Arrival in Gangtok
Today, you’ll leave Darjeeling (or Yuksom) and hit the road for Gangtok, travelling north over twisting roads. Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, towers over all of the scenery, dwarfing the pine forests and flower-filled valleys. At the end of the day, you’ll arrive in Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. This enchanting city, perched high on a mountain ridge, is home to a large population of Buddhist Indians. Your comfortable family hotel is beautiful, restful place, with birds chattering throughout the lush garden.
The monasteries close to Gangtok are rarely visited by tourists and packed with original character. Today, you’ll follow a bumpy road to Phodang and Labrang, brightly decorated monasteries full of rainbow colours and dragons motifs – far more flamboyant than anything you’ll find in Ladakh or Tibet. Each monastery will give you sweeping views over snow-capped Mount Kanchenjunga, looming large above you. At the end of the afternoon, you’ll head back to your hotel in Gangtok.
Kalimpong & Departure
Today, you’ll head for Rumtek monastery, arguably the most beautiful monastery in the area. Every last inch of its interior is covered with brightly coloured murals and fine wood carvings. You can listen to the monk’s mystical choral chanting whilst enjoying (or attempting to keep down) a cup of Po Cha – salt yak butter tea. In the afternoon, you’ll continue to the market town of Kalimpong. Conquered and colonised by Bhutan for over 100 years, it’s home to a traditional Bhutanese monastery. Here, you’ll stay in a family run guesthouse set in two acres of orchid farm and botanical garden.
You’ll leave Kalimpong the next day.
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