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KONGCHEN LYANG

A  360° Immersion in the

Sikkim Himalayas

A first-of-its-kind travel program transforming villages around Sikkim's Kangchendzonga National Park - A UNESCO World Heritage Site - into self-contained eco-tourism destinations through slow, meaningful travel

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OFFBEAT SIKKIM TOUR

This is a Free-Flowing Journey

A personally curated program that gives you your space. 

  • Instagram
OFFBEAT SIKKIM TOUR

This is a Free-Flowing Journey

A personally curated program that gives you your space. 

  • Instagram
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CORE 

ITINERARY

Itinerary
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Wake up to an East Himalayan Panorama boasting Sikkim's finest peaks* including guardian deity Mt. KongchenDzongkha - India's highest peak.

*Subject to weather.

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Buddhist Monastic Arts

Pioneered by Map My Stories.

A traditional art lesson in a 19th century Buddhist Monastery.

buddhist thangka painting in Sikkim
Monastery
caves in sikkim

Go Caving

Explore a cluster of natural caves* hidden in the Eastern Himalaya

sikkim cave exploration

*Requires a bit of crawling through narrow spaces. Subject to weather.

secluded river beach in sikkim

Riverside Indulgence

A continental picnic spread at pristine river beaches*

*Subject to weather.

The lepchas of Sikkim

Immerse in Rong Heritage & Folklore

The Rongs are a minority community indigenous to Sikkim.

Sikkim handicrafts

Craft Your Own Sustainable Souvenir

A Map My Stories Community Project. 

Handicraft lessons from a Sikkimese craftsman. 

Seasonal Treats*

Count Shooting Stars (Nov-Feb)

Swim in Secluded Natural Pools (April-Mid November)

Walk through Golden Paddy Fields (Early October - Early November)

Chase Cherry Blossoms (November - December)

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stargazing in sikkim

*Seasonal. Subject to Weather/Availability.

offbeat treks in sikkim

Forage Trek

Trek* through thick sub-tropical forests and cardamom plantations & forage for Sikkim's culinary secrets.

*The trek is short but steep and may take 2-4 hours to complete. 

General Fitness & Prior hiking/trekking experience is recommended but not mandatory. 

Forest produce is seasonal.

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Discover soul-soothing Indigenous Music 

An Intimate Live Performance from an underground Lepcha Music Collecive

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*Musicians are subject to availability due to their busy schedules.

traditional music in sikkim

Discover soul-soothing Sikkimese Music 

An Intimate Live Performance from a local Band and Jam Sessions

A Map My Stories Project.

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Local Culinary Lessons

Explore Sikkim's rich culinary traditions -

from  local cheese to local bread & everything in between. 

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local drink sikkim

Local Brew

Learn to make the local brew from scratch -

a perfect accompaniment to meaningful conversations.

*Fermentation periods vary with seasons. In case of longer fermentation periods, pre fermented produce will be arranged.

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Monastery

Travel inward.

Visit quaint, old monasteries and find your inner peace.

offbeat sikkim tours
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Go Glamping

north sikkim monastery

Map Your Kongchen Story

A DIY day to do whatever you want.

Relax with a book in cosy nooks of our homestay or meditate with the monks in our village monastery or hike to the river or indulge in a game of football with the locals or try one of our Add-on Experiences.

The day is yours.

Add-ons
offbeat north sikkim tours

ADD-ON

EXPERIENCES

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Experiential Gems* I've unearthed in Kongchen Lyang

*Extend your journey or spend your DIY day indulging in these Add-on experiences

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Natural Hot Spring Baths

(< 1 Day or 2-3 Days. Duration varies with each hot spring)

offbeat trek in north sikkim

Uncharted Treks (5-10 Days)

birding tours in sikkim

Birding & Butterfly watching (< 1 Day)

organic farming in north sikkim

Farming

(> 1 Day)

sikkim local festivals

Community Games

(< 1 Day)

responsible tourism in sikkim

An Immersive Storytelling session from a local Academician

( > 1 Day )

hiking in sikkim himalayas

Offbeat Day Hikes (< 1 Day)

pang lhabsol mask dance festival

Sikkimese Festivals

(1-3 Days) 

rustic homestay in sikkim

Baking lessons in a rustic kitchen

(< 1 Day)

sikkim football

Football with the locals - Sikkim's favourite sport

( < 1 Day)

local sikkim wines

Local Wine tasting

(< 1 Day)

sikkim music

Local Music Lessons

(> 1 Day)

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Travel Ideology

Ideology
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This journey is intentionally Slow...

It does not seek to "cover" places or check off bucket lists. Rather, it hopes to forge a deeper connection with a few places - rendering a lot of free time for the traveller to unwind, contemplate and rejuvenate in the Sikkim Himalayas. 

MAP YOUR KONGCHEN
real sikkim

...& deeply Personal.

'Kongchen Lyang' is NOT a commercial "tour package" but a personal passion project. The program is crafted to support my Rong friends' efforts against mass tourism and unsustainable development.

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Stays

best sikkim homestays

Local Village Homes & Glamping tents

Hosts: Local Sikkimese Family

Maximum capacity: 4-5 Adults

Sleeping Arrangements: Clean & Hygienic. Twin/Triple Sharing Rooms 

Washroom: Clean & Hygienic. Shared. Western.

Food: Organic, Home-cooked Meals and local beverages

Cuisine: Sikkimese & Indo-Sikkimese 

(Vegan, Vegetarian & Non-vegetarian options)

Perks: Organic Farm, Hot water, Mountain Views and Good vibes.

Stays
Overview
immersive sikkim experience

A Brief Overview 

Day 1: Arrive at IXB Airport/NJP Station before 11:15 AM + 8 Hours drive to village 1

Day 2: Monastic Arts + Cheese Making

Day 3: Caving Trek* + Local Brew

Day 4: River* Beach Picnic 

Day 5: Handicraft Lesson + Glamping

Day 6: Foraging + Culinary Lessons

Day 7: DIY Day + Music in the Evening

Day 8: 8 Hours drive from village 2. Depart from Bagdogra/NJP post 3:25 PM.

*Subject to Weather

sikkimese cultural tour

Upcoming

Journeys

Sold Out | Filling Fast | Slots Available
NOV 24 - DEC 1 (2024)**
DEC 1-8 (2024)**
DEC 9-16 (2024)**
A small group of 4-6 carefully selected travellers
8 Days &
7 Nights 
44,000/Person*
+ Air/Rail
Flexible Payment plan available.
**Led by Shreyas (Map My Stories)

Kindly Note: Our journeys are mainly for solo travelers but we also welcome couples and friend duos who fit the group dynamic. Each person, whether traveling solo or with a companion, must register individually.

We regret that we're unable to accommodate families, children, and private groups of three or more.
LOGISTICS

INCLUSIONS

  • Meals & Accommodation for the scheduled 8D/7N program

  • Transportation (For Airport Pickup/Drop and Village to village transfers only)

  • Trained, Knowledgable Local Guides for all 6 days.

  • Map My Stories Rep to ensure and enhance the quality of your experience.

  • Fees for Handicraft workshop, Monastic Arts, Culinary lessons and Musicians.

  • Ingredients for beer brewing, 

  • Firewood for bonfire (seasonal),

  • Materials & tools for handicraft workshop. 

  • Paints for Monastic Arts Session (paint brushes need to be brought by you).

  • Permits and Permit Fees. 

  • Basic Medical/First Aid Kit during the trip.

EXCLUSIONS

  • Airfare, Railfare, Busfare etc.

  • Optional local Guides/Experts & Transportation on DIY Day

  • Optional Add-on Experiences. Add-on experiences are subject to availability. (I recommend pre booking add-ons if the uncertainty makes you uncomfortable). Map My Stories does NOT charge a booking fee or earn commissions from Add-ons.

  • Any food and beverage cost apart from the ones mentioned in itinerary.

  • Trip extensions, Buffer days etc. 

  • Paint brushes for Monastic Arts workshop (Kindly bring your own because they are not available locally)

  • Binoculars for Birding/Butterfly watching (Optional).

  • Any Tips (Our local guides are paid generously. However, we are completely on board if you feel the need to tip the local guides etc. We do not however encourage tipping the local children or buying them chocolates and other packed foods.)

  • Tiffin box, water bottle & spoon for packed lunch. (Kindly bring your own as we want to minimise single-use plastic as much as possible.)

  • Costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, landslides, road conditions, political unrest and any other circumstances beyond our control.

  • Any personal Expenditure (Shopping, medicines etc)

  • Travel Insurance

  • Any items / services not specifically mentioned under the head ‘inclusions’.

Inclusions & Exclusions

Mandatory Check-list (My Recommendations):

  1. Paint brushes for the Monastic Arts (They are hard to find locally). 

  2. Your own toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and soap.

  3. Toilet Paper (Non-toxic).

  4. Water bottle (Should not be single-use plastic)

  5. A fully charged torch. A head lamp is recommended over a normal hand torch to ensure your hands are free for caving.

  6. 3-4 pairs of Breathable clothes for sunny days: Light Cotton T-shirts, Trousers & Breathable cotton socks etc.

  7. 2-3 pairs of Warm Insulating Clothes for cold nights (temperatures can go as low as 0 during peak winters and 5-10 degrees during summer): Thermals, An insulating jacket, Merino wool cap/muffler/bandana ,Thick Woolen socks and gloves) for cold nights.

  8. Odomos cream against mosquitoes and local flies.

  9. A poncho (if you don't have water resistant trousers or watrproof covering for your rucksack) or a rain jacket (big enough to cover your upper body and daypack)

  10. A bath towel

  11. Water resistant Trekking shoes are HIGHLY recommended. I recommend high ankle length, water-resistant shoes with good grip to decrease chances of slipping or getting bitten by leeches. No other shoes work well in the local terrain.

  12. A pair of casual shoes

  13. A pair of floaters/slippers to wear indoors or casually.

  14. Water resistant trekking trousers are HIGHLY recommended over jeans for trekking.

  15. A hat/cap to protect against the sun.

  16. Your personal medications.

  17. A rucksack is recommended. We do NOT allow suitcases, duffle bags, carry bags or trolley bags as they do not work in mountainous terrains.

  18. Appropriate swimming clothes.

  19. A pair of indoor slippers.

  20. 2 big plastic bags - one for storing soiled clothes and the other for any single use plastic generated or found during the program (Single use plastic cannot be disposed in the mountains. Needs to be carried back with you to the plains)

  21. A lunch box and cutlery (for packed lunch)

  22. Sunscreen

  23. A small daypack (with waterproof covering) for hiking

  24. A small hand sanitizer spray (works best against leeches)

  25. Original ID (Passport/Voter ID) & 4 photocopies

  26. Valid Indian Visa & 4 Photocopies (for foreign Passport holders only)

Optional Check-list to promote Slow Travel 

(My Recommendations):

  1. A note book for journaling your thoughts & experiences, noting down words from the local dialect, and writing down local recipes.

  2. Illustration tools to make paintings, postcards etc. (paints, brushes, pens, paper/canvas etc)

  3. Binoculars and "Birds of Bhutan and the Eastern Himalayas" book 

  4. The Merlin Bird ID & PlantNet Apps

  5. A ukulele or guitar

  6. A yoga mat

  7. A scrap book to press fallen flowers & leaves. (Can also be used for journaling & illustration)

  8. Any books of your own.

  9. A hammock to do nothing on.

Check-list

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How big will the group be?
Each group will have a maximum of 4-6 carefully selected, like-minded participants. Quality over quantity, always.

I am a foreigner and I would like some guidance on how to reach & other formalities (paperwork etc). Can I get help?

Yes! Providing personalised pre-travel virtual guidance (on registration) is part of our services. 

Why are these journeys more expensive than the average tour packages ?

  • Our personally curated/vetted journeys offer more unique experiences than most companies (workshops, immersions, hidden gems etc)

  • Offbeat destinations (especially Northeast india) are pricier due to poor connectivity, higher cost of goods etc. We are going to be in locations that are not developed for mainstream tourism - far away from crowds.

  • Our group size is small (4-6 only) which increases each individual's shared costs such as guide fees, transportation, workshop fees etc. 

  • I am very selective about who you travel with. Many applications are decline to ensure likemindedness among your travel companions.

    Along with local guides, Either me or a member of my local team will be serving as a trip leader. 

    We pay our local hosts and guides generously and don't feel comfortable bargaining with them. Owing to all this, the costs might seem a bit high at first glance, but they are totally worth it. (Check Testimonials on Instagram)

What kind of fitness levels are expected in these journeys?

The day treks are short but require decent amount of endurance and fitness. Nothing out of the ordinary. 

I want to extend my journey and visit other places not part of the itinerary. Can you help me plan my extended journey?
Yes! We have a growing local network and will be happy to connect you with the right people and plan your extended journey.

What do I need to Bring with me on this journey?

Here's a list of things that will help you out :)

Is it safe (for women) to travel these locations?

YES. I have personally vetted these locations for safety and sensitised our local team on women safety. 

FAQ
DISCLAIMER

Disclaimer

This journey is for you if you’re fascinated by culture and thirsty for adventure. You’re flexible and don't mind the challenge of the unexpected. You aren’t intimidated by bumpy roads or no electricity. Landscapes thrill you and cultures intrigue you. Meeting locals, blending in and getting a feel for a place is more important than getting a perfect Instagram shot and ticking a million bucket list items. You appreciate the freedom to explore without relying on a rigid itinerary or constant hand-holding from us.

This journey may NOT be the best choice for you if you prioritise the luxury and comforts of home while traveling, or want to travel as fast as possible, or have specific high maintenance needs. Wifi, mobile data, hot water, and electricity aren't always available. You may have to use Indian toilets every once in a while. Local foods comprise the majority of our diets unless you have restrictions. Accommodations in remote areas can be basic or rustic at best. You will be exploring at a relaxed pace and not rushing through places.

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