The trip name says it all; the Chaos, Charm and the Calm. The Chaos comes first. In fact, it virtually hits you in the face - try crossing the road in Kolkata and you will understand this. What a city Kolkata is; manic, mad and magnificent in a fading and time ravished manner, but no visit to India is complete without spending a couple of days experiencing this charming place.
Equally, India is about train travel and so we include an overnight journey northwards to the foothills of the Himalayas and on to Darjeeling. Here is India’s most famous train trip of all; the Toy train of Darjeeling. The narrow gauge track winds its way through villages and towns and up into the mountains to the city of Darjeeling. This is where the calm takes over and we walk and relax in the hills, five hours away from the city on a small farm retreat.
Add in the splendour of the mighty mountains in Sikkim and its Buddhist charms, wildlife and spectacular drives in Nepal and you have a trip that you just should not miss.
Border Information: If you are joining the trip in Kolkata, you will most likely enter India at Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (IATA code: CCU).
Today is a free day to explore the sights, sounds and flavours of the incredible city of Kolkata. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm - please look for a note from your tour leader when you arrive at the hotel giving more details about this meeting.
Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Kolkata before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Kolkata.
In Kolkata we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
During the day we will have free time to independently explore Kolkata, and we have the opportunity to take an optional photographical tour of the city.
Whilst in Kolkata, your leader will assist you in arranging you Sikkim permit (you will need to bring passport photos and a photocopy of your passport photo page).
We will meet in the evening to head to the train station and board our overnight train to Siliguri - accommodation tonight will be on the train, where there are basic bunk beds with sheets provided.
We will arrive into Siliguri at around 9:00am this morning, meeting our jeeps and drivers at the station for our onward journey through the narrow winding roads to Darjeeling. The town of Darjeeling is really more a collection of villages situated on a high ridge, linked by a series of steps and winding lanes and surrounded by rice and tea terraces.
Jeeps are used in this region rather than our overland truck as they are perfect for the narrow, steep and winding roads of the area. We will continue with the jeeps all the way until the trip returns to Siliguri (after Gangtok).
Estimated Drive Time (in jeeps) - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
We will spend 3 nights in Darjeeling, giving us plenty of time to relax, enjoy the surrounding area and take part in some optional activities.
In Darjeeling we will stay in a local hotel.
Today we will leave in our jeeps for Karmi Farm, a beautiful estate located in a remote rural area nearby.
Estimated Drive Time (in jeeps) - 3-4 hours.
We will stay at Karmi Farm for 3 nights, which gives us lots of free time to enjoy some fantastic hikes around the region, visit the Karmi Farm Clinic charitable project, go bird watching and to relax and take in the stunning views from the lodge.
In Karmi Farm we will stay in a guest lodge.
After breakfast we will leave Karmi Farm in our jeeps and continue to Gangtok, the hilltop capital of Sikkim.
Estimated Drive Time (in jeeps) - 5-7 hours.
On the following day we will have an included visit of the nearby Rumtek Dharma Monastery in the morning, leaving the afternoon free for you to independently explore Gangtok.
In Gangtok we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.
Border Information: Exit India at Panitanki, enter Nepal at Kakarbhitta.
Today we travel in our jeeps back to Siliguri, where we will finally join our overland truck! We will then drive over the border into Nepal and continue onto Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve.
Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours in the jeeps, 4-6 hours on the truck.
We will spend 2 nights in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve birdwatching and enjoying the local wildlife. Here we will stay in comfortable safari tents
Today we will leave the plains of the Terrai behind and head towards Chitwan National Park.
Estimated Drive Time 7 -9 hours.
In Chitwan we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.
This morning there will be time to do a safari around the national park and after lunch we will journey to Khatauti Khola, home to the Royal Beach Camp eco-adventure camp in the Nepalese mountains.
There are several optional activities on offer here such as kayaking, rafting and hiking or simply relax in the quiet surroundings.
In Khatauti Khola we will camp at the Royal Beach Camp.
Estimated Drive Time - 3 -4 hours.
This morning we will spend some free time at the Royal Beach Camp to give us more time to take part in the optional adventure activities there, then after lunch we will drive the last stretch up to Kathmandu, the evocative capital of Nepal.
In Kathmandu we stay in a comfortable local hotel.
Estimate drive time - 4 - 5 hours
Border Information: If you are finishing your trip in Kathmandu, you will most likely exit Nepal at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (IATA code: KTM).
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Kathmandu. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.
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Trip Name: India - the Chaos, Charm & Calm
Duration: 16 Days
From Price: $1,215
Supplier Tour ID: ZAK1/158128
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