Sikkim and Bhutan (Between Mountains and Monasteries

(15 Days / 14 Nights)

CALCUTTA / DARJEELING/ PEMAYANGTSE / GANGTOK / KALIMPONG / PHUNTSOLING / THIMPHU / PUNAKHA / PARO

PRICE 2000 $ ( Based on 2 persons )


DAY 1: CALCUTTA

Arrive in morning. Walk in the flower market installed under the Howrah famous bridge, along the river Hooghly. Visit the artisan’s neighborhood where Kumartali make the figures of earth and straw used in religious festivals and lively Temple Dakshineshwar, Shaivite shrine dedicated to Kali. Visit the Victoria Memorial completed in 1921 in honor of the Empress of India, home to the Museum of the Raj.

DAY 2: CALCUTTA / BAGDOGRA / DARJEELING  

Flight to Bagdogra and continue by road (4 hours) to Darjeeling which floor the side of a hill covered with tea plants. Arrive late afternoon in Darjeeling, situated at 2100 m altitude. First walk in the picturesque Chowk Bazaar.

DAY 3: DARJEELING

You watch from Tiger Hill at sunrise over the Himalayas dominated by the third highest peak in the world, Mount Kanchenjunga, which rises to 8586 m. Excursion to Ghoom via the famous "Toy Train", commissioned by the British in 1878, and explore the monastery Yogachoeling. Visit the institute which traces the history of the most famous Himalayan expeditions and a tea plantation.

DAY4: DARJEELING / PEMAYANGTSE

Departure for Sikkim to the Pelling (3h), which is on the eastern foothills of the Himalayas and offers a magnificent view. Explore Pemayangtse the oldest monastery of the sect of the Red Hats Sikkim, founded in the eighteenth century. Frescoes and paintings are admirable.

DAY 5: PEMAYANGTSE / TASHIDING / RUMTEK / GANGTOK

Drive to Gangtok (6h). A Tashiding, walking 40 minutes to reach the monastery, which houses sculptures and paintings of the eighteenth century. Visit the Rumtek lamasery, home to the sect of Kagyudpa, which housed the sixteenth Karmapa and his followers when they fled Tibet in 1959. Continue to Gangtok.

DAY 6: GANGTOK

Excursion Phodung Monastery, one of the largest known Sikkim where resided Alexandra David-Neel. It features remarkable frescoes. In town, visit the Institute of Tibetology for his old books, its sacred objects, stunning painted and embroidered thangka. Prosecution orchid garden containing 250 different varieties and crafts institute. Free time in the bazaar.

DAY 7: GANGTOK / KALIMPONG

Departure through the hills where rhododendrons grow and cardamoms to the pleasant town of Kalimpong, famous for its floriculture and mild climate. Explore the monastery Durpin Dara and that of Zong Dog Fo-Brang. Continue to Thongsa Gompa, founded in 1692, and the astonishing insight Catholic Church. Stroll in the market.

DAY 8: KALIMPONG / PHUNTSOLING

Descent towards the plains up Phuntsoling, the border town with Bhutan where you welcome by your Bhutanese guide. Here coexist various populations: Bhutanese, Bengalis, Nepalis and Indians. Visit the Temple of Zangdo Pelri dedicated to Guru Rinpoche.

DAY 9: PHUNTSOLING / THIMPHU

Continue by road (6:30) for Thimphu, quiet town and capital of Bhutan, situated at 2500 m height. Visit the Memorial Chorten with beautiful paintings and sculptures, and stroll through the main shopping street.

DAY10: THIMPHU

Explore the school of painting, sculpture and embroidery as well as the folklore museum. Visit a paper factory and beautiful textile museum, one of the major crafts of the country. Late afternoon Tashichho dzong, built in 1627. Seat of Government, is the most impressive building in town.

DAY 11: THIMPHU / PUNAKHA

Pass through Dochu 3100 meters height where you can see if the weather is clear, the highest peak in Bhutan, Gangar Punsum which stands at 7250 m. Further, Lobeysa stop for a walk through the fields to Chimi monastery, built in the fifteenth century. Explore the Punakha Dzong, beautifully situated at the confluence of two rivers (3 hours drive). Built in 1637, it played an important role in the religious and civil history.

DAY12: PUNAKHA / PARO

Continue to Paro (2h). Considered one of the first valleys to have received the Buddhist footprint, Paro is home to many sculptures of bodhisattvas and paintings representing the previous lives of the Buddha. Visit of Kyichu temple founded in the seventh century. After a pleasant walk through forest and town, you find the ruins of the fortress of Drukgyel. Free time in the shopping street of the city.

DAY 13: PARO

Excursion to Taktsang Monastery, nicknamed the Tiger Refuge perched at over 3000 m. This is one of the most revered places of pilgrimage in the Himalayan world where Guru Rimpoche meditated for three months would. Walking three hours round trip on a steep path. Possibility of a part of the climb on horseback (payable locally). Visit the dzong Rinpung, one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture, and Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower converted into a national museum.

DAY 14: PARO / CALCUTTA

Morning flight to Calcutta. Visit the Jain temple Pareshnath, built in 1867 and the Marble Palace, a splendid residence of the nineteenth century. Continuation to the Indian Museum, beautiful colonial building with outstanding collections of Greco-Buddhist sculptures of Gandhara. Free time for shopping at New Market.

DAY 15: CALCUTTA / VOL DE RETOUR

Arrive in France in the end of the day.

Road Map