Red Panda expedition in Singalila
Red Panda Photo Tour
Red Panda Photo Tour
Images from the
Red Panda Photo Tour
Day 1 – Arrival at Bagdogra
Fly into Bagdogra Airport (or IXB)
A small but busy airport for North Bengal and Sikkim surrounded by lush green tea gardens on the Himalayan foothills. On a clear day, you will be able to see the long mountain range of the Himalayas from the flight. On your arrival, you will be greeted warmly by our representative, who will give you a short brief on the tour and hand you over the travel documents before taking you to the car. Chamong Arrival (Alt 5500Ft / 1650M)
We arrive at Chamong, a newly established tea country resort in lower valley of Darjeeling Hills. The pure air, the crisp breeze, the soft, misting rain all come together in a wonderland where the tea grows with a finer flavor than anywhere else in the world. Here you will have first-hand exposure to learning different processes the tealeaf passes through before it reaches you in your morning cup. After lunch, we go for a short walk in the nearby village and meet the locals. In the afternoon we return to Chamong by jeep. Have a relaxed evening at Chamong and enjoy a barbecue
bonfire in the garden. Here you will be given the opportunity to walk through the beautiful lush garden and pluck tea with the garden workers before you reach the factory. You can see the various method of tea processing from the collection of tea leaves until it is taken to its final grade. You can
also go through the tea testing session with the garden manager. it's an experience best savored when the tea and holiday come together – in a Chiavari Tea Retreat.
(Tea Factory and Garden activity are closed from November to March and each Monday.
However, a walk in the garden and meeting with workers is still possible)
Day 2 – Tea Garden tour full day with picnic lunch by a river
Today we have a guided tea garden tour in Chamong. Start the walking from a small Shiva temple near the resort, which is located on a hilltop offering a nice birds-eye view of the surrounding valley. Walk on the gentle road through the garden with the morning sun. Meet the workers on the way plucking the tea (from April to October). You also have the option of visiting the tea factory during the harvest time, where the garden manager will explain to you the various process of tea manufacturing. A special tea testing session can also be arranged for you here. Chamong is also a very interesting place for birdlife. You can walk to the river bed below the garden for about an hour and we will serve a picnic lunch for you.
Interested people can also take a bath in the stream, which can be very refreshing. Spend your time in the serene environment before coming to the resort. You can walk back or also have an option for car pick up. In the afternoon you can use the spa in the resort and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Or unwind with a Green Tea Facial at the Spa As the sun sets behind the majestic Himalayas, gather round the open fireplace in your room with your companions. Dip into the stock of board games or cuddle up with a book from the well-stocked library. Chamong offers a brilliant night sky. On clear weather you can spend valuable time observing the different constellations and milky way.
Day 3 – Chamong to Singalila National Park – (2hrs)
Today we have a very early breakfast at Chamong (7 AM recommended) and then drive to Singalila National Park – a beautiful hiking route in the highest part of Bengal, lying between Nepal and India. Singalila National Park is known for a vibrant Rhododendron Valley wit a sweeping view of a 360degree panorama of Greater Himalayan Range, which includes the highest mountain peaks of the world Mt Everest and Mt Kunchenjungha. The bumpy ride over the steep gravel road, which is accessed mainly by foot or few old fashioned 4-wheel jeep is challenging but the discomfort is overcome by the mesmerizing view on your way. From Manebhanjang we change our vehicle to a 4-wheel drive and ride to Tonglu. At 3000m or 10000ft above sea level Tonglu – known as a trekkers’ paradise, is an excellent camping area in the higher Darjeeling Hills. The vast panorama of the greater Himalayan Ranges which includes Kunchenjungha Range in Sikkim, Mt Everest in Nepal, Chola Range in Bhutan is visible over the layers of valleys. We have ample opportunity to walk in the beautiful trails to Kalepokhri as the jeep follows. Enroute we will also have the opportunity to find red Panda in the trails. Check-in at a tea house. After lunch, we set out in the Panda trail.
Day 4-6 – Full days Red Panda Activity
We have a full day in the Singalila park exploring the Panda Trail Hebres Nest-Singalila is one of the best places in India to see the elusive Red Panda. There are an estimated 32 Red Pandas within the limits of Singalila. Apart from the Red Panda, other mammals found here are- Himalayan Black bear, Clouded Leopard, Leopard, Leopard Cat, Himalayan Serow, Barking Deer, Yellow-throated Marten, Wild Boar, Pangolin, Pika and
many other Eastern Himalayan exotics. This is a Birding Paradise as well. More than 300 species of birds have been recorded here. It has a huge list of exotic birds, like- Blood Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan, Kalij Pheasant, Brown and Fulvous Parrotbills, Rufous-vented Tit, and Old World babblers like the Fire-tailed Myzornis and the Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Rosefinchs, bullfinches, Wren Babblers, Laughingthrushes, Nuthatches, Treecreepers, Yuhinas, Minivets, Partridges and many more. One of the best places to see sunrise and sunsets, Sandakhphu top is situated within Singalila National Park and is the highest peak in West Bengal. Sandakphu offers the best view of Kangchenjunga also known as Sleeping Buddha or Sleeping Shiva.
Day 7 – Sandakphu to Darjeeling (Alt 6825Ft / 2050M) return by jeep – 5hrs
After breakfast, we will return to Darjeeling by a vintage 4wheel Jeep, the only possible vehicle that can negotiate this road. The bumpy ride of about 2.5hrs will end at Manebhanjang and from here we change our vehicle to a more comfortable ride to Darjeeling in another 2 hrs.
Darjeeling, “The Land of Thunderbolt’ or popularly known as “The Queen of Hills” is regarded as one of the best Hill Retreats in the world for its pleasant climate, great views of the highest mountains, beautiful tea gardens producing worlds finest brews, Himalayan Heritage Steam Train, colonial Raj heritage and charming people. On arrival, we assist you to check-in at Hotel. In the evening you can go for a short walk to the Mall or Chowrasta to get a feel the daily buzz of local life. This is an important social gathering place in Darjeeling where the tourists as well as the local people come, meet, shop, and dine.
Day 8 – Darjeeling City tour
Today we go for a city tour in Darjeeling and cover the following places.
(Darjeeling Himalayan Rail) Joy Ride. A ride in the heritage Himalayan toy train run by 100 years old steam engine is perhaps the most lucrative experience in Darjeeling. The ride starts from Darjeeling and takes you to Ghoom with a stop to picturesque Batasia Loop and Ghoom Station with a visit to the museum. The train runs 4 times a day but the morning shift is most attractive as it gives a nice view of the mountains passing through the tea garden, market, and village houses. The train returns to Darjeeling in 1.5hrs covering a total distance of 18kms.
Ghoom Monastery If you are interested on Buddhist Gompa (Monastery) the 160years old Yiga Choeling Monastery at Ghoom is a place you must visit. This is near the Ghoom railway station on the Hill Cart Road and can be reached on your way back to Hotel from Tiger Hill or on your way to Gangtok, Mirik, or Bagdogra. Built-in the year of 1875 the monastery belongs to the yellow sect of Gelugpas Buddhists and holds some rare collection of scriptures and images of Lord Buddha.
Mahakal Temple The oldest temple of Lord Shiva, locally known as Mahakal Temple is located on the observatory hill above Darjeeling Mall. It takes about 15 minutes uphill walk to the temple from the mall and you can see the coexistence of Buddhist and Hindu religion. A walk through the thickly wooded hills is rewarding on a clear day when you can see a vast panorama with several snow peaks on the horizons. Walk down a few steps and you can see the primitive cave with several Hindu idols placed inside it. (Be aware of monkeys in the temple and in the pathways)
Day 9 – Darjeeling to Bagdogra – 75kms in 2.5hrs
We check out from Hotel after breakfast. Today your tour concludes with your transfer to Bagdogra Airport. We help you to board your flight back home. Farewell and Red Panda Photo Tour ends.
October – May 2021
9 Days / 8 nights
Landscape, people, nature, wildlife, Tea Plantages, Mountain
Singalila National Park,
You will organize your own travel to and from Bagdogra.
Join me on the
Red Panda Photo Tour
Tim has devoted his life to photography. Photography has been his long-held hobby and great passion. Tim has always felt drawn to the power and beauty he finds in nature. Tim has been leading photo tours and workshops in Iceland and many different countries over the years. He has had the world as his workplace. He is Photographing everything from the dramatic landscape in Iceland, to the native people in the remote corners of the world and the culture that is unique to each country.
His journeys have taken him around the world in pursuit of memorable travel experiences and the creation of compelling images. His work has been featured in international publications. His images and stories are shared on various internet outlets. As a driven artist, professional, entrepreneur, and adventurer, Tim is eager to share his passion, knowledge in photography, and travel through the tours he designed on his own, or through his partnership with professional photographers from around the globe. Tim and his family lived 11 years in Iceland. Now they are based in the Czech Republic.