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Delights of Darjeeling and the Himalayas

India

from £2,199 per person

2 passengers 11 nights
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £60 if not required
  • Small Group < 24 Small Group 24 or less
  • VIP travel service VIP door to door
  • Half Board Half board

Tea gardens, mountain vistas and Buddhist monasteries...

Experience a different side to India on this tour of the lesser-visited regions of east of the country. Journey from Kolkata, once the capital of the British Raj, to the Victorian hill stations of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, and into Sikkim, an independent mountain kingdom until 1975.

Taste authentic Darjeeling tea in one of India’s most famous tea regions, board a toy train to chug through the hills aboard the 140-year-old Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, and marvel at views of the world’s third highest mountain, Khangchendzonga.

Including...

Hands shaking Included travel insurance

Bed10 nights in hotels and 1 in flight

Dinner plate21 meals: 10 breakfasts (B), 1 lunch (L) and 10 dinners (D)

PersonSaga tour manager

Plus...

  • Return flights and transfers
  • Welcome drink
  • Tourist visa for full British citizens resident in the UK
  • Porterage at all hotels

MapExcursions and visits

  • Kolkata flower market walk
  • Kolkata sightseeing tour
  • Ride the UNESCO-listed Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
  • Sightseeing tour of Darjeeling
  • Tea plantation visit
  • Evening walk in Gangtok bazaar
  • Guided tour of Gangtok monasteries
  • Visit the Army Golf Club and Morgan House
  • Sightseeing tour in Kalimpong

HeadphonesUse of audio headsets on guided tours.

Darjeeling Tea

Tea was first planted in the Darjeeling region of West Bengal in the 1850s by the East India Company. The British were seeking a source of tea outside of China, and Darjeeling was one of a number of locations tested for their growing conditions. The sloped drainage, cloud cover and cool winters resulted in successful harvests, and by 1866, 39 tea gardens were established. After independence, the estates were sold to businesses in India, and today, the 87 tea gardens produce some 10,000 tonnes annually. Darjeeling is known as the ‘Champagne of teas’ and carries the protected designation of origin logo. When brewed, this balanced black tea gives a colour of pale lemon to rich amber, and is light and delicate in taste with a fragrant edge.


View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK-Kolkata

After taking your VIP door-to-door travel service to the airport, fly overnight to Kolkata.


Day 2 Kolkata

Howrah bridge, Kolkata

On arrival in Kolkata, transfer to the 5-star Taj Bengal (4Q+) where you’ll stay for two nights. This landmark hotel, in a central location, has an outdoor swimming pool and a choice of restaurants.

The afternoon is free to relax. Enjoy a welcome reception this evening. D


Day 3 Kolkata

The Victoria Memorial in Kolkata, West Bengal

Formerly known as Calcutta, the city was founded as an East India Company trading post and served as the capital of British India from 1772 until 1911. Today, the faded grandeur of colonial architecture blends with crowded marketplaces, temples, art galleries and museums in India’s cultural capital. Begin the day with an early morning guided walk through the Mullick Ghat flower market. One of the biggest flower markets in Asia, the street is packed with sellers displaying colourful arrays of roses, marigolds, sunflowers and more.

Return to the hotel for breakfast, then embark on a sightseeing tour of the city. See the white marble Victoria Memorial, built between 1906 and 1921 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s 25-year reign as Empress of India, and the Gothic-style St Paul’s Cathedral. Drive past other highlights, such St John’s Church, High Court, and Eden Gardens, and visit Kali Temple. You’ll also visit Mother House, established by Mother Teresa in 1950 and the location of her tomb, and the Park Street Cemetery, one of the world’s earliest non-church cemeteries. B, D


Day 4 Kolkata-Bagdogra-Darjeeling

Darjeeling and Mount Kangchenjunga, India

After breakfast, transfer to the airport and take an internal flight to Bagdogra (one hour).

Continue by road to Darjeeling (45 miles, four hours) where you’ll stay three nights at the 4-star Mayfair Darjeeling (3Q). The British colonial-style hotel is set high above the town, boasting impressive mountain vistas. It has a fitness centre, spa, restaurant and bar. B, D


Day 5 Darjeeling

View of Mount Kanchenjunga Tiger Hill, Darjeeling

Today, an early morning optional excursion visits Tiger Hill to see the sunrise over panoramic mountain views reaching as far as Mount Everest and Mount Kanchenjunga. This morning, take a ride on the UNESCO-listed Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The toy train ride offers the chance to experience a bygone era as you journey through hilly terrain, past tea plantations, to Ghoom, which lies at 7,400 feet above sea level.

Join a sightseeing tour of Darjeeling this afternoon. In the shadow of some of the world’s highest mountains and surrounded by tea plantations, the British decamped to this picturesque hill station to escape Kolkata's summer heat. Today, architectural remnants from the British Raj sit alongside temples and shrines. Visit St Andrews Church, Lablong Village, the Mountaineering Institute, and the house of Tenzing Norgay, a renowned Tibetan mountaineer who, with Edmund Hillary, became one of the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. You’ll also visit the Tibetan Refugee Centre, set up in 1959 to provide emergency relief to refugees crossing the Himalayan border into India. B, D


Day 6 Darjeeling

Tea plantation in Darjeeling

Visit a local tea plantation to learn all about the cultivation of Darjeeling tea.

Walk through the tea garden to see tea pickers harvesting ‘two leaves and a bud’, and enjoy a rustic tea picker’s lunch. Next, visit the tea factory to experience the tea manufacturing process, and learn the steps to making the perfect cup of black tea - withering, rolling, fermenting, drying and sorting. The experience culminates with a tasting session of the day’s brew. The remainder of the day is free to spend at leisure. B, L, D


Day 7 Darjeeling-Gangtok

Gangtok in North Sikkim, India

After breakfast, drive north through winding roads to Gangtok (65 miles, four hours).

Established as a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the 1840s, the city of Gangtok lies in the eastern Himalayan range and is the capital of Sikkim state. The region is known for its Buddhist monasteries, dramatic landscapes of glaciers and alpine meadows, and India’s highest mountain – Mount Kangchenjunga.

Stay two nights at the 4-star Lemon Tree Hotel (4Q). The comfortable hotel has a traditional Sikkimese design with a coffee shop, bar, spa, gym and an outdoor pool. Enjoy time at leisure this afternoon, with an evening walk to the local bazaar selling alpine cheeses, pottery, organic vegetables, and traditional Nepali knives and baskets. B, D


Day 8 Gangtok

The Enchey Monastery, India

Today visit Enchey Monastery, which sits nestled in the hills above Gangtok. One of the most significant monasteries of Sikkim, Enchey Monastery is built on the site of the hermitage of Lama Druptob Karpo, a tantric master supposedly known for his ability to fly.

Continue to the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, an important institution and museum researching Tibetan language and culture, and late visit Rumtek Monastery, the largest monastery in Sikkim. Here you’ll see fine examples of Tibetan architecture and some of the world's most unique religious scriptures. Finally, walk to the colourful Mall Road, and visit the Directorate of Handloom and Handicrafts, a museum set up to promote and preserve traditional Sikkimese art. B, D


Day 9 Gangtok-Kalimpong

Durpin Monastery

Drive to Kalimpong this morning (47 miles, three hours), where you’ll stay two nights at the 4-star Pine Tree Spa Resort (4Q). This modern hotel features an infinity swimming pool with pool bar, restaurant, spa and scenic mountain views.

This afternoon, visit the Army Golf Club which offers fine views across the surrounding valleys, and the chance to photograph the ornate Durpin Monastery. Continue to Morgan House, a British colonial mansion set in beautiful landscaped gardens, and boasting clear views of the Kangchenjunga mountain range. You’ll also visit the Himalayan Handmade Paper Centre to learn about traditional paper-making. B, D


Day 10 Kalimpong

Tharpa Choling Monastery in Kalimpong

This morning take a guided tour of Kalimpong.

This town in the foothills of the Himalayas is home to Buddhist monasteries and colonial architecture, and is known for its traditional handicrafts. Visit the hilltop Durpin Monastery, established in 1970 and consecrated by the Dalai Lama, the Tharpa Choling Monastery, Deolo Hill – the highest point in Kalimpong, Dr Graham’s Homes school, St Theresa church, and Pine View Nursery, which is known for its collection of cacti.

Spend the remainder of the day at leisure. B, D


Day 11 Kalimpong-Bagdogra-Kolkata

Pride Plaza Hotel pool

Transfer to Bagdogra (48 miles, three hours), for your internal flight to Kolkata (one hour).

On arrival, transfer to the 5-star Pride Plaza Hotel (4Q) for you final night. The hotel is conveniently located near the airport and features a swimming pool, spa, fitness centre, restaurant and 24-hour coffee shop. Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening. B, D


Day 12 Kolkata-UK

Rise early this morning for your transfer to the airport, with a packed breakfast included.

Fly to the UK and take your included VIP door-to-door travel service home. B


In Darjeeling, Gangtok and Kalimpong, transport will be in smaller vehicles accommodating 3-4 passengers.

Delights of Darjeeling and the Himalayas

India

from £2,199 per person

2 passengers
11 nights
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £60 if not required

Climate

Delights of Darjeeling and the Himalayas

India

from £2,199 per person

2 passengers
11 nights
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £60 if not required