A golden sunrise warms steely-grey mountain ramparts as below wraiths of morning mist hang lazily on alpine meadows and forests. Nestling between the vaunted peaks of Nepal and secretive Bhutan, the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Sikkim is a land dominated by the colossal bulk of Kanchenjunga the world's third highest peak at nearly 28,000 feet.
A fabulous landscape of knife-edge ridges and plunging valleys nurtures an astonishing flora which first drew the West's attention after a visit by the Victorian explorer-botanist Sir Joseph Hooker. We are indebted to Hooker for his introduction of so many plants including some of the world's finest Rhododendrons. An incomparable display of magnificent blooms of this supreme genus is found in Kyongsola, Maenam and Shingba Sanctuaries, among them big-leaved hodgsonii, clear yellow campylocarpum, epiphytic white dalhousiae, and lavender-pink niveum. The greatest diversity of Rhododendrons will be seen on a six day trek into the heart of the immense Kanchenjunga National Park, along with marvellous displays of Primula gracilipes, swarms of lilac-purple Primula denticulata, and their delicate relative Bryocarpum himalaicum. Cobra-Lilies are represented by several species whose magical mix of mysterious shapes and pattern verges on the bizarre. At lower altitudes are many epiphytic orchids including white Coelogynes and Sikkim's state flower Dendrobium nobile. Bharal graze amidst the floral magnificence and birdlife includes enigmatic Ibisbill, beautiful Blood Pheasant, the brilliant hues of the Fire-tailed Sunbird, and a whole gaggle of laughingthrush species!
The main tour is hotel based with daily walks however an extension takes us on a trek into the magnificent Kanchenjunga National Parkwhere under snow-clad Mount Pandim are banks smothered in Primula boothii, deep-purple Primula calderana and the deeply-toothed pink blooms of Primula irregularis. The incredible blue Grandala and White-browed Rosefinches hop about boulder-strewn slopes amongst Clintonia udensis and stunning scarlet Rhododendron thomsonii.
Sikkim's buddhist heritage will not be forgotten. We'll visit picturesque old monasteries as well as meeting the friendly mountain peoples, a mix of Nepalese, Lepchas, Bhutias and Limbus, whose language gave the state its name "sukh-im" meaning 'happy homeland'
Flowers. Also Birds, Mammals, Mountain Landscapes and Monasteries.
On the main tour the walking is fairly easy to moderate and acclimatisation is gentle. We’ll cover up to six or seven miles on some days, less on others, and there will be some steep slopes. Those on the trek extension will need to be able to cover up to ten miles a day over uneven terrain (including narrow paths, loose surfaces and wet and slippery paths) and up or down perhaps a thousand metres in altitude in a day. On the trek you’ll reach 4000m in altitude but you’ll have had plenty of time to acclimatise.
Included in the Price
All flights. All transport, meals and accommodation inIndia. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips, Indian Visas, and items of a personal nature including insurance, are not included.
The maximum group size is 10.
After a night in Delhi's comfortable Vasant Continental we travel to Gangtok in Sikkim and spend two nights at the Hidden Forest Hotel with its orchid-filled gardens. In Lachung we stay at the encouragingly named Modern Residence for two nights. All of the above have clean comfortable rooms with en suite facilities but for three nights in Lachen we'll stay in a basic hotel, with simple bathrooms (not always attached) and our hotel at Ravangla (two nights) is basic but comfortable with en suite rooms. The main tour finishes with two more comfortable hotels, the first at Pelling and lastly the Himalaya Hotel, a turn of the 20th century wooden hotel with lots of Raj memorabilia. The trek extension has one night in the Hotel Tashi Gang at Yuksam and then we'll have four nights under canvas. We will be well looked after with porters, cooks and dzos to carry our bags and hot water will be available for washing. Spacious two man tents will be used for the trek - please note that single accommodation cannot be guaranteed on the trek, nor at Lachen on the main tour.
From dawn until early to mid-afternoon it is generally warm and sunny but the latter part of most days usually sees some rain, sometimes drizzly, sometimes heavier.
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information. Flower, bird and mammal checklists are available.