tshoka.
Day 09: Trekking from Tshoka to Yuksom Village (1780m)
Today upon our breakfast, we trek back from Tshoka to Yuksom Village via Bakhim. We will have our lunch for the day at Shachen and after lunch descend to Yuksom. Check in at Hotel at Yuksom. At evening, we meet the camping crew for farewell. Ovrnight at Yuksom.
Day 10: Drive from Yuksom to Darjeeling (2050m): 126km, 5 hrs
Our today's point of destination will be for Derjeeling. On the way to Darjeeling, we pay our visit to Khechopalri Lake, one of a few sacred lakes of Sikkim. The name Khechopalri means Lake of birds in pleasant mountains. Sikkimese call Khechopalri Lake as Tsho-Sho which means "Great Lake". The water is placid and crystal clear. Not a single leaf can be seen floating upon the water in the lake. There is an ancient belief is that if a leaf drops on the surface of the water it is picked by a bird. Khechopalri lake lies in a depression (1780m) surrounded by prayer flags and forested hills. The tranquillity of the lake is mood elevating.
Day 11: Darjeeling, sightseeing
The second last day of our trip starts with our jouney to Tiger Hill at early morning to see the view of sunrise over Mt. Kanchendzonga. At the back to the hotel way, we will visit Yiga-Choling (Ghoom). Upon our breakfast, we start our sightseeing program around Darjeeling. Within Darjeeling we pay our visit to Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, inhabited by rare representatives of Himalayan fauna: Siberian tiger, Himalayan black bear, red panda, snow leopard and many other animals and bird species. Our next visits will be at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, at Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Center, also known as a major center for the production of Tibetan carpets, woodwork and leather goods, and at famous Tea Garden and Tea Factory of Darjeeling.
Day 12: Farewell Sikkim!!!
Depending upon our next destination, today we will be escorted from Darjeeling to either Bhadrapur Airport in Nepal or Bagdogra Airport or Phuntsholing or New Jalpaigudi Rail Station in India. Upon arrival at our final departure station, we will be greeted by farewell greetings.