top of page

Kongchen Lyang

A  360° Immersion in the

SIKKIM HIMALAYAS

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

Sikkim Himalayas

CORE 

ITINERARY

Itinerary
DSC_7953.jpg

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

The world's 3rd highest peak and India's highest.

*Subject to weather.

Sikkim Monastery tour

Buddhist Monastic Arts

A Map My Stories Project.

An Intricate Tibetan Buddhist Monastic Art lesson in a 19th century Himalayan Monastery.

buddhist thangka painting in Sikkim
Monastery
caves in sikkim

Caving

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

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 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 (Late September- Late October)

Follow Cherry Blossom Trails (Late November to March)

IMG_8508_edited.jpg
stargazing in sikkim

*Seasonal. Subject to Weather/Availability.

offbeat treks in sikkim

Forage Trek

Trek* through thick sub-tropical forests and cardamom plantations to 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.

lepcha music_edited.jpg

Discover soul-soothing Indigenous Music 

An Intimate Live Performance from an underground Lepcha Music Collecive

White on Transparent_edited_edited.png

*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.

White on Transparent_edited_edited.png
_DSC6405_edited.jpg

Culinary Lessons

Local Delicacies from our Friendly Home Chefs 

local sikkimese dishes
local drink sikkim

Local Beer

Learn to brew the local beer - a perfect accompaniment to insightful conversations.

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

GOPR7440.jpg

Monastery

Travel inward.

Visit quaint, old monasteries and find your inner peace.

offbeat sikkim tours
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

_DSC1115_edited_edited.jpg

Experiential Gems* I've unearthed in Kongchen Lyang

*Extend your journey beyond the fixed 7D/6N Program with these seasonal Add-on experiences

hot springs in sikkim

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 )

sikkim music

Local Music Lessons

(> 1 Day)

camping in north sikkim

Glamping (Under Development)

(1-2 Nights)

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)

photos from sikkim

Guided Photography Hikes

(< 1 Day)

sikkim football

Football with the locals - Sikkim's favourite sport

( < 1 Day)

local sikkim wines

Local Wine tasting

(< 1 Day)

slow travel in sikkim

Or Slow down and embrace the art of doing nothing :)

dzongu

Travel Ideology

Ideology
birds of sikkim

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. Thus, 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 based on my extensive explorations of Sikkim - built to support the Rong community and protect their homeland from mass tourism, unsustainable development and neocolonial travel.

AEnB2Urdf6-kuAWmrq-bXW2lvGfX-6E-htWHTO0IfPpiwG0u7IcXjKy4UOh-ntbd1vs03x6saPszRGCwLF9vawVnUz

Stays

best sikkim homestays

Basic Local Homes (Cemented) & Rustic Homestays (Wooden + Stone/Cement)

Hosts: Local Sikkimese Family

Maximum capacity: 3-4 Persons

Sleeping Arrangements: Clean & Hygienic. Shared Rooms with Single Beds (Furnished)

Washroom: Clean & Hygienic. Shared. Western.

Food: Organic, Home-cooked Meals and local beverages

Cuisine: Sikkimese & Indo-Sikkimese Fusion

(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 & Culinary Lessons

Day 3: Caving Trek + Local Beer.

Day  4: Drive from village 1 to village 2 + a River* Beach Picnic 

Day 5: Handicraft Lessons + Forage Trek & Village walk with chances of seasonal cherry blossoms* + golden paddies*.

Day 6: DIY Day & Music in the Evening.

Day 7: 8 Hours drive from village 2. Depart from Bagdogra/NJP only post 3:25 PM.

*Seasonal/Subject to Weather

sikkimese cultural tour

Upcoming

Journeys

Sold Out | Filling Fast | Slots Available
Oct 14-20
Nov 4-10
Dec 1-7
Dec 30 - Jan 5 (2024)

Jan 13-19 (2024)
A small group of 4-6 carefully selected travellers
7 Days &
6 Nights 
39,000/Person*
+ Air/Rail
Flexible Payment plan available.

Kindly Note: Our journeys are for solo travellers, couples and friend duos only and each individual, whether traveling solo or with a friend/partner, must register individually.

We regret that we are unable to accommodate families, children and other private groups.
LOGISTICS

INCLUSIONS

  • Meals & Accommodation for the scheduled 7D/6N program

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

  • Trained, Knowledgable Local Guides for all 5 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 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. Passport size photos- 4 copies

  27. Proof of vaccination against COVID-19

  28. RT-PCR Tests are not mandatory but highly recommended.

  29. 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 glass jar (to make marmalades out of local fruits/berries)

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

  9. Any books of your own.

  10. 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. 

  • Along with local guides, A Map My Stories Rep will be around to ensure and enhance the quality of your experience.

  • 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 to travel these locations?

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

FAQ

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 Indian toilets 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, including where we stay. 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.

bottom of page