Rhododendron Flower Tour to North-East India
Day 01: Arrive Bagdogra - Darjeeling
Meet on arrival at Bagdogra Airport and straight drive to Darjeeling along the picturesque Hill Cart Road through vast expanses of tea gardens. For over a century and a half, Darjeeling has been the darling of the Eastern Himalayas, where suave British ‘sahibs’ crossed paths with dauntless Tibetan traders, and explorers disguised as monks and mendicants prepared for their passage to Tibet. On arrival at Darjeeling check-in at hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 02: Darjeeling
Early Morning at 04.00 AM visit Tiger Hill famous for sunrise over Mt. Kanchendzonga, on the way back visit Ghoom Monastery, Batasia Loop and back to hotel. After breakfast visit Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, PNZ Zoological Park (closed on Thursday) Tenzing Rock, Tibetan Refugee Centre (closed on Sunday), Tea Garden (outer view) and back to hotel for lunch. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 03: Darjeeling - Hilley (drive) - Barsey (Trek)
After breakfast, we depart for Hilley, a drive through tea gardens and luxuriant countryside. For the first 35 kilometers it is downhill all the way till Jorethang at which point we enter Sikkim. From Jorethang, we take the right turn crossing the Rangeet River and the next stage of the trip is uphill all the way. Stop at Sombarey for lunch, and continue with the drive to Hilley.
From Hilley, we take a leisurely 1 hour 15 minute walk to Barsay through the aroma of blooming rhododendron flowers. Barsay lies on a massive ridge with a forest cover of silver fir, hemlock and magnolia including rhododendron. This protected forest also happens to be one of the best birding sites in West Sikkim. Dinner and Overnight stay at Camp.
Day 04: Barsey - Dentam (Trek) - Ravongla (Drive)
After breakfast proceed along a well-trodden path to the village of Dentam (1,500 m) traversing through a mixed forest with yet more rhododendrons in bloom. Bird sightings may likely include the Tragopan and Kalij pheasants, the Golden Robin and Laughing Thrushes. The constant view of the snowy Khangchendzonga range in the background adds further appeal to this hike.
Later Board vehicle in Dentam and view picturesque rural scenes of terrace paddy fields and farmers at work as your drive progresses. Halt at Pelling for lunch. After lunch, a quick tour of the Pemayangtse Monastery, then continue on the drive to Ravongla, which takes us down to the bed the Rangeet valley in Legship and after crossing the river we climb uphill for the rest of the journey through several switchbacks.
Ravongla, a small one-street-town lies on the saddle of the ridge that runs across Maenam Peak and Tendong Hill. During the late 60’s there was an effort by the state government to develop a tea plantation over here but the project was discontinued when the plants were wasted away by winter frost. On arrival check-in at hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 05: Ravongla - Maenam (Trek)
After breakfast trek through a dense rhododendron forest radiant in bloom - their colors ranging from brilliant red to milky white. Occasionally you might catch glimpses of the sanctuary’s shy fauna - a rare experience since these animals are masters of camouflage.
Maenam Peak’s location lies close to the centre of Sikkim and offers a most spectacular and comprehensive view that one can get of the Sikkim Himalayas including the plains of Bengal.
Once again, all meals for this overnight trek including breakfast and lunch for the following day will be prepared by our camp cook and his crew. Overnight stay at Camp.
Day 06: Maenam - Borong (Borong) - Gangtok (drive)
We conclude our visit to the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary by making a 12 kilometer descent to the village of Borong 1900 m. After an early midday-lunch at Borong plus an exploratory walk through the village, we board our vehicles and head for Gangtok.
Today’s drive begins with a short ascent into the main highway after which we begin our descent into the Teesta valley having entered the eastern slopes of the Maenam Peak mountain system. A little distance beyond the mid-point of our drive we arrive at the banks of the Teesta River and onto Singtam, a town that developed because of its location as a junction and supply point for the South District. Onwards from Singtam, we begin our ascent into Gangtok. The winding roadway is interspersed with several flat stretches through luxuriant subtropical vegetation until we reach Ranipool. Here onwards, the last 12 kilometers is a relatively steep climb all the way to Gangtok. On arrival at Gangtok check-in at hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 07: Gangtok
After breakfast proceed to Tsongmo Lake (12,210 Ft) and Baba Mandir a 40 km drive which takes 2.5 hrs. This lake is located very close to Nathula Pass which is the entry point to China termed as the “Silk Route & remains frozen for most parts of the year. The lake is home to the Brahmini ducks & many migratory birds - Nearby is the sacred Baba Mandir known to be a very holy site for all - Nathu La Pass to Republic of China is nearly 20 kilometers and is optional tour. Later drive back to Gangtok. Evening free for your own activity or shopping around the local market. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 08: Gangtok - Bagdogra drop
After breakfast drive to Bagdogra. On arrival at Bagdogra transfer to Airport for your onward destination.
Tour & Services Ends.