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Darjeeling, Sikkim & the Singalila Ridge

From £1799 for 15 days
Trip Overview
Tucked away in a corner of the beautiful Indian Himalayan mountains are Sikkim and Darjeeling. In recent years Sikkim has become more accessible for those looking to explore its unique beauty.  Journey from the plains of India to Gantok, the capital of Sikkim and on to the delightful Martam village.  From here we travel through beautiful tea plantations to Darjeeling, with its colonial hill station and UNESCO World Heritage 'toy train'. Trekking up to and along the Singalila ridge, which divides India and Nepal, we move through thick forests of rhododendron and are rewarded with views of the great Himalayan peaks.  Kanchenjunga the third highest peak in the world dominates the horizon, and on a clear day we will see the majesty of Makalu, Lhotse and Everest.   
Essential Info
Starts: Start Delhi
Ends: End Calcutta
Ages: Min 16
Theme: Walking
Trip Code: ETBS
Activity Level:     
Countries visited: India
What's Included

Meals

All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 10 dinners are included

Transport

7 nights hotels (all en suite), 1 night basic hotel/guest house, 1 night sleeper train and 5 nights full-service camping 6 days point-to-point walking with full porterage, plus 1 day walk

Accommodation

Trip Highlights

•    Classic camping trek through rhododendron forests to the Singalila Ridge 

•    See four of the five highest peaks on Earth: Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu

•    Visit Rumtek and Ghoom Monasteries

•    Explore Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim

•    Drive through tea plantations and visit a tea estate

•    Stay in Martam, a traditional Sikkimese village

•    Sightseeing in Darjeeling with a chance to ride the ‘toy train

Dates & Availability
Start date
End date
Price
Availability
Departing: 13th Oct 2019
Returning: 27th Oct 2019
£1,799pp
G
Limited Availability
2 spaces
Departing: 27th Oct 2019
Returning: 10th Nov 2019
£1,699pp
G
Availability: Good
Departing: 3rd Nov 2019
Returning: 17th Nov 2019
£1,649pp
Availability: Good
Departing: 5th Apr 2020
Returning: 19th Apr 2020
£1,749pp
G
Availability: Good
Departing: 11th Oct 2020
Returning: 25th Oct 2020
£1,749pp
Availability: Good
Departing: 25th Oct 2020
Returning: 8th Nov 2020
£1,749pp
Availability: Good
Departing: 1st Nov 2020
Returning: 15th Nov 2020
£1,749pp
Availability: Good
Itinerary & Notes
The group flight will arrive into Delhi in the morning and we will transfer to our hotel. Those who have made their own flight arrangements will join us at the hotel during the day. You are free today to explore Delhi or rest after your flight; rooms may not be available until noon but it is often earlier than this. Your leader will do a trip briefing today and you will need passport photographs for the various permits and check posts so please ensure you pack 4 photographs.  *Comfortable Hotel - Hotel Jaypee Siddharth *(or similar)
   Print Trip Notes
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Reviews
       
Such a varied and personally challenging tour! At 73, I wondered how well I would deal with the serious elevation hike up to the Ridge. The guide, Rajeev, made hard choices when the weather was difficult. The 3 guides supported us every day so we all did our best. The view at sunrise of the mountain from the Ridge made the effort worth it. The other stops in Darjeeling and Sikkim and Kolcutta gave us a good idea of this part of the country. A well planned and varied experience.
       
This is a very varied trip, a mix of culture and exercise where we met some of the friendliest people in the world and eat fantastic food, the highlight for me being the Singalila Ridge trek. The trip takes you from chaotic streets of Delhi, to beautiful Sikkim and its wonderful people, to Darjeeling and its busy traffic, to the edge of the high Himalayas to trek that wonderful ridge and then back to more manic city streets this time in Kolkata.
       
From the madness of New Delhi to the beautiful unspoilt Sikkim area. This India trip does it all.
       
This trip is wonderfully varied with each day having something different to the last. The accommodation throughout is very comfortable especially if you love an adventure. There are highlights such as heritage and eco hotels and lodges , and full service camping with roomy tents . In March and the beginning of April the weather included sunny days in the cities of Delhi and Calcutta , contrasting with cold fresh nights on camp , with a hail shower . The hotel in Delhi has a pool and relaxation facilities , and for anyone arriving earlier , there is time for city tours to see the sights . The drives from the plains to the Himalayan hill stations revealed beautiful rivers , terraced tea plantations and habitations on high and steep slopes . We visited colorful Buddhist temples and the Unesco World Heritage site of the Toy Train at Darjeeling .
       
Having completed the Annapurna circuit two years ago I was looking for more Himalayan trekking but somewhere different. The views of Kanchenjunga in the sunrise and sunset are breathtaking and (weather permitting) you see Everest too! An excellent trip with a good mix between trekking and cultural exploration
       
This was truly a wonderful 2 weeks. From Delhi to Calcutta, the ridge, the people and those others on the trek made this a trip to remember.
       
I'd never been trekking before, and in many ways I wasn't looking forward to this holiday much, but I absolutely loved it, especially the trekking. What really surprised me was the quality of the support from the pony men, guides, and especially the cook, or cooks. The quality of the food was very impressive even when it was being carried about a campsite in a hail storm. I would recommend this trip to everyone.
       
A fantastic trip which left our group under India's spell and eager to return for more. This was despite disappointing weather. We experienced mega thunder storms, gales, a hail storm and far more than our fair share of mist and fog. The toilet tent blew down one night in a gale. It could have been a disaster, yet all of our group managed to leave with entirely positive impressions. This was down to a) One day of clear bright sunshine when all the mountains appeared as if by magic; b) a fantastic sense of camaraderie between group members, the guides, cooks and pony men, c) delicious food, d) friendly local people and a great introduction to the culture; e) lovely characterful hotels that felt palatial after sleeping in a cold, damp tent for a week. A lot of people seem to think a trip to India is as good as a crash diet - but not if you go on this trip! Anyone would have thought that the delicious, varied, piping hot and beautifully presented meals had been prepared in a plush kitchen rather than a windswept tent in the middle of nowhere! They even managed a perfectly iced birthday cake baked over a camping stove at 3500m. Exodus seems to have chosen the accommodation particularly well on this trip. The Himalayan Hotel in Kalimpong was a firm favourite, but the Netuk House in Gangtok was also gorgeous and the Sherpa Lodge in Rimbik at the end of the trek (described as basic in the trip notes) is a delightful place in flower filled gardens with comfy rooms with pretty quilts on the beds, en-suite bathrooms and real toilets. The Hilton could not have felt finer. The walking is not too difficult and the paths are good with plenty of interesting flowers and bird life even if you can't see the mountains. The altitude is not too bad. It's a good combination of feeling that you've done something without feeling too stretched and exhausted.
       
A fabulous introduction to northern India with a great combination of trekking and sightseeing. The Trek was on good paths through delightful countryside along the border between Nepal and India; many of the trees were in blossom. We had amazing views of the Himalayan range from Sandakphu, the highest point of the trip, although visibility on other days was more limited. Supported by a fantastic team with the best chef in India - yummy! We stayed in a variety of interesting and lovely places throughout the trip with the Himalayan Hotel in Kalimpong being one of the highlights. The sleeper train was a great experience, and Calcutta was an exciting and interesting city in which to end the trip. A brilliant holiday with a lovely group of people - highly recommended
       
3 weeks packed with so much to do and see. I have no idea how Exodus can make any profit from this trip. True value for money! In summary if you do the trip and the excursion it works out to be 3 holidays in 1. 1st week, the wonders of Delhi, Agra & Japur. Our driver Amir was brilliant and took us wherever we wanted. We also met 3 very knowledgeable guides who provided guidance while visiting the Taj Mahal, Agra, The Amber Fort and Japur. Our hotels during this part of the trip where excellent. The 2nd part of our trip was Darjeeling & the Singalila Ridge, where we met our new treking friends. The trek was led by Jospal & Suntos a local guide from Darjeeling. What these two did not know about the the mountains and local community was not worth knowing. We had some wet and windy weather but I always felt they had our best intrests in mind. We did get views of Kanchenjunga which was the icing on the cake for me. The tents we used where adiquate and the trek chef never let the side down and produced some of the nicest food I have ever tasted whilst on a trek not to mention a few restaurants I have visited. The days varied in length and variety. I was one of the youngest on the trek at 42 and found the undulating ridge fine. Our oldest member of the trek was 70 and like me plodded with the odd steep section slowing us down. If your relatively fit and healthy you'll be fine. No need to start running marathons to sign up. And certainly do not let age get in the way. The pace was always slow and steady to enjoy the views, banter, and rhododendrons. I chose to do this trip in April \ May to get the best advantage of catching the various colours of plant life. As it turned out it was by chance Budda's Birthday and a full moon during the trek, so whilst staying in small villages from time to time there was always some festivity happening. The 3rd and final part of our experience was what I would call the Jeep Rural Safari. We left Darjeeling after visiting the Mountaineering Intitute where climbers and sherpa's train to climb mountains such as Everest and lead treks and plumited down in altitude driving past massive tea plantations. Where we stopped and visited the tea pickers and farmers. Then onto Sikkim, different from the Darjeeling Region. More Westernised in my opinion, industrial along the river and lots of schools and universities. We stayed in Gangtok and visited a wonderful monestry and had some time to look around ourselves. The drive to Kalingpong took us back out Sikkim and back into the Dajeeling Region where we climed in our jeeps to see wonderful views of the local foothills of the Himilaya. We stayed at the Himalayan Hotel. The same hotel Malory, Irvine, Hillary and Tenzing stayed in prior to going to Everest. This was by far my favourite hotel of the whole trip! Ooozing with character and history. A wee drive to the train station then an overnight train to Calcutta, where we said goodbye to the jeeps and Santos. Calcutta was amazing! We had time to do a whistle stop tour of the city in time for some of us to go to a 20/20 Cricket match to see the Calcutta Night Riders v The Punjab Kings. Such an experience. The stadium was packed with 60-70,000 supporters. This was our last day, so we went to a rooftop restaurant which was a special place to say goodbye to our new friends before parting our ways and going home. I know this was to be a summary but there was too much to tell.
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