Sikkim & Kolkata cultural tour in India

“Nine day tailor made tour linking Sikkim & Kolkata via a domestic flight to offer travellers an immersive cultural experience within the remote villages of eastern India.”

Highlights

Kolkata | Bagdogra | Bhutanese village in Sikkim | Bengali cooking experience | hiking and wildlife watching | tribal storytelling | hands-on organic farming | Darjeeling | Himalayan railway journey |

Description of Sikkim & Kolkata cultural tour in India

This nine day cultural tour takes travellers on a tailor made adventure into two of Indiaís lesser-visited regions, Sikkim & Kolhata, with a domestic flight in between making short shrift of distances so as to invite an efficient and exciting experience close to the borders of Bhutan and Nepal.

Throughout the tour youíll be invited into the villages of Limbu and Lepcha as well as finding out more about the tribal traditions of Bhutanese that have made the eastern state of Sikkim their home.

We value storytelling over traditional sightseeing as we think this promotes interaction with local people, on their level, rather than a more voyeuristic approach. Listening to locally told tales also keeps the spirit of the past alive as well as providing a deeper understanding of the history of an area, something that a guide book can rarely express with quite as much personal passion and entertaining insight.

The chance to stay overnight in the more remote villages of Sikkim & Kolkata is another example of how strongly we value cultural interaction and joining in with day-to-day activities, such as cooking, handicrafts, singing and dancing, is also a great way to become immersed in life, like a local, rather than just another observational tourist.

As Sikkim is Indiaís premier state for organic agriculture youíll be introduced to a traditional way of life from a sustainable perspective as well as marvelling at the likes of Kanchenjunga mountain and the natural beauty of Maenama Wildlife Sanctuary in the south of Sikkim.

Time spent in and around Kolkata (formally Calcutta) creates an authentic taste of eastern India with immersive culinary experiences combining with storytelling and interaction with local people to add to the authenticity of exploring in one of Indiaís most culturally enlightening Bengali capitals.

As this is a tailor made nine day tour youíll be invited to explore and discover at a pace that suits you however, donít expect to be rushing from one place to the next, far from it, this is a tour that invites pause for thought as well as organic experiences that reveal themselves piece by piece, thread by thread.

We pride ourselves on transparency, with no hidden costs, and encourage two way contact with our core team of tour operators rather than being passed from one member of staff to the next. We value storytelling over typical sightseeing and base our itineraries around these sorts of experiences so as to aid genuine cultural interaction for responsible travellers as well as first-class experiences to remember for all times.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Map

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
1. Our environmental responsibility starts from the office. All our communication within and outside the office is paperless. We also encourage remote work and work from home in our team to avoid them from traveling every day.

2. One person uses 3-4 bottles of packaged mineral water/day on a tour. On a 10-day tour of a family of four, that accumulates to 160 bottles. We have removed single-use plastic bottles from all our tours and replaced them with a reusable, 2-stage filter, and BPA free water bottles. It filters 99.9% bacteria, parasites, and microplastics. The activated carbon filter reduces bad odor and taste, chlorine, and organic chemical matter from the water.

3. Our village accommodations use organic composting to process the waste produced. The farming that you will be participating in is transformed into organic over the last couple of years. Previously pesticides were used which had rendered the land useless. But slowly the land has now revived due to organic plantations.

4. We do not use any unethical practices to lure any wildlife on the Maenam La trek. Any interactions you have with animals ensure that they are not harmed or exploited.

5. The raw material for meals is sourced locally. Not only it is fresh but it also reduces the fuel emissions caused by transportation from long distances.

6. The transportation provided to you is compliant with current emission standards in India.

7. The rural accommodations in Sikkim are owned by local families who have training in hospitality. Therefore, you neednít worry about hygiene, food, and their availability to help you when you need.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

1. The rural accommodations in Sikkim are owned by local families who have training in hospitality. Therefore, you neednít worry about hygiene, food, and availability to help you when you need to. The earnings from your tour are shared directly with the accommodation owners and tour guides from the same village. Some of our homestays are community-based which ensures rotation of income equally among the member families. Over the years, we have been able to evolve a sense of pride together with the community which has inspired the youth to stay back in the villages. Some of our guides are also doing a masters course in their tribal language.

2. The activities designed for you involve local families as much as possible to utilize their skill in weaving and wood carving. Women are involved in handicrafts like carpets and local dresses. We regularly advocate for women empowerment through our social media channels and conferences. 100% of earnings from any handicrafts that you choose to buy are directly given to the artisan working with the Self Help Group (SHG). The earnings are also partially put in the community development fund used for plantation of trees, maintenance of homestays, and as an emergency corpus.

3. Drivers and guides are from the local community and are given fair wages which are decided on per day basis so that you are not overcharged at any point. The drivers and guides are trained in hygiene, communicating, hosting, and other factors necessary to give you an extraordinary experience.

4. Rather than painting only a rosy picture, we share the social and economic issues of the tribes with you. These issues could be about rural to urban migration for employment, women, and children, education, environment, and more.

5. The storytelling element in our trips is introduced to help you form deeper connections with the community thus enriching both the traveler and the host. Storytelling also helps in creating mutual respect.

6. It will be common to see the active involvement of both men and women in decision making roles with respect to managing guests, finances, and raising the family. Women also interact with guests regularly. Thus they make a significant contribution to responsible tourism.

Climate

3 Reviews of Sikkim & Kolkata cultural tour in India

4.5 out of 5 stars
SHOW
2
1
0
0
0

Reviewed on 03 Oct 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Homestays, particularly in Sikkim, where we loved the mountains. The drivers were excellent too.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Do take more than just sandals and light shoes: we took our walking boots and they were invaluable. You will struggle to spend money!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, particularly in Sikkim (we also spent a week in Meghalaya)

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent - well planned by the local agents.

Reviewed on 18 Jul 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


I thoroughly enjoyed staying with a Kolkata family, eating together, sharing experiences and being extremely well looked after.
The home stay arrangements were thoughtful and also flexible. The two historical tours that I did were fascinating, conducted by a very switched-on young guide.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If you have a connecting flight through an Indian airport remember to collect your luggage, go through customs, and check it back in!!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I think the historical tours support cultural conservation. The trip organiser kindly supplied a reusable filter water bottle. Otherwise quite a bit of driving, inevitably.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very rewarding. Genuinely caring organisation behind it.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you Joan for coming over. :)

Reviewed on 29 Dec 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Taking a traditional, herb-infused hot stone bath outside overlooking the valley Driving on the roads was also either thrilling (the views) or terrifying (the conditions). Luckily our driver was highly skilled. Donít always expect seat belts by the way.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared to be welcomed enthusiastically. And remember to take warm clothes. It can get chilly up in the mountains.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Definitely. Incomes are low and life is close to subsistence level. Staying with these families who share the financial benefits makes a significant difference to them.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Unique! Brilliant. Do it!!

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you Katherine. Having you and Sara with us was an absolute delight. We are happy to know that you took back beautiful memories from India, and left a positive impact locally. Regarding your feedback on seat belt, we had given instruction to wear it as part of our training. However, it seems a refresher training is required now. We will take care of that. Do visit us again :)

Popular similar holidays

Golden Triangle with Ranthambore tour, India

Golden Triangle with Ranthambore tour, India

Brilliant experiences including Tigers and Temples

From £1199 - £1299 11 days excluding flights

Kerala tailor made holiday, 11 days

Kerala tailor made holiday, 11 days

Revitalize in Kerala - A most wonderful and balanced trip

From £1349 - £1779 11 days excluding flights

Tiger tour in India, land of the Tiger tour

Tiger tour in India, land of the Tiger tour

Wildlife tour through India

From £2999 - £3449 16 days including UK flights

Walking and cycling holiday in Kerala, India

Walking and cycling holiday in Kerala, India

Walking and cycling through rain forests and grasslands

From US $1150 8 days excluding flights

Convert currencies