West Sikkim Homestay Trail
“An offbeat, cultural trekking experience in the foothills of the Kanchenjunga"
An immersive cultural adventure in Sikkim curated for hiking enthusiasts and offbeat explorers. Here, we follow a lesser-explored trail in the enchanting West Sikkim area hopping from one local homestay to another, under the constant gaze of Mt. Kanchenjunga. Absorbing the local culture and the essence of rural Sikkim along the way, we navigate dense forest trails, pass through quaint remote hamlets, walk by picturesque waterfalls, terraced farms and cardamom plantations. We visit ancient monasteries, peaceful sacred lakes and of course find stunning viewpoints to marvel at the spectacular views of the third highest mountain in the world.
- Discover a remote region steeped in history, heritage and mythology
- Trek on offbeat and pristine forest trails away from the crowd
- Visit the oldest monastery in Sikkim and one of the holiest lakes of the state
- Marvel at some of the best views of the third highest mountain in the world
- Stay at comfortable family Homestays and enjoy the true Sikkimese hospitality
- Meet the warm locals and discover their unique culture and traditions
- Experience farm-to-table local cuisine and sample organic, homemade wine
Day 1-2: The Land of Kanchenjunga
A 5 hour drive from Siliguri brings us to pretty Pelling, a beautiful and a culturally-rich hill station. Our exploration of West Sikkim starts with Pelling, which offers some of the grandest views of the Kanchenjunga range. Here, we visit some of the lesser-known viewpoints as well as a few prominent sites of interest including the Pemayangtse Monastery, one of the most renowned and significant Monasteries of Sikkim and Rabdentse, the majestic ruins of the erstwhile Kingdom’s palace.
In the evenings, we enjoy the warm hospitality of our lovely hosts at our cosy homestay. Located at the less-touristy section of the town and managed by a local family, our stay offers a fascinating glimpse into the local culture, not to mention the lip-smacking local cuisine with a farm-to-fork experience as well as sampling some delicious homemade and organic wine.
Day 3: Beyond the Beaten trail
After the warm-up walking exploration of Day 2, today we head out for a trek through a dense forest trail. The walk is a gentle uphill with a few steep portions and mostly over a ridge. After about 2-3 hours of hiking, we arrive at a small lush clearing surrounded by the jungle. The place stands at a high part on the ridge and is a great vantage point for some stunning views and also offers a refreshing breather on the way. The trail then carries on gradually uphill from this glade, through the forests again and finally starts descending to the pretty hamlet of Darap, where we end our hike for the day.
The whole trek takes us about 4-5 hours depending on the pace of the group. More experienced hikers can carry on further to Rani Dhunga, or the Queen’s rock area which takes a couple of more hours. From Darap we drive to the village of Khecheopalri through the winding mountain roads to reach our next local homestay.
Day 4-6: Nature’s Bounty & Ancient Heritage
Day 4 of our homestay trail starts with offering our prayers at one of the holiest lakes of Sikkim, the Khecheopalri, also called the wish-fulfilling lake. Next, we start our trek for the day from Khecheopalri village to Yuksom, a remote heritage village situated at the edge of the Kanchenjunga National Park.
It takes us 4-5 hours to complete the trail today which is a mix of serene village paths as well as narrow tracks through the dense jungle foliage. We walk past little mountain hamlets, lush farmlands, and cardamom plantations, crossing small streams and forested trails while meeting the smiling locals in their traditional houses along the way.
Yuksom is where we check in to our last local homestay for the trip. A charming little settlement with its own sacred lake and exquisitely crafted monasteries, Yuksom was the first capital of the Sikkim Kingdom and has immense religious and cultural significance.
The next day, we explore all the natural beauty that Yuksom has to offer along with discovering its rich past and ancient heritage. We will also do a short hike on a well-marked track to reach the state’s oldest monastery located blissfully on a hilltop for hundreds of years. On the last day of the trip, we thank our hosts and bid farewell to this magnificent region, not just rich in culture and nature’s beauty but also with warm, welcoming, and kind people.
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