Remote Lands arranged an absolutely flawless trip for me to Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan where I stayed in some of the world's finest hotels.
Once an independent kingdom that feuded periodically with Nepal and the British, Sikkim is a landlocked state in the Himalayas that is India's second-smallest (after Goa). Because of its location and history, Sikkim is predominantly Hindu and Buddhist; its residents are descended from both Nepalese and Tibetans, with a small community of migrant residents who work in various commercial pursuits. Given its isolation from the world, Sikkim retains much of its natural beauty, in the form of clear rivers, thick, evergreen forests, meadows of wildflowers, and sharp, imposing mountains. Indeed, within Sikkim, natives still herd yak, tend their fields, and lead lives little changed from centuries before.
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Our co-founder Jay Tindall is a regular visitor to India, where he loves staying in the palace hotels of Rajasthan. His favourite experience? The amazing Kumbh Mela festival.
Visit a terraced orchid farm spilling down the side of a steep mountain; over 500 exotic species of orchid, including some rare and endangered, grown in Sikkim and are exported for sale the world over.
Have a traditional dinner in Gangtok, the capital city, with some of the remaining Sikkim royalty.
Visit Happiness Home, a Gangtok orphanage for girls, and take some of the charming young residents to lunch at a local restaurant.
Charter a private helicopter for a ride through the breathtaking Himalayas in the vicinity of Kangchenjunga, the planet's third highest peak at 28,169 feet. The helicopter provides supplemental oxygen to help deal with the extreme altitude.
In the evening have dinner at the home of a top Sikkim chef where you'll be joined by his friends. Have an informal cooking class with him in the kitchen while he prepares the gourmet meal, then sample his recipes during a delicious and entertaining dinner.
This 8-day luxury tour of Darjeeling and Northeastern India starts in Calcutta at the city’s famous Polo Club, and continues on to fragrant Darjeeling, with a tour and stay at Glenburn Tea Estate, rounding off in Sikkim, with its famous orphanage, friendly locals, and incredible mountain views.
Travelers aboard Assam Bengal Navigation’s newest cruiser, the beautiful Raj Mahal, have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the beautiful and enchanting scenery surrounding the mighty River Ganges. Guests can choose to spend six nights traveling downstream or eight nights sailing upstream, between the cities of Farakka and Patna, witnessing all the spectacular landscapes in between and stopping off to visit mosques, monasteries and temples, bazaars and villages. Guests can travel in comfort, retiring each evening to their fresh and stylishly-decorated cabins, all of which boast river-facing windows, perfect for a little reflection as the cruiser glides along. Delicious local and international dishes are served in the ship’s restaurant and guests can take in the morning air or enjoy sunset views on the canopied observation deck. What’s more, for those in need of a little pampering, the ship’s spa offers a range of indulgent treatments.
Elgin Mount Pandim Hotel
Originally the home of the Sikkim royal family, the Elgin Mount Pandim enjoys a magnificent location, set amidst virgin forest and landscape gardens with splendid views of the Singalila mountain range. All of its 30 rooms are unique in design and colour scheme, but all come with internet, LCD TV and en-suite bathroom, as well as 24-hour room service. The hotel offers numerous activities including birdwatching (the area is rich in birdlife including several rare species) and mountain biking. The hotel also has a multi-cuisine dining room, bar and afternoon tea lounge.
Hotel Nor Khill Gangtok
Hotel Nor Khill Gangtok is a heritage property with Old-World charm. The 3-star hotel is located in the eastern Himalayas and offers views of the lush green hills and Kanchenjunga, the planet’s third highest peak, in the background. Each of the 32 rooms are decorated with traditional textiles and colorful accents, complete with period furniture. The rooms come with modern amenities including private bath and showers, satellite television and Internet connectivity.