(7 nights 8 days)
The face of the higher altitude Himalayas takes on a new mask in perfect synchronicity with changing seasons. It is not just a change of looks but a change of the mountains very personality. Of the various transitions, it is in spring that this mask is at its most beautiful. The fresh green hues of the leaves, plants, blades of grass, interspersed with patches & swathes of wild blooms in vivid, vibrant colors and myriad hues. Visually one of the most stunning displays is that of the Rhododendrons. They grow pretty tall even up to 12 ft or and are fairly wide too. Come spring and at altitudes higher than 9500 ft there is virtually an eruption of magnificent blossoms at every possible point, soon the woody plant looks like a huge bouquet of flowers of a single kind in hues of white, pink, red, orange & yellow. The high altitude mountainside of Sikkim in the North District and the Rhodendron Sanctuaries in the pristine higher reaches of South & West Districts are a paradise for nature lovers wanting to see these exquisite blooms as well as Orchids, Violets…
- Day 1: New Jalpaiguri / Bagdogra Airport Rumtek (1750 M) 125 kms / 5 hrs Arrive in NJP Rly Stn or Bagdogra airport. Drive via Siliguri and then through the dense forests of Mahananda Wild Life Sanctuary to reach Sevok in the foothills – see gorgeous view of Tista River as it comes out from the deep gorges of the Himalayas and spreads itself over the vast plains of North Bengal. From here the drive is on winding roads along the meandering emerald green Tista till Singtham, and then through typical Sikkimese mountainside dotted alluringly with terraced land & orchards to finally reach Rumtek in the evening. Overnight in an eco resort.
- Day 2: Rumtek Lachen (2750 M) 135 kms / 6 hrs Have breakfast and start for North Sikkim. As the journey continues from Gangtok the route meanders through small villages flanked by fields and valleys until it hits the forest grove of Kabi Langchuk. See the quaint villages of Mangan & Singhik- these villages offer a most glorious views of Kanchenjunga. Drive on to reach Chungthang- a village that lies at the confluence of Lachen Chu and Lachung Chu (Chu means River in the local dialect) and have lunch here. Move on, stop a while at the Vimnala Waterfalls and reach Lachen in the afternoon. Rest of the day is free to enjoy the Alpine picture postcard beauty of this village and the mountainside. Overnight stay in a resort.
- Day 3: Lachen Chopta Valley - Lachung (2425 M) 77 kms / 4 hrs Today after early breakfast we proceed to Chopta Valley (Alt 13325 Ft / 4000 M) – an exciting drive through an alpine plateau to the virgin landscapes close to Tibet border. We also visit Thangu –the last village in this valley, mostly inhabited by the nomadic tribes of Tibetan origin. We enjoy a picnic lunch in this alpine wonderland, and drive back via Chungthang to enter the other valley of North Sikkim forged by the Lachung Chu River. We reach Lachung Village late in the afternoon, Rest of teh day at leisure. Overnight stay in a resort.
- Day 4: Lachung full day excursion to Yumthang & Zero Point After breakfast we proceed for an excursion to Yumthang – Sikkim’s valley of flowers at 12000 ft (3600 M). The journey from Lachung to Yumthang offers an unforgettable virgin landscape covered with Rhododendron bushes and 108 types of Orchids. Visit the hot springs and enjoy a mesmerizing spectacle of yaks grazing on flower-carpeted meadows with a backdrop of snow peaks. Enjoy an al fresco picnic lunch. We also go further, if the road is open, to Yumesamdong or Zero Point – at almost 16000 ft this place has absolutely incredible up-close views of snow capped peaks of Tibet. Enjoy a picnic lunch and be back at your resort in the evening.
- Day 5: Lachung Temi Tea Garden - Borong (1770 M) 135 km / 6 hrs Leave after breakfast visit the Angora rabbit farm at Rabum. There are only two such farms in India (the other one is in Kullu) shop for 100% pure Angora products. Carry on towards Ravangla district in South Sikkim. It is a long drive but through beautiful valleys and quaint villages. En route we take a short detour to the exotic Temi Tea Garden, spend some time here enjoying this stunning locale and have a hot lunch at a resort in the tea estate. Later drive through typical Sikkimese mountainside dotted alluringly with terraced land & orchards. Go past Ravangla town to reach reaching the beautiful village of Borong. This little explored area is a haven for nature and mountain lovers, surrounded by alpine landscape, dense verdant woodland, hot spring, sylvan forests & water falls at the foot of Mainam Hills with a backdrop of snow capped Himalayan peaks like Mt. Narsing, Simvo & Siniolchu. The view from the sit-out of your cottage here is mesmeric at sunrise & sunset.
- Day 6: Borong Pelling Rimbi Waterfall - Khecheopalri Lake - Kaluk 80 km / 3 hrs After breakfast we drive to Pelling. We see the Gompa & the ruins of Rabdentse; take a detour to see the magnificent waterfall at Rimbi. Drive back via Pelling and then through the exquisite Dentam Valley and reach the village of Kaluk in West Sikkim by early evening. Kaluk-Rinchenpong is the forest and buffer zone area of Varshey Rhododendron sanctuary. The area is gifted with abundant natural resources and is a paradise for the nature lovers, conservationists, botanists, zoologists and environmentalists. Set amidst the lush green valley your resort offers a magnificent frontal view of Kanchenjunga snow peaks. Spend the rest of the day relaxing in the resorts landscape garden with a book or stroll around the resort's own forest area on a bird watching tour.
- Day 7: Kaluk hiking excursion to the Varshey Rhododendron Sanctuary Today we leave after an early breakfast and drive about 1 ½ hrs through pristine mountain terrain to reach Uttarey, an incredibly scenic place with amazing views of snow capped peaks located in the buffer zone of the Rhodo sanctuary. We do a delightful hike of about 2 hrs each way into the sanctuary and enjoy the colourful splashes of blooms all around. Be back in your resort for cocktails at the Bamboo Bar with a bonfire and an ethnic cultural performance to boot.
- Day 8: Kaluk Bagdogra airport / NJP Rly. Stn. 110 km / 4 hrs Post breakfast drop to the airport in Bagdogra or NJP Rly Stn for your return flight/train.