based on 15 nights & daily experiences
* Pricing is a guideline only and excludes special offers. Travel over peak periods (e.g. Christmas, New Year and other public vacations) can affect prices considerably, as can exchange rates, flight class and room type.
Shakti Sikkim Houses Based on an All Inclusive Basis
Bhutan Based on a Half Board Basis
Glenburn Tea Estate Based on a Full Board Basis
per person based on two people sharing. Shakti Village Houses are only open between end of September to late April / early May.
An ideal winter adventure, as the best visibility is November through to February
Ideal for walkers of all levels of fitness
The terrain is undulating and the routes tailored to you
With altitudes of 6400ft, Mount Kanchenjunga is a highlight
Perfect for off the beaten track explorers - stay in unspoiled villages, visit local schools, monasteries and markets of the Buddhist Kingdom of Sikkim
The best time to visit this area of India is October & November when the views are best. December and January are colder, but with excellent views. The spring offers good conditions, but the views can get misty as it gets warmer. It is between the month of March and early May when sunshine is quite abundant. Though summer is officially from May to October, Sikkim is almost always wet due to the heavy monsoons, with rains at times continuing for days on ends. The Village Houses are closed during the monsoon from May to mid September.
In the western, central and eastern Bhutan you will mostly experience cold European-like weather. Winter lasts here from November to March. The Monsoon occurs between June and August when the temperature is normally between 8° and 21°C. October and November are arguably the best months, when the monsoon has passed and the skies are clear. The spring months of March, April and May are best for the flora, but it can be stormy as the monsoon builds up for July-September.
This amazing journey to the Himalayan region of Eastern India and Bhutan uncovers a land awash with culture, tradition and natural beauty, from colonial Darjeeling to local villages in Sikkim and the fascinating kingdom of Bhutan. This itinerary is ideal for anyone that has a passion for history culture and keen interest in getting off the beaten track.
Your journey will start in the immortal city of Calcutta, with its bustling bazaars and historical architecture that will keep you captivated and enthralled. We have included a private guide for you here, that will surely inspire you to love this city just as much as we do.
You will then fly to the Bagdogra, just below the foothills of the Himalaya before being driven into the heartland of Sikkim for four days experiencing local village life and rural Sikkim. What this itinerary does is get you completely away from the groups and tourists heading to places like Gangtok and Pelling, but allowing you to interact with the local community and come face to face with those you live and work in this most amazing corners of India. You will have a superb team of guides, porters and cooks to make sure you make the most of your time in the hills.
Following the Village Walks you will drive south passing the rolling tea estates of Darjeeling, where you will stay in a quaint Tea Estate for three nights. The British built Darjeeling as a hospital, due to its cooler air and restorative atmosphere. Its appeal is in its ability to remain timeless, still running its toy train and retaining its colonial architecture. The impressive Kanchenjunga (8,586m) stands over Darjeeling and is the world’s third highest mountain.
On departure from Darjeeling you will drive back to Bagdogra in order to connect to a short 20 minute flight to Paro, making the transition from India to Bhutan seamless. On arrival in Paro you will be met by your private guide and driver and taken directly to Thimphu for one night. Thimphu, being the capital of Bhutan, is a buzzing, growing city but one that retains unique character and is lovely to explore on foot, especially if the weekend market is taking place during your dates.
From Thimphu you will drive further east to Punakha where you will be spending your next two nights. With an individual character owing to its lower elevation and subtropical vegetation it is a beautiful place to spend a couple of days. It is a fantastic destination to enjoy some light walking and we have included some lovely walks within the Jigme Dorji Park, especially good for keen birders as the reserve plays home to some of the world’s rarest species. Of course, no trip to Punakha would be complete without a visit to the spectacular Punakha Dzong, acclaimed as the most beautiful dzong in the whole of Bhutan.
Finally, you will drive back to where you started, for your final three nights in Bhutan. Being home to the incredible Tiger’s Nest Monastery it is not hard to see why we saved this for last. During your time here we have included a challenging but unbelievably rewarding hike to this spectacular site. Also, as we always like to get a little off the beaten track, we have included a day trip to Haa Valley which has remained largely untouched for centuries. The drive from Paro to Haa is also equally rewarding with incredible views of Mount Chomolhari.
You can easily fill an afternoon or day exploring Thimphu. It is worth visiting the Tashiccho Dzong, where essentially Bhutan is governed from. Also of interest is the Simtokha Dzong, Memorial Chorten, Changagkka Temple & Folk Museum.
Anyone who works in Bhutan must wear traditional national dress, and you can have the chance to dress up for a few hours to see how it feels. The Bhutanese absolute love visitors doing it!
The Drukgyal Dzong is located further up the Paro Valley from the Tiger's Nest Monastery and was built in 1649 by Tenzin Drukdra to celebrate victory over an invading army from Tibet.
Rwanda's Parc National des Volcans surely must rank at the top of any list for the sheer majesty of its landscapes. It's a land of soaring cloud capped volcanoes, beautiful mountain lakes and warm welcoming people.
Explore Calcutta with an expert guide, getting under the skin of the destination. Explore colonial Calcutta on foot, before having tea with a local socialite in his home before seeing the Marble Palace, Park St Cemetery and a cruise up the Hoogly to end.
The Kyichu Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, dating from the 7th century and constructed by the Tibetan Emperor Songtsan Gampo.
Your children can have the opportunity to meet a monk their own age. 10% of Bhutan's population are monks and they can hear stories of getting up each day before first-light for prayers and their daily routines.
The Paro Dzong, or Rinpung Dzong as it is otherwise called, looms above the town of Paro. On the hill above the Dzong in the former watchtower you can visit the National Museum.
If you are in Paro on a Sunday then absolutely visit the local market. See a variety of vegetables on offer from 0630 until about 1000, and you can then see the archery ground following your visit.
The unspoiled Haa Valley is located close to Paro and offers a fantastic day out. Drive over the Chele Pass, Bhutan's highest road, and choose to free-wheel on bikes into the Haa Valley. Explore the local monastery, have a picnic and return to Paro.
The Tiger's Nest Monastery is spectacular; legend has it that this cliffside was where Guru Rinpoche landed on the back of a flying tigress, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. Set off for the 2-hour walk to the viewpoint before continuing onto the Monastery.
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Calcutta, Calcutta and northeast India, India
Sikkim, Calcutta and northeast India, India
Darjeeling, Calcutta and northeast India, India
Treks, retreats and colorful festivals