Sikkim and West Bengal tour, India

“Mostly in Sikkim state, a 14 day small group cultural tour in the Eastern Himalayas. Staying mostly in hotels and one sleeper train. Finishes in Kolkata to coincide with October Durga Puja Festival. ”

Highlights

Darjeeling | Views of Kanchenjunga | Khecheopalri Lake | Yumthang Valley | Tashiding, Pemayangtse and Rumtek monasteries | Kolkata | Durga Puja Festival in Kolkata

Description of Sikkim and West Bengal tour, India

This Sikkim and West Bengal trip starts in Kurseong among the hill stations around Darjeeling and then takes you into the stunning world of the Eastern Himalayas. This is a wonderful trip, travelling in a small group and fully guided, for anyone who wants to get to know the culture and landscapes of this dramatically beautiful region, without having to be a super fit trekker.

Every day is an adventure in this part of the world, whether you are delving back into the colonial history of Darjeeling and its tea plantations, or meeting your hosts at a traditional Lepcha village in Dzongu.

The landscapes are breathtakingly stark and stunning, such as the Yumthang Valley which is situated at an elevation of 3894m, sacred lakes such as Khecheopalri or views out to Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world. On this trip you will definitely get a feeling of the fact that Sikkim is the least populated state in India and yet it boasts the most incredible prehistoric ruins, medieval towns and churches.

Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim, established as a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the 1840’s and still a sacred spot today. From here we take an overnight train to Kolkata which is India’s second largest city and quite a contrast. We hit it in full swing too as this trip is timed to coincide with the Durga Puja or Devi Paksha, ‘Fortnight of the Goddess’ festival which celebrates the victory of good over evil as well as the harvest festival.

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01273 823 700

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Sikkim and West Bengal tour, India

Environment

We have a strict environmental policy to make sure that the environments we visit are not damaged or spoilt in any way. Our “Leave No Trace” ethic is applied to this trip and as tour operators, it is something we are careful to promote. Your guide on this trip will have been trained to uphold this policy and all clients are fully briefed on appropriate/responsible behaviour whilst in wilderness areas.

We are very aware of the economic, ecological and ethical impact tourism can have on ancient cultures and fragile environments. We realise that taking clients through the wild landscapes of North Sikkim could have a negative impact on the environment if not handled responsibly and as such, on all of our trips we go to great lengths to minimise the negative/

By keeping the group size to a maximum of 12, we can also minimise the human impact on the fragile sites we visit – particularly important as this trip visits some delicate ecosystems. We use walking/hiking and train rides as forms of transport on this trip which helps to keep carbon-emissions down and we stay in local homestays which operate with the environment in mind.

When you take one of our trips, we make a contribution to “Carbon Clear” – an organisation devoted to ‘offsetting’ or ‘neutralising’ harmful greenhouse gas emissions caused by your flight. This is done by funding projects across the world that will reduce greenhouse gases on your behalf through sustainable energy or rainforest restoration.

Community

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that we have been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to dossiers and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind.

We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For example, on this trip we integrate and gain an understanding of the culture, customs and language of the Lepchas. People who hold strong ties with nature and have lived here for centuries and who's homestays we can enjoy.

In India we use local ground handlers - this means that all the operational costs go directly into the local economy and helps to improve employment opportunities in remote regions. By incorporating homestays, locally owned hotels, family run restaurants and the services of guides and drivers into our itineraries, we ensure that money you spend on your trip goes directly into the local economy and local communities benefit from tourism, such as the Tibetan refugee village we both support and visit on this tour.

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