In Brief: From the tea estates of Darjeeling to extravagant monasteries in Sikkim. This tour takes you to boundaries once restricted to foreigners but now open to showcase the hidden treasures of the mountain people. Be it art, architecture or culture this tour presents to you a diversity to cherish the interests of the visitor. For the tea connoisseurs, Darjeeling offers some of the choicest tea and is renowned for its best quality.

Route: Kakaribhitta (Nepal) -> Darjeeling (India) -> Gangtok -> Gangtok -> Chalsa -> Phuentsholing (Bhutan).

Trip Highlights:

  • Tea Estates of Darjeeling where some of the finest tea is produced.
  • Panaromic views of Mt. Khangchenjunga, the 3rd highest peak in the world.
  • Toy Train Ride in the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways a UNESCO Heritage Site. 
  • Drukpa Kagyu and Nyingmapa Monasteries.
  • Himalayan Mountaineering Institute where artifacts of all the pioneer mountaineers are displayed.
  • Research Institute of Tibetology where rare manuscripts, antique paintings, thangkas, shrines, tapestries, masks and other religious works of Tibetan Art are displayed.
  • Handicraft Emporium where all the traditional crafts of Sikkim are manufactured and displayed.
  • 110-year-old Coronation Bridge, a landmark of British Rule in India.
  • Drive through Wildlife Sanctuaries (Gurumara National Park & Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary).

Trip Facts:

  • Grade: Leisure
  • Tour Duration: 5 days
  • Max. Altitude: 2555 Meters (Tiger Hill)
  • Season: Aug - May
  • Accommodation: 2 night's in Darjeeling, 1 night in Gangtok Sikkim & 1 night in Chalsa West Bengal.
  • Transportation: Private Vehicle

Outline Itinery:

Days

Draft Itinerary

Meal Plan

Day 1

Arrival Kakaribhitta Nepal ~ Darjeeling

MAP

Day 2

Darjeeling

MAP

Day 3

Darjeeling ~ Gangtok

MAP

Day 4

Gangtok ~ Chalsa

MAP

Day 5

Chalsa ~ Phuentsholing

BB

MAP= Modified American Plan (Breakfast + Dinner)

What to Expect:

India, it is often said, is not a country but a continent. From north to south and east to west, the people are different, the languages are different, the customs are different the country is different. -  a nation of wonderful people rich in culture, tradition and history with a refreshing warmth and friendliness.

Experience has shown that sometimes minor problems can occur. Whilst our ground staff are always on hand to rectify such occurrences, we do request that you take a patient and broadminded approach to travelling in India.

 

Health

There are no compulsory vaccinations for India. However, it is recommended you consult your doctor or a traveller’s medical centre for advice on recommended inoculations such as typhoid, hepatitis A, malaria and cholera.

 

Currency

The Indian currency is the Rupee and is a fully convertible currency. The Rupee notes are available in denominations of 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1. Coins are available in the denominations of 5, 2, 1 (rupee) and 50 & 25 paise.  For security we advise taking the majority of your money in Travellers Cheques.

These are easily exchanged in the major hotels and banks. Please note that it is imperative that you retain evidence of your transaction, as this is required when changing back any remaining local currency at the airport on departure from India.  Exchange rates at airports are generally lower so it is best to avoid changing money at the airport on arrival.

Most hotels, restaurants & some shops accept major credit cards such as American Express, Visa, Master Card & Diners Club.

 

Climate

India is so vast that the climatic conditions in the far north have little relation to those of the extreme south. Basically, India has three seasons a year – the hot, the wet and the cool. The best time to visit is during the winter (Nov to Feb).

 

Clothing

The Indian people are informal and casual -Jeans & T-shirts and casual dresses are adequate - you are requested not to wear very brief shorts or revealing clothes.  The best known Indian outfit for women is the “Sari”.

 

Accommodation

First Class hotels are used on all tours and all rooms have private bathrooms. However, standards may vary between different areas in India. In remote areas we use the best available hotels. Mail, international phone and fax services are available in most hotels

 

Train travel

Trains in India are basic but comfortable - we always try and reserve first class or 2nd class air-conditioned carriages. First class is not available on all routes. Overnight train travel on our tours is in 2nd Class Air-conditioned 4 berth bunk-style compartments. Toilets and wash basins are located at the end of each carriage.

 

Food

In the main city hotels this will incorporate European as well as Indian and Oriental cuisine. In the more remote areas and smaller hotels and palaces food is local Indian cuisine. Meat dishes in smaller towns may be of a low standard, so we suggest you request vegetarian meals. The hotels are keenly aware of European reaction to Indian food and they take great care in areas of hygiene. Only drink bottled water, which is readily available throughout the country. Always ensure that the seal of the bottle is not broken.

 

Poverty and beggars

It is an inescapable fact that there are areas of extreme poverty in India and you will encounter sights which are disturbing. India does have a large number of beggars, in part because many Indians give alms to them for religious reasons. Those found by the hotels and tourist sites are professionals and not genuine. We ask that you try to accept that poverty and beggars are not seen as unusual in the Indian culture - we recommend that you do not give money to any beggars. We can advise on a number of charities that exist in India if you wish to help.

 

Baggage

Passengers travelling in economy class are allowed 20 kilos as free baggage allowance per person. Airlines are very rigid with waiving extra kilos and excess baggage rates are very high.

 

Tipping

Hotel porters expect tips of around RS.10.  In a group situation tipping for the coach driver is recommended at RS 20 per person - car driver RS 50 for a couple.  In restaurants or hotels, you are expected to tip 10% of the bill (if dining independently) In smaller places, where tipping is optional, you need only tip a few rupees - rupees 10 to 15 is fine, not a percentage on the bill.

 

Insurance

It is essential that all passengers take adequate insurance coverage.

 

Security
Always keep your passport in a safe place.  You are recommended to make a copy of your passport identity page and keep in a safe,  different place to your passport – this can be presented to Australian embassy officials in the event of a lost passport and it will make the task of obtaining an emergency replacement that much easier.  Never leave your luggage or valuables unattended.  Be particularly conscious when in a crowded place where professional thieves can target you.  If carrying a back-pack, it is better to wear it on your chest in these circumstances.  Wallets should not be carried in back pockets.

 

Embassies

India has a High Commission in Australia at:

High Commission of India

3-5 Moonah Place

Yarralumla  ACT  2600

Phn:  (02) 6273 3999

Fax:  (02) 6273 1308

There are also consulates in most Australian states for issue of Indian visas.

Australian consular assistance is available in India at:

Australian High Commission

Australian Compound

No 1/50 G Shantipath

Chanakyapuri

New Delhi

Phn: (91 11) 6888 223

 

Australian Consulate-General

16th Floor, Maker Towers E,

Cuffe Parade

Colaba

Mumbai

Phn: (91 22) 218 1071

 

It is recommended that you register yourself at one of the consulates during your stay in India.

Official travel advice for India is available from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade by calling 1300 555 135 in Australia, or visiting their website www.dfat.gov.au – we recommend you log in and read the latest travel information carefully.

Detail Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival Kakaribhitta (Nepal) ~ Darjeeling

Upon arrival at Kalkaribhitta, you will be received by our representative who will escort you to the Indian Border and thereafter complete immigration formalities before driving to Darjeeling. We stop at Glennary’s Restaurant in Bagdogra for refreshments and Lunch. After lunch, a short briefing and handouts will be given on the daily activities. We ascend from the plains of Siliguri to the Mountains of Darjeeling. The drive is very scenic through mountains of lush green Tea Plantation. On a clear day, one can see the Mt. Khangchenjunga Range.

Upon arrival in Darjeeling, we check into hotel.

Darjeeling in Brief:

The origin of the name "Darjeeling" is most likely from the Tibetan words 'Dorje' which means 'thunderbolt' and 'Ling' which means place or land. Quite literally, it is the 'Land of the Thunderbolt'. Originally, this was the name given to a Buddhist monastery atop the Observatory Hill which over time became the name of the whole surrounding area. What began as an experiment in 1841, the cultivation of tea became a full-fledged industry. By 1865, there were already 40 tea gardens covering 10,000 acres. This boom brought in immigrants, mainly from Nepal, to work in construction and tea gardens. Today there are around 86 tea gardens or estates fueling a multi-million dollar industry.

After the Darjeeling Municipality was set up in 1850, the tea industry boomed and there was an influx of immigrants. This also brought in the Scottish missionaries who undertook the construction of schools and welfare centers like Loreto Convent in 1847, St. Paul's School in 1864, Planters' Club in 1868, Lloyd's Botanical Garden in 1878, St. Joseph's School in 1888, Railway Station in 1891, Town Hall (present Municipality Building) in 1921.

Another major development was the inauguration of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in 1881 facilitating the link between Darjeeling and the plains.

Distance Travelled: 125 km approx

Time Taken: 4 hrs

 

Day 2: Darjeeling

AM we drive to Happy Valley Tea Estate to witness the manufacturing of Tea and how it is packaged for export. The Tea Estate is 20 minutes hike down from the main road and takes approximately 30 min to hike back. After a tour of the tea estates we visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute which is located at a close proximity.

PM we drive to the Railway Station to take a Joy ride in the Famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railways. The tour is approximately 2 hrs. Upon Arrival at the Railway Station in GHOOM, we visit the Ghoom Monastery followed by a visit to the Dali Monastery at Bloomfield Road.

Highlights:

  • Happy Valley Tea Estate
  • HMI
  • Toy Train Ride
  • Ghoom Monastery
  • Dali Monastery

Distance Travelled: 80 km Approx

Time Taken: 4 hrs

 

Day 3: Darjeeling ~ Gangtok

AM drive to Tiger Hills to witness the Sunrise and enjoy a panoramic view of the Himalayas. Thereafter we drive back to the hotel for Breakfast and drive to Gangtok (East Sikkim) via Rangpo. On a clear day the views of Mt. Khangchenjunga can be seen as we drive down to the Teesta Valley. The views seen from the mountains of Sikkim is equally spectacular as seen from Darjeeling. One will be able to witness the views of snowcapped mountains from dawn till dusk as we drive from Darjeeling to Gangtok.

We take regular intervals in between to stretch our muscles. The drive to Gangtok  is a steep descent into the Teesta River Valley from where we drive to Rangpo the border town of West Bengal and to enter into Sikkim.

PM drive to MG Marg to explore the bustling town of Gangtok. A lot of Handicraft stores are aligned along the main road.

Gangtok in Brief:

Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim with a population of approximately 50,000 has emerged into the mainstream of the Tourism Industry, with more and more tourist visiting this little Himalayan state every year. Gangtok has developed into a cosmopolitan flavour where old-world charm and hospitality exist along with the Internet Age.

With different cultures and religion existing in perfect harmony, Gangtok has shown that "Unity in Diversity" exists in Sikkim. Sikkimese have strong bonding with their age-old traditions and customs. However, a quick survey of Gangtok shows that the bubble of modernization has burst with a bang in the town. The capital is definitely not behind the rest of the world in terms of urbanization - Broad roads, flyovers, posh markets, state-of-art hospital, educational institutes, fast food outlets, discothèques, and all other modern amenities that the heart can desire for. One imposing manmade landmark of the town is the 200 ft-high TV tower which overlooks the town and is situated near the Enchey Monastry below Ganesh Tok. A stroll along the Mahatma Gandhi Marg is shopper's delight- Hotels, restaurants, curios, footwear and almost everything is available. Be here to experience the magic.

Distance Travelled: 98 km Approx

Time Taken: 4.5 hrs

 

Day 4: Gangtok ~ Chalsa

AM drive to Enchay Monastery, constructed by the famous flying monk Duthrop Karpo.  One will witness morning rituals being performed and various devotees circling monastery. A further drive uphill to Ganesh Tok viewpoint where spectacular mountain views of the Khangchenjunga Range are seen. After enjoying the majestic views of the mountains, we drive into the Zoological Park to see the wild animals and birds of the Himalayas. Thereafter we drive the handicraft center and then to Do-Drul Chorten at Deorali.

PM Visit the Research Institute of Tibetology. The museum in the Institute embraces one of the world's largest collected works and rare manuscripts on the theme of Mahayana Buddhism. Apart from this amazing collection, the museum houses more than 200 Buddhist icons, antique paintings, thangkas, statues, shrines, tapestries, masks and other religious works of Tibetan Art. In the present day, the Institute is a famous global center for the study of Buddhist philosophy and religion.

Afternoon drive to Chalsa. We stop at the Rangpo Check post to complete immigration formalities and continue drive along the Teesta River till the Coronation Bridge from where we take a diversion towards Doors till Chalsa. Upon arrival we check into Hotel.

Highlights:

  • Enchay Monastery
  • Ganesh Tok View Point
  • Zoological Park
  • Handicraft Emporium
  • Do Drul Chorten
  • Research Institute of Tibetology
  • M.G. Marg
  • Coronation Bridge
  • Tea Estates

Distance traveled: Approx 160 km

Time taken: 5-6 hrs

 

Day 5: Chalsa ~ Phuentsholing

The road is completely plain and scenic. We drive through tea plantations and cluster of villages and small towns. The route also by passes Wildlife sanctuaries.Upon Arrival in Jaigoan, the Indo-Bhutan border, we complete immigration formalities and enter into Bhutan. A travel representative from Bhutan will be waiting at the border to receive the clients.

Note: for Entry into Bhutan one must obtain a copy of Bhutan Visa.

Distance Traveled: 110 km approximately

Time taken: 3 hrs

Package cost:

on MAPAI (Modified American Plan) Inclusive of Breakfast & Dinner.

 COST PER PAX ON TWIN SHARING & US$

 GRADE A1

 5 STAR

 GRADE A

 4 STAR

 GRADE B

 2 STAR

 2 Pax

 US$ 1295

 US$ 999

 US$ 948

Location

Duration/Nights

GRADE A MAPAI

GRADE A MAPAI

GRADE B MAPAI

DARJEELING

2

MAYFAIR

CEDAR INN

DEKELING HOTEL

GANGTOK

1

ROYAL PLAZA

KEEPSA RESIDENCY

MINTOKLING

CHALSA

1

SINCLAIRS

SINCLAIRS

GREEN LAGOON

 

COST BASED ON

  • Meet & Greet upon arrival at Kakaribhitta Nepal
  • Twin Sharing Per Person
  • All Transfer & Sightseeing will be done by Toyota INNOVA or similar.
  • Meal Plan as per the details mentioned in the Hotel Bracket in RED.

Note:

  • These rates are valid from 1st June 2013 to 1st December 2013

THE COST DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • Cost for optional Tours & Up-gradation Charges.
  • Cost for service not mentioned under the “Cost Includes” Head
  • Cost for Airfare, Train fare, Insurance Premiums.
  • Payment for service provided on a personal request basis
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, soft drinks, incidentals, porter charges, tips etc.
  • Expenses incurred due to change in oil price, mishaps, landslide, strikes, political unrest etc. In such case extra will be charged as per actual which will be collected from the guest directly

THE FOLLOWING POINTS ARE TO BE NOTED FOR CHILD RATE

  • Children above 10+ years will be charged 100% as per Adult Rate (EPSR)
  • Children of 5+ to 10 sharing parent’s room will be charged as per CWB or CNB
  • Children below 5 years Complimentary

(Hotels are very strict with the child policy. Please carry the age proof so that it can be produced when asked for)

Note on Entry Formalities for foreigner nationals to Sikkim & Darjeeling:

  • For entry to INDIA a valid visa is must, which can be obtained from Indian embassy in the home country. Visa for India is not available upon arrival like Nepal. With valid visa one can visit Darjeeling & Kalimpong (NO SPECIAL PERMIT REQUIRED). For SIKKIM a INNER LINE PERMIT is required which is available at NO EXTRA COST, easily. All the guest has to do is mentioned there desired to visit to SIKKIM while applying for Indian visa. Incase the guest has a valid Indian visa and they do not have a INNER LINE PERMIT to Sikkim then our office in India will get the necessary organized, which can be done upon arrival at the entry point.
  • Kindly notes, following Nationals namely - Chinese from Main Land, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Afghani & Burmese (Mayanmar) are not given Inner Line Permit upon arrival at Sikkim. They have to procure it along with their Indian Visa in their home town through India Consulate.
  • Again kindly be noted, that Diplomat & Expatriate are not given Inner Line Permit upon arrival at Sikkim. They have to procure it through the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi only.
  • For Sikkim Inner Line Permit kindly advice the guest to bring the following documents with original. Namely a) 06 Clicked photograph b) Photo Copy of (1) Passport 06 copies (2) Valid Indian Visa 06 copies.
  • For Trekking & visit to Tshangu Lake & North Sikkim (Lachung & Lachen) Protected Area Permit, is required along with Sikkim Inner Line Permit & Valid Indian Visa which we will get it done upon the guest's arrival. For this the traveler has to be minimum 02 in size. 01 Pax are not allowed to visit these areas.
  • Once a foreigner tourist is exited Sikkim, that is once they have got their Sikkim exit signed they will not be allowed to re-enter for next three months.

Note on Hotel used in the Packages:

  • We have star category hotels in our area which is not to be compared with the Hotels of other developed destinations. For the understanding we have termed 
    • ‘The Area’s Best Hotels’ as GRADE A2+, A1+ & A, whose services are similar to Three Star Hotels. 
    • ‘The Area’s Second Best Hotel’ as GRADE B, whose services are similar to Two Star Hotels.
  • Check-in time at Hotel is 1400 Hrs & Check-out time is 1100 Hrs.
  • For Extra Person Sharing the Room & Child with Extra Bed, almost all the hotel of our area provides MATTRESS and ROLL OVERS as a supplement to Extra Bed.
  • In our area almost all the hotels do not have lift, so the guest have to climb stairs to reach their rooms. Incase the guest/s have problems with blood pressure, breathing, knee & heart  or if they cannot climb the higher floors, we will request you to report this problem immediately so that we are careful in assigning Hotels which will be more convenient than the ones quoted/reserved for them.
  • In a hilly area scarcity of water & electricity is a natural phenomenon. Everybody buys water for their day-to-day needs & have learnt to live even without electricity. In case of Load Shading, please advice the guest/s to bear with such situation. To overcome the water crisis certain hotels have fixed schedule for supplying hot & cold water.

Note on General Operations:

  • Please note that our Executive will hold placard as advised by you, just outside the only exit gate of Bagdogra Airport / Bhadrapur Airport / Birathnagar Airport.
  • Incase the passengers are arriving at NJP Railway station which has 02 entry & exit gate, please inform the guest that they will be meeting our Office Executive at the old exit gate (which happens to be the main gate also) holding placard in their name / or as advised by you.
  • Sikkim & Darjeeling is a hilly area & change in weather is a regular feature. It is advisable that light layer clothing should be carried always. In winters it is advisable to carry heavy woolens.
  • Sightseeing Points remains closed on State Government & Bank National Holidays. The points which are closed are Research Institute of Tibetology, Handicraft & Handloom Showroom, Flower Show in Gangtok & Padma Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Tibetian Refugee Self Help Centre in Darjeeling.
  • High Mountains sightseeing like Tshangu Lake & Yumthang Excursion has to start early in the morning so that you come back early. This is designed for your security as in the afternoon the weather gets cloudy & foggy throughout the year.
  • Tour start and end from Bhadrapur (BDP) Airport. For all bookings on MAP on 1st Day tour Meal starts with Dinner & ends with Breakfast at the booked hotel. For APAI, on the 1st Day tour Meal starts with Dinner at the booked hotel & ends with Packet lunch from the booked hotel on the last day.
  • There will be no refund of any unutilized service in part or in full what so ever may be the reason.

Trip Dates:

Minimum 2 pax - Any day on request

Coming Soon !!!