Bhutan, Darjeeling and Sikkim-The Jewels of the Eastern Himalayas

14 Days

Bhutan, a tiny Himalayan Kingdom, never cease to amaze the world with its incredible policies which can only be a dream for most of the countries. The Bhutanese government considers that the happiness of the people is the most important thing in any decision or policy that it makes, so Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross domestic product.


Bhutan is the only country in the world where its citizens have constitution obligation to protect their environment, which means 60% of the nation have to stay forest. It is the only country in the world to be carbon negative.
Bhutan regulates tobacco and tobacco products, banning the cultivation, harvesting, production, and sale of tobacco and tobacco products in the country. However in 2012, Parliament passed urgent amendments with the effect of greatly increasing permissible amounts of tobacco and reducing penalties, although sale and distribution remain prohibited.
Although a small country, and considered as the least developed country in Asia, it actually comes 1st in economic freedom and ease of doing business and peace and ranks 2nd highest in per capita income in all of south east Asian countries. It is indeed the Happiest country in the world!

No wonder Bhutan has become the favorite vacationing destination for celebrities!

Some of the celebrities who have vacationed in Bhutan– Prince William and Kate Middleton (Duke and Duchess of Cambridge), Their Majesties The King and Queen of Sweden, politician Aung San Suu Kyi to Hollywood superstars like Brad Pitt, Richard Gere, Keanu Reeves, Drew Barrymore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mick Jager, Justin Timberlake, Cher, Michael J Fox , Cameron Diaz, Bryan Adams, K.D. Lang, Demi Moore, Sting, Jennifer Lopez, Uma Thurman, Steven Seagel , Micheall Yeow, Eva Mendes, Nathalie Kelley, Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield, Emily Blunt and John Hoskins, Ricki Martin, Jet Li, and South East Asian celebrities like Charm Reya Osthanond, Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, Khalil Ramos, Enrique Gil, Xiong Naijin, Gretchen Barretto, Martinez, Tony Leung, Carina Lau and many more.

This adventure takes you on a journey to the Eastern Himalayas and its Jewels- Darjeeling, Sikkim and Bhutan. We begin with a unique experience of the reminiscence of the British Raj- Darjeeling. A fascinating train-ride in the hills to begin with, which is a UNESCO World Heritage, Darjeeling Himalayan Railways established in 1881 which still runs in original steam engine. Live in centuries old Victorian Bungalows, visit Tea Estates of Darjeeling and witness the making of the World’s best tea- Darjeeling tea. After Darjeeling, visit Sikkim, the land of Orchids, famous for its ancient Buddhist culture. Enjoy a short but scenic trek to one of the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage site in Sikkim. We then venture in to the Land of the Dragon- Bhutan. A combination of tours and trek in this fabled land of Happiness, where the country’s achievement is calculated in the Gross National Happiness, gives you an amazing experience of this happy Kingdom. Since you are already in the land of the Taj Mahal, you can end your exotic journey in the Himalayas with visiting one of the 7 wonders of the world- The Taj Mahal, Monument of Love, which has for centuries have captured the imaginations people around the world. This trip has it all- the best the region has to offer.

What makes this trip special

  • Train ride with the 139 years old UNESCO World Heritage Darjeeling Himalayan Railways
  • Stay at a Victorian Bungalow at Goomtee Tea Estate established in 1899
  • Witness the processing of the World’s best tea- The Darjeeling tea
  • Participate the tea tasting of the first flush tea and make your own tea
  • Sightseeing around Darjeeling (Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Snow Leopard and Red Panda breeding centre, Tibetan Refugee Self Help centre)
  • Sightseeing in Gangtok, visit the famous Rumtek Monastery
  • Spectacular mountain flight to and back from Paro
  • 6 nights/ 7 days trip in Bhutan
  • Hike to the famous Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest)


On arrival to Bagdogra, you will meet your guide. From Bagdogra it is 40 min drive to Siliguri.
Siliguri is a major town in North East India as it connects the North Eastern States of India to the rest of the mainland India. It is also the junction between Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh with India. It is a very important city for trade and commerce. 10 kms drive form Bagdogra airport will bring you to Siliguri and we check in to your hotel. In the afternoon we can visit the main market place at Sevoke road.

This toy train safari (1 ½ hours) operates between Siliguri Junction and Rangtong Station. Rangtong is a small village on the roadside and at an altitude of 1404 ft. It's 16kms from Siliguri Junction. The train usually leaves at 10:30am from Siliguri Junction, goes past Sukna, and reaches Rangtong at 11:50am. The Jungle Safari takes you through the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary located around Sukna and Rangtong station, and offers breathtaking view of the valley from Tindharia. This safari is a great treat for the nature lovers. There are two or three coaches provided depending on the demand. The Toy Train is pulled by a 'B' class steam locomotive engine.
The railway track cris-crosses the motor road and enter s in to the forest at places making this ride a really fascinating trip. At Rangtang our jeep will pick you up and drive to Goomtee Tea state
The Goomtee Bungalow was built by Mr. Henry Montgomery Lennox as a residence for his family. He chose the most attractive location with brilliant views on all sides. Over the years the bungalow was expanded and renovated extensively while retaining the original character. The polished wooden floors and molded ceiling are magnificent. Please remember, Goomtee Resort is not a commercial venture, rather an invitation from the present owners to experience the life of a Darjeeling Tea Planter.
We arrive at around lunch time and after lunch we can visit the tea gardens and the nearby village.

In the morning we visit the tea garden and witness the tea plucking by the local workers and later visit the factory to witness the process of making tea. We will also participate in the tea tasting session.
After lunch it is a 2 hour drive to Darjeeling and on the way we will visit some stately boarding schools built in the eighteen hundreds during the British era. We arrive Darjeeling in the afternoon and check in to your hotel.
Darjeeling is built on top of a ridge at around 2200m above sea level. With the Mt. Kanchendzonga and its ranges as a backdrop, it is a popular tourist destination for Westerners and Indians alike. The richly forested land was originally acquired by the British in 1833, who introduced tea growing and promoted the settlement as a health resort. We can take an evening stroll around the famous Mall road and Chowrasta witnessing the local life. Dinner will be served at the hotel.

After breakfast, we can take a sightseeing tour of some of the attractions around Darjeeling. These include Tea plantation, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI), which has a superb collection of memorabilia from the early days of Everest exploration. Next door to the HMI is the Darjeeling Zoo where the star attractions are red pandas and snow leopards. The Tibetan Refugee Centre, where handicrafts can be found at very reasonable prices is another option. After lunch, we will visit some stately boarding schools and later take a stroll around the town’s many colorful bazaars. Overnight hotel.

After breakfast we begin with the “Joy ride” in a UNESCO World Heritage Toy train which is built between 1879 to 1881. This fascinating train ride takes us through road side vegetable shops and cris-crossing the motor way. It stops for a while at the famous Batasia loop which is a memorial for the brave Gurkha soldiers, which also offers a fantastic vantage point of the Kanchadzonga on a clear day. We will stop at Ghoom station where our car will be waiting for us.
From Ghoom we drive to Melli on a narrow winding road for 32 kms and from here we continue to drive 60 kms to Gangtok. On arrival to Gangtok, we check in to our hotel. The rest of the afternoon, you can take a walk around the town.

We visit the following places:

Namgyal Institute of Tibetology: A really wonderful place to visit. There are ancient items on display. The worksmanship of some items are mind blowing. But photography is strictly restricted inside the building.
Rare artifacts, manuscripts, paintings, idols related to Tibetans Buddhism are the main attraction of this place. It also gives a glimpse of Tibetan history. It has a nice museum with good collection of arts and artifacts which gives a very good insight into the Buddhist culture. There is a Golden Stupa close to this place. It is also worth visiting. place for one time visit with family.

Tashi view point: A great vantage point of Mt. Kanchendzonga and its neighboring peaks.

Flower nursery: Sikkim is home to 600 species of orchids. This nursery ehibits a few of these exotic orchids and many other flowers.

Bazaar walk: A relaxing walk through the local markets

In the morning we visit Rumtek Monastery: The Rumtek Monastery is one of the largest and most significant monasteries in Sikkim, perched on top of a hill 23 km from Gangtok. Originally called as the Dharma Chakra Centre, it belongs to the Kargyu sect of Buddhists who originated in Tibet in the 12th century. The Rumtek Monastery houses a beautiful shrine temple and a monastery for the monks which were established with the aim of spreading the Buddhist teachings around the world. The monastery has a walkway around it on which the monks, pilgrims and visitors perform kora which is basically a circuit round of the monastery.

After Rumtek, a 5 hour drive takes us to Bagdogra and upon arrival we check in to Marina’s Motel. We can spend the evening relaxing at the hotel.

A 35 mins flight into Paro with Druk Air, Bhutan’s National Airline is a spectacular scenic flight. The flight takes you over the great Himalayas, offering most beautiful scenery of the world’s highest glacial peaks. You will be received by our representative at the airport and driven to your hotel at Gangtey Palace. After a short break we visit the Ta Dzong or National Museum, rated among the best natural history museums in Asia. The Ta Dzong offers a unique and varied collection of Thangkas, handicrafts, stuffed animals, masks, costumes and amour and it gives a good idea of the culture and traditions of Bhutan. On the way you will also get to explore the weekend Market of Paro Valley. Later we visit, Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most scared monastery in the country. It was built by the first Buddhist King of Tibet Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. Then you will be driven to the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong or “fortress of the victorious Drukpas” was built in 1649. In fine weather, the towering peak of Mount Jumolhari, (7,314 m / 24,000 ft) appears as a backdrop. You will then be driven to the hotel. Evening is free to relax or take a stroll through town. Overnight at Gangtey Palace.

Today we hike to the most famous Taktshang, popularly known as the Tiger‟s Nest, built amazingly on a steep cliff. According to legend, Guru Padmasambhava flew here on a flying Tigress and meditated there for three months in the 8th century. It was from there, he propagated the Vajrayana- Mahayana Buddhism (Larger Wheel) that was prophesied by the Buddha at the time of attaining Nirvana. The walk uphill takes you a little more than 300m above the Paro valley. It is a great pilgrimage destination for devout Buddhists. The main deity of Taktsang is Dorji Drolo, the wrathful form of Guru Rinpoche, (the precious teacher). There are 13 sacred sites at Taktsang, and several meditation caves in the cliffs above. Many saints are said to have meditated here. The return walking time is approximately one hour. Towards evening after the hike we will enjoy the Bhutanese Traditional Hot Stone Bath which uses river rocks that therapists place in water where they crack and steam, releasing key minerals and relieving deep-set aches) followed by dinner which in a local farm house with local family where they will serve typical Bhutanese dishes. Overnight at Gangtey Palace.

After breakfast, drive to Punakha (2 ½ hours drive). The road climbs from Thimphu to Dochula pass and descends through ever changing forests into the semi-tropical valley of Punakha and Wangdi at around 1200m.
En-route stop at Dochula pass (3050m) where you can view the eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum (7,550m).

Punakha is located at about 1,250m with pleasant winters. Cactuses, Oranges, bananas and sub-tropical plants are found here. Punakha was once the winter capital of Bhutan, the tradition that is still held by the Central Monastic body.

Upon arrival, we visit Punakha Dzong, "Palace of Great Happiness", which is located on the confluence of two rivers; Pho and Mochu was built in 1637 by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal. It serves as winter residence for the Central Monastic body, which migrate from Thimphu to Punakha in the winter. It is also the venue for Punakha Festival held in February or March.

Fertility Temple (Chimi Lhakhang): a monastery and fertility temple dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist saint known popularly as “the divine madman” and considered a folk hero in Bhutan for his unconventional ways. Drukpa Kuenley originally built a chorten on the site in the 14th century, on which a temple was later built in 15th century. The temple, flanked by nearly 100 tall prayer flags, sits atop a picturesque hill. It has long been a pilgrimage site for childless couples. This easy walk takes about ½ hour each way. Later we drive back to Thimpu.

Phobjikha is a U shaped glacial valley which has the best-known marshland in Bhutan. The valley is rich in faunal biodiversity. Because of the large flock of black-necked cranes that winters here, it is one of the most important wildlife preserves in the country. Apart from the globally threatened black-necked cranes Grus nigricollis, 13 other globally threatened species are found here. This is also home to muntjacs (barking deer), wild boars, sambars, serows, Himalayan black bears, leopards and red foxes in the surrounding hills.

We will visit some of the well known monasteries at Phobjika in the afternoon.

Thimpu is the capital city of Bhutan, and is home to approximately 100,000 inhabitants including the Royal family. This bustling little city is the main centre of commerce, religion and government in the country. Thimphu is a modern city with an abundance of restaurants, internet cafes, nightclubs and shopping centres. However, it still retains its’ cultural identity and values amidst the signs of modernization.
The subtle combination of ancient tradition and modernity make Thimphu the ideal location for visitors to break away from their tour itinerary to immerse themselves in the contemporary Bhutanese lifestyle.

Today you all will enjoy full day Local sightseeing at Thimphu includes visit to the National Memorial Chorten, a stupa dedicated to world peace), a shrine built in 1974 in memory of the Third King of Bhutan dedicated for world peace and prosperity followed by the visit to the School of Arts and Crafts (National Institute of Zorig Chusum) where students undergo training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts; the National Institute of Traditional Medicine where Bhutan’s famed traditional medicines are compounded and dispensed; the Folk Heritage Museum which will provide an insight into traditional Bhutanese farm house and rural past through exhibits and documentation of rural life.
After lunch, visit the Textile Museum to see a range of beautiful Bhutanese textiles and then Changangkha Lhakhang, a fortress like temple which lies perched on a ridge above Thimphu; Takin Preserve to see the rare national animal of Bhutan. This animal is chosen as the national animal of Bhutan for its uniqueness and its association with the country’s religious history and mythology. A further drive towards the BBS Tower will provide a bird eye view of the capital. Also visit a small family-run enterprise which manufactures paper and paper products using traditional methods followed by visit to Tashichhodzong or the “fortress of the glorious religion" which is Bhutan’s administrative and religious centre and houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan, other Government offices. It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Overnight at Thimphu

Early morning drive to Paro airport and fly to Delhi with a short transit at Bagdogra or a direct flight. The drive to Paro takes about 1 hour, covering distance of 50 km. The flight takes around 2 hours 30 mins to Delhi.


Price Includes

  • Flight form New Delhi to Bagdogra
  • All internal transportation, in private A/C car
  • Services of English/ Hindi-speaking guide,
  • 1 night at 5 star hotel on full board in Siliguri
  • Jungle Safari Train ride from Siliguri to Rangtang
  • 1 nights at Goomtee Tea estate resort on full board and guided tours
  • 2 nights hotel on full board in Darjeeling
  • 2 days sightseeing in Darjeeling.
  • Toy train Jolly ride from Darjeeling to Ghoom
  • 2 nights at Hotel in Pelling
  • 2 days camping form Pelling to Yuksom with all camping facilities
  • 2 nights at The Martam Village Resort on full board in Gangtok
  • 2 days sight seeing in Gangtok.
  • 1 night The Marina’s Motel in Bagdogra
  • Flight from Bagdogra to Paro and from Paro to New Delhi
  • 7 nights/ 8 days Bhutan tour/ trek on full board
  • All trekking permits and National Park fees as applicable
  • Tourist service fee and all taxes applicable as per state law.
  • Optional Taj Mahal trip includes:
  • 2 nights at Hotel in Delhi on bed and breakast
  • Both ways Delhi/ Agra/ Delhi drive in private AC vehicle
  • 1 night hotel in Agra on bed and breakfast
  • Guided tours to Taj Mahal, Agra fort and Delhi with all entry permits
  • Rickshaw ride around Old Delhi

Price Excludes

  • Personal accident and rescue insurance. You must provide your own rescue insurance
  • Mineral water, beer, soft drinks and extra tea/coffee outside of normal meal times
  • Private room accommodation in unless a single supplements is paid.
  • Optional tips to guides, porter

About Bhutan

Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in the eastern end of Himalayas, between the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and India. Bhutan’s landscape ranges from heavily forested foothills and subtropical plains in the south and a rugged and mountainous landscape with snow-capped peaks and glacier covered terrain in the north, where some peaks exceed 7,000.

Besides the stunning natural scenery, Bhutan is known for her strong sense of culture and tradition that binds the kingdom. Perched high in the Himalayas, it is the world’s last remaining Buddhist Kingdom and the only Vajrayana Buddhist nation in the world. The profound teachings of this tradition remain well preserved and exert a strong influence in all aspects of life. Due to its pristine environment and harmonious society, the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan has been called “The Last Shangrila.”

It has developed the philosophy of Gross National Happiness, where development is measured using a holistic approach of well-being, not just based on gross domestic product. The Government of Bhutan provides free education and, though rudimentary, free medical care to its citizen. The sale of tobacco products is banned and smoking in public areas is a fineable offense.

In 2008, Bhutan made the transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy and held its first general election.

Major sources of income are tourism, hydroelectric power and agriculture.
Bhutan has long maintained a policy of strict isolationism and only a limited number of tourists are allowed each year.

Bhutan at a glance:

  • Area: 38,394 km2
  • Population: 742,737
  • Capital: Thimphu
  • Currencies: Bhutanese ngultrum, Indian rupee
  • Official language: Dzongkha Language
  • Government: Unitary state, Constitutional monarchy, Parliamentary system

About Sikkim:

Sikkim, an Indian state situated in the Eastern Himalayas, spreads below Mt. Kanchendzonga (8534m), the third highest mountain in the world. It shares its borders with Tibet in the North and East, Nepal in the West and Bhutan in the Southeast, and is connected to the Indian plains to south.

The landscape varies from low warm tropical rain forests in the bottom of the valleys to cold alpine tundra in the high mountains. Sikkim lies close to Bay of Bengal, from where it receives heavy monsoon rains (approx. 325 cm annually), making it the wettest region of the Himalayas. This diverse landscape and heavy rainfall has given Sikkim, an incredible wealth of Flora and Fauna, making it a Naturalist Paradise.

There are more than 4000 species of plants in Sikkim, including 660 species of orchids, 35 species of rhododendron and 20 species of bamboo. The animal and bird life is correspondingly rich with 6000 species of birds, 631 species of butterflies, 81 species of mammals and 40 species of reptiles.

Along with the magnificent mountains and rich wealth of Flora and Fauna, Sikkim is also famous for its rich culture and traditions. There are many monasteries where traditional and ancient rituals are practiced in an atmosphere of peace and serenity. The people of Sikkim are predominantly of Nepalese origin, along with the Bhotias (Tibetan origin) and the aboriginal Lepchas who constitutes the minorities. The majority practices Hinduism and Buddhism. Christianity has a small number of adherents.

Sikkim at a glance

  • Longitude: 88 E
  • Latitude: 27 N
  • Population: 406457
  • Capitol: Gangtok
  • Area: 7096 sq. km.


For all our trips to Sikkim and Bhutan, we use Darjeeling as a staging point. Darjeeling, a picturesque town, is situated along a 2100 m ridge from where you can see most part of Northern Sikkim, with Kanchendzonga as a backdrop. Darjeeling was once a part of neighbouring Sikkim until 1835 when the Chogyal deeded it to the Governor General of India, which was then under the British Raj. The British in turn established Darjeeling into a hill station as an R&R centre for the troops and as a resort for the Raj to escape the heat of the Indian plains. Today it is a busy business hub with uncountable hotels and shops. A little outside the main town still sees narrow lanes with the Victorian bungalows, stately boarding schools, English botanical gardens, yawning mansions, and the famous Toy train which is a World Heritage- reminiscing the era of the British Raj.

Darjeeling has fascinating mixtures of culture, including Hindu, Buddhist and the remnants of the Raj in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

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Bhutan, Darjeeling and Sikkim-The Jewels of the Eastern Himalayas
  • 1220m
  • 3000m
  • March till April & October till November
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