For those with little time and less inclination to undergo the rigours of hard mountain trekking, a trek up to the meadows of Dzongri will offer the benefits of having experienced a truly spectacular alpine trek within a span of a week (or even less). The trail runs through moss-laden forests of oak, chestnut, pine, maple, magnolia and rhododendron culminating in the meadows of Dzongri at 4,030 meters with exceptional mountain views. It is a naturalist's paradise. These forests harbor hundreds of varieties of wild plants, exotic orchids vie for attention with equally spectacular varieties of birds and butterflies. Some of the animals found along this trail are the Himalayan Black Bear, Barking Deer, Musk Deer, Marbled Cat, Langur and the Red Panda. The program described below is planned for 8 days but it is possible to bring it down 5 days but depends also upon your fitness.
Welcome Arrival at Bagdogra airport our assistant will meet you at airport and transport to Darjeeling about 3-4 hours journey, through Assam tea plantations and tiny villages takes us to Darjeeling. Built on top of a ridge, Darjeeling faces the Himalaya and is a popular destination for Westerners and Napali culture alike. Overnight in Darjeeling comfortable stay your hotel in Darjeeling (2130m)
Transfer: to Yuksam - 6 hours
We leave after breakfast at 9:00am Trasport to Yuksam. The rigours of this 6-hour drive is however offset by the ever-changing scenary along the way. For the first hour, we retrace our route till Singtam after which, we take a right turn and head uphill towards the Temi Tea gardens and then on to Rabongla (a small town below Maenam Hill from where stop for lunch). Here we get our first close up view of the Himalaya. We then proceed downhill into valley basin of the Rangeet River and cross the bridge at Legship after which we drive uphill again to finally arrive at our destination Yuksam, which is also our starting point of treks.
We walk gently uphill, following the Rathong River's gorge, through dense mixed jungle with magnolia, rhododendron, ferns and several varieties of orchids, brightly colored birds, and the occasional monkey. After an hour or so we cross the Paha Khola bridge, (1,733m. /5,685ft.). There is a swimming spot by a waterfall (for those who dare!) after two hours, and we can stop for lunch by a bridge over stream. Passing by sweet smelling viburnum we cross the Prek Chu River and then ascend steeply for two or three hours to arrive at the lodge at Bakhim. We will either stay in the Tourist Hostel, or sleep in our tents. This hostel is often occupied by Himalayan Mountain Institute students on rock-climbing courses. This is a long trekking day and you should expect to be pretty tired by the time you arrive at Bakkhim.
We begin today's walk by trekking for about one hour up to the picturesque village of Tshoka. Tshoka is home to a colony of Tibetan refugees who have erected a small monastery by a small lake. A fairly steep climb above Tshoka takes you into beautiful rhododendron forests, and you continue along a well-defined uphill path to Phedang (approx. 2/3 hours from Tshoka). Today we will be doing a shorter trail since we will be gaining much altitude.
Another short day's walking today as we are now treading above the 4,000-meter mark. We will be setting up camp by lunchtime and suggest that you spend a relaxed afternoon acclimatizing. A brief climb beyond brings you to a meadow where we can pitch our tents in a campsite with views of Koktang, Rathong, Kabru, Khangchendzonga, Simvo and Pandim. As usual on trek the choice of campsite depends on many variables, one of the most important is the close supply of water. You will get spectacular views of Khangchendzonga, Siniolchu, Kabru, Pandim, Jopuno, Koktang, Talung and Narsing. The trail from here levels up to Dzongri. Dzongri also offers you the most fascinating close up view of the Khangchendzonga massif and other Himalayan peaks.
Early risers can get up before dawn to climb to a vantage point on a ridge above the campsite to watch the sunrise on Khangchendzonga, Kabru, Pandim, Rathong, and many other peaks of the Khangchendzonga range. Full day excursion to Laxmi Pokhari. The trial first goes through rhododendron bushes and pasture land for about an hour to Chamaray. From here it is a gradual ascent to Laxmi Pokhari, a big lake cupped in a deep crater. Here you will get good view of Khangchendzonga range, Pandim, Narsing, Kabur, Kabur dome, Koktang etc. If you reach Laxmi Pokhari early and feeling physically fit, an excursion towards Kabur rock will be a rewarding experience. Back to Dzongri.
The trail first ascends gradually for about half an hour & then descends till we reach a crossroad. The trail on the left goes down to Zamlingang. We follow the trail to the right, which is a flat walk throughout.
It is a gradual ascent all the way to the base camp. This is the Khangchendzonga Base Camp, which is also the site where the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute of Darjeeling conducts its advanced mountaineering courses. You can get close views of Frey's peak, Koktang, Kabur and Rathong from here. Return to Bikhbari.
Overnight in Lodge or Camp
Overnight in hotel
After lunch trek to Dubdi monastery, 'the hermits cell', which is situated on the top of a lofty hill one thousand feet above Yuksam. The fir-clad mountains behind provide a dramatic background. Founded by Lhatsun Chempo in 1701, it is the oldest monastery in Sikkim. After visiting the monastery descend to the site where the first King of Sikkim was crowned in 1641 by three lamas.
Departure Transfer to Bagdogra airport or train station onward your destination.
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