This package incorporates a wide range of activities and experiences, providing you with a varied holiday at the foothills of magnificent snowcapped mountains, visit to the pilgrimage site of Khecheopalri Lake, which is considered to be a holy lake by both the Buddhists and the Hindus.
Route: Gangtok Pastenga – Khedi Kewzing Yuksam Kalimpong Bagdogra
Activities: Nature trekking, village walks, tibetology, homestay, culture and heritage programs, bird & butterfly watching, spice trail, pilgrimage.
Duration: 14 days
Gangtok: You land at Bagdogra and drive up to Gangtok (4.5 hours)
Pastenga: We drive to the beautiful Pastenga village, located 35 km away from Gangtok. We can either stay here for a day or start the trek to Khedi, along the Malingo Trail (bamboo trail).
Trek: We trek through lush green rainforest for about five hours to reach Khedi. But as you ascend up higher, the vegetation changes from thick conifers to Rhododendron Forests. Huge rock cliffs and caves are seen all along the way and birds are found in every creek. We camp in tents ( a dnining and toilet tent is provided).
Khedi: We explore Khedi's alpine pastures. From these pastures, the views of the snow clad mountain ranges are simply spectacular. There are two alpine lakes where during the winter months, migrating birds can be seen, especially ducks. The pastures are scenic and can be explored all day.
Pastanga: We trek back to Pastanga. As we tread back to the village, we come across other villages where you can stop for tea and observe the daily activities of the village. We take a different route and arrive late in the afternoon. In the evening there is a cultural program arranged by the villagers/homestay operators. The folk dance is performed by youth while the older people sing songs and play traditional instruments.
Kewzing: We drive to the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary. We trek for the whole day inside the sanctuary and in the evening drive back to Kewzing village
Yuksam: We walk around Kewzing village in the morning, interacting with the villagers and then take a soft trek to Mangbrue Monastery. We then drive to Yuksam. Another soft trek takes us to Dubdi monastery, one of the oldest in Sikkim. We visit the coronation stone and Kathok lake, and interact with the members of the KCC [Khangendzonga Conservation Committee].
Trek: We take you trekking inside the Khangchendzonga National Park, which is a UNESCO recognised biodiversity hotspot. The vegetation of the park include temperate broadleaf and mixed forests consisting of oaks, fir, birch, maple, willow etc. The vegetation of the park also includes alpine grasses and shrubs at higher altitudes along with many medicinal plants and herbs. The animals you can spot include the Himalayan thar, the red panda and the elusive snow leopard
Day 9 11:
Trek: Trekking and camping
Trek: Return to base camp and rest.
Kalimpong: We drive to Kalimpong (6 hours), while on the way visiting the Tashiding Monastery.
Overnight ~ Hotel
Kalimpong: Depart for Bagdogra (4.5 hours)
How your travel makes a difference to the local community & environment:
- During this impressive trip we often stay in homestays. This promotes village tourism and helps the local communities benefit fully from the economic opportunities of tourism. The concept of homestays was introduced in the rural areas of Sikkim with an aim to facilitate alternative source of income directly for the rural people in a sustainable way. The system of homestay brought in a very efficient way of sharing the income from tourism among several families. Depending on the number of visitors, the hosts have agreed upon a system where they circulate the guests amongst themselves so that everyone benefits out of tourism. This is a productive way of complementing rather than competing with each other!
- The Sikkimese people especially Lepchas and Bhutias are famous for their weaving and wood carving. Buying these souvenirs will not only give your family back home a special and exclusive presents, you also support the local craftsmen.
- The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology we visit is promoting research on the religion, history, language, art and culture of the people of the Tibetan cultural area which includes Sikkim. The NIT's library holds one of the largest collections of Tibetan works in the world outside Tibet as well as a museum of Tibetan iconography and religious art. The library has published the Bulletin of Tibetology since 1964 and numerous books over the years. We ensure contributions towards funds that are used for renovation and maintenance of works and artifacts.
- There was a growing concern amongst the local Sikkimese community to minimize the various negative impacts of tourism and actively conserve the resources that attracted visitors to this area. Out of this shared concern, different stakeholders from the community along with our local partners work together under the banner of Khangchendzonga Conservation Committee (KCC).
- In Yuksam we will visit their information centre and get an opportunity to interact with members who can inform you about the issues in this region and the local initiatives that are being taken. Funds used from similar holidays have been used to form an association of porters who have been trained to minimize the human impacts on the environment whilst in nature. They make sure all garbage will be brought back to Yuksam where it is sold to the scrap collectors. These funds go to KCC.
- All the porters are insured by the KCC and have been taught to keep a check on, and monitor all the activities inside the national park. Any illegal activity inside the National park is reported to the KCC office and the forest department.
In Search of the Red Panda
In this journey we take you along two trekking trails. The bamboo trail takes you to Khedi through the trail used by traders for centuries.
Into the heart of Mayel Lyang
In the local language, this journey literally means "into the heart of Paradise". One of the areas that this holiday takes you
Glimpse of Sikkim
Sikkim has a lot to offer, from the charming village of Rumtek in East Sikkim which houses the largest Buddhist monastery of Sikkim to the idyllic village of Pastenga.