Sikkim Village Walks

Near Kalimpong, Sikkim, India Book from

Recommended awaiting i-escape review
A stunning 5-day guided walking and cultural tour through the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, staying in local villages
Besides awesome Kanchenjunga (the world's third highest peak), Sikkim is home to lush valleys, terraced hills, crystal-clear rivers, 4000 species of plant, extensive birdlife, deer, yak and the rare red panda. This fabulous 5-day Himalayan adventure journeys through remote mountain villages with a traditional way of life, past pristine scenery and breathtaking Buddhist monasteries, finishing with a visit to the famous hill resort of Darjeeling.

Fully supported, with experienced guides and porters who carry your main pack between villages, the 4 walking days weave through tiny hamlets up to an altitude of 2500m. But worry not: there will be plenty of stops for photos, meeting folk and taking tea. Expect to walk 5-6 hours a day at a gentle pace - this is graded an 'easy' trek. Revel in the wide open spaces and embrace the glorious tranquillity. You will never forget the unparalleled hospitality of your hosts and their cosy village homes, where you overnight. Out of this world.

Highs

  • These are private tours (designed for couples or groups up to 6), so you can set your own pace - and route, if you want
  • Everything is included: transfers, accommodation, guides, porters, food, even some equipment
  • The experienced guides have a good rapport with locals and can choose paths to suit your abilities; the standard itinerary averages 10 km/day, with some climbs of around 500m; but the pace is gentle, rest stops frequent and no experience of mountaineering is required
  • Your unwanted luggage is kept safely while walking
  • You can tie your walk in with visits to nearby Darjeeling, Pemyantse and Gangtok

Lows

  • It can be wet even outside the monsoon season, and sub-zero in December and January; the best months are October, November, February and March
  • It's a 5-hour drive from the nearest airport, Bagdogra (transfers are included)
  • Accommodation is in simple village houses, some with outside bathrooms

  • If you like mod cons, luxury bathrooms, gourmet dining, or can't bear living out of a rucksack, don't come - this is an authentic experience, not a theme park

Best time to go

The season for these walks is from October through to the end of April, but excluding mid-December to late January, when the temperatures can drop to below zero and conditions can be very foggy. October to early December offers the best chance of seeing the mountains, with crips clear days and lush vegetation. February to April is warmer and drier, though visibility is not quite so good (expect some mist and cloud).

The walks don't operate from June until September because Sikkim’s climate is drenched by the southeast monsoon. Even outside those months, Sikkim receives some of the heaviest rainfall in the Indian Himalayas, so you should be prepared for wet and misty conditions at any time (the chances of seeing Kanchenjunga during a 5-day trip are 70%). During the warmer months (April-October), expect lots of flies and mosquitoes in the villages.

Our top tips

  • After or before your trek, you can visit Pemayangtse - a quaint Buddhist town which is home to the second oldest monastery in Sikkim (the HQ of the Nyingma sect, it houses many priceless antique idols and 108 monks) and is 4 hours from Rinchenpong
  • Or head to Darjeeling, the most important hill station in Eastern India, with a wondrous backdrop of the mighty snow-clad Himalayan peaks, including Kanchenjunga. Visit a tea estate, explore the museums and take the toy train into the hills
  • Also worth seeing is Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, once a sleepy little town and now fast expanding. Check out the handicrafts and handloom industries, the Research Institute of Tibetology and the Orchid Sanctuary

Great for...

Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Mountain Trek (4 days or more)
  • 4
  • All meals included.
  • Over 5s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Expect warm and cosy rooms in the authentic Sikkimese homes. Shakti has made small touches to the furnishings, as well as building Western loos and bathrooms (not always ensuite), but otherwise they are the genuine article. The roofs and courtyards are slated; floors and walls are made of wooden panelling, with dhurries (Indian rugs) on top.

The first place, Yangsum Farm, is a lovely homestay with 5 wooden panelled rooms. All are ensuite, with clean, functional bathrooms. The wonderful views look out across the Himalayan range of Kanchenjunga.

The village houses at Sandyang Lee and Hee both have 2 rooms, sleeping 4 in total. Again, they are wood-panelled, with 2 local string beds (charpoy) with mattresses. An outside bathroom, with a Western toilet and bucket showers (hot and cold water is supplied), serves both rooms. Views here are of the mighty snow-capped Himalayas, including the awe-inspiring Kanchenjunga; Hee is at a higher altitude than Sandyang Lee, so the vistas are if anything even more spectacular.

The sheets, pillows, linen, blankets, and towels are supplied by Shakti, including Sikkimese textile duvets. A homely feeling is created with rugs on the floor and a bedside table with lamps. Guests must leave their shoes outside the rooms on the shoe rack supplied - the flooring in the rooms is carpeted. Shakti asks that you remember local people are hosting you as their guest and to respect this in your behaviour and comments.

Features include:

  • Extra beds

Eating

The food is local Sikkimese food, which is not too spicy and consists of momos (which can be either vegetarian or with meat), noodles, beef and pork curries, spinach, rice and ciapatti (Indian bread). For breakfast you get fruit and muesli, with eggs and toast.

The lunches are packed and are mezze style. Expect to sample the local drink, tongba, which is fermented millet served in a bamboo container.

Meals are prepared and served by each house owner. Wood fires are used for cooking, an authentic and traditional method. All cooking and preparation uses sanitised/purified water for hygiene. Let Shakti know if you have any specific allergies or food dislikes.

Alcohol will be served at each village house and is inclusive in the rate - there's a generic selection of Indian spirits, beer and soft drinks. You may prefer to bring your own choice of alcohol.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Marvel at the mountains, including protected and revered Kanchenjunga, which represents the symbol of the goddess Shakti to the local people, signifying female energy
  • Get to know more about Buddhism, the prevailing religion of the state, by visiting ancient monasteries. Prayer flags flutter in every village and distant chanting is heard through the valleys
  • Become a botanist - there are 4000 plant species to look at, including 450 kinds of orchid and 75 types of rhododendron - it's from Sikkim that the British craze for rhododendrons started
  • The diverse birdlife includes many species only found in the Himalayas, such as the snow partridge, the Himalayan cuckoo, the lammergeier vulture and the Tibetan crow
  • Wildlife abounds, although you're most likely to see deer, antelope, yak and goat than the rare snow leopard or red panda - report back if you see a yeti...
  • While visiting local villages learn about their farming practices and cultural heritage

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures
  • Trekking
  • Wildlife

Kids

Children above the age of 5 are accepted on the hikes, though we think they're more suitable for over 8s with a strong sense of adventure. Children under 12 sharing their parents' room receive a 50% discount. There are no babysitting facilities along the route, but extra bedding can be arranged and special dishes cooked with advance notice.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

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