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Himalayan Foot Hills Tours

Darjeeling & Sikkim Insiders Tour

This tour is based around home-stays, visiting places totally away from the tourist track. You'll see: snow topped mountains, forests and reserves, hill stations and villages, markets, train journeys, tea gardens, walking, cooking, camping, drinking the local millet beer 'chang' and spectacular sunrises (at 4am!).
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Part Victorian holiday resort, part major tea-growing centre, Darjeeling straddles a ridge 2200m up in the Himalayas, almost 600km north of Kolkata. Over fifty years since the British departed, the town remains as popular as ever with holiday-makers from the plains, and promenades such as the Mall and the Chowrasta still burst with life. The greatest appeal for visitors has to be its stupendous mountain vistas – with Kanchenjunga (the third highest mountain in the world) and a vast cohort of ice-capped peaks dominating the northern horizon. However, the infrastructure created under the Raj has been unable to cope with the ever-expanding population leading to acute shortages of water and electricity, and chaos on the hopelessly inadequate roads. Still, Darjeeling remains a colourful and lively, cosmopolitan place, with good shopping and dining, plenty of walks in the surrounding hills and attractions such as the Toy Train and colourful Buddhist monasteries.

The tiny and beautiful state of Sikkim lies to the south of Tibet, sandwiched between Nepal to the west and Bhutan to the east. Measuring just 65km by 115km, its landscape ranges from sweltering deep valleys just 300m above sea level to lofty snow peaks such as Kanchenjunga (Kanchendzonga to the locals) which, at 8586m, is the third highest mountain in the world. A small but growing network of tortuous roads penetrates this rugged and beautiful Himalayan wilderness.

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Village Homestay Holiday (Eastern Himalayan Tour)

If you have ever wanted to live like, work and support an Indian village - here is your chance.

In the green midranges of the Himalayas - with a stunning backdrop of towering snow-capped peaks - lies the village of Samthar, tucked in a remote part of the mountains. The village stretches across 12 kms, with scattered homesteads loosely grouped into hamlets, adjacent to terraced farmland. The valley then plunges down steeply to the Samthar Khola (river).

The people who live in Samthar are a blend of ethnic groups - Lepchas, Sherpas and Nepali. The ethnic groups are fused. They have adopted Nepali as a link language, yet maintained their diverse cultural identity.
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After 15 years in rural tourism based from his home in Samthar, retired General Jimmy Singh is working with Insider Tours to support village homestay holidays. Guests live in homestays within the village, learning with the local craftsmen - who in turn get a direct income from their trades. The wider project includes educational support for school children and vocational training.

During your stay in the village, you'll be able to join in village activities such as ploughing, sowing, harvesting, collection of firewood and fodder, cow herding, goat care, cooking, mat and basket making, and blacksmithing.

You can explore the countryside, join in the cricket and football matches, play cards with the village elders, or relax in peace in your homestay (a separate self-contained home). Village Home stay accommodation caters for comfortable Double / Twin Guest rooms, with furnishings bed and toilet linen. Attached western style toilets are provided, for all. Hot water is available on request. Room heaters are provided in winter. Extra beds can be arranged for children. Guests are served on a table set with crockery, cutlery, and table linen. They can also choose a traditional floor sitting service, served in traditional utensils / leaves The cuisine provides for semi western style breakfasts with Indian, Nepali Chinese and Lepcha dishes, for lunch and dinner. Food is home cooked. Local products are used to the maximum extent.

Click Here For Our Village Homestay Holiday (Eastern Himalaya Tour)