- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
- Trip Excludes
Back Track Adventures is pleased to announce our return to the northeast Indian state of Sikkim for another exciting trekking adventure.
A slow pace of life, super friendly people and outstanding natural beauty has earned Sikkim the well-earned title of ‘The Last Shangri La’. The clean mountain air, lush forests and stunning mountain scenery combine to deliver an unforgettable trekking experience.
Tibetan style monasteries dot the landscape, terraced rice paddies plunge hundreds of metres from atop lofty ridges into deep river gorges and, as we’ll be there in Autumn season you’ll have clear skies and magnificent views of snow-capped Himalayan peaks…this is Sikkim.
This thrilling adventure is a combination of two treks…
The first, Kanchenjunga Rhododendron trek, journeys along the Singalila Ridge which borders Nepal and India. With Mt Everest, the highest mountain in the world; Kanchenjunga, third highest; and Makalu the fifth highest as a backdrop, this trek promises adventure plus beautiful scenery.
The second trek follows a rugged trail through dense forests eventually wandering above the tree line and past an enchanting high altitude lake to arrive upon Goecha La, an isolated mountain pass at 4940m. From here you’ll see an outstanding array of Himalaya peaks including close-up views of the mighty Kanchenjunga which towers 8598m above sea level.
Following the trek, you spend two nights in the old British Raj Hill Station of Darjeeling to experience a short ride on the fabled Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, completed in 1881, and an optional visit to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute; a former Director was Tenzing Norgay, the first summiteer of Mt. Everest. Your journey begins and ends in Kolkata which by its former name of Calcutta, was the early capital of British ruled India. This vibrant metropolis is the centre of Bengali culture juxtaposed with stately British Colonial buildings.
Our style of travel
This trip, while physically challenging, will provide you with good quality accommodation.
The hotels have clean and comfortable rooms with attached bath and toilet with hot and cold running water.
On camping nights you’ll twin share in a sturdy A framed, North Face brand tent. Down sleeping bags and mattresses are supplied. Group tents include a large dining tent with tables and chairs plus a toilet tent with seat. For hygiene purposes, we supply washing water and washing bowls. To give you the energy required for strenuous trekking, three nourishing meals per day plus snacks are provided.
All road transport is in reliable and comfortable vehicles. Transfers in Kolkata will use air-conditioned mini coaches and inter-city drives will use air-conditioned SUVs such as the Toyota Innova.
To enhance your travel experience, an Australian trek leader with extensive Himalayan experience plus a local, English speaking guide will accompany the group throughout your journey.
In 2019, we offer an exciting new option to visit Sunderbans Tiger Reserve for four days at the end of the trek.
Meals included as indicated: B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner
Kolkata airport to Hotel
Day 1You will be met and greeted on your arrival in Kolkata and transferred to your hotel. Kolkata was the former capital of India during the British Raj and is the current capital of West Bengal. This sprawling metropolis is immersed in history, culture, food, music and religion and is one of the most exciting cities in the world. We settle into our hotel today and, based on our time of arrival, we explore the city through a heritage walk later in the afternoon. (BD)
Kolkata to Bagdogra to Pelling
Day 2(1hr flight and 5-6hrs drive) We are transferred from our hotel to Kolkata Airport for our flight departure to Bagdogra where we meet our road crew for the drive from West Bengal into Sikkim. This is our day of transition from the plains to the hills with six exciting hours through winding roads, across valleys and over green hills clad with a variety of vegetation. The road crosses the Teesta and Rangeet Rivers and climbs steeply before arriving at Pelling, a village perched dramatically on an airy ridge with a panorama of Himalayan peaks in view. (BLD)
Layover day at Pelling
Day 3There is a necessary layover day in Pelling while our Protected Area Permits are being prepared. Numerous opportunities exist for exploration of the surrounding area. Nearby are the ruins of Rabdentse, the former capital of the Kingdom of Sikkim, and the Pemayangsta monastery; one of the oldest in the area. (BLD)
Pelling to Uttarey to Chiwabhanzyana
Day 4(1.5hrs drive and 6-7hrs trek) The drive out of Pelling brings us to Uttarey (2320m) from where we start our trek. On today’s trek, we thread our way up and over Singalila ridge, which forms the border between Sikkim and Nepal. We may meet yak herders as we pass through swathes of rhododendron, along open ridges, past sacred lakes and through passes. An easy trail rises gently through the rainforest until a final ascent for the last couple of hours brings us to the Nepalese border and our first camp. (BLD)
Chiwabhanzyana (acclimatization excursion)
Day 5(5hrs trek) Along with outstanding sunrise and sunset views, today’s trek will provide some essential early acclimatisation. A hike to the nearby Singalila peaks of Phokteydara (3,618m) and Singalila top (3,650m) will give us breathtaking 360-degree views including Everest, Makalu, Lhotse and towering views of the massive Kangchenjunga Range. (BLD)
Chiwabhanzyang to Dhoor
Day 6(6-7hrs trek) A gentle uphill traverse through forests and then over a more exposed hillside brings us to prayer flags adorning our first pass and views of distant mountains – a taste of what is to come. As we gain height we will appreciate the previous day’s acclimatisation. We look down far below to rice fields and cardamom plantations. Our camp is in an isolated and sheltered hollow below the ridge. (BLD)
Dhoor to Meguthang
Day 7(6-7hrs trek) Rising just before dawn, a five-minute walk unto the ridge may reveal the spectacular sight of sunrise on both Everest and Kangchenjunga. Throughout the day we descend and climb, maintaining a steady height, spiralling from one side of the ridge to the other until a rough, steep ascent takes us across a pass. The trail winds its way steadily through rhododendrons and past several Hindu shrines, where a second, easier pass drops down to our camp close to a shepherd’s summer settlement. Be on the lookout for Blue sheep on the high craggy mountainsides. (BLD)
Meguthang to Lampokhari
Day 8(6-7hrs trek) We walk easily on a good trail through woods until we began a steady ascent up a broad valley where we catch our first close up view of the entire Kabru Range dominated by Mt. Pandim (6,691m). A further two hours of ascent will get us to our camp with Everest and a host of other Khumbu snow peaks dominating the distant skyline. (BLD)
Lampokhari to Gomathang
Day 9(6-7hrs trek) Now we are in high mountain country and the forests lie far below. A little snow underfoot can be expected as we climb to our first high pass, the Danphey Bhir (Pass of the Pheasant) at 4,530m. From here it is possible to see almost the whole of Sikkim with the view stretching out well into Tibet and Bhutan. A further hour contouring along a ridge and a small ascent reveal the Kag Bhir La, (the Pass of the Crow) where we may be lucky enough to get the closest view of the panorama of the Himalayan peaks including the majestic Kangchenjunga. The trail then makes a steep descent to our riverside camp at Gomathang. (BLD)
Gomathang to Tikep Chu
Day 10(6-7hrs trek) We leave our camp to ascend through forests of sweet-smelling silver fir and rhododendrons. Soon we are in high mountain terrain again. Look out for the brightly coloured Impeyan pheasant, which nests in the high crags around Kamsey La, 4,200m. As we drop down into the meadows of Kokling, we can gaze up to see our next pass of 4,300m. A steady ascent of a steep crag takes us up to the skyline dominated by the dizzying pinnacles and icy cliffs of Kangchenjunga. Once again we end the day’s hike with a steep descent to our campsite by the Tikep Chu, which has its source on Mt. Rathong (6,679m). (BLD)
Tyabla/Tikepchu to Dzongri
Day 11(6-7hrs trek) Today our route joins the regular trail up to the Goecha La. A steady climb through ancient forests of fir, juniper and rhododendrons gradually opens out at the summer pastures of Dzongri. We have another high camp but should be well acclimatised by now. A walk to the high vantage point of Dafla Khang in the early hours of the morning provides one of the most magnificent views of the mountains and the whole range of peaks can be seen. (BLD)
Dzongri to Thangsing
Day 12(4-5hrs trek) Today’s trek is notable for the fine mountain views, particularly of Pandim (6691m). The trail climbs high above the Prek Valley to rock cairns which mark a ridge top. From here, descend on a steep trail through rhododendron forest to the valley floor then follow the Prek River through boulders to our campsite at Thansing meadows. From here we get views of the massive ridgeline descending south from Kanchenjunga. (BLD)
Thangsing to Lamuney
Day 13(3-4hrs trek) Today’s trek takes us through groves of rhododendron and dwarf azalea before reaching the Onlakthing glacier. Ascending slowly up beside the glacier we reach the level area of Lamuney, an ideal site for our camp. We arrive early enough in the day to explore the surrounding area; particularly the serene Samiti Lake, situated at the base of Pandim (6691m). (BLD)
Lamuney to Goecha La to Lamuney
Day 14(6-7hrs trek) We plan to leave camp before dawn with the aim of reaching the pass of Geocha La (4940m) at sunrise to catch the breathtaking display of the morning sun lighting up the snow peaks. The trail follows the shores of Samiti Lake before ascending steeply over glacial moraines. Goecha La is bedecked by colourful prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. From here there are stunning views of many Himalayan peaks including Kanchenjunga (8598m), the third highest mountain in the world. We retrace our tracks back to our campsite at Lamuney for a well-earned rest after a tiring but exhilarating day among the mountains. (BLD)
Lamuney to Tshoka
Day 15(6-7hrs trek) We retrace our steps beside the Onlakthing glacier. As we descend, the lower altitude and warmer temperature will be much appreciated following the exertions over the preceding days. After leaving the glacier the trails winds through forests to our campsite at Tshoka. (BLD)
Tshoka to Yuksom
Day 16(5-6hrs trek) This seems to be a never-ending day as we trek along a trail that descends through beautiful rhododendron forests. The trail crosses over four bridges before reaching Yuksom. This large, historic village is home to significant Buddhist monasteries and sites and is a significant cultural and religious centre for the local inhabitants. Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel. (BLD)
Drive to Darjeeling
Day 17There’s no rush today so after a leisurely breakfast, we board our vehicles for the drive from Sikkim back into India and the famous Hill Station of the British Raj era, Darjeeling. The scenery today is dominated by vast tea estates. The world famous Darjeeling tea is the main cash crop in this area. Expect warm and moist weather during the drive today. We’ll stop for lunch en route. (BLD)
Day 18A much relaxed day to take a ride in the World Heritage Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, popularly called the Toy Train, as it runs on a 2 feet narrow gauge rail. We shall also visit one of the tea gardens and give you the opportunity to buy some of the specialty teas of the region. (BLD)
Drive to Bagdogra Airport and fly to Kolkata
Day 19Depart Darjeeling for a road journey to Bagdogra. We then take a flight to Kolkata and settle into our hotel. Spend the evening visiting some of the heritage sites. (B)
Hotel to Kolkata airport and onwards journey
Day 20If you are departing Kolkata today you will be transferred to Kolkata Airport for flight check-in. (B)
- All road transport starting with pick up from Kolkata airport on day 1 to drop to Kolkata airport on day 20
- 7 nights hotels, 12 nights wilderness camp
- All camping gear including tents, sleeping bag, foam sleeping mat
- Trek staff, pack animals and porters
- Meals (as mentioned in the itinerary overview)
- English speaking guide starting V day 1 until day 20
- Tour escort/trek leader from Australia
- Monastery Fees
- Sikkim Protected Area Permit
- Heritage toy train ride in Darjeeling
- Return flights from Kolkata to Bagdogra
- All taxes
- Tips for trek crew, guide, drivers and hotel staff
- International flights (Back Track can arrange your international flights; please contact us for the best airfares
- Mineral water & beverages (other than those provided – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
- Any meals not shown on itinerary
- Travel insurance (compulsory)
- Any other expenses arising out of any unforeseen circumstances such as landslide, earthquake, lightning, storm, hail, snow, flood etc.
- Personal expenses
- Visa fees