This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Responsible tourism: Darjeeling & Sikkim tailor made holiday, India
Darjeeling and Sikkim occupy a particularly beautiful part of India, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas and with virgin forests and deep valleys. On this tour we stay in a number of different properties which have been selected not just because they are great places to stay but also for their contributions to the environment. At Yangsum Heritage Farm we stay on a working farm which grows its produce according to organic principles; within its 44 acres lie a wide selection of vegetables and fruits, which are used in the meals prepared for guests - food miles here are very limited!
Similarly in Gangtok we stay at the Hidden Forest Retreat, a charming guesthouse which produces its own organic vegetables and milk, while in Kalimpong we stay on an orchid farm situated within a botanical park.
Where practical we make use of public transport; India is blessed with a good train network and rather than drive to Darjeeling we take the train.
In our UK office we recycle extensively, from paper and envelopes to ink cartridges, plastic bottles and food packaging, with dedicated recycling bins. We minimise our use of electricity by turning off appliances and using energy efficient lightbulbs, and our toilets use reduced water cisterns to minimise our use of water
We try wherever possible to ensure that our tours benefit the local communities we travel through. The hotels that we use on this trip are all locally owned; not just Indian owned but owned and managed by people from the communities we stay in. Locally owned hotels contribute far more to the surrounding economy than other hotels, where profits are spent elsewhere. In Kewzing we use homestay accommodation; this type of accommodation means that people who have traditionally been outside of the tourism industry are able to benefit from it as well.
We visit a number of monasteries on this tour, and are careful to ensure that travellers are given proper advice on appropriate dress and local customs so as not to cause any cultural offence, especially in more conservative areas.
We also work with guides from the local communities for any local excursions such as guided walks and village visits; not only does this ensure that travellers learn about places from the people that live there, but it helps to spread the benefits of tourism in more remote areas.