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Your Northeast India rhododendron and red panda trek starts on arrival at Kolkata Airport where you will be welcomed by our representative and transferred to your hotel.
In the morning we catch a flight to Bagdogra, (also known as the Dooars), which lies at the foothills of the mighty Himalayas. From here, you will be met and driven to Darjeeling, a popular Himalayan summer retreat (approx 3 hours drive). Darjeeling is particularly renowned for its tea. The quality of Darjeeling tea is considered to be among the finest in the world.
We wake up in time for a spectacular sunrise and head out for a morning tour of the Tiger Hill Ridge. We return to the hotel for breakfast. This is followed by a visit to the Darjeeling Himalayan Zoo, a major center for the conservation of endangered Himalayan wildlife.
Our exploration of Darjeeling also includes a tour of the renowned Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Everest Museum. We will get to go on a heritage steam tour which is run by the Darjeeling-Himalayan Railway (A UNESCO World Heritage Site), and visit the famous Ghoom monastery as well.
After breakfast we leave Darjeeling and travel to Hee, which is a drive of about 3 to 4 hours. We will be welcomed with a traditional lunch and folk dance.
We spend the day in this alluring village and explore the region which is a delightful blend of natural beauty and ethnic diversity. We will tour the Srijanga Temple and Shiva Temple, where we may have the chance to offer prayers in the traditional limbo way. This is followed by a visit to the scenic and sacred Pheng Dogi falls. Discover the rich culture of the region with a visit to the Heritage Village as well.
After an early breakfast, we trek for 2 kms through the Heritage Village to the Red Panda Gate. The sanctuary entry permits will be checked here. We then set out on a 4 km trek along a gradual gradient to Phyanglakha Tar. We will pass through forests of maple, birch, walnut and rhododendron. Marvel at the huge broken buttress of old trees and hanging orchids in the area. A stop will be made for lunch, after which we trek for a further 2 kms to Mudey, our camp for the night.
Today after breakfast, we set out on a trek that climbs gradually over a distance of 8 kilometres. You will notice a distinct transition from mixed to rhododendron forest land. This area has a healthy population of Pheasants, so we have a good chance of spotting these birds here.
The well-laid trail ends at Sammatar. From here, it is a fairly steep climb through the dense rhododendron forests that are home to several birds and a variety of berries. Our destination is the Trekker's Hut at Versey, at an altitude of about 10,100 ft. We will have lunch at the hut and relax in the lycopodium fields, while crickets chirp around us.
Today we continue our trek to the Taal, an area where the blue rhododendron blooms. We return for a late lunch and rest for the remainder of the day.
We go on a 4 kilometer trek along a fairly easy trail to Hilley (9,000 ft). From here, a vehicle will take us to Pemayangtse, our next destination. It is the nearest motorable viewpoint for Mount Kanchenjunga and is also an extremely important center of Tibetan Tantrik Buddhist culture.
Two exciting days lie ahead of us! We will visit some of Sikkim's oldest royal monasteries, a sacred lake whose water is believed to have the power to keep flying dry leaves of the surrounding trees away, one of Asia's highest gorge bridges, a local crafts center and an orphanage. We will get to see a Buddhist meditation session and possibly interact with the local mountain community as well.
We leave Pemayangtse and drive for about 3 hours to reach Ravangla's pass in southern Sikkim. We have some time to get acclimatized before we set out to visit Temi- the only bio-organic tea garden of Sikkim, Ralong monastery and Ravangla bazaar. If weather conditions are favorable, we might also be able to go on a day trek from Damthang to the dormant volcano Tendong. We will be staying at Mount Narsing Village Resort, a beautiful Sikkimese ethnic accommodation.
We leave early in the morning for Gangtok and tour the city. During our stay in Gangtok, we will visit the local monasteries, flower nurseries, vibrant markets, a craft emporium and the Tibetology Research Institute. We will also get to see the sacred lake Tsomgo, which lies at an altitude of 12,500 ft.
Gangtok is the capital of the Indian state of Sikkim. It was once a major stopover on the trade route between Lhasa in Tibet and Kolkata (Calcutta) in British India. Today, Gangtok is a prominent center of Tibetan Buddhist culture and is home to several lovely monasteries, religious education schools and Tibetology institutions.
Today after breakfast, we head for Bagdogra airport to catch a flight back to Kolkata (approx 5 hours drive). You will be met by our representative upon arrval and driven to your hotel.
This is the last day of the Northeast India trekking tour and you will be driven to the airport for your flight back home.
Please Note : Accommodation providers are subject to change without notice. The accommodations listed in this dossier are our preferred suppliers, but sometimes due to availability issues, we are unable to make use of the properties listed in this dossier. If we cannot use an accommodation provider as listed we will substitute another property of similar standards
For Advanced level tours, we recommend previous experience of the activity involved. These are our most challenging and advanced expeditions. They include long walks, cycling, trekking, hiking or rafting in variable weather conditions for more than ten hours a day. These trips may often be over three weeks in duration. Ascents and descents are over 1000m at altitudes up to 6000m and the climate can be rigorous and challenging. Excellent physical condition and previous mountain trekking experience or appropriate preparation is essential.
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