(Darjeeling, Gangtok, Kalimpong)
Experience the rich culture and beauty of the Eastern Himalayas, with Darjeeling and Sikkim.
Start the tour in Darjeeling, meet with locals and enjoy a dinner with a local family. Watch the sunrise from the Tiger Hill, and experience the UNESCO heritage Toy Train of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Next visit Gangtok, a cosmopolitan town where old world charm and hospitality exist along with the internet age. A beautiful route with the rolling mountains and tea plantations takes you to Kalimpong, once the headquarters of a Bhutanese Governor. Monasteries of Kalimpong date back to 1836 and tell a rich story not only of history but also of local art and culture. Kalimpong is a blaze of colour throughout the year owing to the richness of its stunning flora. The orchids of this region in particular are famous for their infinite variety as well as their delicate tints.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to Bagdogra Airport. (93 Kms/ 3.5 Hrs)
Enjoy lunch or dinner with a local family.
As the former residence of the Maharaja of Cooch Bihar, The Elgin Hotel is a well-preserved Victorian mansion dating back to 1885. Retaining its original charm, this property is conveniently located in the center of Darjeeling. The hotel offers 30 luxurious rooms that are filled with nostalgia, yet offer modern amenities. The Elgin chefs will win you over with a selection of delicious local, Indian or Continental cuisine with fresh bread, cakes and pastries prepared in-house for breakfast. The Elgin also serves special high tea from the world famous tea gardens of Darjeeling at the lounge.
Early morning after a cup of tea, you will visit Tiger Hill before the break of dawn, to see the sun rise over Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world. Darjeeling owes its grandeur to its natural beauty, its clean fresh mountain air and above all, the smiling resilient people for whom it is a home. Known for its natural splendour, Darjeeling’s best gift to its visitors is the dawn of a new day. The mountains awaken first with a tentative peeking of the sun. A steep ride, five kilometers from Ghoom, or an invigorating walk up a steep incline, leads sun worshippers to Tiger Hill. The air is chilly with darkness and damp. To the east, a dull orange sun emerged painting the sky with brilliant strokes of magenta, gold, orange and fuchsia. The snow capped Everest, Kanchenjunga, and other peaks slowly emerge from slumber to start a new day. On your way back stop at the Ghoom Monastery, the holiest monastery in Darjeeling
After breakfast, you will be driven to the Darjeeling Railway station to board a train. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, nicknamed the "Toy Train", is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow-gauge railway from Siliguri to Darjeeling in West Bengal, run by the Indian Railways. Since 1999 the train has been a World Heritage Site as listed by UNESCO. Only two railways have this status, the Semmering Railway in Austria being the other. A trip on the train has changed little since that time (1920’s), and continues to delight travellers and rail enthusiasts, so much so that it has its own preservation and support group, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society.
Sightseeing of the town visiting Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological park (Closed on Thursday), Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (Closed on Thursday), Tenzing - Gombu Rock, Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center (Closed on Sunday). A guide will accompany you on this trip.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to Gangtok via Rumtek Monastery. Visit Rumtek Monastery for few hours before you arrive to Gangtok.
The Elgin Nor-Khill (“the house of jewels") in Gangtok is known for its tradition and ethnic Sikkimese ambiance. The Kanchan garden affords a rich view of the hills with Kanchenjungha in the background, which inspired the Chogyal of Sikkim to paint for hours. The Nor-Khill was built by the King of Sikkim in 1932 and is the oldest heritage hotel in Gangtok, which entertains guests like his holiness The Dalai Lama, the US Ambassador to India His Excellency John Galbraith, movie stars and you and your family. The has a multi-cuisine restaurant named The Shangri La and a bar called The Dragon.
Visit the Enchey Monastery – an important seat of the Nyingmapa order, the Enchey Monastery is built on the site blessed by Lama Druptok Karpo, a tantrik master known for his power of flying. Your visits of the day ends with the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology (closed on Sundays). The most prestigious of its kind in India, this Buddhist institute is a treasure of vast collection of rare Lepcha, Tibetan & Sanskrit manuscripts, statues and rare thanks (tapestries used in Buddhist liturgy). It is over 200 Buddhist icons and other prized objects of art. Today it is a renowned worldwide centre for Buddhist philosophy and religion. Visit the Cottage industry which is a great source of earnings for locals and a fine way to retain the centuries old tradition and flow of life. You will be accompanied on the trip by a private guide.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to Kalimpong.
Enjoy a full day excursion with a private guide. On your tour you will be able to meet the villagers and also visit the local school in the village.
The Silver Oaks hotel symbolizes an era gone by. The British architecture and the old world charm of the place are unique. The Silver Oaks was built in 1930 and was the home of a leading British Business family of Mr. / Mrs. John Mason. They lived in Kalimpong for over 40 years. It took several years for the present management to restore the old structure. Finally The Silver Oaks was acquired by The Elgin Heritage Hotels of the Himalayas. The restoration work took five years to complete. Water colors and lithographs by old masters adorn the walls. Period furniture offer comfort as well as add to the old world opulence of the interiors.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to Airport of Bagdogra (83 Kms/ 3 Hrs)
India & Area
Alton J Hundley ,
March 14, 2011
"Our trip to India was a wonderful and magical event! We owe our gratitude to Kensington Tours for making the trip run so smoothly. The guides were exceptionally friendly and caring towards our four year old son and our driver was absolutely amazing!"
India & Area
Glenn Dorfman ,
March 10, 2010
"Our two weeks in India and Nepal doing the Golden Triangle, Varanasi and the Ganges, and Kathmandu went precisely as planned. Airport greetings and transfers, the drivers and especially the guides were all just great; highly qualified, interesting and dedicated to see that you have an interesting and safe experience. I have many examples to share of this. The itinerary was perfect. We have no complaints at all. Would be glad to share more details with prospective travelers."
India & Area
Mohmud Kassam ,
February 24, 2010
"Very helpful from the beginning and helped us change our itinerary so many times until we got it right. We really appreciate your effort. All guides were somewhat knowledgeable. We found that they were not as forthcoming as we would have liked and therefore we had to ask many questions to get more out of them. They were however very pleasant and patient. Vehicles were excellent! We chose Kensington Tours because you gave us the option of a “private guided trip” which is exactly what we were looking for. We have been on many tours and did not want a tour package where we had to go with a big group. Overall our experience was very good. The trip was exactly what we were looking for. The accommodation, cars and guides and agent reps were all very good and helpful. India was incredible!"
India & Area
Claudia Pedreira ,
February 09, 2010
"Sorry for the late response, I've been meaning to write to you since we came back to thank you so much for your assistance with coordinating our trip. India was such an amazing experience and truly a fascinating country. We appreciate the upgrades and the travel by private car as it made a difference in our trip. All three hotels were excellent and we found the local tour service to be prompt and very accommodating. I will certainly be using Kensington Tours again for any future travel. Thanks again!"
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