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12 day tour from £2365
group (no more than 12 people) or private tour
Fly with Emirates to Kolkata via Dubai.
Transfer to the centrally located period Oberoi Grand Hotel for a two night stay. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax after the flight.
A full day is spent exploring Kolkata starting off with an early morning visit to the colourful flower market followed by a boat ride on the Hooghli River. The afternoon's sightseeing includes the Victoria Memorial, St Paul's Cathedral and the Indian Museum.
Our journey into the Indian Himalaya starts today with a short flight to Bagdogra. From here we wind our way up through the first embryonic hills of the world’s highest mountain range to the quiet town of Kalimpong, leaving the Indian plains far below. The night is spent at the quaint Himalayan Hotel. There are orchid nurseries, churches and monasteries to explore.
Heading further north we drive through lush valleys and deep gorges to Gangtok, the state capital of Sikkim; staying at either the Denzong Regency or Norkhill Hotels for two nights.
It is today that we'll have our first introduction to the primarily Tibetan Buddhist culture for which Sikkim is known. The area is dotted with numerous monasteries and nunneries, each housing ancient texts revered for their profound philosophical insight.
We visit the most important sights of Gangtok which include amongst others the Enchey Monastery and the Namgyal Institute of Tibetanology.
Shortly after departing Gangtok we visit the large Rumtek monastic complex which has traditionally been the foreign seat for the Karmapa, the head Lama of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and one of the 'four schools' of this ancient tradition.
Continuing westwards we head to the small town of Pelling where we stay at the Mt Pandim hotel for the night. We visit the hilltop Pemayangtse Monastery this afternoon.
With fantastic views of the Eastern Himalaya and in particular the world’s third highest mountain, Kangchendzonga, it is advised to rise early for sunrise this morning.
Following breakfast drive to the Himalayan town of Darjeeling, a former summer retreat of the British Raj and now best known for its high quality tea production. We stay at the delightful Windamere Hotel which oozes old worldly colonial charm.
Witness the spectacular sunrise from Tiger Hill which, on clear days, affords views of Mt Everest. After returning to the hotel for a leisurely breakfast we visit Ghoom Monastery and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. The afternoon is free to explore the town.
Another free day to relax. There is the chance to take a ride on the famous heritage 'toy train' today also.
In the morning transfer to Bagdogra. From here a short flight brings us back to Kolkata where our final night is spent in the comfort of the Oberoi Grand hotel. The remainder of the day is free for some final shopping or simply relaxing by the hotel's pool.
Return flight via Dubai.