Colonial hill stations, steam train rides, remote valleys, monasteries and views to the high, high Himalaya – and that’s before we start on the motorcycling! This tour combines the usual Revellers Paradise back-up and support, carefully considered overnight stays and happy-rider routing with an adventurous edge and some surprises thrown in.
PARADISE OF NORTH EAST INDIA DARJEELING & SIKKIM
DAY 1: FLY OVERNIGHT TO DELHI
Following an overnight flight to Delhi we will transfer to the domestic terminal for your onward flight.
DAY 2: FLY DELHI TO KURSEONG
Fly Delhi to Bagdogra. On landing, you will be whisked away by road to your eccentric accommodation 1000m above the plains,
Where a cold beer and your first glimpse of the Himalaya await.
DAY 3: KURSEONG TO DARJEELING
After breakfast, a tea plantation visit will precede lunch and a tour briefing, before we head off to the railway station.
Despite no longer being steam powered (that will come later) India’s original hill railway retains much of its charm as it rides parallel
to and criss-crosses the main road to Darjeeling, the adjacent wooden buildings glowing warm under the setting sun. We’ll arrive in Darjeeling in time for a shower, dinner and a cold beer.
DAY 4: DARJEELING TO GANGTOK
Having crossed the Teesta River we’ll leave Darjeeling and West Bengal to enter the former Kingdom of Sikkim
Where we’ll finish the day in the state capital of Gangtok, a centre of Tibetan Bhuddhist learning. The ride of around five hours will be a gentle introduction to your Bullet’s idiosyncrasies. The route leaves the main highway, to ride quiet, narrow roads through spectacular terracing and includes views of Rumtek Monastery.
DAY 5: GANGTOK TO LACHEN
Prayer flags flutter and waterfalls flow as we enter remote North Sikkim and head for the village of Lachen where the traditional form of local democracy under the pipon (headman) system still holds sway. The steep valley sides are striped with the scars of landslides, the damage they have caused to the road surfaces often delivers some unpredictable riding!
DAY 6: LACHEN TO LACHUNG, VIA THANGGU
Just 15km from Chinese-occupied Tibet, Thanggu is the end of the road for non-locals, so after a view and a brew we’ll follow our tracks back to Chungthang, turning north-east to Lachung, high above the river of the same name in a very different looking valley.
DAY 7: LACHUNG TO YUMTHANG AND BACK
Up the swithcbacks and into the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary; gateway to the Yumthang Valley at the head of which awaits a magnificent 360° Himalayan view and a chance to gaze across the Tibetan Plateau. On the return to our hotel, we will visit the Laching Gompa (Buddhist monastery).
DAY 8: LACHUNG TO RABONGLA
Our longest day distance wise but it will come easy after the previous three days in the mountains. We’ll follow the Teesta River all the way south to Singtam where we finally find a bridge allowing us to turn west. Rabongla promises some of the best mountain views in the region, not to mention the rather surprising ‘Buddha Park’ which overlooks the town.
DAY 9: RABONGLA TO YUKSUM
The first of two short days takes us first to the little village of Tashiding and the ancient monastery (est 1641) of the same name. Five religious buildings, numerous stupas and engraved stones adorn the top of a conical hill affording impressive views of the surrounding valleys. Yuksum is where it all began when, in 1641, three Tibetan holy men met, chose and crowned the first king of Sikkim. Dubdi Gompa sits atop a hill overlooking the village and is said to be Sikkim’s oldest.
DAY 10: YUKSUM TO PELLING
The second of our short days takes us to Pelling and one of the best views of India’s highest (the world’s third-highest) peak – Khangchendzonga. A short walk away the history lesson continues with the ruins of Rabdentse, the former royal capital of Sikkim.
Above our hotel, Pemayangtse Gompa contains some remarkable models from Buddhist mythology.
DAY 11: PELLING TO NAMCHI
Following a short detour to twice cross Asia’s second-highest bridge (the café’s on the far side!) we’ll follow first the north and then the south sides of the valley high above the Kalet River, before turning south to Soreng and plummeting down a steep series of hairpins to
Lunch alongside the Great Rangit River. The afternoon is no less twisty as we cross the river and climb the ‘back route’ to Namchi, Where we’ll pay our regards to Guru Padmasambhava before checking into our hotel.
DAY 12: NAMCHI TO DARJEELING
Up early for a ride up to Solophuk to visit the 33 metre high statue of Shiva that dominates the hillside. Back at the hotel we’ll eat a late breakfast before plummeting down a chain of unfeasibly twisty switchbacks to once again cross the Teesta river before climbing through tea plantations on a ‘back route’ to Darjeeling.
DAY 13: IN DARJEELING
There’s plenty to see and do in the hill station town. The steam powered ‘Toy Train,’ a UNESCO World Heritage Site, runs to/from
Ghoon, the zoo also houses the fascinating Everest Museum and for the (very) keen you can always get up at 0400hrs
and take a jeep up to Tiger Hill to witness sunrise along a 250km strip of Himalayan peaks (that contains Everest and Khangchendzonga). Of course, no trip to Darjeeling is complete without sipping its famed tea in the institution that is Glenary’s Café.
DAY 14: DARJEELING TO BAGDOGRA
A late start will allow for any last minute shopping before we commence our descent westwards through the forest towards the
Nepalese border, which we follow south to Merik. Following lunch, a ridgeline traverse affording a 270° panorama of the surrounding
tea plantations marks the start of the descent of the second of the day’s vertical kilometres.
DAY 15: BAGDOGRA TO DELHI TO HOME
After two weeks of mountainous adventure it is time to depart. An internal flight takes us back to Delhi to meet up with our international flights.