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Great Sikkim and Bhutan adventure

  • Body
  • Mind
  • Soul

Himalayan walking & Bhutan adventure

Luxury and cultural holiday

nepal
Himalayas, India
6 Sikkim + 7 Bhutan Days
TBD Price

NO MARKUP - BEST PRICE

Save €20 to €50 when booking via Combadi

Holiday Type
Open dates/private groups
Running Period
October 2014 to April 2015

The Combadi Insight:

Here at Combadi we love adventures. That’s why we’re bringing you this Himalayan walking and Bhutan discovery experience. The dramatic misty mountain landscapes, hillside village walks and traditional but luxurious accommodation will give you a real taste of what remote Sikkim and Bhutan are about.

Holiday Code: DN3

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Sikkim is an Indian state that’s set deep in the Himalayas. On this 13 day luxurious walking and culture tour through the region you’ll see cliffside monasteries, ancient fortresses, Himalayan sunrises and more. The second half of the trip takes you across Sikkim’s border into one of the most beautiful and remote countries on earth - Bhutan.

The trip starts in the town of Rinchenpong in West Sikkim. Enjoy an evening by a warm fire while you’re served drinks under the stars. During your time in Sikkim you’ll pay a visit to the Rinchenpong mountain monastery where you’ll be welcome to join the monks for the monastery’s morning prayer session.

Waking up at the crack of dawn might sound like a chore, but the moment you’ve seen the amber sun emerge from the horizon with Mt. Kanchenjunga as a backdrop you’ll be rendered speechless. Spend the night in a traditional Sikkimese house, wander through cardamon fields and stop for tea at the residence of a retired local teacher. She has a wealth of heart-warming stories to share.

In Bhutan, visit Thimpu which is the only capital city in the world with no streetlights! Drive through the Punakha Valley for a chance to marvel at the Punakha Dzong - an almighty fortress built between two rivers. But it’s the ethereal Tiger’s Nest Monastery that grips the misty cliff face that you’ll want to write home about.

This Himalayan experience is great for solo-travellers, families and couples looking for a remote escape from the rest of the world and a luxury holiday. It's a dream alternative honeymoon!

Day 1

Delhi – Bagdogra– Sandyang Lee Flight: Delhi – Bagdogra 9W 711 ETD: 1210 Hrs ETA: 1430 Hrs Class: Economy

Today morning take flight to Bagdogra from Delhi.

Today’s flight will take us to Bagdogra from Delhi. Upon arrival in Bagdogra, a Shakti representative will meet us and transfer us to Rinchenpong area where the Shakti Village walks are located.

As we reach the altitude of 6,400 feet, the quaint and well-preserved Himalayan town in Rinchenpong welcomes us. We will be immediately treated to a grandiose experience as we go to Sangdhyang Lee House, which offers stunning views of the Kanchenjunga massif. Sandyang Lee is owned by a local political leader and features modern design and architecture. Apart from magnificent vistas, the house offers comfortable accommodation with three en-suite bedrooms and a hospitable family.

Early in the evening, our Shakti guide will brief us about the tour. Snacks and drinks will be served around the fire and under the stars. A sumptuous dinner follows thereafter.

Overnight in Shakti Village House at Sandyang Lee - Fully Inclusive.

Day 2

Sandyang Lee

Rise up early for breakfast. We will leave for Yangsum village for a walking tour that takes around 4 to 5 hours. This gives us a glimpse of the local lifestyle and of a typical mountain village market in Rinchenpong.

We will also visit a local school (carol academy) in the area. We will be given the option to shorten the walk, depending on how we are feeling.

In the afternoon, we will set foot on the village of Hatti Dunga. This is where we will have a delicious picnic lunch. After lunch, we will cross an old traditional Lepcha House estimated to be at least 150 years old. We will then return to the house for dinner prepared by the Shakti chef and the rest of the evening will be relaxing.

Overnight in Shakti Village House at Sandyang Lee - Fully Inclusive.

Day 3

Sandyang Lee – Hee

A once in a lifetime experience awaits as we wake up early for Day three – join the morning prayers at the Rinchenpong Monastery. We will be back in Sandyang Lee in time for breakfast.

After breakfast, we will walk uphill (268 stairs) and pass by a family monastery that was built around 200 years ago. The spectacular 360˚ view of the mountains is breathtaking. We will then follow the trail down via the Rinchenpong monastery through the village of Bhasmay. Upon arrival at the Kaluk village, a small Himalayan town, we will begin to climb uphill for around half an hour until we reach the highest hillock in the area. At this point, we will proceed walking along the ridge with the mountains running parallel to us. We will sample delicious local dishes for lunch in the village of Jowbari.

After a fulfilling meal, we will walk to Bermiok monastery and then Dunga Dara, and continue to the village of Hee. This is where our next house is located.

Overnight in Shakti Village House at Hee - Fully Inclusive.

Day 4

Hee – Radhu Kandu

If the skies are clear and the morning weather is fine, our guide will take us to witness the magnificent view of the Pemayangste Hill and the great Himalayan range. Sunrise in Kanchenjunga is magical. Enjoy the view more as we sip a cup of hot tea.

An uphill walk will commence after breakfast. Our next target destination is the Red Panda wildlife sanctuary. It will take us around 2 hours to reach the traditional Sikkimese house waiting for us at Radhu Kandu. It has two bedrooms and outside toilets and showers (built by Shakti). The hospitable family will welcome us to our magnificent home for the day. The uninterrupted views can be perfectly combined with a hot herbal tea – a perfect picture of complete relaxation.

Overnight in Shakti Village House at Radhu Khandu - Fully Inclusive.

Day 5

Radhu Kandu

We will immediately jump into our activities after breakfast. The house owners will take us around the village of Khandu. We will be given time to immerse with locals and learn about their daily life. Later, we will follow a path that will lead us to the majestic 150-year old monastery and then head to the rhododendron ridge for a delicious picnic lunch. Our Shakti Team will take us back to our village house for a laid-back evening.

Overnight in Shakti Village House at Radhu Khandu - Fully Inclusive.

Day 6

Radhu Kandu – Delhi/Siliguri

Today, we will spend time to join morning prayers at the Pemayangtse Monastery. We will then return to the house to freshen up.

For those who will be taking the Bhutan Extension trip, we will drive to Siliguri. Otherwise, this is where our wonderful adventure ends, and we will drive to Bagdogra for flight to Delhi.

Flight: Bagdogra– Delhi 9W 712 ETD 1425 Hrs ETA 1650 Hrs Class: Economy

Extension Itinerary for Bhutan

Day 1

Radhu Kandu – Delhi or Siliguri

We will be back in the road for day one of our Bhutan adventure. We will drive for approximately 6 hours going to Siliguri. Packed lunch will be served. Upon arrival in Siliguri, we will check-in at The Sinclair’s for a night. Delicious dinner will be served in the hotel.

Overnight: The Sinclair’s –Suite Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2

Siliguri –Paro – Thimpu

We will leave for Bagdogra airport just in time for our flight to Paro.

Bagdogra- Paro KB 131 ETD: 0905hrs ETA: 1000hrs Class: Economy

Up in the air, we will be entertained by the breathtaking views of the mountains and landscape. Upon arrival in Paro, we will proceed to the Immigration & Customs for clearing. A representative will meet us at the arrival hall. We will then be driven to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Travel will take us around an hour and 30 minutes.

The perfect fusion of old fashion and avant-garde atmosphere will greet us as we enter Thimphu, which is tucked in a valley (Thimphu river running through the valley) at 2320 meters above sea level. Its population stands at 40,000 and traffic is enforced by hand gesturing officers - yes, they do not have signal lights here.

In the afternoon, we will explore the city and visit iconic landmarks including the National Memorial Chorten, National Textile Museum, Folk Heritage Museum and National Library. The streets are filled with interesting Himalayan artifacts and textiles.

Optional: A well-known artist will introduce us to the eloquent Bhutanese arts and crafts. We will visit a local school of arts and crafts. Additional cost is 200 USD.

TIME Magazine has featured a picturesque golf destination with interesting setting in Thimpu. It is located close to the house of government. A round of golf can be arranged and nominal fees will be paid directly.

Overnight: Taj Tashi, Deluxe Room Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3

Thimpu – Punakha

Wake up to a relaxing morning overlooking spectacular gifts of nature. After breakfast, we will leave to visit the Changangkha Lhakhang Monastery and Motithang Takin reserve. The reserve was originally established as a mini zoo. However, the king saw that no such place would be compliant with environmental and religious beliefs of Bhutan. Consequently, it was resolved and the animals were released into the wild, all except for the takins, Bhutan's national animal, they were so tame that they roamed through the streets of Thimphu looking for food.

After our trip to the reserve, we will drive to the Punakha Valley for about 3 hours and 30 minutes in three phases. - Phase 1: After we reach Simtokha, we will climb from Simtokha to Dochula pass. En route, we will pass by Simtokha Dzong, the oldest dzong in Bhutan. It is now the home of Institute for language and Culture. We will be requested to register at an immigration checkpoint at Hongtso. - Phase 2: We will also cross Dochula pass (3150 meters), where on a clear day we can see views of the Himalayas. Lunch can be packed from the hotel in Paro or at Dochula cafeteria. - Phase 3: The last phase of the journey is downhill to Punakha valley. En route, we will pass prayer wheels, which are run by flowing water.

Punakha used to be the capital of Bhutan. It boasts a magnificent dzong situated on an island in the middle of the river. It is also the winter residence of the Central monastic body. It is a climatically warmer valley compared to Paro and Thimphu. We will head to our hotel for a leisurely evening and dinner.

Optional: We have the option to visit local clinics and schools to completely immerse with the local ways of life and their society. We can also visit a Bhutanese family home to learn how to cook local delicacies. We will also feast over a sumptuous meal prepared by the family. Additional cost is 150 USD for two people.

Overnight: Uma Punakha, Valley View Room Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4

Punakha

A memorable morning visit to the Punakha Dzong will introduce us to the heritage and history of this fortress built between two rivers. It has survived countless episodes of glacial floods and fire. Every February, a procession known as the Punakha Serda takes place to commemorate the locals’ victory over the Tibetans.

Dig deeper into the rural lifestyle of the people via a visit to a traditional Bhutanese village. If you thirst for more adrenalin rush, we can go on hiking to nearby villages.

Optional: We also have the option to partake in an archery match, where we will get to witness local archers show off their prowess using traditional bows and arrows. The locals enjoy such competition. The show can be organized at an additional cost of 600-1200 USD, depending how elaborate the guest wants.

Overnight: Uma Punakha, Valley View Room Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 5

Punakha – Paro

Our target destination for today is Paro. We will drive for approximately 4 hours to get there. Paro is perched 2280 meters above sea level. The Paro Valley is an important agricultural land in the country. It is also where the airport is located.

Before the construction of major roads today, most of Bhutan's trade came through Paro either from Tibet via Tremo la or from the south via Haa. Paro Valley extends from Jumolhari on the Tibetan border to Chuzom, which is the confluence of the Thimpu and Punakha rivers.

Our exploration of the valley starts with the watchtower or locally known as Ta-Dzong. Its story dates back to 1960s during the reign of King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Now housing the National Museum, the seven floors highlight various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history from as far as the 7th century. We will then visit the historic Rinpung Dzong that lies below the Ta-Dzong. It is where seat of the local government and local monk body are located.

Other visits can include a visit to the ancient kyichu lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan, and is located among fields of paddy. As we stroll the small towns of Paro, we will see handicrafts stores featuring local artistry.

Optional: Spiritual tours can also be arranged. We have an option to visit the famed famed oracle and participate in a purification ceremony conducted in an old monastery. Meditation practice can be arranged in the vicinity with a master. Additional cost is 200 USD in total.

Overnight: Uma Paro, Deluxe Room Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6

Paro

Excitement will define this day. First on our list is a day hike to the Taktsang Monastery. Then, we will drive going to the ruined citadel of Drugyel Dzong. The strategic location of the fort is a major attraction today. According to Bhutan chronicles, this fort defended the Paro Valley from the Tibetan invasion from the north in the early 17th century. A clear weather will allow us to enjoy the incredible views of the dzong located on the Mount Chomolhari, 7320 meters above sea level.

The starting point of the hike is Tiger Nest. All the way uphill will take us around 3 to 4 hours, passing by villages and pine forests. The monastery clings to a huge granite cliff, which is 800 meters from the Paro Valley. Ancient folklore mentioned that Great Saint Padmasambhava came here in the 7th century on a flying tigress, and meditated in a cave for 3 months. The demons were subdued and the people of Paro Valley converted into Buddhism. During the end of the 17th century, a monastery was built on the spot where the saint mediated. It is now considered as one of the most important pilgrimage sites for every Bhutanese – a visit once in their lifetime is almost mandatory.

Note: Pony will be arranged for guest - please note pony doesn't go all the way to the monastery as very close to the monastery there are number of steps which the pony can't go up and down easily. We will stroll back to the resort in the evening. The remainder of the day can be allotted for leisure at a nearby market or relax at the hotel and enjoy the facilities.

Optional: Meet and greet with a distinguished member of Bhutanese society can be arranged either in Paro or Thimpu. However, this is subject to the availability and time since what we are meeting is a well known and respected person. This would make for a wonderful opportunity to interact and learn more about this beautiful country, its politics, society and lifestyle. Additional cost is 600 USD.

Overnight: Uma Paro, Deluxe Room Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 7

Paro – Delhi

Bhutan extension trip concludes here. We will leave early morning for Paro International Airport, in time for your flight to Delhi.

Paro - Delhi KB - 204 ETD: 0900hrs ETA: 1100hrs

Inclusions:

Accommodation and Meals - Accommodation on Twin basis in hotel specified in the itinerary - All meals specified in the itinerary

Transportation and Transfers - Transport in air-conditioned via Toyota Innova - Porters' fee at the airports only

Tours - Services of accompanying English-speaking guide for the sightseeing and tours - Entrances to the monuments as specified in the itinerary

Any Appropriate taxes

NOT Included

Accommodation and Meals - Items of personal nature like drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips, camera fees etc. - Any other meals than those mentioned in the itinerary

  • Transportation and Transfers
  • International airfare
  • Visa fees
  • Airport tax or any kind of insurance cover
  • Liability for change in itinerary due to reasons beyond our control like change in flight and train schedule;
  • Cancellation of flights/trains, political disturbances, natural phenomenon, etc

  • Any other items not specified in the “Inclusions” section

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