Village Homestay Holiday Explore Experience Learn Teach Relax,Homestay Holidays Tour Travel Circuit Itinerary in Kalimpong,Samthar Farm House in Darjeeling Hills East Eastern Himalaya North Bengal North East India
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Village Homestay Holiday Explore Experience Learn Teach Relax,Homestay Holidays Tour Travel Circuit Itinerary in Kalimpong,Samthar Farm House in Darjeeling Hills East Eastern Himalaya North Bengal North East India Village Homestay Holiday Explore Experience Learn Teach Relax,Homestay Holidays Tour Travel Circuit Itinerary in Kalimpong,Samthar Farm House in Darjeeling Hills East Eastern Himalaya North Bengal North East India
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S/ 09: 03 or More Days Village Homestay Holiday
Explore, Experience, Learn, Teach and Relax

  • Available: All year round
  • Best in Feb-May and Sept-Dec
  • Max Altitude 2000 m

This tour is part of the Integrated Village Tourism project Awake & Shine, - a philanthrophic cum self help project set up by retired Indian Army General Jimmy Singh at Samthar.

Samthar view Gairigaon homestay view Typical homestead

Background Information

Samthar is Scenic and remote, Located at an elevation of 1400 Meters., it is inhabited by blend of Lepchas and Nepalis, with a sprinkling of other ethnic groups. The original Lepcha tribal lived in the valleys. They were woodsman, and utilized the forest resources to live off the land. Knowing no religion, they worshiped nature spirits. When the Bhutanese ruled this land, many were converted to Buddhism. Latter the British rulers brought in Christian missionaries, who converted some of them to Christianity. Hinduism arrived with the Nepalese settlers, who taught the Lepchas to farm the land. Today the ethnic groups are fused together in harmony. They have adopted Nepali as a link language, yet maintained their diverse cultural identity. It is an ideal place to peep into lifestyles of this fascinating hill community. It also has diverse flora, well-developed mountain agriculture, forests, and river valleys, and offers breathtaking views of the Panorama of snows.

Project Awake & Shine aims to create earning through village tourism and encouragement of local skills to make suitable products for sale to tourists , Essential components are -

Empowerment modules :

  • Infrastructure for village tourism based on the home stay concept, with philanthrophic assistence.
  • Play school & Nursery module to empower children (and adults) to be proficient in spoken English to build foundation for future employment in tourism.
  • Provide bright children scholarships to pursue formal education.
  • Enhancing existing skills and teaching new earning skills by developing vocational training modules.

Earning modules :

  • Homestays
  • Village tours
  • Sale of handicrafts

Initially the project has been launched at Gaire Gaon (called Nepali Village) and Kabi (called Lepcha Village) - two hamlets in Samthar Area, to provide - 

Village Homestay Holiday photos

  1. Phinathrophic assistence to build village homestay infrastructure. Community members provide land and labour and retain ownership.
  2. Micro seed capital for working groups to create earning from existing skills.
  3. Philonthrohic assistence for infrastructure and tools to set up tradesmen modules.
  4. Play Sshool with focus on spoken English and to inculcate spirit of adventure, good manners, personal hygiene, environmental values, pride in manual labor, and development of skills through hobbies.
  5. English speaking course for older children and adults.

Village holiday profile :

Welcome Nepali family Baby

The Samthar Village homestay holiday offers a unique, relaxed and fulfilling holiday. This holiday is truly a journey of discovery – at four levels -

  1. An opportunity to explore rural lifestyles and interact with rural people.
  2. Learn skills from village craftsmen nd supporting traditional crafts.
  3. Impart your skills to village folk and their children and teach English to children.
  4. Relax and enjoy a holiday in scenic surroundings, amongst friendly people

Awake & Shune school with homestay on upper floor School house interior Childrens confidence course Awake & Shune school class room

The home stays are in separate cottages or in renovated rooms in existing homesteads. They have been especially designed /modified to offer comfort, convenience and cleanliness in a unique ambiance.

Homestay breakfast Lepcha musicians Samthar dancing Homestay breakfast Lepcha musiocians Samthar dancing Homestay breakfast Lepcha musiocians Samthar dancing

20% of the sale price of the tour will go to project Awake & Shine. It is hoped to attract Travel Philanthropy to supplement funds for specific parts of the project .

When: Available year round. The best season for snow views and clear skies is from Oct- Dec, and for flora it is March – May. To select your time of visit look up the Samthar seasonal cycle.

Duration: The duration is flexible. However a minimum of a week is recomended

Number of guests: Ideally a couple or a family group. We are happy to host individuals, at a higher fee.

Languages spoken: Nepali is the main language of the people. All of our local guides, and us are English speaking

Rates for Paying Guests:

Sgl occupancy



Sgl occupancy with all meals

Rs 1250

USD 30

Support Awake & Shine Schooling module ( mandatory)

Rs   500

USD 15

Total paying guest fee for single occupancy

Rs 1750

USD 45




Double Occupancy



Dbl room with all meals

Rs 1500

USD 45

Support Awake & Shine Schooling module ( mandatory)

Rs   750

USD 25

Total paying guest fee for 02 persons

Rs 2250

USD 65




Extra child  with all meals (upto maximum of 02 children 03 to 12 years old)

Rs   500

USD 20


Local village walk with guide

Rs 315/ USD 10 per day for the guide( to be divided by number of persons being guided)

Learning any craft ( Smithy, basket making, mats etc)

Rs 225 /USD 5 per person per day

Indian / local cooking

USD 2025 / USD 45 per session for 03 dishes

Solar cooking

Rs 1350 / USD 30 per session for 03 dishes

Demonstration by housewives: mustard oil extraction, grinding with stone grinder, pounding with hand & foot,

Rs 225 / USD 5 per demonstration

Tailoring: Cutting, stitching for made to measure clothing. “Watch while you wait” demonstration

Rs 225 / USD 5 per garment plus cost of material

Village Chores: Care of cattle, milking, cow herding, care of domestic goats , sowing, harvesting, ploughing, collecting firewood and fodder.

Rs 225 / USD 5 per day

Travel Philanthropy

Visitors are welcome to assist in the following :-

  1. Donating household solar lighting sets to save energy and envoirnment
  2. Donating household solar cooking sets to save forests and reduce firewood requirements, and improve the envoirnment.
  3. Donate English teaching aids and text books
  4. Sponser deserving children for formal education at Kalimpong
  5. Adopt families for providing assistence to build homestay cottages on their land to expand Awake & Shine village tourism project

Contact us for more ideas.


Volunteers are welcome for teaching spoken English, and vocational skills such as hairdressing, candle making, and any other skills suitable for home products.

07 nights / 08 days Itinerary for home-stay holiday

This itinerary, is designed for those wanting 06 nights village homestay experience. For those intending longer stay, or volunteering, we will design an itinerary after discussion. Please contact us.

On Day 01, you arrive at Bagdogra Airport. Car with driver will meet you and drive you 110 Kms in 4.30 hrs to the remote Himalayan village of Samthar. Alternativly you can be picked up from Kalimpong to drive 80 Kms in 04 hrs. In either case it is a scenic journey through the Himalayan foot hills with its river valleys and forests.  Dinner & overnight Stay at Samthar Farm House, hosted by retired Indian Army General "Jimmy" Singh.

Pigsty Firewood store Goat shed Cattle shed

The tour provides for staying with both Nepali and Lepcha famalies. This can be altered as per preference.  For details of host hamlets which are the focus of this tour ask for Host Hamlet fact file.

On the second day, you will be introduced to your hosts and move into the village home-stay. For the duration of your stay you have a flexible program. You choose what you want to do on a daily basis with your host family. Gen Jimmy Singh will help you coordinate with your host families. Some of the activities offered are:-

  • Watch and feel the breathtaking panorama of the snows, that Samthar offers as the sun rises - Khangchenganga group of peaks, Simvo, Siniolchu, Lama Anden, Chomoyomo, and Paunhari, and the passes of Chola, Natula, and Jalepla, leading into Tibet.
  • Conducted walks through the local hamlets, to meet people in their homes and fields. Visit Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist homes, learn about the seasonal agriculture cycle, religious beliefs and cultural customs. Fascinating glimpses of rural life.
  • Visits to the homes of local artisans and craftsmen and watch them working with traditional skills, such as Black smithy, Basket making, Weaving mats out of paddy waste and more.
  • Learn Indian, Nepali and Lepcha cooking
  • Learn about cooking with solar cooker
  • Watch housewives demonstrate, extracting mustard oil using ancient press made of wood, bamboo and stone, husking of paddy using hand and foot pounding tool and grinding of corn using ancient stone grinding machine
  • Learn cutting and stitching of Indian dresses, and patronize village tailors for  made to measure clothing.
  • Learn about traditional methods of bee keeping using hollow tree trunks
  • Participate in village chores – ploughing, sowing, and harvesting, collection of firewood and fodder
  • Learn pickle making from housewives – Mango, Radish, Tomato, Ginger and more.
  • Learn how to prepare Chang (millet beer)
  • Learn about  traditional frame and thatch houses and watch their construction
  • Learn about care of family livestock and participate in milking and cow herding.
  • Learn about the institution of Bomthang and Jhakri – Nature doctors, shamans, and faith healers. A chance to meet these men and watch demonstrations
  • Enjoy several day treks - walk amidst nature, with good views and opportunity for more interaction with village folks of the surrounding areas
  • Volunteer to teach spoken English to children.
  • Volunteer to teach vocational skills

Your itinerary from Day 02 to Day 08 is planed as follows -

Meeting shaman Campfire Song & dance Samthar archery

Day 02-03-04: Nepali Village homestay

Day 05-06-07: Lepcha Village homestay ( Available from 01 Apr 2007, onwards)

Day 08 : Drive 04 hrs to Kalimpong or 4.30 hrs to Bagdogra airport / NJP rail station for departure

Tour prices for  08 days homestay holiday tour

On Request

Smithy Basket weaving Dry wall construction Terrace cultivation

Add - On Tours

Any of our tours can be added on. Please contact us for customizing your tour.

Load of fodder Carrying basket - doko Stone grinder Village rooster

"Our very favourite place of all those we stayed at was Samthar village. And there was world of difference between this and the organised tourism we found in Bhutan.

We really appreciated the set up at Samthar homestay, that gave us an opportunity to be so much around village life. ............ People were very attentive and kind and the food was so nice and well prepared. It was great just to be able to hang out and on the first morning we enjoyed just being with children. Charles was a great guide always willing to engage in conversation about the locality, village life and culture. It was so good to get to meet local people on our walks and be able to visit the heart of life in the valley. ................During our stay, we walked in all 3 directions - short walks of no more than a couple of hours. ............We left Samthar a little sad in our hearts - a sign I think that it was possible to get to know people just a bit in a short space of time - enough to glimpse their lives and have a hope for their future wellbeing."

Paul Goodwin, UK



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