Splendid Sikkim Bike Tour

  • Ride past the majestic mountains and monasteries
  • Admire the world’s third-highest mountain – Khangchendzonga
  • Enjoy the fantastic views while sipping a delicate local brew at Temi Tea Garden
  • Wander among the prayer flags, mantras and ancient stupas

Landlocked between the towering Himalayas from sides, the most striking part of Sikkim, apart from its astounding natural beauty, is the’ happiness quotient’ of the people. Call it’s the result of good weather, company of the Himalayas or just a genetic marvel, you will love the cheerful vibe of the place. The fluttering flags of high monasteries share whispery legends with the winds, as small villages busy themselves with farming. For a cyclist, riding from one mountain to another with terraced paddy fields, dense forests and the haunting chants of monasteries for company, is a lifetime experience. This cycling tour gives you an experience of the simple living of the hills and fantastic landscapes infused with brilliant local food and a tryst with the local customs and traditions.

Quick Facts

  • Duration

    10 days / 9 nights

  • Start / End

    Gangtok / Kalimpong

  • Price

    From $1,995 pp dbl. occ.

    + $500 for sgl. occ.

  • Hotels

    Casual Inns

  • Riding Style

    Active Rider

Contact Us to open your date as a group tour date

Group Departures

PRIVATE TRAVEL

Make it a private tour if you already have a group or the dates shown above do not coincide with your travel plans.

ITINERARY

Brief Itinerary

* with shuttle
DayPlaceHotelDuration~ Cycling Distance
1 – 2GangtokSonam Delek235km/21mi
3RumtekTeen Taley130km/18mi
4Temi Tea GardenCherry Resort135km/21mi*
5 – 6Yuksom (1,750m)Tashigang Resort250km/30mi*
7PellingNorbu Ghang Resort135km/21mi
8Hee BermickDhungay Homestay140km/24mi
9KalimpongHimalayan Hotel145km/27mi*
10Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Arrival Note:
Take a connecting flight to Bagdogra from Delhi International Airport. Most of the international flights to Delhi arrive around midnight hours. Allow at least 3 hrs of layover time between your international and connecting flight to Bagdogra. Meet our representative at Bagdogra airport for your transfer to Gangtok. It’s a ~ 5-6 hrs cab drive from Bagdogra airport to Gangtok, Sikkim.

Day 1: Gangtok

The closest air link to Sikkim is at Bagdogra in neighbouring West Bengal. On your arrival at Bagdogra, our drivers will get you to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.

Sikkim is the second smallest state of India; so do not expect the capital to be a sprawling mass of buildings. Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, is perched at a height of 5,800 ft, along the trade route between India and Tibet.

Once checked in and rested, your Trip Leader will meet you at your hotel. Shortly after, you will get to try out your bike and ride up to Enchey Gompa giving you a neat little introduction to biking in Gangtok and its cultural practices.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 15km/9mi

Day 2: Gangtok

We start early today from the hotel for the Gangtok to Hanuman Tok loop. With smiling locals and prayer flags fluttering along the mountainsides, you will get a chance to kick off your Sikkim bike tour on a high note with this lengthier ride through town up to Gangtok’s highest point and back.

After lunch, we head to Gangtok’s Handicraft and Handloom emporium for a look at a variety of handicrafts and hand woven fabrics. Keep an eye out for Thankas(Tibetan wall hangings of paintings made on cloth) and carpets besides which cane, bamboo & wood craft articles are also available. After the shopping session, a delectable local meal awaits you in town in the evening.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance cycled: ~ 35km/21mi

Day 3: Rumtek

We start early this morning to the pilgrimage town of Rumtek. Built in 16th century, by Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje, the Rumtek monastery is one of the most important seats of Buddhism in the state. The ride starts with a 20 km downhill ride after which we ride back up the hill to our next hotel. Since this is there a fair amount of traffic initially, you can use the backup shuttle at any time if you need it. The road is bumpy but as you get away from central Gangtok, you will get the hang of it. Prayer flags will flutter in the breeze as you pass paddy terraces and each little house has its own little garden in bloom colorfully in the front on this route. At Rumtek, we check in at Hotel Teen Taley, an eco-conscious resort with landscaped gardens, comfy rooms and excellent hospitality. The food here is made with care the traditional way with locally sourced ingredients. You will find that the small world charm of an era gone by lingers here still in these soulful valleys.

After lunch, we join worshippers at Rumtek Monastery where a Golden Stupa located inside the monastery encompasses the relics of the 16th Karmapa. The monastery is also host to several Tibetan festivals throughout the year including the Tse-Chu Chaam and Kagyat Dance. The Tibetan New Year, Losar, is celebrated with great vigour here.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 30km/18mi

Day 4: Temi Tea Garden

The journey from Rumtek to Temi Tea Garden, the only tea estate in Sikkim, is long and arduous. It starts with a winding descent through rustic terrain followed by a slow climb up to the tea gardens. As the sprawling tea estates open up around you, you will find the effort to be worth the trouble.

Having biked till Tarku our lunch point, the stretch that follows after lunch will be covered in the shuttle vehicle. By the time the ride ends, there is a distinct possibility that the mountains might have cast their spell on you and you might even be itching to ride more! We drive up from Tarku to Temi however in time for a tour of the organic Temi tea gardens. Established in 1969, Temi tea garden covers an area of 440 acres. Here you will get a chance to watch the tea pickers at work bent over due to the strain of their heavy baskets. We check in to the government run Cherry Resort after this and this hotel is the only accommodation at the top here.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 35km/21mi*

Day 5: Yuksom

Today’s route is likely to be one of the most awe-inspiring bits of your Sikkim cycling trip! There is an initial gradual climb with the therapeutic green of the tea gardens giving way to small villages tucked away in between the wild forests. The route then flattens out before going downhill and then back uphill to Tashiding.

The ride ends at Tashiding in time for a visit to Tashiding monastery. It is an important monastery for the Buddhist pilgrims as it is said to be the meeting point of the three Holy Lamas of Tibet in 1641 A.D. Perched on a conical hill, this is where Lhatsun Chenpo, the patron saint of Sikkim, is said to have built the famous chorten or Stupa of Tashiding Thongwa Rangdol. The tranquil environs of the monastery will leave you in a zen state of mind.

The stay tonight is at Ejam Residency run by a lovely local family. Tucked away in the mountains, here you will get to try more of the local cuisine. Adventurous foodies can pair that with the local beer ‘chhang’, made of millet, it is pretty potent and a lifeline for the hill folks!

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 50km/30mi*

Day 6: Yuksom

We take a break from riding this day so you can enjoy the mountainous environs of this alpine village. Take a walk around to explore Yuksom. One can visit the Gompa and the lake where the First King of Sikkim was crowned or trek upto the Dubdi monastery if you feel like a hiking a bit. Dubdi monastery is the oldest monastery of Sikkim and can be reached in less than an hour from the hotel. Once up there, sit back, relax, you have plenty of time to take it all in.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 7: Pelling

Back on our bikes nice and early again, the route in this section begins with long downhill sections in the first half and rolling, uphill sections in the second half. There are several waterfalls enroute including the Kanchenjunga falls. And if you have somehow managed to turn enough prayer wheels to please the Weather Gods, the views of the mighty Kanchenjunga Range will enthrall you as you reach Pelling.

At 2,072 m/6,800 feet above sea level, the crisp air of Pelling is refreshing and inspiring. Quaint villages, deep valleys and forested mountains surround you as you bike into this unhurried little town.

Pelling is renowned for the Pemayangtse Monastery, which was founded in 1705 A.D. It is one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim and is replete with ancient relics, wall murals and sculptures. We will visit this monastery after check-in and lunch at the Norbu Ghang Resort Hotel. If time allows, we will also visit Rabdentse ruins, the remains of what was once the capital of the kingdom of Sikkim.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 35km/21mi

Day 8: Hee

A week into the hills you will now be familiar with the wafting smell of momos (baked dumplings), ‘Chhang’ and the topography of Sikkim. The journey to Hee Bermick is across paddy fields and villages; an easier ride as compared to others. On the way, we detour to see the second highest bridge of Asia, the Singshore Bridge. This is one the most untouched parts of Sikkim, dotted with vast farmland. To give you an upclose experience of a typical Sikkimese house, we stay at the Dhungay Homestay. Here you can get your hands dirty with the farm life; help in milking the cows, digging for veggie sowing and picking some in the mornings. The organic food of this farm stay is crunchy and delicious.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 35km/21mi

Day 9: Kalimpong

This will be the last riding day of this Sikkim cycle tour. Mostly downhill, we head out to Jorethang. Having braved innumerable switchbacks and winding roads until the town of Jorethang, we stop for lunch at Hotel Namgyal after which we will jump into the vehicle to reach Kalimpong by evening.

This is a great place for you to pick up some souvenirs; Darjeeling tea for black tea lovers, Tibetan carpets, jewellery and bric-a-brac, there is plenty to choose from. So make sure you leave enough room in your bags when you start packing at home.

We stay here at Himalayan Hotel, which has been home to Everest expeditions from the days of Mallory and Irving in the 1920’s. In the early days of the last century the hotel was the family home of David Macdonald. After accompanying the Younghusband Mission to Lhasa in 1904 as interpreter, Macdonald was posted to Tibet as a British Trade Agent, serving in Yatung and Gyantse until his retirement in 1924. Today it is managed by Nilam and Tim Macdonald, David Macdonald’s grandson. They have ensured it remains, in the words of the distinguished travel writer James Cameron, “a collector’s piece among hotels” and that little has changed since.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 45km/27mi*

Day 10: Shuttle to Bagdogra Airport

Our trip concludes late-morning at the hotel. Your leaders will make arrangements for transportation to the Bagdogra Airport.

Meals: Breakfast

*with shuttle – short transfers.

Casual Inns

Hotel Sonam Delek: Gangtok (2 nights)

The reason why we have chosen this small hotel is because it has only 6 rooms, which means complete privacy. The hotel has been around for more than a decade and has services like laundry, an in-house restaurant, doctor on call, wi-fi etc. The rooms are spacious and spanking clean.

Teen Taley: Rumtek (1 night)

A snug, clean and warm room is what you need after a day of riding in the hills. Teen Taley provided you just that, along with exceptional food and service.

Cherry Resort: Temi Tea Garden (1 night)

The government Cherry Resort is the only place to stay in the Temi Tea Garden. The rooms are basic and sufficiently clean. All rooms have a brilliant view of the mountains and carpets of tea gardens.

Tashigang Resort: Yuksom (2 nights)

The Tashigang Resort is tucked away on a hillside and reasonable facilities with clean rooms, local food, hot water and decent service. It also has a steady stream of diverse visitors; its fun catching up with various travellers here.

Norbu Ghang Resort: Pelling (1 night)

This option is a little more grand that the others that we stay at so far. Here, you can enjoy modern facilities of the cottage styled accommodation. The rooms are luxurious and there is an in-house restaurant for your convenience.

Dhungay Homestay: Hee Bermick (1 night)

A farm stay with a homely touch, Dhungay is the best option of getting to see local life. We stay here with the hosts who introduce us to their farm life of milking cows, feeding the chicken and picking veggies for dinner.

Himalayan Hotel: Kalimpong (1 night)

The hotel was the family home of David Macdonald. It has been home to Everest expeditions from the days of Mallory and Irving in the 1920’s. Hillary and Tenzing were frequent visitors, while it has also played host to Mme Alexandra David-Neel, authoress of “Daughter of Tibet”, Dr. Joseph Rock, Heinrich Harrer, author of “Seven Years in Tibet”, Sir Basil Gould, formerly Political Officer, Sikkim, and James Cameron, author “Point of Departure”.

REGION

insightful details

Terrain

The Sikkim cycling tour is ride through the eastern Himalayas and the entire route is mountainous.

Gangtok is at an elevation of 1600m. From here the route climbs up with the average maximum elevation for each day’s cycling staying close to 2000m The ride ends at Darjeeling which is at an elevation of 2165m. Highest Elevation for the entire trip is 2264m at Damthang on Day 5. Total elevation gained for the entire trip is 14,231m


See

Flora:

A combination of high altitudes of upto 2000m and high tropical rainfall makes the Eastern Himalayas a Biodiversity hotspot – one of only three in India, and as a result it supports a rich and diverse range of plant and animal life.

A total of 311 species of Orchids are found in this region including some very rare species. In North Sikkim, Rhododendron are found in abundance and cover entire slopes of mountains in a riot of colors making for a spectacular sight.

The region is densely wooded with trees like Elm, Oak and birch. The higher reaches of the hills have Alpine forests whereas Bamboo grows freely in the lower reaches

Fauna:

Common birds spotted in the region include the Golden Eagle, quail and the woodcock.The Blood Pheasant is the state bird of Sikkim.

Commonly spotted animals include the Langur, the jungle cat, leopard cat and musk dear. The Red Panda is the state animal of Sikkim, though it is relatively hard to spot. At higher altitudes Yaks are kept by tribals as domestic cattle.

Sikkim has a particularly rich diversity of butterflies. Of the approximately 1438 species of butterflies found on the Indian subcontinent, nearly 700 have been recorded in Sikkim including some very rare species like the Kaiser-i-Hind and Bhutan Glory.


Experience

Experience how lie unfolds in the famous tea estates of Darjeeling.India is the second largest producer of tea in the world and the region around Darjeeling is India’s primary tea producing area.The Darjeeling tea grown around here is recognized the world over and is protected as a Geographical Indication (GI).

The region is a mix of cultures. While the original inhabitants of the region are a tribal people called the Lepchas, significant influx of migrants from Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and Bengal have given it a unique mix of culture and traditions.

Eat:

Unlike cuisines in other parts of India, Sikkimese cuisine is low on spices and oil. However some curries and chutnies served as side dishes can be unsuspectingly hot and tangy. Some popular dishes include:

Phagshapa – Pork fat stewed with radishes and dried chillies

Sael Roti – A local bread prepared by mixing rice and wheat into a paste and then deep frying it in oil. Normally eaten with a potato curry.

Momo – flour dumplings stuffed with meat or vegetables eaten with hot sauce.

Thukpa – Noodle soup with vegetable.

Drink:

Among the tribes of the region, alcohol is freely consumed among both men and women. Some local brews are fun and low on alcohol. The must haves include:

Chhang or Tongba – Chhang is the most popular local brew that has low alcohol content but gives a heady high. Made with ingredients like barley, finger-millet, rice, ginger and aconite, and fermented in bamboo barrels, it is then served with hot water and sipped with a perforated straw.The drink has great cultural significance for the people of the region. It is believed that the mythical Yeti or the Himalayan snowman are so fond of this drink that they raid human villages for it.

Hit Beer – a popular local beer.

INCLUSIONS & MORE

we go the extra mile

Beautiful Hotels

On this Casual Inn tour, experience the best of small boutique hotels & homestay at each destination. They are chosen carefully so that you are well rested, get a drift of the local character or an enthralling view from your verandah! Under circumstances of non-availability of hotel, we will put in equivalent or a better hotel. Any extras at hotel are at your expense.

Quality Bikes

When you have a road and the thrill of a journey ahead of you, it’s imperative to have a good bike to enjoy it. Our tours in Sikkim run on some of the best mountain bikes in the cycling tour industry. Upright position, excellent traction and optimal comfort under gravel roads are some of the characteristics.

Outstanding Food

Local food plays an integral part in experiencing the culture of region and we make sure that you get plenty of this. The inclusion of daily meals is highlighted in detailed itinerary. Drinking water and soft drinks such as juice, tea/coffee is included while riding. Fresh fruits, cookies, salted chips & water is provided while cycling.

Charming Guides

Our most visible and perhaps most important role is played by a Trip Leader, the folks who make a trip exciting, comfortable, knowledgeable and who are able to steer you towards the real experience! In most of the trips, we have two guides riding with you. One is leading the group of riders and other is closing at the back.

Comfortable Support Van

A Van follows the group of riders throughout the trip and carries all belongings. If at any point riding seems a little hard, the van takes you for as long or as little as you wish it to. It also provides you refreshments along the way and sometimes a chilled beer.

Guaranteed to Depart Tours

We run most of our tours with minimum 2 people traveling and sometimes even with 1 person, without any extra fee. Rest assured, your trip is always guaranteed to depart. If for some reasons you don’t wish to join a tour then you can always transfer to another trip or we’ll give you a credit which you can settle against any future trip.

Entrance Fees & Transportation

Entrance fees to historic sites, museums, temples & other exclusive events and transportation from rendezvous to final drop-off is always included in your tour price. Our tour designers give as much focus on non-cycling activity as on cycling.

Deep Local Knowledge & Presence

Presence of operations in India, local associations at Sikkim and ad-hoc field network allows us to leverage local know-how and deliver on what is promised to you without any culture and communications barrier.

Singles Friendly

It is applicable in cases where you want to opt for a room alone or we don’t find a room partner. In other cases, we will try to club you with another person, preferably of same sex.

REVIEWS

from our friends

“Fantastic. Will remember it forever! I hope to meet our trip leaders again, and would love to do another trip with them.”

Sherrie BrodyUSA

“Art of Bicycle Trips gave our group of ten women a memorable experience in Sikkim. The condition of the roads and the mountainous landscape made riding challenging, but it was worth every moment to experience the vistas of the Himalaya, the lush landscape, prayer flags everywhere and colorful cultural sites around every corner.”

BetsyUSA

“Loved the amazing scenery and diverse monasteries! Plus the food was delicious. The bikes were perfectly suited for the terrain.”

Betsy’s groupUSA

“I thought this was a wonderful trip, though at times the cycling could be challenging. It was an excellent way to explore this area and to be able to interact with the local people. The guides were excellent and made the trip very enjoyable.”

SueAustralia

“I really enjoyed the trip, it was a far greater challenge than I was expecting, but I am proud of the amount of cycling I achieved.”

WendyNew Zealand

INSPIRATION FROM THE ROAD