Sikkim & West Bengal

Sikkim & West Bengal

15 Views
16 Days
From

$5356

$5209

Sikkim & West Bengal

16 Days Starting and ending in Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Visiting: Kolkata, Kurseong, Darjeeling, Pelling, Yuksom, Gangtok, Lachung, Yumthang, Dzongu Camps

Tour operator:

Crooked Compass

Tour code:

3603

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

2 - 12

Physical rating:

Low

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

Active

From:
$5356
$5209 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $147

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

Enjoy a journey on the Toy Train through rolling tea plantations into the HimalayasVisit a Tibetan Refugee CampSoak in the natural Yumthang hot springsEnjoy a traditional homestay experience with a remote Lepcha familyExplore the active Rumtek Monastery, home to many practicing monksExperience the annual Durga Puja Festival in KolkataDiscover a more remote, culturally diverse and scenic India. Home to the third highest mountain in the world, Kanchenjunga at 8586m, lush forests, deep valleys and terraced hillsides, Sikkim is one of the most beautiful states of India. Paired with the well known cities of Kolkata and Darjeeling on the tea trail, you will also dip your toe into West Bengal. Explore unspoiled towns, wild landscapes of exotic flora and fauna as well a homestay experience in a traditional Lepcha village of Dzongu. Embrace the stark natural beauty of the Yumthang Valley, with its sacred lakes and ornate Buddhist monasteries. Take a train through the hustle and bustle of Kolkata where you will then join the Durga Puja festival, the largest and most vibrant festival of Bengal. The lanes and parks of Kolkata transform into an open art exhibition as various groups compete to set up lavish and innovative pandals (makeshift prayer arrangements), each displaying an interpretation of the Goddess Durga. The ten-armed Goddess saved the world from evil when she slayed the demon, Mahishasur. Be guided through this mesmerising spectacle of living tradition, participating in the festivities alongside the devout. Be prepared for an amazing journey of discovery, cultural experiences, local life, cuisine and explore the meaning and forms of spirituality, all mixed with unsurpassed scenery.

Highlights

  • Enjoy a journey on the Toy Train through rolling tea plantations into the Himalayas

  • Visit a Tibetan Refugee Camp

  • Soak in the natural Yumthang hot springs

  • Enjoy a traditional homestay experience with a remote Lepcha family

  • Explore the active Rumtek Monastery, home to many practicing monks

  • Experience the annual Durga Puja Festival in Kolkata

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1 : Arrival In Kolkata
Location: Kolkata
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Hotel Astor or similar
Meals Included: No Meals

Welcome to India! Upon arrival into Kolkata, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours at leisure.

The city of Kolkata’s name is derived from the Bengali term Kolkata, the name of one of three villages that predated the arrival of the British, in the area where the city eventually was to be established. Located on the east bank of River Hooghly, Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. It is also the commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India’s oldest port as well as its sole major riverine port. The city’s documented history begins with the arrival of the English East India Company in 1690, when the Company was consolodating its trade business in Bengal. Under the East India Company and later under the British Raj, Kolkata served as the capital of India until 1911, when its perceived geographical disadvantages, combined with growing nationalism in Bengal, led to a shift of the capital to New Delhi. The people of Kolkata tend to have a special appreciation for art and literature; its tradition of welcoming new talent has made it a ‘city of furious creative energy’. For these reasons, Kolkata has often been dubbed as the Cultural Capital of India or the Literary Capital of India.

Day 2 : Kurseong
Location: Kurseong
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: The Cochrane Palace or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Following breakfast this morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Bagdogara. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to Kurseong. This evening, enjoy a scenic walk along the military road built by the British in the 1770’s.

Day 3 : Toy Train - Darjeeling
Location: Darjeeling
Accommodation: Resort
Accommodation Name: The Dekeling Resort or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel this morning before enjoying a half day visit to the Tea Garden. Here you can observe the processing and manufacturing of the world renowned Darjeeling tea.

Early this afternoon, board the Darjeeling Toy Train from Kurseong and enjoy a ride of a lifetime in this World Heritage Site and let the scenic views mesmerise you.

A journey on the Toy Train is considered the most romantic approach to the Himalayas, as this small steam locomotive slowly meanders its way through the landscape. Once you disembark the train at Ghoom, enjoy a walk to Darjeeling.

Day 4 : Darjeeling
Location: Darjeeling
Accommodation: Resort, Resort, Resort
Accommodation Name: The Dekeling Resort or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner, Breakfast, Dinner

Rise early this morning to enjoy a one hour walk to Tiger Hill, where you will witness sunrise over the snowy peak of Kanchenjunga – the world’s third highest mountain. Enjoy a tea break before returning to your hotel for breakfast.

Following breakfast, head out to explore Darjeeling. Your first visit is to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, which as well as conducting training courses, also houses a wonderful collection of equipment used in various mountaineering expeditions.

From here, continue onto the Zoological Gardens. Home to some of the rarest species of animals and birds, it is the only zoo in India to have Siberian Tigers and Red Pandas.

Your next stop is the Tibetan Refugee Camp, established as a centre for those who had fled Tibet with the Dalai Lama after the Chinese invasion. This self-help centre has been developed as a workshop for the manufacture of handicrafts.

Day 5 : Pelling
Location: Pelling
Accommodation: Resort
Accommodation Name: The Norbughang Resort or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning you will embark on a scenic drive (approx. 4 hours) from Darjeeling to Pelling. In the afternoon, enjoy a visit to the Pemayangtse Monastery.. Planned, designed and founded by Lama Lhatsun Chempo in 1705, it is one of the oldest and premier monasteries of Sikkim, and the most famous in west Sikkim.

Continuing on, explore Rabdentse which was the second capital of the former kingdom of Sikkim from 1670 to 1814. The capital city was destroyed by the invading Gurkha army, leaving only ruins of the palace and chortens which once stood here.

Day 6 : Yuksom
Location: Yuksom
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: The Yuksum Residency or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning following breakfast, you will visit Pelling, stopping enroute at Khechiopalri Lake. Originally known as Kha-Chot-Palri, this lake is sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus, it is believed to be a wish fulfilling lake.

From here, enjoy a leisurely walk through the woodland trails to Yuksom.

Day 7 : Gangtok
Location: Gangtok
Accommodation: Homestay
Accommodation Name: The Netuk House or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Another morning drive today as you head towards Gangtok, visiting Tashiding Monastery on the way. Located on top of a hill, rising between the Rathong chu and the Rangeet River, the views from this Buddhist monastery are truly spectacular.

Day 8 : Lachung
Location: Lachung
Accommodation: Resort
Accommodation Name: Yarlam Resort or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning following breakfast we drive approx. 3hrs to Lachung. Upon arrival the rest of the day is yours at leisure to relax and take in this special part of India.

Day 9 : Yumthang Valley
Location: Yumthang
Accommodation: Resort, Resort, Resort
Accommodation Name: Yarlam Resort or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today you will explore the stark natural landscapes of the Yumthang Valley. Popularly known as the ‘Valley of Flowers’, it is home to the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, which has over twenty-four species of the rhododendron, the states flower.

Make the most of the Yumthang Hot spring which is perched at an altitude of over 11,800 feet above the sea level. Lying close to the course of Lachung river, this hot water spring can be accessed after a short five minute walk from Yumthang village.

Day 10 : Dzongu
Location: Dzongu Camps
Accommodation: Homestay
Accommodation Name: Homestay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning you drive from Lachung to Dzongu. Dzongu is an official reserve for the Lepcha community and is largely untouched by tourism. Colourful Buddhist flags float in the mountain breeze, carrying the prayers of the Lepchas to their Gods. The contoured paddy fields add more colours to the picture perfect scenery. The beauty of Dzongu is complimented by the weight and depth of its heritage carried by the Lepcha people.

This evening, spend the night with a local family in a traditional homestay.

Day 11 : Gangtok
Location: Gangtok
Accommodation: Homestay, HomestayHomestayHomestay
Accommodation Name: The Netuk House or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning, make the most of experiencing the local lifestyle and culture of the Lepcha Community before it time to farewell your host family and depart for Gangtok.

Day 12 : Gangtok
Location: Gangtok
Accommodation: Homestay, HomestayHomestayHomestayHomestayHomestayHomestay
Accommodation Name: The Netuk House or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Following breakfast, enjoy a half day excursion to Rumtek Monastery. Rumtek Monastery is the largest monastery in Sikkim and is home to the monk’s community, the place where they perform the sacred rituals and practices of the Karma Kagyu lineage.

This afternoon, visit Tashi Ling which provides an astounding view of the Kanchenjunga range. Here lies the Tashi Ling monastery mostly known for its ‘Bumchu’ (Sacred Pot). This pot contains holy water which has never run dry for last 300 years.

You will also visit the Namgyal Institute which was built to promote research in Mahayan Buddhism and Tibetan language and traditions. From here, continue onto Tsuk La Khang – a depository of a large collection of scriptures, this is the principal place of worship and assembly for the local Buddhists.

Day 13 : Train To Kolkata
Location: Kolkata
Accommodation Name: on board
Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning drive from Gangtok to New Jalpaiguri. Enjoy some time to explore before you board the train this evening. Depart New Jalpaiguri by train ‘Kanchan kanya’ Express to Kolkata.

Day 14 : Kolkata - Durga Puja Festival
Location: Kolkata
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Astor Hotel or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast

Arriving early in the morning, you will be met at the station and transferred to your hotel. After breakfast, you will depart to visit Kumartuli which is a traditional potters’ quarter. This Kolkata neighbourhood not only supplies clay idols of Hindu gods and goddesses to barowari pujas in Kolkata and its neighbourhoods, but a number of idols are exported.

Later on enjoy Pandal Hopping. The highlight of Durga Puja in Kolkata is no doubt visiting the many different displays (pandals) of Goddess Durga, each with a unique theme. There are thousands of pandals in Kolkata so it’s only possible to visit a fraction of them.

The streets are over-flowing with men dressed in their dhoti’s (unstitched garment for lower body) and women in their distinctive white and red saris. The nights are a glittering affair with light shows, elaborate arrangements and crowds that throng the cityscape.

Day 15 : Immersion Of Durga Idol
Location: Kolkata
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Astor Hotel or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast

Early this morning, at the base of the Howrah Bridge, on the Calcutta side, is the city’s bustling wholesale flower market. Flowers are an essential part of life in the city, they are bought not just for temple prayers but also for wedding decorations, events and festivals. Each god or goddess has their own favourite flowers and leaves. Walking through the flower market is a colourful, fragrant experience.

This afternoon, see the immersion of the Durga Idol. On the last day of Durga Puja, known as Dashami, the festivities commence with married women placing red sindoor (powder) on the idols of Goddess Durga. They then smear it on each other. In the evening, the idols are immersed in the water.

Day 16 : Departure
Location: Kolkata
Meals Included: Breakfast

The day is yours at leisure following breakfast until it is time for you to be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

What's Included

  • Return airport transfers

  • Domestic flight from Kolkata to Bagdogara

  • 14 nights accommodation, 1 overnight train

  • 15 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 11 Dinners

  • Services of an English speaking local guide

  • Entrance fees as per the itinerary

  • Transportation in a private air conditioned vehicle

  • Sightseeing as per the itinerary

What's Not Included

  • International flights

  • Visas

  • Travel and medical insurance

  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.

  • All services, meals other than those indicated above

  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc

Check out our Q&As

  • What is the minimum group size?

    The min group size is 2 people.

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    Domestic flight from Kolkata to Bagdogara is included.

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Yes, arrival and return airport transfers are included.

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    Entrance fees as per the itinerary is included.

  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

    This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.

  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    As detailed in itinerary.

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes, The local guides on the tour is English speaking

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes. Focusing on providing authentic experiences where ever you are in the world, Crooked Compass has access to a vast array of accommodation styles. From boutique properties in larger cities to local guest houses and home stays within small villages. Crooked Compass ensures that local authenticity flows through your accommodation throughout your tour without compromising standard.

  • What sort of transportation is used for your tours?

    Transportation utilised on a Crooked Compass escorted small group tour is a combination of a private air conditioned vehicle and local transport where appropriate. This may include a local bus ride, use of the cities metro system, a domestic flight to another city or overnight train ride.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Crooked Compass strives to be a leader in sustainable tourism. Crooked Compass is firmly committed to the principles of ethical travel. Our comprehensive Sustainable Tourism Practices policy summarises our commitments and actions. Although the very basis of our ground operations lends itself to the ethos of sustainable tourism, this policy re-iterates our commitment to: Use locally owned hotels Use locally owned ground agents Use local guides and drivers Promote community tourism projects from homestays to craft shops Support charities that work within the destinations that we travel to Carbon offset our travels

  • Who runs your tours and are they experts in their fields?

    Crooked Compass works with the worlds best operators who are specialists in their country, region and cities providing you with in depth local knowledge. We use local guides who live and breathe the areas they work in, making sure you experience their region, their way. We believe it is far better to have a local guide who knows a lot about a little than a text book trained Western tour guide who knows a little about a lot. Using local guides also ensures that money stays within local communities and supports the regions we visit.

  • What can I expect from a Crooked Compass tour that I wouldn't get from travelling with an alternative company?

    Crooked Compass provides a sensory way to understand the world – we help you live like a local, eat like a local, do what the locals do and seek the faces behind the places whilst discovering untouched lands and natural beauty. Crooked Compass tours delve deep into the heart and soul of a destination ensuring you get out of your journey all you intended and much, much more. Our intriguing itineraries have been created by travellers for travellers. Steering travellers to follow a different path, Crooked Compass’ itineraries allow you to experience the world’s most fascinating destinations in ways you never dreamed possible. It brings to life those ‘bucket list’ experiences you have yearned to do and separates the travellers from the tourists. Crooked Compass tours are culturally rich, reward travellers with unexpected encounters and uncommon rendezvous, creating truly unique, authentic travel experiences.

  • Who do your tours cater for?

    Crooked Compass escorted small group tours cater for those who are well travelled seeking the what’s next and what’s new. Our travellers are curious minded soft adventurers who want to uncover something more than the mainstream tourist trail. Crooked Compass tours draw travellers with an interest in sustainable tourism and conservation for the areas they visit. A Crooked Compass traveller is someone who is seeking something fresh and unique, who has a yearning for authenticity and discovery, with an appreciation for cultures, tradition and the natural world. We call them Cultural Purists.

  • I am concerned about my impact on travelling through untouched regions. Can I offset?

    Yes. All travellers on Crooked Compass tours have the option to offset their part of their tour’s carbon footprint by donating $4AUD (tax-deductible) at time of booking. 100% of these funds are donated to Greenfleet, an environmental non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting our climate by restoring our forests. By partnering with Greenfleet, we are confident that our carbon offset program provides genuine and lasting environmental benefits. Your offset donation funds plant trees and restore permanent native forests in Australia and New Zealand. As they grow, these forests provide many community and environmental benefits by absorbing carbon emissions, protecting our unique biodiversity, restoring habitat for native wildlife, preventing soil salinity and erosion, improving water quality and much more. If you’d like to find out more and offset the rest of your carbon emissions, visit www.greenfleet.org.au

Reviews of this Operator

Jeff Rehn  

A wonderful trip to Saudi Arabia organised by Crooked Compass

07-Apr-2022

A wonderful trip to Saudi Arabia organised by Crooked Compass. Considering the country is just opening up to tourism everything went very well - flights, trips, transfers, guides and accommodation - thank you CC - highly recommended

Tripadvisor
Pauline Mavis Rusby  

We were kept safe at all times.

09-May-2022

We were kept safe at all times. When unexpected hurdles appeared they were handled without fuss. Our tour was informative, picturesque and comfortable.

Tripadvisor
Tina Watts-Seale  

Family holiday to Vietnam

01-Aug-2022

We booked a family holiday to Vietnam with Crooked Compass and it was perfect. The booking process was easy and Lisa took all of our requests on board so that the trip was exactly what we wanted. All flights, transfers, accommodations, guides and activities were fantastic, with great communication throughout the whole trip. Would highly recommend, we will be booking again soon!

Tripadvisor

Dates & Availability

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Monday - Tuesday

Sep 23, 2024 - Oct 08, 2024
$5356 $5209 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $147 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Wednesday

Sep 23, 2025 - Oct 08, 2025
$5624 $5469 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $155 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Crooked Compass requires a minimum deposit of 20% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of crooked compass charges.

    Up to 61 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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