This 7-days tour in the remote state of Sikkim in North East India lets you experience the daily lives of Bhutia, Limbu and Lepcha people from close quarters as you live with the families. While the Lepchas are the aboriginals of Sikkim, the Limbus migrated from Nepal and Bhutias migrated from Bhutan. You experience their cuisine, local dances and music, customs and traditions, festivals, agrarian practices, religion, environment and much more. This tour is conducted in such a way that it has a positive social, economical and environmental impact. The earnings from the fee of your tour are shared ‘directly’ with the local stakeholders thus empowering them. People from the local community are trained in hospitality to help them have an alternative income.
Arrive in Bagdogra followed by road trip to South Sikkim. Arrive at the homestay by evening, acclimatize to the altitude and relax for the day. After a long drive, take the traditional Do-Tho herbal bath in evening (it is a traditional Bhutanese body healing bath where the water is prepared by soaking herbs and by heating with hot stone). Your stay is with local family from Bhutia tribe for a greater cultural immersion and deeper connect.
Village walk in traditional Bhutia settlement including visit to the Lepcha tribal monastery. During your walk, you will know about the forest herbs, how they are used, the local festivals, possible interaction with Lama if he is available in the monastery, and interaction with villagers. After lunch, visit the Bon monastery (Bon is pre-Buddhist religion) and the handicrafts center (handicrafts include wood carving, and carpet/ shawl making out of sheep wool). The handicrafts center is an initiative by local SHG to provide alternate source of living for village men and women. We will facilitate a brief interaction with artisans. The artisans are shy, buy very friendly once they open up. Homestay.
Meynam wildlife sanctuary
Half day trek to Meynam wildlife sanctuary (see deer, fox and the rare Red Panda) – hours of walk can be adjusted as per the fitness level. You will have the opportunity to learn about the wildlife of West Sikkim and stop by at numerous picturesque villages during the hike. Experience Bhutia cultural dance in evening. You can also do the herbal bath on this day as it is very relaxing after long walk in the hills. Homestay
After breakfast, leave for West Sikkim. Take a brief stop at Temi tea gardens, which are into tea production since 1969. After 2005, it was switched to 100% organic and follows the guidelines by Institute of Marketology (IMO), Switzerland. You will have some time to walk around the tea garden and production plant, and possibly interact with the locals there. Enroute, visit the Rabdentse ruins and Pemayangtse monastery. Arrive in West Sikkim by early evening and spend the remaining time over bonfire, local Limbu music and millet beer (Tongba). We will also involve you in a culinary experience. Homestay
Half day village walk. See traditional sustainable tribal houses, ways of bee keeping and organic farming. Do hands on farming for an hour in either cardamom or potato farms (the extent of immersion will depend on season and the stage at which plantation is). See houses of Lepcha people who are the aboriginal inhabitants of Sikkim. Visit a local Shaman in evening and know about the local tribal religion that is followed by many tribes of Sikkim.
Visit Yuksom, Khecheperi Lake and Kanchanjunga waterfalls on this full day tour. Yuksom was the first capital of Sikkim and is still a sleepy little town. Visit the Dubdi monastery, and Yuksom palace which is more or less in ruins. You also have the option to do a trek today from Yuksom to Tashiding. This trek will take you through two hills and a valley, and across many beautiful and secluded villages of Limbu people
After breakfast, depart for Bagdogra airport for onward journey.