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Food

  • All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 10 dinners are included. You should allow around INR5000 (approx. £60/US$75) for the additional meals and drinks. Mineral water, soft and alcoholic drinks are not included and are widely available. Soft drinks are generally cheap, but beers can approach Western prices. Whilst camping we have a cook and assistants who will prepare simple but plentiful nutritious food. Breakfasts will be porridge, cereals, eggs and toast with plenty of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Lunches will usually be a picnic lunch with soup, various kinds of local breads, cheese, eggs, tinned fish and meat and fruit where available. There will be afternoon tea and biscuits on arrival at camp followed later by dinner which is usually soup, a pasta, rice or potato based main course with fresh vegetables, followed by dessert, tea, coffee or hot chocolate. You will be provided with safe boiled drinking water whilst on trek. *Drinking Water* Staying hydrated is important when undertaking any physical activity. We strongly encourage you not to buy bottled water as this contributes to the growing problem of plastic pollution in India  During the trek the cooks will collect and boil drinking water from the mountain streams and fill up your water bottles for you, but you may need to collect water during the day and may wish to use your own water purification treatment as well. We also suggest that you may like to bring a reusable bottle with a wide opening (Nalgene or similar) with you and use a SteriPEN to treat any non-boiled water. A SteriPEN is a handheld UV water purifier – small, lightweight and battery powered so easy to pack for a trek. It’s quick to use, far more effective than purification tablets, and the water is ready immediately. It’s fine to use a SteriPEN on non-boiled water so long as it isn’t cloudy or full of sediment (which is uncommon in these regions). SteriPENs are widely stocked on Amazon, outdoor shops and other online retailers; look for the latest models but avoid USB charging ones. Models which take lithium batteries are best as they last longer, especially in cold conditions. Using a SteriPEN means you won’t leave behind a single plastic bottle – and you can keep it for future trips.

Activities

  • Walking & Trekking
  • Point-to-Point
  • 1

    Start Delhi

    The group flight will arrive into Delhi in the morning and we will transfer to our hotel. Those who have made their own flight arrangements will join us at the hotel during the day. You are free today to explore Delhi or rest after your flight; rooms may not be available until noon but it is often earlier than this. Your leader will do a trip briefing today and you will need 10 passport photographs for the various permits and check posts. *Comfortable Hotel - Hotel Jaypee Siddharth *(or similar)

  • 2

    Fly to Bagdogra; drive to Gangtok

    Transfer to the domestic airport terminal for the flight to Bagdogra. On arrival at Bagdogra, we join our vehicles and drive to Gangtok. The road soon leaves the plains behind and at Sevoke we cross the Teesta River and start to climb into the Doar Hills. At Rangpo we take a break as we enter Sikkim. Border formalities take time and you will need your passport and one photograph. Climbing further, we finally reach Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim set at an elevation of  1,680m. The drive will take about 5 hours (125km). *Standard Hotel*

  • 3

    Drive to Martem village (1,400m), visiting Rumtek Monastery en route

    Gangtok is set amongst the hills and on a clear day we can see Kanchenjunga from the hotel. After breakfast, we walk from the hotel for an hour on a quiet road up to Enchey Monastery. Overlooking the whole town, Enchey was founded in 1840 by Lama Drubthob Karpo and was rebuilt in 1908 by the 10th Chogyal (king) of Sikkim. From the monastery we walk back to town via the Flower Show, a small exhibition of orchids and other local flowers. From here we visit the Handicraft Centre, a government enterprise which offers training for locals in traditional handicrafts such as carpet weaving and wood carving. We end up in the bazaar and have some free time to explore. The main street is now quite cosmopolitan and is traffic free. The local vegetable market is also interesting. After lunch we have an hour’s drive to Rumtek Monastery. Founded in the mid 1700’s by the 12th Karmapa it fell into ruins. When the 16th Karmapa came from Tibet after 1959 he rebuilt the monastery as the main seat in exile of the Karmapa sect. It is the largest monastery in Sikkim and contains a golden stupa with the remains of the 16th Karmapa. A half hours’ drive brings us to Martem, a scenic Himalayan village located in a quiet corner of East Sikkim. *Standard Hotel*

  • 4

    Sightseeing in Martem; optional daywalk to Tinjure Danda  

    Martem is renowned for producing butter and other dairy products (‘mar’ means butter and ‘tem’ means spread). The population of Martem is about 10,000 made up of the Bhutia and Nepali communities. We spend the day in Martem. This morning we have an optional warm-up hike to the Tinjure Danda. We will take a packed lunch and climb up through the terraces and forest to the ridge above Martem. On a clear day, we should get great views back to Gangtok and Nathu La and north to the Himalaya. We return to our hotel on a different path. For those not wanting to do the full daywalk there is plenty to explore around Martem village. *Standard Hotel* *Distance covered:* 8 km / 5 miles *Activity (hours):* 5-6

  • 5

    Drive to Pelling (1,920m) via Temi Tea Estate and Ravangla

    A long but interesting day today as we have a roller coaster drive to Pelling. We mostly drive on quiet backroads as we leave Martem and contour around terraced hillsides and farmland before descending to the Teesta River at 480m. The road then winds back up through pine and bamboo forest to the Temi Tea Estate (1,760m). Just before we reach Temi we get great views of Kabru North, South and Dome and a tiny bit of Kanchenjunga is visible on a clear day. Temi is the only tea estate in Sikkim and is considered one of the best in India. We stop to visit and learn about the process of tea making. We continue climbing through Demthang to Ravangla (2,100m), where there is an impressive new Buddha Park. There is an enormous statue of Buddha and the main temple contains some wonderful paintings of Buddha’s life. The last 50km takes us past a small Bon monastery down to Legship (544m). The last climb of the day takes us through Geyzing and finally to Pelling (1,920m), with its stunning Himalayan views, where we stay tonight.  Today’s drive is 120km and will take 6/7hrs (please note that today we are on quiet backroads and there are some bumpy sections). *Standard Hotel*

  • 6

    Drive to Uttarey; afternoon walk to visit a Sherpa or Lepcha village, or visit the Tenzing Hillary Park

    On a clear morning, it is well worth getting up for the sunrise from Pelling. A glorious panorama of Himalayan peaks greets us including Kanchenjunga, Kabru North, South and Dome, Pandim and Siniolchu. We can either drive or walk to Pemayangste Monastery. Set above Pelling it was founded in 1705 and belongs to the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is the oldest and most important monastery in Sikkim. If there is time, we can also visit the ruins of Rabdenste, the 2nd capital of Sikkim. We have a short drive to Uttarey (26km/1.5hrs) and will arrive by lunchtime. This afternoon we have a warm-up hike around Uttarey. We can visit a Sherpa or Lepcha village or visit the Tenzing Hillary Park whilst the trek permits are sorted out. *Basic Hotel *(sleeping altitude ( 1,950m)

  • 7

    Trek through forest, ascending to Chittrey

    After our warm-up walks, we start our point to point trek. We thread our way up towards the Singalila Ridge, which forms the border between Sikkim and Nepal. The trail starts off easily for the first hour or so, where we enter the Barsay Rhododendron Sanctuary. The trail climbs steeply through forests of rhododendron (a blaze of colour in spring), dwarf bamboo and oak. We stop for plenty of rests as the trail is steep today. Finally, we emerge at the army camp at Chittrey, where we camp tonight. *Full-service Camping *(sleeping altitude 2,660m)

  • 8

    Steep climb to Chewabhanjyang; optional afternoon walk to Majordhara for views of Kanchenjunga (the world's third highest mountain)

    This morning we have a steep climb through thick forest to Chewabhanjyang, a police and army post on the border with Nepal. It’s only 3km to the ridge but the trail is very steep. For the energetic, we will continue up the ridge to Majordhara (3,535m). We climb out of the forest and up onto wild ridges where we will see yaks grazing. The trail climbs up for about 3hrs until we finally see Kanchenjunga in all her glory. We return to camp at Chewabhanjyang. Distance covered: 3km / 2 miles to Chewabhanjyang (Plus an optional 6km / 4 miles to Manordhara return) Activity (hours): 2.5hrs (plus 4.5hrs with optional walk)  *Full-Service Camping *(sleeping altitude 3,100m)

  • 9

    Magnificent trek to Kalijar; walk up Singalila Peak and Phoktay Dara with fine Himalayan panoramas, including Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Everest and Lhotse

    Today is probably the best day of the trek for mountain views. Leaving Chewabhanjyang, the trail contours around the ridge, ascending easily on a rocky trail to Kalijar (3,450m). This is our camp for the night with magnificent views across to Kanchenjunga. Climbing up from the camp we ascend the ridge further to the highest point of our trek, Singalila Peak (3,680m). On a clear day, we have amazing views of the Nepal and Sikkim Himalaya. To the west, we can see the Chamlang, Lhotse, Everest and Makalu. Ahead we can see Khumbukarna (Jannu), Kabru North, South and Dome,  Kanchenjunga, Simvo, Pandim, Siniolchu and many other Himalayan giants. On a really clear day we can even see the Bhutan Himalaya and as far as the Annapurna Range in Nepal. If the weather is good, this is a great place to have lunch as we can savour the views. We return via Phoktay Dhara hill where the views are just as good. Yaks are often found grazing on the ridges around here. Finally, we descend back to camp at Kalijar, where we get beautiful sunset and sunrise views over Kanchenjunga. *Full-service Camping *(sleeping altitude 3,450m)

  • 10

    Trek through forests of rhododendron, magnolia and dwarf bamboo to Barsey Hilley.

    If it is clear this morning it is well worth getting up early to watch the spectacular sunrise over Kanchenjunga and the endless ridgelines all the way to Bhutan. The trail starts today with a steep rocky descent though the forest. The rhododendrons in spring are a riot of colour on this part of the trek. There are no villages along this section of the trek, only clearings in the dense forest. The first clearing is Thulodhap from where we start to climb again for a short while. An undulating trail then brings us to Hangepani, another small clearing in the forest. More undulations through the bamboo jungle brings us to our camp tonight at Achalley, with great views of Kanchenjunga. *Full-service Camping *(sleeping altitude 2,880m)

  • 11

    Trek through forests of rhododendron and dwarf bamboo to Barsey (2,850m)

    A roller coaster day today as we undulate up and down through the dense forest. Some of the trails today are narrow and overgrown and care must be taken. The trail receives just enough sunlight that it remains dusky green even in the morning. We pass through Joributey and Dhap, clearings in the forest with great views across to Kanchenjunga. In spring the rhododendrons are magnificent and it is rich with bird life. Red Pandas have been spotted in this area. Eventually we reach our camp at Barsay. *Full-service Camping* (sleeping altitude 2,850m)* *

  • 12

    Trek to Hilley; drive to Darjeeling

    We get up early today and have a short 4km relatively gentle walk downhill to the trek end point at Hilley. We say goodbye to our trekking staff and drive to Darjeeling. Although it is only about 70km the road is bumpy and under repair and we have to drive via Melli as this is one of only two check posts where foreigners can enter and leave Sikkim. The drive will take about 6hrs and we will reach Darjeeling by late afternoon. Our hotel is close to the Mall and we can walk down to town in the evening. *Standard Hotel* *Distance covered:* 4km / 2.4 miles *Activity (hours):* 1.5hrs

  • 13

    Morning to explore Darjeeling, with the opportunity to visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute or ride the 'toy train' if it is running. Drive to Siliguri, overnight train to Calcutta

    We have the morning to explore this interesting hill station. Once famous with the British Raj, Darjeeling is now a bustling hill town. If time permits we can have a ride on the famous ‘toy train’ and visit Ghoom Monastery. The Himalayan Mountaineering Museum is also worth a visit and there will be time to explore the colourful market. In the afternoon we set off for the drive to Siliguri (2-3 hrs) where we board the overnight train to Calcutta (Kolkata). Train times in India change regularly, although it usually departs at around 8pm or 9pm. *Overnight Sleeper Train*

  • 14

    Arrive Calcutta; free time to explore

    We arrive in Calcutta (Kolkata) in the early hours of the morning and have the day to explore this fascinating city. Once the capital of British India, Calcutta has had a turbulent past. It was central to the struggle for Indian independence and thousands of Bengalis refugees came here at the start of the 1900’s. It is a city of striking contrasts and the unusual sights, pungent smells and the cacophony of sounds of the country’s second largest city are an experience unique to India. If you would rather not navigate Calcutta alone, your leader can usually arrange a short (1/2hr) guided city tour for you (pay locally). *Standard Hotel*

  • 15

    End Calcutta

    Those on the flight inclusive package will depart for London this morning for the daytime flight back to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out from the hotel.

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