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From bustling Kolkata with its rich colonial heritage, head to the astounding natural beauty of Darjeeling and Sikkim on a journey into the Himalayas. Discover verdant tea plantations, Buddhist monasteries and breath-taking views across snow-capped mountains on a trip to a unique and less visited part of India.
Depart London on your overnight flight to Kolkata
Upon arrival into the 'City of Joy', transfer to tonight's hotel and uncover the magnificent sights of this city of contrasts on an enlightening afternoon orientation tour. Be transported back in time with a visit to one of South Asia's finest surviving Colonial centres, Dalhousie Square, a bustling plaza in the heart of modern Kolkata. Fringed by a spectacular array of historical and architectural wonders catch a glimpse of the high roofed white dome of Kolkata's General Post Office and the impressive St Paul's Cathedral. A remarkable example of Gothic Revival architecture, three intricately embellished stained-glass windows dominate the cathedral's majestic facade and flood its ornate interior with a spectacular kaleidoscopic showcase.
After breakfast, embark on a short flight to Bagdogra before twisting through the fluctuating landscapes of Darjeeling, an area often referred to as the Queen of Hills. With a tranquil ambience, Darjeeling serves as India's core tea growing district, affording breath-taking views of rolling hills and emerald green tea plantations which stretch along the horizon. Framed by some of the world's highest pinnacles, the imposing peaks of the Himalayas establish an unforgettable backdrop.
Early this morning, ascend 8,300ft into the dizzying heights of Tiger Hills to see the first peek of sunlight emerge over the tips of Mount Kanchenjunga and Everest from the highest point in the Darjeeling Hills. A picturesque descent leads you back to the hotel for breakfast. Later this morning, the charming Toy Train zigzags along narrow, mountainous tracks through small villages and lush green vegetation to reach the iconic Batasia Loop, an encircling segment of railway track, constructed to ease the mountain's steep gradient. A popular observation point, disembark to wander twisting pathways and blossoming gardens and discover the centralised poignant war memorial, dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives in various wars after Indian Independence.
This morning, transfer to the largest town and capital of Sikkim, Gangtok; an area of supreme beauty, this tiered district one of the most beautiful areas in the state. En-route to the heart of Gangtok, stop at the small hillside retreat of Lamahatta, a peaceful village nestled amongst towering pine trees, and embark on a short hike within Lamahatta Park, where nature lovers will relish in this biodiverse haven, laden with an extensive variety of flora and fauna. Continue onwards to experience the charged energy emanating from one of Gangtok's oldest streets, the Lal Bazaar - a swarming market square where local vendors congregate to sell an abundance of produce, traditional clothing and electrical goods, to name just a few. A visual delight, feast your eyes on the market's vibrant showcase of fresh vegetables, before a leisurely stroll leads you to Gangtok's principle shopping boulevard - MG Marg, whose teeming shops, cafes and restaurants generates a dynamic ambience.
A full day city tour of Gangtok commences at the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloo,, a fascinating museum brimming with a varied collection of local arts and crafts. Next, venture to the Research Institute of Tibetology to examine a splendid exhibition of unique Tibetan artefacts, including statues, paintings and Thangkas; exemplifying traditional Sikkimese architecture, this distinctive establishment's foundation stone was laid by the 14th Dalai Lama in 1957. En-route to Tashiview Point, stop at the Do-Drul Chorten, which, crowned by a gilded dome, can be spotted from numerous vantage points across Gangtok. Later, discover a the 1,001 golden Buddha statues concealed behind the flamboyant walls of Rumtek Monastery, and conclude today's tour at Enchey Monastery, whose literal meaning translates as the 'solitary temple', a fitting name for this peaceful hillside sanctuary.
Departing Gangtok this morning, transfer to the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, visiting the quiet town of Kalimpong. A serene ambience dominates this religiously symbolic district which is intensified by copious monasteries and churches which pepper the landscape. At your own pace, spend the day at leisure to enjoy views of the Himalayas and explore the town's local architecture, where remnants of the British era continue to be seen.
After breakfast, enjoy a city tour of the sleepy town of Kalimpong, beginning at the extravagant Mangal Dham, a distinctive pink temple complex set amongst an excellently preserved garden which booms with a wealth of vibrant flowers, extending over 2 acres of land. Built in memory of the guru ShirMangaldasju who dedicated his life to serving the town's most deprived residents, this unique shrine one of the most significant religious centres in Kalimpong. Next, soar 1,704 metres above sea level upon DeoloHill, catching sight of spellbinding views overlooking the region, and gain an alternative perspective from the neighbouring Durpin Dara Hills. Finally, exhibited at Pine View Nursery, admire a dazzling showcase of more than 1,500 species of Cacti from around the globe, the largest singular collection in Asia, before enjoying an evening at leisure.
This morning, journey to Bagdogra Airport and board your scheduled flight to Kolkata, spending the evening at leisure.
Depart Kolkata on your return flight to the UK or your chosen extension.
India: A visa is required for entry into India. British Citizen Passport Holders will need to obtain a tourist visa. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote 'Mercury Holidays'. The Travel Visa Company can only apply for this 120 days before your proposed travel date. When calling the Travel Visa Company they will advise you of any changes to the fees or the procedure, they will also advise you of all information they will require in order to apply for the visa. Alternatively you can visit The Indian Visa Application Centre in London: 142-148 Goswell Road, London, EC1B 7DU. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months before you enter India. Visa requirements are subject to change and obtaining a visa is the responsibility of the traveller and not Mercury Holidays. We recommend you check with your destinations' Tourist Board or Embassy prior to departure for the most up to date guidelines regarding visas and passport validity.
British passport holders do not need to obtain a visa for Nepal prior to departure, a Nepalese visa can be purchased on arrival into Kathmandu. This will cost around USD $25, so please have this ready in USD cash together with three passport size photos. We recommend that you check the following website before travelling for all the most up to date advice and requirements for entry into Nepal http://www.nepembassy.org.uk/visa.php
We strongly recommend that you bring a photocopy of the following documents, together with the original. Namely 06 copies of your photograph, 6 photocopies of your passport, and 6 copies of your valid Indian Visa.
NB The ILP (Inner Line Permit) cannot be given to certain foreign nationals on arrival at the checkpoints and must be arranged before travel. These are: Chinese from mainland China, Hongkong, Macau, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh & Burma (Mayanmar).
We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of €300pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
Your initial flight is with Emirates to Kolkata, via Dubai departing from London Heathrow Terminal 3.
IMPORTANT: Please note that final flight details will be confirmed on your final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days before departure.
Baggage Allowance (per person):
Each passenger is entitled to 30kg of hold luggage plus 1 item of hand luggage not exceeding 55cm x 38cm x 20cm in size or 10kg in weight. Weight restrictions will be finalized on your final documentation. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check - in. Check-In should be at least 3 hours before departure.
If you wish to arrange Airport car parking or accommodation at preferential rates, we recommend you book this in advance with Holiday Extras on 0871 360 2000, quoting HX313.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, www.travelhealthpro.org.uk, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with a good level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves climbing of steep stairs and getting on and off coaches. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
This is a fully escorted tour meaning that you will be met by a local guide in each of the cities that you visit, ensuring that you have first-hand information at all times.
The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 20. If in the unlikely event there are fewer than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date, then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.
The currency in India is the Rupee or Rs. The Rupee is a closed currency and officially you are not allowed to take any cash out of India. US Dollars and GBP are also widely accepted in India should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you. There are restrictions on taking Indian rupees into India. Visitors, including tourists, are not permitted to take any amount of Indian currency into the country. You can take cash or travellers' cheques (in pounds sterling or another foreign currency) and/or a bank card with you and exchange or withdraw rupees once in India
You will need to take money with you to cover any personal purchases such as souvenirs, laundry, any meals not included in the itinerary as well as drinks and any additional snacks; Approximately £400-£450 per person will be sufficient for the duration of the tour. It is a good idea to try and maintain a supply of small notes and change in the local currency for tipping or small purchases.
Tipping is at your discretion; however, we would recommend approximately £12 per person for the duration of your tour. Any accompanying guides we suggest approx. £3 per person per day and for the driver we suggest approx. £1 per person per day. All tips will be collected by your guide at the beginning of your tour for your convenience. Tips are accepted in the local currency, however it is asked that if you do not tip in the local currency that you only pay with notes, as coins cannot be exchanged.
|Depart UK||Arrive UK||Price|
|08 May 2023||17 May 2023||SOLD OUT|
|04 Sep 2023||13 Sep 2023||€2351.00|
|02 Oct 2023||11 Oct 2023||€2351.00|
|06 Nov 2023||15 Nov 2023||€2239.00|
|04 Dec 2023||13 Dec 2023||€2239.00|
|12 Feb 2024||21 Feb 2024||€1847.00|
|26 Feb 2024||06 Mar 2024||€1981.00|
|15 Apr 2024||24 Apr 2024||€2127.00|
|06 May 2024||15 May 2024||€2183.00|
|02 Sep 2024||11 Sep 2024||€2351.00|
|30 Sep 2024||09 Oct 2024||€2351.00|
|04 Nov 2024||13 Nov 2024||€2295.00|
|02 Dec 2024||11 Dec 2024||€2239.00|
Call our experts 1800 804 006
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