Shakti – Sikkim

Kolkata – Bagdogra – Yangsum – Sangdyanglee – Radhu Kandu – Bagdogra – Kolkata

Duration:7 Days / 6 Nights

Day 1

ARRIVE KOLKATA

Arrive Kolkata (Calcutta), after clearing Immigration & Customs formalities; you will reach the arrival hall. Here you will meet your Banyan Guide and be transferred to your hotel. Overnight: Peerless Inn, Superior Room.

Day 2

KOLKATA

Today you will take a sightseeing tour of Kolkata, which will include the charity of Mother Teresa (must do), the Botanical Garden, Victoria Memorial, Indian Museum and the Kali Temple.

Calcutta is a city of glaring contrasts – a curious blend of the old and the new, partly feudal, partly born out of growing urbanisation and partly un-definable. It is a medley of the east and the west, a graft of a European city imposed on the Asian landscape that gives Calcutta its charm, confusion and excitement. Being only about 300 years old, Calcutta has few great historical monuments. It is a city though a city that shocks on first impression but eventually the visitor usually falls in love with it. Overnight: Peerless Inn, Superior Room. B

Day 3

KOLKATA – BAGDOGRA (by Air) – YANGSUM

Today you will be driven to the airport to board your flight to Bagdogra. (9W 2480 – 1220/1320 Hrs) On arrival at Bagdogra airport, you will be collected and driven to Yangsum Village near Rinchenpong in South Sikkim. At an altitude of 1950 metres, Rinchenpong, whose name means ‘meeting place’ in the local dialect is a pretty and un-spoilt small Himalayan town. Yangsum Farm is a small locally run ‘home stay’ that has stunning views of the Himalayas. Shakti have taken an old wooden Sikkimese house (one of the main buildings of Yangsum) and have taken the property back to its original glory. Though simple, the property is charming and comfortable with two bedrooms (one upstairs and one down), each with its own en-suite bathroom and a private dining area. Both the dining area and the upstairs room have stunning views of the Kanchenjunga massif. Shakti will provide its own linen, furniture, food and service in both of these rooms. If you party needs more than two rooms, Shakti has access to Yangsum Farm’s other rooms and though these are not exclusively ours, we will again provide our own linen, food and service. In the early evening, you will be given an introductory briefing of your tour by yourEnglish speaking accompanying guide. This will be followed by drinks and snacks around the fire and under the stars and then a delicious dinner. Overnight: Village House at Yangsum Farm – Double/twin Room. Village altitude: 1500m.BLD

Day 4

YANGSUM – SANGDYAANG LEE

If the weather is clear, your guide will wake you at dawn with a hot drink of your choice and some homemade biscuits. You will not regret getting out of bed for a view of the Kanchenjunga massif. This will be followed by breakfast and a tour of the property with Thendup, the owner. Today’s walk begins with a gentle climb along a lush jungle trail passing a few isolated houses and hamlets (mostly belonging to Nepali immigrants) along the way. Passing the Rangeet river in the valley below you will continue onto the Magi Darra, a stunning viewpoint of the entire valley and the newly constructed Gurung monastery. After this you will follow the trail up to Poison Lake passing neatly cultivated fields and village houses along the way. This trail affords stunning Himalayan views and will give you an insight into the lives of the local villagers. You will then arrive at Sangdyang Lee House, which also offers fantastic views of the Kanchenjunga massif. Sandyang Lee is a modern structure belonging to a local politician. We chose it as not only are there few old structures (in a region that bears the full brunt of the monsoon between June and September) around, but it has a stunning location, is very comfortable (with three en-suite bedrooms) and first and foremost has a wonderfully welcoming and interactive family. Overnight: Sangdyang Lee Village House – Double/Twin Room. Village altitude: 1800m, distance travelled: 9 km, time: 6 hoursBLD

Day 5

SANGDYAANG LEE – RADHU KHANDU

After this morning’s breakfast, you will follow the trail down via Rinchenpong monastery and along a ridge with stunning mountain views continuing through the charming village of Bhasmay. You will then arrive at Kaluk village where our vehicles will be waiting to take you onto the ‘stairway to heaven’, a one kilometre uphill climb! You will be rewarded for your efforts with mind blowing views over Pemayangste hill and on to the Great Himalaya range.

After lunch on the ridge of Durpin Darra you will hike along the newly laid trail that leads to Chyaan Darra and then continue uphill to the charming village of Hee where you will have afternoon tea enjoying an almost 180° view of the Himalaya (if the weather is clear). Continue walking gently downhill for around thirty minutes until you reach a stunning waterfall. From the waterfall the trail continues gently upwards for around forty minutes until you reach Radhu Khandu village. The house at Radhu Kandu is the most special of the three, a charming traditional Sikkimese house with two bedrooms and outside toilets and showers (built by Shakti), the family are fantastic (the owner being a particular character), the location is sublime and after a long walk, there is nothing better than having tea in the living room which has 270° views of the area. Overnight: Radhu Kandu Village House – Double/Twin Room. Village altitude: 2200m, distance travelled: 11.5 km, Time: 7 hoursBLD

Day 6

RADHU KHANDU

After breakfast, you will go on a walk around the village with the charismatic owner of the village house, Krishna Lal. After this you will continue uphill (through a wildlife sanctuary) to the enchanted lakes, a series of three beautiful lakes one after the other up the mountain side. After a picnic lunch, you will then walk along the flat to visit the local cave which the locals consider to be a home for holy spirits. Continue back to Radhu Kandu village where you will arrive back mid afternoon. Overnight: Radhu Kandu Village House – Double/Twin Room. Village altitude: 2200m, distance: 8 km, time: 4-5 hours. BLD

Day 7

RADHU KHANDU – BAGDOGRA – KOLKATA – ONWARDS

After breakfast, you will walk back down to the road head (around twenty minutes). From here you will proceed to Bagdogra airport for flight to Kolkata. (9W 2481- 1355/1455 Hrs). Arrive Kolkata and you will be transferred to International airport for onward flights. BB

SikkimArchitecture (1) Note: All hotels and suggested flights mentioned within the itinerary are subject to change due availability at the time of booking. LadakhArt

  • B: BREAKFAST
  • L: LUNCH
  • D: DINNER

Dates and cost

please contact us for dates and prices

This tour is operational with a minimum of 2 people travelling.

What’s included

  • Accommodation in Kolkata in an hotel and in SIkkim region will be in Village Houses on a fully inclusive (twin/double share) basis, including all meals, all drinks (soft and alcoholic) as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • All activities.
  • An accompanying English speaking guide, cook, support guide and porters.
  • Car at disposal (Mahindra Scorpio, Toyota Innova or similar).
  • All taxes.
  • The Village Houses will always be PRIVATE, i.e. just for your party.
  • Return transfers between Darjeelinig, Gangtok, Kalimp[ong and Bagdogra and from the village houses.(if you are buying a 3 night experience).

What’s not included

  • International airfare, visa fees, airport tax or any kind of insurance cover.
  • Items of personal nature like drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips, camera fees etc.
  • Any other meals than those mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Liability for change in itinerary due to reasons beyond our control like change in flight and train schedule; cancellation of flights, political disturbances, natural phenomenon, etc.
  • Any other item not specifically mentioned above as ‘INCLUDED’.

General Conditions

  • We reserve the right to change the order in which you stay in the houses.
  • Domestic air fare is based on Economy Class Fare and is subject to revision by airlines.
  • All flight timings are based on current schedule and are strictly subject to change.
  • All prices are subject to any revision of tax and tariff structure.

How to Book

To ensure your place on this exciting adventure, please contact us directly to reserve a place, then complete a Booking Form and return to us with your deposit. Reservations are established when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit and Booking Form.

Deposit required: $1,000 pp
Balance due: 60 days prior to departure
If booking on or within
60 days of departure:
full payment must be made

Travel insurance is strongly recommended and Adventure Associates will be pleased to forward a selection of insurance proposal forms.

Cancellations

Written instructions only will be accepted by Adventure Associates to cancel a reservation. Cancellation charges are subject to regulations of airlines, coach and tour operators, hotels/boats/trains and other principals involved. If it is necessary to cancel your arrangements, the following non-refundable charges will apply.

More than 100 days prior to departure AU$800 pp
Between 99-60 days prior to departure Full loss of deposit pp
Between 59-45 days prior to departure 75% of tour cost pp
On or within 44 days prior to departure No Refund

All cancellation charges will be strictly applied. If the cancellation charge is more than your advance payment you remain liable for the difference. For these and other reasons mentioned above you are strongly recommended to take out travel insurance. Once the tour has departed there will be no refund for any unused portions of the trip.

waterfall Mural Group tour costs shown are quoted in Australian Dollars and are subject to change due to exchange rate variations and other factors. Please check with us at the time of booking.

Our Accommodations

HotelPeerlessInnPeerless Inn, Kolkata

The Peerless Inn offers discerning travellers a world of convenience in the best traditions of Bengali hospitality. One of the finest Kolkata hotels, The Peerless Inn has 122 rooms & suites and is located at Chowringhee in the heart of Kolkata, close to both shopping and business areas. What makes The Peerless Inn stand out among hotels in Kolkata is its warm and friendly service and world-class ambience. All rooms and suites in the hotel have air-conditioning with individual temperature controls, TVs, tea & coffee makers, safes & mini-fridges. Another advantage that The Peerless has over other Kolkata hotels is its central location. It is just 100 metres from the Esplanade Metro Station, a 10-minutes walk to Eden Gardens & New Market and a 15-minutes stroll to the Victoria Memorial.

HotelSikkimVillageHousesSikkim Village Houses, Yangsum Farm, Sangdyang Lee, Radhu Kandu

Shakti Himalaya has designed a ‘village house’ experience that avoids the over commercialisation of SIkkim and takes you out, off the beaten track to the unspoilt villages of the valley. Visits to serene monasteries and the backdrop of the multiple white peaks of the Khangchendzonga Mountain is the Shakti experience. In the mornings, as you wake to catch the glowing pink light that bathes the top of the peaks, the clear air is stirred by the gentle murmur of the monks changing in a nearby monastery.

General travel guidelines for India

Passports

Passports must be valid at least six months beyond the date of intended departure from India. Travellers are advised to carry a photocopy of their passport and Indian visa.

Visa Formalities

For visiting India, all foreigners are required to acquire their visa in their home country. No visa is granted upon arrival in India. For those traveling to Sikkim an additional permit is necessary. This will be obtained once in India.

Dress

The hotels are smart but not hugely formal and the smart casual label is the best description for suggested dress code. Do carry a warm coat/jersey for early morning starts and especially for any train journeys, as the onboard air-conditioning can be very severe.

Dress Code for National Parks

Please wear appropriate colours when in any National Park or Reserve – these should be muted earthy colours. You may also like to carry a sun hat and sunglasses with you.

Please note from mid November until end February, the early morning and evening games drives can be very cold – this is attributed largely to the wind factor of the ‘open air’ jeep. We highly recommend you to carry fleeces, jackets, hats, gloves and scarves. By about 8/9am, the sun is out and you will begin ‘de-layering’ and be comfortable in a t-shirt for the majority of the midday.

Currency

India’s currency is ‘Rupee’, abbreviated as ‘Rs’. One Rupee is equal to 100 paise. Coins are in various small denominations of 10, 25, 50 Paise (these are rarely in circulation these days) & 1, 2, & 5, Rupees. Notes (Bills) are in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 & 1000 Rupees.

Foreign Exchange

Visiting foreigners can exchange money at international airports where 24-hour exchange facilities are available, through banks and approved moneychangers. Or, one may change money at the big city hotels.

One can also change money at national or international banks such as Standard Chartered, Citibank, Bank of America, Hong Kong Bank and others in the major metro cities. Most of these have 24-hour ATMs. American Express and Thomas Cook offices may be found in major metros and tourist cities.

Bank timings are usually from 1000 hrs to 1700 hrs on weekdays and 1000hrs to 1400 hrs on Saturdays. Please remember that not all banks will exchange foreign currency or travellers cheques particularly in small towns.

Exchange money only through authorized banks or Money Changers. Insist on a receipt/encashment certificate when changing money. Retain all receipts to facilitate re-conversion of unspent money on departure from India. The current exchange rate of the Australian Dollar to the Indian Rupee is 1 AUD = Rs 41.82.

Travellers Cheques/Credit Cards

travellers’ Cheques should be of well-known brands like Thomas Cook, American Express and Visa. Large establishments generally accept Major Credit Cards like American Express, Master Cards, Diners Club, Visa, etc, including hotels, shops and airlines.

Payments

All foreign nationals must pay their hotel bills in foreign currency (cash, Traveler’s Cheques or even by Credit Cards). This can be paid in Rupees if the visitor has a receipt to show as a proof of currency exchange.

Tipping

It is usual to tip the waiters, porters, guides and drivers. Tips are not included in the bills, whether of hotels, transport companies or any other suppliers. At hotels and restaurants, about 10% of the bill is usually acceptable.

Though we give below the general guidelines, it is to be remembered that tipping is a sign of gratification for good service, and therefore please view the below guidelines as the middle ground, which can be adjusted depending on the level of service you feel you have received.

Please note the below amounts are per couple/ individual traveller.

Electricity

In India voltage is 220 volts AC, 50 cycles, though some areas also have DC supplies. Visitors are advised to check the voltage before using electrical appliances. Socket sizes vary, so it is as well to take a set of plug adapters, available from most electrical stores.

Prohibited Articles

The import of prohibited articles such as dangerous drugs, live plants, gold/silver bullion and coins, not in current use, is either totally prohibited or restricted. The law provides heavy penalties for the infringement of this restriction, and in some cases punishment can extend to the death sentence. Also, by law, visitors are banned from taking antiques and wildlife products out of the country – any infringement is punishable by fines and imprisonment.

Caution

The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act bans all forms of wildlife trade. Violations of the provisions of the Act are punishable with heavy fines and imprisonment up to 7 years. Foreigners are, therefore, advised not to buy any wildlife or wildlife products or derivatives especially ivory articles, fur and skin articles derived from wild animals such as Shahtoosh.

Photography

Visitors to India find varied subjects for photography including people, monuments, wildlife, festivities, and landscapes. Note, however, these formalities, in respect of photography:

Special permission of the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, is required for use of tripod and artificial light on monuments.

Special permission of Government of India is required for any photography for the purpose of publicity and commercial use.

Photography is prohibited in tribal areas.

Taking photographs of airports, railway stations, bridges, military installations, and from the air is prohibited.

Visiting Places of Worship

Removing one’s shoes before entering temples, mosques or Gurudwaras (Sikh Temple) is essential. Avoid taking leather goods of any kinds (bag, belt etc) and cigarettes into places of worship, as these are often not permitted. Do not wear shorts or sleeveless tops in places of public worship.

Insurance

It is always advisable to obtain good travel insurance to cover the worst possible scenario. Do keep a copy of your policy separately as a safeguard.

Inoculations/Vaccinations

Before traveling to India it is advised that you get vaccinations for tetanus, hepatitis, rabies and typhoid. Consult your doctor before taking them / also take advice on other vaccinations for meningitis and tuberculosis. Most vaccination courses are completed within four weeks, best taken before the trip. Malaria preventive course may be taken before your trip, but again this should be consulted with your doctor.

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