Sikkim: A Cultural Tour and Home Visit with KarmaQuest---Trip Dates: November 18 to 30, 2017

Add this to our Bhutan trip: For the Birds: A Celebration of Black Necked Crane Conservation in Bhutan, November 8 to 18, 2017



Buddhist prayers on mani stones



Learning about Sikkimese culture at home


Cherry Resort, Temi

Cost includes:
- 1 night hotel accommodation (twin sharing basis) in Delhi
- Airport transfers and land transportation by private vehicle in Sikkim
- Sightseeing tours as indicated in Sikkim
- English speaking tour guide through out the trip
- Special welcome and farewell dinners in Sikkim
- Homestay in Sikkim, with three meals a day (with traditional beverages)
- Hotel/guesthouse accommodations, double occupancy with breakfasts
- Most lunches and dinners in Sikkim
- Entry fees to monasteries

Cost does not include:
- US-Delhi-US international flights
- Domestic flight: Delhi-Bagdogra-Delhi
- Meals & beverages other than those specified above
- Indian visa fee
- Additional nights at a hotel in Delhi
- Emergency evacuation/ medical and travel insurance (mandatory)
- Personal medical kit
- Items of personal nature (e.g., laundry, drinks, telephone calls, taxi service)
- Tips to tour guide and drivers
- Donations at monasteries or social service organizations
- Any other services not specifically mentioned as included above


For more information and a detailed itinerary... please contact

KarmaQuest Ecotourism and Adventure Travel
Tel: (650) 560-0101/
Fax: 712-8164
699 Spindrift Way, Half Moon Bay,
California 94019 USA
Karma@KarmaQuest.com
Website: www.KarmaQuests.com

 


KarmaQuest
has specially designed this 13-day (in-country) cultural tour of Sikkim, India to give you a taste of daily life in a Himalayan kingdom. A highlight of the trip will be a visit to KarmaQuest Director Karma Lama's family’s farm house in Temi where you will experience traditional family life and dine on organic farm-grown food.

This journey begins with a flight from Delhi to Bagdogra. The drive to Gangtok, capital of Sikkim, follows the winding Tista River, and enters the state of Sikkim at Rongpo. Two nights in Gangtok allow time to explore and shop for souvenirs in this walker-friendly town. Then overnight near Rumtek Monastery in a quiet forest lodge.

Departing Rumtek, you’ll continue your journey to west Sikkim, visiting Tashiding Monastery. During two days in Yuksom you’ll be guided on walks through the village and forest, learning about a community-based ecotourism program that KarmaQuest helps support.

The next stop is Kuzing village for a two-night homestay with a family. You can even participate in daily chores if you like. Homestay families have been oriented to the practice of hosting foreign visitors and are well accustomed to their needs and interests.

Homestay visits are a favorite of all of our clients. In the words of trip members Tom and Mary Herrmann: “The homestay was the highlight of the trip. We were treated like royalty.”

Leaving Kuzing you will drive to Temi, where you’ll spend the last three nights at the beautiful Cherry Resort (photo left) and tour an organic tea estate.

“Cherry Resort was a treasure. Sunning ourselves on the deck was wonderful and the scenery was gorgeous.” Carl Mehler

From Temi, you’ll depart Sikkim, leaving a bit of your heart behind in this heavenly corner of the Himalaya.

Sikkim Plus Bhutan: Visit two Himalayan Kingdoms back to back!
Sikkim and Bhutan share a common border and a Tibetan cultural heritage. You are invited to join a ten day trip to Bhutan immediately preceding this Sikkim trip (or on a customized basis with different dates, following this Sikkim trip). Please inquire about For the Birds: A Celebration of Black Necked Crane Conservation in Bhutan, November 8 to 18, 2017 featuring the best of Bhutan, from a special visit inside Taktsang monastery, to viewing the endangered Black Necked Crane in the wild and a lively traditional Buddhist dance festival!.

Other short extension trips in India can be arranged before or after visiting Sikkim, including Darjeeling, Delhi, the Taj Mahal in nearby Agra, and elsewhere. Please inquire.

Itinerary:

Day 1:    Arrive in Delhi: KarmaQuest's in-country representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in Delhi. Overnight in Gangtok.

Day 2:    Fly Delhi to Bagdogra, drive to Gangtok, Sikkim: Flying south of Himalaya, you’ll see a snow-covered horizon of the world’s tallest peaks. Drive to Gangtok (4 hours), arriving in the evening. Overnight in Gangtok. Elevation: (5,800’).

Day 3:    Gangtok: After a leisurely morning, stroll along the pleasant Mahatma Gandhi Marg, a pedestrian-friendly downtown area where you can pick up souvenirs or people watch from a park bench. Overnight and a welcome dinner. Overnight in Gangtok.

Day 4:    Rumtek: Today you’ll venture out (an hour’s drive) to Rumtek Monastery, seat of the Karmapa Lama, head of the Kargyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Built in the Tibetan style of architecture, it is a masterpiece of color and religious art, crowning a hilltop facing Gangtok. Overnight in Rumtek.

Day 5:    Rumtek to Tashiding and Yuksom: Drive through the cardamom farms and tea estates of South Sikkim. Lunch en route. Take an easy one hour hike to Tashiding Monastery (optional), one of the most important and oldest monasteries of Sikkim where sacred waters flow. Continue on and overnight in Yuksom.

Day 6:    Yuksom:
After breakfast, you’ll drive a short distance to Yuksom, trekking trailhead to the base camp of Mt. Kangchendzonga. This picturesque village now boasts ecotourism that benefits local farmers and herders. Overnight in Yuksom (5800’).

Day 7:    Yuksom: Day Hike and Village Visit: Take a morning village walk of Yuksom, seat of Sikkim’s first king’s (choegyal’s) coronation. Visit the Kangchendzonga Conservation Committee (KCC) visitor center to learn about its work with porters and villagers to keep Yuksom and the national park clean. KarmaQuest has a long involvement in ecotourism in Sikkim, working with community organizations such as KCC. We invite you to support – as we do – its suggestions on how to be an eco-friendly visitor. Overnight in Yuksom.

Day 8:    Homestay in Kuzing: Drive to Kuzing, where you’ll meet your homestay hosts and hostesses for a two-night stay in a traditional family home – with electricity, toilet and mattressed beds. You’ll be treated to real Sikkimese hospitality and home-made delicacies, while observing life in the home and on the farm. Stroll the village paths, and enjoy village-organized activities. Overnight in the homestay, Kuzing.

Day 9:    Homestay in Kuzing: Today you’ll take a short walk to a local monastery. Return to your homestay for lunch. Spend time with the family on farming activities, or listening to tales of yetis. Enjoy views of the great Himalaya from your window. Overnight in the homestay, Kuzing.

Day 10:    Drive to Temi: Drive less than two hours to Temi, stopping a Buddha Park, home of an impressive large size Buddha statue, an interior hall with lovely frescoes of the Buddha's life and set amidst landscaped gardens with frop or lunch: a lovely pastoral setting surrounded by tea gardens and forests alive with bird calls. Overnight in Cherry Resort (photo left)(5500')

Day 11:    Temi: Awaken to the sight of Mt. Kangchendzonga -- third highest mountain in the world -- on the horizon (weather permitting). Today after a breakfast of fresh milk-tea and traditional snacks, you’ll take a short hike to a lookout point and visit the giant statue of Guru Rinpoche, the Indian saint (also knows as Padmasambhava) who introduced Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century; or just rest and enjoy the fresh mountain. Overnight at Cherry Resort.

Day 12:    Temi:
Today is an easy day, you can just relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery or explore the surrounding farm houses and village. Enjoy an afternoon visit to Karma’s family home, where you’ll unwind with a traditional drink of fermented millet called tongba, before a dinner of delicious rice and curries with Karma’s family. Overnight at Cherry Resort (5500’).

Day 13:    Drive to Bagdogra,fly to Delhi to connect to your international flight homeward.


Trip Cost:

2-3 persons: $3,250/person

4-6 persons: US $2,950/person

7-10 persons: US $2,750/person

Single supplement: US $500/person

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