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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. 

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This is a Free-Flowing Itinerary

A personally curated journey for people who don't like tours. 

 A community-centric travel program for solo travellers.

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CORE 

ITINERARY

Itinerary
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Wake up to 360° views of some of Sikkim's finest looking peaks including guardian deity Mt. KongchenDzongkha -

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

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Paint a Monastery

A Map My Stories Initiative.

Intricate design lessons from a local Monastic Artist.

Our village monastery will be your canvas

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Monastery
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Caving

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

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*Requires a bit of crawling through narrow spaces.

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Riverside Indulgence

A continental picnic spread at pristine river beaches*

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Immerse in Rong Heritage & Folklore

The Rongs are a minority community indigenous to Sikkim.

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Craft Your Own Sustainable Souvenir

A Map My Stories Initiative. 

Handicraft lessons from a Sikkimese craftsman. 

Seasonal Treats*

Chase Secret Waterfalls (April-Early October)

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)

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*Seasonal. Subject to Availability.

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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 seasonally available.

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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.

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Discover soul-soothing Sikkimese Music 

An Intimate Live Performance from a local Band and Jam Sessions

A Map My Stories initiative to support local artists.

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Culinary Lessons

Local Delicacies from our Friendly Home Chefs 

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Local Beer

Learn to brew* the local beer from freshly foraged produce. The perfect accompaniment to fireside conversations and jam sessions.

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

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Stargaze with a mug of local beer

Can you spot shooting stars?

*Views affected by weather

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Monastery

Travel inward.

Visit quaint, old monasteries and find your inner peace.

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Map Your Kongchen Story

A day to do whatever you want.

Add-ons
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ADD-ON

EXPERIENCES

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Experiential Gems* I've unearthed in Kongchen Lyang

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

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Natural Hot Spring Baths 

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Uncharted Treks

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Birding & Butterfly watching

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Farming

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Community Games

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An Immersive Storytelling session from a local Academician

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Local Music Lessons

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Glamping (Under Development)

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Offbeat Day Hikes

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Sikkimese Festivals 

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Baking lessons in a rustic kitchen

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Guided Photography Hikes

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Football with the locals - Sikkim's favourite sport

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Local Wine tasting

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Or Slow down. Enjoy the art of doing nothing :)

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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. Thus, rendering a lot of (free) time for the traveller. Time that could be used to relax, for self reflection in the Sikkim Himalayas or to genuinely engage with the Rong community. 

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...& deeply Personal.

'Kongchen Lyang' is NOT a "tour package" but a personal passion project. The journey is designed after my long term explorations of Sikkim & built to support my strong relations within its indigenous community.

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Stays

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Basic Homestays (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
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ARRIVAL

Arrive at Bagdogra (IXB) LATEST by 10:30 AM.

OR

Arrive at New Japlaiguri (NJP) LATEST by 10:30 AM.

+

6-7 Hours Cab Journey

DEPARTURE

6-7 Hours Cab Journey

Depart from Bagdogra (IXB) NOT EARLIER THAN 3 PM.

+

OR

Depart from New Japlaiguri (NJP) NOT EARLIER THAN 3 PM.

Note: The cab is included in our pricing and will be shared with your trip mates.

Accurate details will be shared on registration.

How To Reach
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Customised

&

Scheduled

Journeys

 Upcoming Scheduled Journeys

Sold Out | Filling Fast | Slots Available
March 17-23 
March 23-29
April 1-7 
April 21-27 

May 1-7
OCT (TBD)
A small group of 4-6 carefully selected travellers
7 Days &
6 Nights 
INR 37,000/Person*
+ Air/Rail
Flexible Payment Option available.
Note: Our scheduled journeys are for solo travellers only.
Couples, Families or Private groups may opt for a customised journey on any dates other than those mentioned above.
Dates & Costs

INCLUSIONS

EXCLUSIONS

  • Airfare, Railfare, Busfare etc.

  • Optional local Guides & Transportation for 'Map Your Kongchen Story' Day

  • Optional Add-on Experiences. Some of the Add-ons need to be booked in advance. 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)

  • 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. 

  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 for caving.

  6. Comfortable breathable clothes for sunny days: Light Cotton T-shirts, Trousers & Breathable cotton socks etc.

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

  8. Odomos cream against mosquitoes

  9. A poncho

  10. A bath towel

  11. Trekking shoes. I recommend ankle length, water-resistant shoes with good grip to decrease chances of slipping or getting bitten by leeches.

  12. A pair of floaters/slippers/shoes to wear casually.

  13. A trekking pole is recommended but not mandatory.

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

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

  16. Your medications.

  17. A rucksack is recommended. We do NOT allow suitcases, duffle bags, carry bags or trolley bags.

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

  25. Passport size photos- 4 copies

  26. Proof of vaccination against COVID-19

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

  28. 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. A ukulele or guitar

  5. A yoga mat

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

  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. 

  • Along with local guides, A Map My Stories representative (either me or Pem) will be joining you 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. We have personally vetted these locations for 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 do not expect a spoon-fed itinerary or hand-holding from us.

This journey is NOT the best choice for you if you need the luxury and comforts of home while traveling, or want to travel as fast as possible, or if you are fussy or needy. 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.

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