Start with a city tour of the bustling metropolis of Kolkata, before heading into the the beautiful mountainous hill-station villages and towns on the Himalayan foothills, and finally to Darjeeling, where you'll stay at the luxurious Glenburn Tea Estate.
After a city tour of Kolkata, where you'll visit the beautiful Flower Market, College Street Book Market, and the famous Kali Temple, you'll catch a flight to Bagdogra, before transferring to Kalimpong, the first hill station on your trip. Enjoy its beautiful mountain flora, clement weather and fascinating monasteries. Next up is Gangtok village, with its awe-inspiring Rumtak Monastery, and Pelling, a serene mountain village that commands a spectacular view of Mt. Kanchenjunga.
Finally, proceed to Darjeeling, where you’ll check in to the Glenburn Tea Estate – a plantation retreat where you can observe how tea is produced. Enjoy fantastic views of Mount Everest on a morning trip to Tiger Hill, and tea tours of the plantation, on which you’ll be able to observe women plucking tea and carrying wicker baskets. Finish your tour with a ceremonial tea tasting: the perfect end to your trip.
Day 1: Depart UK
Board an overnight flight from London, arriving refreshed in Kolkata on day two.
Day 2: Arrive India
Arrive at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (Kolkata), where a representative will meet you and escort you to your hotel.
Day 3: Kolkata
After breakfast, proceed on a city tour. Start at the Flower Market, which is filled with colourful flowers from northern Kolkata every morning. Then, head to the Howrah Bridge, which is over 2,590 metric tons of high tensile steel, and a unique cantilever shape that joins Kolkata’s main railway with the industrial city of Howrah and Kolkata. Afterwards, you’ll visit Belur Math, the international headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission, which represents a church, mosque and temple when viewed from different angles.
In the afternoon, you’ll continue your city tour, visiting the Dakshineswar Kali Temple. It is enormous, and has 12 spires, an expansive courtyard, and is surrounded by 12 other temples dedicated to Lord Shiva – a world famous site of pilgrimage. Next up is the College Street Book Market, most famous for its bookstores, and finally a relaxed visit to the Indian Coffee House, a space for chatting and socialising.
Day 4: Kolkata – Bagdogra – Kalimpong
Check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport to board your flight to Bagdogra. Upon arrival, meet a representative who will drive you to Kalimpong. At an altitude of 1,250m, Kalimpong is ideally located for a pleasant, relaxed getaway. Its clement weather supports bountiful orchids and gladiola; the Kalimpong breeds are now famous. Until the early 1700s, the Kalimpong region was part of the Sikkim raja’s domain, but in the early 18th century, the Bhutan king took it over. Today, the town is a quiet hill resort and haven for the retired.
Day 5: Kalimpong – Gangtok
In the morning, you’ll take a city tour of Kalimpong. First up is a visit to the beautiful Flower Nurseries, which export exotic flowers like amaryllis lilies, roses gerberas, dahlias and orchids. Next up, head to the Zang Dog Palri Fo-Brang Monastery, a fairly new monastery located in Durpin Dara, where you will get a panoramic view of the town and surroundings. Afterwards, visit another monastery, the Tharpa Choling Monastery at Tirpai hill and the Bhutanese Thongsa Gompa monastery, the oldest in Kalimpong.
Afterwards, take an afternoon drive to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim that occupies the west side of the ridge flanking the Ranipul River. The scenery is spectacular and it offers excellent views of the entire Kanchenjunga range. It became the capital in the 1800s, and has undergone modernisation in recent years.
Stay: Mayfair Resort and Spa (Superior)
Day 6: Gangtok
Today, enjoy a full day’s city tour of Gangtok. Start with the awe-inspiring Rumtek Monastery, the seat of the Gyalwa Karmapa, the head of the Kagyupa order of Tibetan Buddhism. Move on to the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, which is built in the traditional style, and promotes research in Mahyana Buddhism and the language and tradition of Tibet. Adjacent to it are two exquisite stupas, the Do Drul Chorten and the Jhang Chub Chorten.
Afterwards, visit the Directorate of Handloom and Handicrafts, set up to promote traditional Sikkimese art and handicrafts.
Stay: Mayfair Resort and Spa (Superior)
Day 7: Gangtok – Pelling
After breakfast at your hotel, check out and drive to Pelling. Pelling is 120 km from Gangtok, and is a serene mountain village that lies in the western districts of Sikkim. The village is situated at an altitude of 2,000 metres and commands a spectacular view of Mt. Kanchenjunga. On arrival, check in to your hotel.
In the afternoon, take a visit to Pemayangste Monastery, which is 2.5km from Pelling. Built during the late 17th century, it’s one of the oldest and most important monasteries of the Nyingmapa order of Buddhism in Sikkim. The main attraction of the monastery is the wooden replica of Zangdof Palri, the celestial abode of Guru Padmasambhava built in 1971. You’ll then travel to Sikkim’s second and ancient capital, the ruins of Rabdentse. Get there by travelling on a winding track through the forest. Farther afield are the Changay Falls.
Day 8: Pelling – Darjeeling
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and drive to Darjeeling. Check in to the Glenburn Tea Estate. Glenburn is a plantation retreat that stands on a hillock above the banks of the River Rungeet, high in the Himalayas, overlooked by the mighty Kanchenjunga mountain range. It was started by a Scottish tea company in 1859, and was then passed on to one of India’s most pioneering tea plantation families, the Prakashes. The vineyards of Europe and other parts of the world, where visitors observe the winemaking process and taste the produce, inspired the tea estate.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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