Rhododendron Trek: Darjeeling and Sikkim,… (trip)

Rhododendron Trek: Darjeeling and Sikkim, India

  • Delhi, India
  • Active & Adventure
India, Sikkim, Asia

from £2,150* per room 20 Days April
Boutique accommodations Exertion level: 4
Operator: Karma Quest 15 people max
KarmaQuest offers this special trip to Sikkim and Darjeeling at the peak of rhododendron bloom, when brilliant floral bouquets dot the forest. You'll first visit Darjeeling, a famous hill-station for the British Raj. Then trek 9 days through Sikkim's pristine forests and camp alongside glaciated lakes and beneath snow-covered peaks, including Mt. Kangchendzonga (3rd highest peak in the world). Visit Sikkim's premier monasteries, Pemayangtse and Rumtek, and after the trek, rest your feet in a charming village resort, before a final night in Gangtok. And taste the best tea in the world!

You'll learn about and contribute to community conservation activities in Sikkim. In keeping with KarmaQuest's commitment to ecotourism, proceeds from this trip will go toward promoting ecotourism in Sikkim through the Kangchendzonga Conservation Committee, Yuksom.

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Locations visited/nearby

India, Sikkim, Asia

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Itinerary

Day 1-2    Travel from US to Delhi,

overnight at hotel.

Day 3    Fly Delhi to Bagdogra, drive to Darjeeling

The road winds up to Darjeeling’s hilltop perch. Settle into this charming historic town, well loved for its fresh air and sense of style. (7000’)

Day 4    Darjeeling:

Spend the day visiting the Himalayan Mountaineering Museum, the Zoo, and the Tibetan refuge center. Relax over a cup of tasty highland tea in your room with a view.

Day 5    Drive Darjeeling to Pemayangtse:

Visit a tea estate en route to Sikkim. Drive to Pemayangtse/ Pelling, where you'll overnight in a Sikkimese style hotel. (6800')

Day 6    Pemayangtse to Yuksom:

Awake to a bird's eye view of Kangchendzonga and surrounding peaks. Visit Pemayangtse Monastery and Khechepalri (wish-fulfilling) Lake, and then drive to Yuksom to learn about conservation and ecotourism activities. Camp at 5840'

Day 7    Trek Yuksom to Sachen:

Begin with a morning trek (about 4 hrs) through the rich and diverse forests of Kangchendzonga National Park. Watch for an amazing variety of birds, trees and medicinal plants. A gentle up and down, following the Prek Chu (river). Camp at 7,000’.

Day 8    Trek Sachen to Tsokha:

Ascend through a magical forest of towering rhododendron and fir trees: "one of the most beautiful forests in all the Himalaya." Rhododendrons in all colors -- red, pink, white, yellow, lavender -- adorn the trail. Camp at 10,760’.

Day 9    Trek Tsokha to Dzongri:

Ascend through a magical forest of towering rhododendron and fir trees: “one of the most beautiful forests in all the Himalaya.” Rhododendrons in all colors -- red, pink, white, yellow, lavender -- adorn the trail. Camp at 12,600'.

Day 10    Dzongri Rest Day

Acclimatization day: early morning hike to a view point. Visit a yak herders’ camp. Enjoy a “day off.” Camp at 12,600’.

Day 11    Trek Dzongri to Thangsing:

Descend into the upper Prek Chu valley, crossing alpine meadows and fir and rhododendron forests. Camp in a wide glaciated valley, framed by glacial moraine. Climb to a lookout point on Kangchendzonga. Camp at 12,000’.

Day 12    Trek Thangsing to Samiti: After lunch, continue up a long valley, amidst aromatic rhododendron shrubs, once illegally collected for making incense, a Buddhist offering. Mt. Kangchendzonga looms on the horizon. Camp near a small lake at Samiti, the peaks overhead, camp at 13,500’.

Day 13    Trek Samiti to Goechela to Thangsing:

Rise before sunrise to catch the best views of the peaks. Cross glacial till, alongside a massive glacial lake, and beneath ice-capped Himalayan peaks. Climb slowly up the last rise to Goechela (16,200’), for an exhilarating close-up view of Mt. Kangchendzonga. Descend beyond Samiti, to overnight in camp at Thangsing (12,000’).

Day 14    Trek Thangsing to Tsokha:

Take an alternate route from Thangsing to Phedang, hiking through a magical forest of towering firs. Sikkim’s forests are a source of much pride, and are protected inside this national park. Camp at Tsokha.

Day 15     Trek Tsokha to Yuksom:

It’s all downhill from here. Descend to through temperate and sub-tropical forests, alive with butterflies, birds, and lush greenery to reach Yuksom by mid-afternoon. Overnight at hotel. Stroll through Yuksom’s small bazaar or re-visit KCC to check with its naturalists on the flora and fauna you’ve seen.

Day 16     Drive Yuksom to Temi:

(4 hrs), winding up and down through Sikkim’s vertical landscape, passing scattered villages where cardamom grows. Building and maintaining Sikkim’s roads are an engineering feat. Visit Temi Tea garden. Overnight at Temi. Visit a family home.

Day 17     Martam:

Drive to Martam (3 hrs): Visit Rumtek Monastery, center of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism: a masterpiece of color and pageantry where the Karmapa reigns. Overnight at Martam Village Resort. Watch for birds, or stroll the quiet village.

Day 18   Drive to Gangtok:

Visit Do-Drul Chorten, one of the Sikkim’s most important Buddhist sites, and the nearby Institute of Tibetology with historic Buddhist scripts and ritual objects. A final shopping spree, and farewell dinner. Overnight in Gangtok.

Day 19    Drive to Bagdogra,

fly to Delhi. Overnight or connect to flight onward.

Day 20    Arrive in US

 

More information from Karma Quest: