"Classic, authentic Himalayan trekking surrounded by panoramic mountain views and gain an insight into Himalayan communities first hand"
Some of the most magnificent parts of the Himalayan mountain range, its eastern end and lush foothills are, surprisingly, also among its least-visited. This memorable trek follows the Singalila Ridge, delivering spectacular views of some of the world’s highest mountains along the way. After flying from Delhi to Bagdogra, you’ll drive to the colonial town of Darjeeling for the start of your tour. Surrounded by lush green tea plantations and served by the famous ‘Toy Train’, Darjeeling dates back to the Raj era. After a two-night stay in beautiful Darjeeling, you’ll drive to Dhotrey to begin your trek.
Following the border between India and Nepal, you’ll gradually ascend to the classic trekking route along Singalila Ridge. Walking through rhododendron forests high above valleys, you’ll enjoy breath-taking views of the Himalayas as you make your way along ancient paths. As well as dramatic landscapes, you’ll also journey through picturesque villages and settlements where you’ll experience the cultures and ways of life of local people. Reaching the highest point of the trek at Sandakphu, you’ll gaze upon the majestic Kanchenjunga, before later seeing more of the world’s five highest mountains – Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. Towards the end of the trek you’ll descend through large Sherpa settlements before concluding your tour in the lively town of Kalimpong.
Active India Holidays are local operators and, as such, have seen first-hand the benefits that tourism can bring to some of India’s most remote regions. They understand that tourism often helps to alleviate poverty and develop communities and, as part of the global tourism industry, acknowledge that they too have a crucial role to play in providing commercial benefits and financial impetus in local communities. The company is conscious of both the negative and positive impacts its operations potentially have within sensitive environments and communities, particularly in the Himalayas where most of Active India’s trekking and adventure operations are conducted.
To ensure that they operate in as responsible a way as possible, Active India trains all of its tour leaders and support staff on sustainability practices. One example is their ‘Leave no Trace’ policy, which ensures that campsites and trails are left free from any waste. The company even extends this policy to include the waste left by travellers who have come before them, collecting and disposing of any extra rubbish in a safe manner. Active India hopes to contribute towards building a tourism industry that brings pleasure to travellers whilst also constructing a future for the local people and places that the industry depends on.
Arrival in Delhi: Upon your arrival at Delhi’s international airport, you’ll receive a traditional ‘Swagat’ (welcome) before transferring to your hotel.
Delhi – Bagdogra – Darjeeling: Fly to Bagdogra, then drive to Darjeeling through jungles, hillside villages and tea estates. The road winds and weaves into the hills through the white orchid-strewn village of Kurseong. Surrounded by tea estates, the village is the southern terminus for the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway’s steam trains. The final part of the route follows the tracks of the famous ‘Toy Train’. Arriving in Darjeeling, you’ll check into your hotel before enjoying the rest of the day to explore at your leisure.
Darjeeling: Take a sightseeing tour of some of Darjeeling’s main attractions. Visit the Ghoom Monastery and admire its large gilded statue of the Maitreya Buddha, before dropping into the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute to view its excellent collection of memorabilia from the early days of Everest exploration. Darjeeling Zoo is right next door, with red pandas and snow leopards the star attractions. Later, you’ll visit the Tibetan Refugee Centre, where you can buy local handicrafts. In the evening explore Darjeeling’s vibrant and colourful bazaars.
Dhotrey – Tonglu: A morning drive takes you to the picturesque village of Dhotrey which is the starting point for the Singalila Ridge trek. Following a wide trail through rhododendron forests, and with fantastic views of Kangchenjunga, you’ll meet villagers as you walk. As your trek takes you towards the crest of the ridge, you’ll arrive at the small but lovely settlement of Tonglu (3,036m). Overlooking the Kangchenjunga and the Singalila Ridge, this will be your camp for the night.
Tonglu – Kalipokhri: After breakfast, you’ll journey to Tumling from Tonglu along a broad track. Next, a leisurely descent takes you into Nepal and the quaint village of Jaubari. You’ll follow the ridgeline, enjoying astounding views across both India and Nepal. The descent continues into the village of Gairibas (2,538m), from where you’ll begin a gentle climb to Kanyakatta and further on to Kalipokhri.
Kalipokhri – Sandakhphu: Begin the long climb on to the Singalila Ridge, starting with a gradual ascent through forests of rhododendron and magnolia to Bikhebhanjyang. There’s a good chance you’ll spot a variety of birds along the way. From here, the trail steadily ascends up to Sandakphu (3,636m), the trek’s highest point. Enjoy spectacular views of Kanchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore further viewing points and adjust to the cooler temperature and thinner air at this high altitude.
Sandakhphu – Sabargam: Today takes you across the most breath-taking section of the Singalila Ridge, and you’ll walk alternately in Nepal and India for a long distance. The trail follows the ridge, undulating through forests of chestnut, oak and silver fir, and provides panoramic views of the snow-capped Himalayan mountain range. Camp overnight in the wild at Sabargam and enjoy amazing views of Kanchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu at sunset and sunrise.
Sabargam – Phalut – Samaden: Rise early for today’s trek, which is a little longer than yesterday’s. Hike to the end of the ridge at Phalut (3,600m), then continue northwards to the prayer-flagged summit of Singalila Peak (3,695m). Take in the great views of Kangchenjunga and sight the Sikkim border that meets the ridge at Chiwabhanjang. You’ll then retrace your steps to Phalut before continuing your descent to Samaden. This glorious trail takes you through forests of pine, oak, conifer and rhododendron. Camp overnight in the beautiful village of Samaden (2,480m).
Samaden – Rimbik: The final day of your trek, today’s trail winds (mostly downhill!) through small Rais, Sherpa and Tamang settlements. You’ll pass by rich farmland to the village of Ramman, before descending to Sirikhola and crossing a suspension bridge. Continue through more villages until you reach the large Sherpa village of Rimbik (2,286m), which is set amid the forests of the Singalila National Park.
Rimbik – Kalimpong: Bid your trek staff a fond farewell before journeying back to Kalimpong through the wild Teesta Valley. Strategically located at the crossroads among Sikkim, Bhutan, Tibet and the plains of Bengal, Kalimpong was formerly an important trading centre. Today, one of the town’s main commercial enterprises is flower cultivation, and it has some extensive nurseries. Visit the town’s most important Hindu Temple and the home and school of Dr Graham, a Scottish missionary.
Kalimpong: Enjoy a free day in which to explore Kalimpong at your leisure. Take a sightseeing trip to visit Durpin Monastery, flower/cactus nurseries, a paper factory and an interesting Catholic church built in the style of a Tibetan monastery. When evening comes, barter at the bustling bazaar.
Kalimpong – Bagdogra – Delhi: After breakfast, drive to Bagdogra before transferring to the airport for your flight to Delhi. Check in to your hotel and spend the rest of the day exploring at your leisure.
Departure: Transfer to Delhi international airport for your onward flight.
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- Refunds: 80% refund available until 30 days prior to check-in; 50% refund available 15 days prior to check-in; 25% refund available 6 days prior to check-in; within 5 days of check-in there will be no refund.
- Breakfasts while staying at hotels
- Full board meals during camping
- Full trekking service including food and equipment (apart from personal equipment)
- English speaking monument sightseeing guides at cities
- All land transport
- Government service tax as applicable
- Travel insurance
- Indian visa fees
- Any monument entrance fees
- Flights (domestic/international)
- Any optional activities or services not mentioned in inclusions
- Services of any professional English speaking tour leader/escort during the tour
- Miscellaneous expenses for tips, laundry, drinks, any medical emergencies and souvenirs etc.