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Suggested Itinerary: The Hidden Land

In India, where preserving cultural heritage often takes a back seat to breakneck tourist development, Sikkim is a happy surprise, and West Sikkim a veritable Shangri La: a verdant landscape of rising hills, blanketed in fields of fluttering prayer flags, and dotted with Buddhist temples and villages of untouched traditional dwellings, all set between the confluence of the Rangeet and Teesta rivers. With a new highway being built to the west, bypassing the capital—Gangtok—the infrastructure and number of tourists may be growing. But there are still plenty of spots, from vibrant homestays to bamboo craft workshops to enjoy the low-key vibe and get to know the region’s warmhearted people.


This journey takes you through West Sikkim, the heart of Guru Rinpoche’s ‘hidden land’ and introduces the traveller to Sikkim’s patron saint, Lhatsun Namkha Jigme; its first—and still active—monasteries; the ethnic diversity of its people and their food; and offers the visitor the opportunity to simply sit, reflect, and be inspired at some of the Tibetan Buddhist world’s most revered sites.


We take you to Khandrosangphug Cave, Tashiding, Yuksom, Dubdi Monastery, Lake Khecheopalri, Sangachoeling Monastery, Pemayangtse Monastery and Sarchog Bayphug Cave. Throughout your stay, experience gracious hospitality and rural living.


See below for a brief day-by-day path:


Day 01. Bagdogra (West Bengal) to Gangtok (Sikkim)


Arrive in Gangtok by evening after your private pick-up from the airport/train station.

Driving time approx. 4.5 hours.


Day 02. Gangtok’s Local Sights

  • Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim and is situated at a cool 5,500ft.

  • Visit the Tsuklakhang (Royal Chapel) where you can interact with some of the young monks and gaze upon restored murals that have recently been called some of the finest surviving examples of central Tibetan mural painting.

  • After a Sikkimese lunch, take a tour of the Cottage Industries to see how our local textiles are woven and how our thangkha paintings are produced.

  • From there, check out Project Denjong’s archive, resource, and exhibition centre that aspires to redefine our relationships with our culture and our communities.

  • In the evening, stroll along M.G. Marg, Gangtok’s, pedestrian artery, to soak up the ambiance and to get a sense of life in this quaint town.


Highlights: Tsuklakhang, Royal Chapel –Project Denjong – Sikkimese Lunch.

Meal Plan: All meals included


Day 03. Gangtok to Yuksom

Approx. travel time 6 hours.

  • Following an early start from Gangtok, you’ll follow the river Teesta on a scenic 3hr drive to Legship to explore one of the four most sacred caves in Sikkim: Khandro Sang Phug.

  • Enjoy a picnic lunch at Tashiding, considered to the most sacred and blessed places in Sikkim by much of the Tibetan Buddhist world

  • Yuksom, a typically quaint Sikkimese village is the starting point for almost all treks to Khangchendzonga, and is located an hours’ drive from Tashiding. This is where we will break for the night at a Bhutia-Limboo homestay. Yuksom is considered the historic heart of Sikkim.


Highlights: Tashiding – Picnic Lunch

Meal Plan: All meals included


Day 04. Norbughang to Darap

Approx. travel time 1.3 hours.

  • After an early breakfast, walk through the woods to Norbugang, the 17th century coronation site of the first Chogyal (or Dharma Raja) of Sikkim

  • An hour’s easy hike up to Dubdi Monastery, Sikkim’s oldest monastery will follow.

  • Then head to Lake Khecheopalri – one of the most sacred lakes in Sikkim.

  • Spend the evening interacting with your hosts at a Gurung homestay in Darap village (at an elevation of almost 6,000 ft) for a traditional dinner. Darap is at the heart of the Limboo homeland, and remains a place rich in Limboo culture.


Highlights: Norbugang – Traditional Gurung dinner, Darap

Meal Plan: All meals included


Day 05. Darap to Gangtok

Approx. travel time 5 hours.

  • Sangachoeling Monastery was built by Lhatsun Namkha Jigme, and is the second oldest in Sikkim.

  • Enjoy a hearty lunch at the foot of Buddha Park in Ravongla.

  • Visit Sarchog Bey Phug, a meditation cave of the great 8th century Indian pandita who brought Buddhism to Tibet.

  • We’ll be back in Gangtok by late afternoon where you’ll have the opportunity to relax and reflect on your journey through Guru Rinpoche’s Hidden Land and we’ll hopefully be able to answer any questions that have arisen during the course of our travels together.


Highlights: Sangachoeling Monastery

Meal Plan: All meals included


Day 06. Gangtok to Bagdogra

Suggested Itinerary: The Hidden Land

The rivers run pure through west Sikkim

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