If you choose to take only walk 2, you will first drive for 25 kms, in 1.30 hrs, through unspoiled forests, with hardly any habitation. Enjoy nature at its best, and see the incredible variety of flora. After a picnic lunch and a visit to over 100 years old heritage forest, take a short down hill trek, whilst your jeep traverses a wilderness trail. Trekking time is 02 hrs, and you will walk through the heart of the forest, to a Tamang Village, cross a mountain stream, and reclaim your jeep, for the last 06 kms to the Samthar Farm House. Dinner and overnight at The Samthar Farm House.
Scenic and remote, The Samthar Plateau, at an elevation of 1500 Meters, is surrounded by river valleys, terraced cultivation and forests. The inhabitants are a blend of various ethnic groups-Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepali. The original Lepcha tribals 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 also 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. The Samthar Farmhouse is an old Lepcha house built of stone and timber, converted by General "Jimmy" Singh for comfortable living, whilst maintaining its ambience. It has a lovely nature garden with scenic views.
Day 04: Samthar Farm House culture trek
Get up early morning, to the chirping of birds, and the cry of the rooster, to walk to the top of the terraced nature garden. Sit atop a rock and sip your tea, whilst you take in the breathtaking view, as the sun rises, and the first rays touch the snows. Weather permitting, you see the entire panorama of snows - Khangchenganga group of peaks, Simvo, Siniolchu, Lama Anden, Chomoyomo, and Paunhari, and then in an easterly arc the passes of Chola, Natula, and Jalepla, leading into Tibet. After an leisurely breakfast, trek around the Samthar plateau for 03 hrs Return to the Farm House for lunch. After lunch another 02 hrs trek to nearby hamlets. Meet people in their homes and fields to get a glimpse of rural lifestyles. In the evening sample local Millet beer, "chang", served in traditional bamboo containers, in lamp lit atmosphere. Overnight at The farmhouse.
Day 05: Samthar Farm House - Lepcha Valley trek
Another chance to view the sunrise. After breakfast take a full days trek to remote Lepcha valley. See flora, birds, traditional Lepcha houses, and a 100 years old Lepcha temple. Meet people in their homes and fields. After picnic lunch return by a different route. Dinner and overnight at the Farm House.
Day 06: Samthar Farm House - Teesta Valley trek - drive to Rinchenpong ( West Sikkim)
After breakfast trek down to the Teesta Valley, You will pass through forests, terraced cultivation and hamlets. It will take about 04 hrs to reach the confluence of the Teesta and Rilli Rivers. Take a break for a picnic lunch. After lunch cross the Teesta River over a suspension bridge to the national highway. Thereafter drive to Rinchenpong in West Sikkim. After a short journey of just 15 kms, cross the river to register at the Sikkim entry Check Post at Malli at elevation of 228 m. Here you have to carry out entry formalities. Keep passports handy along with Sikkim entry permits.
Inside Sikkim drive along the Rangit River Valley for 24 Kms to the market town of Jorthang. ( 300 to 1100m).Continue the drive to Rinchenpong a small village perched on a ridge. . Enjoy the flora, picture post card villages and views of the river. Climbing rapidly through a series of switch- backs through picture post card country the road takes you to the top of a massive ridge and your destination- The Yangsum Farm, 1500 m.
The Yangsum Farm is tucked away far from crowds, in idyllic countryside with a backdrop of the Khangchendzonga group of peaks and the sky- line of the Singelila Range. It is located in West Sikkim, two kms from the small bazaar village of Rinchenpong at an altitude of 1500 meters. At Yangsum you will stay at the heritage Farm House, build in 1833 and remodeled in 1966. Thendup Tashi and Pema chuki, of the Tsechu Tharpa family will be your hosts. You will stay in spacious furnished bedrooms with western style toilet and bath. The house has electricity, and running water. The host family manages a 44 Acre farm, consisting of open mixed forest of Pine, Himalayan Alder, Schima, Chestnut, Magnolia, Rhododendrons, cherry, and others. It grows cardamom, avocados, oranges, banana, pears, apricots, and mangoes. Cultivated agriculture yields maize, paddy, millet, potatoes, ginger, turmeric, and sweet potatoes. In addition to these, seasonal vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes and peas are also grown.
Day 07: Rinchenpong: Village exploration walk
Enjoy the surroundings and views, explore local hamlets, take a short trek to Rinchinpong Monastery, Reshung Gompa, and Lepcha village. Try out home cooked Sikkimese food. Overnight at Yangsum Farm.
Day 08: Drive Rinchenpong - Hi Barmoik, and trek to Samma Taar Nature camp
Drive from Yangsum Farm to Hi Barmoik village, 2200 m It a picturesqe wood & stone constructed large village spread on the face of the mountain with the back drop of forests. Here we will take time off to explore the village, meet people. Continue fairly steep uphill through isolated houses to Upper Hi- Barmoik village to continue our 08 kms trek to to our Samma Taar camp site in a picturesque meadow in the forests at 2900 m altitude.. Overnight in camp.
Day 09: Trek Samma Taar – Vershay (also called Barsey) Nature camp
Trek Samma-Taar to Vershay at 3000 m. Walk through mixed forests with Rhododendrons and bamboo (3-4 hrs). Fairly steep all the way. our Campin Rhododendron forest. In the afternoon thetre is time to explore the network of trails around Vershay. Overnight in camp
The Barsey (Vershay) Rhododendron Sanctuary (BRS) is spread over 104 sq Kms. It forms a vital corridor connecting the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve with the Singelila National Park in West Bengal. The altitudinal range of 2200m to 4100m supports a wide variety of habitat comprising Sub-tropical, Mixed broadleaf, conifer, and Alpine. During our exploration trips and birding tours we have recorded more than 200 species. Mammals inhabiting the park include Leopard, Leopard-cat, Yellow throated Marten, Palm Civet, Goral, Barking Deer, Himalayan Black Bear, Wild boar, Red Panda, Flying squirrel, Crestless porcupine, Himalayan mouse- hare and others.
Day 10: Trek Vershay to Jhorbotay
Trek 06 hrs from Vershay to Jhorbotay, 3280 m through rhododendron forests. It is an easy walk. Overnight in camp located in a forest clearing with good views of Mount Khangchendzonga.
Day 11: Trek Jhorbotay –Kalijhar, 3696 m
Jhorbotay to Kalijhar 3696 m. First we descent steeply downhill into a valley with a small stream. Cross the stream and start climbing fairly steep through mixed forests to a small meadow; where we camp above the tree line. Full views of the Khangchendzonga Range, and all round.
Day 12 Kaljhar - Photey Dara – Chiabhanjan, 3275 m – Chitery, 2700m
Early morning trek to Phoktay Dara ( 30 mins), a view point with superb views of Kanchenjunga and Mount Everest. Watch the sunrise and enjoy the panoramic views. Continue to Chaibhanjan, a pass on the Indo –Nepal border. Thereafter descend in 04 hrs to Chitery camping ground in a lovely forested meadow, 2700 m. Overnight in camp.
Day 13: Trek Chitery to Uttery, 2320 m and drive to Pelling, 2200 m
Trek to Uttery, 2320 m in 1.30 hrs. Drive 28 Kms in 1.30 hrs to Pelling, 2200 m and check in at hotel. For lunch. Afternoon visit the famous Pamayangtse Monastery. Overnight at hotel
Day 14: Pelling – Darjeeling
Drive to Darjeeling in 05 hrs. Check in at Hotel New Elgin / Cedar Inn / Hawks Nest Resort in time for lunch. Afternoon free to explore Darjeeling. Overnight at hotel
Day 15: Drive Darjeeling - Bagdogra
Drive 03 hrs from Darjeeling to Bagdogra for departure flights to Delhi or Kolkata.