Experience the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Take the slow and scenic train ride to Ghoom Monastery.
This scenic holiday idea in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas has been created for those with an interest in the history of the British Indian Empire, the colonial outpost of Darjeeling and the neighbouring region of Sikkim.
Take the slow and scenic train ride to Ghoom Monastery.
Witness the processing of Darjeeling tea followed by a tea tasting.
Catch a glimpse of the mighty Mount Kanchenjunga, India’s highest mountain.
Venture to Sikkim’s frontier and visit the sacred glacial Tsomgo Lake.
Starting in the cultural city of Kolkata, accompanied by an English speaking specialist guide, you navigate the winding streets to delve into its very heart. Having explored the history and discovered Kolkata’s ‘bookshop culture’, continue your journey into the Himalayan foothills to visit Darjeeling. A dear friend to Steppes Travel, Husna Prakash who runs Glenburn Tea Estate provides you with behind the scenes access and specially curated tours. Over the border in Sikkim discover dramatic landscapes home to glaciers, alpine meadows and thousands of varieties of wildflowers.
Included as Standard
Airport VIP meet and greet, a bottle of wine on arrival, a spa treatment, a dedicated member of our team available 24/7, an upgrade at one of your chosen hotels and cars with Wi-Fi connectivity.
Kolkata, still commonly referred to as Calcutta is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, and regarded as an artistic and cultural hub. Kolkata’s colonial past can be found on every corner, but it’s the combinations of that history and modern advances that make this friendly metropolis a unique Indian experience.
A private guide is the only way to find out the most about a city, whilst gaining an insight into life as a local. Weave your way through the flower market in the early morning light, one of the largest wholesale markets of India. Take a walking tour of the colonial buildings, the old post office, the stark white Victoria Memorial and the grand Governor’s residence.
In addition to its history, Kolkata is also known for its cuisine and world-class restaurants.
A short flight from Kolkata brings you to Bagdogra, located at the northern reaches of the flat plains. The only way is up as you travel the winding hairpin turns into the foothills. Seated above the Rungeet River and overlooking the mighty mountain ranges, Darjeeling is heavenly. The hill station was built by the British Raj from as early as 1835. Enjoy fresh Darjeeling tea at the Glenburn plantation, a 150-year-old colonial house. Take a ride on the Darjeeling Mountain Railway to visit the Yiga-Choling Monastery near Ghoom which houses famous Buddhist scriptures. Participate in specially curated tours and activities that elevate this holiday to beyond the standard tour.
Cross into permit controlled Sikkim, separated from the rest of India by the Rungeet River. Sikkim was the last state to give up its monarchy and integrate into India. The capital city of Gangtok has a spectacular setting with fine views over the Himalayan mountain ranges.
Whilst in Gangtok, visit Rumtek Monastery, known for its beautiful monastic paintings and intricate woodwork. Take a scenic walk across the farmed terraces. Visit beautiful orchid-laden forests with orchids in full bloom between April and June.
A short drive from Gangtok, Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake is found perched between the Himalayan mountains at an altitude of 12,400 ft. The lake is one of the most spectacular landscapes of Sikkim. The azure blue lake is highly revered by the local Buddhists and Hindus as a sacred lake. Many people don’t visit this area but we have included it in our holiday suggestion so that you can go for a walk, enjoy a picnic lunch and spend time in this spectacular scenery.
Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.
A long-awaited project from the owners of Glenburn Tea Estate, this elegant nine-bedroomed boutique hotel, colonial in style, is a perfect bolthole for anybody preferring home from home when staying in Calcutta. Occupying the top two floors of a sleek office building in the heart of the city, Glenburn Penthouse looks humble from the outside. Don’t be fooled by the exterior as the interiors will knock your socks off. From the rooftop terrace, gaze out over the impressive Victoria Memorial whilst taking a dip in the infinity pool.
Surrounded by the Himalayas, The Glenburn Tea Estate is a heavenly, secluded hotel, situated one hour’s drive from the town of Darjeeling. This boutique hotel is very much part of a working tea estate that stretches over 1,600 acres with rivers and forests and spectacular mountain views & Guests are accommodated in one of two bungalows, each comprising four suites and common areas, gardens, verandas and terraces accessible to all guests.
Overall another amazing trip from Steppes Travel. We saw so many different sights and had so many new experiences. Would always highly recommend Steppes.
Dev Shree's rural location allowed us a glimpse of India off of the beaten track. We had a memorable afternoon wandering the small town.
A great itinerary for an introduction to India. It has given us lots of ideas and enthusiasm for a return trip.
We had an absolutely amazing time. Everything ran smoothly, all accommodation and other arrangements were fabulous and the contacts were such wonderful and professional people we feel we have made friends for life.
In Kathmandu, our guide Archie was fabulous. She was knowledgeable, thoughtful, fun, warm, open and a total pleasure to have with us. She really made sure we got the most out of our two days in Kathmandu - a real class act.
We had the most amazing holiday. Thank you to all at Steppes and a huge thank you for our surprise meal at Ministry of Crab. We are so grateful.
It was all very last minute from us so Kate did a great job in responding to a change in dates and negotiating a good deal.
Kate Hitchen's help in organising this trip was excellent. She was very knowledgable and tailor-made our trip to suit our three teenage children.
Kate Hitchen was excellent and managed to book and organise our trip to India perfectly, it was even better than expected. Thank you.
Everything went smoothly, we were met as arranged by extremely knowledgeable personnel. The guides and drivers came up to and exceeded, our expectations.
Joe was FANTASTIC! He really knew his stuff and really guided us to a terrific trip!
Naturalists at the two lodges responded well to the individual needs of us as their guests. I showed an interest in the local school in Kanha, and Chin took us there, introduced us to the head and showed us a classroom - very interesting and insightful into the local community.
Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.
January is a very popular time to travel to India, due to mild temperatures and very little rainfall. The climate varies across India from snow in the Northern States to the Southern regions experiencing daily sunshine – perfect for an escape to Kerala’s beaches.
During peak season, February is an ideal month to travel to India, experiencing all regions of the country from Rajasthan in the North to Karnataka in the South.
Temperatures begin to rise with March typically being the last month of the peak season. A significant month for religious, Hindu festivals, March can become busy in some regions however also a perfect time to travel to experience Indian culture and wildlife.
With temperatures starting to rise, regions in Northern India start to become more accessible with excellent opportunities to discover hiking trails and the wildlife of these regions. Temperatures can sometimes exceed 40°C, with high levels of humidity in Southern India.
From May to September, Monsoon rains affect the North and Central states of India with daily rainfall and thunderstorms. During the Monsoon season, it is best to experience high altitude regions and avoid beach resorts.
Most regions of India will experience the Monsoon season in June alongside high daily temperatures and high levels of humidity. Whilst, not a popular time to travel, experience the mountainous regions as opposed to Central India to experience slightly cooler temperatures at the start of the month.
At the peak of the Monsoon season, most of the country experiences frequent, heavy rainfall. Whilst travel plans may be interrupted due to the climate, it is a great time to visit India to experience the national parks and the great outdoors.
As the Monsoon continues, the climate is very similar to that of June and July. Whilst not a suitable time to travel to India’s Southern beaches, other Northern Regions are popular with locals for hiking and outdoor pursuits.
As the final month of the Monsoon season, rainfall will be less frequent with the occasional sunny spell showcasing the lush, green vegetation that has flourished during the heavy rains.
As the monsoon rains have finished, humidity levels remain high and the peak travel season begins. During the month of October, there are lots of religious festivals, including Diwali, where some regions may become busier with domestic tourists.
As one of the best times to visit the country, November brings comfortable temperatures for sightseeing with the monsoon rains dying out from October. As the temperatures drop, however, Northern India and the Himalayas will become less accessible.
In December, temperatures and climate will be dependant on the region. In the Southern States, India will see a pleasant and mild climate, ideal for sightseeing, whereas, in Northern India and mountainous regions, snow and cold temperatures are likely.
Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.
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