Sikkim Tour / Kanchenjunga and Rhododendron Trek

Destinations: Sikkim Tour / Kanchenjunga and Rhododendron Trek
Trip Duration: 16 Days
Best Time: December to March

Trip Cost

ON REQUEST

 

  • Day 01: Arrive Delhi / KolkataYou will be met on arrival and transferred by taxi to your hotel. The afternoon will be spent sightseeing either in Delhi or Kolkata depending on your arrival.
  • Day 02: Delhi / Kolkata - Bagdogra - By Flight - Darjeeling (7,500 ft) - By Surface / 88 km / approx 3 hrsOn arrival at Bagdogra, either from Delhi or Kolkata, you will be received and driven straight up to Darjeeling on a three hours scenic drive that takes you through tea gardens and forests. Set against the majestic backdrop of the Great Himalayas, there is lovely verdant abundance everywhere - evergreen woods, firs and pines.
  • Day 03: In DarjeelingYou have a full day in Darjeeling to explore one of the most picturesque hill stations in the country set against the backdrop of the Great Himalayan Ranges. Your day begins with a 13 km drive to Tiger Hill for a magnificent view of the sunrise over Mt Khangchen-Dzonga. Thereafter one can visit the tea gardens or pass an interesting day with local sightseeing not to miss a walk down 'Chowrasta', which is lined with shops and restaurants. The places of interest in Darjeeling are the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Himalayan Zoological Park, Botanical Gardens and Ranjit Passenger Ropeway - floating above the lush green valley carpeted with tea gardens.
  • Day 04: Darjeeling - Yoksum (1,780 m / 5,840 ft) - By Surface / 126 km / approx 6 hrsYou begin your journey into West Sikkim with a drive past Pemayangtse and a further 32 km to Yoksum. This was the first capitol of Sikkim, where according to historical records, the first Chogyal of Sikkim was consecrated in 1641 by three learned Lamas. The evidence of the consecration ceremony is still intact in Norbugang Chorten in the form of a mute stone throne and a footprint of the Head Lama on a stone. About two and a half km away is the residence of Gyalwa Latchen, which was later converted into a monastery - the first of sixty-seven.
    Since the history of the State begins from this place, these areas are now considered scared by the people of Sikkim. A tableland of barley and apples, Yoksum provides beautiful vistas of mini-lakes with the Himalayan Ranges in the backdrop. Yoksum is the last motorable point. Beyond lies a region reputed to be amongst the best high altitude trekking areas of the world.
  • Day 05: Yoksum - Bakim (2,744 m / 9,000 ft) - Trek / 14 km / approx 8 hrsThe trek begins with the track skirting meadows and meandering past huts. After an hour of flat track, which is criss-crossed by two wide streams, whose waters seem to be in a hurry to meet the river below, the climb begins. A walk of another four hours on a path lined with sky embracing trees and carpeted with leaves falling from the surrounding vegetation takes you towards Bakim, which has a trekker's hut. A further one hours' climb and you are at Bakim. Camp overnight.
  • Day 06: Bakim - Zongri (4,030 m / 13,220 ft) - Trek / 12 km / approx 7 hrsA two km trek from Bakim brings you to Choka (3,006 m / 9,860 ft). Choka itself is a small village consisting of about a dozen houses and a monastery. To cater for tourists most of these houses offer accommodation and food at a nominal cost. A fairly steep climb above Choka takes you into beautiful rhododendron forests and along a well-defined, uphill path to Phedung (about 2 - 3 hours from Choka) - a good lunch spot. A further climb of around two hours takes you to the trek lodges at Zongri. Camp overnight.
  • Day 07: At Zongri - acclimatizationToday is a chance to explore the area and to climb the small peaks near to the campsite for tremendous views. From the Zongri La, about an hours' walk from the trekker's huts, the view of the mountain ranges is heavenly. In front of you is the Kabur Dome and piercing the sky is the mount Pandim. Mt Khangchen Dzonga with its accompanying peaks towers over you in the north. This is particularly worthwhile in the early morning and the evening. While you can rest if you wish, there will be a short acclimatization walk around the local area to help prepare you for the next few days. At Zongri the bridle path ends and bifurcates into two footpaths: one leading to the Base Camp and the other to Goecha La. Camp overnight.
  • Day 08: Zongri - Thangsing (3,780 m / 12,400 ft) - Trek / 6 km / approx 5 hrsToday you ascend gradually over open hillside for a mile or so to a low ridge visible from the camp site (4,115 m / 13,500 ft). From here, beside some chortens on the skyline there are fabulous views of Khangchen Dzonga and Pandim. You then descend, at first traversing down towards Pandim on the far side of the valley, then dropping steeply on a good path through rhododendron forest to the Prek Chu River at 3,749 m / 12,300 ft for lunch (3 hours). There is a new trekking lodge here, which the crew may use for cooking. You cross the river and ascend gradually for 1½ hrs through pine forest to reach a grassy campsite, beneath the shapely unclimbed peak of Pandim. A new hut has been built here, which may be available for cooking or even sleeping. Camp overnight.
  • Day 09: Thangsing - Samiti Lake (4,308 m / 14,130 ft) - Trek / 2 km / approx 2 hrsToday's walk is fairly short to give plenty of opportunity to rest before tomorrow's big day. The trail is gradual and traces along the banks of Prek Chu River. The walk upon this U-shaped valley feels more divine than earthly. Thickets of rhododendrons and stretches of moraines are passed on the way while mind-blowing view of the Khangchen Dzonga remains constant and domineering all the way. Samiti Lake is beautiful, holy and emerald green nestling behind brightly coloured, wind-torn prayer flags. Camp overnight.
  • Day 10: Samiti Lake - Goecha La (4,942 m / 16,210 ft) - Trek / 5 km / approx 4 hrs - Thangsing - Trek / 7 km downhill / 4 hrsAn alpine start today, you set off in the early morning climbing a hill behind the lake before traversing a moraine and then descending to the sandy bed of an empty lake. The whole area above Samiti Lake is called the Chemithang Plateau. You cross this under the shadow of Pandim and then ascend a moraine to a height of about 4,785 m / 15,700 ft, where you rest above a frozen lake which is dotted with snow and ice pinnacles. The Goecha La Pass is a further hour away across the lake, up a steep slope and then on a well-trodden path to the objective, which is festooned with brightly coloured prayer flags. There are stupendous views of the east flank of Kangchen Dzonga as well as mountains and valleys in the distance. Returning down the valley, there will be a welcome meal for you at Samiti Lake for a short rest before setting off to walk gently downhill for 1½ hrs, to reach Thangsing and the tents. Those who do not wish to attempt reaching the pass can stay in camp and relax, or walk to the viewing point (about 1½ hours walk above Samiti Lake) and return. Camp overnight.
  • Day 11: Thangsing - Choka - Trek / 16 km / approx 7 ½ hrsIt is worth getting up early to make the short hike to the ridge behind the camp. From here there are fantastic views of Kangchen Dzonga and one can look back up to the Goecha La. Leaving Thangsing, you take a different route back, avoiding the long climb to the Dzongri Plateau. Descending to the Prek Chu River, you contour round through jungle, with, inevitably, some ups as well as downs, to emerge at Phedung again. From there it is a steep walk down to Choka. Camp overnight.
  • Day 12: Choka - Yoksum - Trek / 16 km / approx 5 ½ hrsToday you descend steeply back down to the Prek Chu River, following the route taken on the first day, and then contour gradually downwards to reach the village of Yoksum, the starting point. Overnight at the Tashigang Hotel.
  • Day 13: Yoksum - Gangtok - By Surface / 123 km / approx 4 kmFrom Yoksum you get back on wheels and undertake a four-hour scenic drive through the verdant hillside of West Sikkim. Probably gives you ample time to savor the invigorating moments of the recent trek as well as marvel about the awesome views that were seen along the way. On reaching Gangtok you check into your hotel.
  • Day 14: Gangtok - Rumtek - Gangtok - By Surface / 23 km / approx 1 hrBesides sightseeing in Gangtok (such as the Research Institute of Tibetology, Government Institute of Cottage Industry, Tashi View Point) you also get to move out on a short excursion to visit Rumtek Monastery. This monastery is certainly the largest in Sikkim and is a fine example of Tibetan architecture. The Main monastery is three-storied and has a large prayer hall on the ground floor. The prayer hall is intricately decorated with statues, wall paintings, thankas and tubular silk banners. On the first floor are the living quarters of the last Karmapa. The top floor has a terrace and a small stupa. A flight of stairs from just outside the main monastery complex takes you to the Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist studies. You are greeted by a huge painting of Lord Buddha just outside the Nalanda Institute. A fifteen minutes walk downhill from the Main Monastery takes one to the old Rumtek Monastery which was first built in 1730 by the ninth Karmapa but was destroyed due to a fire and had to be reconstructed to its present state.
  • Day 15: Gangtok - Bagdogra - By Surface / 123 km / approx 4 hrs - Delhi / Kolkata - By Flight - Departure Delhi / Kolkata

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