Sikkim’s capital is mostly a functional sprawl of multistorey concrete boxes. But true to its name (meaning ‘hill top’) these are steeply layered along a sharp mountain ridge. When clouds clear (typically at dawn), views are inspiring, with Khangchendzonga poking its pointy white nose above the western horizon. Gangtok’s manmade attractions are minor, but it’s not a bad place to wait out a day or two while organising trekking permits or trips to the north.
When visiting gangtok timing is crucial. Summer’s monsoon rains hide the main attraction, those soaring mountains. The Yumthang Valley are already very cold by October and will scare brass monkeys between December and February. Overall gangtok best season is late September to mid-November plus April and May.
Draped over a steep mountain ridge, surrounded by tea plantations and backed by a splendid Himalayan panorama, the archetypal hill station of Darjeeling is rightly West Bengal’s premier drawcard. When you aren’t gazing at Khangchendzonga (8598m), you can explore colonial mansions and churches, Buddhist and Hindu temples, botanical gardens and a zoo for Himalayan fauna. The steep narrow streets are crowded with colourful souvenir and handicraft shops, and a good steaming brew and excellent Indian and Tibetan fare are never far away. For the adventurous there are superb treks which trace ancient trade routes and provide magnificent viewpoints.
Most tourists visit after the monsoon (October and November) and during spring (mid-March to the end of May) when skies are dry, panoramas are clear and temperatures are pleasant.
The best time to visit Darjeeling is from March-May or September-November. The rains which start by May end are heavy downpours making living conditions cold and dreary. In winter there is a drastic fall in temperature from the summer’s 15 to 25 degrees centigrade to 2 to 10 degrees in winter.
Day 01: BAGDOGRA/ DARJEELING
You will arrive at Bagdogra Airport or The NJP Railway Station and from here you will be transferred to Darjeeling which will take nearly 3 hours. Once you reach Darjeeling, you will check into to the hotel and you can choose to either rest or can spend the rest of the day at the Mall, which is the main avenue of Darjeeling and is lined with restaurants, cafes and shops. You will spend the night in your hotel.
Day 02: DARJEELING (Local sightseeing)
After having a hearty breakfast you will enjoy the entire day by exploring the British Colonial resort town of Darjeeling. You will visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute where you will see the museum covering the history of mountaineering in India. This institute is also one of the country’s premier mountaineering institutes offering various certificate courses in Mountain sports. You will visit the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park and here you will see the various endangered species of Himalayan wildlife. If you are lucky, then you will also spot a red panda which is a rare sight. Next you will see the Tenzing Rock named after the famous Indian Mountaineer Tenzing Norgay who scaled the Mount Everest. Next you will visit the Tibetan Refugee Self-help Centre and here you will see the history of Tibet and will learn a great deal about the Tibetan freedom movement, Tibetan culture and will see the various Tibetan handicrafts. Here you will see the beautiful Tea Gardens and can enjoy the fresh tea. You will also visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda, Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park. Your evening is free and you can check out the various restaurants offering traditional Bhutia and Nepali cuisine as well as continental and Indian food. You will spend your night at the hotel.
You will visit the Tiger Hill at early morning (0400 hours) to see the spectacular sunrise over Mt. Khangchendzonga third highest peak in the World. See the spectacular sunrise and sip the fresh tea made by the locals. From here you will visit the Ghoom Monastery a Buddhist monastery. Visit the Batasia Loop. From here you will have an excursion trip to the beautiful Mirik Lake which is a stunning lake surrounded by green vegetation and offer amazing views of the Himalayas. The lake is a popular picnic spot and here you can enjoy horse riding, boating or simply take a stroll along its bank. On the way, you will also see the Pashupati Phatak, which is the Indo Nepal border. Once your excursion is over you will drive back to Darjeeling and will spend your last night at the hotel.
DAY 04: DARJEELING – GANGTOK (About 119kms/ 4 hrs) Via Kalimpong
After breakfast proceeds to picturesque drive to Gangtok “The capital City of Sikkim”. Enroute visit Kalimpong. On arrival check-in to your hotel. Rest of the day free for leisure. Overnight stay will be at Gangtok.
DAY 05: GANGTOK (Local sight seeing)
Start for a Full day city tour covering 10 points include Tashi view point, Ganesh Tok & Hanuman Tok, Ranka Monastery, Banjakhri Falls, Cottage Industry, Dro-dul Chorten, Institute of Tibetology, Flower show and Handicraft Centre (maximum 6 hours). Overnight stay will be at Gangtok
DAY 6: TSOMGO LAKE EXCURSION
After breakfast start for an excursion to Tsomgo Lake (12,400 ft.) & Baba Mandir (13200 ft) which is 52 kms from Gangtok city. Overnight stay will be at Gangtok.
OR (Due to Road blockage by Land slide)
Excursion to Temi Tea & Chardham
Start for a Full day excursion of Temi Tea Garden & Chardham. Back to Gangtok in evening. Overnight stay will be at Gangtok.
DAY 7: GANGTOK – NJP Rly Stn /IXB Airport (About 125 kms / 4 hrs)
After breakfast check out from hotel in time and take the departure transfer to NJP railway station / IXB airport for your onward journey to Delhi.